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Member postings for Billy Mills

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

Thread: Colchester Student Mk2 or 1800
01/03/2013 19:40:35

Both are great machines if you have the space. The cross slide on the 1800 has vee slots each side to take accessories if you want. But you don't need rear mounted parting tools with an 1800! I would go for the best ways and general condition. Be prepaired that some bits like fixed and traveling rests don't come cheap but the satisfaction of using a big industrial machine is something to be enjoyed over a long time.

The reason for the price is simple, they are that good. You might find a Harrison as another option.


Thread: Suggestions for future articles
17/02/2013 19:53:19

Think that the rest will work with any decent grinder. You might consider putting a diamond wheel at one end for fine finishing and hard materials, they are around £10-£20 for a small cup or dish wheel.

There is a new thread running about using a cross vice and grinder for tool sharpening, looks interesting.


17/02/2013 19:09:17

Hi Steve

You don't mention a grinder in your machine list. I would suggest that a grinder would let you get started with HSS tooling in the lathe and shaper before building a T&C machine, that would solve the chicken and egg at a low cost!. A lot of people have built Harold's grinder rest as partway to a T&C grinder. Gadgetbuilder's website is well worth looking at too.

I have the same shaper, it's a great machine. Sounds like you are starting off on a very rewarding journey!


Thread: Aircraft General Discussion
10/01/2013 15:01:42


Yes balsa is a hardwood but is cut down before it matures. Like any other log the timber needs grading for hardness which covers a larger range in balsa than most other commercial timbers. In the last few years balsa has started to be used in decorative panels, lots of slices glued into panels then stained. It continues to be used as a good thermal insulator which also has structural value.

Some of the ideas behind the early wooden aircraft structures have seen a rebirth in the large scale use of wooden I beams in construction using ply and solid woods. Very strong yet very light and a very low carbon cost.


09/01/2013 17:44:30

Loved the Ardmore mossie film ( and the other films on you tube). The originals were built a few miles from here. My next door friend was at school in the 1940's. One day he was given some left over balsa from mossie building, he took it into school and told his teacher that our planes were now being built from balsa! Teacher gave him a clip behind the ear for being silly.

When the production ended there was a lot of thin ply left over which was used for all sorts of home projects around Hatfield.


Thread: Cheap surface plate ?
30/12/2012 15:26:02


I spent some 30+ years in a Company that ran about 2,500 CRT's in all sorts of equipment. Have always broken the vacuum on tubes that went to the skip- which over the years was around a thousand. I used the re-gunners method of letting the air in slowly which is not what you describe.

Tapping the neck on one type of tube will cause a crack to run around the cone and the tube to immediatly implode, this is a very widely produced Philips ultra flat type with a 30" screen.

When writing a previous posting I considered describing a safe method of breaking the vacuum however there are so many other factors and there is nothing worthwhile to be gained. But there was the risk that someone would have been hurt. I would not advise ANYONE to break or even handle a CRT without being trained.

I would not advise anyone to try to recover parts from a CRT. You will not recover anything useful.

One day four years ago a new employee in a Company was told to skip a 19" CRT. He placed it in a skip and chucked a brick at it. He had multiple facial cuts from shards of glass but was very lucky not to loose his sight. Implosions can be very dangerous.


Thread: Turning Perspex rod
29/12/2012 17:55:28

Perhaps there are a couple of important points left.

Cast and Extruded are very important distinctions, the mechanical properties of these two types are quite different. Cast tends to have more internal stresses as supplied which tends to increase as you machine it. It is normal to anneal -around 90C- to remove these stresses. ( this stress from machining is also common to many other plastics). Cast Perspex is in some ways like glass to work.

It might be that the stress cracking that Gray experienced in old Perspex could have been fixed by annealing.

The whole story can be seen here **LINK**. This is the most detailed account of using Perspex that I have seen and also has a section on how the material reacts to many common chemicals.


29/12/2012 00:59:10

Did a bit more digging about flame polishing Perspex as Ed is normally bang on the money. Came across a site which suggested not to flame polish matt or frosted types - it might look a bit odd for some jobs.

The people who know about Perspex produce a very useful info sheet **LINK** . They make the point that you might induce stresses which is exactly what happens every time you work almost any material. But there is no great no-no on flame polishing perspex.


Thread: Problem with Adobe 11
28/12/2012 20:47:54

The free Libre Office suite allows reading and making PDF's as well as most other things that you would expect from an office suite. Great on Linux Mint, also available for legacy software users.


Thread: Turning Perspex rod
28/12/2012 20:40:24

Have also worked a bit of acrylic . If you are trying any kind of cutting it will only work with razor sharp tools otherwise it tends to weld to the tool edge then shatter. For circular sawing of large sheets triple chip carbide tiped blades work very well, other blades tend to jam and shatter the sheet.

Turning goes well with honed HSS. Have not read that you can't flame polish Perspex, it has worked fine for me and others for years. Laser cut perspex has a polished edge appearance and is easily ( and frequently) mistaken for abrasive polishing or flame polishing.

Had the leaking tank problem with some etching tanks some while back. Solution was to use silicone rubber as a seal and bolt the tank sides together.


Thread: Cheap surface plate ?
27/12/2012 14:14:58

The last generation of flat CRT's have very thick front glass panels. The implosion protection is by having the very thick glass and by the steel "rimband" which holds the outer panel edge in compression. A lot of tubes have been scrapped due to shorted scan coils which have not been made for at least 7 years, the factory in Mexico has been flattened.

You need to be VERY careful in handling CRT's- think of it as around a ton of force acting on that glass bottle. I would suggest that anyone not trained in handling CRT's stays well clear.

Whatever you do don't chuck a brick at it or drop it in a skip, the glass will fly very fast and at random. Never pick up a large CRT by the neck- it will snap off very easily as it implodes.

All in all -unless you know what you are doing with CRT's -reclaiming the front panel is a lot more work and risk than using an offcut of marble or getting a second hand cast iron plate.


Thread: Source of small quantities of spring steel
24/12/2012 15:11:32

"Piano wire" from model shop bent into a thin U shape, could go through hole to press onto stamp.

Lenth of vac form plastic from the margins of packaging ( full thickness) or plasticard.

Old relay contact or switch contact.

Mike Cox's method is very neat too!


Thread: Carbide insert Dovetail Milling Cutter
23/12/2012 20:27:33


Mike Cox has a 60 degree cutter on **LINK**

He has heaps of other good ideas too.

Happy Christmas.


Thread: chipmaster gibbs adjusting
21/12/2012 16:00:29

Take out the gib strips and epoxy shims on the worn sides. Blue the shims and the dovetails so that when re-fitted you can see where the wear is.


20/12/2012 10:46:06

The Chipmaster pictures on have grub screws (not cap screws) for gib adjustment. How MUCH play ? has someone nicked the gibs and fitted long cap screws? If the gibs are there then you might be able to move them along as the grubs go into depressions in the gibs or fit longer screws. That would need a fantastic amount of wear to take BOTH gibs down that much- don't sound likely.


Edited By Billy Mills on 20/12/2012 10:50:56

Thread: Lathe gears
18/12/2012 15:06:11

Arceurotrade do spare plastic gears for the C3 minilathe for £2-£4 each, they also do a metal set for a bit more, don't know if they will fit your machine but they are very much cheaper, all mod 1.


Thread: Chinese Lathe Accessories.
15/12/2012 16:25:57

Nigel B. If you read the first post RDG replaced the initial three bushes with four oversize ones. Cutting a key slot should not be beyond anyone reading these threads. Job done.


Thread: Source of "Soft" Iron?
15/12/2012 13:28:22

You can get electromagnets for holding doors closed or fire doors open. The door closing types are rectangular blocks that mount to the door frame and a striker plate that screws to the door. When given 12V at about 1/2A they produce up to 600 lbs of "pull". They tend to be 12 or 24V DC. Used for card or fob secured access-0 they work very well.

The "hold fire door open" types are around 3" diameter and are often 240V AC.

New they are around £40 each but have a look on ebay. CPC have a few types, SR07634 is their part number for the first type.



Thread: Chinese Lathe Accessories.
15/12/2012 12:54:25

Perhaps Alan you have failed to get the drift. The majority of RDG's customers are happy with the way that they operate and the fair pricing. IIf you were able to go to a show you would see that their stand is always very busy. They are a good supplier and a family run firm.

Being a retailer in today's climate is not easy, costs have never been greater, frauds more common, shows more expensive and then you get the odd individual customer using forums to try to turn people against your business.

Spend 5 mins turning down those bushes or make some new ones- job done. Then have a nice Christmas and a happy New Year, Peace on Earth and goodwill to All. Life is too short.

Peace be with you.


Thread: Source of "Soft" Iron?
14/12/2012 11:57:44

Don't waste time with scan coils, the turns are glued together with a very good adhesive, you might be able to get the wire to part eventually but it might be minus enamel. There were two processes used in the winding, hot enamel sprayed on during winding and a second adhesive overcoat on the wires, after winding a current was used to hot melt the windings into one mass. If you try to reuse the second type you will have one hell of a mess. Scan coils were never loose wound they were always laquered up because they would buzz like hell otherwise.

Loudspeakers with wound magnets were a very nice source of wire 50 years ago. They were made when the perminance and strength of regular magnets was poor- this was before WW2. Any radio that has survived since 1939 is probably worth far more as a radio than as a scrapper! You might find a few 50 feet down in a landfill but only some speakers had wound magnets, the enamel is getting on for 80 years old and those old enamels were not that great.

Invest in some new wire, the Scientific Wire Company is a very good source for many different kinds of wire.


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