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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: New legislation that could affect us all.
10/01/2020 09:41:29

I see Harry mentions the famous bananas.

There genuinely was an EU Directive on the shape and size of bananas - though it did not demand they are straight! It placed limits on size and curvature.

It was an example of how poorly the organisation is reported in the UK, leading to those who used the Directive as an example of petty rules gone 'nanas, being called "liars" by their opponents. The bananas rule's existence was really only revealed generally when the EU "repeeled" it, along with a raft of others!

Why was it ever made in the first place? Many of the specific EU regulations are requested by Big Business, in this case the supermarkets.


On the old question of Lavatory Seats, the Lowering Thereof...

Those of my age may recall the old BBC radio words-game, "My Word". I forget if on the Light Programme or the Home Service before the Beeb fell for the fashion of using only dull numbers; but it was played by a regular two teams: two men and two women, all writers and literary critics.

I forget the context, but still recall one of the chaps - Frank Muir or Denis Norden - explaining in one edition that Railway Carriage Lavatories used to bear brass plaques with the four words:

Gentlemen Lift The Seat

The speaker pointed out that the lack of punctuation and "Please" rendered this both peremptory command and a definition of a Gentleman.

Which of course also means when we of the Hunter side are taken to task by the Distaff side for leaving the seat up - EU Directives or not -, our defence is of indicating we are true Gentlemen.

I recall as young boy whose family frequently used what had been part of the Southern Railway until only a few years before I was "out-shopped", they also bore signs saying,

Gentlemen adjust your dress before leaving [ the lavatory],

which puzzled me greatly, having never known a chap to wear a dress.

Thread: What Did You Do Today 2020
01/01/2020 23:05:26

Visited Weston Zoyland Pumping Station Museum [near that village, on the Somerset Levels], with a group of fellow-engineering friends.

The Museum had an Open Day with engines in steam, and despite the cold, drizzly weather it attracted a lot of visitors.

Well worth an "Engineers' Day Out", to quote a well-known phrase, and one characteristic I like is that this mid-19C land-draining installation has not been pickled in gloss, as so many of the big professional museums have become. It also has good information boards.... other museums, please note. (Yes, NRM, I do mean you too!)

The central exhibit is its Easton, Amos & Sons pump, a balanced-flow centrifugal unit driven by a twin-cylinder vertical engine above the cylindrical tank holding the pump itself; and in its original position and building.

The engine's slide-valves have the complication of a forerunner to Meyer expansion-gear, with a separate main and cut-off valve each having its eccentric at 90º apart. The latter can be lifted away from the main valve by a lever on the end of the valve-chest - but I do not understand what that achieves. This is a surprising feature for an engine designed to work in one direction only, at more or less constant load so fairly self-governing. Still, it is a modern machine, built in the 1860s to replace the 1831 beam-engine original! I did ask but the volunteer staff admit being as puzzled by this apparently needless complexity as I was.

So, back home, I turned to my copy of Hutton, 1911. He describes with two drawings on p290-291, Expansion-valves; of adjustable, and fixed, cut-off. The former uses screw-adjusters on the valve-spindles. The latter's cut-off is adjusted by altering the eccentric's position on the shaft. Aha! That latter matches so far. This engine's eccentrics clearly have angle-adjustment slots. Now, why? An expansion-valve can give shorter cut-off than with just the lap, where required. Another - I quote:

An expansion-valve prevents expeditious starting or reversing of an engine.

Expeditious starting seems unlikely here, unless perhaps the valve-lifters allow greater safety if an engine in steam in its working days needed unexpected attention. Can a twin-simple engine with ordinary slide-valves driven by plain eccentrics, start in reverse? That seems against all I have learnt about steam-engines, but I defer to Messrs Eaton and Amos; and an engine driving a centrifugal pump must always run in only one direction.

The connecting-rods are linked by parallel-motion rather than crossheads, to the crankshaft whose flywheel I judged about 8ft diameter, is also a bevel-gear whose apple-wood "cogs" (to borrow mill terminology) engage the cast-iron pinion on the top end of the pump shaft. This combination, used in flour-mills to reduce fire risk, gives smooth, very quiet running.

By "balanced flow" I mean the pump has a twin-sided impellor, in the horizontal plane, with inlets above and below. This reduces axial load on the vertical shaft to its own weight, apparently as plain thrust-bearings were still problematical at the time.

Believed the oldest pumping-engine still in working order and original location, the water it pumps is simply circulated as subsequent civil-engineering on the river has raised the levees several feet above the machine's original outlet.

The Museum also has a display of various small plant steam-engines, most in a separate building; and a short narrow-gauge railway giving free rides on open carriages behind a Simplex diesel.

The boiler is not the early-20C Lancashire shown in representative form in the pump-house, but a large Robey portable in a semi-open shed, and fuelled with scrap timber. It cannot supply all the engines at once so the Eaton & Amos takes turns with the others, being run for perhaps quarter of an hour at hourly intervals while the small exhibits rest. The Robey itself is set to run gently and continuously, for its own feed-pump.

£8 standard admission when the engines are in steam, free on non-steam days. The modern tea-shop was selling only hot drinks and cakes but on a cold, drizzly New Years' Day it is a welcome oasis! Tea taking its natural course.... Two up-to-date loos, single-sex and fitted for disability use and with baby-changing shelves.

The modern brother to the pumping-station is alongside, not open to the public, with diesel-driven machines.


We had every sympathy for one of today's visitors, now having an UN-Happy New Year thanks to reversing a VW Transporter into a branch stump on a heavily-pruned tree next to the car-park. It had badly dented the tail-gate and shattered the window.

Thread: What Did You Do Today 2019
31/12/2019 00:53:09

I resumed fitting the 3-axis DRO to the Myford VMC MIll.

I have had the long- and cross- travels working for some time now, and assembled the vertical one this afternoon.

The magnetic strip and its holder are on a length of 2x2x0.25" aluminium angle held top and bottom by M8 studs and nuts screwed into the machine column. After a frustrating half-hour or so trying to align it by DTI, I twigged why it was so difficult (two fulcra in slots a long way apart, on a column not made to hold these devices), and used my best square instead to set it right to the table. That did the trick, according to a subsequent dial test, giving a run-out nicely <0.01" over the 8" or so of travel: I didn't push my luck by trying for the last few thou. That would entail making and fitting proper screw-adjusters.

Setting the gaps between the encoder and strip was simple: I gently held the encoder while tightening the screws, against a plastic "feeler-gauge" of appropriate thickness - a strip cut from an expired caving-association membership card. It's surprising how one hobby can help another despite no obvious connection!

I've still to sort out the cable supports / strain-relief, and fit the swarf-guard to the strip holder, but it's all basically finishing touches now.

It's been a lengthy task, involving a lot of complicated bracket-making and losing the table's long-travel limit stops.

Incidentally, I keep the console clean simply by keeping the Cellophane bag from its original packaging, loosely over it. Not tightly because although the electronics do not generate much heat I still want them able to lose that. I've long kept the workshop calculator in a polythene bag for the same reason.

Next up for the milling-machine is its 3ph conversion. I have the motor etc., just need to get on with it! I don't yet know if it will entail altering or replacing the motor plate.

That and sorting out why the quill rise and fall is so stiff it offers no sensitivity for drilling, and won't spring back up. My suspicion is congealed grease, but the innards are hard to reach and I am very, very wary of quill springs.

At some point between buying the machine and transporting it home in pieces, then moving house without yet erecting the mill, I lost the draw-bar for its R8 spindle. However, silver linings and things: I discovered I could make a self-ejecting version, and that extra work has certainly paid off. A lot better than clouting the top of a plain draw-bar to loosen a stuck MT3 fitting, as on my previous mill/drill.


My friend appreciated the humorous "cake square" I'd made for her as a Christmas present - she has an endearing quirk of cutting any slice of cake into neat little cubes.


The DRO task made a change from trying to sort out the travelling-hoist runways, and is a project I should have finished a long time ago.

27/12/2019 10:16:26

I know the feeling, Bazyle! A lot of organisations love bureaucracy and can't tell the difference between bureaucracy and administration!

I am in a major caving-club that went for CASC ("Community Assisted Sports Club - I think) status, which allegedly carries tax advantages. A year later HMRC pounced. We had done nothing wrong, but were caught by a new ruling. To prevent frauds by people forming spurious "clubs" whose only sporting activity is watching it on telly in the pub, the Preventy Men decreed keeping meticulous records of who participated in what activity over the tax year. It has to prove genuine participation above a certain threshold.

That might work in formal sports with leagues of named players using standard venues, but not in an informal setting like caving and hill-walking. For these, the "venues" are anything but "standard", personal participation is by a mixture of opportunity, taste and ability, and "events" are both club- calendar ones and those decided on, often quite spontaneously, by a few members privately.

HMRC gave a few months for clubs to play "Clexit", and as we realised CASC would soon be an absurdly bureaucratic burden impossible for a club and pursuit like ours, we left the scheme. Our Clexit decision and process took only a few Committee and one Annual General, Meetings, and in one year, too!


Not been in the workshop since Christmas Eve, and then only briefly. However I have done a little more designing of the travelling-hoist I am building for it (amidst umpteen other projects and tasks, and such leisure pursuits as meals and housework).

Also assembled a rack from Toolstation, on which will be sited the two tool-grinders I am (too slowly) building - a Blackgates 'Stent' and Hemingway ' Worden' - in the front room that is becoming the overflow tool stores and computer room. That room faces North into the street, the back room faces South into the garden so will become the main lounge / dining-room. The Axminster "micro-lathe" will probably stay on the reinforced worktop in the far corner of the kitchen.

Thread: Machining a 70mm hole in steel
22/12/2019 14:12:43

Re both hole-saws and chain-drilling:

You might, in fact almost certainly need at that depth, to use a hole-saw from both sides, but not for the finished size whatever it says on the saw's box! (Unless the hole does not need to be accurate: a hole-saw is not intended as a precision tool.)

Saw appreciably smaller diameter, blunt the core's edges and pop it in the "come-in-handy box"; and bore the hole to finish either on the lathe or milling-machine (boring-head).

Chain-drilling: I have had to use it occasionally but the "teeth" are very unkind to the finishing-machine and tooling, so it is best to remove most of the ridges' bulk by filing or grinding. You can of course also keep a chain-drilled core in the "C-I-H-B" - but at least blunt the nasty fangs first or the core will hide, ready to ambush your rummaging hand!

Boring-heads: not intrinsically less accurate than a conventional boring-tool in the lathe, but a lot slower to use. I the option is available, I would suggest the most accurate would be a hefty boring-bar between centres.

Thread: What Did You Do Today 2019
22/12/2019 13:55:44

Perko (well, anyone faced with a similar sheet-cutting problem) -

I have successfully hacksawn thin sheet and plate by clamping it as you say, along a horizontal surface; but with some scrap plywood or hardboard below both sides of the cut, and suitable batten or length of steel angle between clamps and material.

The effect may be helped too, by small clamps gripping the underlay to material on the off-cut side.

Obviously too, a fairly fine blade and low cutting-angle.

18/12/2019 22:39:45

Our Dorset Council tips use a single skip for all metals: I assume the refiners have some method for separating it all. To be fair, it is easier to do that: we know one metal from another but I doubt many householders have that knowledge. It's all just "metal" to them.

There used to be a big scrap-yard near Weymouth, taking at least as much industrial and trade scrap as vehicles, if not more (it tended to leave vehicles to the more specialised breakers in the area). It had a very simple, gas-fired, open furnace for producing aluminium ingots for selling on as a mixed aluminium-alloy, but free of non-aluminium screws, bushes etc. It also compacted the metal into much more convenient forms for transport and refining.

A while back I took some scrap electrical cable and equipment to another yard, where they were pleased to see I had burnt the insulation off. Pollution apart, that oxidises and dirties the copper, devaluing it. The scrap-dealers have cable-stripping machines to split the sheath from the metal.


What Did I Do Today?

Started making a very tongue-in-cheek Christmas present for a dear friend, Alison, who has a curious habit of cutting any slice of cake into very small cubes.

So having gently teased her a few times about that, I set out to make a "Little Wonder Cake Square", as I called it on the "Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of...." waffle-cum- Instruction-sheet to be packaged with it.

It will be a simple T-square with a scale along the blade, for marking out rectangular cakes, flapjacks etc; and inverted, two cylindrical buttons to give it a centre- and diameter- marking feature for cylindrical bakes. It will work: I took a lot of trouble to set out the blade and its scale accurately, using the milling-machine's DRO; but the utensil is intended humorously and I doubt very much that Ali will actually use it!

Having pondered how to engrave the lines, and considered a V-tool in the Drummond manual shaper to join the dots made by a centre-drill, eventually I used an old centre-drill - one end broken, the other past its best - as a makeshift engraving-cutter, making grooves <0.01" deep by very cautious cross-feeding on the mill, between the said drill-pops.

Blade: stainless-steel sheet, a shelf support from a scrapped chilled-food cabinet. Stock: an off cut of hardwood. Buttons: Nylon rod. Plus a couple of stainless-steel, M5 screws.

Divisions. Well, since Ali's hobbies include riding, and she used to own two horses; the scale can only be in Hands. It is two Hands long, divided into Halves, Quarters and Eighths thereof. I will stamp the word "HAND" on the surface - if satisfactory in testing on an offcut - but I won't risk spoiling it by trying to stamp numbers it does not really need, on a very simple scale with lines of appropriately different lengths.

Accuracy? I calculated the dividing is within +/- 0.00125 Hand.

I finished the bulk of the blade's machining by tea-time. This evening? Considered the material for the stock: a block of wood already a suitable size, or cutting it from a broken hard-wood bread-board (kept as hard-wood stock!). Then composed - or concocted - the publicity/instruction-sheet for the Cake Square.

Thread: What to use on my Sherline mill to round off pinion wire leafs
13/12/2019 17:56:21

I am not a clock-maker but looking at that in general terms, unless the radius is critical simply grind a small concave form tool from high-speed steel.

Another approach for more definite results is to make a form tool by drilling a hole through a piece of gauge-plate, cutting the corner off and heat-treating to suit.

Thread: What Did You Do Today 2019
13/12/2019 17:46:48

I shaved the scale of my steam-wagon down a tad so it would fit the front door of my first home! No-one would notice. No drawings exist of the originals of which no two seemed alike anyway!

Thread: Boiler maker identification
12/12/2019 01:16:48


I own what I understand is the last boiler that Reg Chambers built - oh, and the locomotive wrapped around it.

Its Boiler Test Record gives its Identity Number as RC180, built in 2000.

180. Yours is RC 332.

Oh! Ummm....

Perhaps the number is not a straightforward serial number. In any case, although Reg made boilers professionally for many years, over 300 seems a lot given that he was probably among the first in that trade.

If the number genuinely is a serial, starting at Boiler Number 001, I would be wondering when he made my boiler (I bought the loco a few years ago, after the Club replaced it by another); and does it mean he had a boiler for an LBSC 'Juliet' X 2-size, sitting unused in his workshop while he built another 150+? It was definitely unused when we fitted it to the locomotive in 2000; and although I don't know when Reg passed away I don't think it was long after that.

On the other hand, I would be very surprised if Reg ever built 1000+ boilers as 34046 had heard.

So I believe your boiler is by Reg Chambers, but probably not the three-hundred-and-thirty-second. This all suggests he had an ID system of his own that he has taken with him - and a bit less than 20 years ago.


Incidentally, the BTR also shows mine as built non-commercially, because Reg built it as a favour for his own society, which 34046 identifies, Weymouth & District MES.

Thread: What Did You Do Today 2019
12/12/2019 00:22:41

Very Best Wishes for the project, Ian, and many year's successful excursions!

I doubt the mixed, hand-made fastenings are original at all but replacements at some time, possibly made by the boat's owners or crew from whatever was available. I think if the boat was built in Britain the correct sizes would be standard and consistent BSW, but possibly with the original hexagon proportions.

Five-hole flanges are unusual, but not ever so rare.

ISO_M sizes though.... Shakes head sadly...

Thread: my first lathe.
11/12/2019 00:57:10

I wonder if that odd-looking tool-post had been made for some very specific work, not general-purpose turning, though I can't imagine what. A lot of brass machining perhaps?


A note on grinding tools: you can obtain satisfactory results grinding HSS tools on a straightforward off-hand grinder, but it takes quite a bit of practice. Without going to the extent of building an elaborate tool-grinder, many people replace the rather crude, as-bought rest on an ordinary grinder, with some form of fairly simple but effective, wider table with adjustable stops or fences. Harold Hall's book on the subject gives designs for such accessories.


I don't seem to have noticed very much difference in finish quality between HSS and carbide tools, all other things being equal. The inserts are indeed designed to rip the metal off at alarming rates, but that's on massive industrial production machines; and they seem perfectly happy at our modest speeds and feeds. " Can " does not equal " must ", here.

I think what would really matter is selecting the right tip for the material, though "our" stockists do try to sell ones best matched to our needs. (A tip manufacturer's full catalogue is a mind-boggler of work-materials, tip geometries, chip loads and nonchalant remarks about tip lives of 20 minutes. We hope for nearer 20 hours!)

For example, recently my band-saw took literally hours to cut a slice of 2.5"dia stainless-steel of unknown grade but once on the lathe - a Myford 7 - the metal cut beautifully with both HSS and carbide. Having turned a short length down to 2" and drilled and tapped the centre hole as required, I parted the disc off with an insert tool in the rear tool-post. I'd found the wider HSS blade was unhappy with the task. It was a slow process, a lot of very careful, patient feeding, clearing and lubricating, and experimenting with speeds; but gained a very good finish indeed. That was at no more than perhaps 100rpm for most of the depth (low pulley, back gear, inverter turned down a bit but still in the green speed sector).

I needed a decent finish, not so much for appearance though I wanted that too, as function. The disc is a thrust-washer against the end of a Nylon roller.

I think the crucial aspect is not tool material, but tool setting, so the cutting geometry is spot-on. I set the parting-tool height by the facing marks, before centre-drilling. (Parting-off and deep grooving also means ensuring the tool is at right-angles to the axis. I use the chuck face for alignment by gently pushing the tool-holder against it while tightening the post clamps.)

Thread: Making Progress with TurboCAD
08/12/2019 22:54:27

Thank you Gentlemen.

TurboCAD does offer very powerful 3D modelling, as its Users' Forum gallery shows; but I find its 3D concepts and techniques very difficult to learn.

I cannot make the Layers work: I have no idea why. This gives me a problem, in that turning a set of entities into a Group puts it in a default Layer not intended for object outlines, and it cannot be edited without breaking it apart again.

You delete construction-lines in TC not by the Delete key, but a distinct Clear command; but that is no problem. Often my construction-lines are temporary copies or extensions of outline entities, as a speedy and accurate method for the specific object.

As it happens a couple of the professionals on the TC Users' Forum have also explained Viewports to me.

I realise the inherent accuracy of a CAD drawing can be arithmetically far higher than I can machine the physical objects, but I have not found the printed Paper Space image losing that accuracy a problem, provided transferring the image has not changed the dimensions given in Model Space.

However, I will try to use the Viewport system! It also seems to answer an apparent difficulty in scaling a small object so the printed image is enlarged rather than reduced: the image menus' minimum is 1:1.


One problem is that there seems almost no decent books that help you understand CAD principles before you battle with a specific "make" of CAD. I have found only two, and have both; by D.A.G. Brown and Neill Hughes respectively. They help to a point. Brown's is the more useful for learning basic CAD skills although its cover photo looks very dated. I felt the Hughes book (whose British publisher spells "metre" and "-ise" as "meter" and "-ize" , is more a demonstration of 3D-modelling by an expert, than an aid to learning to use CAD.

TurboCAD is clearly an either/or programme. You cannot turn its orthographic drawings into 3D representations, but I believe it does intend you to produce 2D elevations from initial 3D models as Alibre etc. does. The difference is that TurboCAD lets you draw directly in 2D - though holds a subtle trap that apparently causes many beginners, many problems.


I was attracted to CAD partly because although I was never involved with the drawing-office at work, I observed the possibilities for 3D assembly and layout drawings; as well as facilitating any drawings by for example, readily and accurately copying repeated details. TC's 'Copy' is one of its easiest and most useful tools!

I did not know then about the CAD concept of "models" - to me, what I saw were and are isometric illustrations of assemblies complete or in exploded-parts form. I had also seen orthographic part-drawings with appended pictorial illustrations to help the reader visualise them - as indeed Hemingway uses on their kit drawings.


Changing to another programme? Well, I did try that with Alibre but realised it was an unwise move. Even if I stick to 2D draughting though, I think I have gone far enough with TurboCAD for it to be better to stick with it, in the vague hope of cracking some of its harder features, rather than starting all over again. Also of course, I retain the option of 3D if one day I risk trying it again.

Thread: A simple material stand for a power saw
08/12/2019 21:37:07

Good idea!

I think I would not modify my axle-stands themselves but make longer-version columns that can be swapped with the originals as and when needed. (On mine, the columns can simply be lifted out.)

I've often resorted to clamping battens across the workshop doorway at the right height, not just for the band-saw but also the bench-drill.

Thread: What Did You Do Today 2019
08/12/2019 21:22:04

Lainchy -

I can concur with the satisfaction. I have not worked on massive steam engines but in the 1980s did help a friend restore an intact but neglected water-mill to full working order, and from animal-feeds to baking-flour production.

Projects like that are full of challenges, puzzles and unexpected problems to solve!

I must put Claymills on my "to-visit" list!

06/12/2019 10:25:16

I don't think anyone is "fudging" or "bodging" anything, Andrew, you'll be glad to read! Anyway, anyone who does, is hardly likely to admit it on this site! .

Well, I was going to carry on in the workshop today, erecting the hoist columns I painted over the last couple of days, and emulsioning the walls. Unfortunately pains in my replaced knees mean I overdid things a bit previously, re-arranging the home. So a day or rest from physical labours - but I can get on with designing my engine's cylinders, or the hoist's travelling-beam and crab.

I'm making the compound cylinders from a rectangular cast-iron block with fabricated valve-chests, also CI. I've arrived at an outline reasonably compatible with the photos and contemporary practice observed on a few preserved Hindley stationary-engines. For I have no drawings for this thing, and the engine is an enclosed inverted-vertical compound placed between the crew seats, so nearly as highly visible as an over-type engine.

To make it more fun, Hindleys, the original builders, kept changing details on their under-type and vertical-engine wagons, so the pictures show no one exactly matching another. When I started the project too many years ago this held me up for a long time because the outline drawing using trade-review dimensions and scaling the accompanying broadside and front photos, was all out of proportion. Only when further photos came to light, did I realise the vehicle photographed for that Commercial Motor magazine review was not the specimen actually described.

It helped me greatly to find some very old engineering text-books to give me general details and proportions of machine details typical of the time. The NTET reprint of an Edwardian manual for steam road vehicle owners and drivers, for example, showed me the principles I needed for the front axle with Ackermann steering, and rear axle with a chain-driven differential. The photos vaguely showed enough of the front to get the assembly looking right (including vertical king-pins, not good practice but that of the Bourton works); but none showed the rear axle.

Quite a few model-engineers with greater experience than mine but whose own engines are from published, proven designs and usually of prototypes still existing in the steel, gravely shook their heads and pronounced it very brave to embark on an ambitious project to model an extinct vehicle from merely a few old publicity photos. trade reviews and two patent specifications! I do not claim it is an "exact" replica of a specific vehicle because that is impossible in this case. I aim to build it as well as I can, and as faithfully as possible to the North Dorset firm who built the originals, and to the design practices of their time. When I started, some of my fellow club members joked some nonagenarian will take one look and say, "That's not right: I remember five bolts, not six, on that bit!". No chance of that now, Hindley may have later used seven bolts, and it won't give the modern rivet-counters an excuse either.


And whilst in indoor mode, not forgetting starting the Christmas cards: two have to go abroad!

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.

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