What a tumultuous year, and who would dare predict the future?
Perhaps "Life on the Hill" and "Terminal Eurocrasy" will both soon change for the better - we've certainly got our fingers crossed!
Whilst we're all waiting however... what better a distraction than the workshop? We defy you to worry about NATO whilst turning a 4-cylinder crankshaft or milling dovetails.
Having enjoyed healthy exports for many years, Hemingway has recently crossed a threshold in that our next order is now more than likely to arrive from outside of the UK. Of course the exchange rate has been helping - with surprise discounts of 20% or so to those paying their bills in Dollars and Euros. If you're ordering from outside the UK, please don't miss out on this silver lining! ___________________________________________________________________________
The Seal Major - a Perfect "IC" Project?
Recently completed by Michael Stratton (UK) this Seal Major has been built to a very high standard. Michael has also included a vertical distributor, water pump and radiator to his own design. Watch the unsilenced engine later in the video - a lovely crisp crackle!
This engine is a 30cc version of Westbury's "Seal". Designed in 1950, the Seal Major has been used in both 4ft - 6ft boats and 5" scale locomotives for the past 66 years. It presents the constructor with a challenging yet "do-able" project - you'll find plenty to learn along the way and huge satisfaction when it finally fires!
While the ordinary hacksaw is an indispensible hand tool for all metal workers, the manual labour involved in operating it is tedious when a great deal of cutting has to be done on large metal sections.
To earn its keep however, a powered hacksaw must be man-enough for the job but also small enough to avoid dominating the workshop. Westbury devoted a great deal of thought and experimentation to this design which is surely the world's most compact. The machine is just 7½" wide, 9¼" tall and sits on any bench deeper than 17". It's about the same size, and just as portable as, a standard toolbox!
This great machine will quietly slice 2" thick steel whilst you get on with something more interesting. An adjustable weight and hydraulic damper regulate the cutting load and the machine knocks off once the job is done. The vice jaws swivel for mitres or for gripping tapered stock and a length stop is provided for accurate repeat cuts.
The machine cuts at 90 strokes per minute using standard 10" blades and the stroke is adjustable between 2" to 3½". Metal is cut on the backstroke and the connection of the frame to the driving crank is arranged to produce a downward thrust on this stroke and to relieve the load on the saw as it returns. The heart of the machine is a 15:1 worm/wheel gearbox which is supplied complete and ready to fit. The 90W x 240V motor supplied with the kit is suitable for both 50hz & 60hz supply and provides 20% more torque than Westbury envisaged.
Apart from a plug, the kit contains ALL necessary material. In all, there are 21 cast components of aluminium, iron and gunmetal. Barstock, fasteners, electrical components, drawings and construction notes are there too, along with an Eclipse Plus 30 ALL HARD blade to kick you off. Incidentally, the base casting (15" x 7½") arrives pleasingly flat so, unless you feel compelled, it will not require flycutting.
Now perfectly engraved scales can be produced time-after-time, with none of the "variations" that haunt the amateur's work! A slender, dovetailed ram slides solidly and accurately under the complete control of the operator. A rotating turret carries 3 fully adjustable stops, allowing lines for units, fives and tens to be struck. The cutting tool and turret can be set at either end of the ram allowing both cylindrical and flat work to be completed at any angle. The complete fixture is held in the tool post and can be set-up in the same time as any cutting tool.
This classic tool is as satisfying to manufacture as it is to use! Radford's unique design was a sensation when it appeared in 1970. The original design however required constructors to cut their own rack directly onto the back of the ram and a pinion directly onto the spindle. With Riley's update, the rack and pinion are provided as finished items so that no gear cutting is required. Along with drawings and construction notes, the kit arrives complete with all necessary bar material, fasteners, springs, HSS tool together with the rack and pinion blanks.
Rotary Broaching, although in use for over 100 years, is a rare sight in the small workshop. And yet, "drilling" square and hexagonal holes in virtually any material has never been so easy! The Compact Rotary Broach can be held in lathe's tailstock or the miller's chuck and will effortlessly transform a pilot hole into an accurately cut hex, square or spline up to a major diameter of 8mm (5/16") and a depth of 7mm (1/4").
This allows infinite possibilities for the production of custom fasteners, miniature sockets, clock and valve keys, carb jets, tapping collets, double keyways, etc..
Compared with end-milling, flycutting is often sited as the slower and therefore inferior process for milling flat surfaces. Whilst this opinion may hold water for industrial scale work where large volumes of material must be removed at the minimum cost, for finishing cuts in the smaller workshop, flycutting is by far the better bet.
Unlike expensive end mills, your flycutter will last indefinitely. A dulled cutter can be brought back to perfection on the bench grinder by sharpening just one face. The cutting diameter can be adjusted to any surface up to 7" wide, allowing a finishing cut to be made in just one pass. Provided the head of your miller is square to the table, the resultant surface is both uniform and flat. With a light cut and a slow and consistent feed, the finish obtained on steel, iron and non-ferrous materials can easily resemble surface grinding!
The design is very sturdy and the body includes and integral parallel arbor to be gripped with a collet in the miller or lathe. The kit arrives with all necessary materials together with a square 1/4" HSS toolbit. The arm, produced from 3/4" square bar, is a particularly interesting and satisfying component to make!
Situated in the centre of Britain's cotton and coal industries, Benjamin Hick grew his Bolton foundry business to employ over 400 men before his death in 1842. His son John then partnered with William Hargreaves in 1845 to form Hick, Hargreaves & Co, supplying a vast range of stationary and locomotive steam engines, boilers, water wheels and mill gearing to customers at home and overseas (including India, Russia, Spain, South America, China, and Japan). In 1864, they were also responsible for the introduction of the highly efficient American Corliss valve gear into the UK.
This particular 10nhp engine was shown by the company at the Great Exhibition in 1851, alongside their diminutive 2nhp Oscillating Engine. Geoffrey King, a professional Engineer and member of the Newcomen Society, detailed this 1" to 1' replica in 1956 from the original Hick drawing set. The vertical layout made this engine particularly suitable for driving "manufactory" line shafting, with the cylinder, valve chest and feed pump installed in a pit below. Where more that 10nhp was required, gangs of engines could be coupled together and managed by a single boiler and "engineer".
Complete with its 7" x 8½" plinth the model stands almost 14" tall propelling a 7½" flywheel. With a bore x stroke of ¾" x 1 7/8", the engine has a double acting slide valve, an eccentric driven feed pump and a Watts type governor, driven directly from the crank with bevel gears. An imposing runner, the 'Crank Overhead' shows a great deal of movement when underway.
Click the image for more information - including a video on the engine in action! ___________________________________________________________________________
Instrument Maker's Vice
As in so many fields of human endeavour, suitable tools are a prerequisite to progress. Once the sideline of cutlers, instrument making has a long and distinguished history, with elite craftsmen working hand-in-hand with surgeons, chemists, physicists, astronomers and industrialist of every flavour to develop the equipment necessary to analyse results then exploit new scientific findings.
Within the instrument maker's workshop, highly prized manual skills are developed over many, many years. Filing, sawing, lapping, chasing, honing, scraping and polishing small parts to within infinitesimal tolerances to create world-changing devices.
This versatile vice provides movement in virtually all planes, allowing a workpiece to be firmly gripped then locked in exactly the right attitude for further finishing. The 1½" wide jaws open to 1" to accept flat or cylindrical work. The vice's iron base is cast with an integral 4" long tenon so that it can be securely held in a larger bench vice. The kit arrives with all necessary material, drawings and construction notes for this hugely useful platform. Click the image for a closer look.