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Member postings for Another JohnS

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

Thread: Tools needed to build a 3 1/2in gauge Tich
08/05/2022 14:41:09


Lots of good info here.

You'll find in the USA that, 5" gauge is pretty non existent, it's 4-3/4" gauge. (there are some 5" in Canada, but not much)

Same with 7-1/4 and 7-1/2, East is 7-1/4, West 7-1/2.

And, the spell checker got me, Chris Rueby is " c r u e b y" without the spaces on modelenginemaker website!


07/05/2022 13:20:54

Stephen, my thoughts as a builder of a (great!) Tich.

- People will tell you "YES!" or "NO!" but it is totally your choice. Build what you want to build, and you are young so you'll learn skills that will take you through life. Would I build another Tich - yes. (it might be higher on the list than readers here think)

- I started my Tich when I was 14 and living in Southern Ontario, and did not finish it for a while. Teen years, university etc got in the way, but finally finished it when I was living in Europe.

- It has run in The Netherlands (has Dutch boiler certificate), Vancouver Island, tracks in Ontario and Quebec, Winnipeg, and down in the North East of USA. One track was the Waushakum Live Steamers, if you google this, it is quite the track, but after one lap I'd have to stop and empty the grate and smokebox.

- Yes, I fly on airlines with it. So long as it goes through the x-ray machine, no problem. I took the box to the local airport at a quiet time and the security people there were great at helping me, it meant no problems for me or them during a busy time.

- I have some Welsh steam coal. No problem with 2 adults (one quite large) on the flat Winnipeg track. Or two (me and a teenage lady) on the Vancouver Island Model Engineers track.

- saying that, it is a difficult locomotive to fire. If you like challenges (I do!) you might find it a fun challenge.

- I liked that I could run for a bit, then stop. I like talking to people, and model engineers, and those hangers-on are sometimes the most interesting people you can meet.

- I have a large 3-1/2" gauge 2-8-2 that I find quite boring to drive. It needs a big load behind it, but club rules say "no passengers on the elevated track". The Tich wins in terms of "fun".

- Don't use BA threads. Very expensive for us in North America. I now use metric, but UNC/UNF may be more appropriate for you? I started down the metric path when living in Europe, and have stuck with it.

- Oil burner conversion. If you can get your hands on these articles, you may find it interesting, as good coal is hard to get in North America (and, increasingly, everywhere else)

1994, Vol.172, Issue 3966, page 435. Original descriptive article with drawings.

1994, Vol.172, Issue 3970. page 670. Editorial: Clarification as to fuel to be used.

1997, Vol.179, Issue 4047, page 144. Update: blast nozzle increased to 2.9mm diam., pseudo brick arch added (with drawing of arch), importance of lubrication.

- Others have given you ideas on tools. If you are in the USA, (or Canada) you may find Sherline tools to be a good choice. I have a new Sherline lathe and mill.

- My favourite lathe is my old EMCO Compact-8. I do have a large British 11x24 lathe, but it's too big, and rarely gets used (every 5 years or so). The Sherline is new to me, so still getting used to it; it is more capable than I had expected.

- I have mentioned this before, but there is a fellow on called Chris Rueby (username "cruelly", who builds masterpieces with his Sherline equipment. Going through his builds will give you tons of ideas.

- The IBLS web page has recently put up CAD renderings of Tich, including some adjustments found during the CADing. Peek at that if you have a moment.

I've attached a picture of me and a fellow finishing a lap of the Winnipeg track. It was a fun lap - with heavy riding car (with propane tank, car was borrowed) and two medium to heavy lads, I was glad that the track was flat - long but flat - but Tich made it no problems. I think that I was the only run firing with coal that weekend, and I had the smallest locomotive by far. Propane was the fuel of choice there/then. And, yes, there is a Tich at the head end there!



Thread: Best Budget 3D Cad software
15/04/2022 20:34:13
Posted by John McNamara on 15/04/2022 04:47:55:

FreeCad Cad Cam (Completely open source.)

Hi John;

I'm also using FreeCAD now - the Youtube videos by "FreeCAD Academy" - link: FreeCAD Academy are also very good in my opinion.

I'm running it on my M1 Mac, no problems so far! I'm using CamBam for CAD; running the Linux ARM version of CamBam in a "UTM" Virtual Machine on my Mac. Other than currently using a file exchange directory between the VM and my desktop, it's seamless.

I've also got the Mac M1 version of QCAD Pro, which, like SOD, is my go-to for simple CAD work.

I did have a Win10 desktop computer with Atom3D, but it was actually a pain in the backside to have *another* computer collecting dust used only for 3D CAD. I was thinking of trying Atom3D in a VM on my Mac, but the license nabbed me when I tried; David Jupp sorted that out (unlocked my license - thank you David) but by then, I had downloaded FreeCAD, so have not yet bothered trying Atom3D in a VM. Maybe in the Autumn I'll have another go.

Just my experiences, for that they are worth. JohnS.

Thread: Is it really a joke
07/04/2022 21:30:50

Maybe the biggest joke about the article is that cars have lived past their usefulness?

This struck me when viewing a Youtube video of Vancouver, taken (about) 100 years ago on the back of a streetcar, and spliced in was views of now. 100 years ago; open streets, people walking/cycling, the odd horse and wagon.

Now? Gridlock.

100 years from now???? (the current trend can't continue unless roads are like 10 stories high)

I love my car, but I'm getting to think that the "15 minute city" has its future. (Not to mention that cars are something like the biggest killers of humans in the world)

I don't think that anyone knows what the future will be, certainly the 1950s "helicopter in every garage" and a "robot in every kitchen" has not really come to fruition!

Just my abysmal input to match the abysmal weather we have today.

Thread: CAD & CAM content
06/04/2022 13:47:08

Wizards on the mill. (or, non-MACH3 speak, "Conversational Programming"

I got into CNC about a decade ago when I was convinced by the machinists at work. They produced prototypes of parts for defence, telecoms, satellites (although that lab also had one machinist).

One of the guys and I got into a discussion when he was producing something for my work, and he was using conversational programming to do it. We discussed my workshop, yada, yada, yada and said my mill was manual, not CNC, as I did only one or two or maybe up to a dozen parts to a design.

He said to me "how many manual mills do you see here? We only do the prototype; production is subcontracted out". The machine room was the size of a school auditorium.

There were NO manual mills.

On LinuxCNC, one either uses Tormach's Path Pilot, or, for those not with a Tormach machine, "Features" I think it is called. Andy Pugh did some good lathe macros for CNC lathes.

Mach3 has "Wizards", I'm sure any CNC controller worth its price has an equivalent.

Twiddling is fun, but, the last long lathe job I had, I would have died and gone to heaven to have a CNC "conversational programming" lathe; hours spent standing there slowly twiddling handles, was quite frankly mind-numbing!

Thread: Outdoor Silver Soldering
06/04/2022 01:40:33

I also am worried about large propane or acetylene burners inside. I keep them outdoors in a vented shed away from the house.

I wait for a quiet day, put the blocks and so forth up in our backyard, and go for it! In the winter, if you drop a warm/hot part, you'll not find it until spring. This was taken a few years ago, but snow is here about 1/3 of the year.  (Today the yard still has snow, a bit anyway)



Edited By John Alexander Stewart on 06/04/2022 01:42:18

Thread: Pound - US dollar
18/03/2022 13:34:22


if you google "exchange pound to usd" it should come up with some on-line calculators. I just did the same for Canadian dollar last week when I renewed.

Now, on your credit card bill, the actual daily exchange (and possible fees) will make it slightly different from the on-line calculators, so just treat the on-line calculator as a close but rough guide.

For instance, 108 pounds comes out to about 142 US Dollars, as of the time of writing this reply. Hope this helps and adds to Jason's answer above.


Thread: Micro-lathe suitable as multi-function system for small workshop?
07/03/2022 21:11:55


I was amazed by following the build of a 3-1/2" (1:16) Shay geared locomotive. On Sherline equipment.

Have a look at:

Chris Rueby's Shay Build


He's a prolific builder, so look at any of Chris Rueby's photos on his more recent builds to see what he does with this limited (hah!) sized equipment.

I've now got some Sherline equipment. The metric version has a 6.3mm x 1 pitch feed screws (6.3 is 1/4 inch). My only complaint was the UNC (UNF??) screws, but a metric thread is almost equivalent; seemingly some metric screws will fit, and if too tight, a simple "run the metric tap through" will help. That was from Sherline's web page. (I purchased a bunch of cap screws that I keep separate from my metric standard - wish I had figured this out earlier) I won't put the equivalent metric thread here in case I get it wrong. (not near my workshop at the moment)

The lathe can have a vertical mill column attached in which case (like the Unimat) the headstock mounts vertically. Years ago I had a Unimat SL, and liked it, but the Sherline is 100 times the machine than my little SL was.

I'm impressed, and I put my money where my mouth is, so to speak, and have purchased a lathe and mill from them.


Edited By John Alexander Stewart on 07/03/2022 21:12:30

Thread: 4685 late
28/02/2022 17:16:13

Just got 4681 - 4682 came a week earlier. 4683, 4684 and 4685 expecting maybe in the next month or two.

Just FYI. JohnS.

Thread: Stirling Single painting
14/02/2022 21:38:03

Hmmm - good point on the prototype - my lack of education in the finer things south of Hadrians' wall is coming to light.

It is 5" gauge, and I'm certain it's a Martin Evans' design, one driving axle. Thanks for the hints - learning about a new side to the prototypes is always a good thing.

Br: The Q1 is fantastic. I've finished a Shay, working on Martin Evans' Ivatt, and wondering what the next will be. I have plans for (and a cab-side number plate) from the SSN 23023 (DB class 23 2-6-2) and the writeup (in Dutch, of course) of the construction notes. Then there's a Heisler by Kozo Hiraoka, or a gauge 1 project, or a "Jack" Hunslet in 1:32 or... finish the 7-1/4 Stourbridge Lion, sister to Agenoria in the NRM...

14/02/2022 19:26:29

Living over here on the left side of the Atlantic, one of our club members has a completed Martin Evans' 5" gauge Stirling Single locomotive, just sitting needing a splash of paint. I've volunteered to give a bit of help and encouragement.

I've been trying to find a good set of photos of what the painting/lining looks like. Being a "black or unlined green is perfect" type of person, I'd like to see some good pics on-line if possible, about what is lined when and where.

I know there's one somewhere in preservation; I think at the NRM in York, but last time I was there I was enthralled in the beautifully designed-for-purpose Q1, so an old brightly painted thing was not on my radar nor in my camera viewfinder. Sorry.

Can someone point me to a website or two that may have good pictures of the prototype, or of good pics of models? There must be at least one site with good info, but my google-fu is not up to it today.

Thank you - John.

Thread: What Did you do Today 2022
24/01/2022 17:27:37

What did I do today and last weekend? Tried to move Alibre Atom3D to a new computer, that's what.

Long story short - have gone to FreeCAD.

Short story long - we are Linux/MacOS/IOS here at home. Rough count, 15 computers/mobile devices set up, and one dual-booted Linux and Windows 10. It was an old one, and had a hardware issue that caused it to freeze/reboot at inopportune times. I only booted the Windows partition maybe about two sessions per year; it would take time "updating" then I could continue with the beginners Alibre3D Tutorials.

A bit of a waste of $$ so I let the Alibre3D yearly maintenance expire, after all, the web site says "

Pay Once, Own It

No subscription nonsense - own your tools and use them offline."

Decided to get more serious about Alibre 3D. Made a new Windows 10 dedicated computer last weekend. Installed Alibre3D. Tried the license. Nope! License manager replied that it was in use (of course - the old computer).

Tried releasing the license on Alibre's site, and it comes back with something like "this license is not under yearly maintenance". So I could not release it, I guess. It's tied to an old, dead computer. I'd rather put the yearly $50.00 US towards a couple of bottles of wine for the Mrs.; the ROI is better than Alibre, as the wine allows smooth workshop purchases no matter what the cost.

So, FreeCAD runs on my new Mac M1, an older Mac mini, my Linux Desktops (including the 3 tied to CNC machines in the workshop).

AND it appears that FreeCAD now has 3D CAM built in! Something to try when idling away waiting for one of my CNC machines to finish.

(BTW, QCAD has been my "go-to" for years; works very well for following the plans I use. I'm not 3D agnostic; ran a 3D Viewer open-source project that, for instance, was distributed by Apple pre-app-store, was active in Web3D Consortium, W3D HTML5 development, focused on 3D graphics for a bit, SIGGRAPH, writing shader and compute code running on graphics cards; all of which was paid for by employers/clients) (and, my Shared VR 3D equipment is now in Canada's Science Museum, gathering dust, which is the best thing for it to do)(edit - the 3D project was the largest and longest running open source project managed by the Canadian Government; still probably holds that title, even though I left 5+ years ago)

Edited By John Alexander Stewart on 24/01/2022 17:30:41

Thread: The future of casting kits
18/01/2022 18:34:24

I'm finishing up an old set of castings, from Dave Goodwin back in the late '80s, which is a change from the Kozo Shay (no castings) Most of the castings have been machined already, mostly in the 1990s.

With my CNC machines, I think castings now are more hassle than they are worth, IF YOU HAVE THE CNC MACHINES and know how to use them. Doing the motion plates for this were a pain, would have been much faster to just machine from raw materials. Finding blowholes (one motion plate, a cast angle was holy), and too-aggressive fettling needing building back up (cylinders)...

Jason, most of our club still work in imperial, fractions, and pencil and paper, and are not going to change. There are 3 of us with CNC machines out of 25ish members. Another person just ordered a Taig mill to convert, so 4 out of 25??

There's still a market for castings. Ask again in 10 years.

Thread: QCAD/CAM
06/01/2022 16:43:41

Michael; I can give you my instructions file if you want to give this CamBam VM integrated approach a try. It's my notes for myself, but may give you a hand.

We are a macOS/Linux/IOS household, and while I do have Win10 I can boot to run Alibre Atom3D, I don't bother, as QCAD and CamBam does it all very well for me and my projects. I do have Win10 because one of my clients wanted a program to run on both Linux and Windows; all 3D machine-generated graphics, so I had to deliver for both. No updates required for quite a while now, so Win10 just sits off to one side, unplugged and unused. Maybe I'll try it as a VM too.

When I started out, I used dxf2gcode but it's been years since I tried it. Maybe it's more complete? CamBam works well for me.

I think I read somewhere that one can create 1,000 lines of GCODE with CamBam for Linux, without needing to purchase a license. (the Windows version is something like 40 tries). That way, you can try all of this out without forking over money first.


06/01/2022 02:28:14


I too have upgraded my old QCAD license to the latest, with the CAD side purchased as well.

However, I'm so used to my (licensed) CamBam CAM program that I'm still using that.

I have a Mac Mini computer with the new M1 chip, and what I do is I run Linux in a Virtual Machine, which contains CamBam. It works really well. I think it's faster than my older Intel based desktop.

The only small niggle is that I currently have 1 directory shared between the MacOS system and the VM. Not the full directory structure, but that's ok and I can likely modify that later if I wish.

I'm not sure about QCAM; will keep playing with it, but CamBam is incredible. Something to keep in mind for you should you find QCAM lacking.

(the VM manager is "UTM", I used a Linux M1 build from the UTM people, and the Raspberry PI version of CamBam)

FYI for what it's worth. wink

screen shot 2022-01-05 at 9.36.24 pm.jpg

screen shot 2022-01-05 at 9.34.59 pm.jpg

Edited By John Alexander Stewart on 06/01/2022 02:42:22

Thread: Duplicating in the lathe
30/12/2021 15:43:53

Don't worry Michael; I appreciated the video.

Once again, us Canadians show the world how it's done. And, not in simple 2D, but in full colour (yes we spell it that way in the frozen north) 3D!



Thread: Speed Camera Flashes?
27/12/2021 15:00:54

Over here we have active warning signs showing your speed, and consistently shows me being 3 or 4 km/hr faster than what the speedo says.

But you know, cars are about the biggest killers world-wide. People are scared of nuclear plants, planes, and other incredibly safe things, but hop in their car, and "floor it". A combination of kinetic energy, fixed human reaction times and a healthy dose of "I'm better than the other drivers" ego (which we all have) and one has a toxic brew.

Those speed signs? Over here, going 50% faster than the speed limit, when in towns and cities close to schools, etc. seems to be the norm. Yes, people get injured or killed.

Pardon me - got to go and drive to the grocery store, the wife needs some stuff ASAP... :-| John.

Thread: Endless Repeats
26/12/2021 19:57:11


Tried finding the programs in the "over here" Netflix, and nothing. I googled for "netflix mandelbrot" which returned some great-sounding programmes, which were not available to me here in good ole' Canada.

Making a generalization, but I think in general the Brits are more into reality than North Americans; we here in Canada get lumped in with the USA because we have 10% of their population, maybe 1% of their total wealth.

Thanks for the suggestion though.

And, my current reading is "A History of Canada in 10 maps" by Adam Shoalts; fascinating book; in school history was always about "1066 and all that". Recommended to read about what was happening "over there". Better anyway than yet another Hollywood shootem-up on Netflix!


Thread: Vee belt question, for Centec 2B
14/12/2021 19:23:25

Duncan - I like the inside belt - it does make things look neater.

Thanks for all the help with my Centec. I did get the 29 inch belt in place; on my machine, the top pulley is a bit "wonky" (it wobbles a bit, I think it needs re-bored or replaced - so far I've lived with it) - when I get around to it, I'll get the 26AX as you did.

By the way, my old belt that was on it, had a slightly domed top-side, from the look of it, it might have been even older than the machine.


Thread: Hacksaw Reamers for Injectors
07/12/2021 22:27:26

Thanks all for the replies. I had to go away on urgent family business, and had *hours* of driving (20+ hours) to ponder this. (hey, it's 24 hours or more of straight driving to drive across the province of Ontario, I only had to go a bit of the way)

Also apologies if the "Hacksaw Reamers" reference did not make sense - I incorrectly assumed that people would be reading Model Engineer magazine, which of course is not correct - there's MEW, and of course rival publications. I should have spent more time thinking about my question.

Back home, and back to the workshop... John.

Edited By John Alexander Stewart on 07/12/2021 22:28:20

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