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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: This trolley/cart could be useful
21/05/2022 22:37:18

Most trolley would struggle - or their users would - when faced with such inconveniences as the beautifully-manicured lawn (or my patch of grass).

Obtain some reasonably large sheets of shuttering-ply, Stirling-board or similar to use as temporary runways over such surfaces. Even just two would do it, a bit laboriously.

21/05/2022 22:31:00

An important person - for very valuable contributions to the hobby.

Thread: Any idea what these are for?
21/05/2022 22:28:42

If they work well as gravers... fine!

I wonder if they were actually for cutting ceramics in some way. Perhaps to score a groove along which a tile would snap? Just a thought.....

Thread: Reinventing The Real
21/05/2022 21:51:37

A very elegant machine!

It is an unusual layout - a true vertical. (The more common ones with the crankshaft at the bottom, marine-engine style, as more properly of "inverted-vertical" layout.)

As finishing touches the pulley (not flywheel) would have been very slightly crowned - though that is probably barely noticeable at that scale - and it may be worth examining your source engraving to see if it had square or hexagonal nuts, especially in the larger diameters.

Curved spokes were common practice on cast-iron pulleys etc, not for looks but to absorb the contraction stresses in cooling.

Thread: Fkesxispeed...what is the back gear for and how to use it
21/05/2022 21:29:14


As I said... yes... to a point.

I also said I use the pulley steps and back-gear, not only for torque but also to keep the motor running fast. The speed controls have amber and red sectors warning you the setting is too slow there. All right for a few moments perhaps but not long duty.

I did and still do not advocate never using the mechanical reductions, but instead using them in conjunction with the electronics!

The cabinet was noisy at all spindle speeds, because the motor was still running at its single speed.

You are right though. The question was about the back-gear on a Flexispeed lathe - but - not because the lathe is a Flexispeed. It was about the purpose of the gear.

Thread: New To CAD? No, but....
20/05/2022 22:56:14

Dave -

A challenge, eh?

Draw a cotton-reel in 3D, using TurboCAD.

Obviously that is dead easy for TC, but for me?

I didn't try to copy the original but invented one in the same spirit. The two black lines are the original X and Y axes markers I had to make, and left in place after I had deleted the other construction lines.

How I created this, I describe below.... Along with why I had to omit the recesses in the ends.

cotton reel.jpg

First was open a "Normal Metric" template. That worked. And to turn on the Grid. That would not work - I think IMSI must have set the template grid-free, for whatever reason.

First mistake but not realised then. Oh well, nothing ventured...

Draw two (X, Y) axis lines (those shown) and various construction / outline rectangles. All in one Layer, Layer 0 allegedly we are not suppose to use. Why is it available then?

Intersection snap on, four circles to give the rims each a nice neat radius.

Tangent-tool: the sloping lines to generate the two conical frustra.

Lots of Trimming and deleting, join what's left as a Polyline.

Revolve that about the X-axis. Smooth the surface (TC develops cylinders as 14-sided prisms and leaves you to edit their appearance). Delete the generating polyline.

I'd needlessly drawn both "sides" of the generating elevation. I'd not thought of that until I was deleting all the temporary constructions. Oh well, no harm done.

Lo and behold, the basic reel with a 6mm dia axial hole through it. That disappears in rendering more deeply than the hidden-lines level shown there.

The end recesses?. . .


The original had 6 radial recesses in the ends, I believe. Certainly most moulded plastic real reels do, though not wooden ones. So mine is wooden - painted blue if rendered.

I had worked out how to create these recesses, 6 per end, from 12 extruded pie-portion plugs. That itself is not too hard, IF the grid and snaps work as they should. They didn't, I think because I was using a template rather than a "New" file with raw "Model Space".

I would have had to create the two plug sets concentrically to the reel (on the invisible X-axis), sink them the required depth then Subtract them to leave the cavities.

Now, the so-called "Inspector Bar" was all active, showing the sizes and co-ordinates of any selected entity, and allowing its move in any (X, Y, Z) direction - and angular rotation in those planes if you want - by your entered values.

The plugs would have had mid-length Reference Points. So if each was 20mm long and shown as 20mm from the end of the reel, moving it 10mm would make it touch the reel; 15mm would sink it 5mm. The reel's mid-point of known length is at (X=0), so I know where the reel face lies. Fine so far.... provided the rose pattern of "negative recesses" is concentric to the reel. Might not be the "official" method but it will work.

So: draw 2 plug sets, identify each plug X-co-ordinate and move it in X to sink the few mm into the reel end. Then subtract it to leave the recess. TurboCAD does not have "negative" extrusions, only negative co-ordinates and distances. All its extrusions are solids; hence needing subtracting to make a hole.

Only, with no grid as a guide, at this stage in the drawing the grid-snap fails so you cannot create those extrusions. Or if you can, I don't know how. Besides, despite the values displayed, trying to visualise where things are in that open space would have taxed Escher!

I should have made the plugs' base figures at the same stage as the Revolve figure. Even then I might have run into co-ordinate and entity-type difficulties.

Clearly I go no further with that drawing, so I show what I had produced. It's a cotton reel but with a solid body apart from the spindle hole!

At least I rose to the challenge even if it partially defeated me.

Thread: Advice on DROs for a mill
20/05/2022 15:22:45

I fitted a 3-axis "Machine-DRO" set specified for my mill, a Myford VMC, and although I indulged in a heck of a lot of elaborate bracketry to both support and protect the sensors and magnetic strips on a machine not designed for DRO scales, I have never regretted it.

The instruction advise protecting the armoured sensor cables from coolant. I don't use flood-coolants, nevertheless I ran them through flexible conduit, actually spiral-wound polythene sink-waste hose from a camping & caravanning shop. (You'd be surprised where you can find engineering materials!) The standard electrical flexible conduit is too small to allow the sensors or connectors, passage.

One thing I did do, when setting the specified gap between sensor and strip, was use a plastic (soft and non-magnetic) feeler-gauge. I measured a few old plastic bank and club cards, which make very good shim material, and cut a strip from the appropriate one.


It was joy on first use to drill several holes in two bits of metal to be screwed together, and find all the screws fitted through all of them first time!

The one drawback is that fitting the long axis strip and sensor lost the use of the table-stops. Some would argue that a DRO avoids their need, but as with the 3-phase conversion sets I put on this and other machine-tools, I prefer to enhance the machine as it exists, not simply replace bits. Also, once a positive stop has been set by the numbers, you don't need keep sidling up to digits or dials.

So from time to time I look at the mill to work out how to make and fit new table-stops. In any case, sometimes I do use the handwheel dials alone, on short, simple tasks. If nothing else it keeps my hand in!


The fitting and operating instructions are nice and clear, and though I have not so far used the more advanced features like generating radii and pitch-circles, I have no qualms about doing so. Though I might practice on a bit of scrap material first!

Incidentally, I don't keep this or any of my machine-tool manuals in the workshop. To protect them, they normally stay in the house where I write the salient details from them on a notepad. If I do need the document in the shed, I put it open at the relevant page in a polythene bag or a walker's map-case.

Edited By Nigel Graham 2 on 20/05/2022 15:35:53

Thread: New To CAD? No, but....
20/05/2022 15:02:02

I'm sorry if you felt that, Martin, but that was not my intention at all.

I wanted something of a view of several different makes, because I was becoming bogged down; and that is what happened.

I stuck with TurboCAD for a long time because having bought it and advanced so far with it, it seemed silly to switch to a completely new one like Alibre or Fusion - though I did give them a brief go.

I had however hit something of a brick wall with TurboCAD because the more you advance in it the harder it does become to make each step further. Even some of its basic functions like printing the image is a minefield. Also, finding help with it is not easy.

Gordon has given me an introduction to Solid Edge _ I printed the instructions he sent me - and though it looks very different from TC it does seem a more logical programme to use, and it is easy to seek advice. Gordon's introductory exercises also didn't assume prior CAD experience, as the Siemens web-site seems to do; though Siems do seem to have put a lot explanatory material on it as well.

Plus, plenty of users! Indeed I think it was one of the "Solid"-stable that one my own club fellow-members used to teach, in a school. Possibly a "student edition" of SolidWorks: a crafty piece of salesmanship by the makers!

I will try SE further, and may well switch to it. From what I have seen of it so far, it does have some very good features reasonably easy to grasp.. It also appears to have a relatively much more straightforward approach to representing solids than TC's two or three methods. Though those are the programme's' internal functions they affect how you use it, and in TC they can present a lot of hidden traps for the unwary..

So "waste of time" no - I was trying to find something within my ability to learn to sufficient level to use practically.

I may well never find or use every last bell and whistle, but who uses all those in Microsoft's 'Office' programmes? Instead, what I want, is to learn a CAD programme that will help and support my model-engineering.

20/05/2022 12:55:20

I don't know if that's meant as a sneer, as it reads, but like the Spice Girls, I know what I want.

And that is to use the system I have effectively, be it TurboCAD or SolidEdge, not keep starting yet another! (I'd not even heard of MOI until someone mentioned it here.)

20/05/2022 09:47:00

The last few posts have identified one of the possible difficulties in learning to use CAD is the sheer flood of tools and commands, daunting even before you recognise by their names and squiggles, what they do, which ones to use and how to use them.

In that regard being able switch menus on and off easily is an advantage.

I see SolidEdge appears to do that by a tab system, but that does obscure common application basics like File - Open / Save / Copy / Print. That is one I think should stay like a Victorian child, seen but not heard until needed, in its usual spot top-left. I know "Print" might be a bit more demanding in CAD, so may need its own route.

TurboCAD uses a master tool-bar menu that is simple to use, but use it without care to close short-term selections after use and you can create very cluttered borders hard to search. (I think MS 'Word' is slightly similar in that respect, though without the index.) Bit like my workshop then....

Thread: This trolley/cart could be useful
20/05/2022 09:24:55

Advertisers outside of the specialist fields are not noted for literacy!

Looking at the link we find -

The wheels are "new and improved"... Errr... Pardon?

The wheels can also cope with a wide range of "terranes". I think they mean "terrain", which is also singular. I forget the accurate definition but "terrane" is a specific geological / geomorphological term.

That aside, yes the trolley does look useful!

Thread: Oil can (again)
20/05/2022 09:18:20

Not oil-cans as such but I have found the pumps from liquid-soap dispensers useful for decanting lubricating-oils, wood-preservatives and the like from full 5l cans.

They are also a source of springs, some in stainless-steel - safety-valve candidates?

Thread: New To CAD? No, but....
20/05/2022 00:34:29

Lee -

Thank you.

Err, Oh No, no not another make of CAD! Oh for a simple life. I want to be able to get to grips with what I have, not act as a sort of reviewer of relative difficulty by trying one wretched programme after another.

I wonder if I can put my drawing-board back together?

Thread: Oil can (again)
20/05/2022 00:24:29

I resigned myself long ago to the nature of any oil-can / old washing-up liquid bottle / 'Flit'-gun / owt with a fancy brand-name, to lubricate the intended bearings if you're lucky whilst performing its intended function of oiling everything else - including the user's hands - within range.

Oh though for something sensible for feeding oil past those miniscule ball-bearings held closed by remarkably powerful springs, that pass as oiling-points on many machines!

Thread: Fkesxispeed...what is the back gear for and how to use it
20/05/2022 00:09:41

Duncan -

Much as my approach although I don't know the actual figures for my VFD, motor and lathe. My way is, if it's cutting nicely, the control position is in the green sector and the machine doesn't seem to be struggling, I must have it about right; and I judge it by hearing as well as sight!

Much of the time my ML7 runs with the belt on its lowest setting, and I use the VFD for a sort of "fine-tuning".

The electronics on that lathe don't show the frequency. Those on the other machines do, but I don't know how to relate them numerically to motor speed, though there is an approximate scale printed on the controller.

I use both HSS and carbide tooling. One thing this has shown me is that carbide insert tooling - which is really made for high-rate industrial production machine-tools - does not actually have to be driven at crazy speeds to be effective. "Because it can" does not axiomatically mean "So it must". It is though often easier, depending on the metal grade and quality being machined, to obtain a decent turned finish with HSS.

19/05/2022 17:24:12

Interesting to see the different views on using a variable-speed motor apparently to replace the use of back-gear.

I see it as a co-operation, gaining the advantages of both, not merely replacing one with the other.

Although I have fitted a VFD and 3ph motor to my Myford 7 and Harrison L5 lathes (and Myford VMC mill and BCA jig-borer) I do use the cone-pulley and back-gear ranges to their full. The Harrison has an all-geared headstock anyway, so engaging back-gear is merely by moving a lever.

Even with the L5 revolving at only about 60 rpm, estimated, the motor is still at about 900-1000 rpm, happily in the controller's green sector. The motor - machine pulley ratio is about 2.5:1, I think.

One unexpected bonus of converting the ML7 is that the 3ph motor runs very quietly. The original motor did as well of course, but it made the cabinet resonate loudly.

I am restoring a Denbigh H4 horizontal mill but will give it only a conventional single-phase motor and high-ratio belt and/or gear drive. Similarly my little EW 2.5" BGSC lathe is perfectly happy with a modern 1/4HP 1ph motor linked at about belt 3:1 ratio to the original countershaft.

Horses(power) for courses perhaps, but my feeling is that variable-speed 3ph motors can enhance, not merely replace 'cos we can/ it's modern / thought "better" /..., the machine-tool's existing transmission system.

Thread: New To CAD? No, but....
19/05/2022 17:05:20

I've had a bit of rest for my brain to recover, but may I ask a basic question please?

MOI stands for...?

16/05/2022 23:47:53

Gordon -

Found it, thank you.

I realised it was simply that I'd misunderstood your initial instructions and picked up a template rather than completely blank page, so I started again.

It works this time, and I now have a grey block floating through the datum plane. I observed the relationships signs appearing on the rectangle.

Thread: Do they exist?
16/05/2022 22:44:20

Do I detect a non-sequiteur above?

I use a wiggler when I want the milled features to be as accurate as I can make them from the edge, whether I use the DRO or the handwheel dials.

The wiggler is only for finding the edge, but if you've an Imperial probe and intending to work in mm, it's no trouble either to measure the probe in mm and work to that, or to set the edge imperially then switch a DRO from inch to mm.

I must admit I've never used the double-edge technique Jason describes, but this is because I normally relate the holes etc primarily to each other rather than an edge, where the distance from that is not critical within sensible limits for the purpose. However, I do take two or three "wiggles" and go by their mean value: the variation is generally within 0005" .

In some situations I locate the work against a stop or fence that prevents using the wiggler on the work-piece itself. In this case, to keep winding the table in the same direction, I clamp a small parallel to the exposed area of the fence face, above the work, and "wiggle" to that as a proxy for the work face.

Thread: New To CAD? No, but....
16/05/2022 22:17:18

Thank you very much Gordon!

I have printed the first 2 sets of instructions but can't make No. 9 work.

I am not even convinced the rectangle is a closed figure but has stayed as 4 separate lines, though trying to sort that out kept raising a warning; "The requested change conflicts with existing relationships", which I take to mean the relationship already exists.

Selecting the house symbol certainly shows the three axis arrows and planes with the rectangle - or 4 lines - lying on it, in blue.

Clicking within the drawn area does not do anything.

Clicking a line changes that alone from blue to orange while the cross-hairs are still over it. Move them away and the line reverts to blue. The lines are also marked with little symbols: a fine red square on each corner, a line-centre mark and a 90º sign in two adjacent corners.

On the left of the drawing space is a menu called "Select" with various things about "fences" - I am not sure where that came from.

I had noticed the start didn't seem to quite co-incide with your instructions so I don't know if you have altered your screen layout a bit.

"New" (I picked the ISO metric template - should I have done that?) opened the Home page but no "Draw" menu. It had "Sketch 2D" and "Sketch 3D" instead - I picked 2D - these seemed nearest I could see to what you'd written.

So where did I go wrong?

Edited By Nigel Graham 2 on 16/05/2022 22:18:06

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