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Member postings for Alan Jackson

Here is a list of all the postings Alan Jackson has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Boring table
17/06/2022 10:23:05

photo 20 modified vertical slide.jpgpict0013.jpgpict0008.jpgHi Hopper and vga,

Yes I do have a vertical slide for this cross slide. I could have carried out this operation on my Stepperhead lathe but the Chipmaster is a much bigger and more rigid lathe and even on this I could only make about .020" cuts without chattering etc. I modified the original cross sliide by adding 0.500" steel strips bolted from underside.pict0004.jpgphoto 21 vertical slide mounted.jpg

Edited By Alan Jackson on 17/06/2022 10:26:01

16/06/2022 12:01:03

I have added tee slots to my Chipmaster cross slide this enables many operations like this


Edited By Alan Jackson on 16/06/2022 12:01:34

Thread: Getting old, selling lathe
03/06/2022 11:17:52

Hi David, I read your hard story with sadness, but your strength to keep pushing forward is uplifting and I hope you will get better and manage to start out on new projects yet to be covered. Its the mind that needs to be kept occupied most of all, with hopeful ideas and possible achievements. All the very best to you and look forward to your new ideas.


Thread: Looking for a non-magnetic, strong, easily glued material
28/04/2022 10:00:47

What is wrong with hard wood? Like lignum vitae

Thread: A Remarkable Model Engineer
25/04/2022 10:01:07


Thread: Lever operated tailstock attachment Myford
20/04/2022 10:20:21

I much prefer this type, long range and sensitive


Thread: Need a pen to draw the "finest possible" lines?
17/04/2022 18:09:29

I used to use plastic leads on drawing film. By rotating the pencil as you moved it, it was quite easy to draw a fine thin line. The other trick was to push the pencil so that the lead was in compression, not bending.


Thread: Why is electricity so expensive?
06/04/2022 10:44:23

I think the elephant in the room in this discuussion is tidal power. We live in a country surrounded by sea and high tides, which rise and fall twice a day 24/7. Why do we ignore this?


Thread: Questions on an MLA inspired toolpost
03/04/2022 13:31:45

Hi John,

The central post is a parallel 1/2" threaded column fitted into the topslide. The expandable dovetail block fits over the post and firmly down against the topslide top face, then the solid tapered plug is fitted into its matching tapered bore in the dovetail block and over the post. The plug is then pushed down by the locking lever screwing down on the central post. This has no effect on the preset height setting, it just expands the dovetail block to lock the whole assembly in position. The locking lever only needs a slight force to lock it all firmly in position.


Edited By Alan Jackson on 03/04/2022 13:33:40

03/04/2022 10:54:14

I chose the expander plug to be made from cast iron so it did not stick in position. It has an included angle of 40 degrees. The block has through holes and grooves to make it flexible and the adjusting screw has a half section that fits into the groove in the block. All this to minmise overhang. More pics in my album


Toolholder components.jpg

Through holes for flexiblity.jpg

Edited By Alan Jackson on 03/04/2022 11:03:24

Thread: The ettiquette of sharing designs
02/04/2022 10:32:36

Hi Calum,

A while ago I made my version of the MLA toolpost and this is the reply I got from the MLA membership. So as long as you credit the originators I do not see any problem with copyright.



compliments on your nice looking version of the MLA toolpost. Also, the topslide compound it's mounted on is sheer elegance.

I would just like to bring up one thing, that with the original, prototype version of the toolpost it was found that the dovetail clearances in the relaxed position should be around four or five thou., ideally, if I remember correctly, and not to exceed about seven thou. Those tolerances were easily accomplished by gauging with the toolpost body when milling the toolholder dovetails. I now have seventeen toolholders of various types, and presently there is no urgency to make more. When there is, should there be access to a milling machine, I would consider pre-milling the dovetail in a long slab of steel and, as needed, sawing off from it toolholder blanks like slices from a loaf of bread. The key would be in milling the dovetail with reasonable accuracy, so that the toolholder blanks would all fit equally well, rather than equally poorly.

A friend and I, using his milling machine, made a pair of larger versions of the original, prototype toolpost, with the intent that one of them would be used on his South Bend heavy ten lathe, using the large collection of Aloris and knock-off Aloris toolholders he already had, as well as some he had made.

During that project we decided to measure the dimensional variation, or "allowance" among them, and found the variation to be too great to be accommodated by the MLA toolpost without alteration. I forget what the variation was--I think I could look it up--but it was quite significant. Which does point to one advantage of the wedge type toolpost, in that it is fairly tolerant of dovetail dimensions. That can be seen, if I recall from my friend's lathe, in the various positions the Aloris locking handle assumes depending on the toolholder mounted.

That is certainly not to discourage the choice of the MLA toolpost in favor of the wedge and plunger types. The MLA is more easily made by the amateur machinist than the others, and in my opinion is more rigid, having full dovetail engagement with no interposed pieces. I mention it to point out that the cheap knock-off toolholders might not be suitable for the MLA toolpost, as suggested in a comment a while back.

JACKARY, it might be interesting finding out if you have measured the dimensional variations, or "allowances," among the dovetails of the toolholders you've made so far. Though I have to say, just from a feeling I get looking at the photo of your toolpost, that yours appears more flexible, and capable of greater expansion, than the prototype, and so more capable of accommodating greater variations in the toolholders. Again, compliments on a nice looking job.

New Topslide.jpg

Edited By Alan Jackson on 02/04/2022 10:34:14

Edited By Alan Jackson on 02/04/2022 10:36:00

Edited By Alan Jackson on 02/04/2022 10:37:21

Thread: Why aren't carbide chop saws used?
31/03/2022 10:01:35

A long while ago I made a worm geared drive HSS cutting saw, but it just did not have the rigidity and power required. The blade cut but it chattered badly, so I discontinued my efforts. It was never going to work as I dreamed it would.


photo 2.jpg

Thread: Getting Old
15/03/2022 10:20:34

Thank you Dave for your good words and thoughts, and for all you did for MEW.


Thread: Cross-slide fixture plate considerations
07/03/2022 10:21:34

Vertical slide added

photo 21 vertical slide mounted.jpg

photo 20 modified vertical slide.jpg

07/03/2022 09:44:39


I did not remake the whole cross slide, I just added 1/2" thick steel slabs with notches cut along their lengths to form tee slots. The slabs are dowelled and bolted from the underside to the cross slide. The space between the tee slots still enables access to the cross slide gib adjustment screws. The result is a slight loss of clearance over the cross slide but thats ok for me.




06/03/2022 17:28:20


I have added tee slots to my Colchester Chipmaster lathe. You may not want to go this far but it has proved to be very useful for all sorts of machining operations. It did also involve making a new topslide which can be moved and locked anywhere on the cross slide.


New Topslide.jpg

Thread: oh my goodness
05/03/2022 10:34:41

I did have a milling machine, a Dore Westbury, but a long while ago I made this Four jaw chuck from a steel billet a freind gave me when he gave me his home made barbells, so one end of the barbell became this.

AlanHome made 4 jaw.jpg

Edited By Alan Jackson on 05/03/2022 10:35:46

Edited By Alan Jackson on 05/03/2022 10:36:21

Thread: Glasses -- sometimes called headlamps
01/03/2022 10:48:49

Cillary Blue are a good company who make new lenses to your prescription and fit them to your old frame.


Edited By Alan Jackson on 01/03/2022 10:49:21

Thread: Endless Repeats
27/12/2021 10:05:37
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 26/12/2021 16:26:13:

Posted by Bazyle on 26/12/2021 15:23:32:


I thought MG's title for the thread and original content was rather clever.


Thank you, Bazyle


Plus one from Me

Thread: Steam Engine Number One
20/12/2021 17:39:48

Hi Ian,

I have just read through your trials and tribulations of this build. I have to congratulate you on your write ups they are very honest and amusing, and they show how you are gradually but surely progressing and improving in your skills.

I hope your engine runs smoothly and returns you great satisfaction. Thanks for your writings and Happy Christmas.


Edited By Alan Jackson on 20/12/2021 17:42:01

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