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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: Meddings pillar drill colour
05/12/2019 18:20:15

My Meddings bench-drill is a mid-blue, in I think without traipsing down the garden to have a look, a light hammer finish.

It keeps company, a Drummond hand-shaper painted white many years ago: I don't know the original colour for that but suspect deep maroon.

A while ago I repaired a small 'Record' drill-vice that had lost all its paint thanks to having been used in a grit-blasting cabinet! Once I'd screwed on a flanged bush to replace the cast-on but snapped-off, T-headed spigot under the moving jaw, I finished it with spray primer and guessed-at "Record Blue", both from Halfords. The blue was probably labelled something like "Rolls-Royce Azure Seas", but the mended vice looks right, works well and has paid for the aerosols umpteen times over.

(You think that past use bad? The grit-blasting had not really harmed the important parts of the vice. On a geology-club visit to a masonry-stone quarry, I was not the only one to spot the sad site of a Bridgeport turret-mill and big Dean, Smith & Grace lathe, both obviously used for machining architectural parts from the quarried sandstone! There are machine-tools made for such work, but perhaps those unfortunate specimens had come at the right price and if not adopted by the stone works might have been scrapped...)

Thread: What Did You Do Today 2019
05/12/2019 17:55:05

Not much time in the workshop today but I added a second coat of paint to parts of the travelling-hoist system I am building for it.

In Rustin's "Direct-To-Rust" very dark green. Not bright yellow! Ooo-er!

Yesterday evening I made the setting-out drawing for cutting two connecting-rods from a piece of 3/4" hot-rolled steel plate - salvaged from the space-taking motor box once on the back of my Harrison lathe's cabinet. Originally I was going to make them from round bar, and indeed started that, but realised that would waste a lot of material simply to give the big-ends' sides finishing-touch radii set by the stock bar!

Tiddleyfying the rectangular versions by radii would be easy enough (turning between centres), but being hidden parts anyway, simple chamfers would be just as neat and effective. Hidden because the engine is totally-enclosed - but I have no way of knowing the original design details anyway.

What does have to look at least reasonably true to original, is all the external details; but even then having only old photographs as a guide, I have to resort to some speculation based on examining Edwardian machinery and old engineering text-books to determine appropriate practice.

Thread: Making Progress with TurboCAD
02/12/2019 01:09:04

I am Jason, thank-you!

Progress to the point I can now produce orthogonal drawings adequate for my own workshop use, though there are still areas beyond me, like Layers and TurboCAD's complicated 'Viewport' for transferring drawings from their 'Model Space' to 'Paper Space' for printing.

I think Layers allow advance formatting of different line-types, dimension styles etc., and DAG Brown's CAD primer (in the Workshop Practice series) suggests using them to repeat sub-assemblies from place to place. I have to format everything individually.

For printing I just copy and paste the drawing, reducing it as necessary; but there is a peculiarity with TurboCAD's scaling system. It allows scales from 1:1 up, as its Users' Forum gallery shows with exquisitely-rendered pictures of big things, but not vice-versa. So you can draw very small components, but I can't see any way to print them enlarged by definite scales with correct dimensions. It also has multiple printer menus, some lacking ISO- 'A' paper sizes.

What I do like about TurboCAD is it allows you to draw in two dimensions directly, unlike Fusion and Alibre. This is just as well: workshop drawings need to be orthogonal, and the 3D mode is beyond me!

Thread: What Did You Do Today 2019
02/12/2019 00:23:53

A leisurely sunny afternoon in the local Christmas street " fayre " - not that the traders were all local!

Then a couple of hours or so this evening, detailing the cylinders for my steam-wagon, cut from a rectangular block of cast-iron.

I'd managed to miss thinking far enough ahead about actually getting steam in and out of the right bits, so I've a fair bit of head-scratching and wangling to work out where to drill passages big enough for the steam, but which won't run into stud holes or the port-to-cylinder passages.

The HP side is easy - ish as I can use a flange fitting on the valve-chest flank, but the rest might entail some tricky angled drilling and external plumbing.

I'd drawing it in TurboCAD, orthogonally only; with the part-machined block and a rule next to the computer. Apart from my not using 3D anyway, 2D directly relates the design to machine-tool travels, so helps avoid the trap of 3D-models that look pretty on screen, but prove very difficult or impossible to make.

I did try Alibre, from the MEW series, and had previously flirted briefly with Fusion, but realised that was a mistake because apart from their long-way-round approach, I'd already bought and made some progress with TurboCAD, with its default 2D/3D choice. TC used to be advertised in "our " magazines but seems to have disappeared. Anyone know why?

Meanwhile my drawing-board still forlornly dominates the dining-room, draped in caving-kit hung up to air.

Thread: scam emails
01/12/2019 23:42:31

Another point is the credibility of the name the supposed organisation uses: there is no BBC Licencing Department, any more than there is that old favourite, The Windows Corporation.

If the e-mail address is not obviously false, try looking at its source (on BT its "More" -> "View Source". Among the screen-ful or so of pure code, should be the source IP and routing - which can involve a string of addresses relaying the message. One I received allegedly came via a donkey sanctuary, of all things.

This is useful when you receive a message that on the surface looks real, from a real person such as a fellow club-member. Compare the details with a known message from that person. Usually though, this type of message (often the "Help I'm stuck in Paris with no money" type) looks wrong on first site.

My security software flags up potential spam, and the "View Source" has that word all over its display showing where the message was trapped (at least, showing it was trapped - the surrounding stuff is gobbledegook unless you are a programmer!).

An American on an other forum tells me he sometimes receives private messages on it, in Russian! He sent me a sample, which I carefully copied and threw at Google's translator. This revealed some nonsense about untoward happenings in diplomatic buildings in a city I established separately, is real. Clearly we agreed this was some sort of fraud but we could not guess what, nor why he was receiving messages in the Russian language!

I did once try reporting a fraudulent message to ActionFraud, an outfit which lets you think is a UK Home Office department but is apparently some American company, and was exposed recently as being about as much use as a polythene firing-shovel. I'd guessed that a couple of years or so ago!

Thread: Tapping a nylon hole.
30/11/2019 22:33:28

I find the greater problem with Nylon is not cutting the thread , as long as that is fairly coarse, but drilling the tapping (or any-purpose) hole in it.

The steel drill-bit become hot and expands, so binds. The only solution really, is peck-drilling with a short time for the tool and plastic to cool between pecks (I leave the lathe running).

Twist-drills can also dig into the plastic if you are not careful, adding to the risk of binding.

Thread: What Did You Do Today 2019
30/11/2019 22:26:31


"two phobias for the price of one!"

What, spiders and caves?

The spiders are only in the entrance area, and they are rather handsome little animals, in a fetching, gloss brown and grey livery. I think they are of the breed called the Cave Spider, glorying in the species name Meta Menardii, which favours caves, cellars and tunnels.

One of my phobias is of heights, which is not very helpful in that particular place! It is not tight, but is very determinedly vertical. Well, it does have to drop a few hundred feet in altitude to reach outlet level maybe only about a mile away in a straight line - though we won't know the actual passage distance until it's found.

I am now engaged in a similar project not far from there, for which I built a simple winch for handling tools and spoil in the vertical entrance shaft.

It's just a large rope-reel on a scaffolding tripod standing over the shaft. Fabricated-PVC drum: a left-over from something at work. Bearings: plastic bushes, revolving between steel collars on a length of aluminium scaffold-tube. Sides: PVC sheet drum-cheeks, inside two hexagonal side-frames giving a 4:1 mechanical advantage by diameter, welded from flat bar.

Source of bar: worn-out miniature-railway track!

To set out the 120º inside angles for the 3 bar-pairs eventually united in each hexagon (an attempt to distribute errors), I had to resort to geometrical construction on a sheet of plywood; by rule, pencil and a rather lovely beam-compass that looks as if an apprentice-piece by Anon, many years ago. The bars were clamped to angle-plates along the pencil-lines, with the corner clear of the board edge for the first weld.

29/11/2019 22:34:26

Completed a special 2-roller fairlead for a cave-"digging" project I was involved in a for a couple of years or so.

"Digging" in this context means removing umpteen thousands of years' worth of naturally-accumulated sediments and rock falls ( small boulders in this case) choking the passage, to find what lays beyond.

The difficulty was that manually hauling buckets or rocks up a shaft ate pulleys for breakfast. After I'd made yet another simple sheave running on the shank of a "through-bolt" masonry-anchor, I realised the problem was firstly the relative positions of everything meant the rope is pulled at a low angle to the line of the bolt; and secondly, the crew would do nowt about it a sticking sheave until the muddy rope had lapped a bloomin' great groove in it and the bearing bush!

So, a 2-roller fairlead, which I will deliver tomorrow with advice on how I intend it being installed, and a bag of assorted spare washers, spacers and building shims so it can be screwed to the irregular rock wall by the original and a second, through-bolts.

The rollers are of Nylon with a wearing surface cut from a piece of scaffold-tube. The horizontal one runs on the shank of an M10 bolt also helping hold the vertical roller's column to the assembly together, the vertical roller is on a spigot on that column, retained by a threaded thrust-washer and Nyloc nut: the rope has to be hooked over this twice per raising/lowering operation.

The frame is a confection of bits cut from structural-steel sections, and accuracy is not of the essence so don't look too closely.

Making the stainless-steel thrust-washer was an experience. My generic Taiwanese band-saw spent literally hours cutting a slice from some 2.5" dia. bar. Luckily the unknown grade proved nice to machine, on the Myford 7, but parting-off was a matter of low speed and lots of lubricant for the insert-tool in the rear tool-post.

Still, modifying another stainless disc for a spacer for mounting the fairlead, I ran the lathe fast with an insert-type boring-bar, and a brush of lubricant, perfectly well.

(Incidentally, I have found it misleading that carbide inserts "have " to be worked at high speed. They can be: they are made for such duty industrially, but I find they give as good or indifference finishes as HSS, on the same material, at modest speeds. I suspect the operator, well, this one, first!)


Tried to use the two rollers at right-angles as an exercise in trying after a long lay-off in despair, to tackle the problem of 3D modelling in TurboCAD. I had drawn them orthogonally, for future spares reference; but isometric CAD is a black art indeed. Luckily TurboCAD does not need it as a preliminary to the 2D workshop drawings, as Fusion and Alibre appear to need.

Failed, but did start to determine how the different classes of "solid" react to simple moves like changing their sizes. Sometimes trying to increase the height of a figure, moves it instead, so I endeavoured to find the (or any) pattern in such behaviour.


For the geologists among you...

The cave, called Spider Hole, lies in the upper reaches of Cheddar Gorge, and has formed in the almost-vertical plane of a strike-slip fault in one of the anticlines forming the Mendip Hills. It contains so far known, two sizeable chambers resulting partly from fault-brecciation, partly from dissolution by percolation water. An area of the lower chamber has been marked with plastic tape to protect the pristine breccia floor and some unusual concretions, from being trampled.

A small inlet in the lower of chambers, on an end wall displaying the brecciated fault-plane, has deposited calcite. Another small inlet appears in the shaft where the fairlead will be installed. The water feeds the Gough's Cave River, not visible in the show-cave but emerging in the artificial lake opposite the cave entrance

The shattered rock has dropped down the fissure as dissolution creates voids to permit this; hence the digging being a slow process of manually moving possibly some hundreds of tons of shattered limestone and stacking it further up the cave, which is predominantly vertical. Where necessary the rocks are stabilised with mortar to give climbable sections but with minimum impact on the cave's natural appearance.

Some units of the Carboniferous Limestone are highly fossiliferous, with a lovely mass of coral at the foot of the shaft.

Thread: Topslide clamping screw
22/11/2019 13:49:17

Careful: don't just try unscrewing it without examining the underside of the slide.

The stud might have a shallow countersink head on the end, or be staked in some way, so treating it as just a simple stud risks damage including possibly cracking the casting.

Thread: Stephensons Valve Gear
10/11/2019 22:36:18

Yes, you are right, Nick, but my point was as you say by "in practical terms". Basically the whole lot is out of hand for anyone but a full-time welder with the appropriate certificates and experience. And what does it cost to have the samples tested? Possibly not much - if you are the Accounts Manager for a big company that can share such overheads around its invoices.

Interesting point about welded copper boilers. I know there are one or two professional builders of welded-copper miniature boilers. I don't know if the copper has to be traceable - possibly not for an amateur but quite likely for the professional, especially if his boiler-making is part of a wider range of trade work anyway. It does have to be de-oxidised grade for welding, which may mean traceability and conformity being de facto.

I don't think the MELG Code has anything on this.

Incidentally the original Pressure Equipment Regulations - the document by and for lawyers for whom a 'file' is a ream or two of printed paper - did mention two, and only two materials: stainless-steel and aluminium-alloy. I am not sure which of these would give our lot the more kittens if suggested as boiler materials! They also specify a lower minimum test factor than we use: a rather odd 1.4 WP, if I remember correctly. (Nothing to stop anyone specifying higher, of course.)

Thread: Metal supplies
10/11/2019 22:08:18

Yes -I can vouch for Mallard Metals, having bought quite a few pieces of material from them over the last few years, usually at the shows.

Thread: Eccentric's "Turnado"
10/11/2019 22:03:53

Just watched the video Jez cites...

Wonderful! I was thinking not just of the machining time itself, but the (possibly rather longer) time grinding all those tools. He must have used a tool-grinder to maintain consistent edge height across the range, to be able to use them freehand as he did.

Neat locating-blocks on the V-blocks, with the advantage of minimal machining of the blocks themselves. I'd be tempted to make them fit the T-slots so can be used equally well from a slot as from the table-edge.

I noticed the bench-vice seemed to have the rear jaw as the moving one. Not seen that before.

Thread: What Did You Do Today 2019
10/11/2019 21:25:23

Fine work there, Martin and Derek, there.

My work today was more on the heavy and rather somewhere-near side, continuing to install rails for a light-weight over-head travelling-hoist in the workshop. By setting up the rails and their columns first, I'll have something I can at least use with a scaffolding-pole and block-&-tackle until I've designed and made the travelling beam and crab.

I foresee its main use will be for handling the rather heavy chucks for the Harrison lathe: being short and not as strong as I was, changing screw-on chucks is a bit iffy for both machine and I when done entirely manually.

I've also a small Denbigh horizontal mill to re-commission, and both a motor conversion and quill service on the Myford mill, to consider; with lifting-gear likely to be very useful for these.

Thread: What is this called?
03/11/2019 23:41:57

A bit off-topic but I couldn't resist the "what they are called" theme:

The Weymouth company Eurofasteners closed some months ago - as its name implied it sold a very large range of engineering and general fastenings etc.

The business now renting the building, on an industrial-estate, has placed a probably heartfelt notice on the door, reading something close to this...

"No we do not know what has happened to Eurofasteners, nor where they have gone.

And we do not know where you can get one of those... try Screwfix."

Thread: Web-sites Going AWOL
03/11/2019 23:30:50

Sorry Francis - I should have written that more clearly.

I meant the e-mail list shows one from this forum, that you'd posted on it. Not from you directly.

A little correction to what I'd written a while back. The TownsendBridport site does show two divisions but only two, not all four, have Internet links.

Trying to find out something away from here, I discovered its site was "protected" in so far as it raised a message that my "browser is out-of-date". This is not the same as the problems I'd described above, whose error-messages refer to TLS settings.

Thread: Home Made "Inserts" -Feelin' Groovy.
03/11/2019 23:09:07

I wonder if the first attempt's problems were as I found when trying to use a piece of old saw-blade?

The original gauge-plate blades, and hack-saw blades, are of rectangular section so the tool does not have to enter the work-piece very far for it to start binding in the groove.


Having a screw-head projecting on the chuck side of the tool-holder may not matter for the particular lathe and use; but it's worth examining a commercial parting-tool holder of this general pattern.

The clamp-screw is basically a short bolt with a shallow head, inserted from the tool side and nutted on the other, open side. The blade is thus held by a flange that is itself located to prevent rotation, by having a small flat acting against the ledge on the holder body.

Thread: Thread gauge
01/11/2019 20:30:10

Thank you Roy, for asking!

The answers have explained the same thing that puzzled me, on similar thread-gauges.

Thread: Tapping drill size
01/11/2019 20:18:50

Not sure if anyone else picked it up. but Martin tells us this is for making T-nuts.

A tip, if these are for the conventional solid-floored T-slot in a machine-table or accessory.

Do not make the thread run right though, or stake the bottom thread, so the stud cannot contact the bottom of the slot. Tightening the assembly with such contact puts an unfair strain on the T-slot flanges, and can break them if cast, or distort them if cut in rolled plate.

The flanges should be gripped in pure compression between the T-nut shoulders and whatever is being clamped down.

Thread: Web-sites Going AWOL
31/10/2019 13:52:53

My e-mail list shows a message from Francis IOM, but it's not appeared here yet, advising MS may be replacing IE with Edge, and I try Firefox.

Thank you. I will!

I recall the name, Edge, WIN 10, but I can't remember trying to use it. Just a thought, perhaps that change was what had deleted my web-site registrations (about 6 or 7 I think).

31/10/2019 09:25:15

That doesn't surprise me, about Microsoft.

Having used MS Windows and associated software (as a user, not programmer) from MS-DOS to a short foray into WIN 10, I have seen their quality steadily rise to XP and contemporary Office applications (though these still had glaring faults), then drop significantly. WIN-10 was an utter disaster - a cheap-looking, very gimmicky, clumsy presentation hard to navigate, starved versions of the useful applications, and loss of all existing web-site registrations. I reverted to WIN 7 Pro, and it took me several hours to repair the damage. At least I'd been careful to have used the "Custom install" instead of the "INSTALL NOW" that MS wanted

The problem seems to be arising is that apart from individual site faults, some web-site owners may not realise MS has effectively barred access to many potential viewers, so have not modified the sites to suit.

I wonder if MS' aim is to strengthen their monopoly and future sales by ensuring the only third-party software that works, is that written only for the latest MS system, irrespective of any agreed standards.

Already I have been caught by a sneaky commercial link between MS and Adobe (does MS own Adobe?), causing me very annoying problems. This uses the locked file-type indicated by the 'x' suffix, whose editing needs a converter only available (as far as I know) from Adobe, rented at nearly £400/year.

What is to stop MS going for full rental rather than up-front sales, and ensuring the only software and files that work are those fully compatible only with its latest version of Windows?

Faulty web-sites apart, I fear it will become increasingly difficult to use the Internet for its intended purpose - obtaining genuine information. And so, increasingly difficult in any way at all to find any information or help you need or want, thanks to so many organisations now fully of the Digital side of the Great Family We-All.

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