Chronicles of the Dirranbandi & Toowoomba Light Railway

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Re: Chronicles of the Dirranbandi & Toowoomba Light Railway

Post by Oily Rag » Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:49 am

Thanks for the comments Graeme. ArcEuro Trade were, as you know from previous posts, on my radar as such. I did seriously consider their SIEG machine, but I suppose we all have an idle streak, and when the Clarke gave up the ghost its actually a lot easier to get to Chester than it is to Arc. Arc were marginally more expensive plus the Chester gave an extra 50MM in bed length. I know in hindsight it would have been easier to get the SIEG shipped, but there you go.

I don't know the Optimum machines but I am certainly going to look into them.

We also have WARCO, AXMINSTER and AMADEAL over here plus a couple of other minor suppliers. However they all now seem to be pushing the 4" (100MM) conversion as standard on their machines. I have quite a bit invested in chucks, collets and collet chuck to make the changes now. It seems bigger is better never mind the quality.

I am going to ask Chester to supply a new headstock spindle anyway (if the thing works reasonably) so that I can make the bearing changes at my convenience. I know from the past that the outer bearing land has to be lapped a bit to allow either pre-load on taper rollers or adjustment for angular contacts. The Clarke bearings were on so tight I had to resort to a lengthy piece of pipe for the chuck end and drop/slide the spindle down it onto an aluminium block like a vehicle half shaft to shock the chuck end bearing off and pulling the outer bearing first was really tight and went with a bang cracking loose with the puller I had made to do the job. You get all a bit worried with the loads you put on these things sometimes.
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Ian
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Re: Chronicles of the Dirranbandi & Toowoomba Light Railway

Post by Oily Rag » Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:12 am

Just looked at the OPTIMUM lathes. These are nice pieces of kit. The direct equivalent of the machines we have been talking about is twice the price of the normal run of mini-lathes BUT it weighs in at a hefty 114 kilos (ones we have mentioned 40 to 42 kilos). There are other plus points as well. Induction hardened and ground bed ways and a double VEE bed if you look at the pics. Some bad reviews on a Stateside forum but hearsay comments, most are really good. Definitely in the plan B agenda. Also popping was an Excel machine which is badged OPTIMUM at a slightly better price. Much food for thought if things don't work out.
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Re: Chronicles of the Dirranbandi & Toowoomba Light Railway

Post by GTB » Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:49 am

Oily Rag wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:12 am
Just looked at the OPTIMUM lathes. These are nice pieces of kit.
If the one you looked at is 114kg, it sounds like one of the 2304 versions. They are equivalent to the C4 in the Sieg range which is one of the machines I've looked at. With a 230mm swing and 510mm between centres, they are a fair bit bigger than the average 180 x 300 mini lathe, especially when you see them in the iron, as it were......

I looked at the Optimum prices in Euro, hooley dooley, there's some price gouging going on in the European supply chain. :shock:

Converting the euro price into pacific pesos and correcting for the different tax rates, I can buy an Optimum machine for 2/3 the price in the EU. Here in Oz, Hare & Forbes prices for Optimum machines are only about 10% higher than the equivalent Sieg prices from Ausee.

I didn't have the troubles you did changing headstock bearings, but they were definitely a press fit. I should have taken the bits to a friend's place and used his hydraulic press, but decided a 1 hr drive each way was a bit much for a 10min job. Hah.........

Regards,
Graeme

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Re: Chronicles of the Dirranbandi & Toowoomba Light Railway

Post by Oily Rag » Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:44 pm

Thanks Graeme. Looking much deeper I found that the distributers had mixed up and cross referenced the data sheets somewhat inaccurately. All the small lathes were weighted at 114 kilos. I have been directly onto the OPTIMUM site and the 1503 is weighted at 61 kilos whilst the 2403 is weighted at 114 kilos. They are still pretty expensive though but look to be a nice machine. However even 61 kilos shows much more material and substance than the general run.

However I have completed the re-assembly today including the additional bits plus making mods to the rear splash guard to make it seat better. Here are a few pics.
lathemods06.JPG
The new saddle clamp. Works fine.
lathemods07.JPG
lathemods08.JPG
My new homemade 4-way variable stop
lathemods09.JPG
The new shears at the back of the machine. I have small stocks of brass shim material from 9 thou down to 2 thou. They are cut a bit bigger outside so that they can lined up in stacks with all that oil about they can be frustrating inanimate objects.

Now for the proof of the pudding as they say. I have billeted up 4 pieces of steel for a new set of wheels on one of the locos. I'll face them to length and drill them through then its a close fitting mandrel for the profiling and finishing. That will prove the lathe and move us forward (or backwards) on the derailing issues.
I can then fit new headstock bearings as and when as they say.
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Re: Chronicles of the Dirranbandi & Toowoomba Light Railway

Post by GTB » Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:31 pm

The 1503 is basically a Unimat 3 on steroids. I imagine one would rapidly get RSI in the right arm from winding the carriage back and forth. Their larger models from the 2004 up do have at least one nice feature not used by Sieg, the carriage handwheel is on the right of the apron, out of the way of hot swarf..........

Something about your lathe rang a bell, so I dug around and I think it was build by the factory that used to use the brand name Real Bull. Not a wise choice on the Australian market....... [urlhttp://en.realbull-machine.cn/][/url]

I think they build most of the mini lathes sold in the UK by Chester and others. Maybe yours was built on the first day back after Chinese New Year? They have ISO9002 certification, which just confirms my opinion of ISO9002.... :roll:

Anyway, sounds like a plan. Turning wheels will rapidly tell you if the headstock bearings need changing yet. I was always fighting chatter when turning the flange root radius on wheels, until I replaced the headstock bearings and started nipping up the topslide gib.

I hope that fitting wheels using your current profile solves your operational problems.

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Graeme

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Re: Chronicles of the Dirranbandi & Toowoomba Light Railway

Post by tom_tom_go » Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:42 pm

Real Bull, brilliant...

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Re: Chronicles of the Dirranbandi & Toowoomba Light Railway

Post by Oily Rag » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:45 pm

Well we are moving a step forward. The wheel blanks are faced to length and all match. The stops worked beautifully I am glad to say. Each has a bore to match those on the existing locos, reamed to size. The finish has been better than I have seen for quite a while but then I am not tempted at the moment to really hammer things. I have spotted the usual flexibility in the top slide assembly, and I would nip things up but I use it to provide the coning. That also relates to the flange root radius as well. I use a standard ISO bar turing tip tool which of course lies forward 15 degrees. On the Bantam it wasn't a problem and I cheated using 5 degrees for the coning. On this machine the thinking (and tonight's little project is the trigonometry so that I can set the stops) is to use this again. Swing the top slide over just 3 degrees and turn the toolpost itself 2 degrees. This will give a 10 degree flank angle. I have carbide tips which give a sensible root radius. As before I turn the "tyre" surface parallel first and then use the compound slide to add the coning of the tread. It is very obvious when the tool tip reaches the tangent point, so I wind back to the zero point again. Cut is added by the cross-slide.

And Tom, there is a factory called REAL BULL. Most mini lathes are made either by SIEG or REAL BULL with WEISS (in an unprounounceable part of China) make the badged up OPTIMUM under German supervision. The telling signs between the REAL BULL product and the SIEG product is the saddle casting. The SIEG version is "H" shaped whereas the REAL BULL version is plain rectangular. Plus of course the difference in quality between what is essentially a poor basic product. Or more correctly reasonably made components poorly finished and definitely not selectively assembled like quality machine tools. Dave Fenner wrote at length on the subject amongst others.

Fundamentally, Amadeal, Chester buy from REAL BULL, Clarkes, Arc(under the Sieg banner) and I think WARCO buy from SIEG. Excel buy from WEISS under the Optimum label and I found another called SPG Tools but don't know the camp they are in. Frankly its a mess but usually you can end up with a reasonable machine for little extra money but some effort. I have just landed a real baddy from Chester this time. They must be buying at the rock bottom price. At least the basic component parts for much of these machines are interchangeable and other than controllers and moters are not that expensive. If this one finally proves itself each step I will have a machine capable of doing pretty much all I want to do which does include live steamers in 7/8ths.
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Re: Chronicles of the Dirranbandi & Toowoomba Light Railway

Post by GTB » Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:42 pm

Like you, I first turn the wheel profile parallel with the topslide clamped, which minimises chatter when turning the root radius. I then turn the taper using the topslide, as there's no chatter if the tool is sharp and isn't trying to form a radius.

The Colchester Triumph 2000 I had in the mech lab would have easily turned steel wheels this size in one operation by plunge cutting with a form tool. The mini lathe would be hard pressed to do that in graphite filled nylon......

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Graeme

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Re: Chronicles of the Dirranbandi & Toowoomba Light Railway

Post by Oily Rag » Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:41 pm

Yep I sometimes miss the bigger machines but I am getting better and curbing my impatience more. I used to knock out thousands of "bobbins" for Dinorwic slate wagons with homemade form tools. They were brass so zero rake was fine plus having the capstan I could make the Blacksmith headed bolts with a box tool and the diehead, all were M2. Even parted them off with a form parting tool so the heads only need a quick spin up to finish. Not quite so easy now.
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Re: Chronicles of the Dirranbandi & Toowoomba Light Railway

Post by Oily Rag » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:38 am

Chester have sorted out some parts for me to change the bearings on the headstock and will be winging their way to me hopefully today. I have ordered the new spindle because the bearings can be really tight and with taper roller bearings you need to have the ability to set the pre-load at least about half right which means the bearing inner must be able to move. From the last experience the spindle will need some minimal lapping/polishing to allow this to happen. Plus I have ordered the standard plastic spacers, these are not expensive and I can make the new spacers from brass or alloy (depending whats in the box) to the new dimensions before stripping down. Ah the joys of having more than one machine to do anything. Still there is a way of doing almost anything if you think about it.
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Re: Chronicles of the Dirranbandi & Toowoomba Light Railway

Post by Oily Rag » Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:25 pm

Today's little efforts have moved some way forward. However it also proved the point of keeping notes of what has gone before. I almost dropped a complete error and wasted a day but had the forethought to check my original drawings for the workhorse locomotives. For expediency (mainly because I had some, plus I needed room in the gearboxes I was building) also I had a couple of 1/8" machine reamers. I had used 1/8" diameter steel rod for the axles thinking that they would only be used indoors and it didn't matter they would be strong enough. I had forgotten. Quick wipe of the brow.

Here is a picture of the underside of one of the locos and the homebuilt drive trains.
rebuild04.JPG
This next picture shows the new wheel blanks. The smaller blank is a little drill jig to position a recess on the back of each wheel for a drive pin which also serves the purpose of relocating the wheel as previously if I have to take them down during processing. Also shown is the mandrel with pin Loctited in place. Both holes are blind so its belt and braces. Everything has been taken easy with the lathe coming back into service and trialling all the mods to date.

The bearings will have to be done as the chatter cut in whilst cutting the spigot for the wheel on the mandrel when I was 2MM in and bringing the tool up to the stop.It had be done slowly at each cut after that. Took a very light facing cut with a parting tool to clean up and remove the corner rad.

new wheels 01.JPG
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Ian
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Re: Chronicles of the Dirranbandi & Toowoomba Light Railway

Post by Oily Rag » Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:11 pm

The parcel arrived this PM from the well known machine tools supplier. The saga does not cease. The "new" headstock spindle was in fact secondhand. It was filthy. It had been bashed out of another somewhat well used lathe by the dirt and damage. The correct equipment had not been used to remove certainly the bearing at the chuck end. It had been knocked off with a hammer and drift. The drift or hammer had hit the chuck flange (plus other places) in a couple of places and swelled the chuck mounting face such that chuck(s) will never seat properly and run true. The bearing lands have either been hit or have picked up during the removal process. The threads were full of crud and I have cleaned that out to check because I know from previous experience this area is delicate and if the removal from the headstock initially has not been carried out properly then the end swells and you cannot reassemble and the lock rings will not fit. It takes hours of work to refurbish those threads. I know I have done it the last time around and that was using one of the recognised methods (tube and block) to remove the chuck end bearing. The headstock of this lathe it has come from has had the bearings wound up so hard that the large outer spacer has swelled at both ends (its cheapo plastic anyway) but I wanted it as a pattern to make a metallic one to set pre-loads correctly. 71 quids worth of total scrap from an alleged ISO9001 accredited supplier. So much for the Standards authorities!!!! :cussing:

Telephoned a complaint for the good that will do to this crowd and "they will look into it" with their engineers (for that read something a lot less than skilled engineers with this bodge up).
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Re: Chronicles of the Dirranbandi & Toowoomba Light Railway

Post by Oily Rag » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:57 pm

I thought I would include the pictures sent to the said supplier to clarify what I have said above. They accompanied a pretty curt and forceful e-mail. But its a disgrace BEWARE! before parting with any money. No longer can our suppliers be trusted CAVEAT EMPTOR!
lathemods10.JPG
The scarp lathe spindle marked up where they have damaged it. This after I cleaned it up to check how bad the damage is. Sorry I am not a better photographer, its difficult to see the actual damge but a chuck mounted on it runs at the jaw extremity forward some 10thou out of true due to the swelling.
lathemods11.JPG
The large spacer. I think you can see the ends swelled through being pulled up too hard.

However on a machine getting sicker by the minute I have managed to make a set of four wheels.
They haven't come out too bad but the lower wheel in this pic has chatter when I tried to up the feed and cut from 5 thou (0.125MM) . Hence things are done slowly.
I have included the little gauges and fixtures used in the manufacture. I did strip the thread on the mandrel so faced off, inserted an M% high tensile socket cap screw, cut to length. turned down carefully to size and rethreaded M3 for as much as was needed.
new wheels 02.JPG
Hope this gives a better view of the chatter. I could face them all off. They are hidden pretty much so its not really worth it.
new wheels 03.JPG
I don't like giving up but I want to get back to modelling again and have negotiated a deal with one of the better quality suppliers for a much higher quality lathe. Should arrive next week but its heavy (-ier) and I have to ask a neighbour to assist in installing it. There are some things in life you just have to suck up. A number of accessories will be up for sale as a job lot. The new guys are helping me out with a back plate so that I can use my existing ER32 collet chuck, they only normally supply and ER25 for this lathe and collets are £10.50 each and I have 10 to replace if I went that route plus the new chuck. Otherwise OK.
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Ian
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Re: Chronicles of the Dirranbandi & Toowoomba Light Railway

Post by GTB » Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:11 pm

Oily Rag wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:57 pm
I don't like giving up but I want to get back to modelling again and have negotiated a deal with one of the better quality suppliers for a much higher quality lathe.
I sometimes wonder how many mini-lathes are sitting around rusting, due to quality issues that the average aspiring ME can't overcome.

What brand and model lathe have you decided to buy?

Having spent 40 yrs working in a QC lab and running it for about half that, I don't pin much faith in an ISO 9001 certificate on the boardroom wall. My view is much the same as whoever wrote the last para of the Wikipedia entry on ISO 9001.

All it really demonstrates is that the company has a documentation system for how they produce their particular brand of crap. British Leyland would have had no problem getting certification, but they still wouldn't have produced a decent car, let alone a Rolls-Royce........

Regards,
Graeme

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Re: Chronicles of the Dirranbandi & Toowoomba Light Railway

Post by Oily Rag » Wed Jul 17, 2019 4:58 pm

Hi Graeme,
There are a fair number of mini lathes which have destroyed peoples' interest in model engineering. The original design by the Russians was very sound btu the bean counters, China and cost cutters in the Western world got to it and undermined any thoughts of a quality useable product. They can be made to work extremely well. I have done it. However there does come a time with a bad one like here that you have say enough is enough.

Today has been a roller coaster ride with Chester as well. I have a number of e-mails. Firstly a claim that the person responsible had no knowledge of the parts problems. I had sent pictures. Apologies. Offered a complete refund and new parts coming to me. Took up the offer. Now they cannot supply. They have no stock of parts and from China 12 to 15 weeks. Also they from the serial number they have asked if it is a 100MM chuck or an 80MM chuck. Speaks volumes.

I have just told them to refund the parts money and come and collect tomorrow the scrap parts. They have one of their industrial emporiums of j**k loctaed no more than 10 minutes away (not useable by hobby oiks like me). So one their illustrious mangaer can come and get them. I have enough photographic evidence to support anything I say about them.

Anyway to better news. Thanks for asking about the new machine. Its a WARCO WM180. It is very competively priced and is the same specification as the OPTiturn 2004 at a better price. I know WARCO have come in for some stick in the past on ME sites but I have their WM14 Mill and it is frankly a delight to use and worked straight out of the box. It had been checked, cleaned and set up before despatch to me. I have been pleased with it plus any of my banal questions have been answered courteously and honestly with lots of help even at busy shows. They bundle in with it quite a bit of tooling plus they have a backplate which I can fit as isaid in my earlier post for the collet chuck. I have had to purchase a 4 jaw self centering chuck but I cna flog off most of the extras for the mini lathe to go towards that cost.

It goes against the grain but I can now settle to my model making again but it does mean another reorganisation of the workshop. Big danger there :D The domestic authorities will be helping. I now have to get my quite formidable brain into gear again for an excuse. Usually she picks things up and says "That's new, hwne did you get that?" My reply which has now worn too thin has been " oh you bought that for my birthday ages and ages ago!" :D
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Ian
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