Little "wrinkles".

Philthechill
27th December 2009, 11:01
During a general reminiscing about my apprenticship, t'other day, I was telling my son-in-law about the time I was given some "cut-to-shape-but-unfolded" pieces of aluminium about 1/8" thick, (Once folded they formed a guide for the legs of theodolite tripods).

I was shown how to use the fly-press (without knocking myself out!!!!) and told that I'd have to anneal each piece before folding it.

The apprentice-training instructor, who'd given me the job said, "Do you know how to anneal aluminium?".

I confessed I hadn't the faintest idea, not only on how to anneal aluminium but what exactly annealing was!!!

He explained what it was all about and then said, "Aluminium has a very low melting-point and, if you're not VERY careful, you'll melt the work-pieces! So how can we judge when we're at the right temperature?"

He then produced a box of spent matches and after firing-up the gas-torch, which was held in a vice, he picked-up a piece of the aluminium with a pair of pliers and heated it up. Once he'd seen the "waves" of heat darting across the surface of the work-piece he started to stroke the work-piece, with one of the spent matches, and as soon as a streak of carbonised wood was left on the surface of the "ally" he plunged it into a bucket of cold water.

"That", said Ted (the instructor), "Is now at the correct softness for folding-without-cracking" and, putting it in the press, demonstrated how soft it had become!

A little "wrinkle" from nearly 60 years ago which, if anyone tried to implement it in the modern-day 'elf 'n safety workshop would probably face a firing-squad!! Salaams, Phil(Hippy)

Billieboy
27th December 2009, 12:15
Nearly the same as tempering a chisel, first get the chisel cherry red all the way in the fire, turning it to keep it straight, grip the end with the tongs and quench the tip and about half the length in water, as the red disappears pull the tip out and give the tip a quick wire brushing, hold the tip up and watch the colours come up, quench just as the tip is dark blue. the edge will last forever on brass and may need a light grind for mild steel nuts.

Duncan112
27th December 2009, 13:57
Another way of determining whether aluminium has reached the annealing temperature is to rub soap on it, when the soap turns black the aluminium is annealed.

Satanic Mechanic
28th December 2009, 16:01
It can't just be me that imagines Chilly sitting in his rocking chair telling this story while looking in his cardigan for his matches to light his pipe, all the while using said pipe as pointer - can it!!! (Jester)

Never heard that one Phil - I use washing up liquid - but I might give it a go next time I am working Aluminium.

Billie there is something about that way of tempering that I have always just loved doing - I think it might be the fact that you get a 'gradual temper' along whatever tool you are making

benjidog
28th December 2009, 17:33
There is something of alchemy and mysticism in tempering and annealing metal I always think.

I can picture this being done in prehistoric times by the ironworkers in leather aprons with their apprentices watching carefully and learning the mysteries of the trade.

Billieboy
28th December 2009, 19:04
Not really Brian it's just dull ole metallurgy.

The tool smiths that taught me, wore leather aprons in 1956! not a stone tool in sight!

Philthechill
28th December 2009, 22:17
It can't just be me that imagines Chilly sitting in his rocking chair telling this story while looking in his cardigan for his matches to light his pipe, all the while using said pipe as pointer - can it!!! (Jester)

Never heard that one Phil - I use washing up liquid - but I might give it a go next time I am working Aluminium.

Billie there is something about that way of tempering that I have always just loved doing - I think it might be the fact that you get a 'gradual temper' along whatever tool you are makingAt long last I've discovered who installed that CCTV camera in my front room! I thought it was the Feds and it turns-out it was you SM!!! How else would you have been able to describe, in such detail, me in my rocking-chair firing-up my trusty meerschaum in my cardy? Incidentally is there much of a reflection off my bald dome? If there is I'll start wearing my flat 'at (the one I wear when I'm exercising the whippets) or powdering it with some talc. Salaams, Phil(Hippy)

Satanic Mechanic
2nd January 2010, 16:10
At long last I've discovered who installed that CCTV camera in my front room! I thought it was the Feds and it turns-out it was you SM!!! How else would you have been able to describe, in such detail, me in my rocking-chair firing-up my trusty meerschaum in my cardy? Incidentally is there much of a reflection off my bald dome? If there is I'll start wearing my flat 'at (the one I wear when I'm exercising the whippets) or powdering it with some talc. Salaams, Phil(Hippy)


If you could at least stop polishing it - it should help

orcades
13th January 2010, 02:42
I wonder what other tips we we were given as apps.that we,ve forgotten, or have we?, lets hear from you all.

spongebob
13th January 2010, 06:36
Was that your polished pate piercing the ether Phil,' I thought that it was a new fangled CCTV aerial.
I never learnt to temper aluminum but I do recall the steel tempering colours, light straw, dark straw, light blue, dark blue, dull red, cherry red and all the way to a near molten mass of a stuff up.
Quench and start again. Reminds me of my first love.

Bob

spongebob
13th January 2010, 06:52
Another big learning curve was the sharpening of a piece of tool steel. these were the days before tip tools and packets of cutting tips made from indestructible alloy steels and even ceramics.
The tough old days when you were given a black stick of Mr. Balfour's best, some time the special shiny high speed stuff, to hand grind to suit a thread form or to take heavy/light/finishing cuts on all manner of ferrous and non ferrous material from cast iron to HT steel, from monel to naval brass.
Then there was the hand ground parting tool, a hazard in unsure hands at the best of times.
I spent 18 months in the Dockyard Machine shop during my time but my heart was in Ship fitting.
My worst moment was the day when I was truing up a job piece in the lathe chuck and having got it right I moved the magnetic based clock gauge off the lathe bed on to the chuck. An absent minded trial spin at many revs saw the clock gauge hang on like a man on the wall of death before letting go to punch a neat round hole in the fibrous cement roof of the machine shop some 40 feet above.
The gauge was recovered by the roof repairing plumber and it was as good as new but my fame and shame went about the yard faster than an Aussie bush fire.

Bob

Billieboy
13th January 2010, 10:40
Talking about setting up a job in the chuck, when things get bad, (usually on a Monday morning), and the job just will not set up; go for a walk outside the shop for five or ten minutes, then come back in and the setting up is finished in a flash! This is the same when trying to get crankshafts balanced to turn bottom ends too, the weights all seem to be in the wrong place sometimes, stopping for a cup of tea saves hours of work!

Setting up a lathe tool, to get it exactly on the center line, put a foot rule between the work piece and the tool, with the rule vertical, it's easy to see if the tool is too low, it leans towards you or too high, it leans away from you.

When cleaning up journals, bearings and commutators, always leave a witness mark preferably two on opposite sides of the work to stop any arguments with the fitters. When turning large bronze bushes, under cut one end a couple of thousands so that it leads into the hole, always part off a, "hammer ring", at least 1/16th thick for the fitter when the bush has to be knocked in.

Satanic Mechanic
13th January 2010, 15:58
You beat me to it Billy - setting the tool using the steel rule. Then of course there is the great "Parting tool position debate" - should it be set centre or just below. I was taught centre but a lot of people seem to regard this as heresy.

So after years of experimenting I discovered it doesn't make a blind bit of difference

Billieboy
14th January 2010, 06:24
Parting tools; seemed to work best upside down and the work going in reverse, so that the chuck and mandrill were loading the bottom bearing, a lot less chatter this way.

Satanic Mechanic
14th January 2010, 11:25
Tried all sorts of things with parting tools, narrowed it down to progressively cutting the slot but backing off, clearing and widening it every few mm to stop any chance of seizing. On small items - I just go for it , nice even pressure and as smooth as I can on the compound - lovely.

Anyone fancy discussing the pure joy that is turning Brass

K urgess
14th January 2010, 12:28
Anyone fancy discussing the pure joy that is turning Brass

What about just the joys of brass. (Thumb)
My scrap brass bin is only outweighed by the brass "artefacts" cluttering up the house.
Don't have a lathe so in usual sparkie fashion this was made with the help of good ol' Black & Decker. [=P]

Billieboy
14th January 2010, 14:43
Lots of different brasses, have turned most of them; gunmetal is nice tidy work, the swarf collects in tidy cones in the swarf tray, One forged bronze I worked acted just like golden mild steel, (they were Tee bolts for some sluices-Big ones not t-mac size!), very long strings, razor sharp. Nickel was another 'tidy' material, had to make a large number of bushes for multistage pumps, great job, spent a day planning and tooling, finished the job in a quarter of the time allowed, the old turners were telling me to slow down! The bonus still paid out good though.

I was given a 'plate' parting off tool (HSS), with a holder one day, cut the plates down a bit and made screw cutting tools for four of the most used threads, that saved days over the year, had them for steel and brass.

The old engineer's story really, make the machine work for you, it saves energy for other things!

spongebob
16th January 2010, 20:17
Billiboy, your talk of different brasses, bronzes and other alloys reminds me of the old skill of metal classifier, a person a bit like a water diviner, full of mystery and sleigh of hand.
I know such a bloke, about my age, who was taught the trade in London by his father. They came to NZ 50 years ago and established a scrap metal and refinery bussiness that made them wealthy people.
Tony could pick up a non ferrous item and by weight, colour and knowhow quickly decide what it was before re processing it via a furnace and other means into ingot or extruded bar. etc.
No such thing as a hardness test or even the stroke of a file to sort out what it was and a facinating bloke to talk to.
An upmarket Steptoe.

Bob