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

Member postings for John Alexander Stewart

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

Thread: Emco F1 Mill Upgrade
14/05/2018 15:59:39

Posted by DrDave on 14/05/2018 09:55:08:

<>What controller should I go for? Linux? I have built Linux computers before so that should be easy, shouldn’t it? No. After spending a couple of hours trying to “mount” a USB stick, and failing, I rejected the world of Linux.


What I generally do to mount a USB stick on Linux is to:

1) plug it into the computer;

2) (if not already opened) open a file viewer, and you'll see it on the left hand side.

Other than little UI differences, it's the same on my Imac, and my Win10 computer.


Creating a bootable ISO image on a memory stick - if you get the LinuxCNC iso image, you can push that to your USB stick; I'll often use my iMac for this, but do use Ubuntu Linux sometimes. Have not done it on Win10 yet. (google is your friend here)


Booting a USB stick - when your computer boots, F2, and ensure that you have USB booting enabled.


Something went wrong; have a cuppa and try to figure it out - it's quite simple (I tend to do a slap to my forehead and mumble "what a dummy" under my breath when I find the issue).


The Centroid (etc) machines are great, but for me, I like the options available in LinuxCNC, and as I have dedicated computers per machine (no touch screens, only a trackball and MPG, no keyboards) they are self contained.

I can "remote desktop" into my dedicated machines if/when I want - I think the Centroid one needs an attached Win laptop for config changes?

Whatever you do, feel free to tell us of your progress!

Thread: Weldon Shank Tool Holding
07/05/2018 22:32:27

One thing I've heard (from production toolsetters) about Weldon shanked tooling is that, on production environments, CNC weldon toolholders would wear quite quickly.

The reason went something like "if you can manually insert the tool, there's room for it to flex, and if there's flex in the toolholder it will wear".

It actually makes sense if you think about it - the set screw will act as a bit of a pivot, and the tool will bend; and once some wear gets in, it'll bend more, increasing wear...

Not something we'd need to be worried about in our workshops, I'd expect!

Thread: balancing article issue 4586
07/05/2018 16:31:06


Just a note that 4585 came today - looking forward (very much) to reading 4586, sounds like an interesting article, something to (as you say) keep the grey matter in check.

There's so much to learn, just not enough years to learn it in...

Tim - I did a bit of time (as I was was licensed to) in the cabs of large steam locomotives, and the clockwise sway of the locomotive's cab was noticable, especially on a 2-8-0 on a slowish-uphill drag. It was also told to me by a now deceased fireman/rail enthusiast that, on a Canadian 4-6-2 that we used to run in excursion service, that the trailing truck did the most work of any axle on that locomotive.

Again, interesting stuff; authors may not get much feedback, but interested novices like myself would certainly appreciate the articles.


Thread: WM14 Mill Drill lubrication
03/05/2018 20:56:39
Posted by Neil Lickfold on 03/05/2018 20:38:57:

The link to show how he did the lube grooves etc does not work for me.

Story time first:

If it is my pictures - I took them off that site - I found someone using some stuff on there to help sell some specific parts for a KX1 CNC - without any acknowledgement, when asked (in person) the response was "some guy posted it on the Internet" - fair enough, but, at least he could have given me a "thanks" when I told him that it was me, all I got was a "huh" and he turned away. Oh well, I guess we all loose. (No, not Arc Eurotrade, just FYI)


There's lots of people doing this for CNCing mills like ours. I used a straight (non-ball) end mill, as that's what my KX1 has. lightly scraped the edges of the grooves to remove burrs. I also just used pushbutton oilers, ordered from Arc (usual disclaimer).

You want the "facing up" surfaces to have a groove in them. Some zig-zag about, me, I just cut a straight groove down the middle, with 3 cross grooves (one each end, one in the middle). Drill a hole in the side of the casting for the oil pushbutton, and cross-drill down from a groove to intersect this oil-pushbutton hole. This is exactly like my KX1, so I'm not pretending to be a brainiac here.

I congratulate Neil on his efforts; there's many ways to skin a cat; I did it quickly and simply, he did it properly!

Now, all I have to do is to get off this d**n computer (and, stop paid work again) and get downstairs and use the machines!

Thread: Austerity Locomotives
30/04/2018 03:22:57

Jon; Duncan;

Nick Feast did a beautiful job of design, writeup and construction of a Q1 in these pages. Castings from Polly/Bruce Engineering. 3-1/2" gauge.

LBSC also did the S160, the American locomotive that was shipped over to Britain/Europe, and eventually went everywhere. 2-1/2" gauge.

Aster did the BR52, German war locomotive, in Gauge 1. It's in kit form, though sold out. Aster also did the SNCF 141R, built in 2 places in Canada and one in the USA, something like 1300 were shipped over at the end of hostilities.

Can't think of any others at the moment.

Thread: BA versus metric reduced-head fastenings
27/04/2018 19:07:06

Richard and/or Tracy brings up a good point about BA and metric.

Three things here - can anyone correct/comment?


1) There seems to have been a bunch of metric standards, now ISO standards have taken over.

Two "for instances" M2.3 and M2.6 have been replaced with M2.5, and (if I remember this correctly) 10BA is "equivalent" to M1.7, which one might find on an Aster Gauge 1 locomotive produced in Japan, for instance.

2) Nealeb: I went from BA to ISO metric a long while ago, and I'll not be going back. Where I've lived, BA taps and dies and nuts and bolts and screws had to be ordered in from Britain, while metric was available off the shelf. Nothing wrong with BA, just availability, and I doubt it'll get better.

3) I seem to remember reading somewhere that BA taps and dies that are on-sale to Model Engineers are actually war-surplus stock. I don't know whether this has any truth in it or not, but I'd expect that industry would not have been purchasing much in the way of BA for a couple of decades, so where is the BA stuff coming from?

Thread: ME production problems, delivery problems or Canada post?
24/04/2018 22:19:22

Errr - Jeff Dayman has a HUGE sense of humour. Lets get the facts straight.

- Canada is cold, frigid, and one is prone to get mauled by bears, cougars, or even worse. By "cougars" I don't mean "slightly older single females", I mean the 4-pawed variety.

- Plumbing is not like in Britain; getting frozen to the toilet seat in the outhouse is a common occurrence, and is one that reduces both kitchen and workshop productivity greatly.

- The modern electric light only works when electricity works (and, your house has been wired for "the electric light"

- Everyone's related to everyone else. My brother-in-law Jeff (not my other brother -in-law Jeff, I mean the one who is a Model Engineer) has the typical "if you are on a sinking ship, make a joke" sense of humour. I Ignore him.

- Model Engineering is a lost cause. Everybody is taught metric measurements, but ALL material comes from the USA and metric is just not possible. Overheard a millennial telling another that "a letter Q drill is what Q says to James Bond in the movies when he touches all the neat gadgets".

- the post delivery system is by horseback. Makes walking on the roads (dirt, or corduroy log roads) difficult.

- there are incredibly few 5" gauge tracks around; (can think of 3 at the moment) a couple more 7-1/4 tracks, but these are mainly in the (frozen) east side of Canada.

So, nope, not worth even thinking about visiting or moving to Canada.

Thread: Home workshop fatal tragedy
21/04/2018 17:37:45


Yes, last snow that fell was Thursday morning - when it was 30 degrees in Amsterdam, it was below freezing here.

Spring came today, though, 11 forecast for today, 18 for Tuesday, then back down again - maybe an early winter will be here then. I hope the final bits of snow in our back yard (where that picture was taken) melt away before then...

(sigh) Oh! To be in Britain, where the cold snaps last as long as a pint of beer does! (smile)

21/04/2018 16:13:28
Posted by duncan webster on 21/04/2018 14:41:46:

I guess many of us have propane bottles in our workshops, not really a good idea.

Duncan - spot on. Thank you.

In my basement, only ONE plumbers' propane bottle. Propane stored outside, the large propane bottles literally outside. Small Acet. bottle and smaller propane bottle for torches, stored in a garden shed that leaks around the doors.

One of our neighbours, a few years ago, was cleaning something in his basement with gasoline (petrol) and something happened, maybe the pilot flame in the natural gas water heater, because he burned his house down. Everyone survived; seemingly he poured the gasoline down his plumbing drain, which here is all inside or under the house.

Most solvents stored outside, but some also in basement - it's bloody cold in Canada where I live, so the outside stuff is often not accessible without digging for a good part of the year.

I think we all need to be reminded of this - it's easy for bad habits to form.

Here's a pic of my winter-time silver soldering setup. Summer I use the barbeque with bricks on the grill as a stand. Note, the picture attached is not inside!


21/04/2018 14:35:33
Posted by Michael-w on 21/04/2018 12:49:07:

That sounds like an awkward way of getting hydrogen, because separating it from the oxygen is hard.

I do know a much easier way of getting hydrogen, but I wont say it here.

It's not the NASA way, is it? That way of getting hydrogen will certainly not save the planet, global-warming wise.

They found it much cheaper than electrolysis, for the closet experimenters here.

Thread: What did you do Today 2018
19/04/2018 13:14:34

Well, so far today,

1) Took the dog for a morning stroll. A bit of snow falling, but our yard is almost free of the winter snows, maybe by this weekend, or next, the last of the winter snow will be behind us.

2) Listening to Radio 2 in the Netherlands. Summer there, the announcer said 30 degrees, over 31 degrees warmer than here!

3) Wondered (again) why we live here?

Oh well, off to work...

Thread: English dialect
16/04/2018 13:11:16

Sure - having strong Scots ancestry (and spending a lot of time there as a kid, and having Scots grandparents with me in the same house over here in Canada) certainly helped me learn Dutch, which became my working tongue after a while.

What was surprising (to me) was that I could speak Dutch to some Norwegian relatives (close to the west coast of Norway) and we'd get along just fine. (however some words, such as Norwegian "barn" and Scots "bairn" were different from the Dutch "kind", but you get the idea)

Fun stuff!

Thread: 16mm loco IDRIS, by Martin Ranson
11/04/2018 17:25:08

Martin - no offence meant either, and much better to be in the shed than at the pub (at least most of the time - everything in moderation, my granny used to say).

Just got M.E. 4581 in this mornings' post with your FALCOR on the cover. (I'll google the name later - got a much needed education googling IVOR and IDRIS!)

I think you (and others) have the right idea with the smaller 16mm or gauge 1 locomotives; I used to think 3-1/2 was perfect and 4-3/4, 5, 7-1/4 too large, but my tastes are changing.

It seems to me that in these non-riding gauges, you guys/gals have fun; none of this dealing with passengers, or expenses of land lease, nor the club politics that seem to always come up. No issues moving them about; no complaints about the wrong colour or fictional rolling stock, and the list goes on and on and on.

Got Brian Wilsons' Steam Trains In Your Garden book sitting right under M.E. 4581 waiting for the working day to end, and we hope to have a Gauge 1 kit together shortly, and another one (A Q1) is ordered and should be on the way also.

Edit: when I was a teenager, the riding gauge clubs seemed to have fun with each other, now decades later, my impressions are these clubs focus on passenger counts and ticket money collected and courses on dealing with the public, and worrying about land leases, and about where to allocate (significant) construction costs and... Not much about actually building and running locomotives. That's a generalization, and only my opinion from what I see in the clubs I sometimes visit, of course.

Edited By John Alexander Stewart on 11/04/2018 17:34:06

Edited By John Alexander Stewart on 11/04/2018 17:37:08

10/04/2018 22:55:08
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 10/04/2018 20:46:34:

Well Idris is a bit of an obvious name for an engine, after Ivor...

Had to google that one - grew up with Beano, Biggles and Oor Wullie to name but a few - but Ivor the Engine is one that totally missed my childhood education.

One lives and learns - thanks for the hint.

By the way, my recently completed Shay is named "Cedar Grove", the next might be "Opeongo" then "Moose Creek", if I stick with the logging locomotive motif. Makes perfect sense to me, with where I live...

10/04/2018 20:17:08

Unfortunate bit of naming, having two 16mm locomotives with the same name, as it will lead to confusion until 16mm dies a natural death centuries from now. (I had forgotten about the ME IDRIS, having recently been going through files and looking at the "16 mm org IDRIS" build and plans)

Kind of like that machining fellow on youtube going by the name "Tubal Cain" - not the world famous machining "Tubal Cain" of ME fame, so confusion abounds.

Oh well... makes life interesting!


Edited By John Alexander Stewart on 10/04/2018 20:18:31

10/04/2018 15:11:39

There is a 16mm loco "IDRIS" on the 16mm gauge orgs site:


Is that the one you were thinking of?

Thread: ME production problems, delivery problems or Canada post?
05/04/2018 21:48:52

I just got issue 4583!

Clear plastic envelope, mailing "stamp" says Belgium on it.

Thread: Bennie Railplane
02/04/2018 17:30:21

Some interesting links found, including ones that I did not find on my own.

So, I'd guess that my recollections from the early 60s were not of the Railplane elevated track, or I'm confusing it with pictures that I may have seen as a young child.

I used to spend quite a bit of my summers in Milngavie, likely I'd not recognize anything there, now.

One of LBSC's favourite castings suppliers was in Milngavie, if I remember correctly ("Williwau" although I DEFINITELY did not remember seeing that one! I'll have to dig out old Model Engineers from storage and see if I can find the address; likely under a motorway or car park by now.

Many thanks - John.

01/04/2018 02:47:55

The Bennie Railplane, at Milingavie, Scotland.

I seem to remember the framework being pointed out to me when traveling to Milingavie by train, in the early 60s. Google says that it was demolished in the mid 50s.

Is it possible that parts of the structure were still standing in the early 60s? I was not around in the late 50s, but somehow I seem to remember being pointed to a bit of this spidery structure in the middle of "nowhere", just outside of Milingavie.

Anybody have any memories of that?

Thread: Our Wildlife and Conservation Activieties in Nambia
31/03/2018 20:49:14
And NEVER forget even the squirrels, hedgehogs, or anything else!

Hi Joe;

One of my kids has worked with squirrels, fishers, mice, and GPS trackers, but half way around the world from you, here's a link to the research side of her web page:


The (small) gps trackers she uses are pictured somewhere in her pictures on that site.

I enjoy your postings and projects, please keep posting.

Also, funding always seems to be a world-wide issue... John.

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

Latest Forum Posts
Support Our Partners
Eccentric July 5 2018
Allendale Electronics
Eccentric Engineering
Subscription Offer

Latest "For Sale" Ads
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