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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: Out of Curiosity - TurboCAD Advert Screen-shot
15/06/2022 10:46:06

Having up-dated my copy of TurboCAD some months ago, I have received e-posts from IMSI trying to sell me the very latest TC2022.

The most recent highlighted various aspects of its already very powerful rendering facilities (TC is aimed at architects as well as engineers), and included this screen-shot of one of the menus, which I trust IMSI and Mortons won't mind me quoting:

tc2022 menu sample.jpg

Although the above is a quote within an advertisement, I can understand what most of it is for - a menu of tools for using the programme - but why that column of "0x...." values?

Aren't those the internal addresses of the commands?

If so, why might they be displayed in an operating tool-menu?

Just curious, that's all - I know some applications give you programming functions (e.g. VisualBASIC in MS 'Excel'  and 'Access' , but have never seen values like these displayed with the tools of the two TC editions I have, nor in any other software.

Edited By Nigel Graham 2 on 15/06/2022 10:47:06

Thread: 'Oo Nicked The Regulator 'Andles?
15/06/2022 10:27:42

The current ME review by Roger Backhouse of Glasgow's "Riverside Museum", reminds me of visiting it - and the sailing-ship moored alongside - a few years ago.

Reminds me to, of an oddity.

Look carefully at his image (Photo 10) of the cab of the NBR locomotive... What is missing?

Same with another locomotive in the display, but not with the SAR one as I recall, perhaps because its regulator handle is less prominent.

I would love to know who removed the regulator handles, and why. I can think of no logical, sensible reason!


To be fair, this Transport Museum's curators do seem to understand what they are showing, despite some branding-consultant type re-naming it to hide its identity; and the exhibits carry reasonable explanations - not perfect but better than some I could mention. Blushing are you, NRM York, and Bernard Lovell Telescope "visitor-centre"?


The one exhibit that didn't ring true to me is the Ruston & Hornsby traction-engine. (Roger's Photo18). I don't know its history prior to arriving on the Clyde bank but it looks to be a general-purpose tractor vaguely converted to showman's trim, perhaps by a previous preservationist. Adorning the eaves with lamps is a preservation fashion not true to commercial travelling-fair life - but also, this engine has no dynamo and no sign it ever did! It seems to have had a hard life though - the tyres are quite severely worn.

Thread: What Did you do Today 2022
15/06/2022 01:01:24

Carried on with the steam-wagon I should have finished a decade and more ago.

I have had several weeks off, on other things, after I hit a wall trying to design and make the ash-pan. (That's ash-pan V2.2.)

You'd think that would be easy, but it's not. Not when you want it with a damper and to tip to drop the fire; and the cylindrical firebox has no ash-pan mountings and occupies a huge void in the middle of the chassis. On the full-size lorry the pan was probably an extended part of the outer firebox shell.

I seem to be making progress now though, and finished this evening by making the hinge-pin for it.

I aim to finish the steam-making parts to running order before resuming work on the engine and transmission parts (which will probably involve a completely new cylinder to overcome problems I built unwittingly into it years ago).

I have no idea if this vehicle will even work.... assuming that's not so far hence that I have to supervise its completion via a Medium!

(Were mediums the original call-centres? "Knock one for 'no', two for 'yes'..." )

Thread: French water mill engineering
15/06/2022 00:43:09


What a shame the planning officials could not see that restoring the mill would not deplete the river.

' ' '

I have seen, externally, a much smaller, restored mill in the French Pyrennees; with an unusual type of turbine. Unfortunately I have no photos of it. The mill was closed on our visit when we spotted it by chance, but I was able to paddle into the short tailrace to see that the power-plant was two crude, open-construction reaction-turbines on vertical shafts. Each runner was a cast-iron cylinder with four vanes inclined at 45º, as spokes / blades, to catch the water from spouts directly above them. The give-away of restoration were big, gleaming stainless-steel bolts in the iron-work! The head was a good 3 metres, I think I judged from the dam directly behind the small, stone building.

' ' '

I helped friends return Upwey Mill, near Weymouth, to flour-milling condition, back in the 1990s I think. He had to obtain an abstraction-licence but it was really only a formality because the river itself was not affected.

This mill though did suffer from curious stream surges enough to break the cogs (proper mill-wrighting term for the hardwood gear teeth), which at about £11 a go was not wanted. The cause was traced to automatic borehole pumps about a mile up-valley from the spring, which itself is only about 100 yards upstream of the mill, responding to the normal fluctuations in public water demand.

Clearly we could do nothing about that, but we realised the cure would be a choke-board to keep constant the remarkably shallow layer of water flowing over the sill into the wheel; and to divert the surplus over the weir.

After we, both members of our local model-engineering society, had sketched assorted arrangements of gears, screws etc. he came up the with the ideal solution. He stood the plank on pairs of blocks of wood, each pair of a given height according to what the water would power. It worked perfectly!

Thread: The evocative sounds of releasing train air brakes of old....
15/06/2022 00:14:54

Could be worse places than in the station to pull the chain...

..... Such as on the recently-demolished Weymouth Harbour branch-line that conveyed the "boat trains" from the main line to the ferry terminal. The line ran, urban tram style, along one of the town's streets.


As for evocative sounds, that for me was the steady "clank-clank-clank-clank- " of loose-coupled goods vans and mineral wagons ambling along fish-plated track.

These particular trains were on the Weymouth-Portland branch-line, which had closed to passenger services some years before we moved to the area. They were hauled until the last year or so before closure in 1965 if I recall aright, by ex-GWR 57xx pannier-tanks, then a Standard Class tank (I think).

Its customers were primarily Whiteheads Torpedo Factory (private sidings), RN Portland (now a commercial port) and the Portland Stone quarries and masonry works up on 'Tophill' (of Portland).

We could see the trains too. Our home had a spacious vista over intervening homes, of Portland Harbour, with the lower margin of the sea visible to us being the top of an embankment carrying the line across a broad valley.

The track at least as far as the Navy Base was intact for quite a long time after the final workings; and occasionally, late at night in quiet weather I would still hear the "steady clank-clank-clank-clank- " of.... Eh? Is BR running confidential services to Her Majesty's Ships? Bit hard to keep a goods train secret, and I could see ships but not trains.

It were our Dad who solved the puzzle: anchor-chains! The sound of warships in mid-anchorage, weighing anchor, was almost identical to the so-familiar sound of goods rolling-stock of that era....

Thread: tool-to-parts contact detection using an old multi-meter
14/06/2022 14:25:33

I've often thought about that, though in practice I use either the oiled-paper or wiggler. If the distance from the cut feature to the edge is not ever so fussy (e.g if what matters is the pitch of a set of holes along a piece of hot-rolled steel), sometimes I simply eye the alignment of a centre-drill point with the edge.

To answer Gary Wooding's question further; yes the path between work-surface and tool is all metal-to-metal but via lots of joints, each adding a tiny resistance, and each of most of those joints holds a film of oil that increases its the resistance further. So although the cumulative series of resistances is very low, it is enough for a reasonably sensitive meter to detect.


I had thought a lamp, either filament or l.e.d, might be an even sharper detector because it is either on or off, though a filament one at least is likely to glow more dimly than it otherwise would for the same battery voltage.

Then having posted that, realised my mistake there and came back to edit it!

I had half-remembered my old idea of using as the machine contact, a metal ring pressed or glued onto a rigid plastic mandrel and finish turned to a set radius; this assembly to be held in the chuck or collet. Therefore the circuit does not go through the machine itself, and presents a switch rather than change of resistance to detect.

Edited By Nigel Graham 2 on 14/06/2022 14:44:33

Thread: 420 stainless sheet
10/06/2022 23:11:54

I don't know what if any significant difference there is, but Metals4U stock 430-grade sheet 0.7mm thick; as mirror material and for magnetic boards. They don't seem to have other thicknesses.

Thread: How I am wasting time
10/06/2022 22:54:33

The Swedes and Germans were using arc-furnaces for iron-ore smelting back in the early years of last century, but the contemporary text-book I have concentrates on the electrical-engineering, and I don't think it mentions what reducing-agent was used.

The furnaces resembled a conventional blast-furnace in basic form, but with enormous graphite electrodes.

Presumably the coke-fired process was found more economical!

Thread: Cutting tools
09/06/2022 23:59:49

Note that Dave's diagram quoted from Warco shows carbide-insert tools, often called "indexable", but the principle is the same for HSS tools.

It also shows basically how the tool is aligned with the work: their tops are their surfaces visible in their box.

If the part being made is to be highly-stressed, internal corners should not be absolutely sharp as the diagram suggests, but given a little "root radius". A dead-sharp inside corner is a stress-concentrator. The hole through the component, such as a bearing, that will fit up to the shoulder has a rounded or chamfered edge partly to accommodate the root.

The indexable tools shown are manufactured with a tiny radius on their corners in plan; not shown on the picture. I sharpen HSS tools to angular edges then add the radius on the down-going edge by wheel or oil-stone - carefully, so as not to blunt the cutting-edge itself! That little detail also helps give a good finish to the work surface.


Re Roy's advice about wheel type:

The grey wheels on ordinary bench-grinders will cut High-Speed Steel; but not carbide. Carbide will cut the wheel instead, sort of! Hence the "green grit" wheel such tools need.

Traverse the tool across the wheel rim so you don't wear grooves in the stone; and use only the rim.


Regarding setting the tool to height, it's worth making a height-gauge for that purpose; and making it to some designs is also a useful exercise in basic turning.

Thread: Denham Lathe Restoration
07/06/2022 23:35:05

OK: I might be able to help if you can quote the diameter, pitch and hand; but I can't promise anything!

Otherwise it looks as if you might need screw-cut a new nut on whatever other lathe to which you have access.

Thread: Measure twice — Cut once
07/06/2022 23:10:44

Oh, I typically measure twice, measure thrice.... still cut it the wrong size!

' ' '

Hopper -

I own a Renault!

My days of grovelling under cars in the street outside the house are well over, but when the MoT showed as "advisory" it needing a new "cabin air filter" - Renault's own term for it - I assumed it would be a simple enough DIY task. I did though take the precaution of investigating it before buying a new element.

Just as well, for I have never found where it's hidden! Any and every cover I unclipped revealed anything but a filter - masses of electrical stuff mainly.

Yoo-Toob did show it is a fairly large unit so hard to lose, and a simple task once you've unearthed it, but on all models of Renault Kangoo except mine; Haynes seems never to have published a manual for them.

I left it to the next service and MoT and let the garage deal with it.

' '

I do hope whoever completed that Euston Station room was on the correct side of its wall.....

Thread: Fortis Vice
07/06/2022 22:44:30

It looks as if it was originally grey; but provided you treat it to something in the right spirit I doubt anyone will complain. Returning it to respectable appearance and mechanical condition is what really matters.

My present vice is a very old, American-made Parker; under the bench is a spare Paramo needing a new jaw. Both are mid-blue, similar to Record. So you won't go far wrong with mid-blue!

I like that juxtaposition of enormous great vices and delicate horological lathe.

Thread: Denham Lathe Restoration
07/06/2022 22:24:43

The cross-slide shaft is definitely square not Acme thread? Rare now, probably, but try someone like Tracy Tools who do stock ACME tools.

If you need replace both, if you can't obtain a square-thread tap, I'd suggest trying someone like HPC Gears, from whom I bought a length of 3/4" LH ACME rod to make a new leadscrew for my Myford lathe.

Thread: Alternative Ways of Retaining Shafts
07/06/2022 22:10:14

That's a lot of metal to remove.

I'd use a standard HSS parting-blade and thin one end of that. Or use a piece of broken hacksaw blade - it won't have the side clearance but should cut deeply enough for a small circlip.

My stocks of circlips, fibre-washers etc are the selection boxes from an auto factors. I think retailers like ToolStation sell them too. You won't use many of them and the washers always seem to be any but the right size, but it's probably the easiest and cheapest way to obtain them. Also salvage circlips from things from like scrapped printers!

Thread: Fortis Vice
07/06/2022 09:50:51

What you might try is finding an obscure corner in which traces of the original paint hide. Clean it carefully with a plastic scourer and spot of meths or white-spirit and see what happens.

Failing that no-one's going to object to mid-grey or something near "Record Blue".

My old, American-made vice is of similar blue. My Denbigh H4 milling-machine seems originally to have been grey, under a tidying-up shade of light-green I'd given it, and that is what I re-painted it, a bit lighter than Myford Grey. (Just ordinary household gloss.) Drummond lathes were originally maroon, but that was probably unusual. .

I rescued one of those little Record drill-vices from its use in a grit-blaster (sacrilege) - so clean but no paint left. I repaired the broken keep under the moving jaw, and repainted it with primer and something near Record Blue by memory, in spray cans from Halford. It has rewarded me with good and faithful service since!

Working for a Govt. Dept. I noticed the small, clamp-on type Record Vices in our labs were all bright red. By special order perhaps?

Thread: 1/8 x 48 BSF
07/06/2022 09:34:51

The smallest standard Whitworth threads are indeed as you list:

1/16 inch X 60

3/32 X 48

1/8 X 40

So are not arcane specials.

(Source: Bentley, W, Machine Shop Companion, The Bentley Publishing Co., 1913)

That book also gives useful change-wheel tables for cutting inch- and with 127T wheel, mm- pitch threads from a 4tpi lead-screw; which is that of the Harrison L5. Though of course useful to me only if my lathe's wheel set matches the tables!

Thread: A new member with some questions please
06/06/2022 19:56:53

Hmmmmm. Not quite close enough, I'm afraid, Dave! Or are you teasing us?

I rather think Andrew would like rather more - and more accurate - information than that pretty-coloured Hoopla mis-identifications, derring-do driving and not a single mention of lubrication, drain-cocks, stopping without using the reverser, and other subleties......

I will admit though, I'd not spotted two details...

First, the little lever by the clack-valve.

A damper control? Perhaps, though unusual on miniature locomotives, of which some lack even an ash-pan.

Sanding-gear lever (even less likely).

Rocking-grate or grate-dropping? Maybe but I'd not want the latter function as accessible as that!

Drain-cock lever? That's the most likely, unless this loco does have one of the above, and the drain-cock control is somewhere else, obscured in the photo.

Secondly, is that the blow-down valve almost cuddled by the (probable ) injector water-valve pipe?

If so it seems very high up the boiler. Either that or the firebox is unusually shallow. It is normally as close as possible to foundation-ring level otherwise it defeats its own purpose. Hence my earlier comment about it being hidden below the footplate. I'd not expected to see it so didn't spot it! On this it looks almost level with the firedoor hinge, and if that is the foundation-ring level, the fire would be remarkably shallow and difficult to maintain.


This is clearly a side-tank locomotive, but I am a bit puzzled - do both tanks have by-pass fittings, if that is what they are? Usually the tanks are cross-connected so need only one take-off for each feed device, and only one bypass return. That on the left seems to leak, by the stains on the pipe.

The extra fitting I mean is on the starboard tank, partly hidden by the pressure-gauge so hard to identify clearly.

Unless it is an axle-box oil-cup, its left-hand brother being out-of-shot.


Oh, and don't try to draw a train with that bit of thin chain and odd screw as coupling. I would not trust them, certainly not for more than just driver plus driving-truck.

This loco looks as if it's well-made but has had a hard life! A few modifications too, I think, judging by the state of the left hand side of the cab and the battered pipework. The plugs in the ends of the manifold seal a longitudinal steam-passage made in the only way possible, by drilling right through then plugging the ends; but that on the left does not look original and I wonder if there was once a second injector or even vacuum-brake ejector take-off in that point.

Thread: Mill Bolt Source?
06/06/2022 16:07:49

I'd think it tough rather than hardened - you want accidents to break that, not the more critical parts.

Thread: A new member with some questions please
06/06/2022 16:02:45

A fine find!

I concur entirely with all the advice above but will answer your question directly, as far as I can from just that photo:

Some landmarks first -

The black-painted panel: the Backhead, the outer back-plate of the boiler, with the Fire-hole and its door. The door is normally be kept closed except when actually adding coal.

The bronze object across the top of the backhead is the Turret or Manifold, supplying steam to various fittings via the valves on it.

Touring the cab clockwise:

1) Lower left corner, possibly a valve (hand-wheel missing?), to control the boiler feed from an axle-driven pump.

2) Lwr L, on backhead: Clack or Check valve, 1-way, passing feed-water to the boiler.

2) Glass tube - the Gauge-glass shows the water level in the boiler. That level must never be allowed to drop below the visible bottom of glass when the locomotive is in steam. If the water drops too low it risks drying the top of the firebox, which can rapidly ruin the boiler and possibly risk it bursting. Most model locomotives have a means to drop the fire quickly if necessary.

Nor above the glass: a bit less serious but risks "priming", throwing water into the cylinders where it can cause damage by hydraulically locking the pistons in place. (And gives you and passengers a hot, oily, sooty shower.)

The little valve on the gauge-glass is for ensuring the gauge works, and for flushing it with a quick burst of steam.

3) Red handle in the middle: the Regulator. One of the main driving-controls, analogous to a car's accelerator but closes completely. Steam engines don't have "idling" settings.

NB: do not try to operate the regulator dry, as that can score its valve faces, especially if there is any scale on it.

4) On the manifold left to right: probably the Blower Valve, certainly the Whistle Valve (central) and probably Injector Steam Valve. I say probably because not knowing the specific engine, I am using other clues.

- Blower. A steam-jet below the base of the chimney, to draw a draught through the fire to keep it alight. When the locomotive is running steadily the blower is usually closed, as the exhaust-steam blasts induce the draught.

- Whistle. Obvious enough! The valve is spring-loaded closed.

- Injector steam. What makes me think that, for this loco, is the:

Vertical valve, RH side of the footplate. This may feed water to an Injector below the footplate on that side of the loco. The Injector resembles a connection between three pipes and a fourth open to thin air; but is a box of clever Physics using a jet of steam to push water into the boiler.

What else?

5) Pressure-gauge: the red dot is probably the required mark at which the safety-valves lift to limit the boiler's Working Pressure to specification. Good technique keeps the pressure to a touch below that red mark, as much as possible.

6) Right-hand side floor, partially obscured, lever in a notched quadrant is the Reverser - setting the travelling direction. Its intermediate settings control the steam flow into the cylinders for more economical steaming once the locomotive is moving steadily.

The Reverser has a neutral, Mid-Gear. Always park the locomotive in mid-gear when in steam, so if the regulator leaks it won't move.

8). Usually hidden below the footplate, should be a Blow-down Valve for draining and flushing the boiler; typically operated by spanner, not handwheel.


Finally, 9) the cab itself:

The two blocks at the back, and the channel in the edge of the roof (mirrored opposite) hold the cab panels removed for driving access, fitted for static exhibition.


As the others say, your best bet is to join a model-engineering society. Give the loco a good cleaning and see if anything looks amiss by simple engineering principles - e.g. signs of missing screws or split-pins, oddly-loose components, heavy wear. I'd expect some wear on what appears to have been a much-used engine; but do seek advice.

I'd suggest when you find a club ask if someone can go through the boiler-testing process and the loco with you, so you know what to prepare the locomotive for. If you are new to live-steam the book will seem formidable and disheartening so don't try it alone: it's not an easy read even for the experienced, although the testing itself is quite straightforwards.

You might need supply an adaptor to connect the society's test-rig to your boiler. Unless the loco came with the boiler paperwork, you might be asked to present it with the cladding (lagging) off the boiler. It is best also to know the model's design, as a recognised, published one smooths certification.

The boiler examiner will expect all working order as far as possible, but the first test is a cold hydraulic one and it will proceed to test in steam only if it passes that. A sympathetic one of the species should tell you what if anything needs attention, and even offer advice.

Examine the boiler carefully for any identifying number, though if it was home-built it probably won't, as never required in the past.


Finally, don't reveal more, but what county are you in? That may elicit local help.

Edited By Nigel Graham 2 on 06/06/2022 16:05:14

Thread: Shed floor
05/06/2022 23:33:30

I will castigate you neither for the choice of car nor the ingenious machine-bench!

Regarding 1/ and 2/.....

Include Zan's advice and add the thick worktop material the full length of the chest, so the lathe is on a much more rigid board and its weight is transferred from the flimsy top to the vertical sides and legs.


For the rest - yes, concrete piers under the shed floor. When I installed a Warco drill/mill and a small lathe (a Sphere I think from memory) in a wooden shed I used brick plinths cemented to a concrete slab I'd laid before erecting the shed. I also put rigid plastic plates on top of the bricks as damp-proofing and for some resilience. I did need use a modicum of steel packing above those, for level.

Steel fence-posts driven into the ground, if that is just earth, may corrode away in a few years. Timber will have a shorter life still. If you want a longer-term version you could sink pieces of large-diameter plastic drain-pipes vertically into the ground and fill them with concrete, with a suitably-placed piece of stainless-steel studding projecting from each to give anchor-points for the bench. You may be able to obtain off-cuts of pipe from a local builder.

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