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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: Would you buy one of these collets?
12/10/2019 20:03:35

I can't see that collet as illustrated having much holding power at all. The grip on an R8 collet is given by the portion of the taper within the spindle, and it's hard to see what that protruding section can really achieve.

I prefer the Autolock for most work, keeping the R8 collets only for small diameter cutters, centre-drills and the wiggler.

Thread: What Did You Do Today 2019
12/10/2019 19:56:52

With a colleague, attended the boiler-testing seminar hosted by Cardiff MES - we were very impressed by the track and club-house - and by the catering!

A valuable session, learnt a lot.

Many thanks to all.

Thread: Pulley material
04/10/2019 00:04:57

A tip for making V-pulleys I have seen on commercial items, and helping ensuring a symmetrical result, is to machine them as a pair of discs faced at the appropriate angle, rather than trying to cut a hefty V-groove. The two discs are then riveted or screwed together.

The one likely problem with turning a very shallow cone, as here, is the compound-slide not rotating sufficiently far. On the Myford ML7 you are lucky to reach the 45º limit; on my Harrison the slide will probably turn past 90º if it were not for the hand-wheels meeting!

Thread: What are members thoughts on Gap Bed lathes ?
03/10/2019 23:48:24

I see the gap as an asset even if used once in a blue moon.

I would not worry about the bed's rigidity on a properly-made lathe, as the bed will have been designed to cope with the gap both with and without the filler. If removing and refitting the filler compromises the bed's overall accuracy, as Andrew has observed, that seems to me a poorly-designed machine!

If the removed filler is held by screws tapped vertically in the bed (as on my Harrison L5), plug the holes with short screws, as swarf likes burrows.

Mick B1:

You remind me I should examine my L5's gap-filler L5. It does put a tiny step in the V-way, but that might not be the filler's fault. It is made to be easy to remove and replace, being located by two stubby dowels and held by two set-screws, albeit a bit awkward to reach. The mating faces still show their planing-marks, and no damage, so I think bed wear close to the chuck the more likely reason for the step.

The faceplate on that machine will just clear the V on the filler, I think.

Thread: Blowers / lighting the fire.
02/10/2019 22:41:10

That method - air-supply to the steam blower - ought work well, and be relatively easy to arrange on a locomotive. And you don't end up with a blower-fan full of muck.

Some owners have used induced-draught arrangements in which the fan supplies air to a nozzle in a Venturi choke inside an extension chimney.

I have seen the compressed-air method used on a miniature traction, but it's not so easy to be discreet there! The particular engine was a freelance, of roughly 3"-4" scale overall size, and played fast-and-loose enough with prototypical practice for the extra little bit of pipe-work to be almost un-noticeable.

From what I've seen on the rally field, many owners of the larger-scale miniatures don't use a fan blower, but simply a high extension-chimney. This is slow but has the advantage of warming the boiler gently. On the other hand, looking at the typical smoke plumes, I wonder if it soots the tubes more than a stronger draught would, by not bringing enough extra air to burn the soot while its still above the fire.


The blower-in-extension way calls to mind an old book for children I saw in a second-hand shop window, some years ago now; apparently one of those compendia of boys' stories. It was the dust-jacket painting that had caught my attention. It showed a miniature locomotive being prepared on a raised-track steaming-bay, complete with electric fan and extension chimney; with an audience of two or three boys presumably of the book's target market demographic - as they say these days. The unknown artist had evidently understood the scene as he had depicted it very realistically - he may even have been a model-engineer himself, or perhaps lived next to a club track somewhere.

Thread: Slotter identification
02/10/2019 21:43:53

The milling-machine looks like a Denbigh. H _ not sure of the variant off-hand, but it is very similar to my own.

If it is, the name and trade-mark (the Staffordshire Knot) should be embossed on the casting somewhere, perhaps on the downwards face as we see it there.

Thread: Perfecto 3-1/2" x 16" lathe half nut lever operation
30/09/2019 02:13:57

I don't know the particular lathes, I'm afraid but can offer this:

The half-nut control is very unlikely to have relied on friction to hold its selected position.

If the half-nut control relied on a sprung detent that has absconded, there ought be traces such as hemi-spherical drillings, probably somewhere on the apron, to accept the sprung ball or plunger.

I have just a quick shufti in the Fount of Knowledge - Tony Griffiths' '' web-site - and unless another contributor can answer directly, I suggest seeing if the Perfecto "chapter" therein gives any useful details. Its photos of restored Perfecto lathes clearly show the clasp-nut lever sprouting from a large disc, and I suspect as you do, that this disc holds a detent working in aforementioned drillings. Or would, if not missing from the lathe receiving attention.

Examine the part of the outer face of the apron normally covered by the disc, and see if it has any features that match ones on the inner face of the disc. The missing bits might be as simple as a short coil-spring and a ball or short pin, housed in a blind hole in either the disc or apron, and mating with said hollows in the other.

I did not search further, but Mr. Griffiths may have facsimiles of the Perfecto lathe manual for sale. I have bought corresponding ones for my machine-tools, from him.

Thread: windoze 10
30/09/2019 01:50:22

The business model of the IT trade led by near-monopolies like Microsoft is "It if ain't broke, break it!"

They forget, fail to realise or wilfully ignore the simple fact that if the uses and requirements of the machine do not change, there is no need to change the machine. Do I need an up-to-the-mark CNC machining-centre in place of my conventional machines, to make the same parts for a model steam-engine? Hardly. The task has not changed and both would handle the work, in their own ways. MS though strives to make you change everything every couple of years or so, for identical tasks.

Also, having used MS systems from MS-DOS to (briefly (WIN-10) at work and later, at home, XP and the MS Office programmes allied to it, marked MS' peak of usefulness and quality, and even then they were by no means perfect.

WIN 7 is not too bad, 8 was very unpopular although really only WIN-7 with pictures instead of names on the desk-top (according to the dealer trying to sell it!).

W10 looked and proved, cheap, gimmicky and messy. I had been careful to use the "Custom install" with the small virtual button rather than "FULL" or whatever it labelled the BIG one that gives MS full access to your computer use. I soon took MS' offer to revert to 7, but it took me the evening to recover the half-dozen or so web-site registrations 10 had deleted.

Sometimes I wonder what real differences there are from one edition or so-called "up-grade" to the next. After all, a computer can only work in a certain way to perform a given task, and most so-called "improvements" or "up-grades" seem only to be tinkering with the screen layout and hiding menus, to annoy the users.

Thread: collet block
29/09/2019 01:05:00

Have you consulted The Oracles (Tony Griffiths' '' site)?

It might tell you what tapers were used on "old" Southbends, if you can match your lathe to the information given.

Thread: windoze 10
29/09/2019 00:59:12

When Microsoft introduced Windows 10 it insisted it had no plans to produce any further WIN-number systems, but only to "up-grade" that one system ( "up-date" is more accurate!).

I have not seen anything to indicate that will change, but I know many users have found the automatic process very frustrating.

I think a more serious problem would arise if MS starts to make us rent the software rather than buy it outright. Adobe already does that with its Win-ZIP and pdf-converter; and I think some CAD publishers do too.


Having had previous, and very bad, experience with WIN-10 I do not want it. If forced though, would I still be able to use Word, Excel and possibly Access files going back over many years, or continue to use software such as TurboCAD and some photo-faffing and other third-party programmes, or indeed the MS-'Office' set I had with WIN-XP?

I may be wrong but I gained an impression that the Office-type programmes allied to W10 are very stripped-down; with MS favouring the "smart"-phone based entertainments and Facebook market, over using the computer for serious purposes.

Thread: Unusual GPO hammer?
29/09/2019 00:41:29

"Block, Terminal"... or I think sometimes just "BT". (That organisation of that name being far off hence.)

The noun-adjective-adjective system is common elsewhere. It can be very useful, too, as this shows:.

I am trying to teach myself TurboCAD, but have had to Come To An Arrangement that if I avoid the mysteries like Layers or its Dark Side (3D), it won't bite me. It does have an on-line "Help", which invokes a document called a "Manual"; but like many software "Help" sites, Helping users is not in the designers' remit.

The difficulty with this document (apart from it not giving too much information away) is its sketchy, rather random layout, reflected in a Contents list but no index.


Surprisingly for a pdf file, I found I could copy the Contents into 'Word'. (Usually, pdf image files insist I rent Adobe's converter at over £30 a month. Do they think I'm made of money?)

The layout used long lines of "......." to join words to page-numbers. Laboriously, l replaced them all, line by line, with single commas. If you use 'Excel' you'll now be ahead of me.

Next, after tea, I re-wrote the titles in GPO / Military noun-adjective-adjective style.

My punctuation changing allowed Excel to read the plain-text 'Word' file as a .csv (comma-separated-variables) file, hence 2-column spread-sheet: Titles and Pages. Now, I could Sort it alphabetically, correct and refine, re-Sort... eventually reaching a full, proper Index I could print.

I keep the print to hand so it leads me straight to topic, detail and page number when using the on-line document. Some hours of work, but using that GPO-style title format has paid off.

At work, the establishment's Intranet directory of Safety Data sheets and the like was a mess, with a lot of duplication making it hard to search, partly because no-one had had the forethought or indeed experience to use the n-a-a system.

Thread: How many Hammers
27/09/2019 01:11:26

Could having too many hammers become a thor point?


Thread: Making Progress with TurboCAD
27/09/2019 01:04:01

Damn and blast. Typed it then accidentally hit something - the panel went blank so I have no idea if I posted it or not, and won't know without posting this, and looking next time I open the forum.

Thread: Black crackle spray paint
26/09/2019 23:42:16

Thank you all, for this thread. When I find the time I intend to overhaul my dear old EW lathe (it needs its headstock and spindle un-wearing), and it would be good to finish it with a new coat of the right paint.

Thread: M&W rules now better...
26/09/2019 23:35:05

Half-millimetre markings "a distraction"... One of my rules' inch scales has 1/128" divisions on it. Don't think my eyes were ever that sharp!

Thread: Worried
26/09/2019 23:32:33

Oops. First sentence should read "... Great and The Good of ISO..."

I blame the slip on hearing too much of Her Nibs from Sweden on the radio news..

26/09/2019 23:29:13

I'm fairly sure the (anonymous??) Greta & The Good of the ISO loftily allow the Bar when measuring a useful pressure, instead of their mathematically-neat Pascal (even kilos of 'em).

The Pascal is useless! You need 100 000 of them just for 1Bar (14.7psi). It is too small for real pressures as in tyres, boilers and hydraulics and geology. Yet is too big for acoustics, in which sound pressures are measured in µPa and decibels (dB, not linear units on their own, like pints and feet, but logarithms of ratios of the linear unit, here the µPa, to a base level)

To give a handle on that, the 0dB reference-level for sound pressures in air = 20µPa, which is the faintest a fully-healthy human ear can hear. It is a staggeringly tiny 10^(-11) or 1 / 1 00 000 000 000, Bar. Marine sonar's reference-level (or 0dB) = just 11Pa.

Our maximum - and it will harm your ears - is often quoted as 120dB, which is 1 000 000 times that pressure so is a crushing 20 Pascals.

(Cor!. Been retired three years now from working for a sonar manufacturer, and can still remember [ALT + 0181] to type the micro symbol!)


Others mention perches. They went out of use long ago, but Network Rail seems still to use Miles and Chains (22 yards) for distances..


The Statute Mile is still the only legal unit for road miles in the UK, so really, short distances ought be in Yards, not metres.


I used to contribute to a branch of Wikipedia called Answers ( Now frozen, it was a large, classified Q&A site with all manner of topics, including the sciences and mathematics.

I soon twigged most of the questions on the latter's section on mensuration were almost certainly from American school-children wanting others to do their homework for them, on US Imp / Metric conversions. There were some adults with real-life problems too, like swimming-pool disinfectant dosing volumes: I think some had bought chemicals with metric units on the instructions.

Sadly for them, though darkly amusing for me, there was a small coterie of regular correspondents who'd really tie the poor blighters up in knots. To, say, "How many kilometers [sic] in 40 miles?" these characters would invoke Algebra needlessly and Dimensional Analysis both needlessly and wrongly, convert via inches and cms... and sometimes their own arithmetic was incorrect! Oh, and its 64. (An easy mental-arithmetic one, with that number, at 50 times 8/5.)

I would reply saying it does not involve Dimensional Analysis or even Algebra, just a multiplier you can easily find in a book or on-line! I'd also point out it's "~tres" not "-ters", on these French words.


Why though do car manufacturers delight in quoting engine powers in kiloPoules (1000-hens??) and luggage space in litres (travelling aquarium, rather than long enough for a 7.25"g 9F?) ?


To think I learnt, or at least was taught, Compound Multiplication... I think I could still work out how to calculate the price of 3cwt 2qrs of coal at £4 10s 6d a ton! As long as draught ale comes in pints, we'll be right!

Thread: 0.300" & 0.400" 28TPI Tap
25/09/2019 00:36:35

Also, manufacturers sometimes use non-standard, politely called "b*****d", threads so you have to buy only their fittings. Those 28tpi taps may have been examples.

I have an idea the Dardalet thread was developed for a particular type of service, but I don't recall what. Oil-well drill-strings? There is a thread-form designed for them. The Cordeaux insulator thread may be similar to the bottle-thread, one that can be moulded in ceramics or glass, such as in the pottery insulators on the old open telephone wires. I looked it up, and Klammergewinde seems to be a bearing manufacturer's name.

Oh, and who had the bright idea that those common, flanged nuts to standard M-series threads should have their wrong, or non-M-series, A/F sizes to loose tolerances and large draught angles?


Some 30 years ago I made a spare connector for the Mendip [Cave] Rescue Organisation's warm-air breathing-kit, used to ward off hypothermia. It uses a CO2 reaction with soda-lime in a heat-exchanger, and the gas is from a pub-trade keg cartridge.

Measuring the original showed metric of a particular pitch; but could I find it, even in any of the comprehensive reference-books at work?

Nothing for it but to screw-cut it... on the only lathe I had then, an E.W. Stringer-made, 2.5" BGSC machine with 1/8"-lead screw and change-wheels in 5s from (I think without going and looking) 25 to 65... I succeeded, but I have no idea if that connector has seen service. Probably not, except perhaps in training sessions, as it was a spare and real casualty rescues are rare.

Thread: Harrison l5 lathe
24/09/2019 23:55:29

Yes it will and I have! That, with the stated error, tells me you have been caught out in the same way as me.

Nowt wrong with the machine, but its trap for the unwary is that the inoffensive little 3-position feed-shaft gear box below the headstock, also controls the lead-screw!

The 1:1 ratio that relays the true change-wheel setting to the lead-screw, is given by the lever's middle position; assuming your lathe is close enough in details to mine.

The other two positions give lower ratios, for extra-fine feeds (though you could also use them deliberately for screw-cutting if you know those ratios).

I suggest you try again, on some spare material - it needn't be the right diameter for this test - on the same change-wheel combination, but noting the effect of the gear-lever positions.


Another point to note. The manual, or at least the edition I bought in photocopy form from Tony Griffiths, has change-wheel tables based on a 40T primary pinion. That on my L5 has 20 teeth - though it could have been some owner's modification, I suggest seeing if your lathe's fitting does match any tables you have for it.

Thread: What Did You Do Today 2019
24/09/2019 23:24:40

First off- buy a length of 40mm dia steel bar for my connecting-rods. £20 for a metre... not bad. It was a piece a fairly-local fabricator had on his racks.

Set up to carve the wagon's compound-engine's valve-chests from rectangular blocks of cast-iron stock, whilst simultaneously starting to make their mild-steel covers.

Simultaneously? Multi-tasking? How?

I had already drilled all the holes round the chests-to-be, according to a sketch of each, giving the co-ordinates.

Take a piece of 6mm plate comfortably longer than the chests, X enough for both blocks to sit on it side-by side with ample cutting-off and trimming allowances.

Drill 6 10mm holes so it can be screwed directly to the milling-machine table without faffing with bloomin' great bar-clamps. Those get in the way then throw their step-blocks on the floor when you release them. There is of course a thick plywood spacer below the plate: any slight height variations across it won't be significant.

Lay the first chest on the plate, sight the (0,0) corner against a small centre-drill; remove the chest and move the table to the first co-ordinate (0.22, 0.22)".

Go round, spotting the holes, 14 for each block, in the plate. Round again, drilling through... BUT....

... Be careful! Drill clearance in all except 4 at tapping-size!

And tap those 4.

Lay embryo chest 2 on the plate, with some jiggling because someone put the machine's column in the way; but I found a suitable compromise point. Repeat as above.

The plate screwed to the table is now the jig on which to screw the blocks to machine their cavities.

THEN: turn that valve-chest machining-jig into the ready-drilled valve-chest covers!

Open the tapped holes to clearance, skim the mating areas; then, turn it over and put a shallow rebate of (probably) more aesthetic than structural value, in what will be the outer faces.

Finally, separate them from the stock plate and trim to size!

Treating the Myford VMC mill to a Machine-DRO set was helped by a retirement collection. It was extremely awkward to fit, with lots of tricky compound bracket-making, and I have not completed the vertical axis; but it's proven a real blessing in the last few days. No "spotting-through" and consequent parts-matching: have the confidence in setting to within thous!


The shopping-list now includes 3/8"BSW set-screws of various short lengths, to fit the T-nuts for future similar set-ups. (Sets-up?)

BSW, or UNC?

Same 16tpi, albeit 55º v. 60º. I've not managed to determine that thread-type satisfactorily. These are on the usual type of clamp sets our traders sell. Does anyone know, please, which they are? In practice it may not matter very much: the commercial threads are not too close-fitting; but UNC is now the easier to find.

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