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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: Should I scrap this reel of filament?
03/02/2022 20:30:03

I've had some good results reviving an old reel of PLA that had gone brittle by using a dedicated filament dryer that can also be used to feed the filament [it has a set of rollers in it]

Though some reels can be a bit tight


sunlu open.jpg


sunlu dryer ver1.jpg



I know this thread is a bit old ...but I felt this relevant to anyone printing with PLA

Edited By The Novice Engineer on 03/02/2022 20:33:11

Thread: abs
20/08/2021 00:01:54


A bit of extra clarity re my "fan heater"

The printer has a recirculating centrifugal fan/blower that I have rearranged and fitted a 3D Printed duct with a heater element inside that directs the hot air over the top of the items being printed level with the print nozzle. It is fitted with a thermocouple connected to an external temperature controller. There is also a Thermal cutout as added protection.

This was based on a Stratasys printer that I had access to for a while.

The hot air temp is set to 70C, I usually let the printer heat up [Hot air and heated bed] for around 15-20 mins before printing to get it all nice and cosy for the print


Keep warm


Edited By The Novice Engineer on 20/08/2021 00:04:12

Thread: going carbide on a Myford
19/08/2021 22:58:21

I second the CCGT style of carbide insert for use on lower powered lathes.


Designed for use on Aluminium they are good for steel to.

The rake is a bit much for Brass but the sharpness is ok for small diameter work.


Edited By The Novice Engineer on 19/08/2021 23:03:58

Thread: abs
19/08/2021 22:05:18

From my experience

The key points are get the first layer to stick to the print surface, then maintain a near constant temperature [~70C] of the item as its being built.

You really need to consider a heated print plate capable of 100 C at least ,

An enclosure [box/tent] around the build area helps to retain the heat and stop cooling draughts.

Consider additional chamber heating I have a 200W controlled fan heater running at 70C, others have used InfraRed lamps shining on the build plate

As regards print surfaces PEI works well, The ABS slurry [ bits of ABS filament /supports dissolved in Acetone - keep in sealed Jam Jar] also works. 3D Lac spray is a less messy candidate . A different build surface is the perforated plate used with a printed raft that "keys " into the holes in the plate.

Get the levelling of the Print head to the Build surface correct and consistent over the entire print area.

Turn off the cooling fan, you want to keep the temperature of the printed item up. Though small , delicate items may need cooling after the first layers ~10-20%, or print 2 of them to allow one to cool a bit.

Use a wide Brim around the object, even considered a Raft.

Consider using a high nozzle temperature for the first layers , eg ABS with a temp range of say 220 -250 C consider using 260 C and then drop down for subsequent layers.

Not all ABS filaments are equal, some have additives that make printing easier,

I wish you well, my printing of ABS took a while to get consistent success .


Thread: Spindle speed, vfd and Mach4
08/02/2021 20:40:35


Thanks for the update , its useful to know a solution to a problem that I may have soon !!! Just received a Huan Yang unit !


Thread: 3D Resin Printers
16/01/2021 20:56:20


I've an early version of the Anycubic Photon and it has worked well for me. The detail is very good for 3D printing ,[I've had a couple of filament 3D printers and the layers are always distinctive ] with the SLA the rivets on an 0 gauge loco window surround were well reproduced. My other half has had me make accessories for her small scale model figures and she is pleased with the results requiring minimal cleanup.

Some of things I have found out the hard way are:-

Keep things clean and the resin tank warm.

Wear gloves when handling and cleaning the prints, the resin is a bu***r to clean off skin

Different resins give different results. For example a Grey resin gave good strength and smoothed out the layer effect but lost fine details, a clear Green resin reproduced the finer details but resulted in a brittle model. ......ect. You need to do some research for what you want to achieve.

Changing the orientation of the model changes the supports generated, the detail produced and the success of completing the model without falling from the supports or incomplete surfaces. The slicing software is pretty good at indicating where problems could occur.

The layer height can be varied to achieve quicker prints or finer detail. 50 -10 micron .... a lot finer than the filament 3D printers.

Another advantage of SLA printing vs Filament is that when printing multiple items together on the build plate it takes the same time as single item, since the printing time is dependant on the height of the object not the volume.

Finishing requires IPA washing off the remaining uncured resin from the vat and UV light exposure to completely cure the resin model. I've used an ultrasonic bath and a UV nail curing lamp. This process can be made easier with the Anycubic Wash system that has a IPA container with stirrer and UV curing lamp in one unit.

Best of luck



Edited By The Novice Engineer on 16/01/2021 20:58:51

Edited By The Novice Engineer on 16/01/2021 21:00:52

Thread: Is there an easy way to make lots of scale model seats?
13/01/2021 22:49:14


It depends on how deep your pockets are and how open you are to new technologies !

My suggestion would be to use 3D SLA printing

sla filled print platter.jpg

With SLA printing it takes the same time to print a plate of lots of items as a single item.

anycubic photon.jpg

I have had some good results using an Anycubic Photon , not as expensive as some models to buy [£100's rather than £1000's]


Edited By The Novice Engineer on 13/01/2021 22:52:25

Edited By The Novice Engineer on 13/01/2021 22:59:12

Thread: approximate budget for CNC mill/Drill?
03/01/2021 19:58:11


I feel that John has covered the cost about right , though I will add to this conversation from my experience.

I bought an Emco PC50 mill [work area 200x115x150ish] and PC50 Lathe from a college that were having a clearout. The machines had been in storage for a couple of years and had rusted surfaces though the guides had been oiled/greased so cleaned up nicely. These set me back ~£400.

I decided to scrap the existing electronics as there was no dedicated interface cards /software/cables/manuals with the hardware.

On the Milling machine I replaced the stepper motors for around £30 each [3 off] and ordered up an All in One Mach3 controller with stepper drivers based on the Toshiba TB6600 [cost ~£70] . I ran the copy of Mach3 that came with the board and an old PC I had . The 3phase spindle drive came from Ebay ~£60, I got the machine working and was able to run cutting tests successfully .

I decided to purchase a Licenced copy of Mach3 [~£130] and have been running the set up without issue for a few years now.

I use Fusion360 for my CAD and CAM generation [£0 currently !]

I then spent around £400 on machine vices, tool holders , clamp set, air -mist cutting chip clearance and cutters.

Total Cost to get started around £1250

Emco CNC 50 Mill

I have probably spent half as much again on various bits for the cnc workshop over the intervening years [4th Axis more cutters [HSS and Carbide, stub drills ,High Speed Spindle etc etc ......]


I have since built a CNC Router Mill with a work area of 700x400x100 based on 40x40 Aluminum T slot framework [~£100], linear guide rails and ball screws[[~£150] with 12mm Aluminium CNC cut plates[~£100] [guess what machine they were cut on ?] The Stepper motors were a similar price [~£100] to the original Emco PC50 Mill , the drivers are DM542 based units [~£75] and the controller is a DDCSV2.1 stand alone unit .[~£170] .The spindle will be an air cooled 1.5kW 3 phase unit with ER11 collet [~£150].

Total cost of this setup is around ~£ 850

The purpose of this Router is to cut larger objects [ wagon and carriage sides from MDF /Plywood] Instrument Panels [3mm Aluminum]  model bases 50mm Hard Wood , Engraving Plaques Brass etc etc


[Photo is of the initial prototype , using parts from the "Come in Handy Cupboard" , 3d Printed components and plywood !!]



Good luck with your endeavours and welcome to the "Rabbit Hole" of CNC


Edited By The Novice Engineer on 03/01/2021 20:05:50

Thread: Have You considered getting a 3D printer
11/12/2020 15:42:18

I was curious about 3D printers years ago , at the time the Hobby ones just looked to flimsy and small to produce anything worth while. I looked on an infamous auction web site and bought a semi-pro FDM unit that had a good print volume and dual print heads though it was broken and needed some work. It was a good learning experience to repair it and understand the technology behind 3D printing. My other half is an experienced figure modeller and was NOT impressed with the quality. She would only entertain an SLA technology unit .... they were just TOO expensive for my "Fun money" budget.

My latest 3D printer is a Tiertime UpBox, again bought from the auction site needing some work to get it sorted. I got this primarily to print ABS with less hassle ! As I was finding PLA had limitations when using the printed items outside or in the workshop.

Parts for a recent 3D Router project were created using 3D printed parts


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 .

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