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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: What makes your bristle?
07/04/2019 14:59:48

Well, she could hardly expect you to clean her jewellery with a brush that's been inside a 4-jaw chuck full of swarf and cutting-fluid!

Thread: Just desserts
07/04/2019 14:56:57

Oh well, he won't do that again! Hurrah for Jumbo and Leo!

Actually I think the family would find it hard to gain compensation in this country unless it could be shown the park managers had definitely failed in some material way. Remember all those "No Win - No Fee" ads from ambulance-chasing agents, who were not lawyers but acted for lawyers, with both wanting to fleece the plaintiff's award? Most of them went bankrupt because so many claims were spurious.

Thread: Machinery Directive and CE marking
07/04/2019 14:50:04

If my own copy of the original Pressure Equipment Regulations is a guide, the bumph contains a helpful drawing of the CE mark, drawn on graph-paper and dimensioned to help you copy it!

Yes, the Regulations are by and for lawyers, but bodies like the Department for Trade also publish guides for people like company managers and design engineers to help them obey the UK's Government's versions of the Directives. These guides are by and for the technical people.

Actually the Learned Counsel's version is illuminating in that the safety of the product seems secondary to imports-control and keeping so-called "Notified Bodies" (the test laboratories and certificate-writers) in clover. As I recall the PER lists several criteria then adds something like "and has in fact to be safe" almost as an afterthought.

One thing you will never know is who is on the hidden EU committees which discuss and draught individual Directives. Minutes copies I have seen credit only by nationality, not personal names, not even in an introduction. They state things like, "France suggested [...], Britain agreed and added [...] but Sweden pointed out [...] ". It is all anonymous....

Thread: From the ground up!
07/04/2019 14:32:05

Curious - I can see the photo of the painted components under "A whole day...", but the three under "Now for the fun part" are barred.

Could it be because their image file-types are quoted as ".jp" rather than ".jpg"... ? Yet so is the parts image!

Thread: Suitability of hot rolled steel for machining
07/04/2019 11:51:40

For the less pecunious of us, often using "pre-loved" metals, hot-rolled steel has the advantages of stability described above, and you are less likely to be caught out by some nice shiny stuff from the local scrap-yard being anything but free-cutting!

It is also usually readily welded, which is not recommended for leaded free-cutting steels. (EN1A will fuse, but the welds can be brittle.)

Recently I made a set of dovetail nuts to hold the magnetic read-out strip to my milling-machine table, using the slot that originally held the limit-stops. I saw this is the only practical way, on a Myford VMC mill not designed to take a DRO set. My stock was cut from old miniature-railway rail, flat-bar not profiled, scrapped as too worn and rusted for continued railway use. The worst corrosion pits were quite deep, but the nuts are sufficiently thinner than the stock to avoid them.

Years ago I worked as materials store-keeper for a manufacturer of industrial screen-printing machines, when it received a one-off order for special jigs to hold long surveying-poles for printing their rule scales (not ruler - I've read that thread!). The longest was at least 2m long, and after the miller had cut the requisite facings and channels along the BMS stock, it naturally warped. So it went off to a heat-treatment firm for normalising, but came back even more normally bent. I can't remember what they did eventually - might have used aluminium-alloy instead.

A further tip:

Those DRO nut's dovetail chamfers are at 45º. No suitable cutter, so I drilled and tapped all the holes regularly-spaced along the strip, then drilled matching holes along a piece of angle-steel, at the same settings. Screwed the nut-strip to the angle, clamped that to the mill table so it acted as an inside-out V-block; then kept the assembly together to hold in a vice for junior-hacksawing the nuts apart.

I marked the cuts first by tiny drill-spots during the drilling and tapping process: the nuts' ends do not need be more square than by eye, and a file soon tidied them.

Note: this process order will not work in all cases. What surprised me, when at the printing-machine manufacturers, was the number of times millers making extra T-nuts would drill and tap all the holes in a bar length then expect me to separate them on an auto-feed hacksawing-machine with a well-made but poorly-designed geared-roller vice. It was definitely not for such tasks and incapable of holding short bars anyway. I had to gently suggest to these apprentice-trained, skilled machinists that the repetition would be far easier and more reliable if I cut the embryo nuts from the stock bar before machining.

Thread: From the ground up!
03/04/2019 15:32:28

I'm sure we all look forwards to seeing the poor old thing back as it should be!

It's noticeably far worse from saddle to tail end - under a leaking roof?

The right-hand faceplate looks Drummond-pattern though the Myford name's clear on the guard.

The four small holes in that - and those two in the cross-slide - look as if user-drilled to hold specific work-pieces or accessories, but overall it does look as if that user was a careful one - no obvious "oops" grooves in the faceplates, or missing teeth visible in the headstock wheels.

Thread: Denbugh Mill Paint Colour?
03/04/2019 15:19:59

Correction, with apologies:

"an extension lead-screw" to "lead-screw handle extension".

The photo in the magazine makes it clear.

03/04/2019 15:15:33

It is hardly the end of the world if the next machine patiently awaiting returning to service in my workshop end up in the "wrong" colour as long as its sensibly "machine-shop", but....

It is a Denbigh H4 Horizontal Milling-machine, on its original stand although that is a slightly different shape to the identifying, ex-catalogue photo in The Oracles. Date: probably 1930s-40s, possibly as modern as 1950s (which would be as modern as me!).

It does appear never to have had the cast surfaces filled, but it's probably seen a few re-paints and looks very Gloomy and Sad. It came to me in fetching shades of vaguely-green, iron-patina and ferrous-brown with hints of gunge. I gave it a quick tidy-and-protect coat of light-green household gloss.

Does anyone know what colours Denbigh might have used? It would be nice to be at least somewhere near its original livery! As long as it wasn't black...


A photo of a very added-to Denbigh H4 (but??) in MEW April 2019 - illustrates Ian Strickland's Readers Tips, for an extension lead-screw. He names it as a "Trident" but when I saw it at Sandown I immediately recognised it as a brother to mine, suggesting it was one of the machines Denbigh made under dealer's badges (nothing new there!).

Mr Strickland has painted his milling-machine and its accessories mid- (Myford?) green, and to show-room standard. My thoughts were a similar green or perhaps grey for my example, but it would be fitting to if something more certainly Denbigh. And perhaps pick out the embossed-cast name and Staffordshire Knot in white or red!


Mine has an oddity: two of its lead-screws are 6tpi. I wonder if that was to special order, as apparently Denbigh could accommodate that. Perhaps for a printing-equipment manufacturer?

Thread: shaper machine unknown accessory
03/04/2019 14:34:13

Well, you could, and I did think that with my Drummond, making a fitting to take a small milling/ drilling -head - mounted directly on the clapper-box stud and set-screw so without permanently altering the machine itself. It would be quite limited in scope, though.

I still think it more likely it was for hand-control finer than the machine itself can give, very possibly as Neil suggests - working to blind ends - but it would be a very slow way to do any sizeable cutting like gear-teeth and splines. If I was to make a compound gear I think if the design allows, I'd rather screw two separate wheels together face-to-face.

If it is possible I'd ask the machine's previous owner but I am aware this may have come from a dealer, or a bereavement sale.

Thread: Centec raising block
03/04/2019 14:22:10

Thank you amplifying things, Frank.

My own machine was indeed fitted with a raising-block, and that was cast-iron though as it is rarely moved and then only to position it, there's no reason it can't be mild-steel or aluminium - but grease the joint well to guard against corrosion.

One way you can simply make dovetails, is to make the dovetailed part by chamfering the sides of a flat bar that is then screwed on to the main block. My Harrison lathe and Drummond shaper uses the same principle, altbeit for rectangular rather than dove-tailed slides. This need only ordinary end-mills.

Beware though that if you use a single, full-length BMS bar it could warp from milling along its length.

Thread: shaper machine unknown accessory
03/04/2019 09:49:02

I reckon you've guessed right with what that screw drives, in those last photos, Jordi.


Definitions first:

The sliding mass on the shaper is its Ram.

The Clapper-Box is as it says, the hinged block that holds the tooling.

That add-on does not reach the clapper box, and I can't see why you need to limit its return arc. In fact I'd consider that bad practice. You control the tool geometry by grinding it appropriately.

The only time you lock the clapper-box, is when cutting internal key-ways etc. Those are normally draw-cut, necessitating that locking. One way that avoids modifying the machine is to use a tool-holder fitted with a jacking-screw in an extension above the clapper-box top.

So why this accessory?

First what it is NOT. It is not a stroke-limiter - not on a power-driven machine! That is the task of the crank adjustments and nothing should obstruct the ram acting as the crank stroke and relative position give.

Therefore, I think it was intended to give a fine, short-stroke hand feed. Hard to see where that might be used, but one guess is for engraving scales when you'd want to cut only short, fine grooves under close control.

Thread: Centec raising block
03/04/2019 09:22:31

I would urge you NOT to modify any of the original parts. If you want to sell the machine on at any time it will be far more attractive in original condition plus extras, than modified. Also, chopping the existing over-arm as you proposed would mean you could no longer use the machine for horizontal milling - why disable its primary function instead of adding a second?

I owned a Centec 2 for a while, and I did buy a raising block from Tony Griffiths. That pattern does not make any other part "redundant". because the original top-slide fits the block.

To allow horizontal milling while leaving the raising-block and vertical head in place, I made a second, deeper drop-bracket from steel plate, using a small boring-head to cut the bearing hole in-situ by connecting the work-piece to the table with an angle-plate, and with the top slide slackened just enough for free movement. If I remember correctly, I applied gentle hand pressure to the front of the raising-block to ease the strain on the cross-feed, and took very gentle cuts. The bearing itself was a bronze bush - I may have used n "Oilite" one.

If you have one cast, one company used to handling orders from model-engineers is Bridport Foundry, which now makes the Stuart range.

I would suggest fabricating one otherwise, not from a single lump of solid bar though! And make an extended bearing bracket as above, for the horizontal arbor.

Thread: What Did You Do Today 2019
02/04/2019 23:00:36

They look good, Nick!

I spent more time trying to fit the DRO encoder to the milling-machine. Machine-DRO's instructions recommend keeping the sensor and cable out of the reach of swarf and cutting-fluid. The magnetic strip and encoder, yes, but the cable? Although in a metal hose? Bit tricky that.

After searching the B&Q< Screwfix and Tool Station catalogues without success, for plastic hose of >21mm bore, I remembered one of my local sources of engineering materials is the camp-site shop. Oh, I do buy camping requisites there too.

Sure enough, I came home with 10 metres of very flexible, corrugated water-hose. It's actually intended for caravan sink wastes. The shop staff were intrigued by my intention, and my testing the diameter and length with one of the encoders and its very long lead.

Made new mounting-block for the sensor. Still not happy with how it came out... At least I have identified why not, and can carry out more discerning measurements, a bit of lateral thinking, and try v.3.

Thence to the model-engineering club's meeting-room for an interesting talk by one member, on his experiences of working on refuelling Royal Naval nuclear-powered submarines.

Thread: Rulers - my pet peeve
02/04/2019 00:43:08

It's not only rules whose graduations shrink with age. Try reading one of the original Myford die-cast dials in anything but perfect lighting!

Really, the answer is good light and magnifying-glass.

Not long ago, in Aldis or Lidls, I picked up a neat illuminated lens, about 100mm dia., on an adjustable stand combined with a soldering-iron rest. The engineering is rough-and-ready but optically it is of fair standard for the price, and lit by a self-contained l.e.d. unit with AA or AAA cells. I forget what I paid, but I'm fairly sure it was well <£30.

The magnifier can be removed from the stand and replaced without harm to either, so could readily be fitted to a magnetic dial-indicator stand or other appropriate column for machine-tool or marking-out viewing.


One of my most useful rules is part of a delightfully antique-looking combination-square, and only 4" long by about 1/2" wide; with the 90/45º square sized pro-rata! I do not know its provenance, or if it ever had a protractor. It is very compact for measuring on the lathe or mill, but for easier reading, if the work-piece geometry allows, I sometimes use it on its square as a depth-rule.

Thread: Have your fathers habits rubbed off on you. Just for fun
01/04/2019 23:50:36

Well, I've certainly inherited the practical gene. Some of it anyway.

My Dad was a Chartered Electrical Engineer, but as he was an MoD scientist I don't know what he actually did to help Defend the Realm, only that Electrical Engineering is lots of Very Hard Sums. That was an ability I didn't inherit!

Dad did encourage me though, and my 18th birthday-present from my parents was an EW 2.5" BGSC lathe he'd bought from a work colleague. I still have it, but the poor thing has a very basic, rather flimsy headstock now quite noticeably worn (you can see the chuck jumping about), and I'd love to bring it back into proper condition but am not sure how without excessively compromising its strength and design integrity. Consulting the Oracles (aka Tony Griffiths), I was delighted to find my example has all of the optional-extras offered by EW Stringer, except the change-wheel guard.

Yet the engineering side of the family was Mum's: her brother was a professional engineer in British Railway's Technical Centre in Derby - and Hon. Sec. of Nottingham SMEE for many years. The first miniature loco I drove was on that Society's original track, for a lap or two. While Mam's father or grandfather (I forget which) was the Kay of the eponymous bicycle manufactured in the Nottingham factory he established.

Our Mam always reckoned we're descended from John Kay of very early Industrial Revolution fame, though we've not been able to verify this family legend, and apparently there were two, non-related but more or less contemporary, John Kays separately inventing early textile machinery!

Thread: Telephone / Internet Scams
01/04/2019 00:19:10

re Ian Parkin's caller being selective.

One of the oddest I've received was selective by sex rather than age:

I had answered the call itself as I usually do: just "Hello?"

"Is that Mrs. Graham?" a man with a British accent asked.

"No, I'm Mr. Gra.." Click! He rang off so fast I barely finished my name. Err, do I sound female on the phone?

Goodness why he wanted my wife not me, or what he wanted to ask / sell. Still, he'd proved he didn't know my marital status.

(A status at least making the Domestic Management's permission to bake a 4"-scale steam-wagon's steel tyres at Regulo 9 for 30 minutes to shrink-fit them, readily obtainable!)

I turned the tables once on a YL with an Asian accent, trying to sell me a 'phone contract. The initial caller had been male, but clearly unable to convince me a monthly £8 contract was cheaper than my £5 max / month PAYG rate, had transferred to her, hoping she'd sweet-talk me into complying.

I soon moved the conversation away from phone contracts, and "Angel" and I enjoyed not just that first but two more very pleasurable, social conversations, one a week, all at her firms' expense. Then it stopped. I hope they'd not twigged our game and had fired her.

31/03/2019 23:53:42

Some of those telephone calls telling you "... press 1 now." are not directly from people but are recorded messages, complete with background sounds to suggest a call-centre.

It's easy to establish that: just talk to it. A human will respond, a recorder won't.

My usual response to the "... from the Windows Corporation " or some other dubiously-named organisation is to tell the caller, "No you are not, Windows is a Microsoft trade-mark, and oh, by the way, I work in IT Security. Goodbye", and then it's a race to see who hangs up first.

The alarming ones are not those, but the silent calls probably from some automatic ring-round system, because you can never know their origins and purposes.

There's a grain of truth in my "IT Security" claim... A very small grain, from my last couple of years at work. You'd be surprised how many examples of cardboard origami and polystyrene packing the IT people can accumulate in their security-locked server room; for me as a "lift-and-shift" gang member given appropriate access, to remove for proper disposal!

Thread: Non-Drip Gloss Paint
31/03/2019 00:39:22

Steel swarf?

I don't generate vast amounts anyway, but often ram it down into emptied and rinsed-out food tins, crush the tops closed a bit and put them in the salvage bin. It's the same metal, sorted by magnet I presume.

Thread: Dishwasher detergents
31/03/2019 00:32:37

It's worse with the cars, and possibly some other goods, thanks to the OEM scam.

The manufacturers use many components common across makes and models but hide them behind complicated part-numbers, badged packaging and intimidating warnings about fitting only "original genuine parts" - then price them pro-rata with the vehicle's retail price.

I encountered this first back in the 1970 or 80s when someone published a book of cross-referenced parts tables: original, not pattern, parts, too. The review in my local paper's motoring pages highlighted one example, the brake disc for a particular BMW costing twice that for a particular Ford... it was the same disc, made in the same brake-parts factory.

More recently a VW main dealer told me that the company had two big central warehouses of spares, one labelled Audi, the other VW... again with big price differences for the same pieces of metal, merely for being in boxes with the different names.

Thread: What Did You Do Today 2019
31/03/2019 00:15:33

Nicholas and Martin -

One of the delights of the MSRVS Rally in Tewkesbury is the venue being close to the Abbey, so a striking clock, and the ringing on the Sunday morning.

I was in Alston, up in the Northern Pennines, for a weekend a couple of years ago, and was surprised to hear a definite melody from the church bells on the Sunday morning. I remembered it as a hymn-tune, but also remembered a friend who is a Tower Captain telling me tune-ringing is not done in England. (She told me this when showing me the bells in her local church, in Somerset.) So I investigated: the tower is no longer able to take manual-ringing stresses so the peal was converted to a carillon. I can't recall when, but I think it must be unique in this country.

A break from the workshop today; caving instead.

Only not quite away from model-engineering as we were using a winch I'd made from, among other materials, some lengths of scrap 7-1/4"g track rails long past their best for railway use; and I collected some angle-iron from a club clear-out to make a trolley for my small horizontal miller! (So I can push it back against a wall when not in use, as my workshop is becoming quite cramped.)

Also realising I may need thin, non-magnetic shim / feeler-gauge material for setting the Myford mill's DRO pick-ups, I went round the house with a micrometer, investigating assorted plastic items...

A lid from a "bread-grease" tub, a B&Q store-card, even last year's British Caving Association membership card (similar to a bank card but without the chip and embossing). Best not cut up the B&Q card but otherwise, all viable shim material <1mm thick!

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