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Why not Write for Model Engineers Workshop in 2016?

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Neil Wyatt07/01/2016 11:10:47
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It had to happen eventually! The combination of extra pages and my encouragement of shorter articles means that my 'bank' of articles is starting to get a little smaller.

I am keen to hear from any existing or prospective authors who might be interested in writing articles.

As well a short, single part, articles of 1 to 6 pages I would now welcome longer articles up to about 16 pages that can be published in multiple parts.

Topics that seem to most interest readers include:

  • Full constructional articles for tools or accessories.
  • Brief articles that allow people to build a gadget or tool where the builder can choose dimensions to suit their situatation or materials to hand.
  • Note that fully dimensioned and detailed builds for very specialist tools or accessories are unlikely to be popular, though a more general description that shows how the principles can apply to other machines will very often work well.
  • Articles on techniques, materials as well as reference or technical articles,
  • 'Gazeteer' articles that are largely a list of things can be interesting - if kept short. Few readers would welcome a 3-part series on different types of nut.
  • 'How I solved this problem' articles are very often of interest, even where the problem is not really an engineering one, as long as the solution is!
  • One Man and His Lathe articles - these must be 3-4 pages long and feature a machine not previously covered by this series.
  • Articles that focus on a specific workshop task (e.g. boring, use of slitting saws, parting off, use of end mills, form tools... an endless list, really)
  • Unusual machines or workshop setups

Some topics that have been very well covered recently or I have articles in hand and therefore will be best avoided for a while are:

  • Fitting DROs.
  • Powered leadscrews
  • restoring/converting old drilling/milling machines.
  • Vices.

I would be keen to have some articles on the restoration or modernisation of lathes rather than mills!

Anyone thinking of writing an extended series on any subject should consider writing related articles that can 'stand alone' instead. This helps me maintain a variety of topics.

I would like to make it clear that I am now open to more tool construction articles, but will make a separate post so this does not get too long.

If you are interested, email me: neil.wyatt@mytimemedia.com

Neil

Neil Wyatt07/01/2016 11:31:26
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Ok, a second post on longer tool builds.

I am interested in looking at some more involved tool builds, but I am very nervous about receiving an extended write-up out of the blue. Anything longer than a few parts will represent a considerable investment for both the author and the magazine, and this means we need to be sure it will be of real interest to readers.

The Quorn took up 16 parts in Model Engineer, although these were rather shorter parts than you might get in the magazine these days. At the time there was not a well-specced and affordable grinder available to hobbyists and the Quorn was filling a very obvious need.To justify such a series again would demand a tool that is likely to appeal to a very large number of people and I'm not convinced that, at the moment, there is an equivalent 'gap in the market'.

That said, there is middle ground and I am interested in well designed tools. Some things writers will need to consider if embarking on such a series are:

Is the proposed tool really suitable for others to build? this may mean ensuring laser cut parts, castings or special items can be readily obtained.

The article must fully explain the purpose and use of the tool, including its limitations, and the likely cost, skills and workshop time required. This is essential so readers can make a sensible decision on whether or not to embark on the build.Authors must be able to provide a summary of the capabilities and working principles of the machine.

The build should, if possible, be modular so that readers can just build individual components or take away ideas for use in their own projects.

Finally, an extended build should not also try to be an introductory course in engineering skills. Only the more difficult or critical machining exercises should be described in detail, and dimensions and detail that is in drawings does not need to be repeated in text. Beginners are more likely to tackle short projects, anyone starting a major tool build should not need to have everyday operations detailed. Taking this approach can help keep the length of a build series reasonable.

If you have a more complex tool or accessory and have considered writing it up, let me have the basic details and we can work together to look at whether or not it could be the basis of a series in MEW.

Thanks

Neil

neil.wyatt@mytimemedia.com

Andrew Johnston07/01/2016 13:43:37
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Perusing this thread may be worthwhile:

**LINK**

Of those topics mentioned in the first post only the first one has appeared, to my knowledge.

Andrew

Neil Wyatt07/01/2016 14:25:23
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Posted by Andrew Johnston on 07/01/2016 13:43:37:

Perusing this thread may be worthwhile:

**LINK**

Of those topics mentioned in the first post only the first one has appeared, to my knowledge.

Andrew

I think the first two have, aksherkley

Now if anyone out there could cover the others...

Neil

Nick_G07/01/2016 14:36:22
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.

I get my ME each month from WH Smith's.

I must admit that as a relative newbie (had a lathe 18 months) 80% of the articles go right over my head. I do however still purchase it for the bit's I do understand.

How about a series aimed at a beginner.?

However I realise that there is a strong possibility that will leave the more knowledgeable guys somewhat bored and with limited print pages risk losing them as subscribers. - Not a easy balancing act for you as I am sure this has probably been tried at some point before.

Nick

Neil Wyatt07/01/2016 14:48:34
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The trouble with beginners series (rather than articles) is they work well for people who get in at the beginning, but not so useful for late arrivals.

I think that regularly having articles with the beginner in mind (especially relatively simple but useful builds) can be just as helpful without tying into a long series. It also means that you get a range of perspectives rather than just one.

Neil

Andrew Johnston07/01/2016 15:08:35
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Posted by Neil Wyatt on 07/01/2016 14:25:23

I think the first two have, aksherkley

blush

My only excuse is that the bevel gear article got lost in a black hole for over a year, and a regime change, before publication.

Andrew

frank brown07/01/2016 20:15:36
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looking for articles that I need:- How to restore a 70 year old tailstock casting where the bore has worn at the chuck end and the ram wobbles. How to pick up the centre on the oval hole where my carriage feed shaft goes through the apron. Any solutions involving CNC are not permitted. Another want , would be a dry clutch solution for a 2 HP motor drive.

An article that I might write is making a Deckel SO 20 collet for a high speed head, don't hold your breath , it could take a year (or more).

Frank

John Alexander Stewart07/01/2016 20:55:02
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Posted by Nick_G on 07/01/2016 14:36:22:

I get my ME each month from WH Smith's.

I must admit that as a relative newbie (had a lathe 18 months) 80% of the articles go right over my head. I do however still purchase it for the bit's I do understand.

How about a series aimed at a beginner.?

However I realise that there is a strong possibility that will leave the more knowledgeable guys somewhat bored and with limited print pages risk losing them as subscribers. - Not a easy balancing act for you as I am sure this has probably been tried at some point before.

Nick -

1) There are *always* beginners reading a magazine (or, there had better be, at any rate)

2) We all can learn something, even (especially?) those who think that they know it all.

I enjoy reading/skimming each and every article in Model Engineer. Now, the upcoming short articles on CNC written by some snow-bound Canadian who had too much coffee for breakfast - now those articles I'll probably skip, as I wrote them. Feedback (on either coffee, or the articles) welcome.

This hobby (ME, or MEW, or...) is a fantastic place to stick ones' head, so keep it in here.

JohnS.

Ketan Swali08/01/2016 06:16:02
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Hi Neil,

I very much respect your call to action, however I have to question this.

In all the years I have worked with your parent organisation in its various forms, editor upon editor makes similar calls. I would suggest that the editors of the two magazines work to ensure that the correct articles appear in the correct magazine. This way perhaps your bank of articles would be less empty?

There are a growing number of MEW related articles appearing in the ME. Perhaps the writer sent the article to the ME editor thinking that it is a blanket organisation and the said article will be published in the MEW?...Surely the editor of the ME should refer these to the editor of MEW?...Yes I know the editors response about 'it is at their discretion'..but seriously?

So why are these articles increasing in the ME? Does that magazine not have enough articles to stand on its own?...If so, it would make better sense to take it back to a monthly issue, instead of poaching MEW related articles to fill a two weekly publication. Or, is there a more deliberate commercial advertisement related reason to put such articles in the ME?

With reference to Nick Gs comments about a beginners series, I would support his comments, and strongly disagree with your response to this. Many of the articles in the MEW are not aimed at the beginner, nor do they keep the beginner in mind, in many cases. What these articles do do is to encourage the beginner to conduct further research on how to get to a point. Majority of beginners do not want to 'look stupid' because many of the them fail to understand simple terminology such as 'turning' or even 'milling' a piece of material. Many think it is okay to hold an end mill in a drill chuck, or use a drilling machine to mill. This can be proved very easily. Go to the next show, visit the SMEE stand and watch a beginner marvel in amassment at the work being turned out by a demonstrator. Such beginners will be unable to pluck up the courage to ask the demonstrator a question for fear of 'looking stupid'. They will then go and ask 'a friend' or a seller, such as us for what it is that that person was doing to do a job, and what is that tool bit called to do something etc.. If a beginner entered the scene half way through a beginner series, and if it was any good or interesting, it would perhaps even encourage them 'to buy' back issues.

As a side note: There happens to be an article on a CNC machine in the latest issue of ME..another beginners experience. It is in the wrong magazine, and it could have done with a bit of editing. Perhaps you might have rejected it because you didn't want it in MEW, but it was a beginners experience, which needed clarification, correction in certain places as there are mistakes, and shortening in certain areas(this bit is matter of opinion). I would respectfully request that editors try to consult effected seller/s of such products (such as me) for clarification of facts, before publishing.

Before ME supporters jump in...Yes I do know about MEs history and that it has had a variety of MEW related articles from time to time, but all I am saying is that the number of such MEW related articles has increased, when the editor of MEW is calling for articles. That is purely my opinion.

Finally, for readers of this thread thinking of writing articles for the MEW, I would encourage them to do so. Based on conversations I have had with certain disgruntled writers in the past, I would suggest that things have improved. I am aware that when David Clark was running the show, he was overwhelmed with a variety of duties, and inundated with emails in addition to his illness, which resulted in a lack of or haphazard response to many potential responders to the call to action. I would suggest that such responsibilities are better shared now, so that the response - yes or no will be there from the editors concerned.

Ketan at ARC

Paul Lousick08/01/2016 07:03:18
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I was a newbie to model engineering a few years ago and would agree that many of the articles may be too advanced for a beginner but there have been lots of beginner articles in previous issues of MEW. My advice for new members is to purchase a subscription to the digital archive and access this information. I would prefer to see articles in the current magazine that were not already covered in previous issues.

Paul.

Diane Carney08/01/2016 10:22:04
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In reply to Ketan:

So why are these articles increasing in the ME? Does that magazine not have enough articles to stand on its own?...

'These articles' are not increasing. As you acknowledge later in your post, there has always been a scattering of Workshop Topics in M.E. Model Engineer readers practise the craft in their workshops and are interested in advice and tooling that will help them along. They may find MEW unpalatable (no disrespect inteded, Neil) because their passion is for making models but would be interested in anything that may improve their tool grinding capabilities, for instance. There is room for such features in M.E and there always has been.

As a side note: There happens to be an article on a CNC machine in the latest issue of ME..another beginners experience. It is in the wrong magazine, and it could have done with a bit of editing.

It isn't in the wrong magazine. Very few MEW readers are at the level this article is aimed at. This is very clearly written for model makers who have heard about CNC - maybe even read about it - but found it to be completely alien and yet they are interested in finding out what it's all about from a complete standing start. As the article develops it describes how to use CNC for ... model making.
Similarly, John A Stewart's new (occasional) series is written for model makers rather than those who want to master CNC for its own sake. That's why his article is also in M.E.

... which needed clarification, correction in certain places as there are mistakes, and shortening in certain areas (this bit is matter of opinion).

The editor's decision was to leave it more or less as written simply because the readership for whom it was written are those who know nothing about CNC and what goes before it. If it needs correction the editor (who knows nothing) would be happy to recieve it.

I would respectfully request that editors try to consult effected seller/s of such products (such as me) for clarification of facts, before publishing.

Hmmm. Shall I send you the next instalment for proof reading? By all means send me your comments and if there are serious concerns, Ketan, I am happy to publish them. (I have already had an ear bashing from JS!!)

I am aware that when David Clark was running the show, he was overwhelmed with a variety of duties, and inundated with emails in addition to his illness, which resulted in a lack of or haphazard response to many potential responders to the call to action. I would suggest that such responsibilities are better shared now, so that the response - yes or no will be there from the editors concerned.

Believe me ... the editors have a lot more on their plates now than they ever did - but that's just the way of the world, isn it? It is certainly working better having one editor responsible for each title but the workload is ever increasing. (There's a clue on the contacts page at the front of the magazines. How many phone number do you see?)

Diane

David Clark 108/01/2016 11:26:12
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My illness happened after I was sacked from ME and MEW. I always had sufficient articles purely because l asked for more even though I did not need them straight away. I alway put the best articles in first that I had which meant some were delayed. I also talked to people to generate required articles.

I learnt my engineering from Model Engineer in the 1960s in the school library. I went on to earn a £1000 a week in engineering from reading Model Engineer.

Tooling does have a place in ME as does the basics of CNC. Nothing has ever been too advanced for ME in the past.

I think Model Engineer has lost its way slightly. I tried to get away from the every other issue syndrome and tried to put articles in consecutive issues. This encourages readers to buy every issue to get a series and also to subscribe.

Many readers like to get all parts of a series before they start construction.

 

MEW is finally improving. The last 3 issues have had interesting article(s) in them. I always think that a magazine is worth reading if I learn something from it.

MEW has to run multiple part articles as you will never get enough short articles.

I did occasionally send articles to Ketan for checking if it concerned an Arc Euro Trade product and Ketan also gave me universal bearing numbers.

I did not see anything wrong with this.

If Diane knows nothing about CNC and prefers to leave the article as written I am sure Neil could give it a look over for obvious mistakes before printing it.

Finally to all beginners: no question is stupid if you don't know the answer. Ask away, you will not look foolish. I still ask stupid questions if I don't know the answer.

Edited By David Clark 1 on 08/01/2016 11:29:49

Ady108/01/2016 11:42:51
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I re-iterate my request here for a system which allows the submission of web based articles only accessible by the submitting member and the ME editorial people

This could also mean stuff won't get lost as paperwork sometimes does and both sides of the coin can see what's going on with a submission, even if it has a long wait before being printed (The black-hole issue)

Edited By Ady1 on 08/01/2016 11:45:29

Ketan Swali08/01/2016 12:08:37
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Hi Diane,

With reference to the article, I am guessing that you had an ear bashing from J.S. because the said six page article had a lot of commentery which had limited relevance to a beginners experiance (with respect to you and the writter), and could have done with editing out. But this is my opinion. The key error: the KX3 handbook 'might' have been available as a download, but it is definately not now. Even when it 'might' have been available as a download, it wasn't supposed to be, at that time. There is one more comment which the writer makes about a particular issue which is incorrect, but out of respect for him and you, I will avoid discussing it. It is too late to make certain comments after the article is published, as this would read/sound wrong, after the event.

I am still in favour of the article for obvious reasons, but as it stand, it comes across as being in the wrong publication. So, in this respect, I would still politely disagree with you on this and other points to which you responded. If you feel that this and certain other articles belong in ME, this is your decision as an editor, even if I disagree teeth 2

If you want to run the future article in this series by anyone before going to publication - and if it is of a technical nature, show it to J.S. by all means. He is the one who has given you an earbashing, and for good reason, in my opinion. If the issue is of a commercial nature - example: wrong statement about the manual leading to sellers such as ourselves fielding calls on the subject, then by all means forward me the article for review.

Take it easy Diane wink 2

Ketan at ARC.

Ian P08/01/2016 13:36:56
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I'm hesitant about mentioning the following as I might be the only one that thinks in a distorted way but I'm sure Ketan did not tell Diane to 'take it easy' in the same vein as the infamous 'calm down dear' quote. I know it was followed by a wink but not every display device shows those pesky icons.

I agree with Ketan's summary though.

Ian P

Neil Wyatt08/01/2016 13:54:51
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I hope these comments don't put people off writing for the magazines.

Diane and I are both trying to produce relevant, interesting and rewarding publications - and believe it or not we are in regular communication with each other.

Can I reassure anyone thinking of writing an article they they won't be pilloried or ridiculed for submitting an article to the 'wrong' editor? Both Diane and I are easy to reach by PM, email, post or phone so if you aren't sure, ask.

There is also no need to worry about complex submission mechanisms or 'black holes'.

If you can send an email or mail me a CD then you can submit an article.

Yes, it can take a long time for an article to appear, its inevitable if we are to be able to plan the content of the magazine in advance and avoid repetition. But there's no black hole - if you have sent me an article, email me and I can tell you where it is in the system. Many of the articles I have in hand are provisionally allocated to an issue, but most of the shorter ones and some of the long ones are not, for various reasons.

Virtually every article I receive now is electronic. Most come attached to an email as a text document with a series of separate photos and perhaps figures. People also send CDs, DVDs and USB keys or use Dropbox and WeTransfer for longer articles..

That said, if typed articles are clear top copies we can scan them in and we can get hand-drawn sketches re-drafted. We can scan good quality photo prints.

Some people worry that their writing won't be up to scratch. Well one job of an editor is to help and support new writers, and we are interested in whether or not people have something interesting to say, not judging their grammar.

It really has never been easier to submit a short article - just get the subject of the article clear in your mind. Introduce it, explain it in a bit more detail, then finish by going over any key points. Add a few photos that clearly show the main point of the article and illustrate any technical points. Add photo refernces so I know where they go and put captions at the end of of your text. Then attach them all to an email and send.

If you want more detailed guidance, ask me and I will send it to you but for short articles that are just a couple of pages long all that really matters is that the photos are kept as separate files to keep the quality as good as possible.

As Tommy Vance used to say 'write it down on whatever form of communication you like and send it to...'

Neil

Ketan Swali08/01/2016 13:58:58
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Posted by Ian Phillips on 08/01/2016 13:36:56:

I'm hesitant about mentioning the following as I might be the only one that thinks in a distorted way but I'm sure Ketan did not tell Diane to 'take it easy' in the same vein as the infamous 'calm down dear' quote. I know it was followed by a wink but not every display device shows those pesky icons.

I agree with Ketan's summary though.

Ian P

You are right Ian, I did mean it in a positive manner rather than being patronising in any way. Thanks for the clarification.

Ketan at ARC.

Ian Hewson08/01/2016 14:02:13
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Sent a short artical a few years ago and was told it was just what was required, then heard nothing again even after a reminder and sending in the required forms for publication.

Not bothered since.

Ketan Swali08/01/2016 14:45:39
1113 forum posts
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Posted by Ian Hewson on 08/01/2016 14:02:13:

Sent a short artical a few years ago and was told it was just what was required, then heard nothing again even after a reminder and sending in the required forms for publication.

Not bothered since.

Ian H,

That was then, this is now. Non of the editors present or past wish to be 'who flung dung' out of respect for each others position, which is also the correct protocol, as every person has their own opinion on a subject. I have heard similar comments to yours in the past, as I mentioned earlier. This is the reason I made a positive comment to say that such responsibilities are better shared now, so that the response - yes or no will be there from the editors concerned, along with firmer commitments if an article is accepted, I guess. I wouldn't let your past experience with any publications put you off, regardless of your wanting to send your articles to Neils half empty bank or Dianes. Neil has presented a very clear guideline for entry.

Ketan at ARC.

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