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What Did You Do Today 2020

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martin perman19/02/2020 08:55:17
1787 forum posts
75 photos

My wife and I live outside of Bedford and we have at least four pairs of Red Kites in the area and in the breeding season their young can be seen taking food from the parents whilst flying.

I'm currently preparing the new VFD and Motor for my lathe, I've built the panel and now need to mount it and the remote to the lathe, have to make a bush for the motor as its a smaller dia than the pulley hole otherwise going well.

Martin P

Journeyman19/02/2020 10:02:16
735 forum posts
120 photos

Red Kite once rare now very common. Not unusual to see 30 or 40 performing aerial acrobatics over the local football pitch. South Bucks quite near Heathrow.


A Smith19/02/2020 12:08:56
38 forum posts
2 photos

First saw Red Kites near Betws-y-Coed about 20 years ago, lots to be seen over Didcot last spring & recently two circling over the Tamar near Calstock.. Good to see.


Circlip19/02/2020 12:13:00
1045 forum posts

Mine's a white one, with a picture of Superman printed on it. laugh

Regards Ian.

Mike Poole19/02/2020 14:19:12
2446 forum posts
53 photos

A sea eagle has been spotted with our local kite population near the M40 where it cuts the Chilterns.


Mike Poole19/02/2020 14:25:18
2446 forum posts
53 photos

Most of the Red kites in our local area are likely to be descended from the original small population introduced some years ago. Does the limited gene pool that they are descended from have an impact on their health and well-being as it does on humans who breed too closely?

I suppose they may have added new blood since the original stock to add some diversity.


Edited By Mike Poole on 19/02/2020 14:27:17

Edited By Mike Poole on 19/02/2020 14:28:53

Nigel Graham 219/02/2020 21:44:29
523 forum posts

In fact we saw two kites: one over the motorway, the other over our hosts' home, both near Oxford.

I've often wondered about introduced / re-introduced animals' risk of inbreeding. We must assume the naturalists concerned do strive to minimise the problem.


Not much engineering today unfortunately - sometimes I take hours to get started but do usually then stick at it for a good few hours - but I fitted two bars to the workshop ceiling. These are for temporary suspension / safety hangers to aid assembling the travelling-hoist's cross-beam.

Missive to self - try to find a thin spanner that actually both reaches and fits the hexagon on the back of the wire cup-brush, so I can remove it from the angle-grinder without having to struggle, as I did this afternoon, with a strap-wrench!

Incidentally I bought just such a thing in Aldi or Lidl recently - sold as an oil-filter wrench, but I bought it as a kitchen utensil. I do like home-made jams and preserves but by 'eck, the lids can be tight when new and I don't really want to loosen them with a strap-wrench that's been around a grubby angle-grinder and cup-brush. Oh all right, I am being fussy...

Steviegtr19/02/2020 22:25:39
827 forum posts
187 photos

The Kites over Harewood house in summer time don't look to be having any trouble if they are inbred. There are literally hundreds of them. Nearly fell off bike clocking them.

Today I have made a Titanium & dark palm wood ring. Just needs finishing touches.

Steve.titanium ring.jpgtitanium & palm.jpg

Colin Heseltine21/02/2020 17:43:56
374 forum posts
90 photos

Finished off three out of four new chuck back-plates for Cowells ME90 lathe, Have just upgraded spindle to later M14x1. threaded nose. Purchased a few of the Arceuro 62mm backplates and shrunk them down to the requisite size. Cocked up the one for the 3 jaw chuck due to a config error on the DRO, so shrunk it down lots, put a sleeve on it and fitted a modified M12 backplate to it. Switched to ER16 collets rather than the Cowells original, the 4 jaw chuck one worked out okay. Just waiting for one more to remake for the 3 jaw chuck.

Can now move all chucks between Cowells ME90 lathe, Cowells Mill, BCA jig borer, Aciera F12 and Myford S7.


Andrew Johnston07/03/2020 11:12:33
5200 forum posts
599 photos

Been making studs and the slidebar side clamps for my traction engines. The slide clamps are not functional, but are a prominent feature on the fullsize engines:


And here is a clamp in situ with the recently machined rear cylinder casting and home msde studs and nuts:


So far everything slides together nicely without shake and no need for shims.


Brian H07/03/2020 12:15:35
1475 forum posts
102 photos

That's looking good Andrew!.


Cornish Jack07/03/2020 12:16:56
1042 forum posts
142 photos

Nigel Graham 2 - I share both your 'problems! The solution to the jar opening came by accident - buying an 'interesting' device (purpose unknown!) in a charity shop. It turned out to be one of these **LINK**

There are similar available at different prices. They are both extremely efficient and (for overgrown schoolkids like me) fascinating in action. Worth the price just to watch the action! Definitely designed by an engineer!!



Nigel Graham 207/03/2020 23:42:46
523 forum posts

Thank you Bill!

It does work as the rubric in " - better-English-than-my-Mandarin - " promises, I take it?


What did I do today?

| had a rest from smothering the Harrison L5 lathe in oily swarf, by going caving.


Why oily swarf in lathe-burying heaps? I'd spent much of the week making the boiler / smokebox ring for my steam-wagon. I think there was more metalwork in setting it up than making it, by trepanning it from a piece of well-weathered 15mm steel plate.

It is a ring 8" od X 6.4" id, with most of it turned away to form an annular channel :

Take one such plate, some 16" square; verify that a central recess already faced in it would not foul the intended bore. Wire-brush in angle-grinder to remove the worst "weathering". Oh, first - see my post above - find an old angle-grinder spanner, un-pin it and file it to fit the brush-nut.

Decided on the threaded plugs for 4 holes already in the stock plate, and slap on the centre-circle of the channel. They had been 1/2" dia clamping-holes for turning that recess. The bushes, intended as permanent, could only be 9/16" dia over threads, and a fine thread at that. Luckily I have a 9/16" UNF tap and die. Also tapped them M6 right through.

Screwed them in, with Loctite.

Worked out the order: trepan outside off first, then the channel, then the ring from the centre disc. Measured face-plate (<<16" dia.). Removed "splash-back" from the shelf above and behind the lathe, as it fouled the plate.

Assessed potential disasters if the appropriate bits are not secured when cut through... A 16" square of 15mm plate on a 9" faceplate revolving at perhaps 60rpm, is rather alarming!

I had thought to put the lathe motor controller above the tail, well away from the moving parts. The L5 has a clutch lever over the headstock but I was NOT going anywhere near a revolving work-piece like that, so left the clutch engaged and turned the machine on with the tool well clear. (In lowest gear.)

Machined (on the Myford) a bush to fit the spindle-nose and the plate's central hole. This was sort of helped by some philistine in the past having bored out the first inch of spindle taper to summat around 1.3"-ish with a rough finish, but cylindrical. Ish.

Cut some M6 studding pieces - fitted these to the UNF plugs. (Also permanent but yet to be trimmed flush.)

Cut 4 pieces of 3/8"BSW studding (compatible with my commercially-made clamping-sets); to fit holes already near the plate corners, to take angle-steel clamping-bars. Drill & tap the plate just shy of the faceplate rim for M8 set-screws and large washers as further restraints.

More tea.

More studs and tappings for the inner disc.

Assembled all, using plastic building shims as sacrificial spacers between work-piece and faceplate. Removed gap-filler. Assembled to lathe, with the spindle bush as locator to ensure the plugs' pitch-circle and the channel would match correctly. Secure this bush (too large to pass through the faceplate) with long studs and joiners from the clamping-set, right through the spindle.

Discovered the saddle would not approach the work without running off the rack! Ho-hum. Pushed it into place, tested top-fee range, stud clearances &c. Used tailstock as back-stop. Ground a trepanning cutter.

More tea. Used the Radio Times to select suitable background soothing from the workshop wireless.

Cut off the outer. That alone took well over two hours! Back-gear, lowest range-gear, motor happy at about 900 rpm in the green sector on the Newton-Tesla 3ph controller. Lots of brushed-on suds.

Oh the relief when rust-dust and blue plastic finally emerged from the cut, and nothing moved as shouldn't!


Switched all off and went indoors for tea... rather late tea.

Friday afternoon: unscrewed the newly-made steel commode-seat from face-plate, put it to one side. Re-fitted the gap-piece.


Mug of tea? No: a pleasant half-hour of tea and cake in a nearby café run by a former soldier as a mutual-support place for ex-Services personnel, but with opening-hours for all, including we civvies, too. One day and one evening are for veterans only, as are a private garden and gym out the back.


Back to it. Had to renew the tool again (dig-in, BANG! "Bother", or words to that effect). Carved out the channel. I'd made the plugs and their studs full-depth to minimise the interrupted cut, but there was still some thumpety-thump.

Finally parted the channel from the central disc; each still held by their respective M6 and 3/8BSW studs and nuts.

Quick test: yes the ring fits both boiler and smokebox! Rather freely but not excessively: not bad considering I have no Vernier or digital calipers to this size so had to use the traditional firm-joint calipers and steel rule.

Rang down "All Stop". Mid-gear, brakes on...

Retired for tea, 9pm.

Anthony Knights14/03/2020 07:00:17
332 forum posts
128 photos

Today, well it's yesterday now, I noticed the fan on the charger for my mobility scooter wasn't working. The batteries were charged and the charger seemed to be OK. It was quite cold in the conservatory where it was being used so it didn't overheat.

I had a look in the box of electronic bits and found a suitable sized fan on an old PC motherboard. This was used to replace the faulty one in the charger. It's now working fine.

This is probably one of the rare occasions where I have wanted some thing off a scrap item BEFORE throwing it away.

XD 35114/03/2020 07:50:40
1409 forum posts
1 photos
Posted by Steviegtr on 19/02/2020 22:25:39:

The Kites over Harewood house in summer time don't look to be having any trouble if they are inbred. There are literally hundreds of them. Nearly fell off bike clocking them.

Today I have made a Titanium & dark palm wood ring. Just needs finishing touches.

Steve.titanium ring.jpgtitanium & palm.jpg

Nice looking ring !

So how did you do it ?

Samsaranda14/03/2020 10:03:28
878 forum posts
5 photos

Steviegtr, I see you use titanium in your rings, do you take any special precautions when machining it as it can have the tendency to self ignite under certain conditions, I have some titanium bar and I am reluctant to machine it without knowing if special measures need to be observed ?
Dave W

Neil Wyatt14/03/2020 12:33:52
17391 forum posts
690 photos
77 articles
Posted by Mike Poole on 19/02/2020 14:25:18:

Most of the Red kites in our local area are likely to be descended from the original small population introduced some years ago. Does the limited gene pool that they are descended from have an impact on their health and well-being as it does on humans who breed too closely?

I suppose they may have added new blood since the original stock to add some diversity.


The native population was recovering from dropping to two breeding pairs in the late 70s/early 80s. It was assumed taht some overseas birds had joined the population. The introductions massively boosted the recovery and comprised quite a large number of birds (I recall figures of 60- or more?) and I imagine effort was made to select genetically diverse birds.


Nicholas Farr14/03/2020 22:43:33
2125 forum posts
1028 photos

Hi, today I made a few solder tags. First I found up three fuse holder bits from old plug tops.


I then cut the holder bit off, flattened it out a bit and then annealed it and flattened out all the wrinkles and drill some holes in each end and made some square washers from a bit of scrap alli.


Then cut a portion or two from these old logic circuit boards and removed the copper printed circuit and connecting tags that I didn't need.


I then cut the bits of board to size, with each piece having one connection tag still attached, drill holes in them for 3/32" pop rivets and bent the screw hole part of the tag to 90 degrees and cut and rounded the copper fuse bits to length.


I then pop riveted all the copper tags to the boards with an alli washer on the other side, so the pop rivet didn't split the board.


All now ready for use, the screw holes in the tags will be used to attach them into position with a wood screw.

Regards Nick.

Edited By Nicholas Farr on 14/03/2020 22:51:19

Steviegtr16/03/2020 23:27:31
827 forum posts
187 photos

Fitted a LED light to the new to me milling machine. Dug out my old 355mm cut off saw so I do not have to keep struggling parting off.


cut off saw.jpg

machine lamp.jpg

Speedy Builder517/03/2020 06:55:10
1936 forum posts
132 photos

Just to add a note to Nick's excellent work, just be careful when working old electrical 'copper'. as it is likely to be Berillyium copper which in fine particles (linishing, use of emery cloth etc) is dangerous to health. I suspect that we would only have limited contact, but the risk is there.

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