johnsmachines

machines which I have made, am making, or intend to make, and some other stuff. If you find this site interesting, please leave a comment. I read every comment and respond to most.

How a surgeon starts awkward, tiny nuts.

BA7 nuts are tiny. The thread is 2.38mm diameter. Admittedly, there are smaller nuts, but I have had so many problems with the BA7, that I do not want to even contemplate the even smaller ones.

If I drop a BA7 nut, I have about a 50% chance of seeing it on the floor. There must be a small fortune in BA7 nuts on the floor of my workshop, or wherever they bounce to.

The steam engine which I am currently building has several hundred of these tiny fasteners, and many of them are in inaccessible cavities, at least relatively inaccessible to my 65 year old fingers.

The more accessible BA7 bolts and studs can have nuts fitted with the assistance of a 4mm jeweller’s tube spanner. I added some usefulness to the tube spanner by turning its outside wall thinner, to decrease the space it occupies, but even so, there are many locations where no tube spanner, however modified, or open ender, or needle nosed pliers will reach, and fingers are required.

So, I had a brain wave yesterday, about a method of starting small nuts on relatively inaccessible studs and it works! This might not be an original idea, but it is to me.

It requires a sharp needle, on a handle, with an appropriate bend near the end of the needle. The sharp end of the needle is exposed. In my previous life I was a surgeon, so I have a supply of medical needles, and they are ideal.  A syringe makes a good handle.

The nut is placed on the needle, (carefully).

The needle point is placed in the centre of the end of the stud or bolt, carefully to avoid the nut slipping off prematurely, and the needle is angled so it is in line with the stud. The needle needs to be sharp, so it does not slip off the end of the stud.

The nut slips down onto the stud, and it can be spun with a finger tip until it attaches to the stud. The needle is then (carefully) placed away, and the nut is tightened down by whatever means are possible.

This method requires some dexterity, but it can change an impossible task into a merely difficult one.

Ps. If you use medical needles, make sure that they are new. Some diseases like hepatitis can be transmitted by needle stick injury.

The needle tip is pushed into the end of the stud/bolt.  The nut slips onto the end of the stud, and is then spun with a finger tip until it engages with the thread.

The needle tip is pushed into the end of the stud/bolt. The nut slips onto the end of the stud, and is then spun with a finger tip until it engages with the thread.

CRANKSHAFT – early steps

The triple expansion steam engine crankshaft has 6 main bearings, 3 big ends, and 4 positions where eccentrics attach.

It is about 240mm long, machined from 50.8mm mild steel rod.

The mains are turned from centrally positioned centres, the big ends from eccentrically positioned “centres”.

The centres were drilled on the CNC milling machine, after the locating the top of the bar

The centres were drilled on the CNC milling machine, after the locating the top of the bar

IMG_2609

The eccentric centres were calculated, and drilled using CNC to get the positions.  The longitudinal scribed line was used to position the other end of the rod.

IMG_2610

Turning between centres, using a lathe dog. This will not be a quick job.

And this is how I would like to make a crankshaft…