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Member postings for Nigel Graham 2

Here is a list of all the postings Nigel Graham 2 has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Garden shed find
18/08/2019 21:54:26

A good find!

My bench-drill is a Meddings, though single speed-range and chuck only, but I am very happy with it. I often use the table/base as a surface-plate.

Thread: What Did You Do Today 2019
18/08/2019 21:51:00

Spent half the morning searching for two sheets of steel I knew I'd purchased for a specific purpose, then for two conventional parting-tool holders I'm sure I'd bought.

Found the sheets. They are safe.

Did not find the tool-holders; now wondering if I had bought them.

Found a different parting-tool holder I'd forgotten I'd bought and so have not yet used; a Myford special for the rear-toolpost. That's immediately replacing the Sorba holder perched uncomfortably in a quick-change holder!

Also opened the box holding the same pattern tailstock attachment as George's... only to my dismay, the parts of it nestling in the foam packing are all rusty! I've not even used the thing yet. I'm going to have to dismantle it to clean properly.


Break for dinner, some gentle gardening and tidying that upset several frogs and a small furry animal I could not decide if mouse or vole. Then back to machining the steam-wagon crankshaft.


I'd roughed out the webs and pins by milling between a rotary-table and tailstock, but the emerging pins (still healthily above finished size) are visually off-centre, also shown by the cutter nibbling the corners unevenly.

I knew the three centre-holes in each end of the bar were correct to each other as I'd set them out very carefully by DRO. Thinking about it, I had not realised the part-machined bar at that stage was less accurate than I'd bargained for, so despite using a big angle-box to set it vertically, one of the two trios of holes must be displaced angularly from the other. Initially I thought that would simply give the engine a slight off-beat, but thinking more deeply shows the pins would not be parallel to the shaft, as the effect is to build in a very slow helical turn.

Nothing for it but to machine off the centring lugs and turn the shaft ends to an interim diameter to take a pair of clamp-on centre-blocks I will have to make.

Well, this is my first attempt at making a crankshaft, and from a hefty lump of very solid bar!

Thread: Metal Cutting Power Saw
15/08/2019 22:36:05


Finding metalworking blades of the right length may be possible but note that if your band-saw was made for wood-working it will probably be far too fast for sawing metal, especially steel.

Thread: What Did You Do Today 2019
15/08/2019 22:15:40

Finally obtained the Round Tuit and Spare Minute (or 60) to repair my camera tripod, after frustrating attempts to hold the camera by hand to photograph progress on the crankshaft I am making.

The camera mount itself was long-lost: a simple rectangular plate holding the 1/4"BSW screw, and once fitted to the camera, held by a cam in a dovetail arrangement.

I found a piece of PVC plate about 8mm thick in a come-in-handy box; sawed the blank, drilled through, and counter-bored a generous recess so I can turn the sunken head of a shortened machine-screw by fingers. The tripod-head part is flat so the screw-head must be sunken slightly.

Machining the two dovetails was easy on the Drummond hand-shaper. I wanted a reasonable fit without needing machine-tool accuracy, so it was cut-and-try until the cam locked properly. It was also a test of a mounting method I have in mind for more "serious" work. Simply, I mounted the plate (50 X 43mm) in a V-block on its side in the shaper-vice, with a round tool shank acting as intermediate clamp, and cut along the length of the bevels.

Thus happy now, I managed to take a couple of half-decent shots of the embryo shaft on the milling-machine, but unfortunately, due to the cramped nature of the workshop, not from the side looking onto the rotary-table face.

Then proceeded to rough out the crankshaft's centre main-bearing, by milling. It will have to be finished by turning. If you want to see how un-square a milling-cutter end is, try using it radially to the work, to mill a cylindrical surface: the result looks more like a first exercise in Ornamental Turning!


Drew a leaf out of the cricketers' book, and Stopped For Tea.

Evening: printed two auxiliary drawings of the shaft, from the original; one concentrating on the dimensions of the webs, the other giving the various diametral details. (This in TurboCAD, orthographic only - 3D CAD's lost on me. And not very useful in the workshop.)

Thread: What 3 Words
15/08/2019 21:49:17

"... fields in the middle of nowhere..."

I can understand that!

I am in one of the two Yorkshire Dales-based caving-clubs that each run its own annual "Gaping Gill Winch Meet". Gaping Gill is a huge "pot-hole" on the fell, some 2 miles of up-hill walking from the village of Clapham.

Some years ago our insurers wailed that their paper-work wouldn't work without the computer being fed a post-code. Now, surprising as it may seem, Royal Mail had not given the cave such a thing; nor does it deliver post to the flanks of Ingleborough.

The problem was solved by gaining permission to " borrow " a local post-code, I think that of the village shop. It's close enough and after all, to a database it's only 4 letters and 2 digits. It'd probably have worked if they'd typed " AA0 0AA ".

But three words though? I dread to think!

Thread: Blowers / lighting the fire.
15/08/2019 21:29:46

I wonder if some of apparent tardiness is from using anthracite straight from the kindling.

Anthracite has the highest calorific values of the natural varieties of coal, but is not so easy to ignite and build up a fire as a more bituminous coal, and in some boilers at least needs a fairly good draught.

I know some engine-owners use a mixture of coals, but it might be worth trying a softer coal first to establish a good fire-bed, before using anthracite.

Thread: Another scam
14/08/2019 21:44:51

I threw out another "I'm from Microsoft and you computer's reported a fault" call recently. That was unexpected because I have had none of those for a long time.


Complaints here about the inertia and complacency of the ICO, but I've little confidence in Action Fraud, too.

You never hear back from it if you make a report, but that might be concerned with security so I can accept that.

My beef with it is that is very awkward and long-winded to use, and is clearly a database of classic form. I.e, written by someone brilliant at writing extremely complicated software while lacking the imagination or initiative to consider the user, and to realise that set menus of a few random questions immediately limits the system's scope.

You might expect it to accept forwarded e-mails for analysis... No! That's too obvious for the Access-jockeys to spot!

Thread: Mystery Tooling
14/08/2019 21:31:50

No. 3 looks as if it's to fit T-slots. Not a rather crude travelling-steady, perhaps? The paint seems to match that on the hand-turning rest.

Thread: Hieroglyphics on a Wehlen & Co clock face
13/08/2019 10:10:02

I'm as intrigued as everyone else on the real meaning of those symbols, which I wonder may be visible by some accident of manufacture or aging rather than intent, but "Pad" printing?

That's a new one on me - I understand offset-lithography and screen-printing, and of course the inked-stamp form going back to William Caxton; but had not heard of that, so thank you for that link.

Screen Printing goes back to antiquity as an art form but its modern industrial version is used on anything from simple labels and dials to the very high accuracy and precision requires in mass-producing printed-circuit boards.

Thread: Looking for a locking stay for machine canopy.
12/08/2019 22:39:17

I would not use a car gas-strut to hold a small plastic machine-guard. They are designed to balance a far heavier mass than that, so would be physically very hard to handle.

Some machines, including my Myford VMC, use a basic toggle: just two links pivoted together at mid-point when both are in line. Pushing the joint while closing the cover down slightly makes the links go past alignment by a couple of degrees of so, against a small stop on one of them.

Thread: Tracy Tools
12/08/2019 11:03:28

Yes - I concur. I've bought quite a few tools over the years from Tracy Tools, I'm about to place another order, and I have named them in response to a question elsewhere on here about suppliers of lathe tooling.

Thread: Suggestions for buying 1/4 inch hss and carbide metal lathe cutters
12/08/2019 11:01:30

Apologies if this appears twice. I thought I'd replied but inadvertently closed the site while verifying references! Isn't the WWW fun... No?

Right, two suppliers immediately to my mind for HSS and HSS_Cobalt square tool bits or blanks: Tracy Tools and Arc Euro Trade.

For inserted-tip tools & their carbide tips: B.B. Cutting Tools, and Greenwood Tools.

12/08/2019 10:49:15

Of suppliers of good HSS tools, Tracy Tools and Arc Euro spring to my mind immediately, though they, and others, don't seem to advertise in ME and MEW..

For carbide tips "our" main ones are JB Cutting Tools and Greenwood, both selling indexable rather than brazed-on tools.

Thread: What Did You Do Today 2019
12/08/2019 10:10:27

Re Apple PSUs.

It's not only Apple who are bad at design details. I've had to cut short and re-terminate the lead on my Japanese-made vacuum-cleaner, because one of the twin conductors had been severed by the sharp edges, very tight fit and excessively tight bend radius of the cable-clamp.

And as for the German-made hacksawing machine I had to use in my days as a materials storekeeper for a company making precision screen-printing machines..... It was well made, but apart from one very good safety-feature, its design was abysmal. Though thinking about it I might be being unfair - the management might have not thought about it properly when studying the catalogue. I had to cut aluminium and BMS bars, down to fairly small cross-sections, but the machine had been designed for fairly heavy hot-rolled steel.

"re-imagined" (in Matthew's original post). A word normally I abjure but in this case it's just so appropriate to the twaddle from Apple! The sad thing is the Apple author presumably thinks he or she understands engineering terms.

Thread: Lathe Identifier
11/08/2019 22:28:54

Interested to see this lathe seems to be an IXL.

I owned for a while a larger lathe badged IXL, which from Tony Griffith's site was German-made, but by Ehrlich, and IXL was a dealer putting its own plate on things.

Thread: What Did You Do Today 2019
11/08/2019 22:15:29

Took the partly-chewed out 2-throw crankshaft from the milling-machine to the lathe.

What's there so far is the result of a lot of rather hefty milling, chain-drilling and sawing, and yesterday using a ripping-cutter to munch the worst of the vaguely-square mass of chain-drilling ridges down to something approaching an 18-sided polygon section, so the turning won't so intermittent.

The lathe for this is the Harrison L5 with 3-ph conversion, so large enough to cope with some intermittent cuts by HSS tool, at shallow cut, gentle self-acting feed, low back-gear and moderate motor-speed though with the controller pointer still well inside the green sector; and indeed by the time I finished this evening I'd brought the "tabs" that will be the cranks themselves, down to near their crown radii.

I'm crossing my fingers that a length of the old "stock" surface still on the outer edge of one of the "tabs" will duly disappear. It's a bit close. The material was an off-cut of a scrapped axle from a narrow-gauge railway truck, so its surface is quite heavily rusted (though I've seen worse).

This is my first attempt at making a crankshaft, let alone sculpting one from some 11" of 2.5-ish dia. solid steel.

Thread: Boiler testers and material verification
08/08/2019 23:07:07

Assuming we are talking about anything bigger than a Mamod boiler...

Forget all that analytical stuff. The MELG Guide Book (latest has a white cover with orange titles) tells you what you actually need to know.

It mentions certificates only for steel boilers, but places so many obstacles in their way that making a steel boiler is for the professional only, for all practical purposes.

(Curiously the original EU Pressure Equipment Regulations that our hobby sort of uses, mentions only two materials for pressure-vessels: aluminium-alloy and stainless-steel; but not which of a plethora of their alloys and grades!)

Copper and cuprous alloys, and silver-solders and fluxes - purchase by what it says on the drawings, and if you buy them from reputable suppliers they are what they say they are on the invoice. You don't need certificates of conformity for them, for amateur construction not by way of trade, and nor should your club's boiler-testers demand them, though they might want to inspect progress.

Just don't use brass in any structural component including the bushes for clacks etc. Rather according to alloy, it can become brittle in some circumstances and conditions.

The question mentions stainless-steel. I am afraid that is irrelevant. I think it's still ruled out, but anyway it comes in so many flavours with their own welding characteristics, that whilst there is no logical reason against stainless-steel boiler shells in principle, it is definitely a material for the professional boiler-makers able to choose the right alloy and weld it correctly.

Thread: What Did You Do Today 2019
08/08/2019 22:38:40

Continued in my inimitably slow way to set up my wagon's crankshaft for milling.

Spent yesterday aligning the tailstock borrowed from a dividing-head with the rotary-table bolted to an angle-plate.

Today was making clamps / driving-carriers to hold the shaft to the RT, a process giving a new lease of life to some very rusty steel that had been scrapped miniature-railway rail.

Rusty? As my Mum might have said, " It looks as if it's been dragged through a hedge backwards! " and not far wrong, certainly left lying under said hedge for ages. Still, it's not bad steel under the corrosion.

I'd had to make a centre for the RT too, which has a shallow 3/4 inch bored recess above a 1/2 inch BSW threaded hole, not a Morse Taper socket. Attempt One failed - the Harrison L5 lathe has a 3-speed gearbox on its feed-shaft and lead-screw, and if you forget and it's in the wrong setting, the thread is not what the change-wheels say.

Thread: "Oh, I do like to be beside ... "
04/08/2019 10:08:40

There are areas of the English Channel and North Sea floors thickly carpeted with sand and gravel, washed in by rivers, or left when the Channel was a river valley in the present Ice Age's Last Glacial Maximum.

Some of this gravel is collected by suction-dredgers such as illustrated above, for building aggregate (I assume it has to be washed to remove the salt) and one such deposit is off the Kent and Sussex coast.

Maybe 15 years ago now, this trade became the focus of a genuine (not campaigners' environmental concern, but not as you might expect, over destroyed sea-floor wildlife and habitats. At least, not as far as my involvement goes.

Instead a marine-biology department somewhere I know not, were worried about the underwater noise of the dredging driving fish and mammals away. So the firm for I worked was sub-contracted to take underwater sound-spectra, by amplitude with frequency, at planned points around the dredger, whose crew were perfectly happy about it all. Two of us - scientist and I as lab assistant - spending the day on a small work-boat owned by an environmental-surveying company, circling the dredger at set distances and taking hydrophone readings.

The dredger was noisy enough on the surface, with the continual roar of its engines and of gravel and water being pumped aboard. Big cascades of sand-coloured water poured from the hold overflows, creating a plume of aquatic "fog" drifting down-Channel on the strong tidal stream.

The skipper of the chartered boat pointed to the plume and remarked, " I'd have thought they'd worry far more about that silt settling to the sea-bed and choking the tiny animals living in it! "

He had a point, but if " they " were also asking that question, it was to others, outside of my firm's remit and expertise.

Our manager duly sent in the report. I never learnt how it was received or what became of the customer's study.

Thread: Removing felt lining from wooden boxes......not animal hide glue.
03/08/2019 14:56:11

That last comment suggests the lining was added at some stage later.

Could be your only alternative is by scraping but that does risk scarring the wood, especially if areas of the adhesive bond are stronger than the wood's own grain strength.

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