More about me:
My interest in things mechanical really began when my draughting aptitude began to surface at school, aged about thirteen.
The prac-drawing teacher was a huge inspiration to me, especially when I asked for homework, an unheard of request for a `B’ stream Sec. Mod. kid. My parents bought me a board and `T’ square, and my father found his two set squares from when he was at art school. My homework consisted of drawing various views of gear-box cases. Presumably they were for engines. My parents also bought me a very old treadle lathe with screw-cutting capabilities. It was a disaster, with too much wrong with it for anything serious.
At fifteen, my strongest desire was to get into the drawing office of a plastics company where my father was charge-hand electrician. I was a timid Lancashire lad when, much to the amusement of middle management at the time of my interviews, I told them I wanted to be a draughtsman. “Six months in’t toolroom me lad!” I was told.
Six years later, as a journeyman toolmaker, I was sent an invitation to serve in the military. Another two years went by, this time in the RAF as a wireless mechanic serving in Cyprus and developing an interest in photography especially Leica equipment. I was also ' . . back in’t toolroom . . ' driving a Myford Super7. They had purchased two S7's for taking care of the really small stuff for plastics and rubber moulds. By 1959 with an ONC under my belt, I was (finally) accepted into their drawing office. This was relatively short lived when, in 1961, I applied for a draughting position in the plastics laboratory of a well-known chemical company. Meanwhile, the widow of a model enthusiast sold me his ML7, and lots of tools etc. It didn’t take me long to fit it with a clutch, a Norton gearbox, and then to sit it onto a Myford stand.
That lathe served me well over the years, despite being second hand. Some time around the late 60's the laboratory drawing office closed, and I began a long career in technical service. “How would two months in Australia suit you?” came the question from my boss early in 1972. It turned out that they wanted someone with Tech Service experience to fill in a gap in their HO in Melbourne. Apart from the need to return and sell up in England I’ve been in Australia ever since. By `85, I’d decided to start my own business. The ATO (Australian Taxation Office) labelled me `Consulting Engineer’. And so began the most interesting part of my engineering aspirations. I was my own boss, and over the next sixteen years clocked up about 150 clients, some long-standing, some fly-by-nighters.
Then another disaster. I decided to sell my workshop and all my tools. Out went the ML7, a Taig CNC mill, a large pillar drill and lots of computing capacity. Digital photography is now my main hobby, as is the need to finish my skeleton clock (without a workshop!).
I edited my profile in September 2011, and the clock was finished and ticking away.
More recently, I turned to kitchen table stuff, building a couple of model ship kits.
My latest profile edit was 29 March 2018 when I added the list of article references.
Dennis (aka Sam) Stones
References to articles
- Building John Stevens’ Skeleton Clock– 7 Parts - Model Engineer – #4526 – 22 Jan 2016 – Last part #4538 – 8 Jul 2016.
- Making a miniature changeover valve in plastics - 3 Parts – Model Engineer - #4555 – 3 Mar 2017 – Last part #4559 – 28 Apr 2017.
- Making a special purpose (laboratory) measuring device - 2 Parts - Model Engineer - #4572 – 27 Oct 2017 and #4578 – 18 Jan 2018.
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