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 Post subject: Assorted projects.
PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 5:47 pm 
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Hi,

I've just been looking through old files and have pulled out a few pictures of projects I've done over the years these just being a random sample. I was taught to us my head and hands and to this day this is what I still do. When many would throw away or scrap things I enjoy the challenge of restoration whether it be old machinery or even vintage radios and all in-between. I enjoy trying out new ideas especially those which have not been done before so hopefully I'll not bore you but how many other members tackle such an assortment of projects making; restoring and attempting something which has never been attempted before; as I say the pictures are just a small sample but every one of them has afforded me lots of interest.

Winding the huge 75kg transformer from scratch was about the most dangerous project I ever tackled; I'm no electrician but by doing this I installed 3 phase into our garage for under £120.

I bought a very rough Union Graduate wood turning lathe and fully restored and upgraded it to 1.5hp through a VFD; this lathe was in need of a number of new parts so rather than get my hand into my pocket I made the parts; the tail stock locking lever had been bodged so I turned a brand new shaft adding a correct locking cam then I made a new handle.

During my radio restoration years again something I knew nothing of so learnt from scratch I made lots of kit including my own power supply units (PSU). The one shown has two home wound transformers covering high and low DC voltages giving a choice of six outlets to cover DC voltages in both negative and positive; being able to wind own transformers is a very interesting task.

A little job I dreamt up one night in bed was to design and make the miniature coil winder; this allowed tiny coils to be added to the lead ends of components such as capacitors and resistors; I had this one published and I know quite a few have been made in fact I've made over a dozen and given them away as prezzies; I used to need three hands for changing a component; one to hold the soldering iron; one to hold the solder and one to hold the component being soldered; adding tiny coils meant I could snip out the original component leaving a 1/4" long tail; this in turn would be scraped clean then it was incredibly simply to slip on the new component leaving both hands free for the soldering; a couple of other problems were also solved at the same time; by leaving the 1/4" long tails the position of the connections was never lost also as the soldering was much quicker it didn't disturb other components at the same connection on such as a valve base. A simple winding device but ever so useful.

I like to do woodturning and woodturning kit is always expensive especially top kit like Sorby; why pay the price when I can make my own such as the "chatter tool" I made two of these chatter tools and gave one to my chum David another wood turner. I've added a picture of the sample chatter work I ever did; not bad at all for a first attempt and done using the tool I made which was made from odds and ends costing nothing. What's chatter work? Please see the video.



Bron very generously bought me a Clarke lathe as a Christmas prezzie; it didn't last two minutes before I destroyed the motor and circuit board both expiring in a cloud of smoke; I'm used to lathes that will take a very heavy cut; I thought I was being gentle using the Clarke but it didn't like having to work. I bought a brand new industrial servo motor and dumped both the original motor and circuit board; I clamped the servo motor onto the Clarke head stock then used the Clarke to make a counter-shaft which I installed then added the servo motor permanently; now the Clarke would take a decent cut without going up in smoke.

I fully restored a vintage AVO Wave Winder and needed 45 gears for it; the winder came without a single gear; I came up with a new way of indexing and made the 45 gears on a lathe receiving a top award for this in 2009; this was related to vintage radio restoration and it was a big project.

Two machines I made from odds and ends costing very little indeed are my 4" belt sander and 2" belt grinder. The belt sander has it's belt running downhill whereas the belt grinder has its belt running uphill; the belt grinder is for grinding tool tips and I also had a leather honing belt specially made for this in Dallas Texas; I could not get a belt made here in the UK in fact I couldn't even get a strip of suitable leather but I'm persistent once I start one of my projects and will see it through however long it takes.

I've also fully restored lots of heavy machines over the years including lathes; industrial airless sprayer (DeVilbiss) and even an Hydrovane compressor. In latter years I've recorded the work both in text and in images; it's interesting for me to look back at the endless work I've carried out.

Kind regards, Col.

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 Post subject: Re: Assorted projects.
PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 6:04 pm 
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Blimey! That transformer is a monster Col :shock: - how many kVA does it run to?

Although I've hand wound transformers in the past the largest I ever attempted was around 500kVA - with the advent of cheap SMPS designs there is less call for the iron-cored stuff in my line now.

Another thing I love is the coil winder - cutting gears is a superb skill to have and one I'm envious of. I'm trying to get hold of (or build) a small coil winder suited to the likes of Denco-sized RF coils - wave-winding being an important part. Do you have any links to suitable designs that might be knocked up by a ham-fisted doofus like me? I have some DIY sketches of a stepper-motor based version I'm trying to design but this is taking for ever to get off the ground.

You have an inbuilt up-cycling attitude that stands you well and is superbly illustrated by the stuff you've turned out so more power to your elbow :thumbright:

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 Post subject: Re: Assorted projects.
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 11:25 am 
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Hi,

Thanks k-e. Yes the 3 phase transformer was indeed a bit of a beast and an highly dangerous bit of kit. I've never received any electrical training only picking up electrics on a need to know basis; winding this big transformer using household conduit wire in 1.5mm and 2.5mm sizes was a huge challenge for me; I had to check and double check that it was dead before touching it; as I wound on the primary coil I over-wound the number of turns laying on more than needed; I then wrapped a length of the conduit wire around the primary adding just two turns leaving the wire ends bare and fully accessible allowing voltage readings to be taken; new to me was that a transformer can be powered up with only the primary coil added. At each power up I would take a voltage reading and by trial and error removing a few turns at a time I eventually achieved the desired 1.5V per turn this was actually a reading of 3V on the meter but could be halved because of the two test turns added. Many times during this experimental stage at power up the mcb would trip; this work is highly dangerous so I'll not encourage anyone else to follow my lead. Because my transformer was basically a prototype and me not having access to lots of testing equipment I could only estimate the power output and reckoned given the sheer size of the transformer it must give out at least 7.5KW (10hp) if these transformers are dunked in an oil bath then their output will increase due to oil cooling; I only ever ran the transformer with a 2.2KW (3hp) load on it and it never heated up in any way.

For a small workshop where the largest machine motor is say 5hp then winding and installing one of these transformers is a very good efficient way to get 3 phase at any voltage on full power; a lot of machines can be connected to the transformer and any number of machines can be switched on/off at the same time up to the power limit of the transformer; my transformer always impressed visitors especially when I switched on the big Startrite bandsaw then whilst the band saw was still running I would walk over and switch on the big dust extractor with the extractor bursting into life; each machine needed phase balancing to the transformer then the machine could be used as if standard 3 phase was installed. Installing my 3 phase proved to be a very interesting project indeed and I learned a great deal whilst the whole system only cost under £120.

Thanks for asking k-e; there is now quite a bit of information on the web regarding building and using coil wave winders; here's quite a bit of information added by my chum David and the link to YouTube is worth watching. I'm no longer an active member of VRF forum because I no longer do such projects but VRF was the very first forum I joined and I added many threads over the years once again under my title "Retired".

http://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/show ... p?t=106723

I never used my wave winder due to the highly expensive special wire needed the wire was cheap enough but it was the insulation which bumped up the price and the price of a small coil if available would bring tears to a Yorkshireman's eyes. As you rightly say though k-e making one of these wave winders is very time consuming and the hardest part is actually getting started. Good luck.

A refresher on the wave winder pictures just to encourage anyone to have a go at any type of restoration; all it takes is determination and of course time but it's the time which is most interesting and many of my restorations have cost extremely little monetary wise but what joy to take a lump of scrap and fully restore it factory fresh condition.

The AVO wave winder was seized solid with rust when bought so needed a great deal of gentle handling to free off the shafts etc otherwise it would be highly likely to fracture the castings. I cut 45 cast iron gears on the lathe using a home made vertical slide and a single point cutter ground to the correct gear shape mounted on a bar between centres. I made a bespoke box to house all the gears and even made the fancy brass name plate for the box lid.

I completely dismantled the winder and after stripping and cleaning every bit of old paint and rust sprayed the winder which really did make it come back to life. A lot of time was spent with assembly not to damage the new paint job. A number of other parts were either missing or broken but no problem because I'll simply make them from scratch. A home made crank with nicely turned oak revolving handle and a new wire guide arm were just a couple of the items needed. This wave winder restoration was a time consuming but highly interesting project and it gave me so much pleasure once completed when I stood back thinking how the heck did I do that. I sold the winder to another vintage radio restorer who will use it in anger; better it being used than just a show piece gathering dust; I had already done what I set out to do and once it was fully restored then I could do nothing else to it.

Kind regards, Col.

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 Post subject: Re: Assorted projects.
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 11:48 am 
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Is it 'Litz' wire you're referring to as expensive Col? That's the cotton covered stuff and what I need to use to simulate the Denco type coils :cb .

My idea for a coil winder isn't anywhere as robust as the machine you restored primarily because the only things it will be winding are 10mm to 20mm diameter formers no more than an inch or two long! I salvaged some great stepper motors from old computer tape backup drives and one of them has the perfect mechanism attached (helical drive) that would make a great feed for the wave winding part.

Although I'm supposed to be familiar with high voltages and technically aware of the processes involved in transformer winding I still turn them on using a broom stick :lol: "Trust your RCD" my mind tells me..... "no chance....." says I. :lol: (I don't like balloons popping near me, never mind transformers going mammaries skywards)

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 12:24 pm 
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Hi,

Thanks for asking k-e. I'm sure the Litz silk covered wire would be suitable but perhaps an overkill when ordinary single core but silk or cotton covered wire would be suitable for home workshop projects; I only ever wound a single wave coil from a small bobbin of silk covered wire just to test the winder; it was successful but the wire must have been 100 years old and the silk covering was rather frail. The problem as you'll appreciate with wave winding is to get the wire to go where wanted on the former; standard enameled copper wire simply slips around too much.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Litz_wire

http://www.wires.co.uk/acatalog/sc_wires.html

http://www.wires.co.uk/acatalog/litzwire.html

I hope the links open OK. 50g of winding wire is a very small amount but for a one off special wave wound coil it will be worth it as long as the wire doesn't break or become damaged during winding which is a high possibility especially on the finer wire gauges.

I'm sure you would enjoy designing and constructing a wave winder k-e and if you do go ahead I'd like to follow your progress.

Yes I've had fun experimenting in the garage from the tripping breakers and exploding capacitors; it was no fun when my Clarke lathe motor and circuit board expired in a cloud of smoke as did a 1.5hp single phase motor on my previous Myford when that too died in a big cloud of smoke but then the motor being single phase with start and run capacitors I was start/stopping the lathe once per minute for gear cutting and a 60T gear then obviously took an hour to cut which the motor seriously objected to; pity the lathe didn't have a clutch.

The main thing of course is not to know your personal limits but not to do anything silly ending up in injury or electric shock; I've tackled lots of projects which many would shudder at but then I'm barking mad and keen to try out new things which grab my interest. When I have a motor on the bench hooked up to capacitors I too ensure I'm well out of the way as I switch on; never ever have a capacitor with its connections pointing towards you whilst under power because this really is asking to be blinded if the capacitor explodes. I worked on vintage radios for about ten years and with a bare chassis on the bench and hooked up to the supply these many times were highly lethal due to them having a "live chassis" I installed a 100W test lamp which I wired in series so that when a chassis was connected it gave me warning by the lamp glowing then I would immediately switch off and start searching for the short; I also installed an isolation transformer for my safety and with a pair of Variacs I was well covered but I never ever touched one of the chassis whist it was powered with both hands; one enduring trick these chassis had was to remain live even whilst switched off due to fully charged electrolytic capacitors which would give a nasty shock; these vintage radios were full of such traps.

Kind regards, Col.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 12:51 pm 
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Interesting as always Col. Thanks.
In the gear cutting pic, I take it that's a "fly cutter" type arrangement off a mandrel held between centres? How did you achieve the tooth spacing? I can't see a dividing head. . .


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 12:59 pm 
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Working with one hand behind your back was taught when I was training to be a radio operator (merchant marine) but my workshop has all the precautionary measures for safe working yet I STILL stand well back when switching on potentially-explosive wiring!

I think this caution stems from an experience as a junior in an electronics repair shop in Middlesbrough mid 70's - the engineer had just refitted some power supply parts in a large amplifier, IIRC these were 4700uF at 100V (a pair of them) and the shop owner had his face IN the amplifier case as the engineer powered them up - only to find he'd wired the capacitors in backwards!

The resultant BANG! scared me witless and left the boss looking like a refugee from a Looney Tunes cartoon with his hair and face spattered and looking like a burned sunflower! :lol: Mind we laughed like drains (at the boss) after he'd gone off for a snifter to recover his wits but jeebus I jumped HIGH when it went off!

I can double, triple, quadruple check connections before switching on these days and still put ONE finger in my ear as I power up. Strangely I've never repeated that experience ever (other than doing it deliberately to show students what happens when they get it wrong!) so it's not as if I need to be so cautious.... just nasty (but funny) memories really.

Jo is always suspicious of me when I ask "just turn that switch on will you love" as I stand behind her....... wonder why :lol:

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:01 pm 
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Hi,

Well done Dave54; yes a mandrel between lathe centres was used to power the single point (fly) cutter. The mandrel was a length of 1" dia round steel bar; I drilled it across axis to accept the cutter then drilled and tapped to accept a locking grub screw to secure the cutter in position; one end of the mandrel was mounted in the headstock chuck the other end was mounted on a live center in the tailstock. I spent a lot of time researching how to grind the cutter to the correct involute profile; I had to grind a number of cutters because the profile changes with sizes of gear; rather than try to grind the cutter freehand I used a diamond dresser to dress a small grinding wheel to correct profile this in turn imparting the profile onto the cutter and it worked very well indeed. The cutter was ground from a round HSS blank.

Blackgates Engineers cut the cast iron (meehanite) blanks for me at oversize charging a small fee which was worth it.

http://www.blackgates.co.uk/

You are also correct in that no dividing head was used in fact I've never used nor owned a dividing head so obviously I had to dream up a way of dividing; I spent ages browsing the web for ideas but couldn't find anything suitable so I gave it a great deal of thought after all dividing was very important and needed to be accurate. I had tried a number of CAD programs all without success in fact just drawing a straight line to length and having the line straight not a zigzag eluded me. During the many hours of web browsing I came across Emachineshop in America where I could download entirely free a CAD program which looked interesting so I downloaded it without fuss. I noticed the CAD showed a "Spur gear wizard" so what was this; I tried to open the wizard but without success; this was both frustrating and puzzling; in the end I submitted my email address and suddenly the wizard opened and I was in. This was all new to me not only trying CAD again but now how the heck can I draw a gear when I can't even draw a line? With fierce determination and concentration I played around with the wizard and slowly made progress; I fell into every hole possible before finally I had a gear drawing; when I printed the gear I found it to be about 8" dia so again what was I doing wrong; this time I traced it to the printer settings; once the printer was adjusted to "Actual Size" I suddenly had a full size drawing of a gear I needed and I had set the printer to its finest line.

The bore of all the gears was fixed at 7/16" so this was also drawn on each gear. I became pretty good at entering the four lots of data into the wizard for each gear drawing and in turn each drawing was printed out on a sheet of printer paper ending up with a pile of paper. Next job was to cut out each gear to give me a full size gear paper template; I very carefully cut around the maximum diameter of each gear but didn't attempt to cut the hole. I then took the paper templates into the garage where I turned an accurate 7/16" dia punch using the lathe then again very carefully I punched out the hole in each template. This job was now coming together nicely; next job was to attach each template to its gear blank and I did this using double sided self adhesive tape but to ensure the hole was aligned perfectly I bored each blank in the lathe to give the 7/16" bore now I could insert a short length of 7/16" dia round bar stock allowing the template to slide into position and be pressed home on the adhesive tape.

Not wanting to spend £100 on a vertical slide I made my own vertical slide from odds and ends I had to hand making the slide just for the gear cutting; I drilled the vertical slide to accept a close fitting 7/16" bolt with large heavy duty washers allowing each gear blank to be mounted horizontally and securely tightened. I set the lathe up and with the cutter at center height facing me I found it incredibly easy to adjust the cutter to the tooth profile on the template so I set the depth of cut at maximum depth the lowered the slide until the cutter cleared whilst turned by hand. After checking and double checking everything was secure I took a deep breath and switched on the lathe unsure if the idea would work or not as it had never been tried previously; I started to raise the slide until it engaged the revolving cutter and I was absolutely amazed to watch as the cutter removed a very nice clean slot at full depth; it's the slots which are cut after all it's the teeth which are required so slots not teeth are cut. I was ecstatic and now I repeated the adjustment for each slot in turn; I had locked the lathe carriage and the lathe I was working on had a broken main bearing casting which I had temporarily clamped in position. Fly cutting is as old as the hills but this method of indexing was new and something I dreamt up; good job it worked though otherwise I would have wasted hundreds of hours. Where two identical gears were needed I cut these in pairs to save time.

http://www.emachineshop.com/machine-sho ... ge507.html



This wave winder restoration turned out to be a very big project indeed involving lots of steep learning curves but I stuck with it solving every problem as work progressed; the point of all this is that lots of highly expensive kit isn't always needed to do expensive work when a good imagination and determination are present; my set of gears only cost the cast iron blanks which I think worked out at around £86 but it did cost hundreds of happy if at times frustrating hours. Since I cut the gears Emachineshop has a tutorial video to simplify the process; I did it the hard way as usual.

Thanks k_e for adding the story of the exploding capacitors and I know only too well just how dangerous capacitors can be having blown a few in my time; motor capacitors are usually OK not being polarized so can be connected either way but the electrolytics on the vintage radios were polarized so care was needed to connect them correctly; it makes me shudder to think of a capacitor exploding into someone's face; I too always stand well clear when I switch on anything unknown; many of the vintage radios I restored hadn't been switched on for over 40 years and they were fill of problems so it was a case of working through everything whilst remaining safe; with mains transformers on many of these old radios putting out 700 volts they were not things to poke with a finger; the 700 volts was center tapped to supply the two rectifier pins (full wave).

I've added a picture of my old vintage radio den and also the bespoke wooden box I made to house the gears.

I'm happy to add more pictures hopefully showing the lengths I go to once I get involved with one of my strange projects; my patience and determination know no bounds and I'm like a dog with a bone once one of these projects grabs my attention; I'll never be beaten however long it takes; at times I could jump up and down on the project but usually just as it seems totally hopeless I get a break through; I've said many times I'm barking mad because I enjoy doing unusual things after all if a project was easy it would not be a challenge.

I've rambled on again but please note if someone says something cannot be done all you have is their word to go on so give it a go after all if it cannot be done little will be lost but the fun involved and the learning curve always makes it so worthwhile.

I completed this post last night and as I was about to submit it I was asked to log in which then deleted the entire post much to my distress so this time I've used "Word" and kept "Saving" so now all I need to do is to copy & paste but I'll need to check the links work OK.

Kind regards, Col.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 2:32 pm 
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Cunning Col. Very cunning! :thumbright:
I was talking to my engineer mate last night in the pub, and telling him about your gear cutting setup. He said he'd used a fly cutter to cut quite big gears in the past, 8 inches or so diameter, but he reckoned you must have some mechanical indexing device there somehow. I'll enjoy telling him how you did it. :lol:
I'll probably never use it myself, but thanks for sharing! :thumbright:



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Quite impressive!! :? :shock:

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