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Member postings for Ray Lyons

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

Thread: Wills and workshops
23/02/2014 21:15:41

What a depressing subject, it has made me think on this miserable Sunday evening. Now fast closing on the big 80, I think it is best to leave someone else to worry about it but aware of my experience with the scrappy, it would be nice to see a young engineer enjoy it rather than end up in some foreign scrap yard.

I recall about 30 years ago when shutting down a works, all the stores were auctioned off and were sold on the basis of rack contents. The day following the auction, I was passing the stores where a scrap man had two skips at the entrance, one for steel and the other for brass etc. Two guys were throwing boxes tools into the steel skip which included new lathe and milling cutters. To the scrappy, these were low value and he checked with a magnet to make sure he did not throw out "valuable" non ferrous scrap with the rubbish. That also was a depressing day.

Thread: ARC Eurotrade
06/02/2014 07:34:29

I recall going to the Midlands Exhibition about 25 years ago and seeing a nice turret mill on special show offer.. I spent some time browsing and eventually thought to purchase and asked the young, smartly dressed salesman the price to be told it was £7450. I immediately walked away muttering to myself that these were industrial prices and not for model engineers. I mentioned this on the way home in the car with my fellow visitors only to be corrected that the price was £745. I have been kicking myself ever since.( the problem being hard of hearing on one side)

Perhaps my biggest purchase was my Warco BG600 lathe. I saw this in a MEW add and rang them, only to find that their only showrooms were either in the Midlands or at their factory. I spoke to Mr. Warren himself and after a short time to consider, placed the order. I would not usually advise anyone to buy without seeing the machine first but on this occasion, I have had no regrets and the service has been excellent. I have now been using the lathe for about 7 years without problems.

Thread: Myford Super 7 fiber tumbler gears
24/01/2014 07:14:31

Have a look on Ebay. Just type in Myford Gears and select from what is available. One seller "marypoppinbag" did sell them as a set for about £30 but that dealer is no longer advertising others may provide the same gears.


Thread: What have you recycled today?
12/01/2014 16:23:29

I think that I was always interested in model aeroplanes but my interest in model engineering began when as a schoolboy, I was let out on Saturday mornings on my own to explore Sherards Bush Market. Under one of the arches, there was a workshop with two men working making steam locomotives. I would hang around at the door watching in wonder as weekly the next loco took shape. There was also a good secondhand book stall there where some weeks, I would spend all my pocket money on books about engineering.

Later, as a national serviceman, if there was a delay in my train home to Wales (always on the way home but never going back) I would go over to Goldhawk Road to browse in Marble Arch Motor Supplies. What a treasure. They had rows of boxes stacked all over the place, full of mostly surplus gear. I remember buying spanners at between 3p and 9p each, still wrapped in a greasy paper which seemed to be the usual rust protection used by the MOD.

I have visited London on many occasions since those days but only on business until recently when I took a walk down memory lane. What a disappointment - all gone, now the market is filled with clothes.

In the 50s, goverment surplus was a big industry. What about those bomb sights, advertised as full of small gears and motors. I just could not afford one since I think the price was about the same as my weekly wage as an apprentice but I still have a few things which are treasured, a small compressor which I have seen on a Merlin engine, a dynamo converted to an electric motor ( these were sold as grinders) and an Astro Compass which cost 17/6p

Thread: Dimmer Switch
15/11/2013 19:45:53

Now, now chaps, lets not get excited about a simple pump. Alan asked politely if it was possible to control a central heating pump electrically and I guess that this is not possible but seeing that these pumps are used in central heating systems where they are expected to run for many hours, sometime days without stopping and give years of service, they are a cheap alternative to the rather expensive suds systems available commercially. My system cost about £25 but could have been made cheaper had I not bought a valve and clicklok pipe but used a gas valve and copper tube instead.

Now before anyone gets technical and starts quoting figures and procedures, in another life I worked in an oil refinery for 30 years and for a good part of that time was responsible for all oil movements and storage. Operation of pumps was second nature to me, from the very small to the truly enormous. You dont play about with oil without following very strict operating procedure but then that was then, now we are talking about a hobby, a pastime where we relax and get pleasure from our efforts successes or failures. When someone new to the hobby asks a question, surely the attitude shuold be to help and not criticize just to score points

Ray Lyons

14/11/2013 07:37:19

Hi Alan, I source most of my supplies from the car boot sale so it all has to be overhauled/modified before use. Never gave any thought to the fuse, just the standard 13amp in the plugtopand left the pump setting at max. I bought the pump for £3 which had 22mm connecting pipes, so that made it easier to connect. A 2 gal plastic container is used for the tank. I located the outlet about 2" from the bottom using a 15mm tank connector and then a 15mm flex with suitable connectors to the pump. On the pump discharge, the pipe is reduced to 10mm and a length of soft poly pipe goes from there to the lathe. I used the flexible "clicklok" system which came with a valve and nozzle to complete. To fit it in the lathe, a piece of scrap alloy bar is used about 1"x3/4" X4", drilled to make what I can only describe as an internal elbow. the holes were tapped to take a threaded spigot to which the poly tube is attached. The other end is threaded to take the valve, which I find can be controlled over quite a range of flow. My local £1 stall at the market have magnetic coat hooks which consist of a round magnet with a 3mm tapped spigot in the centre and supplied in packs of 2. Using a 3mm bolt the magnet is attached to the underside if the alloy bar which allows the coolant outlet to be positioned .

For the return to the tank, it is just a short length of garden hose feeding into a kitchen flour sieve to catch most of the crud. So far, I have not experienced any problems but after all this time, there must be a build up of gunge below the tank outlet which will have to be tackled eventually. For now, I prefer to leave as it is on the basis if it is not broken, why fix it.


13/11/2013 11:32:52

I have been running my suds system based on an old CH pump for 6 years without trouble. Flow adjustment is a small tap in the line to give from a mere trickle to a full blown wash. I didn't seen the need for complicated electrical circuits. Keep it simple, just switch on and it goes. (having said that it is bound to break down tomorrow)


Thread: Increasing Costs
31/10/2013 19:16:38

Ian, I remember those. The last one disappeared from here about 20 years ago. You din't just get a pack of nails but weighed out on the scale and put into a paper bag for about 1/2 the price of the DIY merchants. Well worth looking after the local HW shop while you can.

30/10/2013 19:18:12

A couple of weeks ago, I ran out of Mapps Gas. I have a torch which fits directly onto the cannister and used for jobs requiring quite a lot of heat such as brazing and tempering. I live only a short walk from my local B&Q store so strolled along to get a new bottle. I was a bit surprised at the cost, £18.98. Now I know that it is some time ago since I last bought a cannister but at that time it was about £11, so accepting that perhaps the price was following all things in energy, I decided to wait until Wednesday to get a 10% discount. In the meantime, I looked up the price at Screwfix where it is £4 less but is for pick up only. Eventually I bought a cannister on EBay for £12.87 including postage.

Again the other evening, I was soldering a piece of tinplate and went to the drawer where I keep my solders only to find that the little pot of flux was missing. Rather than messing about looking, I popped along to B&Q (we old ones never learn) and was amazed to see that the only soldering flux in stock was £12.98 for a 100g pot. Perhaps I am out of touch with todays prices but that was too much so I decided to wait until the next day and visit the local plumber's shop. As soon as I decided this course of action, the penny dropped and I hastened home to check my plumber's toolbox. Of course, where else would I keep a pot of flux.

Is this a ripoff or is it that I have just lost touch. (could be with the approaching festive season I caught a touch of the Scrooges)

Thread: Warwickshire Show.
21/10/2013 17:15:57

Quite a mixed selection of views on the show. I went there 4 years ago and had planned another visit this year but unfortunately had to cancel. I recall that when I was there it was very crowded and noisy but also enjoyable. Too much to see in one day so I had planned to stay overnight and go for two days this year - now maybe 2014.

I recall seeing a demonstration of a gearcutting machine. The chap doing the demo was about my vintage and like myself, a bit hard of hearing so trying to communicate above the background noise, we ended up shouting to each other. I agree that there is a lack of seating for us older metalbashers. The floors seem to get harder after a couple of hours. Anthony Wedgewood - Benn designed a holdall with a built in seat which is appealing, could put all the bits of metal in the bag and then sit when the going gets tough Even better if it was fitted with wheels

Thread: #209 - new look
21/10/2013 16:55:58


When I click on the MEW illustration the contents are displayed without problem. Must be a glitch with my computer but I don't want to dig too deep. Last time I downloaded some viruses and my best option was to replace the hard disk.

Number 209 dropped through my letterbox this morning. As usual, first class for contents and design. Anyone grumbling about the present magazine should look back at ME in the 40s and 50s to see how things have improved. For me, that thump on the doormat means a long coffee break and a very pleasant hour for the first reading.

21/10/2013 06:55:21

Tried that, still does not work.Windows needing to go online to find the programme so I just gave up. Dont want another load of rubbish downloads to clutter up my computer

20/10/2013 20:51:06

For many years I subscribed to ME but when MEW came along I dropped ME and only buy when it contains something to interest me. I notice now that with the change to this site we can no longer browse the contents page of the magazines as before so I guess that I will have to join the thumbing brigade at WHS

Thread: Accolade to suppliers
17/08/2013 19:59:50

I went to the Bristol Show on Friday, as usual thoroughly enjoyable. My first call was at the RGD stand to ask for a 3/4" x 20 tpi die. None on stand but they took my order. It arrived by post today which I think is Ist class service. Nice to still have reliable, friendly retailers supplying the model industry.

Thread: would this vintage machine be a basis for building a great little lathe ?
10/07/2013 15:33:27

I think you are right to cut your losses and sell this lathe. I recall about 50 years ago, I bought one as my first lathe. The condition was worse than yours, no sprindle or bearings. I made up a temporary head with a sprindle from a motorcycle wheel and over several weeks, turned a sprindle to fit the head. When cutting the thread on the nose, I found that all was not well and cut what appeared to be a double thread. The problem turned out to be a badly worn leadscrew nut. At that stage, I was almost on the point of giving up but eventually managed to make a new nut, sprindle and bearings. Not a perfect machine but for some years it gave good service and I learned a lot about using a small lathe. Especially liked the way the headstock could be adjusted to cut short tapers and the dog clutch was great when cutting shoulders or threading.

I thing you would be better off either buying a new import or a good used British machine. Saves a lot of frustration.

Good luck with the auction


Thread: Anyone wear Vari-focal specs?
15/06/2013 06:58:39

I know its a pain but I prefer two pairs of glasses and switch as needed. My wife has for many years been using varifocals, usually things are ok but she has to be careful when approaching kerbs or steps. I have seen a few people have nasty falls as a result of misjudging the pavement edge.

Thread: Are Dremel's worth the money
09/05/2013 16:32:57

I have 3 (greedy so and so). The first one is a present from my son about 5 years ago purchased from Woolworths. The inner flex drive gave up on that some time ago. I have some ex aircraft inner flexes which need to be cut to length but don't know how to reshape the end square to fit the drive. The tool itself hangs on a clip in the shed roof where it is connected to the mains and is used quite often.

The other two were purchased, one from Woolworths at their closing down sale and the other from Aldi both still in their boxes unused. Could be I was just lucky. All 3 have cost much less that a new Dremel.

Thread: Cutter and lathe tool grinder advice need
27/02/2013 11:04:03

Have a look at the Colyer/Caseley cutter grinder featured in MEW a couple of years ago. Very much like the Quorn but much easier to construct.

It is a project I intend starting when the weather permits. Drawings are available from at £12.50 a set, including postage.

I will look up the MEW issue later and let you know.

Cheers, Ray

Thread: MEW200
10/02/2013 07:10:02

Surely the car item is in the wrong magazine. There are any number of publications on the newsagents shelves covering such subjects. I only see 6 precious pages of my model engineering magazine lost to something which is better covered elsewhere.

Thread: Cheap surface plate ?
28/12/2012 07:43:47

Sorry Peter,

Since my posting on using the glass from a TV screen I have been in bed with the mother and father of all colds. A disaster for Christmas. During the 90s my son ran a TV repair business and he had many different types of CRT sets in for repair. A few had a sheet of plate glass in front of the CTR which as many have remarked is made of very thick glass and unlikely to to be damaged in an accident with a broom handle.

I remember the one from which I salvaged my surface plate was from a set where the the colour had gone and a new tube cost more than a (then) modern TV. Most of the later CRT sets did not have protective glass screens. I guess the change to a more "square" tube made it neccessary to use thicker glass and therefore no need for the additional protective screen.


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