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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: SE (CE) - Any Manuals Available, Please?
18/08/2022 01:19:06

As the title...

Printed please, or at least pdf ones that I can actually edit into a printable form.

Not videos. I cannot learn anything from videos..


Some while ago, after uprating my copy of TurboCAD I studied various comments on this forum and thought SolidEdge (CE) might offer a better, more friendly and more learn-able CAD system than TurboCAD.

So I installed it .

I don't want to draw just pretty pictures, not even the beautiful, joint-free renderings TC allows you to produce on a 3D "model" relatively easily. Nor am I interested in ISO-rhubarb diktats on title-box fonts and hot-glue symbols.

What I do want, is to be able to make all three of direct orthographic drawings for making the parts, 3D assembly drawings (or "models" in CAD-ese); and elevations derived from the models.

TC allows both 2D and 3D modes as options when starting a new drawings; but though I have developed a rather low skill with big gaps in the 2D option, 3D is just impossible, and seems to offer no 2D derivation anyway. (Or I cannot find it.)

On the other hand....

TurboCAD offers a big range of "Save as" file options, and allows you to print the drawings; although its printing system is nightmarishly difficult, with no WYSIWYG or scale guarantee.

SolidEdge offers only one file-type (.asm, its own); and does not even mention "print" on any of its arcane tool-bars. The "P-word" does appear in the on-line 'Help' menu, but so mixed up with "managed environments" and other Silicon Valley puffery that it seems not the business of anyone daft enough to want a real drawing above the lathe or bench.


Another user here sent me a simple SE exercise: a rectangle with a notched corner.

Following that, I tried a slightly bolder T-nut. I created its end profile - several lines that might be a closed polygon but if not would be useless in a serious drawing where you may need copy or move the shape several times. I am not even sure if it is in 2D or a 3D extrusion base, but it does lie at an odd angle across the screen. The "extrusion" tool is anyway all mixed up with more jargon, so perhaps the wrong one of only one extrusion command.

And that were it.... Stuck. Nothing on SE itself to help me.

Stuck until this evening some months later, when I thought I'd try again.

And stuck again.

SE (CE) may prove simpler to use than TurboCAD for similar performance. I do not yet know, but it is far less intuitive despite better menu annotations. Also, as I say appears not to offer any printing, not even as difficult as its rival's print system. Perhaps Siemens assumes that a hobbyist CAD user is interested only in pretty pictures of things, not making the things. (TurboCAD used to advertise in ME- with the outright assumption of using the drawings in the workshop!)

If I can't find any literature, though, my only option is to delete the programme from the computer.

Thread: EVRI/Hermes text scam
17/08/2022 10:37:19

Evri: A new name to me so I have looked it up.

Hermes: started in West Germany in 1972.

Expanded to several European countries including in 2000, the UK, and now has its HQ in Leeds.

Created the myHermes brand in 2009, dropped it in 2018.

Re-named itself as Evri in March 2022.

Owner: private-equity company, Advent.

[Source: Wikpedia. The entry is prefaced with a warning that parts seem not neutral, but written as an advertisement. However, it also outlines, presumably by a separate author, its appalling record of very poor service and naked law-breaking, in the UK.]


The Hermes ParcelShops notice on my local branch of the Co-op's "NISA" is still Hermes, but it will take a while to change them all having followed the business fad for pointlessly changing a company or brand name from explanatory or at least arcane, but familiar, to merely meaningless!).


I wonder how many people who are caught by this type of fraud, are genuinely expecting a parcel; rather than reacting blindly to merely being told one is on its way.

Thread: Helium Ballon
16/08/2022 09:30:31

Even without the rather low risk of aircraft accidents, it is time that helium party-balloons were swept away. Helium is too precious a resource for serious purposes and is not something simply extracted from the atmosphere to which it would return unaffected after use.

I do not know if "toy balloon races", based on distance not speed, still take place - I recall there was always at least one at our local Carnival back in the '60s and '70s.

Nevertheless it seems nearly all supermarkets sell these brightly-coloured party toys, and how many end up as litter miles from origin, or as once found to my inconvenience, entangled in overhead power-lines and the like?

In my case, the unexpected hour's wait at Skipton Station due to toy balloons wrapped around the overheads somewhere up-line did not matter personally. I was returning to my accommodation from the event (a funeral), and did not need change trains down-line, nor be at my destination by any particular time. However there must have been many people, both railway staff and passengers, put to a lot of trouble by the ensuing disruption to the services around Leeds, Bradford and Skipton during the afternoon's busiest times.

At least an incident of this sort does not endanger anyone, beyond the known work hazards to the Network Rail engineering staff, unlike an air-crash.....


A Digression -

I hoped I played a small part in averting even more disruption!

During my enforced wait a heavy minerals-hoppers train passed through Skipton, in the Leeds direction. One of the wagons near the back of the long train was emitting a very loud thumping noise totally different from anything else from the train.

When a local passenger train arrived a few minutes later I told its driver of this so he could alert the appropriate people. I never knew the outcome! The train's nearest likely departure point was the limestone quarry at Helwith Bridge, beyond Settle, so would have travelled about 30 miles already with a possible flat on one wheel, and may have reached its destination safely.

Thread: MEW Subscription lapsed with no warning
16/08/2022 08:50:25

I've had no problems with receiving the printed ME, but it might depend on your subscription method. My most recent edition is Vol.229 No. 4697 (12-25 Aug 22) - that with the IMLEC scene on the cover.

I do not subscribe to the digital version so cannot judge the performance of that service..

Nevertheless there seems an increasing number of people here dissatisfied with Morton's sales-office competence I would have hoped MyTimeMedia had assured itself of, before selling the titles to Mortons for no clear reason other than the implied quick money.

After all, Mortons Media is no beginner in publishing special-interest magazines.


Oops! Good thing I re-read the last sentence so spotted my typing error - a missing 't'. I've an excuse though: I am not a professional journalist or publisher......

Thread: covid booster warning
15/08/2022 22:55:50

Thankyou for that advice.

My surgery uses its own web-site and a text invitation / appointment system, which generally works well. It does seem that in too many cases, the larger the company or organisation the poorer the web -site design;. with IT and telecomms companies being among the worst!

I am not expecting a flu + Covid jab until September or October, I think, from memory of when the last flu one was.

Thread: What Did you do Today 2022
15/08/2022 09:46:04

Paul -

Might be two or three dimension errors along the crankshaft, all adding up - but at least you have drawings, which is a help!


My own club hit the stop-blocks with Ken Swan's 7-1/4" g. design for the Kerr-Stuart 'Wren' - a third full-size. Several of us worked on different aspects of this club project, but left the motion gear to a particularly skilled trio of consummate craftsmen with considerable model-locomotives experience.

They could not make the valve-events correct at all, and sadly, let themselves be trapped by their unfamiliarity with Hackworth Valve-gear - their expertise was with Stephensons' and Walschaerts.

Eventually a fresh pair of eyes with no specific valve-gear bias, threw away the blizzard of roughly-sketched valve-event diagrams, systematically measured everything, and spotted the cause almost by chance. The slide valves were made precisely to their own drawing, but the assembly-drawing showed a shorter length (much smaller laps).

A transparent, acrylic dummy valve to these second dimensions proved the point. With the valves duly modified, the locomotive could be completed and has performed well ever since.

Other 'Wren' owners tell me they had not encountered this problem. Ours were among the first castings and drawings set sold, and Ken Swan must have corrected the drawing error very soon afterwards.


The experience revealed an interesting psychological point I have noticed in other areas, and I have been caught by it too.

This is that the greater your expertise while the simpler the problem, the greater your chance of missing the cause in a fog of bafflement.

14/08/2022 22:13:17

A little more work on the steam-lorry, this time to make a replacements for two brackets I made only a couple of days (rather than a couple of years or decades?) ago.

Then sorting out why the tipping ash-pan would not close properly - interference on two screws, invisible but for tiny marks on them and the ash-pan.

This is typical - I spend a huge amount of time sorting out snags I could not have foreseen when I made the parts that are now causing the problems - and which I have probably already replaced or modified at some point.

No drawings - no, "Oh, I'll think I'll make Parts 536A and B today", take Drawing 56 Sht.2 (rev.C) to the workshop and emerge at tea-time with two parts that fit where intended on Part 74 made last Christmas Eve, and will happily receive the bits that work on them, next Shrove Tuesday!

So if anyone wants any now-redundant 1/4" holes (one careful owner).... my wagon has them in plenty!

Thread: Tapping my first thread into Cast Iron
14/08/2022 21:57:04

When tapping a blind hole it is worth putting a pair of lock-nuts of the tap as a depth-stop: the thread is not usually needed to be the same length as the tool.

Where I do need a deep thread I measure the tap's threaded length, or to the shank diameter, from its very tip, then measure the amount protruding to assess the cut depth.

If the tapping hole depth is not important, e.g. in the end of a stretcher, I drill well over depth.

One important tip is to withdraw the tap at intervals to brush it clear, and to clean the chips from the hole.


I've invested in a spring tap-guide - yes I know making them is among the exercises in the primer books but this was one where I felt buying it justified.

It has proved very useful, in the lathe, drilling-machine and bench-drill. (My mill's quill is so stiff that it cannot used with any real sensitivity.)

For bigger taps I sometimes used the drill rather as a pillar-tool by - unplugging its mains lead, slipping the belt off and turning the chuck by hand, the other hand applying gentle starting pressure with the feed-lever.

Ramon -

I do like your circular tap-holder. I don't remember seeing this device elsewhere. It must give a lot more control with very small taps, than does a conventional, arm-type tap-wrench.

Thread: water
13/08/2022 22:32:44

My home has what I call the South Wing - the single-storey extension to the basic two-up-two-down Edwardiana, and holding the kitchen and en-suite bathroom. I joined the roof gutters on both sides with a gutter across the gable; and it already collected the down-spout from the rear half of the main roof. These discharge via water-butts with diverter weirs, with the overflows split between normal drain and the pond I built for the garden's frogs.

' ' '

I used to know someone from one of the Victorian areas of one of the big Northern cities - Leeds I think.

Each house in the typical estate of terraces was originally fitted with its own w.c. - of a very distinct sort, which he described.

In a brick outhouse (or course!) down the yard, the seat was above a drop into the sewer. Below the floor in front of the "pan" was what in the old ore-mining terms would have been called a "flop-jack": a skip or tank mounted on journals so it would fill steadily with water until suddenly over-balancing, emptying itself in a rush, then falling back for the next cycle.

He said these were fed from the roof down-spouts, so standing outside the back doors in wet weather the hill was alive with the sound of rushing water and the crashing of empty flop-jacks dropping back into place.

While in a dry Summer......

13/08/2022 08:03:17

There is a slightly parallel scheme in Monmouthshire, that pumps water between the Rivers Usk and Wye.

My employer of the time picked up a speculative contract to supply the equipment to a team of biologists trying to find a safe way to steer fish away from the pumping-station intakes.

It was speculative because no-one knew if the experiment would work, or even if the particular fish species concerned would be active in the area at the time, for the time involved - I expect it was difficult to ask them.

We set up the equipment and left it with instructions including one that stressed it only needed switching it on and off - do not touch any of the settings!

Gave themselves away they did, when they tried moaning about our system not working or something. When we retrieved it there were muddy finger-prints on what had been clean value-setting push-buttons!.

I don't know if it occurred to them that perhaps the fish had not read the timetable so were simply not there as hoped!


There have been suggestions about using the canals for water-transfers, but this may have been thought not really very effective or practical.

Thread: Reliance drill grinding attachment.
12/08/2022 21:20:26

Thank you for this thread! It sent me down the garden to collect my jig and study it in conjunction with these texts.

I have tried using it, and was on the right track but had not realised the subleties. Nor known part of it is missing - the end-stop.

It also seems rather uncertain on the pin that retains the rotating stem in the frame, so it is very easy to have a lot of wobble in the thing. Playing with it here, as I type this, I think this is a matter of skill and a delicate touch with the adjusting-screws, not the result of undue wear.


Paul -

I followed the link to Harold Hall's instructions, and have book-marked that.


Fowler's Fury -

Your and others' photos have identified mine as a 'Reliance' and it does have what seems a figure '1' hidden shyly away in the base recess.

It lacks the drill end-stop you show; so your picture answers my puzzle about how to turn the drill round to the other face while keeping the length constant.

It would be simple enough to make a replacement, especially if the triangular part is round rod instead. Square bar would be appropriate - turn a spigot to fit into its holder part; pin and glue.

(A triangular bar would be easy to mill using a dividing-head or Vee-block to give the 90º working angle. Since he is cited above, see Harold Hall's book on grinding, to sharpen the cutter!)

Thread: How Much is this Costing Me?
12/08/2022 20:31:42

John -

Thankyou for explaining it. So effectively Solar Together is just an agent... presumably adding its agency fees to the cost!. One might have hoped Councils would have Departments capable of doing such shopping around, but perhaps that belongs back in the days of Borough Engineers.

The house is about 100 years old, I think, with quite thin rafters under the slates (no roofing-felt) of a roof not in the best of health! It would probably not take the weight of the array.

' '

Duncan -

I fear the problem here is that the politicians cannot understand the importance of iron, and the basics of iron-making; but worse, are too lazy or snooty to learn.

Some months ago the Cumbria mine question came up in Any Questions. Not one of the panel had any clue why we need the coal. The most they managed was a vague guess in a questioning voice that "coal" is used for making "steel".

For Goodness' sake, this was school Geography and Science lessons material!

Meanwhile the owners of Port Talbot iron-works is appealing for Government help so they can install electric-arc smelting furnaces. I don't know where they are going to find the electricity, or what is their intended reducing-agent, but at least they fighting to continue in business. Fighting against a Government that is strapped for tax-payers' cash besides not knowing how the one metallic element vital for pretty much everything we do, use or own is extracted from its ore.

It is nothing new though. The Swedes and Germans were using electric versions of blast-furnaces 100 years ago, but my reference, an old electrical-engineering book describing them, does not state the reducing-agent. The electrodes themselves perhaps?

Thread: CO2 - Dumb question
12/08/2022 20:10:49

I think Frances IoM has pointed to what appears a huge sticking-point in the public spats over the issue - that many people genuinely cannot see why a mere couple of degrees Celsius should matter so much.

My suspicion is that if they were ever taught it at school, they have not grasped the difference between heat and temperature, let alone such concepts as specific heat; hence do not understand what an apparently tiny overall temperature rise shows.

Thread: Boiler test
12/08/2022 15:49:19

I was faced with a somewhat similar problem recently, with a thread on an engraver spindle.

As well as using thread-gauges and magnifying-glass, I made some brass test-threads in bits of bar, to what seemed the measured size, and tried them - very cautiously.

If they start to stick within 2 or 3 turns, they are obviously wrong; don't try to force them further.

Note the threads must be scrupulously clean so you don't risk a bit of swarf jamming or tearing the threads, and I lubricated them with a little spot of WD-40 or white spirit.


(It actually turned out to be a 30tpi Unified Special, of all things!)

Thread: water
12/08/2022 15:37:08

YorkshireWater, French-owned now? (Like EDF - French State-owned...)

At least France is nearly local. It starts less than 400 miles South of Manchester Ship Canal.

My supplier, Wessex Water, is owned by a cement-hotels-&-quarrying outfit called YTL, based in Malaysia.


I used to be in favour of private-ownership, Not now, and not just because Mr. Blair sold me via a very dodgy deal indeed.

The services being State-owned avoids the heavy profit overhead that so often vanishes abroad, losing the nation's money, under the deceitful guise of "inward investment" - American lack of 's' , and all..

State ownership's problem is not the principle itself, in my view. It is that it lets Governments of all flavours, and a Treasury that only ever knows cost not value, keep playing with things they don't understand, in their efforts to be seen Doing Something Useful.

Nationalising them does not require all the administrators V8Eng alleges are thought necessary. It is politicians who think that, and won't let the real managers who know the business, manage them properly.

As for Government oversight... we have that now, more so than in the past! Whether effective or not is another matter. Maybe we need an OffOff to oversee the OffWat, Offcom, Offqual, Offxxx bodies set up after the great sell-&-destroy drives, to ensure that the new, privatised companies behave themselves. In theory.

(Is an Offqual, an unwell marsupial?)


Hopper -

I do not recall there ever being State-owned insurance companies. The other services you list, were, and I think should be, but insurance has always been commercial - but probably just as adept shysters then as now.

Thread: How Much is this Costing Me?
12/08/2022 15:03:52

Who is the Council's "partner", I wonder...?

It is the fashion these days for organisations to have "partners" - just as as shop staff are suddenly all "colleagues" for no obvious reason - but I do think it is an easy hiding-place for "partnerships" that they don't want enquiring into.

So is the "partner" here, actually the systems' sellers?

More to the point though is that the real capital, installation, maintenance and eventual replacement costs of all these well-meaning schemes are never made too clear.

How do we know if the claimed, notional savings of £x000 over y0 years is calculated, if calculated at all, on real experience from thousands of sales up and down the land?

Or if they are from spurious "average" buyers and "average" homes about as real and relevant to your own case, as the wealthy, fictitious example "families" and "university students" once inhabiting Which? magazine's own leafy suburbia, its finance-complifying articles?

.Frankly, for an average one power-cut a year, you'd probably be better off just buying a caravan generator and battery-pack!


Years ago, when the grey moss of solar arrays started to grow on leafy-suburban roof-tops, I investigated for my own home. It transpired my roof was too small, not sufficiently South-facing and too shaded for part of the day; to make it viable. Only a few years later I moved home so although I had not envisaged that at the time of enquiry, it would never have recouped more than a fraction of outlay despite the "feed-in" tariff still available at the time. This assessment was agreed by my brother, who worked for a "green energy" firm then, but 400 miles away, so with no financial interest.

(He has installed in their home, near Glasgow, quite an impressive solar electricity and water-heating scheme to his own design, complete with turntable-mounted PV array that tracks the Sun. The circuit-diagram and control panel, in a glass case in the hall, would not look out of place in an oil refinery!)

My home now may be better suited geographically but the money saved by not buying an array - and rebuilding the roof to take it - will go towards the one inescapable cost quite possible for a near-septagenarian before the array has returned anything worthwhile.

Similarly with all this other much-vaunted stuff: air-source heat-pump, battery-electric car, all-electric home, etc..

I think I'll convert my Harrison lathe to treadle-power.....


My brother also revealed something surprising. Scotland is not usually short of precipitation feeding its myriad streams, so I asked him if his firm was involved in the small-scale, local hydro-power systems catching on in England.

"No", he replied, "It's not worth it. The planning system is so bureaucratic and against it, that you would probably lose all the possible savings in costs, even if they give you the permission."

That was several years ago so things may have changed since, but I'd have thought that one country where the planners would embrace such plant wholeheartedly; with its advantage of coping with long, dark Winters.


Thread: Sieg C1 lathe autofeed and screw cutting
11/08/2022 14:23:15

I'd go with the mandrel handle and hand rotation for many such applications if you use only a relatively simple lathe.

A point though that seems not stressed. If you disengage the change-wheel drive or half-nuts (if the lathe has them) at any point in mid-threading, you do need ensure re-engaging at exactly the right point in the right direction for the next pass. If you miss, it you ruin the thread!

Manually winding the lathe back and forth may be rather tedious if you are making lots of shouldered fittings, or indeed studs, but at least is safe because the drive stays engaged.

(Unless you fail to withdraw the tool enough for its return trip... Yes, I have done that!).


I have often used the tailstock centre as a tap guide as Howard describes. A bit of centre-drilled rod held in the drill-chuck will handle centre-pointed taps. I did though buy a spring-centre for taps, for use on the lathe, mill or bench-drill - it's proved a worthwhile investment. They are not very difficult to make and sometimes appear as exercises in the self-teaching literature, but sometimes I prefer to make things, not things to make things! The point is reversible to accommodate either centre-drilled or centre-pointed, taps.


On using the lathe in reverse and a tool behind the work: fine but be careful if the chuck is screwed onto the mandrel. I think many of the "mini" lathes have their chucks on studs and nuts, so free of that hazard.

Thread: Setting up a model engineering club
11/08/2022 14:03:20

I don't think it's state restrictions that are the real obstacles, but insurers and solicitors, of whom most would not know which end of a spanner to hold, but certainly scent the slightest whiff of cash!

Going with Speedy Builder's last paragraph, it may be that such a group will nucleate enough interest internally for a club of its own to be formed.

It is possible for a model-engineering society to function without its own premises. I am in one that hires appropriate venues for its social events; and another that has a railway and meeting-room but no full workshop.

However, these assume either all members already having their own workshops, or members who do being willing to help their fellows establish their own. That could work, but does depend heavily on the individuals involved.

Thread: Perhaps not the wildlife photograph of the year......
11/08/2022 13:53:15

Best show the mice re-runs of Tom & Jerry before releasing them. It might give them cat-outwitting ideas.

Thread: CO2 - Dumb question
11/08/2022 13:50:48

The points about ice-ages ought make us consider that the world is relatively cool at present. Although we are in (probably) a warm interglacial, just be glad none of us will ever see the results of the end of the Ice-Age completely.

The arguments really revolve around human activity disturbing a natural event that, albeit with small perturbations lasting no more than a few centuries at a time, would otherwise be a long-term, fairly stable conditions in human-historical terms.

In other words, the Earth would be expected to warm further - the previous interglacial brought sea-level some 10 metres or more above present - but much more slowly. Wildlife was able to adjust to this, and so were our ancestors when their drift Northwards was blocked by Arctic conditions. The South of England was not glaciated, but was Arctic tundra.

Our far-descendants faced with whatever happens, will find it far harder to adjust to a changing climate, especially if changing at an artificially-rapid rate, than our Palaeolithic ancestors and their Neanderthal cousins would have done. (Though we don't exactly know just what did happen to bring about the entire demise of the latter species, beyond hypothesised absorption into our own by breeding.)



Regarding colonising Mars, I still think that of science-fiction and Musk bank-balance realms - delete the less-credible. The planet cannot support life, especially our own. Who on Earth would want to live on Mars?

It is a cold desert under a very thin atmosphere of mainly carbon-dioxide; and even if colonised in something like Antarctic-research scale and purposes the attempts would be faced with gigantic problems starting with the sheer travelling-time and isolation of the trip each way.

Let alone of support there and for the return trip

Even assuming it would be possible to return from a planet of similar mass to Earth, so a trip there is not just a one-way ride to Eternity with a stop at Mars Services........

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