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Member postings for Luke Graham

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

Thread: protecting from rust
18/10/2014 00:55:28
Posted by Mike on 25/09/2014 14:20:01:

Two years ago I bought a small dehumidifier to keep condensation out of a small utility room at the back of the house which is not on the central heating circuit. I was disappointed - it didn't seem to work in winter, when it was most needed. Then I read, on this forum, that they don't work very well when cold. Last winter I kept the temperature up to around 12 degrees C with a small electric heater, and the dehumidifier worked fine. Just a point to watch if you go down the dehumidifier routs.

Refrigerant style dehumidifiers don't like the cold at all, dessicant style ones can handle it a bit better. I bought the latter type for my shed. I'm measuring the temp and humidity, and it is making a real difference. It's a "Ecoair DD122 Mini Super Compact Home Dehumidifier and Laundry Dryer", and I bought it from a company called Breathing Space. Happy with both the unit and the company, FWIW to anyone.


Thread: Infra Red Tacho
18/10/2014 00:34:51

I used a hall effect sensor when I built mine. I just stuck a tiny neodymium magnet on the lathe spindle. Worked a treat, and not expensive.


Thread: Setting Up A Tormach PCNC Mill With ATC
18/10/2014 00:25:15


let me know if you have any questions when you get further along. I've got Series II of the same machine, without the ATC, had it for a couple of years now. I primarily use Alibre and Sprutcam 7. Sprut is a bit of a beast to use, I found I had to get exactly the right update number (build 1.6 rev 60551) to iron out as many of the crashes as possible. It still isn't perfect but it does the job now.

I'm not sure how experienced with CNC you are, but you might want to get hold of some machinable wax, I find it is a really good way to figure out how a new program will run without expensive mistakes.


Thread: Using coolant
10/01/2014 14:14:11

My 2 pence.

I use flood suds, WD40, cutting oil from a brush or bottle, or nothing. That's on lathe and mill, with both carbide and HSS tools.

I've had the suds sitting around for ages now (a year maybe?) and it is fine, no smells at all.

Edited By Luke Graham on 10/01/2014 14:14:37

Thread: What did you do today? (2014)
09/01/2014 22:50:59

After trying both methods, milling is a lot nicer than chemical etching.

01/01/2014 11:32:11
Posted by Muzzer
Never done it myself but apparently a common technique is to use a Dremel-type device to route out the copper from the PCB surface. This avoids the need for the nasty chemicals altogether and I suspect you may have problems getting a consistent flow of ink if you are using Dalo pens (from memory - do you still use them?).

That is another option I can try if this doesn't work out. The big difference is getting a positive vs negative result, just like positive vs negatives for photography. If you go for routing/milling, you need to travel around every trace, leaving the positive copper behind.

I'm using a black Staedtler Lumocolour pen, as recommended on various forums on the internet. Well, actually they say the red one works better, but this is what I could get my hands on.

From drawing on the steel plate that I intend to use as a backing for the blank PCBs, the pen flows well as long as the metal is absolutely clean.

This is the board I'm testing first -


Edited By Luke Graham on 01/01/2014 11:35:32

Thread: What did you do today? (2013)
31/12/2013 19:29:12
Posted by jason udall on 29/12/2013 09:47:44: might find copper is not good choice for a coil former..eddy current loses...btw good luck with the rail gun

I did wonder about the copper, but in practice it works well enough for me.

I wouldn't bother building a rail gun, it wouldn't work as well as my air rifle anyway :D

It's for a solenoid valve to water my plants actually!

28/12/2013 23:40:44

I've been doing electronics-oriented things over Christmas. I made a pen holder for the mill, which will hold a pen that can draw acid-resistant traces on copper circuit board. This means I don't need to use a UV light box or developer. I also made a fixture that will hold the PCBs for drilling and marking. It uses home-made 1/8" taper pins to align the fixture and board to the mill table, and is tapped M3 to hold the boards down.

I've also built a data-logging Arduino setup. It records light, temp, humidity and if the shed door has been opened. It writes all this to a SD card, and can replay the information to a PC when/if one connects via USB.

Oh, and I also wound a coil around 15mm copper pipe using magnet wire. It works well as a solenoid, using a simple steel slug I turned up. I have great plans for this thing...

Edited By Luke Graham on 28/12/2013 23:43:32

Thread: Virtual modelling can have place here ?
26/12/2013 22:06:15

Edited By Luke Graham on 26/12/2013 22:10:13

Thread: What did you do today? (2013)
25/10/2013 14:47:41

Did a bit yesterday.

Finished welding up my vacuum chamber (I think, it hasn't been tested yet).

Separated and cleaned up the port faces from my previous post.

Wired the mill computer power button up to the machine control panel so I don't have to climb underneath every time to turn it on and off. Replaced the BIOS battery as well, which needed doing.

Generally tidied things up in the shed and found the floor again. Machines no longer covered in brass.

Also planted some mushrooms!

Today I'm going to see if I can get an order in for some bits to make a QCTP. Is cast iron a good choice for the main post? I am thinking a 3 inch cube of the stuff is the way to go for a Warco 1232. I'm planning on steel tool holders to go with it.

Edited By Luke Graham on 25/10/2013 14:50:51

Thread: Learning CAD
25/10/2013 14:33:31
Posted by Bazyle on 25/10/2013 14:11:26:

There is a free 3D CAD available on RS Components website. There are also some quite respectable packages available free to students.

Quite a lot of threads on CAD packages on this and other forums with good and bad advice. However I notice lots of posts mention a package or two they are using and you find they cost more than a decent milling machine even though the post is being made on an essentially hobby forum.

Draftsight seems to be the most popular 2D genuinely free as opposed to short trial freeware. It might be a start.


Unfortunately this is the state of CAD/CAM right now. It's only recently that there has even been usable 2D CAD for free or within reach of the hobbyist. CAM is even further behind.

Edited By Luke Graham on 25/10/2013 14:34:18

25/10/2013 14:31:23

The key points for CAD software, IMO, are the following:

  • Parametric design
  • IGES output, STL is not good enough unless you are only 3D printing
  • Printable drawing output, with the ability to put multiple views and sections on a single page
  • DXF import, for reusing existing drawings

Parametric design means you can drive whole designs from a single measurement if you are careful. For example I created a design for a heart-shaped cam, which can be changed for different cam throws by editing a single number. The whole part then updates correctly to maintain the correct proportions.

I also use Alibre. I haven't upgraded since they renamed to Geomagic, as I don't see any new features that would make the cost worthwhile. It has all the features I've mentioned above, even if the DXF import is a little hacky.

What you won't get with Alibre is great integration with CAM, unfortunately. What I mean by this is, if you do go and change a part, you will have to resign yourself to recreating the CAM project you used the first time around. It isn't a major issue for me, but it would be terrible for industry production workflow.

I also suggest getting hold of the 30 day Geomagic demo, and trying out the 2D sketching capability. Extrude some simple parts from sketches, then move on to more advanced work.

Draftsight is free, and well worth trying out. It is NOT 3D however, which could be seen as either a plus in terms of being simpler to use, or a minus in terms of functionality.

I personally would not use Sketchup or Rhino, as they aren't focused on CAD work, but people do, and that can work for them.

Thread: What did you do today? (2013)
25/10/2013 13:44:40

Hi Michael and Geoff,

you're both quite right, I also have had a couple of cars lowered by cutting the springs, and the ride is much harder. This was all the rage in Queensland when the ink on my license was fresh, even though it wrecked the ride of the (street) car by any sensible standards. It was a cheap modification you could do to have your car stand out and look a bit different, hence the appeal at the time!

I didn't explain fully what I was doing, but the reason I had to cut is so that I could have room to loosen the nuts holding the spring on, and therefore create a softer setting. The nuts were right at the end of the rod, and it took quite a bit of compression just to get them on.

So although the spring in question is now shorter, it has (almost) the same length of travel, and therefore is much softer overall, and has room to adjust in both directions. Total force to move the valve is now about the 180g mark. Still a little high, but much closer to where it should be. I mistyped on my earlier post, it was originally 400g! The "textbook" figure is 100g.



Thread: Where to buy metric copper or brass solid rivets?
20/10/2013 20:31:50

Thanks for the responses.

I've already drilled, and I prefer metric generally. It does look like the best option is to make some, so I will go down that track.

The rivets will be holding the copper boiler to the steel firebox, no pressure involved. However, I will use copper regardless.

Thread: What did you do today? (2013)
19/10/2013 20:32:12

Wound the spring for my safety valve, put it together and tested it. It takes about 200 grams of pressure to move it, which is far too much. I will cut the spring down and try it again.

The top piece is the union for the steam pipe.

Assembled in the boiler.

Drilled and milled the portfaces (3 of them in the picture, 2 for a friend). Terrible waste of material, but unfortunately that's all I had to work with.

Edited By Luke Graham on 19/10/2013 20:32:53

Thread: Where to buy metric copper or brass solid rivets?
13/10/2013 23:01:56

I need a few 2mm and 3mm rivets to hold a boiler and firebox together. It's a small vertical engine.

Everyone on the internet wants to sell pop rivets, which wouldn't look good at all.

Brass solid rivets would look the business. Has anyone got a good supplier for these?



Thread: What did you do today? (2013)
13/10/2013 19:26:07

I milled three engine stands for the Polly engine I'm building, as part of the SMEE course. I've had to make these larger than the (water? laser?) pre-cut ones provided, as I'm going to put a cover over the axle. The fourth stand is the original, as provided (participants still need to drill the holes in this one)

Polly engine stand drilled


Polly engine stand milled

Yesterday I turned a brass burner from solid, for the same project. The burner will hold catering gel, which will be able to be used indoors. I may make a meths burner in the future.

Polly burner, and painted firebox and stand

Edited By Luke Graham on 13/10/2013 19:27:04

Edited By Luke Graham on 13/10/2013 19:27:30

Edited By Luke Graham on 13/10/2013 19:29:44

Edited By Luke Graham on 13/10/2013 19:30:41

Thread: Which indexable lathe tools?
07/10/2013 13:41:03

Posted by jason spencer on 07/10/2013 10:51:27:

Steam geek.


You seem to be repeating what others have said. Do the tools take a normal size tip then and not a 'glanze specific' one?


My understanding was that the indexable tips were very standardised, and that by specifying e.g. CCGT or CCMT, you were describing everything about the shape of the tip. So there would be nothing specific to Glanze about the tips that would fit into their holders.

Edit: Oops, beaten by two other posters


Edited By Luke Graham on 07/10/2013 13:42:04

Thread: Lubrication on new Warco GH1230
19/09/2013 10:22:13


very nice, if I had that I would also sit and watch the gears spin! I think it would be a great point of interest for visitors to the shed yes


Thread: Universal Grinding machine construction series?
12/09/2013 12:34:52

This is the kind of article that I bought my subscriptions to read. Please go for it!

I don't mind which magazine it is in, as I'm subscribed to both. ME is less interesting to me than MEW, but this would make me excited to open it again. I'm not one for trains (they are just a means of getting to work for me), and am far more interested in the workshop/tooling side of things, or just about any other engineering subject.

Diane, if you would like some feedback on ME specifically, there was a short series on building a canal-side crane a little while ago that I liked a lot. I will not pretend to be the typical ME subscriber, but articles on engineering models that aren't trains are what I'd like to see.


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