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.

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CONFESSION

When I was making the triple expansion steam engine I turned the crankshaft from a piece of 50mm diameter stainless steel rod.   One centre for the main bearings, and 3 other eccentric centres for the big ends.  I spent a long time marking out the centres, then turned the bearings, gluing in a packing piece after turning each one, so that pressure on the ends of the crankshaft would not distort it.

After a whole day on the job, I was pretty pleased with the progress, and I lined up the almost finished crankshaft with the bearings on the bed, to see how it would look.

#%&*##

I had made a 3mm mistake with the position of one of the big ends.  It was a fatal mistake.

So I made another crankshaft the next day, and that one worked out fine, and is on the triple to this day.

The ruined crankshaft sits prominently on a shelf in my workshop, as a reminder.

Today I am making another confession, of another stupid mistake.

This was a beautifully smooth, accurate, keyless Rohm chuck which I used often in my mill, mounted on a quick release quality JT6 Japanese fitting.  I used it successfully on drills down to 1mm size for several years.

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But lately it seemed to have a bit of runout.  Inspection appeared to show that the JT6 taper part of the chuck had dislodged a bit.  Not the taper itself, but the sleeve that the taper was machined into.

So, I put it in the press to snug it back home.

No movement, so I pushed a bit harder.  (stupid stupid stupid!)

BANG!

I don’t know what let go, but I think that I cracked the tapered sleeve.  The chuck was seized solid.  Would not move despite heavy persuasion.  I had really buggered it.

O well, you live and learn.  I figured that I would remove the chuck, buy a new one, and install it on the expensive Japanese JT6 spindle.

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So I applied a gear remover, one of those double C shaped ones, with the hardened steel jaws, and tightened the bolts.  But it would not move.  Tightened the bolts further, and further, until I was not game to apply more pressure for fear of breaking the gear remover or the Sidchrome spanner.   Considered applying heat with oxyacetylene, but I really did not want to wreck the Japanese fitting as well, so I put the question to a colleague at the model engineering club today.  As a result of that conversation, this is what I did…..with an angle grinder.

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As you can see.

I considered putting it on the shelf next to the crankshaft, but you know what…. I don’t think that I can bear to look at it, so it is going out with the rubbish to be forgotten as quickly as possible.  (ps.  now sitting next to the crankshaft)

The JT6 spindle seems to survived unscathed.

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The other side of the chuck and the spindle, after separation.

In retrospect, I wonder if I should have tried some heat, but the chuck was busted, so it would not have made much difference.

End of confession.  But I dont feel any better.

Model Krupp Gun from Emden

These photos and description were sent in by reader Robert, from NSW, Australia

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Robert’s model Emden gun

Emden Gun by Robert.
The cruiser HMAS Sydney forced surrender of the SMS light cruiser Emden in
November 1914, after a sea battle that reduced Emden to a non firing hulk;
a scene of carnage.
Sydney’s 6 inch guns outranged Emden’s 10.5cm Krupp’s. The surviving crew on
board Emden dutifully tossed overboard all the breech blocks, so the ten
captured guns brought to Australia are sans breech mechanism and none are
without significant shell damage. Two of the best preserved examples are
main deck guns, one in the Australian War Memorial and one at the Navy
Museum in Sydney Harbour. Both of these have gun shields, the third example
located at the corner of Hyde Park and Oxford St. Sydney, is a mid-deck gun
that fired from an armoured sponson and this was not fitted with a
gunshield.
The shore party sent to destroy the islands radio station escaped in a leaky
schooner and their story is real boys own stuff.
The sleek  lines and proportions of the Hyde Park example attracted me to
make a model of it. In research on the history of Emden and its crew
(captured survivors spent the war in Berrima, another interesting tale) I
came across the story of SMS Konigsberg, sister ship of Emden, scuttled in
the Rufiji river delta, East Africa, harassed by a British battle fleet.
These guns were salvaged by the crew and using huge numbers of native
conscripts, were dragged through the bush to the German railway workshops to
be fitted with carriages and wheels, others kept as fortress guns. The range
of these pieces dominated fighting in East Africa until the Brits. could
ship out long range artillery. One gun was fitted to the German steamer SS
von Goetzen based on Lake Tanganyika and was the inspiration for the great
(fictional) movie African Queen. The defeat of the Konigsberg used aircraft
for spotting fall of shot and was the inspiration for another forgettable
movie starring Roger Moore.
Model details are: Length 356mm, height 140mm. Materials: Stainless Steel
base, the rest mild steel or brass. Traverse gear cut, elevation gear
segments purchased . Scratch built from photographs about 600 hours. Breech
chambers but does not eject round, recoil spring based, traverse and
elevation work as original.

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Original Emden gun sans breech

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Krupp gun on the SS Graf von Goetzen, Lake Tanganyika

 

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Close ups of the model

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Thanks to Robert for sending these great photographs and commentary.   I have seen photos of some other of Robert’s superb model engineering, and look forward to publishing them on this blog.

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SMS Emden 1914

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HMAS Sydney

 

Royal Geelong Show 2019

The “Show” was held over the last 4 days.  I will not bang on again about my republican leanings.  See posts from previous years if that persuasion is of any interest.  The weather was ordinary.  Quite a few showers and blustery wind.  But we were mostly warm in the Vintage Machinery shed where our Model Machinery cage is located.  Fairly good visitor numbers, but not much real interest in our model engine offerings.

I exhibited my beam engine and Trevithick dredger engines, both running on piped steam.  The vertical boiler and feed pump was on static display, of no interest to anyone.  My Stirling engine got the most attention from kids, who are attracted by the swirling spiral colours, and not much interest in the intriguing method of running.  I am convinced that models must be moving, colourful, and have some relation to what people and kids see on television if they are to have any traction with the public.

But, the model and full size engine exhibitors enjoyed the displays, and an occasional visitor engaged in conversation.  Here are some pics and videos of some of the shed displays.  There dog shows, bird breeding, monster trucks,  horse riding events, cattle and sheep judging, and side show rides but these were not recorded by me.   I did visit the Amateur Astronomy display, and will visit the workshop of one of the exhibitors soon.

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I had applied wooden lagging to the beam engine cylinder

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Steam for the engines is provided from this Package Boiler at 25psi.   Enough to turn them over.  Capable of much higher pressures.

Package boiler diag

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Cage Bench North includes the Trevithick dredger model, the beam engine and the Stirling engine.

Cage bench south

Cage Bench South.  Swen Pettig’s prize winning flame gulper, and 1″ Minnie under construction.

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Stuart and Swen ?discussing engine repairs.

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Model Engineering first prize!

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And the full size triple expansion engine.  The Vintage Machinery boiler is being upgraded, so there was insufficient steam to run the triple.

 

 

Workshop with security

Every time that I open my workshop I wonder if it will have been robbed.  So far, I have had unsecured implements which are stored outside, stolen, and an attempt at stealing my Landcruiser ute, but no breaking and entering of the workshop itself.  Mind you, any thief would have a tough time working out what to take…   everything is scattered around, sitting where I last used it.  And then there are the tiger snakes….

Reader Brendan has a couple of guard dogs for his workshop when he is not present.

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They might not look too scary, but they do make a hell of a racket when a stranger approaches.

And Brendan’s workshop is not all in one location.  I counted 5 separate locations….

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The computer room and security monitor.  Mostly CAD and G codes here.

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The laser cutter occupies the entry porch.   See the backing board pattern?  That is from the gasket for my Trevithick engine.

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Then the main workshop.  Hmm… what is that red thing?

Brendan bearing press

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2 lathes in the garage.  Hafco with DRO, and CNC with Siemens controller.

Meanwhile, in my workshop…

I am taking some of my stuff to an exhibition at the Royal Geelong Show in a week.  The beam engine working on steam always gets some interest.   And the Trevithick dredger engine has not featured at this event before, so that can go.   I am currently working on the vertical boiler.   The Southworth Duplex pump which is attached to the boiler, was working on air, but it refused on steam, so another tear down is due.  If I can get it going that will be the third entry.  If not, well, there is always next year.   Fortunately Keith Appleton recently produced some videos on the Southworths, one of which had a similar problem, so I think that I know where my problem is.

Incidentally,  I showed the beam engine, the Trevithick, and the boiler at an exhibition in Melbourne last weekend.   Mostly well received.  But I had a succession of people who said of the beam engine “very nice.  Except for the cap screws.”  When it reached 6 separate commenters on the same theme I was starting to suspect a conspiracy from these rivet counters.   Yes it does have cap screws as the main fasteners.  And no, they are not true to the period (late 19th century).  But I quite liked the look of them.  But, one does prefer approval in preference to criticism, and after this concerted barrage of criticism, I relented, and spent a couple of workshop sessions swapping out the cap screws for studs with hex nuts.

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The before.  With cap screws.

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After the upgrade with studs and hex nuts.  Was it worth the 2 workshop sessions?

Sometime soon I will paint parts of this engine, and apply wooden lagging to the cylinder.

 

 

Workshop in the Deep North of Oz. North Queensland.

This one is interesting.  It is located in the basement of a multi storey apartment building,  in the centre of a major city, and occupies a car parking space.  It is screened off from the other car parking spaces, with security mesh and visual blocking.

In the photos you will see some of Peter’s projects.  Woodworking, kids toys, and metalworking.  Peter also is involved in model railways.

Nice to see some mess.  Must be genetic.

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Nice bandsaw!  I wonder what the bell is used for.  Maybe to warn the other apartment occupants that Peter is about to fire up some machinery.

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Heavy duty lathe.

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It is obviously used!

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A grand daughter will be very happy with that!

Thanks for those photos Peter.  It is interesting to see another workshop in confined space.  I do wonder how the other apartment occupants respond to woodworking thicknesser noise.

Next Tool Project…A CNC Laser Cutter

The Southworth steam powered boiler feed pump has many gaskets.  I have not counted them, but there must be 15-20.  All with many 2mm and 4mm  holes.

And in the process of making the machine, I have broken quite a few of them with the multiple assemblies and tear downs.

But, fortunately, 2 of the members of my model engineering club have laser CNC cutters, so extra sets of gaskets has not been an impossible ask.  (Thank you Brendan and Stuart!)

So, some time ago I asked Stuart, if it would be possible to attach a laser cutter to the CNC mill.  His initial answer was NO.  But recently, he changed his tune.   He attached a laser head to his 3D printed CNC mill and started producing gaskets on request!   So, as is a recent pattern, I am walking in Stuart’s footsteps, and I have purchased a 15 watt laser head on Ebay.   Chinese of course.

Laser kit 15w

This is the kit.   Cost $AuD146.

Laser head

And this is the 15w laser head.  Now I have to work out how to attach it to my mill.  Shouldn’t be too difficult, as long as I don’t turn on the spindle while it is attached.

 

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My CNC mill, during the electronics upgrade.  Most recent photo.   Soon to have a laser head.

Stuart assures me that Mach3 can be configured to operate the laser….   turn it on and off, move the axes at an appropriate speed, etc.  I think that some trickery is involved.

And future gaskets will be as simple as ….

So watch this space .

Southworth Steam Boiler Feed Pump Progress.

With book reviews and OP’s workshops on this blog you might be wondering if anything is happening in MY workshop.

Well, yes.

I have been beavering away, making parts for the Southworth steam powered boiler water feed pump.  Today I made the final parts.  The machining has been fairly basic and straightforward, so no special photos or videos.

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These are the parts and assemblies.  Top is the steam cylinders left, the water cylinders right.  The water pump stack not attached.  The the tails for the valve rods, the valve rods with valves attached, the cylinder caps, the valve rod levers, and some of the gaskets.

I will make a separate blog about the gaskets.  These were all laser cut.  I will never hand cut another gasket.  Laser cutting is cheap, fast and accurate.  Way to go!

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The valve levers and fittings.   These are small, precise, and accurate.  Quite a pain to make, even with CNC.  I remade more than one of these, due to dropping and losing the original.  The fasteners are M2, and not finalised.  The off centre drilling of the left hand fitting is of no consequence (I hope).

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The valve rods, M2.5, and valves.  Cutting those threads, 2.5mm diameter and 25mm long, was also a challenge.  I learnt about fixed steadies, but too late to use on this job.  Subject for a future blog.

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And some of the cylinder end caps.  There are 8 altogether.

So now that all of the parts/components are made, I will commence the assembly, then the timing of the steam engine component.  Watch this space.

Book review of “A Military History of China” coming up soon.  Quite an eye opener.

If you have not sent in photos of your workspace, please do so.  The series has generated quite a lot of interest.

 

A European Workshop

Most of the workshop pictures so far have come from Australia, and one from UK.  This one is from Holland, sorry Huib, the Netherlands.

Interesting differences.  Huib built his own workshop, and he has some nice gear.  All of these photos came upside-down.  Funny how they consider Oz to be “down-under”.  Obviously their reference points are wrong. THEY are the upside-down ones.  I mean, we are walking upright, right?  They must be upside-down!

 

Hello John,

Here finally my contribution to your workshop series, as always I might want to show and share too much with others, that’s why I want you to show  what you can support and is in line with the possibilities you have on your blog. 

See if you can make one blog part of it or cut it into pieces. That’s up to you. I transfer the pictures with WE TRANSFER to you, as it is right you got a mail with the link to download the pictures.

It looks like the pictures that it is all clean and tidy maybe but appearances are deceptive, most of the time it’s not so tidy for me either, for the pictures I cleaned it up.

I have tried to be as complete as possible but if there are any questions please let me know.

I built the barn myself, so as the floor plan was drawn. First I built room 1 which is completely isolated and where I can work during the winter, there are also the most expensive machines. 

Later on I built room 2, to store also the wood for the stove. Finally, 5 years ago I built room 3, the largest room where also other things are stored as only hobby stuff, also our bikes and everthing els.

Room 1 is the room where I stay most in, coarse work I do room 2, such as sawing, sanding and coarse drilling.  In room 3 I mainly do business that need some space, the large, homemade workbench is a good tool for that. And as you can see, I can’t throw anything away and I keep everything I think of that can be useful in the next hundred years.

The photos contain references to the machine and the space where they are located.

I hope you like the total information.

Kindest regards

Huib

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The thing about Holland, is that they HAVE to make the world’s best pumps.  Otherwise they are under water.  Much of the country is below sea level.

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Now, that is nice!

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Ahhh!

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Ahhhhhh!

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Nice!  But I will stick with CNC.

Huib also sent a video of his steam plant.  Unfortunately I do not have the space to post it, but if Huib can remember the YouTube address I will include that later.

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Storage is always a problem no?

So, thank you Huib, for sharing your workplace with us.  It is very interesting to see how other model engineers work, and their equipment.  I have posted only a fraction of Huib’s photos, due to space limitations.    I hope that the chosen shots are of interest to my readers.

ps.  Huib, I found the YouTube video…Very nice work!

 

Book Review. Battleship Bismarck. A Design and Operational History.

No hesitation about this one.  It is magnificent.  A big, expensive, superb book.  Very detailed.  Lots of photographs, maps, diagrams, plans, tables.  And written by people who really know their subject.  All naval architects.  Very readable, but probably not in one session.  In fact, I have read it, selecting sections almost at random, then finding it very difficult to put down.

Here is my official review.

 

BATTLESHIP BISMARCK-  A Design and Operational History

By William Garzke, Robert Dulin and William Jurens.

 

This superb book, IMO, is destined to become THE authoritative account of conception, design, building, brief naval history and destruction of one of the most famous ships ever.  Written by expert naval architects, the 610 pages of double column text are illustrated by many original photographs, maps, and diagrams.

 

I suppose that some people will read it cover to cover, but I found myself being drawn initially into the design and building of the massive battleship.  In a later reading session, I read the incredibly moving accounts of the German survivors.  And in another session, the sinking of the Hood.   Then, not necessarily sequentially, the chapters leading to the discovery of Bismarck, the disabling of the rudders, and the final, fatal confrontation with the vengeful Royal Navy.

 

Recently we have been treated to magnificent Seaforth publications of books of plans of warships Helgoland, the Repulse and others.  I confess that I was slightly disappointed that similar detailed plans of the Bismarck were not included in this publication, but I understand that there are limits.  Perhaps a separate book?

 

Congratulations to the authors and publishers of this magnificent work, which I am delighted to add to my library.

Some pics of the book.

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At £55 it IS expensive.  But in this case you get what you pay for.

Seaforth Publishing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another John’s Workshop.

Now this is a workshop where I would feel at home…..

“Hi John some photo’s attached.

I work in my double garage 56 square meters. I have been self employed for the last 30 years but have reached the stage where I want to retire, some of my customers still send me jobs to do which I cannot say no to so it keeps the hobby going.
I have a Bridgeport copy converted to 4 axis CNC running Mach3 using MachStdMill screen set (love it).
My lathe is a Prototrak SLX on a King Rich lathe bed ( toolroom quality).
Misc other machines small surface grinder,tool & cutter grinder, compressor, 15 tonne press, bandsaw,welding gear electric & oxy acetylene, overhead crane ( 250kg capacity )
I am running out of space.
I am close to finishing my boiler will send some photo’s soon.
Cheers
John”
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Thanks for the pics John.  A bit of gear envy happening here.  Love the gantry!

Workshop Photos. Are all Modellers Obsessive -Compulsive Neat Freaks?

I am starting to regret asking for the workshop photos.  Another reader, John, has sent in photos of his super organised, super clean workshop.  We must admit that it looks quite inviting,….

and fairly safe, unlike my disorganised dirty mess.

Here are the photos.   Somewhere in Oz.

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And some notes from John….

“Thought you and possibly your readers might enjoy some pics of my ‘shop. All crammed into a two car garage! I really am running out of space and have to try and be as efficient as possible in that regard . Note the ladders etc hung on brackets from the ceiling in one of the pics. I also have an anvil and coke forge outside, plus materials, bolts and the like stored in one of the garden sheds outside the workshop.

A few notes to go:

103350 my ML7 Myford lathe lives behind the large red tool chest which is handily placed to mill and lathes. Parts washer (green lid) to right of pic, under cloth foreground is completed riding trailer to go behind current long term project 2 ½ “ Burrell traction engine. In welding area, BOC Industrial MIG, Unimig plasma cutter sitting on top, orange cabinet is sand blaster. Note also the copper pipes across the ceiling – they run across and back to help cool the air and dehumidify, with droppers and drain cocks at various locations, plus there’s two inline filters (one to 3 micron) to help ensure dry air for spray painting and sand blasting.

103407 ac/dcTIG, folder/g’tine/rolls (blue in corner), new welding/fab bench frames under construction on floor by current welding bench.

103450 press, tool and cutter grinder, bandsaw, oxy, compressor.

103575 mill, drill press and two grinders/linisher.

103558 ML7 – my first lathe

103633 bench area, tall grey cabinet holds lots of gear – taps, dies, tooling, roatab, dividing head etc etc

104041 recent mods to compressor to quieten the beast using an old Holden red motor air cleaner. Replaces the small plastic jobbies that screw into the heads. It’s been quite effective.”

So, thank you John, for further magnifying my inferiority complex regarding workshop organisation.  And I know that these machines are put to work, making a traction engine, and currently a beam engine.  Plus a full time job, unlike this retired medico who has time to kill.

Dear readers, if anyone has a dirty, disorganised, dark workshop, please send me some photos.  It will do wonders for my self esteem.

 

 

Bad Paint Job

As I reported on Sep 3, I was recovering from a decent dose of influenza, and feeling a need to do something after almost 2 weeks of inactivity, and I decided to put some more paint on the Trevithick dredger engine.  After all, what could go wrong?   Just a bit of gentle painting.

I was quite proud of the job.  No paint spills.  No brush marks on neighbouring items.  No brush hairs in the work, and minimal brush marks.

I wondered how long I would need to wait between coats, so I checked the paint tin.

O shit!   I had used the wrong paint….

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I had used the epoxy enamel instead of the high temperature resistant Pot Belly Black!  The brain had apparently not recovered fully from the ‘flu.

I decided to sleep on the problem.  Checked with my resident paint expert (SWMBO), and on her suggestion, next day applied some mineral turpentine.  The paint was dry, but the turps did seem to soften it.  So I applied some more turps, then attacked the epoxy paint with a rag.

To my delight, it mostly came off.  I was not too bothered by the paint in the deep cracks…. that could be a filler.

Then I carefully dried everything, another rub with clean rags, and applied another coat.  This time using the correct paint.  2 coats.

Reader Huib asked how it had all eventuated, so today I took some pics of the engine in its current home…  our kitchen.  The budgerigars are SWMBO’s decorative touch.

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The kitchen is due for a renovation.  I made those cupboards and benches 30 years ago.

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But the paint job looks ok hey?

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Another view.  In the background is a painting of a dog training group in the grounds of the MCG, by Samantha Lord.

Hey readers (male and female), waiting for more workshop photos to post.  It doesn’t have to be the whole workshop…. just a photo of your favourite machine would be great!

The Boer War. A Book Review. Excellent!

THE ANGLO-BOER WAR IN 100 OBJECTS

 

After reading this book, cover to cover, in 2 days, I felt that I had a real grasp of the reality of the 1899-1902 war which so shaped South Africa’s history. I now realise that my previous knowledge of the war was very sketchy.

 

The 100 iconic objects which are held in the War Museum of the Boer Republics, and 200 other objects, maps, and many photographs, are beautifully presented in this high quality book of 260 pages.  The story of each object is told in short essay style by gifted, expert writers.

 

The many subjects include battles, weapons, military personalities, politicians, places, civilians, equipment, prisoners of war, concentration camps, costs of the war, and longer term outcomes.

 

The book does not glorify the Anglo-Boer War.  If anything, it is an anti-war treatise.  It certainly has had a major impact on this reviewer.

 

Thoroughly recommended.

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Southworth Steam/Water Pump

I am progressing my Southworth pump.   Today, Stuart brought his completed version, so I photographed the incomplete and complete versions together.   Actually, it was very useful to see Stuart’s pump again.  An obvious difference in one of the components made me realise that I had made a mistake.   Now rectified.

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My incomplete version and the working version.

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Stuart’s working version.

Three more workshops. Why are they all so neat? Or am I just very messy?

Reader Tim from NSW, Oz, sent these pics

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Optimum mill, Chicago compressor “very quiet”,  Myford Super 7 lathe, drill press.

 

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Optimum 6″lathe, drop band saw, linisher.   Plenty of light.  No swarf on the floor (no snakes apparently).

And from Victoria Oz,  Neil sent these shots of his workshop, with some work in progress visible…

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Reading Neil’s signs reminds me of a sign which I saw on someone else’s mill or lathe… “Not to be operated by fuckwits”.   Maybe I should put up such a sign on in my workshop, but then, it might invite comments about the current occupant.

And finally, my friend and mentor Stuart’s workshop…

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This is Stuart’s kitchen, which he is putting to the best use!   Note the laser cutter, which will cut metal up to 1mm thick, and the optical comparator.   But does the laser slice the toast, Stuart?

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Stuart’s actual workshop is the garage.  The car, very sensibly has been expelled to the outside.  Note the Boxford CNC lathe (the same as my Boxford CNC lathe), and the old green manual lathe on the back wall, still gets a lot of use.  Disgustingly neat and clean.   Starting to get a complex about this.

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And in the other direction is Stuart’s CNC mill (blue base), CNC router on the bench.

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And finally, I decided to add a shot of the spare bedroom in my home.  Note the Boxford CNC lathe,

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This is the spare bedroom in my house.  You are welcome to stay, after moving some stuff.

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My Boxford CNC lathe in the spare bedroom.  Well, no-one comes to stay very often!

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Another view of the spare bedroom.  2 Boley jeweller’s lathes.  They do occasionally get used.

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And another view of the spare bedroom.  Plenty of bedtime reading.  And another jeweller’s lathe in case you get the urge in the middle of the night.

So there you are.   Please send your photos of your heaven on Earth.

 

 

TWO WORKSHOPS

This post was inspired by one of my readers sending me some photos of her workshop.  The photos grabbed my attention for several reasons.

Firstly, the metal working machines share the space with tomatoes!  Unusual, eclectic use of the space.  Secondly, the roof and walls are made of glass!   Great for natural lighting, and nice views for the machinist, and possibly the neighbours.  Thirdly, it is such a small space, requiring planning to accomodate quite a few machines and work space.   And fourthly, it is so neat and clean.  I do see an occasional bit of swarf, but it is so unlike the mess that I work in, that it is quite striking to see such a clean workshop.

Thanks to reader Jennifer for sending these photos.  For obvious reasons I will not publish further location details except to reveal that the location is in the UK.

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Jennifer tells me that it is all double glazed, and is open to the living area of the house, so it is heated.  Apparently it never becomes too hot in summer.

And as a complete antithesis, this is my main workshop in Oz.  Bigger, messier, dirtier, darker.    Actually, when I looked over my photos I could not find one decent view of my workshop, so I took some new pics.  Needless to say, there was no special tidying for the photo.

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It is a tin shed, unlined, but does have a wood heater.  This view takes in about 2/3 of the area.  There are 3 lathes in this shot.  Can you see them?  CNC lathe in foreground.  Also my CNC mill on the right.  There is also a tool and cutter grinder, vertical bandsaw, drop bandsaw.  And lots of ancillary tooling.

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And a pedestal drill, 2 linishers, grinder, and part view of the drop band saw.  The anvil gets quite a lot of use.  It is mounted on heavy duty wheels so I can take it to the job.

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My workbench in the foreground, A very heavy cast iron setup table (blue) with granite surface plate.  Shop made ring roller centre.

So, that is where I spend most of my waking hours.  The shed started life as a farm workshop, where a lot of welding, and repair and maintenance of farm machinery was done.   These days it is mainly used for model engineering.  In my working life I was an obsessively neat, organised and particular surgeon.  Not quite sure how my activities ended in this mess.  But you know what?… I feel totally comfortable here.

 

 

If you have some photos of your own workshop area, please send them in and I will publish them for the interest of other readers.  Big areas, small areas, old machines or new.  Show us where you spend your most enjoyable hours.   Send them to me at jviggers@iinet.net.au

 

 

 

 

Fit after 9 day influenza?

Today is the first day since I became sick that I have felt able to drive.  Until today I have been experiencing coughing paroxysms, severe headaches, dizzy episodes, even 2 episodes of hallucinations which were really weird.  Also requiring pain killers regularly.

My GP thinks that I have had influenza A, despite vaccination earlier in the year.  Certainly the nastiest bug which I have encountered in many years.

But as today warmed up, and I had not required any analgesics, and the coughing was settling, I decided to visit my workshop.   “Visit”, rather than operate machines.  I suspected that my mental faculties were not yet 100%.   It is a 20-25″ drive to my workshop, so off I went.

I was pleased to note that my neighbour had mowed the grass around my sheds.  It had become quite thick and high, and with the warmer spring weather today, I was not looking forward to walking through the thigh high vegetation which could conceal nasty poisonous fauna.  The neighbour has long term loan of my tractor and slasher, and the quid pro quo is that I get my grass mowed whenever required.

So what to do, not requiring turning on potentially dangerous machines?  I decided to look at the Trevithick dredger engine.  It has been waiting for some painting.  That would not be too arduous or too dangerous!

The engine end of the boiler was waiting for some flat black paint.  So I removed some appendages, filed and wire brushed the surfaces, and washed them down with mineral turps.  Found the paint, stirred it thoroughly, and carefully applied it with some small, new brushes.

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The engine end of the machine, with one coat of the flat black applied.  Hmm…. I don’t remember it going streaky like that before…..   Maybe the second coat will look better.

I used the paint to touch up some other areas also.

Then as I was cleaning up, before going home I took another look at the paint can.

O shit!  I had used the wrong paint can!

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I should have used the “Pot Belly Black”.  Somehow, I picked up the other one.  The “Rust Guard Epoxy Enamel” is good paint, but it might not tolerate the surface temperatures of the boiler.   And an etch primer is recommended for it, which would explain my application problem.

So what to do?   I know that most of you will be screaming at the screen, to strip off the epoxy paint and start again.  But, for better or for worse I have decided to apply another coat of epoxy tomorrow and see if the appearance improves.  I expect that it will.  Then a trial firing in a few days will demonstrate whether the epoxy will cope with the temperatures.  If it copes…. fine.  It is well away from the furnace.   If not, then a very time consuming strip job and repainting will be in order.

It seems that my mentation has not fully recovered.

Houseguests

Just to explain the long interval between posts.

About a week ago I felt a bit off, headachey, but I had just driven through Melbourne peak hour traffic, so was not too concerned.

But the next day my head was going to explode, my chest ached, my skin was painful, and I was experiencing chills and sweats.   That has all continued.  I assume it is a viral infection, but it is taking longer than usual to start resolving.   And now I have started persistent coughing.  Might have to see the quack.

So I have not been in the workshop for a week.  And I am getting a bit bored.

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They are eating a banana handed to them by my wife.  The baby came out of its mothers pouch about 2 months ago.   If the baby is a female, she will become part of the house fauna.  If male, he will be booted out at when about 12 months age.

No, they do not have names.  But they do come down when my wife calls “possum, possum”.

We have encouraged this family for many of their generations by not frightening them, and feeding them.    Possums live in many Australian roof spaces.  They are difficult to keep out, and it is illegal to remove them further than the confines of the property.   So trapping and removal is usually temporary.

They entertain us, and visitors.   Never cause bother.  Well, almost never…   they found a way into our pantry once, and raided every open packet of cereal, raisins, etc., throwing the unwanted packages onto the floor.   We just looked at the mess and laughed.

 

 

Southworth Steam Pump- first parts

A couple of days in the workshop, and the large castings are almost fully machined.  Straightforward machining.   Made a couple of mistakes, but none fatal.  Changing BA fasteners to metric.

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The steam cylinders block in the mill vise.   Almost complete water cylinders block sitting behind for the photo.

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Steam cylinders on right, water cylinders on left.  The temporary steel pins are to ensure accurate alignment of the 2 blocks.   Water and steam passages come later. 

This is the first model machining which I have done since April.  It should be second nature, but I admit to a bit of hesitation, nervousness, initially.  Especially starting on an irregular, slightly complicated shape like these.   But it is all coming back now.  And I am really enjoying it.

Steam Powered Water Feed Pump

My CNC mill is now mostly functioning, although several functions are yet to be connected.  The main spindle and XY&Z axes are working, and responding appropriately to Mach3 commands from the laptop computer.  It has taken longer than anticipated so far, mainly due to difficulty in understanding manuals supplied from Asia.   Axis limit and homing switches, oil pump, coolant pump, work light, and cooling fans still to be connected.

So there has been little of general interest coming out of my workshop.  Hence no posts on this site.  Not that I have been idle.

I disassembled the top slide on the Colchester lathe to discover the cause for excessive back-lash.  It was a worn acme thread bronze nut.   No luck yet in finding a new nut for this 45 year old lathe.   I will have to make one.  Meanwhile, I used a quick and dirty trick to reduce the back-lash which I will detail soon.

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The top-slide acme screw and bronze nut which needs replacing.

I also cleaned and freed up a 3 jaw 10″ chuck which I bought on Ebay.  It was frozen solid, so I soaked it in kerosene bath for a few months.  Actually, I forgot all about it while it was in the kerosene, and accidentally rediscovered it.   This time, after using an impact screwdriver, I was able to open it up and expose the gears and get them moving.  Might be worth a photo also.

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The 240mm diameter chuck.  I was tempted to buy by the removable, reversible  jaws.  Thinking that I could make some soft jaws.   Trouble is that it is an industrial production line chuck with very little movement.   But it is nice and tight.  Still deciding.  At least I can wind the jaws in and out a bit now.

And I finally got around to installing piston rings in the triple expansion steam engine.  Used Viton O-rings.  Not a difficult task, and it should not be difficult to replace them from time to time in future.   Will be interesting to see if the engine performance improves.

Now to get onto my next project.  I have plans and bronze castings for a Southworth design water pump, for replenishing the vertical boiler water while it is in use.  It was a surprise to me, just how much water is consumed by a boiler which is powering a model steam engine.  To date I have used a hand pump, but having seen a steam powered pump in action, I have decided to make one.

The steam is supplied from the boiler which is being replenished.  The pump has to use steam at boiler steam pressure, to force water into the boiler.  So the pump has to raise the pressure of the feed water above the pressure of the steam which is powering the pump.   The clever pump design uses large steam driven pistons to drive smaller water pump pistons.

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Larger steam pistons top right 5/8″ dia,  water pistons bottom left 3/8″ dia.

Here is a video of a Southworth pump in action.  It was made by Stuart Tankard.  Here it is running on compressed air, but I have seen it working similarly on steam.  I will be making one of the same design, hopefully approaching this level of finish.

 

 

A build of larger version of the pump was described by J. Bertinat in  a series of articles “Model Engineer” in 1993 (first article 18 June 1993).

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The unmachined castings.  Lumps of rough bronze.   And the plans.

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One of the castings after preliminary machining to establish some faces.  The “water cylinders” block.   Part no. 6

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Good quality castings.

 

 

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