Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Engineering Magazines

If you love fries like I do, (who doesn't) then the above picture is just what it was ment to be , click bait, ha,ha. Man did they get those fries right or what? They are probably just a plastic advertising prop, but boy did they get it right, I salivate just looking at them, ha, ha. This advertisement for air cylinders was in "Machine Design".

Back in 1997 I filled in for a year operating the power house at Orenda Aerospace while they converted the power house to low volume flash boilers. I used to call them "pop cans" because they were built small enough to avoid the Pressure Vessels Act requirements for licensed operators, and they were light duty, with a fraction of the life of a conventional water tube boiler.

While I was there, Orenda Aerospace, an aircraft engine developer and jet engine rebuilder, ran out of space in their huge reference library. They culled there shelves of most of their  older engineering industry magazines, an amount that filled two dumpsters. So, I went dumpster diving, ha ha. I had competition from a interested co-worker on another shift,  but I managed to set aside close to 800 issues of over a dozen different titles that caught my interest.

Below is an example of some of the titles I managed to collect. I got between 40 and 50 issues of most titles.

Most are probably familiar with "Machine Design" and maybe "Canadian Machinery" if your in Canada. If your here then much of the content in these magazines are of interest to most, more or less.

There are many informative articles, they are written for industry, but much of the information is just as valid for the home hobbyist, working in wood and metal to build his own machines. Check out the next post for a couple of articles on the proper care and installation of bearings.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Shopbuilt Lathes 2 (Continued)

Here is the rest of that great "Back-To-Basics" lathe plan. This plan was popular with the "WOOD" staff as well as at least 300 readers who built it, back when it was first published. I have noticed in recent years, in Canada anyway, that prices have increased dramatically on a decent lathe. And many people have learned that making your own, is a better option than some of the cheap imports available.

Reviving this older series of plans will hopefully provide ideas and energy, to those who want a decent lathe, but can't justify the funds required to purchase a decent one, at this time.

"WOOD" provides sources for a parts kit. These may no longer be available. Their are phone numbers, if the supplier still exists, they may still be available. Failing that, the trend is to order replacement parts from a preferred lathe dealer, and fit them to your shopbuilt lathe. If you can turn your own, or have a friend, or shop, turn them for you, even better.

"WOOD" contends that this lathe holds it's own against much higher priced commercial models, and that is saying alot, since it was before the cheap imports started flooding the market.

Hope there is lots of useful material here, for potential builders, and interested shop hermits, like myself.

Shopbuilt Lathes 2

I will be away from my computer for a period of time, so I figured I better get the rest of these lathe plans uploaded as promised.

"WOOD" magazine's "Back-To-Basics" shop lathe is a more complete plan than most, so I will upload it in two posts. I could have just uploaded it as a pdf, but Google drive can be a slow process, for my slow connection. All of you young folks out there can convert it to the format of your choice, faster than this old dinosaur.

Of the many plans for lathes I have seen over the years, this has always been the most appealing for me. I have no need for another lathe, but I may try my own version, possibly with a longer bed adopting some of Carlyle Lynch's ideas in the previous plan, just so I could play with some extra large turnings.

The plan was first published in "WOOD's" April 1987 magazine issue, and later included in WOOD's "Woodworking Tools You Can Make" published by Meredith Books.

The fellow posing with the lathe must be very tall. Proper lathe height puts the top of the tool rest at elbow height. My Rockwell/Delta is just right for me at 43". This lathe is also exactly 43".

Thats the first five pages. Five more in the next post.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Secrets Of A Production Turner

So I got a little time, if your looking for a little reading on some of the best turning wisdom I have come across, take a moment to read this 4 page article. It will be time well spent.

This article was in the February 1986 "Wood" magazine.It features Bert Thompson a Canadian production wood turner who in 1986 was still making a good living at wood turning, as had his ancestors since 1830. Today 32 years since this article, I am sure the market for this work has been greatly reduced in the face of computerized equipment, certainly for staircase and furniture work. However I am sure a market still exists for oversize work, one of's, and other contractor custom work. Just the kind of work that Bert's huge 22' between center lathe could handle.

Bert communicates a lot of good practical information from a lifetime of experience as a turner. Top notch, must read.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Shopbuilt Lathes

So here are a couple of posts on shopbuilt lathes to go with all the turning articles and the few books I have posted. In my opinion one of the woodworking machines most suited for "shopbuilt" is the lathe. The design is pretty consistent across many different sizes. A mini-lathe is not much different from a lathe that can turn a 12' column between centers. As an example, Carlyle Lynches design for a large 8' between center lathe, (below) could just as easily be a 4' between center lathe, simply by shortening the bed.

Lathes tend to be top heavy, and since raw work is seldom perfectly centered, produce vibration. For these reasons its important for a solid  base mounting. Bolting the lathe to the floor or adding extra weight to the base helps.

Going through that "Shopbuilt Machines" Word doc. yesterday I came across David Doman's huge shopbuilt lathe. He got his ideas from two magazine articles, that have caught my attention as well, in the past. David B Doman's site is still active, so I only included the first page of his lathe below. If you would like to see more pictures and the build documentation, here is the link to his site.

So the two designs David refers to in has build have been widely distributed around the net. They were both published in the 80's in "Fine Woodworking" magazine and "Wood" magazine. They have also both appeared in their, post magazine, book publishings as well.

So to begin here is Carlyle Lynch's lathe design, published in Fine Woodworking in March 1986.

And now for something different. If your a welder or have a friend who is a welder and have access to some heavy steel sections, you can build this massive lathe. It might also help if you can turn, or have a friend turn up the massive 2 3/8" spindle. When you look at it, it doesn't look that massive, a credit to it's well designed dimensions. You can turn a 2' diameter hunk of raw hardwood into your hearts desire, with this beast. On the other hand if you want to do metal spinning, as in the small book I recently uploaded, this is just the lathe to do it on. Built by Jerry Blanchard, awesome beast.

As stated in the safety warning, don't take chances with your design, all adjustables should have positive locks, a lock that can vibrate loose, is not a lock at all. Like most machines, there is more than one way to get hurt operating a lathe, if it comes spinning out from between the centers the right way, it only takes once.

So I will upload the "Wood" magazine lathe design named, "Back-To-Basics" shop lathe, hopefully on Sunday, stay tuned. This is the lathe I would have built, if I hadn't found my top of the line (in the 60's) Rockwell/Delta.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Die Cast Molding Machine

So for something a little different from the recent content, here is a nice little plan for a die cast molding machine. I found this in the middle of a 200 page Word file I made up back in 2005 titled "Shopbuilt Machines". At that time if I wasn't working overtime at a local copper and zinc smelter, I was at home trying to convert the whole, home shop tech. internet, into Word files. I never did succeed, the faster I made up Word files the faster the amount of info. available increased, lol. If you had a site up back then, I probably have parts of it recorded in Word doc. Lately I have been converting some of them to pdf.

I can't remember where I found the more recent accompanying write up for this plan, but the original drawings and idea were from a 1937 magazine, I seem to remember it from somewhere. I know Popular Mechanics published a similar plan that I seem to remember including in a previous post.

This is an excellent little machine for the model making hobbyist who is not afraid of, and has the means to melt low temp. metals. Small metal parts, for all types of model construction, can be produced. The most challenging part is making the dies, but if you have the hobby machines to make metal models of engines, cars, trains, or planes, you can make the dies.

In the article the author had the melting temp. for Zamak at 1800*F, probably just a typo, I changed it to 800*F. Here are the details for Zamak from Google. This metal is ideal for this kind of work.

"These alloys are commonly referred to as Zamak alloys, which is an acronym for zinc, aluminum, magnesium and copper. Zinc alloys have a melting range of about 380-390°C (~ 725°F) although higher levels of aluminum can increase the melting point to as high as 480°C (~ 900°F)."

Here is the article, max out the "expand" for best view.

More Information:

Zamak is a popular die casting metal. It is available in casting ingots as Zamak 2, and 3 among many others. If you pursue this neat little die casting machine, the author refers to Zamak 2 in the article. It has the highest strength and hardness of the Zamak family of metals and has good die casting characteristics. Melting temp. is actually 725*F. Here is a info. sheet on Zamak 2.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

4-Way Workbench

So in a interview this morning on the radio about his new book "Buseyisms", Gary Busey recounted a story from the 80's when he went over the handle bars of his Harley and split his scull open from his brow to the top of his head. He says he died on the operating table and entered the after life as a small 1/4" thick floating soul. He was surrounded by luminescent floating orbs with spears of light jabbing out from their centers, He was given the choice to stay or come back to the living. Ha ha ha ha ha lol. Sometimes he can rise above the cheap laughs and actually be funny, his head hit the pavement, he was still seeing stars ha ha ha.

Don't go away yet, here is an excellent plan for a turners workbench with limited shop space. I like my rural setting and with a lot of hard work, have all the shop space I want. Most people are not, nor have any desire, to be in that position but would still like to pursue a craft, in a small space.

"The Complete Book Of Home Workshops" has a couple of nice plans for workbenches to suit these needs. Today I will upload the plan for a wood turners bench. This 4 in 1 bench with a 14" band saw and a drill press would be all the larger machines a woodturner would need to produce some nice work. It would fit in a small space, and the bench does multiple functions including mounting and storing of a very substantial lathe. In this case a full size iron bed lathe that looks like a Rockwell.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A Few More Nostalgia Pictures

So I don't seem to have scared too many off, so I finished off scanning my older pictures and picked out a few more to upload. Still an early cold out there, those geese new something we didn't, their's snow in the forecast.

The first picture is one more of the house I built in the Ottawa area, don't know yet if one of those tornadoes got it, it was close to the area that the big one touched down at. This picture after the roofing went on and the doors and windows installed.

In 1995 I was operating the power house at Belleville General Hospital when they decided to decommission the back-up power, diesel generator. The chief told me I could keep what I wanted from the galvanized tubing distribution, if I dismantled it, ha ha, he new me well. I had just traded in my old Ford on a new version and I needed a canoe rack for it. I didn't have a shop at the time, and he didn't figure out I had built it on night shift, until he complimented me on the nice new canoe rack, ha ha, we both had a good laugh about it. 

On a camping trip north with my youngest we stopped for some eats in New Liskeard and got a picture at the road side attraction.

We put in a good day of paddling trying out the canoe at White Lake Provincial Park. As you can tell from the look on the big guy's face he wasn't to crazy about the two slimy pike we snagged.

When packing up camp, I caught a movement in the woods and grabbed the camera. If you look close you can see a deer watching us.

Monday, September 24, 2018


You probably don't come here for this kind of nostalgia but bear with me. Its cold and wet outside so I took another day off. Posting the old picture of the flawed cradle yesterday got me looking through some of the old pictures I had. The older ones are becoming faded, not that they were of good quality to begin with. I decided to scan and save them before their quality deteriorates even worse.

I selected a few, recording some of my early projects, to upload. Some of the pictures include my children when they were young, they are all adults now, and I control the feed back, so I feel safer doing so.

The first 6 pictures are from 36 - 40 years ago and the last 3 from 29 years ago. Oh, to be that young again, lol. The first one is just self serving, ha, ha, actually it's my middle child's contagious looking laughter, that makes this one stand out.

Before going back to college for the Stationary Engineer program, I worked as a heavy equipment operator in a open pit iron ore mine. Equipment included haul trucks, graders, and bulldozers, but the most interesting was the 1000 hrs. I put in towards a hoisting ticket, operating one of these, a Buckyrus  Erie 150 electric shovel. 5 scoops to fill a 115 ton CAT haul truck.

When the company sold the trailer park off to it's employees, I took on my first large personal project and added a large addition, including the 0 clearance, heat circulating, corner fireplace, you see here. You can also see some of the first furniture projects I built, (now that I could afford my own tools, ha ha) in the coffee table and end table. When we moved, and I went back to college, the first bid met my asking price, I should have asked for more, ha ha. Wish these pictures had held up better.

Here is a closer picture of the corner of the coffee table. I had managed to get my hands on some nice mahogany, but the finish came out darker than I had planned, I learned to love it. The fortune teller you see, is just getting ready to go out for tricks or treats.

This is a doll house I built for the fortune teller, complete with laminated circular staircase.

So this is a big house I built in the Ottawa area.

The trusses for the garage/workshop were to heavy, so I got a crane to come lift them. Thats me up in the trusses, to fix them in place.

Like wise, the roof was more shingles than I wanted to tackle, so this is the contractor getting ready to do the job. Thats the contractor and myself leaning on my Ford (3 Ford's ago ha, ha).

So this house was supposed to pay for the kids education, and the big shop, to keep me happy into retirement, but as they say "Best laid plans ......". Anyway I live in a healthier environment now, and my shop is twice as big.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Chest Of Drawers

In Nick Englers words "This simple elegant chest is a true classic". So here is the plan for the nice chest featured in the previous article on case construction. The chest is designed and built by Tom Stender of Boston, New York. Tom who focuses on classic furniture, adapted the design from the traditional Queen Ann style, as indicated by the cabriole feet.

I would class this project as middle to advanced. Advanced due to the high quality dove tail joinery, the cabriole feet, and the matching of the rare curly cherry, for that beautiful look. I think this would also look stunning in less rare, curly maple, and now that I can saw my own wood, I would like to try a poor mans version, in my own birch.

I don't make a single penny from this site, in fact it costs me money to share my book and file collections. Popular Science is not going to republish yearbooks from 30 years ago, so the only way for people to access these plans is in the used book market or from online sites like mine and others. Building these plans for your own use is never a problem. The problem arises when/if a person claims the designs to be his own and/or sells the plans or finished pieces for profit. If you do this, you are responsible for the problems that may visit your doorstep as a result.