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What Did You Do Today 2021

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Nigel Graham 212/04/2021 18:46:58
1398 forum posts
20 photos

You could have a point there - the files locked for security - but I have noticed the same thing on some documents and spread-sheets related to my company pension, I sent from my work to home. In that case the system had turned them to docx and xlsx types, and without warning me.

I had similar problems when on my club committee, in trying to collate assorted papers sent in various locked forms. I don't think the locking was deliberate but might have been by default settings.

Printing the documents as-received, either all or by selected pages, was never the problem. It was editing them to prepare them for printing in a cohesive manner, that failed.

OCR is a thought. I have used it, and I did have a good OCR programme embedded in a comprehensive photo-faffing application. .Not sure if I still have it, but it might be too old to run in WIN 7.


I have now printed the sheet-metal forming manual, from LibreOffice. Its operation in that regard is rather like Adobe, with a page-list down the left-hand side and the active page in the main window, but easier to use. That was as well because removing several pages meant the page-count no longer matched the document's own page-numbers. Still, we got there without wasting too many sheets by printing the wrong second sides on them.

The quality's not brilliant but I have ordered some new cartridges. The main thing is that it is all legible, forming a booklet I can use along with the machine's own user-manual.

Roderick Jenkins12/04/2021 19:00:14
2073 forum posts
555 photos


Very nice. I shall look forward seeing the results of your flagstone fabrication. When I finish my Farm Boy, the next project will be the Sanderson Beam engine - it's going to need a floor.

I've spent the last couple of afternoons making this Instrument Vice. The base casting is a CES product that has been hanging around (like the Level I recently made) for decades

instrument vice.jpg

There were a couple of hairy set ups but no excitement ensued

instrument vice b.jpg

instrument vice a.jpg

Stay well,


Frances IoM12/04/2021 19:16:23
1105 forum posts
27 photos
NG2 tesseract is a very good (and free) OCR - I use it on Linux but I think there are windoze and mac versions - on Linux it is invoked using a control line (terminal) interface but I think there are also graphical interfaces - maybe I should investigate these but the CLI is simple

I bought maybe 20 years ago a scansoft OCR for use on a win98 - much to my surprise it works well under WINE on Linux but these days I try it if I need to select parts of pages to OCR but for complete pages tesseract is considerably better
SillyOldDuffer12/04/2021 20:33:56
7130 forum posts
1571 photos
Posted by Frances IoM on 12/04/2021 11:31:45:
jpg images can be inserted into a pdf page - maybe that is how the document was put together - possibly the originator of the document only had access to printed pages and it was easier to scan these as images.

That's right. To quote Wikipedia, 'each PDF file encapsulates a complete description of a fixed-layout flat document, including the text, fonts, vector graphics, raster images and other information needed to display it.'

So a 'text' pdf might be characters that can be edited, it might be an image that can't, or a mixture of both. Some old books I've downloaded have been OCR'd, others not. To further upset the user, OCR can be poorly done, or excellent, or a mixture. Editing pdfs ranges from easy to difficult. It's very confusing.

pdf readers all print pages well enough, but selections are uncertain. Extra fun ensues if a pdf is converted to another format, or vice versa, because conversions are bit error prone. Yuk!

Clue is in 'Page Description Format', the files are printable rather than editable.







Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 12/04/2021 20:35:02

D.A.Godley12/04/2021 22:18:34
118 forum posts
39 photos
Posted by duncan webster on 12/04/2021 18:14:19:

Got my version Of Stuart Hall's grasshopper engine going, now to find a way of making realistic flagstones. Even SWMBO thinks it looks well


Have you come across “Bromley Crafts “ , ? , my wife uses their product to create the brickwork and floor effects for he dolls houses .

Bromley sell a stencil and material which is like mortar , which when applied looks amazingly realistic.

Nigel Graham 213/04/2021 09:54:49
1398 forum posts
20 photos

Thank you Frances, Dave -

I'd wondered what PDF stands for. The training manual does contain a mixture of text in various fonts, diagrams, maths and pen-and-ink drawings of people using swaging-machines.

I've not used OCR very often but perhaps the most unusual application was at work, when one of my superiors asked me if I could turn a set of printed data into a digital file.

The data were thermal-image printed on a great long scroll, and were a few hundred lines of three or four columns of numbers - values measured by an electronic analyser run from a small PC. If they were what I think, about half of the values would be have been negative, too. I don't know why we had no electronic version. Perhaps we had but that was now lost or unreadable, or we no longer had a 5" floppy-disc reader anyway.

With some hundreds of lines, it would have taken a week of Sundays and been very error-prone to have typed them manually, so after some experimenting I used a scanner and OCR. I had to look for and correct random mis-readings due to blemishes or faint patches, but otherwise the method worked well, producing a text-file I could feed into an 'Excel' spread-sheet, compatible with the methods we were now using.

Nick Clarke 313/04/2021 14:01:56
1191 forum posts
49 photos
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 12/04/2021 20:33:56:

Clue is in 'Page Description Format', the files are printable rather than editable.


pdf actually stands for 'Portable Document Format' and while readers are free the format was originally a proprietary one, developed by Adobe, and based on their 'Postscript' page description language to enable documents to be produced using paid for software but read using free readers on a range of different devices.

Nigel Graham 213/04/2021 17:20:48
1398 forum posts
20 photos

Oh - I see! Well, I didn't know either way!

I don't like Adobe's sales method though. I don't mind being told an open, up-front, purchase cost for software - I don't expect things for free, and it's how I bought TurboCAD, and indeed this computer. However, being presented with a "Convert" menu that opens merely a sales-page offering an open-ended and expensive rental, is devious to say the least.

WinZip keeps sending me messages trying to persuade me my "software is out of date" and I need buy or rent their latest versions. I won't though. I don't create "zipped" files.


Managed an hour or so in the workshop today. I've not recovered enough from my fall last week, nor from the medication n, to be safe using machinery; but I managed a little servicing on my 'Alpine' band-saw. Didn't succeed and I fear that it's past it, at least without a of work.

I have no manual for it but while investigating possible replacements, discovered that Machine-Mart sells basically the same saws under the "Clarke" and "Draper" labels, and does offer their on-line user's manuals. I read the Draper one, but though potentially useful, it's not a servicing handbook.

Nigel Graham 214/04/2021 10:18:47
1398 forum posts
20 photos

Neil -

Sorry, only just spotted first your Wishes for a Speedy Recovery, for which thank you very much. I'm slightly better but have had to cancel this weekend's plans and possibly the following weekend.

And your comments on printer cartridges.

Interesting that legal point about refilled or pattern cartridges.

My printer/ copier is an A4-sized, HP Deskjet 1510. It might pre-date the law, but it's hard to see how the UK authorities can ban a practice established and run over the Internet by an American company. I have just received two HP-made black cartridges at >£40 each, from PrinterInks, and in my acknowledging receiving them, said the machine rejects refills / patterns as "counterfeit". HP's own word.

I also have an A3 HP Office-Jet 7510 scanner/printer. Well, it prints A3 paper but the scanner takes some odd size smaller. I bought that for CAD drawings. I have not tried refills of its absurdly small cartridges but I suspect that though it's the newer machine, it will still reject them.

It's a strange printer to use, taking ages in a self-setting routine so noisy and slow it sounds as if about to collapse all over the room. I may look at replacing it with a black-only laser-printer.... made by AnOther

Frances IoM14/04/2021 10:31:36
1105 forum posts
27 photos
Nigel - I bought an HP Office Pro 7730 a similar wide format printer coupled with an A4 scanner ( + the small extension to handle American paper but obviously inadequate for A3 scans) - cost ?1.50 at auction, my intention was to scrap it for parts - it came without any print cartridges - but the scanner worked well under Vuescan the linux CUPS system machine recognises the printer - how much are the cartridges counterfeit or otherwise?
Anthony Knights14/04/2021 10:54:42
490 forum posts
206 photos

If people refused to buy printers which would not accept alternative ink cartridges, perhaps the manufacturers would change their policy.

SillyOldDuffer14/04/2021 11:31:54
7130 forum posts
1571 photos
Posted by Nick Clarke 3 on 13/04/2021 14:01:56:
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 12/04/2021 20:33:56:

Clue is in 'Page Description Format', the files are printable rather than editable.


pdf actually stands for 'Portable Document Format' and while readers are free the format was originally a proprietary one, developed by Adobe, and based on their 'Postscript' page description language to enable documents to be produced using paid for software but read using free readers on a range of different devices.

Doh! Of course it does. I really must stop trusting my memory and check before hitting the 'Add Posting' button. Reckon I conflated Page Description Language with PDF; my poor old brain must be full of bad-sectors!



Roger Best14/04/2021 11:34:13
235 forum posts
31 photos
Posted by Frances IoM on 14/04/2021 10:31:36:
Nigel - I bought an HP Office Pro 7730 a similar wide format printer coupled with an A4 scanner ( + the small extension to handle American paper but obviously inadequate for A3 scans) - cost ?1.50 at auction, my intention was to scrap it for parts - it came without any print cartridges - but the scanner worked well under Vuescan the linux CUPS system machine recognises the printer - how much are the cartridges counterfeit or otherwise?

first call inks

Remarkably expensive!

Howard Lewis14/04/2021 11:44:09
4738 forum posts
10 photos

Making the screw holders for a John Ashton Universal Screw Modification Fixture, all 19 of them!

(To cover from M3 to 5/16" ) So .21 tappings to make and 38 through holes to drill.

Should keep me occupied for a while, before final assembly and finding a box to keep everything in!


Nicholas Wheeler 117/04/2021 19:00:15
575 forum posts
44 photos

Late last year, as part of a clean up I found this tucked behind a cupboard:


That's the frame and swinging arm for a powered hacksaw as featured in MEW 111, which I made about 12 years ago. The photo is after I cleaned and checked it the frame still slid along the arm.

After scrounging a wiper motor and linkage(from an MGF I helped a friend break), then making the missing parts from scrap I had lying about, I ended up with this:


I still need to wire it properly with a switch and fuse, but when connected to a battery charger it gently saws through steel bar which was what I wanted it for. I'll be clamping it to the workmate to use it, and will paint it when I've finished the wheeling machine I started at about the same time.

Nigel Graham 217/04/2021 20:43:30
1398 forum posts
20 photos

Francis, Roger -

I paid just over £100 but that was for a bundle: colour & black cartridges plus an extra black, plus paper. All from Printerinks.

These for an HP 7510. I don't know if the 7730 uses the same inks.

A lot of money, almost making me regret dismantling my drawing-board, but still a bit cheaper than original HP versions from the same seller. Luckily they should last me a long time.

Worryingly though it looks as if Printerinks will not be stocking the sizes I need in future - they don't list the printer in their menus so I don't know if HP have stopped making the 7510. Would not surprise me: The HP list is so long, it looks as if the firm brings out several new printer models each year - all to do the same thing, and with each ink cartridge type suiting only a few of each.


Still not well enough for the workshop, but I managed a little design work this afternoon, so that's progress of a sort.

Iain Downs23/04/2021 09:25:53
761 forum posts
675 photos

Not today and not even this month, but I finally got round to finishing my surface gauge made mainly with a mystery metal.

surfacegauge 01.jpg

surfacegauge 02.jpg

I still have a bit of tuning to do -the first photo shows the cap screws (in the second photo) replaced with knurled finger screws, but the dovetail clamp is still a little tight so I plan to enlarge the hole a little.

The indicator in the lower picture is a micron (well 2 micron) indicated for Bangood which cost me £18 and appears to measure microns. (and yes, to all the professionals out there, microns are considerably beyond my and my tools capacity, but it's nice to dream!).

However, the M5 screw is a little too course to be able to zero the indicator and I may think some fine adjustment nearer the indicator.


Mick B123/04/2021 13:34:02
1884 forum posts
95 photos

I finished 8 square-based pins for the railway. Nobody I spoke to seems to know what they're for, but there's another S160 as well as an 8F in restoration. Dunno about tolerances so I kept the shaft diameter at 0.6215" +/- about half-a-thou as per the original I was copying. I found the only 9/16" BSW die in the workshop, to save screwcutting the thread - had to rotate with a rod stuck in a chuck-key hole to cut it. Material was alleged to be EN8 - ancient, gritty and dirty, very hard to get a decent finish until I was well in from the surface, but distinctly better near the centre of the 2" diameter round bar I had to start from. Obviously something like 80 or 90 percent of the stuff ended up as swarf - filled most of a bin. Square base was 1.177" on the original, so I copied that.

The original's tilted because of the big cutting-off pip on its base.


A few days ago, I finished a plywood flapping Alicorn (unicorn with wings) for a granddaughter's ninth birthday. With a lump of brass on the bottom cord, it flaps several times at one pull.

She's decorated it nicely since.


Edited By Mick B1 on 23/04/2021 13:37:03

Howard Lewis25/04/2021 11:14:45
4738 forum posts
10 photos

NOT Model Engineering as we know it!

Went to water newly seed grass for SWMBO. One plastic wheel of the hosereel collapsed, with the other very imminent.

Had been given some 1 1/8" plate, (12 x 18" ) so bored out both wheels (The "spokes" were paper thin! ) and spent a lot of time jig sawing the plate. Once small enough bandsaw produced two more or less square plates. Drilled and mounted on an arbor, fit a Left Hand Tool and turn down to size to fit into the remains of the wheel (Plastic rim and tyre ) Next job is to make two 3/16" thick spacers, and then hold the blanks (%.238" dia ) in the 4 jaw and bore out to 14 mm. The finale will be to press the Ali "cylinders" into the plastic rims and tyres, before lubrication and reassembly..

Once completed, we shall be able to wheel the hosereel again, rather than carry it!

What a boon to have a lathe!

Then can resume work on the John Ashton Universal Screw Modification Fixture!


Nigel Graham 226/04/2021 22:50:56
1398 forum posts
20 photos

I like that Alicorn, Mick!

I managed sufficient workshop time to complete the "petticoat" part of my steam-wagon's chimney. I have made the base venturi in two parts separated at the choke , and held together by 4BA studs though a flange in the upper section.

I don't know what the steel is. It was from the come-in-handy heap under the bench, and it proved quite free-cutting but I obtained such good finishes with both carbide and HSS I rather regretted using it for a chimney part.


Then this evening, conducted a blood test. On me.

I have for a long time now (since I was 50 I think) been a sample in the English Longitudinal Study of Aging (ELSA), run by statistics company called NatCen Social Research on behalf of various state organisations and planners.

This time though NatCen has been contracted to help research into long-term Covid antibody survival , and I was invited. Like an epidemiological Covid-19 survey it carried out last year, it is not intended as an individual diagnosis but part of a national scientific study into the disease.

So this evening I read through the instructions several times, set everything out on the kitchen work-top, followed the rubric carefully. They wanted 0.6ml of blood, collected in a tiny plastic vial; but said they can use 0.4 if necessary. It took me 3 punctures - using the supplied spring-operated lancets - a lot of effort and a long time, making me think I must be made of stone.

The instructions advise on what to do if you feel faint! I didn't do that, perhaps because I was concentrating too hard on keeping Nature at bay long enough to fill the vial to the line.

Eventually I managed a full 600µl, cleaned up ( "By Mr. Bluntdrill. In the kitchen. With a blood-test lancet" ); completed the paperwork, packed everything as instructed in the box and envelopes supplied, hobbled up the road and posted it.

NatCen asks you to use an NHS-priority post-box if possible. It wasn't. I have no idea if there are any in my area, but the ones local to me aren't.

Results? Back in a couple of weeks or so.

'Twas only when I returned home I realised I'd omitted a mixing procedure in the test. Ah well. I expect it will still work.

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