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Latest videos

Two new videos on my YouTube channel: Machine Shop in a Garage

Making a splined thumb screw on the KX1 CNC

Pressure turning on the Mini Lathe to make brass discs

Please go to the drop menu in the header bar, and select ‘Videos’ . There are a few videos now to choose from. The link will take you straight to YouTube and my channel.


First post for 2021

Hello and welcome to 2021, hopefully it will be a bit more fun than 2020!

But anyway have a look at the videos posted recently, the latest one for 2021 is a short video making a small pipe centre for the Mini Lathe, which didn’t turn out exactly as planned, but it works okay.

For videos go to the main header drop down ‘VIDEOS’ menu and scroll down the links to my YouTube channel ‘Machine Shop in a Garage’.

Latest videos

Two engraving videos recently posted on YouTube:

Engraving ‘The Small Workshop’ on a bar of aluminium.


Reverse engraving WWII RAF Hawker Typhoon RB396 roundel and fuselage designation

To see them please go to the ‘VIDEOS’ drop down menu on the header bar.


I have just started a brand new YouTube channel for my videos.

‘Machine Shop In a Garage’

Links are in the drop down ‘VIDEOS’ menu on the header.

First video is making the Tesla Valve

Working on the Danny!

Over the past few weeks and months I have been volunteering with the engineering team on the historic 1903 steam tug The Daniel Adamson ‘The Danny’.

We have a workshop where I can machine parts. These parts in the photos are the valve rods from the port and starboard circulating pumps. They are connected to the valve slider via the eccentrics. The old rods were showing some sign of wear on the bronze bushings and also wear on the gland packing area.

New rods to be machined out of 50mm dia EN8

A quick visit to the local steel stockholder and we came back with two lengths of 50mm diameter medium carbon EN8 steel, which is suitable for low stress connecting rods and shafts, and is also relatively easy to machine.

First step is to rough machine to size

The rods were roughed out to length and basic shape, then the square end was machined on the mill, then returned to the lathe for finishing and screw threading (5/8″BSW).

Then machine to size and mill the square. The round stub end is to make it easy to hold in the chuck and is parted off later

New bronze bushes were made to a tight interference fit, then finished bored to size on the mill. The ends were radiused on the mill.

Finish boring for the bronze bushings

They fit great on the pumps and at the time of writing we had the port pump assembled and tested on air, and the starboard pump part completed.

Old rods and the new part machined rods, and also a part machined hard brass valve spindle for another job

Sewing machine plate

Here is a small but quite technical little job for an old sewing machine. The machine is used frequently to make fancy dress costumes and the like, mostly using tough fabric, resulting in deflection of the sewing needle, which then hits the detachable guide plate. After a while the plate is damaged or broken, the resulting sharp edges snag the fabric and make the machine unusable.

Because the machine has been out of production for a good number of years, spares are very hard to come by, or non existent. This type of detachable plate is unobtainable.

I was asked to adapt a spare detachable plate and make a spare one from a complete solid different plate. The supplied detachable plate had a round hole for the needle guide, which then needed to be slotted to allow zig zag stitches to be produced.

Here are the supplied plates. On the right is a unused detachable plate with a round needle guide which will need slotting. And a larger used different model plate from which I made a new small plate from.
Slotting the needle guide with a 2mm diameter end mill
Milling the locating catch/tab
Replacement detachable plate is sawn out from a larger different solid model plate. Then all sides were machined to size. One of the central bars was removed also.
Finished plates with locating spring attached

The finished detachable plates fit well into the main plate and should last a long time

Pointer holder clamp

This is a new pointer holder clamp to replace one I made many years ago. The old clamp is just a piece of brass hack-sawed and filed to shape, with a 1/4″ UNC bolt and mystery nut to hold the pointer firmly.

This is the new sparkly clamp

The new clamp is made from a piece of 3/8″ x 3/4″ mild steel bar. The opposing radii was milled and filed to shape, and a 1mm wide slitting saw was used to make the slot.

Silver steel (tool steel) was used to make the nut, sleeve and spindle. I used the KX1 4th axis to mill 18 straight flutes on the nut, I think straight flutes look and feel better than a traditional knurl.

This is the old tired clamp

The clamp is secured to a silver steel column fixed to a magnetic base, at about 5″ tall it is a very handy tool to use on the milling machine to point to a datum mark on the table, to act as an idiot guide to where my zero is on the dial.

5″ tall pointer holder and magnetic base

Wheelchair cup holder

This cup holder has been specifically designed and made for an electric wheelchair user. I had already made a cup holder for an older wheelchair, but it would not fit the new wheelchair.

Using a mix of CNC and manual machines I started out with a piece of 12mm thick aluminium plate, then drew the basic cup holder shape In Vectric V Carve to produce the necessary toolpaths.

A 6mm end mill slowly cut out the 10mm deep pocket and the outer profile.

Vectric Vcarve is used to create the toolpaths
Pocket has been machined and now the outer profile is cut

With the main cup holder shape cut out, I took a piece of 18mm square aluminium and milled out the hinge bracket.

Hinge bracket

A slot was cut into the main cup holder shape to accept the hinge bracket, this needed some filing to make sure both parts could hinge properly.

Then a 4mm diameter hole was drilled through both the cup holder and hinge.

Drilling the hinge. With creative work holding!!!

A special 4mm diameter hinge pin was made on the lathe, it has a small lozenge shaped head which will fit into a recess in the bracket, this acts as a anti turn device when the nut is tightened up.

To make the cup holder stay in the upright position, I machined a slot in the hinge bracket to accept three small magnets which were glued into place. A smaller slot was milled into the cup holder to accept a small piece of mild steel bar, again glued into place. When filed down to a smooth surface the magnet and steel strip lined up perfectly to keep the cup holder upright when not in use.

Three small magnets ready to be glued into the slot
Milling the slot for the steel bar

After few more test fits and filing sessions to get the fit right, making a keep plate for the two M6 cap head screws, and a final test assembly it was nearly time to paint it.

Final test assembly prior to painting

Painting was by using car spray paint and undercoat. The end result is petty good for me!

The keep plate slides into a ‘Tee’ slot on the wheelchair frame, and is held securely by the M6 screws. The magnets do a good job of holding it out of the way when not in use, but it is easy to drop the cup holder down to use it. And in a test the cup holder stays in the upright position even when going over bumpy ground.

Overall a very nice project which will definitely be used.