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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: Mill chuck advice needed
28/03/2018 18:07:34

Hi Alex;

I've got a Compact-8 with the ER25 holder (from Emco) for it.

I purchased a full set of collets - RegioFX, if I remember the name correctly.

On my mill, I have a Schaublin (again, spelling) ER25 collet chuck.

I find it all incredibly useful. I purchased this all back in the early 1990s, before the Asian imports became so popular.

The ONLY issue I've found is that, sometimes, the collet I want is on the other machine; I have picked up some Asian collets, and these appear fine, as others have also said. Over here, many things are still in inch, so one of the collets is a 1/2" one, which matches the drill chuck straight shanks that I have.

On my mill, the ER25 collet adapter hasn't been off in years; I have a couple of drill chucks on straight shanks, that I just put in a collet.

On the lathe, 90% of the time, the ER25 collet holder is in place, but that really depends on what type of things you are machining. Right now, I'm doing lots with small rods (boiler fittings).


Edited By John Alexander Stewart on 28/03/2018 18:09:15

Thread: What did you do Today 2018
27/03/2018 12:37:13

Borrowed an MT3 test bar from a fellow club member.

My lathes are all well pre-owned.

The Emco Compact-8 - perfectly aligned.

The Kerry 1124 - spindle pointing somewhere out into the back yard. It was harder to test, though - the MT3-4.5 adapter was bad - the test bar would visibly rock when put in place, so I put the collet set on, and held the bar by the straight bit. Aligned the tailstock afterwards, of course. Fortunately, the Kerry was designed to have the headstock aligned quite easily...

The Kerry had an alignment issue, as when drilling deep holes, the drill would complain.

I've had Connelly's "Machine Tool Reconditioning" book for a few decades, but this is the first time I've really put it to use.

Maybe now that the Kerry is straight, I'll use it more than once every 3 years... (the Emco just is such a nice lathe to use, the Kerry is a bit of a beast for small parts)

I'll have to source a MT3-4.5 adapter that is not nackered, should I actually have need to turn between centres.

Thread: Diesel engines for miniature gauge locomotives?
25/03/2018 13:00:27

Years ago I did some repair work on a ground level 7-1/4 diesel electric that is/was running in The Hague.

My job was replacing a shaft, and a carbon brush holder on the generator.

It did have a very small diesel, and the generator was from a military aircraft, if I remember correctly. My dutch at the time was "so-so" but got a lot better thanks in part to those club members.

I'm not a diesel guy, but was impressed with it's design. Should have taken more pictures.

Maybe someone from SWZ reads this and can comment?

Thread: super heaters
19/03/2018 14:13:03

Chris - the only superheater I've made is to LBSC's design, for Tich.

It was not a success - mainly because the flue it's in got plugged the first day out, and I have not been able to clean it out - 20+ years without it has convinced me that the effort is not worth it. I've tried poking a 1/16th steel rod through, but no luck; the front end and superheater are just too cramped, at least in my build.

Now, I'm certain that a radiant superheater makes a big difference to water and coal consumption, as well as condensate on ones' glasses. It does make you worry about lubrication of cylinders, etc. The Raritan build (CI cylinders and rings) does NOT have a lubricator, so one less part to make or purchase. It is saturated, of course.

I think that what we need is for someone to make 3 or 4 locomotives identical locomotives, with the exception of superheaters and, superheater type. Then a valid comparison can be made. Say, a stud of Simplexes, with:

1) Simplex, no superheater;

2) Simplex, in-flue superheater;

3) Simplex, two-tube radiant superheater;

4) Simplex, coaxial superheater.

And, measurement tools for determining efficiency.

Me? Nope! I'm not going to build them! Life's too short; I've got my Shay (no superheater) to get running when the snow melts, my 2-8-2 (superheater removed by previous owner) to fix some leaking pipework, and get my Ivatt 2-6-0 running, which will be made without superheaters, just to get the thing on the rails. Mind you, I'd love to try all 4 Simplexes (Simplii?) one day, so hopefully someone'll get cracking and churn them out.

A fun and challenging hobby, and I enjoy the individualism shown by all - it would be boring if we all made the same thing, right?


Thread: Is society becoming more stupid
09/03/2018 19:26:08
Posted by duncan webster on 09/03/2018 18:57:20:

... I can assure you that today's young people are perfectly capable of looking after themselves and sorting out...

Thank you Duncan - I totally agree.

Thread: ME production problems, delivery problems or Canada post?
09/03/2018 19:20:22

Yes, it seems that ME delivery is going through another slow time, although I did get one last week - I think the first one this year? (maybe one during the Xmas/New Years timeframe)

If I was really worried, I'd be going on-line for the digital edition. They'll likely show up sometime. (I hope!)

Thread: KERRY 11/24 Mk5
05/03/2018 21:56:22

Bill, I've got a Kerry 1124 that came out of a highschool in Ottawa quite a while ago, but no taper turning attachment - just the lathe and chucks.

There is/was a Kerry Lathes yahoo group - it may be worth looking there.


Thread: The Workshop Progress thread 2018
05/03/2018 21:50:15
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 05/03/2018 20:43:20:

Well done John, looks great.

How long did it take you?


In terms of hours or the passage of time?

Passage of time - life gets in the way, and people (especially kids) come first. Workshop progress dropped to almost nothing for quite a while. Lets say, 20 years start to finish. Recently, some parts of it can be seen in the couple of ME articles I wrote regarding CNC machining.

I'm hoping my long-dormant "Ivatt" 2-6-0 (also in 3-1/2" gauge) will be running in 2019; the remaining big items are the cylinders and running gear. We'll see; crossing fingers that life keeps being stable for a while!

05/03/2018 13:20:10

Shay complete - with the exception of testing the DAG Brown injectors that are almost complete. Will test this summer, as it's too cold outside to do any steaming up, and I don't have an electric test boiler.

It's to Kozo Hiraoka's first 3-1/2" gauge Shay design, with the exception of a displacement lubricator on the RHS running board, and an injector as opposed to an axle pump.

A fun project!


Thread: To the ME editorial Team
04/03/2018 14:56:21


Had a look at Bazyle's link in his post, and there is one club that is missing - the Bluewater MES in Sarnia, Ontario.


Any luck?


Thread: Chucks 3 or 4 jaw for general use.
03/03/2018 20:57:02

Michael W and others - it is not intuitive, but works very well.

We had this discussion at our club a few years ago, and it came up again recently.

Here should be a staged picture I did for our club discussion:


It does work, and there's no issue with the jaws impinging on the sides of the hex.

I'm always trying to learn new things, while trying not to forget things already learnt. Not sure if someone showed me this in my distant past, or that I just had the 4-jaw SC on, and needed to do a quick bit of turning of some hex and lazyness got in the way and...



Edited By John Alexander Stewart on 03/03/2018 21:03:31

03/03/2018 12:32:52

Hmmm - my 4-jaw SC holds hex just fine.

It depends on what you are machining, isn't it? (if you have more than 1 chuck, that is).

For the last few years, collets and 3-jaw SC, and the odd bit with the 4-jaw SC;I do expect some faceplate work and lots of 4-jaw independent work coming up with some cylinder work from castings.


Thread: What did you do Today 2018
02/03/2018 20:35:49
Posted by Samsaranda on 02/03/2018 17:34:55:

... I am aware how conditions can vary between UK and Canada back in the seventies when I was in the Air Force I remember a night refuelling stop at Gander when we had to refuel and de-ice the aircraft in a 50 knot wind in an ice storm, boy that was cold!!!

And, don't tell me - the locals were out in short sleeves, complaining about the heat!

99% of winter drives me nuts; however the odd day when it's bloody cold, but crystal-clear blue skies and no wind, and the snow squeaks under your boots, is *absolutely* beautiful. Doesn't happen that often; more often we get freezing rain over a layer of snow, which then lasts forever and is very dangerous.

I once held an EU Research project meeting in Ottawa one winter - everyone wanted to go to Canada in February, to experience the cold. I tried to convince them otherwise - like San Diego or somewhere - but no! They wanted Canada! Land of ice and snow and igloos and polar bears! , so I accepted and prayed that it would actually be cold. Fortunately, although it was +15 and no snow just before Christmas, the weather got colder, and we got a week of that beautiful clear highs of -20 or colder weather for the attendees. They thought it was ABSOLUTELY brilliant! Eyeglasses did not fog up when walking inside, they froze, with a layer of ice crystals - the French representative had a look of wonder on his face when he saw that. By the way, polar bears are over 8 hours flying time (Ottawa to Churchill Manitoba) - never seen any polar bears - London UK is only 6 hours 45 minutes flying time, and has the Model Engineer Exhibition and steam trains close by.

This coming summer, as you are sitting out in your gardens sipping Pims, reflect on the fact that, a few months previously, the garden was white - and you survived!

Good luck all stuck in this weather - John.

02/03/2018 11:45:17

Another weather related question for our Brits (and other northern Europeans)

How are the services doing? electricity, heating gas, frozen water pipes?

I did have to endure an "ice storm" here once, where my house in the city was without electricity for a good number of days, not fun with a couple of pre-teen kids. We eventually left, and went to live with family for a few days elsewhere.


01/03/2018 22:24:03
Posted by martin perman on 01/03/2018 21:24:47:

The problem we have in this country is that anybody younger than 40 has never driven in severe weather and they drive like idiots at the best of times.They have no idea what to do, you just watch the news to see somebody whose back wheels are doing 30 mph and not moving as he polishes the road.

Martin - driving like idiots seems to be a world-wide issue, then. Watched a Mercedes driver do the same thing here in Ottawa yesterday - car sounded impressive, speed not so much. Sounded like 200km/h, actual speed - 0.

Yes, we are lucky in that the snow clearing equipment is available, and I know that it's not in Britain, while impatience is wide-spread everywhere.

I was serious when I said "grab a cup of tea and take pictures; your snow will disappear soon enough" - especially if it is a rare occurrence, why not enjoy it? (I know, people have to get to work, or wherever.)

By the way, not that we get a lot of snow here compared to the mountains out west (what comes here, tends to stay), so the most impressive thing in the winter is to see the clearing of snow banks on city streets. The city literally puts cardboard and wooden stick signs indicating "no parking during the hours of..." and, during that timeframe, big snow augers chew their way through the snowbanks, spitting the snow into huge dump (some articulated) trucks; all the while on the move. Little bulldozer things clear the sidewalks (pavements?) and the bus stops; there must be 10 to 11 vehicles on the move at once. Any cars parked in the "snow clearing area" get towed to a compound. Anything in the way (including those little signs) gets cleared by the snow machines.

Hope everyone stays safe - John.

01/03/2018 21:16:18

Snow's finally melted enough to get the bicycle out; have not used it since the beginning of November, as I refuse to cycle on snowy/icy roads. And, we had one day where the high temperature was -22c, and that's a bit too cold for me to bicycle about!

Some use studded tyres (yes, on a bicycle) and there's a new trend called a fat-bike where the wheels look like doughnuts, all to go through the winter snow and ice.

Anyway, cycled out to get my haircut, had one patch of bicycle path and that was still covered in snow, so walked through that. The snow can disappear quite quickly; as soon as the spring sun gets on to something dark, (like dirt, grass, pavement) then the snow goes. Probably still a few weeks until we see much of the yard, though!

This is unseasonably warm for us - not that I'm complaining... Have been canoeing in early May and still encountered ice in north-facing bays.

Don't worry by fellow UK modelers, grab a cup of tea and take pictures; your snow will disappear soon enough.


Edited By John Alexander Stewart on 01/03/2018 21:17:25

Thread: Any other out of touch members ?
27/02/2018 22:33:00
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 27/02/2018 22:17:20:

Can't believe all these neo-luddites posting 'I can't use modern technology' on their favourite social media site.... I think the lot of you should go back to treadle lathes and carbon steel tooling

What I find particularly impressive is how they translate the Pitman Shorthand from their business/working days; I mean, an electric keyboard! What?? Or, maybe the UK has some interesting "Internet" hardware that is not seen on this side of the atlantic.

27/02/2018 21:02:45


The sad part is that this "addicted to the smartphone" generation(*) is the one the current band of merry model engineers is supposed to pass the flaming torch to, but I fear that they will miss the catch!

Note(*) I think that includes about 50% of the 50 to 60 year olds, and 99.9% of anyone 50 or younger.

Thread: Steam locomotive more technologically advanced than modern airliners for its time?
15/02/2018 16:42:55

For their time, they certainly were very advanced: (don't know about the UK, but looking elsewhere)

- Some of the Canadian ones went through the "National Research Centre" wind tunnel for streamlining and flow analysis (the models still exist)

- Oils and superheating - oils had to be designed so as to not burn in the high temperatures associated with superheating;

- materials work; light/strong alloys for boiler courses, stay bolts, etc;

- Aluminium - some superstructure (at least "over here" were aluminium;

- the fully cast beds, cylinders, etc. are incredible to see, and pushed casting technology;

- welding - look at the German Kriegslok system for the movement from rivets to welded technologies; the west followed (or went in parallel - don't know)

- time keeping - time keeping, and just organization of complex interactions needed advancing as forced by the railways;

- non destructive testing methodology most likely had been advanced by the railways;

- computer controlled trains, computer controlled signalling, etc - even the knowledge advancement of the old signal frames in the UK might have been profound for the time.


Yes, certainly, even a lowly olde-school Boeing 747 is a complex beast, and nothing like an A380 or 787 in complexity, but making an A380 at the height of development of the steam era would have been impossible.

For those doubters; is the era of advancement of air transport past its' prime? With the demise of the Concorde, what really has changed in aircraft design in the last 20 years? Fly by wire, sure, but it's old technology now. Carbon-fibre? sure, but its old technology now. Radar?? sure but...

Thread: What did you do Today 2018
05/02/2018 14:39:33

John: "On metric lathe cross-slides, I've always understood that the dial is calibrated in diameter as standard, so..."

On my Emco Compact-8 lathes, the cross slide is in cut depth, not diameter.

In my mis-spent youth, the "inch" lathes could be either diam or depth, mainly depth. Probably the same with metric lathes - we both have a small pool of metric lathes to work from - especially me - one manufacturer.


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