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Member postings for The Novice Engineer

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

Thread: Lidl Portable Bandsaw
24/11/2020 22:03:34

I bought the Aldi version earlier, The only real issue was the Clamp Vice. I modified mine to be a screw vice

Aldi bandsaw vice modification.jpg

it has met all my cutting needs Metal, Wood, Plastic with out a problem ....other than using a coarse [8 tpi] blade to cut thin [16g] steel box section !! broke the blade at the welded joint

I bought a mix of TPI BiMetal M42 blades more cutting issues.

Thread: How the Fork can I do this?
20/11/2020 17:53:34

In homage to Ronnie Barker

Give her a box of Candles [4] for Christmas smiley


Alternatively do what I did ... Buy a new handle Amazon have a good selection , I liked this one




Faithfull Ash Yd Handle Straight Taper 28IN

Edited By The Novice Engineer on 20/11/2020 17:55:32

Thread: Car says catalyser is blocked
21/10/2020 16:43:37

I've got a Peugeot 3008 with a 1.6 HDI diesel and about 18 months ago had a warning come up that the DPF needed attention. the mileage was ~ 125,000 mostly fast dual carriage way and motorway.

Did the requisite 60 miles up and down the motorway a noisy affair in low gear. Still no joy ,message still there.

My diagnostic unit could find no error codes or anything to reset.

I took the DPF core out ,washed it with hot water and Fairy liquid. Black soot followed by pink sludge, possibly the residue of the Eolys DPF additive , followed by a good high pressure hose rinse. [ I avoided the pressure washer as I didn't want to damage the ceramic core] . Finally a vac out of the core with a Wet & Dry vacuum cleaner. Then overnight drying in the Rayburn .

The Message adamantly refused to go away. I did read in a Forum that if the message were ignored the car could go into "Limp Mode" , having had that on an Audi [many times and ££ to sort] it was time for a professional.

Reluctantly I took it to a specialist who plugged in their diagnostic unit ....checked out the temperatures and differential pressures ,all were well within spec, and no errors logged. He finally told the on board computer that the DPF had been replaced. Joy ..... message gone no more problems and trouble free driving for 10,000 miles since

From what I understand, ......the on board computer is set for the DPF to need attention when the differential pressure across the core exceeds set limits , in addition it will display a message due to "potential blockage" by residues [ DPF Additive ?] regardless of the actual differential pressures across the core,  at around 120,000 miles.

If anyone knows an alternative real reason I'm ready to learn !


Edited By The Novice Engineer on 21/10/2020 16:49:55

Thread: endoscope / inspection camera
13/10/2020 10:57:56

I see that Lidl have their Parkside " Inspection Camera with Display " on sale again this Thursday 15 October

£39.99 IP67 Camera with lighting on 120cm gooseneck, attached to handheld display.

Maybe useful looking into dark holes and spaces !

Thread: White rock salt
02/10/2020 23:00:08

I've used a Electric Dehumidifier in my Workshop for years with no rust problems. I leave it on all winter, it has a control to set the required level of dryness.

Put it on today now that the weather has really got into its winter stride ! [ I think it came from Wickes ... years ago !]

I use to find that just breathing while working in the cold workshop would result in tools and machines damp to the touch. Now just nipping in to do a quick job is more pleasant with no rust issues

If I'm going to spend more time ...I have a wood stove that make the place cosy, but also means more moisture is held in the warm atmosphere so the dehumidifier is necessary to extract the moisture as the workshop cools down.

A bonus from the dehumidifier ...... pure water for the steam engines !

Edited By The Novice Engineer on 02/10/2020 23:03:44

Thread: Fixing my 3D printer's Missed Steps problem due to broken bearing supports
27/09/2020 17:15:07

My printer [A Tiertime UpBox+ with an enclosed and heated chamber] had a problem with a Y Axis layer offset that ruined the print.


Examination of the printer revealed the Y axis belt was loose.



This was due to the Plastic Bearing support for the Y Axis drive shaft had broken. This is a known problem with this and similar printers in the range.


The previous owner had reinforced the supports with a 3D printed cover. However the Left hand support had completely fractured into 3 bits. The Manufacturer has these plastic supports available for ~$3  from China ... a 2 week wait !


Since I have modified my printer to keep the enclosure temperature up to around 60-70 C to prevent ABS prints distorting I decided that the Plastic bearing supports should be replaced with something a little more substantial in Aluminium.

I removed the 2 supports and measured up the good one, fortunately the dimensions came up to whole numbers so machining was going to be a bit easier. A Tee slot cutter was used to cut the recess for the bearing


After a couple of hours on the milling machine and a bit of fettling with a file and emery cloth I had a working machine again.



Edited By The Novice Engineer on 27/09/2020 17:21:03

Edited By The Novice Engineer on 27/09/2020 17:32:13

Thread: Building Stand
27/09/2020 16:39:55


Here is my Building Jig made from Aluminium T slot profile section and some bits from the "Left Over/ Come in Handy" box!


The right hand end has a clamp to hold the Loco when rotated, The Loco [Tich in this case] is supported by unscrewing the Buffers and bolting on the angle plates to the Buffer Beam at each end . There is a cutout in the angle plate to clear the Draw Hook

Took an afternoon to put together, The T slot Profiles were left over from a Solar Panel installation! The Upstand ends are some 1/8 " Aluminium Panel from an IBM computer cabinet . The Yellow clamp handle ...a spare for the wood lathe Tail Stock.



Edited By The Novice Engineer on 27/09/2020 16:44:35

Thread: Microstepping
28/08/2020 22:51:12

The use of Microstepping enables smaller angular movement of the motor shaft that can give more precise positioning.

The down side is that the Torque available to make the movement drops off markedly with the increasing number of microstep subdivisions

Using 8 microsteps drops the available torque to ~20% compared to using a Single pulse

This article goes into the detail


For your Non Critical positioning requirement [Just moving the table] Single Step Full pulse should give you the most power to move the table.

Try it and see what happens , there maybe more resonance noise with fewer microsteps.

In general terms increasing the voltage will increase the Speed of rotation, Increasing the current will increase the Torque , most Stepper Drivers have current limiting circuitry. Try not to exceed the rating of the motor they can get very hot Very quickly.

Don't be alarmed by a motor that is hand hot, they should be able to run at 60-80 C quite happily for years.

Thread: Any body with experience of CNC PLC Controllers DDCSV 1.1 2.1 3.1 RMHV 2.1
12/07/2020 21:16:16

Quick update


I had come across the Madmodders earlier and read 40 pages on the DDSCV  till the early hours !


I've also poured through the Facebook pages for the DDSCV , seems popular in Latin America !!

There is also a useful web site with firmware, manuals and configuration setup info

I have ordered a unit ..., now awaiting delivery from China .

The fun starts in about 2 weeks time. Should have the frame and hardware workable by then



Edited By The Novice Engineer on 12/07/2020 21:16:56

Thread: cateracts.
12/07/2020 20:59:21


I've had Cataracts removed and replacement lenses fitted. I was still working at the time and had both eyes done under the works health care scheme [about 3 months apart].

I'd been wearing glasses for 50 years until the operations I've only just started using them again for driving, 6 years later.

I had different lenes in each eye, so left eye was setup for distance, the right eye for middle distance. Causes opticians to double check during eye tests. But enables me to do most things without glasses apart from reading and  close up in the workshop.

The operation was a painless bright blurr. Recovery was hours, though take care at night in bed, wear an eye shield for a week To avoid poking/ rubbing the delicate eye on the pillows /sheet.

Tip take a pair of sun glasses to the operation for use afterwards .Things are really bright afterwards. Colours were vibrant.

About 6 months after each operation I had a Yag Laser proceduce to remove the capsulation around the lenses. This was done as outpatient at the local eye clinic. No pain , recovery time a couple of hours. Again take a pair of sunglasses with you.

One issue has been the increase in the number of "floaters" that drift across the vision. Not a issue day to day just when laying in bed looking at the window !



Edited By The Novice Engineer on 12/07/2020 21:03:33

Thread: Myford chuck not gripping
10/07/2020 23:25:28

A tip given to me by an old machinist to true up the jaws is as follows

Select a grinding stone that has a diameter so it can pass through the rear of the chuck.

Turn up a ring that will fit over the jaws so that when they are opened against the ring ,the grinding stone will pass through.

Now gently stone the jaws till true.

Not done it myself, but he did sort out an old chuck for me.

An alternative might be to source some replacement jaws Pratt Burnerd use to do spares .

Thread: Any body with experience of CNC PLC Controllers DDCSV 1.1 2.1 3.1 RMHV 2.1
10/07/2020 10:46:48


My latest project is building a CNC Router for cutting out plywood/MDF/Aluminium and looking at ideas for controlling it.

Has anyone here any experience / views of these standalone compact CNC controllers



I have a Mach3 licence and use that on the Emco Mill and Lathe, these are in the "Clean" garage.. The Router will be shoehorned into the "Dusty" workshop and I'm looking at compact ideas that don't involve a PC , Laptop , Monitor, Mouse etc

The late, great John Stevenson was promoting the DDCSV1.1 in 2016 and hosts documentation for the RMHV2.1 on his website.

I have looked at the possibilities of using the Arduino and /or Raspberry PI [I have a supply of these boards from various "projects" ] but I feel there could be a lot of work and additional time to get a functional working system , compared to the One Box DDCSV approach.

The early versions have a 4.3" screen the latest are 5". The controllers come in 3 and 4 axis versions. 

For info typical costs for a 3 Axis controller start around £170 from China and ~ £220 from an EU based supplier.

Thanks for any input.


Edited By The Novice Engineer on 10/07/2020 10:50:38

Edited By JasonB on 10/07/2020 11:53:10

Thread: What filament material do you use on your 3D printer?
06/07/2020 12:07:36
Posted by Steve Skelton 1 on 06/07/2020 09:22:43:


I am assuming that 3D LAC is soluble in acetone - have you tried this to remove it from the bed?



I believe the solvent used in 3D LAC is Denatured alcohol ,

I use IPA [ The industrial version not the Malty Amber type !! smiley] to clean the heat bed surface.

Methylated spirits could also be used

To get a decent area of a model to adhere to the bed I have often use the "Brim" feature about 5 -20mm depending on the size of the object and how large a flat area it already has on the base.

The brim is easy to remove from the object and doesn't use much filament compared to a Raft, serves much the same task as " Mouse Ears" but you don't have to design it in.

The Brim feature is in Cura and Slic3r, I use Repetier Host on the PLA printer [Leapfrog Creatr]  but the proprietary UpStudio doesn't have it for the ABS  UpBox !



Edited By The Novice Engineer on 06/07/2020 12:08:30

Edited By The Novice Engineer on 06/07/2020 12:25:33

Thread: Nozzle Bores
05/07/2020 00:04:27
Posted by jimmy b on 04/07/2020 02:24:58:


I have ran 0.2 nozzles and got a fantastic finish, but the time taken was not worth the compromise, likewise, a 1mm nozzle is fast, but the quality ain't good!

0.4 does seam to the right mix of speed and quality.


I've come to a similar conclusion ,though for small objects and figures the 0.2mm nozzle with a 0.1mm layer height is outstanding. Tip if the items are very small print 2 of them, gives one a chance to cool down between layers and cuts heat distortion.

I also came across an article [can't find the source now !] that recommended for printing flexible TPU type filaments to use a 0.5mm or larger nozzle to avoid high pressures in the extruder and failure of the extruder gear to feed the soft filament.

Edited By The Novice Engineer on 05/07/2020 00:05:27

Thread: What filament material do you use on your 3D printer?
04/07/2020 23:43:13

H Steve

In response to your questions

The UpBox uses 1.75 filament.

As regards smell not a lot ..The printer has a recirculating air flow fan with a filter , and the Tiertime filament is low odour.

I've not tried ABS-X but having looked at the data sheet , I'll get a reel or two to test it out.

The UpBox extruder is designed for high temp ABS use, being steel with no PTFE liner. To print with other types of filament PLA , TPU etc there are exchangeable extruder assemblies optimised for the lower temp/ softer materials, I've not tried these yet.

A couple of items that I'll mention with regards getting success with printing

As an aid to getting the ABS to stick to smooth beds I've used 3D LAC spray successfully [smells just like hairspray ! but having tried various sprays ... there is something in the composition of 3D LAC that works]

Bed Levelling and nozzle to bed distance is VERY important , this influences filament bed adhesion and surface finish. I don't find that the Auto bed sensing gets as good results as a Manual set up.

I'm experimenting with Chamber Heating using a 200W heater with a duct that directs a flow of heater air [~70c] across the bed along similar lines to a Stratasys professional printer that I dismantled. This keeps a uniform build environment and speeds up getting the printer up to temperature, I feel it is worthwhile time investment for bigger prints.


03/07/2020 23:17:15

Hi here are some of my experiences

My material of choice is ABS , mainly for its strength and high temp capability. I use it for engineering bits, adaptors fixtures. and recently a set of Gauge 1 goods wagons. ABS is easier to bond than PLA and I can get a good finish with a small bit of effort. [ Sanding and /or Acetone vapour ]

I've found PLA is generally easier to print but not so easy to bond or finish [ no solvents smooth it like ABS] its outside durability is not as good as ABS [ The PLA bird feeders didn't last through a summer]

I have been playing with 3D printers for a few years and have been through a long learning curve.My first 3D printer was a Leapfrog Creatr that I have modified and rebuilt in a number of different configurations to get around issues of

- Getting the prints to stick to the bed [Heat it , Blue Painter's Tape or a PEI surface recommended for PLA]

- Stopping distortion, and getting dimensionally correct prints [Stiffen the machine and fiddle with the software]

- Getting a decent surface finish [fiddle with the software , slow down, lower layer height and patience]

PLA was reliable ABS was a problem lifting from the bed and distorting. The high temp causes issues with small features

My current printer is a Tiertime UpBox+ that has produced some decent ABS prints that are spot on dimensionally. It has an enclosed chamber with a heated bed with swappable perforated flexible build plates or a smooth plate with a PEI surface.Items pop off -ish when cool.

The software for the UpBox is Up Studio, this has fixed setting that produce consistent results. The filament setting are built in [ they can be edited but its not User friendly !!} The UpBox runs ABS at Nozzle 270 C and Bed 100 C. So far I've been using TierTime filament that is good, but not cheap! ~£50/kg Cheaper filament's have a lower working temp and appeared to soften at the feed mech and stop extruding , then char in the nozzle!

I am currently doing some tests of other High temp ABS filaments Multicomp and YOYI that run to 260-270 C these are looking favourable.

My penny's worth

Thread: Good way of attaching instructions to a painted surface
05/06/2020 23:10:25

For a similar job I used Waterproof Plastic self adhesive labels [Polylaser] that were printed with a Laser Printer.

Find them on E bay or Amazon or even local office suppliers

Thread: 10 SWG spring steel strip
30/05/2020 19:35:02

A while back I recovered  around 9ft of spring steel [0.012" x 3/8" ] from the

Mains Cable Retract mechanism of a Lidl Hair dryer that died !


Edited By The Novice Engineer on 30/05/2020 19:35:54

Thread: milling machine which one ?
26/05/2020 22:42:36

From my experience go for the biggest you can fit /afford.

My first mill was Warco WM14 size/style. It was great for doing small steam engines but I started doing bigger and bigger projects and ran into issues with the table not having suffient travel or being able to fit the parts under the head . The final straw .. burning out the motor after being too impatient taking too big a cut.

I replaced it with a Major Gear Head Mill / Drill. R8 quill . Good work envelope and more power for getting the jobs done. If I was going to change I would look at a similar size machine but with a Dovetail column and inverter speed control.

AND .... what ever you pay for the Mill , you will spend the same again [or more !] on tooling , vices, rotary table clamping kit .......

Just my two penny worth


Edited By The Novice Engineer on 26/05/2020 22:45:09

Thread: emco pc turn 55 conversion to mach3
21/04/2020 22:22:04

The Tool change motor is 24v DC,

The small control board for it will apply 12v to reverse the motor to locate the toolholder in position against a pawl/ratchet,

The 12v is maintained continuously to hold the tool in position. The motor housing has a large heat sink it does get warm but not hot.

Trust this helps


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