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Member postings for Richard Parsons

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

Thread: Was this the birth of CNC ?
08/12/2011 17:25:54

Automata were all the rage in Roman Egypt. Have a look at Heron of Alexander (10-70AD). He built a fully automated Greek Theatre (including thunder storms etc). It used cams rollers and cables. It was driven by weights and was pre-programmable. He also made a weight driven truck which could be pre-programmed to change direction. It could also be re-programmed.

Ok it was not digitally controlled, but the basic elements of automation were present



Thread: Mystery Cylinder castings
08/12/2011 15:24:11

A twin Cylinder Marine engine … Why not. All you will need to do then is build a Yarrow or Scott Marine boiler and a suitable boat. Or how about making a horizontal mill engine, with its Lancashire boiler and a cotton mill for it to drive. Or you could build a Rob Roy

One other suggestion why not sell them and buy something you realy want/need



08/12/2011 14:28:31

Yes they are almost certainly Locomotive cylinders. They would have been for a locomotive which had outside cylinders with the valves inside the frames. I had a look at MyHobbystore plans and they may well be fopr a ‘Rob Roy’ but I would suggest that you go and have a look your self


Thread: case hardening mild steel
07/12/2011 14:24:21

Kristian Do not worry about rust if you use an oiler in your steam supply. . A quick squirt of WD40 into the exhaust with the exhaust open will fix it. Do not case harden your piston or cylinder. Hardened steel is far more susceptible to rusting than unhardened steel.

Running steel in oiled cast iron bearings is a far more common thing than you think. I worked in a factory where we had some 200 Singer industrial machines. They ran 10 hours per day. Though some were over 30 years old we seldom had breakdowns due to worn bearings. My little Lorch lathe which is about 100 years old still has dead smooth but rock solid headstock bearings.

Good luck an enjoy the work


Thread: Why are milling machines so b****y expensive
05/12/2011 09:22:47

I have sometimes wondered why I bought my vertical mill. Many of the jobs I do on it could have been better done by the Horizontal Mill, a Machine Shaper or a Box Planer. I am not certain about the Horizontal mill but I am pretty certain that neither the Shaper nor the Planer have ever been fitted with CNC controls.

The powered shaper is quite a robust lump, but small ones like the Adept can be small and simple to use. My Dad had a hand shaper in the back of his old dormobile. I have spent quite a few cold wet days using it to clean up something agricultural in the middle of nowhere. The shaper was ‘liberated’ from Germany and was allocated to Dad by the Min of Ag. I looked like the Arrow illustrates in the web site, but it had a mechanism which allowed the tool carrier yo radius round . It could be bolted onto a shaft to cut a keyway.

The Box Planer is normally considered to be a gigantic machine. The one I knew was some 12 meters long. I was working on the design of a ‘WIP’ system for the Heavy Machine shop. I was a pre war machine and schemes were everlastingly put forward to replace it, but none were up to the job. However I have an illustration one which has a stroke of about 12”. These machines are very simple and able to economically machine large components in a limited space. Very few have survived because they are regarded as ‘old hat’. But those that do are ‘snapped up’ because of their simplicity and versatility.

My ‘concept book’ is full of sketches for a planer to be made by Mineral Casting technique as publicised by John McNamara in his thread on building a tool grinder. I have all but 2 items I need to make the thing. But I cannot get 2 to 3 litres of low viscosity epoxy (there are problems with Minimum Order Quantities, Zoning, and about AFA (VAT) registration. I am not registered for AFA). The other item is 2 meters of narrow steel channel. I have not looked for that yet.

Thread: Drilling hole of 0.0310" with deepth 0.91" of AISI 304L
04/12/2011 11:32:00


From our collective replies you should be able to identify those who can solve your problem. May be you should use the private mail system to communicate with such people. Do not include me my methods are far too slow and clumsey.

02/12/2011 14:49:03


I sympathise with you. Back in the U.K I started to make models of the weapons of the British army in 1/10 scale. Ok I made the Baker rifle of the early pattern bore 1/16” 3.2” long. The New land service musket had a bore of 0.075” by 4.2”deep. The Brunswick is unfinished because Hungarians chopped up my block of Lime wood for kindling even though it was locked in my shed. I chickened out at the. 577 Enfield (long land service model) where the bore is 0.058”dia and the length is 4.8 to 5”. How I did it on a Myford is my secret.

By the way the OP does not say what hole is to be in.

Thread: MEW 184
30/11/2011 17:50:24

David 1 I thought it was ‘Tan’ but one has to be sure. I for one do not know very much.

Re polishing sticks from Lolly sticks. They are first class wood. The can be stuck together with a smear of PVA glue and left in the vice overnight. I used to collect them when giving the dog her evening walk. The real, point is that they were FREE! Ok so I will be accused of having Aberdonian, Dutch and Jewish blood in my veins, but think how many ‘brown bottles’ I could have bought with my savings. I brought ¾ Kg of them with me. Oh yes if you use PVA glue they can be re used”

Thread: LBSC Locomotive designs
28/11/2011 05:21:46

Stick I am afraid the list you have given is not the full list. LBSC designed quite a few sub 2 ½” gauge locos. There was ‘BAT’, Sir Morris de Cowley, and ‘We Dot like Dorris’ to name but a few.

Old Curley designed many other things – these were usually published in time for Christmas. There was a steam fire engine for starters. If I can find the dratted things I will send them to David.

Thread: ED Racer 'times two'
27/11/2011 17:43:02

Raymon On the drawings of the ED racer times two you quote the fit sizes for the bearings as 0.003 to 0.005. Are these metric? The fits you quote seem to be in inches.



Thread: Learning something new..
26/11/2011 18:12:14

Ah Hans Rudolph. It all depends on how your cross slide dial is calibrated. On the Myford it indicates the amount you are advancing the tool. On my big Warco the dials indicate how much metal is being removed. It is a bit of a nuisance.

There is also another difference between lathes. The biggest difference is noticeable on the lathe apron where the controls are in different pattern. There is the ‘American Pattern’ which is the reverse of the ‘U.K. pattern’.

I actually have a problem with the Warco. I set on the cut I require and often have to make several passes to get the set cut. I can find NO ‘shake any where. Any one any ideas?



Thread: de-scaling steel boilers
26/11/2011 17:57:28

Hi Heronsgate

In a word- 'Fernox' (usual disclaimer). These folk make all sorts of plumber’s products. The tackle I used contains Phosphoric Acid. I used to buy it at a plumber’s merchant.



Thread: MEW 184
23/11/2011 15:42:03

My copy arrive today (The Magyar Posta have new (Winter –Fur lined) loin cloths and new issue of cleft sticks.

I was browsing through it and in Mike Knights ‘Engineering for Beginners’ Fig 7 (page 15) I was puzzled by the algorithm it contained. I thought I knew very neigh all the trigonometric Functions. Sin, Cos, Tan, Sec, Cot, CoSec, the Versed Sin- and that function beloved by Navigators the Havsin (Half Versed Sine). I have never heard of the function ‘Can’ it is either a new one on me or a good old fashioned typo. You cannot trust the spell checker to proof read thing for you.  
One thing I learned about proof reading start at the bottom right hand side and read the document backwards. from bottom to top and right to left.
In his article Mr Knight’s article, he talks about ‘wooden polishing sticks’ In the UK I lived close to four schools so in summertime I collected the Ice Lolly sticks from the pavements (footpaths) and popped them in a plastic bag. These were washed and dried. Two stuck together make excellent backing for emery cloth/ Wet’n’Dry for polishing small items I stick the cloth/paper onto them (DO NOT let Domestic Director find them if she is into Gardening

When making a pointed object use this trick I learned at the SMEE stand at a one Model Engineer Exhibition. Take a bit of flat hard wood make a shallow ‘Vee’ grove across the wood near one end. Put it into the tool post (if you have a Dickinson tool post that is excellent). Support the rod in the ‘Vee’ and file yes File the point. .

Edited By Richard Parsons on 23/11/2011 15:45:37

Edited By Richard Parsons on 23/11/2011 15:46:23

Thread: Unmitigated Woe
23/11/2011 06:00:57

Stub seriously now you are at it. I suspect that there is a Moped fixer near you. Pay them a visit and see if they have a wrecked ‘Twist and Go’. They do this. You could probably modify it.

Another idea is have a look for an old Sturmy Archer 3 speed. The My Dad once fitted one to drive a 3 ½” Xyto lathe which he carried in the back of an old Dormobile. It was driven by I think a JAP stationary engine. The Min of Ag & Fish were so impressed that he was given a ‘priority allocation ticket’ to buy an arc welder (it only took 5 months to be delivered). They were all wanted for the Ground Nut Scheme.

Thread: Clamps,
22/11/2011 16:30:23

Charile I have one ‘Crab clamp’ at the ME –Wembley- like you my wallet was very hollow so I only bought one. Within their limits (of size) they are very good. I wish I could get three, more.



Thread: Unmitigated Woe
21/11/2011 17:49:29

There is a solution to all these problems. Have a look at the transmission on the DAF Daffodil motor car. This was derived from the Zenith ‘Gradeo’ motor bicycle. It is rude mechanicals but it works.

It might be an interesting idea to get the clutch and pulley from an old twist and go 50cc scooter. You might be able to fit your lathe with a (limited range) variable speed and a clutch.

I suppose the Electronic ‘gubbins’ can be put together by a ‘bot’ for a few micro dollars with the chips etc costing about 5-6 Dollars (wholesale). This would be about 1/10th of the cost of a 4 cone pulley.

21/11/2011 09:59:44

Stub Have a look at scrapping all the electronic ‘allamagoosa’ and think about a good old fashioned countershafts, belt tensioners and multiple ‘Vee’ pulleys. They have been around since before the ‘Ark’s’ keel was laid. I have seen and read too much about electronics failing and prefer the old fashioned ‘rude mechanicals’. I can always ‘fix’ them.

One of the problems is that the accountants (who know the cost of everything and the value of nothing) insist on the cheapest of the cheap components. These have a very high risk of failure but so long as they do not fail under the 5 minute in house test they are acceptable. The customer does not matter. He has bought the thing and is stuck with it. We have his money.-Ha Ha Ha! The retailer is stuck with the irate customer and any bills. Beside we can sell him a new bit of electronics costing 10 times the ex works costs.

Ok I have a 60 year old motor on the Myford (I bought it second hand, reconditioned 35 years ago.). Two years ago it went ‘pop’. I trotted it down town where the little man rewound it and put in new bearings (which I asked him not to do as I had a pair of brand new (top of the range) SKFs ). He charged me 4,000 HUFs (about £12 in ‘London money’. I was back ‘on-air’ two days later.

Thread: Heating equipment for boiler making
20/11/2011 08:22:20


When I lived in the U.K I used Sievert gear for all my work. When I came to Hungary I had two problems (apart from the language and the Hungarians). Firstly I had to get a new regulator. Hungarian cylinders have a left hand Male fitting. I did make a converter for the Sievert regulator but I could not get it ‘Officially’ tested. The gas people over here used to test gas appliance FOC. Now they do not. I know the thing was gas tight but if I used it and my neighbours house caught fire I would be blamed. Secondly the propane/butane mixture the sell is very dirty. I used to get a huge black mass of flux residue and leave a black sludge in the pickle bath. I had seen it before in the UK using one supplier’s gas bottles, but nothing like the amount I get over here.
I bought from the U.K a Flamefast torch (usual disclaimer) which uses gas/compressed air. It is very good, no more black residues and a ‘coconut every time’. It even works on ‘Earth Gas’ (natural gas). To my mind the gas/air torches are well worth the investment as you only need one burner to do all but the smallest jobs.



Edited By Richard Parsons on 20/11/2011 08:24:09

Thread: How do I
19/11/2011 14:19:15

Oh my God ‘flounder’ indeed this site is the ‘place’ for a ‘dab’ of humour but I think we had better ‘skate’ around that

18/11/2011 09:59:06


Here is a simple method of cross drilling a round bar. You set up a Vee block under the drill centring it with a Vee shaped mandrel. And lock it down to the drill table.

Next mark and centre punch the hole you wish to drill. Put the drill you are going to use in the drill. Now using the drill to make sure that the centre punch mark is under the drill. Drill the hole. A coconut every time (within a couple of thou)!

The set up


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