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Hello from Birmingham

Old engineer; new forum member

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Elliot Hirst16/10/2020 09:11:12
6 forum posts
8 photos

I started my career in manufacturing with training at Leyland Truck and Bus during the 1970s and followed this with more senior roles at Gardner Engines, Self-Changing Gears, Lotus Cars and GEC-Avery. My last 15+ years were spent as a management consultant with C&L, PwC and IBM working for a variety of clients. On retiring I decided to set up a small workshop in the garage, joined the SMEE and bought 2nd hand an Excel Pinnacle 1018 and a Warco Minor mill. Membership of SMEE has been invaluable; there are so many really skilled members who are most willing to share their experience. Last month, in a rush of blood, I purchased a very old Hardinge HLV-H lather and I am currently in the process of putting right many of the 'bodged' reapirs and adjustments that is has suffered over the years. Hopefully, at the end I shall have an accurate machine that will be a pleasure to use. I look forward to sharing and learning with other forum members.

SillyOldDuffer16/10/2020 10:05:35
6476 forum posts
1424 photos

Welcome to the forum Elliot. There would be plenty of interest and helpful suggestions if you posted photos and descriptions of your Hardinge Project. We all enjoy problem solving!

Posting photos on the forum is a little convoluted, here's the How To.


Brian H16/10/2020 10:11:49
1867 forum posts
106 photos

Hello Elliot and welcome, sounds like you will soon be well equipped. What sort of projects will you be interested in when the Hardinge is finished?


Henry Brown16/10/2020 11:16:11
348 forum posts
90 photos

Welcome Elliot! Just down the road near Worcester so will look forward to what you get up to...

Howard Lewis16/10/2020 12:55:13
3816 forum posts
3 photos


You sound as if you know what you are about, so that the Hardinge refurbishment will produce a really good machine at the end.

You should be able to help the newbies, and some of us older folk when there is a problem.


Graham Stoppani16/10/2020 13:56:00
86 forum posts
13 photos

I bought a second hand Warco Minor last year. Very happy with it but it did have one problem which I think may be something you might want to check, if you haven't already.

There are two ball bearings at the top of the quill and two taper roller bearings further down. Soon after buying the mill it started to screech when running. This was soon traced to the top bearing of the two taper roller bearings that had become completely dry. The lower bearing was in pristine condition as it had benefited from all the grease that had melted from the top bearing and landed on top of it!

Fortunately, the taper roller bearings are accessible to lubricate in situ.

Nick Clarke 316/10/2020 16:59:16
949 forum posts
33 photos

Hi Elliot -

Also just down the road - about 5 mins from the Avery site off Lifford Lane - keep posting your progress.

Take care,


Chris Evans 616/10/2020 17:08:23
1784 forum posts

Welcome along from another Brummie, I was born in Worcestershire lived and worked in and around Brum until 13 years ago when I moved to Staffordshire. I served my apprenticeship at GEC in Witton.

Harry Wilkes16/10/2020 18:09:53
1005 forum posts
63 photos

Welcome to the forum from WS4 smiley


Elliot Hirst16/10/2020 22:38:30
6 forum posts
8 photos

Thanks for the many welcome notes and thanks also for the advice on the Warco and other things. I am not attempting a restoration of the Hardinge, more an overhaul; just stripping down parts that look like they need to be checked and putting things right where needed. My biggest problem is that as I open things up I keep finding someone has been there before me and bodged the job. So far I have cleaned out and reset the top slide and the cross slide, and stripped and rebuilt the variable speed drive unit which is similar to the DAF variomatic transmission. Unfortunately, there has been some rewiring that seems to mismatch the directions of spindle, speed adjustment and carriage feed direction. Spindle speed adjustment and carriage feed are driven by motors to provide infinitely variable speeds for the spindle and the carriage. At present, I have the spindle brake, carriage apron, cross-slide oil pump and tail stock in pieces. I have fitted new meter units to the cross-slide oil distribution system. I am awaiting delivery of a new check valve for the oil pump; this will need to be modified from 1/4” NPT to fit UNF 3/8” x 24. I am hoping that there will be enough ‘meat’ on the unit to turn it down, thread 5/16” and then fit a threaded sleeve. I have bored and threaded the id of a piece of brass ready to fit and plan to then thread the old. There is not sufficient space in the oil pump assembly to fit and adaptor. The spindle brake solenoid had a broken copper loop which needed replacement and I have yet to test this to see if this stops the vibration problem. (I understand the copper loops damp the magnetic decay with AC which causes the noise and vibration.) I have turned and fitted a new cork for the spindle brake lever. The spindle brake was disconnected! Although there was lots of sludge in the carriage apron, the gears and clutches look okay, so I shall reassemble and test. I have had to replace or make missing parts in the cross feed and carriage feed clutch operating mechanisms. I have an interesting problem with the tail stock. When wound fully back it does not eject standard centres. I have stripped the unit and can find no glaring errors, serious damage or missing parts. However, the backlash adjuster seems to be slightly proud. I shall try resetting in the hope that this gives sufficient extra travel. All good fun, really. If I can work out how to post some photos I will. If and when all of this is finished I plan to complete the basic Gauge 1 loco from the Gauge 1 society ‘Project’ book and to follow I hope to build the Jacobs gear hobbing unit. Lockdown is a great opportunity to put some time in.

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