By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more

Member postings for Nigel McBurney 1

Here is a list of all the postings Nigel McBurney 1 has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: source of bronze
10/03/2021 08:56:18

I wonder how our ancestors got on in the broze age,they had no books or forums,but they found out how to mix and melt tin and copper.

Thread: lathe knurling tool
09/03/2021 19:42:45

The way I was taught was to set the knurl at the depth required and feed the tool from left to right,flooded with soluble oil to wash swarf away. To finish a knurl a 45 degree chamfer was turned at each end of the knurl with a form tool. ref the end feed knurl I have used a similar type of knurl that one had two opposed jaws which could be adjusted in or out to suit the work dia and each one could be rotated to adjust the knurl pattern from parallel to 45 degrees, work well on most non ferrous and mild steel once set it did not need adjustment ,used on Ward 2A capstan lathe and end fed via the turret ,those knurls did thousands of parts ,mainly microscope fittings.

Thread: Piston Ring Grooves and Rings
09/03/2021 11:33:30

I have restored a lot of stationary engines, from 1.5 to 5 inch bores,the earler engines 1895 to 1930 tend to have very wide rings a few 4 stroke were pegged .when I started 50 yrs ago no spares were available so it was relatively common to find engines which had a number of narrow car type rings fitted into the wide grooves on the older engines,so for a time i followed suit and fitted a stack of rings in the groove nearest the piston ,the remaining old rings were left in place,as I felt that too many modern rings would cause too much friction. This practice worked and improved compression in worn bores,after all the Clupet ring is like two rings joined together in a spiral and they work .Then for a long period we restorers found a company that made rings in small batches similar to the old style rings,they closed and since then I have made some rings from spun cast iron,on the last engine which had a worn bore I made two narrow rings to fit in one groove ,as I thought a narrower ring would flex a bit more and help with the sealing ,the next groovee had a full width ring and the last groove had one original ring, why leave an original ring,well a Hornsby instruction booklet stated when replacing piston rings always leave one original ring in place so thats what I did,so now I have a magnificent 1910 4hp Hornsby petrol o/c engine which runs very well.

Thread: Help needed, can't release cast iron wheel
07/03/2021 09:35:47

I have restored and worked on many stationary engines ,with flywheels from a foot to 4 1/2 ft in dia,the most difficult are those with well rusted jib head keys,the key causes more problems than the flywheel.I had a customer bring me a 5hp lister CS diesel with spoked fly wheels 30 inches dia.keys came out ok but the flywheels were a tight fit on the shaft .I use the 15 ton ram removed from my press and with a mome made puller,a split steel disc behind the hub,pumped up ram to 15 tons and nothing ,then my wife came to see how I was getting on,she suggested giving the ram a few more pumps until the gauge was into to the red,then at nearly 20 tons there was an almighty bang and the wheel came free. I suspect that there may have been a problem with the flywheels coming loose in service and thewheel was made a tight fit as I had seen one of these engines shake a key loose when running.As it alwys happens a visitor came round and saw the Lister with it flywheel nearl removed, he had served his time at Listers and he told me that one way of shocking a flywheel free was to get a hydraulic puller really tight then hit the flywheel hub with a really big hammer with blows 90 degrees to the crankshaft axis. He agreed with me that hydraulic pullers should not be hit with a hammer only hit screw type pullers, plus I do not believe in heating spoked flywheel hubs,any expansion on the hub puts an outward force on the spokes and so puts a stress on the rim.Taper fits can get really tight ,an easy check to see if the fit is tapered is measure the shaft diameter at each end of the hub,then get an oversized mechanical puller which does not deform or bend and really hit the end of the puller,taper fits really do need a violent shock.

Thread: Junior hacksaw blades
06/03/2021 11:25:18

my first genuine eclipse junior hack saw frame ,new in 1958 and still has my clock number stamped on it,seems to have more spring in it than later ones from unknown sources,and holds the blade tight,still works ok ,I have always cut in the push direction,never tried to pull.The quickest way to ruin a blade is to cut "unbrako" socket screws. In more recent times i tend to cut toughened bolts and socket screws with a 1 mm disc in an angle grinder,then this yearI purchased a Dewalt cordless angle grinder and that tool is useful saves the need for long cables when using it around the sheds and yard.

Thread: Dividing head for lathe - Myford vs BS0/1?
05/03/2021 19:46:55

Apart from high speed cutting of clock wheels,I never did see any point in using a lathe spindle as the dividing element and cutting with another attachment, A lathe spindle is designed to be used for driving work and cutters so why waste the spindle,far better to have a separate index device,I have a Myford dividing head,and found it useful,the only snag as I see it is that the main workholding device is the chuck which being threaded could under intermittent cuts become loose. though this can be overcome by using the 2MT spindle socket,and make up a mandrel to suit the socket and secure the gear to be cut,support the outer end of the mandrel with the centre. There are a lot of illustrations in tearly technical books of workpieces secured via the M/Taper. the mandrel should be secured in the taper by a stud and nut, and idealy the gear held firm by a nut and a keyway in the gear locating in a key way in the mandrel. The book "a practical treatice on milling "by Brown and Sharpe who were one of the most famous machine tool makers in years gone by is a good read I got mine via ABE books for a few pounds those published in the 1930s are very good though it shows industrial use not model work,though there is a good chapter on gear cutting.

Thread: Steadies
05/03/2021 19:22:53

My Colchester Triumph came with both bronze and roller fingers, though I never used the rollers. Industrially all i ever saw was lubrication by lots of oil from the oil can or flood lurication of soluble oil. In order to concentrate on the turning rather than continuously using the oil can, I used a drip feed stationary engine oiler mounted on a bracket and attached to the fixed steady,this kept a regular flow of oil. When working on stationary engine crankshafts which usually have a keyway at each end to drive flywheels or pulleys,I would make up a bush which was a good fit on the shaft and secured by a grubscrew which located in the keyway,this gave a continuous bearing surface for the steady fingers and spanned the keyway.Though I have never had any problems with steadies marking the work,we were told it was more important to make sure the steady was dead in line with the centreline of the lathe,as an out of centre steady will cause the workpiece to "walk" out of the chuck jaws.when using a steady keep an eye on the temperature of the work,if it gets too warm it will expand and put pressure on the steady bearing pads and this expansion can mark the work,

Thread: Crowning a pulley for a flat belt Question
04/03/2021 10:09:01

General practice with belt drives ,in our sphere of vintage steam and oil engine belt drives ,was if the motive power runs at a higher speed than driven machine ,the large pulley on the machine would be crowned and the small pulley on the engine would be parallel, where it was the other way round ie a traction engine driving a faster rotating small pulley on sat a threshing machine then the T/E flywheel would be crowned and the small pulley would be parallel and very often with raised sides to stop the belt slpping off as the threshing machine was never in perfect alignment as it was on rough ground, Now on oil engines as they very often ran faster than the driven machine the engine belt pulley was parallel and I have not come across any genuine manufacturers pulley that was crowned,with the exception where they had to drive a generator or thrashing machine and these would be vey large pulleys. Where it was common in steam practice for portable and traction engine to have crowned flywheels ,oil engines tended to have flat face flywheels only one of my oil/lgas engines has a crowned flywheel, So for a small pulley is crowning essential,?

Thread: Machining phosphor bronzes
04/03/2021 09:31:30

There is a comment in the initial post that phos bronze is good for bearings,phos bronze is not a god bearing material,the only time phos bronze can be used a bearing for shafts,is when the shaft is very hard and ground and there is a lot of lubricant,leaded bronze is a far superior bearing material. One use is where steel or iron pivoting levers with limited motion are bushed with phos bronze to make the motion easier and to prevent seizure from corrosion in exposed situations,

Thread: RCD Tripping
27/02/2021 11:47:37

If your S7 motor has ventilation slots to help motor cooling,a known problem is swarf falling or thrown into the slots a,resulting in various electrical faults including power tripping and motor shorts leading to motor burn out, this can cured by fitting an aluminium or steel shield over the motor ,allow some space for airflow and do not foget a shield will cover motor bearing lubrication points if fitted. Another fault,which arised in my workshop is long damp periods due to the rain, insects can get into swichgear,or 13 amp skts, spiders are worst with their webs,the insect or the web gets damp and thrws the trips. My solution a long time ago was to seal all the cable entries and any unused mounting holes with mastic,no more problems until a month ago,lighting circuits were ok it was just the ring main around the shed,9 sockets to check,so it was a case of checking each socket in turn it was the 8th one that had the spiders web.All cleaned now and tripping stopped, it was so long ago that I sealed the sockets that the mastic had hardened a shrunk and let insects in,another job to do. Then I had a thought ,last year we put the freezer in the garage and that has its own ring main with trips,so those sockets need checking I have also placed a red neon warning light visible through the garage window so that I can check the electrics are on,Could cause a lot of domestic upset if the freezer circuit tripped and was not noticed.

Thread: Cutting Oil Fumes
27/02/2021 11:16:24

Why use cutting oil,lot less problems with soluble oil, years ago there were where i once worked over a hundred auto lathes going llke mad all day,there was no real objectional smell or much in the way of fumes,as the lubrication was cutting oil and lots of it in full flood and did not get hot ,plus very little if any carbide in those days.Its not a good idea to use cutting oil in small quantities on red hot chips.

Thread: Stuart D10 Metric Plans
26/02/2021 12:35:08

When I started, dwgs used fractions and decimals, the fractions indicated that the dimension could be made to a wider tolerance,the decimal dimensions indicated that lot closer tolerance was required, it was quite common for many companies not to have dwg tolerances in a indicated box at the bottom of the dwg,sometimes tight tolerances would be specified against individual dimensions.In earlier times dwgs would have notes "make to shop practice" or " "Bore to suit" ,"drill and ream "to a fraction dimension just indicated to the skilled man that a nice round ,smooth hole was required no tolerance given. These practices were ok when long established UK companies made everything in house, When companies started to use subcontract suppliers,or make items for or assemblies for say a government contract ,start to mass produce products where spares were required regularly then dwgs had to be specific regards tolerancing ,finish,material etc. Where I was first employed we were expected to turn the brass fittings of a microscope using fractional dims to within plus minus .005 of an inch or better using a steel rule.Diameters which were theaded were measured with a micrometer,When I went to my second job they used imperial decimal dwgs with tolerances specified and that did take some getting used to dont know why but I found that working to decimal imp and using a rule with tenth and 1/20 ths of an inch was awkward and slower.At a third company ,a USA based multinational ,they used decimal /imperial ,here I was an engineer involved in procuring subcontracted parts so never got really involved actually making parts,so did not find any problems,Metrication came along and again no real problem,as most of the scientific instruction at grammar school was in metric units,the science masters scornful comment one day on imperial units was "only engineers and plumbers use imperial units" In 30 years of retirement ,topping up the pension I took on any work both to imperial or metric units,despite having a fully metric lathe and another lathe with dual dials plus imp and metric mills I found that I was far quicker using imperial dimensions because my initial training was in imperial units and spent my first 6 years using them,and I just cannot see any need to convert a dwg from fractions to decimal, the conversion factor is just in my memory if I see say 3/16 ins I just know that its .1875 ins.

Thread: Replacement lathe lamp suggestions?
25/02/2021 15:19:18

Long LED conventional double strip light screwed to shed ceiling,I have the original makers lo volt lamp on my Colchester ,I never use it .

Thread: Magnetic v-blocks - how useful these are?
25/02/2021 15:13:55

I have had a Mitutoyo magnetic vee block for 30 years,I rarely use it,the snag I found was that if you want to drill a cross hole in a shaft on a drilling machine,a centre pop on the shaft is set central by eye,then the mag "on" lever is operated,thats ok it holds the work resonably securely but the magnetism in the base stops the block being slid around on the drill table to get the centre pop under the drill point,I prefer an ordinary vee block,if precision is required then its either use a vee centre in the lathe tailstock or on larger round bar work its a machine vice on the vert mill set up central using a wobler tool.I have three sets of paired vee blocks ,plus a very precise Bilton single block and an Eclipse toolmakers vee vise. Though they all suffer with the snag of the drill chuck can hit the clamp on occasions. I do have a pair of old Verdict v blocks which have the an arrangement of slots on the sides of the block which contain the clamp so if the block is laid on its side the clamps do not foul the surface plate or drill table,My mag vee block came "free" I would certainly not buy one.My pair of Eclipse hardened steel vee blocks,are now 60 years old very expensive in those days bought at a small discount via the company apprentice tool scheme,though still in excellent condition.

Thread: Digital Callipers - again
24/02/2021 19:49:42

I have a Miutoyo digital caliper,aquired at the right price some years ago in very good external condition ,Mitutoyo always referred to a by a chief inspector I worked with as a mickey jo jo this caliper that I have ate batteries and occasionally would throw up an odd reading,nearly wrecked a customers job,never used again, I also have two mitutoyo 6 in dial calipers that have stood up to 30 years use ,when used forv roughing out when milling or turning.for accurate measuring I prefer to use a proper vernier caliper or micrometer.

Thread: A milling anomaly
24/02/2021 19:38:07

I have a lot of ball nose cutters some long series ,aquired for free from a toolmaker or very cheap,I have found that they are very prone to chatter and will break like a carrot particularly the long series type,they are not suited to long roughing out runs ,they work better finishing radii in mould tools or simiar work ,and its best to avoid cutting too deep on the side of work ,long series versions tend to be used when working in the bottom of deep pockets.Speed at a 1000 rpm for 1/4 dia is about right ,the Clarkson calculator used to recomend 1 inch dia cutters on cast iron run at 240 of those facts that stuck in my memory,Rough out with end mills finish off with ball nose. I just cannot understand why a Clarkson cutter unscrewed unless it was due to high speed vibration,acting like an impact electric drill working in reverse. The 20 TPI thread was part of the Clarkson patent, when I was in the drawing office and drawing up a special cutter which would go out to a special ist cutter maker the invoice would have a charge added to the tool price of one shilling which was a royalty paid to Clarksons for the use of their patent ,the 20 tpi thread,there was no metric version.I have found a another use for these ball end cutters,on the lathe,clamp them in the tool post and use one edge to produce very accurate radii in the corners of turned work. The opposite tool,the radius end mill cut very good external rads.

Thread: How to hold work for drilling on an ML7 using tailstock pad
24/02/2021 10:41:11

Vee pad useful for drilling cross holes centrally in shafts,hold work to pad with two tool makers clamps,or just drill and tap two holes their axis at right angles to the centre of the vee close to the edge of the pad,then make a steel clamp with three holes,two holes are to bolt the clamp and work to the pad ,the third to spans the work held in the vee,to enable the drill to have clearance to reach the work piece , the bar clamp cost nothing and will not slip out of place.A simple way to use the flat pad is to secure a larger plate to the pad with counter sunk screws or skt head screws recessed in counterbores in the plate,the plate could be steel,aluminium,or a thick piece of MDF. drill a pattern of holes in the plate to secure a small vice,or to take strap clamps, also toolmakers clamps can be used. When securing work to the pad held in the tailstock,place a piece of ply or mdf on the bed to protect the bed just in case the vice or work slips while setting up,Use this arrangement until a decent drilling m/c can be purchased, small cheap ones are not a good buy. I bought my Fobco 54 years ago,and its still going strong,still has its original bearings,belt and Jacobs drill chuck and its now worth 5 times what I paid for it,plus for 30 years it helped earn a living.

Thread: Making mild steel look like cast iron
22/02/2021 17:29:29

I knew a fellow stationary engine owner who set out to make a cover for the hot bulb of an 1890s Hornsby hot bulb oil engine,the original cast cover was long gone ,so he welded and fabricated a cover from 1/4 steel pate ,its box shaped about 8/10 inches cubed ,open sided with 3 flat pieces and one curved part. to get a cast iron effect on the steel he got a 3/8 twist drill bit broke off a piece off the sharp end,put in an electric drill and with drill running just let the drill bit rattle around on the steel,when it blunted ,a bit more was broken off the drill and the process restarted and he carried on until the cover looked like a casting,and he made a very good replica of an iron casting,he was very skilled and had lots of patience. I have found that when making replicas the welding has to be very good and then ground down to a smooth finish to hide all the welding marks,if not the welds will show through any grit or bead blast finish . Though thinking back to my childhood,the fires in all the bedrooms were all cast and had a fairly smooth finish,should you bite the bullet and go for the pattern /then casting route,ask the foundry to avoid any runner and riser marks on the top visible surface and not trim too closely with an angle grinder when the risers are cut off by the fettlers,they are usually on bonus pay. Another way to get a cast effect would be glue or bond a layer of very fine sand over the surface and then paint it with blackboard paint,or semi gloss black paint which I use on large engine flywheels.A matt or semi gloss does not sparkle on the spokes like black gloss paint does on 3 ft cast flywheels.

Thread: Minnie 1" Traction Engine
22/02/2021 09:29:19

Cutting keyways,working days long ago,the company used to cut the occasional keyway in gears,on an 8 inch Wilson lathe using a toolbit held in a boring bar,we were trained to cut by winding the saddle forward,then wind the cross slide forward to relieve the tool from rubbing on the return out of the bore,if not the spring and rub on the tool wood break the cutting edge of the tool,first time I got the job I did as I was told and it went ok ,then got distracted and forgot to wind the tool forward on the return and promptly broke the cutting edge ,the tool was either 3/8 ot 7/16 wide and a bit less than 1/32 was broken right off across he cutting edge.Annoying as it took some time grinding a square toolbit too a very accurate width,only did it once and never forgot it. I can say that if you had a stack of steel gears,up to 1 1/2 inch thick it was hard work winding that big saddle back wards and forwards.i agree with the above comment that big slotters never appeared to have any form of tool back stroke relief unlike a shaper clapper box,any one on here worked on a big slotter,slotters were a rare sight in the south of England the only one I ever saw was in Portsmouth tech.Probably were used in the Southern railway works or dockyard but there was never a chance to look round. Now to get to the point I have an American book on machine practice and this shows how to cut keyways in gears etc, it recomends pointing the cutting tool upwards so the clapper box is not effective,and this practice is recomended to reduce chattering and poor surface finish,I tried this on my 18 inch shaper ,with the clapper box locked and it works there is no cutting edge damage to the tool,yet do the same in a big lathe and the tool edge disappears. Just do not know why. By the way how could be power feed be used to cut keyways in the average lathe ,power feed requires the spindle to be rotating.Traction engine alloy wheel rims ,be careful when rivetting,I was trying to get a good snap head form when rivetting over on the inside and cracked the rim,made new rims from steel.

Thread: Confusing t-slot dimensions
21/02/2021 09:16:51

Be careful using modified bolts etc instead of tee nuts,I have seen in my travels lumps taken out of Tee slots by using the "wrong " nuts, or even just overtightening ,rotary tables seem to suffer more than mill tables. I never really understood why manufacturers did not get together and come up with a standard series of T slots. And its not only mills,rotary tables,shapers,vertical slides, cross slides, lathe steady t slots (older Colchesters),drilling m/c tables and on and on ,they invariably have variations in tee slot dimensions ,then the commercial T nuts used BSF ,Whitworth,and unified threads plus newer nuts use various sizes of metric threads.The most annoying machine I have is the table on my one inch capacity Meddings pillar drill,it has two tee slots running back to front to back, The full depth of the tee slot is cast and it tapers,so a T nut is slack at one end and gets tighter towards the other end,and invariably jams on a bit of swarf. Should have taken the table off years ago,and machined the slot but was too busy getting a living and now I just live with it ,with a larger capacity drilling m/c I usually bolt down the work or vice when using drills over 1/2 inch, A m/c with 1 hp motor and high torque with belt and gear reduction does not slip.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Sign up to our Newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter and get a free digital issue.

You can unsubscribe at anytime. View our privacy policy at

Latest Forum Posts
Support Our Partners
Eccentric July 5 2018
Eccentric Engineering
Rapid RC
Subscription Offer

Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest