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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: 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


Thread: 3D Printed Face Mask
03/04/2020 07:25:01


Found this link on another Forum and felt it should be shared to anyone interested,

3D Face Mask Instructions

The link takes you to a description page and print instructions with a further link to the STL file.

The build area required is 185mm x 215mm

3d printed face mask.jpg

The Transparent sheet can be any suitable A4 or Letter size clear film.

I shall be printing some off for ourselves and friends. My mother wants one when answering the door to the delivery drivers.

Stay Safe



Edited By The Novice Engineer on 03/04/2020 07:37:53

Thread: Coronavirus
30/03/2020 00:08:48

Just watched the film   Contagion .....Hmmmmm .....

You Tube Trailer

Sobering similarities

Edited By The Novice Engineer on 30/03/2020 00:09:45

Thread: Suitable stepper motor for CNC
29/03/2020 23:52:11


You have posed an open ended question with few details [ as the link in your post failed !} , there are lots of choices to make before considering stepper size.

The choice of what size motor depends on the design of the frame, the load they have to move and the speed you want get the Drilling head/Work Table to travel at. Higher speeds also need more torque, either a longer stepper motor body, higher running voltage or moving up to a larger frame size.

For example using a Dremel style Drill Body in a Prusa style 3D printer chassis, this light weight design might be what you are considering

3D Printer frame as CNC PCB Drill using NEMA 17 steppers

To give you an idea of what motors I have in the various machines

Emco PC50 milling machine uses NEMA 23 frame size stepper motors 76mm long. XY Table Assy weight ~15kg Running at 24Volt

A large 3D printer uses NEMA 17 35mm long. Print Head Assy ~ 0.75 kg Running at 24 v

Laser Engraver uses NEMA17 24mm long Laser Head Assy ~0.25kg Running at 12v


Thread: Positioning of workshop lights
23/03/2020 21:54:52

I too like the flat panels , the back of the Garage is only 6ft high and these put plenty of light over the machine and bench.


Thread: What to use for New Worktop?
23/03/2020 21:31:33

Mine are 20 mm Block Board with 14g Aluminium sheet covering, folded over 1" down at the front and a 2" Upstand at the back. Been good for last 30 years and should be OK for the next 20 !

Thread: What are you reading?
19/03/2020 19:33:20

Model Engineer 1935-6

Tit bits include :-

The plight of clubs to find younger members !

The new apprenticeship opportunities in the expanding RAF

The Joy of Flash Steam hydroplanes



Edited By The Novice Engineer on 19/03/2020 19:34:37

Thread: What Did You Do Today 2019
17/11/2019 21:23:58

Finally found an easy way of making gaskets for small steam engines, though took all day to get a useful sample. The original engine was not made with CNC but by hand with holes not quite lining up with my precision made bits !


A laser cutter -engraver with a 2 watt [how do you check the power ?] laser,


I used Fusion 360 to create the drawing and the G-Code, that was then copied to LaserGRBL , 4 passes and the gasket dropped out of the sheet. smiley Now I can mass produce them ! Though I only wanted 2

Edited By The Novice Engineer on 17/11/2019 21:24:54

Thread: DIY Bed Gap
24/04/2019 19:44:59

HI Myford did a special conversion of the ML7 that used raising blocks , catch up with the details here Here

did consider doing this once, .... wokred out quicker and cheaper to buy new discs!


Edited By The Novice Engineer on 24/04/2019 19:46:02

Thread: Printing small parts for car restoration
15/04/2019 23:18:58


A few thoughts ....

Are you aiming to print the items yourself or get them made for you, and what sort of size are you looking at .

If you are looking for a bureau , I have a few friends who have used Shapeways , they provide a good service and online advice.

Home printing using filament FDM 3D printers is practical for objects that will fit within 200mm -275mm cubic build volume. 3D Printers with larger build platforms start getting expensive [unless you make it your self !}

The best material would probably be ABS as this can survive heat better and can be finished to a smooth surface.

You will always have a patterned surface finish with an FDM printer that will need work [post processing] if you want a smooth surface finish.

The Stereolithography 3D printing process will produce much finer results but is more expensive and is really for professional use ... or if you are really dedicated !

For ABS you need a printer with a heated bed and for best results an enclosed build space to keep the surrounding air temperature constant ~70C. This helps with curling and similar defects.

A number of cheap 3D printers only work with PLA filament,

If you decide to make them yourself then be prepared for a learning curve and occasional frustration till it comes right !


Thread: Further Adventures with the Sieg KX3 & KX1
07/04/2019 22:06:27
Posted by Samsaranda on 07/04/2019 17:09:16:

I think Vista may not allow a previous version of Windows to be installed, just a thought, not an expert on windows since I defected to Apple!

Dave W

XP can replace a Vista OS , reformat the partition and do a clean install.

Its one of the options from an XP installation CD when you boot from it


Edited By The Novice Engineer on 07/04/2019 22:07:39

Thread: Chinese dovetail cutter
07/04/2019 21:38:58


I have used a number of Chinese sourced cutters over the past few years Carbide and HSS and generally they have been value for money.

I have not specifically used Dovetails cutters but I have used T Slot cutters to successfully make an Aluminium Slotted Table for a small mill.

Give them a try, its not a lot of money !

Thread: Machine tool suppliers
15/03/2019 20:40:03


Warco have a range of used items

Their open weekends have an interesting array of equipment and items !


Thread: Inverter
12/03/2019 14:53:52

I have had an inverter fitted to my Myford ML7R for 5 years with no problem.

Currently it is set up so the motor runs at full rated speed [to keep the air flow cooling] and I use the belts to change the spindle speed. The inverter is set up with a soft start [5 sec to speed] and a dynamic stop [1sec] .

When doing threading there is a lot of stopping / starting / change of direction with no ill effects.

The inverter is an IMO Jaguar CUB


Thread: Castings
09/03/2019 23:37:01

I have done some Aluminium casting of small items , upto 600g . I used a 3 Kg electric furnace [3kg is weight of gold it will take !] that I picked up from e-bay a few years ago.

It takes about 45 -60 min to getup to temperature ~ 750C and melt the aluminium, the process can be speeded up by preheating the scrap with a gas torch.

My source of Aluminium is old cast items , eg chair bases, car engine pistons , hard drive chassis etc ... , tin cans , extruded sections and foil are not good they produce a lot of slag and pour like treacle and is a soft alloy that is horrible to machine.!

I use oil bonded sand in home made wooden cope and drag moulding boxes, this is a find sand that gives a good finish.

Pattens are made of MDF , 3D printed, or if its simple Polystyrene that is burnt out at the pour ...outside ! for good reason smokes and stinks.

Have a look with google for more information ...there's loads out there , Back yard foundry etc ...

As Brian said ...its a satisfying process.



Edited By The Novice Engineer on 09/03/2019 23:39:40

Thread: emco pc turn 55 conversion to mach3
01/03/2019 20:57:10



A bit of a senior moment dyslexia with the spelling of the drives I used!

The 5 phase drivers are by VEXTA , to use these the Emco Berger-Lahr stepper motors have to be re-wired internally about a 5 minute job changing links around. The Vexta pentagon drivers have five output terminals; each one connects to two motor cable conductors



I've added the information about how I did my modification to this thread as the title may draw folk in who are looking to do a modification.


Edited By The Novice Engineer on 01/03/2019 21:00:18

Thread: Emco PC Mill 50 conversion to mach3
28/02/2019 23:10:07

I have been curious about CNC machine tools since I saw my first one in action in 1984 when I worked at Ricardo's in Sussex.

I had been looking at obtaining my own CNC mill for years and contemplated converting a small Hobbymat 65 mill that I had. Then I came across a pair of ex college Emco PC 50 Mill and Lathe that had been used to provide spares and been left to rust in a storage unit.

I did a lot of internet searches and gathered a folder full of snippets and information.

The project is evolving as I try out new ideas.

The machines were stripped de-rusted and cleaned, mechanically they were good . The electrics were good , but the electronics were suspect. I didn't have the Emco software or the PC interface card

I looked at what control software was available and decided to go with mach3 as the Artsoft Forum had a lot of useful infrmation and at the time when I started this project it was still being actively supported. The fully working demo version was a good start, I could do testing without too much of a learning curve.

As a cost effective solution for a hobby machine for myself I looked at Chinese control cards. These are available from ebay from £5 upwards ..... I had a couple of old XP pc's and decided to use parallel port control. This is an obsolete technology dead end , but it works and I was confident to support it myself.

The current card is a TB6600 3 axis all in one control , drivers and relays.


This runs off the 24v power supply of the original Emco


On the panel is a TB6600 driver card for the 4th axis, it picks up its control signals from the all in one card. There is also a voltage control card for the LED lights.

The spindle Main drive is an Omron VFD rated at .4kW. This is run from a manual control box with Stop ,Start Direction switches and a Cotrol for speed.

I have recently trial fitted an additional High Speed 24,000 rpm 1.5kW spindle and there is an additional 2.2kW vfd contoller [the red one] along side the Omron.


I'll post more later.


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