Volume 4, Number 3 - March 1999

President - George Carlson, V. Pres.- J. D. Wise, Treasurer - Gordon Lawson, Secretary - Keith Mitchell
Editor - Robert Travers Hm (409) 372-5363 Wk (713) 853-7521 Email rtravers@wt.net


Membership Information Membership is open to all those interested in machining metal and tinkering with machines. The purpose of the club is to provide a forum for the exchanging of ideas and information. This includes, to a large degree, education in the art of machine tools and practices. There is a severe shortage of written information that a beginning hobbyist can use. This makes an organization such as this even more important. For membership information and forms, call George Carlson at (218) 376-4606.

Notes from the President

George was suffering from writer's block and was not able to attend the last meeting so I volunteered to write the President's Note. We had a good meeting last month. A lot participation. We would like to continue to stimulate this level of participation. Several items are being presented at the March meeting for consideration by the members. Please plan to attend to offer your opinion. One item which was not discussed last month is the renewal of the web page. The web page gives us an opportunity to reach a number of people. We now have a plan to maintain the web page so it remains current. I find myself looking back from time to time at previous newsletters and projects which are posted on the web page. Many of the metalworking clubs in other locations maintain web pages. It tends to serve as our link with the universe outside Houston. The cost is about $100 per year.

John Oder has agreed to give the March presentation on Heat Treating. Anyone who saw John's presentation on scraping knows John gives an excellent presentation. Last meeting we solicited topics for presentations. A number of topics we suggested. We have a few volunteers to give presentations, however, we need more. Please review the topics in the minutes of the last meeting and come prepared to volunteer to put on a presentation. Keep in mind that few of us are experts in any field, however, with a little research we can all prepare an informative presentation.

Another area needing participation is the newsletter. The Houston HMSC has become known for publishing a quality newsletter, however, for this to continue we need a broader participation in the newsletter. Generally we try to have the President's Note, Meeting Minutes, and a feature article. We need volunteers for the feature article. If we can get six people to agree to prepare the feature article, the next six months of newsletters are covered. In addition, if you know that in three or four months you will be responsible for the feature article, there is ample time to prepare. Feature articles can be projects or info developed for a presentation. If you need resources (cad drawings, photos, pictures scanned, editing and proof reading) ask. If you don't feel you can prepare a newsletter article volunteer to be a resource to assist others in preparing an article. Of the approximately 50 club members, I'm sure we have the combined talents to turn out a consistently good newsletter.

Keith Mitchell


Minutes of the January Meeting
Reported by: Keith Mitchell
Chips Meeting - 1:00 P.M. January 16, 1999, Oak Forrest Library

In the Chips Meeting the following activities took place.
A. Curta Calculator - Gordon Lawson brought in a Curta Calculator which is the pocket version of the large desk mounted calculators from the 50's. J. D. Wise promptly demonstrated its use with considerable confidence.
B. Engine - George Carlson brought in a partially finished engine kit which was free to the first taker.
C. Machining Techniques - George Carlson brought copies of drawings of several pieces. Everyone had an opportunity to offer the machining sequence, machine, workholding, tooling, etc. they would use to make that part. There were numerous solutions offered for every machining step.


Minutes of the February Meeting
Reported by Keith Mitchell

Chips Meeting - 1:00 P.M. February 27, 1999, Oak Forrest Library

In the Chips Meeting the following activities took place.
1. Suggested Club Purchases - Suggestions for club purchases were solicited from the members. The following were received:

A. Purchase back issues of Home Shop Machinist for the club library. ($300-400)
B. Donate white Board to Library for meeting room ($200)
C. Purchase additional videos ($50 each)
D. Purchase the Machinery Reconditioning Handbook for the club library ($100)
E. Purchase a Machinery's Handbook for the club library ($100)
F. Purchase American Society of Metals Books for club library. (~$3000)
G. Sponsor club member attendance to schools and seminars (Case by case Basis)
These items will be presented at the March meeting for a vote by the members.

2. Meeting Location - Suggestions for an alternative to the current meeting location were discussed. Locations suggested were HCC and sharing a facility with the Live Steamers were suggested. David Whitaker will check with HCC. The Live Steamers location is in far west Harris County and was discarded as not centrally located to provide convenient access to all members.

3. Presentation Planning - Members were requested to provide suggestions for future programs. The following were received:

A. Drills - Bill Sperry
B. Measuring - John Oder
C. Heat treating - John Oder
D. Material Sources -
E. Welding - Keith Mitchell
F. CNC - Jan Rowland
G. Machining Basics -
H. Fluids and Lubricants -
I. Forging -
J. Carbide and HSS tooling -
K. Workholding -
L. Lapping -
M. Reaming -
N. Polishing -

John Oder has agreed to go first with a presentation at the March meeting on heat treating. Other volunteers have agreed to make presentations as shown. The schedule of the other presentations will be determined the next meeting. Volunteers are needed for the remaining presentations.

4. Shop Tours - It was suggested that club members might sponsor a personal shop tour where club members would visit other club member's shops.

5. CNC - Jan Rowland attended the meeting for the first time and brought several items he had made using CNC. He also had a number of photographs of machinery he had built and items he had made.

6. Presentation - J. D. Wise gave an excellent presentation on workholding and toolholding.

7. Show & Tell - The following items were shown during the show & tell session:

A. John Oder - A triple lead thread machined in a 4140 sleeve with a brass nut for the controls on an airplane
B. Keith Mitchell - A carbide inserted flycutter and tips on obtaining good results with a flycutter.
C. David Whitaker - Air/steam model engine from brass and aluminum.

8. Post Meeting Note - Travis Jaroscwski has several items for sale and which I failed to mention at the meeting. They include a tool and cutter grinder, a shaper and a 24" Bullard. Please call Travis at 281-370-0659 for further information.


Shop Challenge
By Keith Mitchell

A friend was trying to adapt one of his farm implements to the three point hitch on his tractor and needed some 3/4" holes drilled in three pieces of 1/2" thick mild steel for the pins which attach the implement to the hitch. The holes were needed in parts, which made it impossible to use a drill press. Drilling 3/4" holes with a portable electric drill was certainly not attractive. Using the resources available in your shop, what would you suggest?


Shop Tips
By: Keith Mitchell

1. I have not set my bandsaw up for flood coolant yet. I have all of the materials but have not gotten around to completing the project. Saw blades last much longer if they are lubed when in use. To apply coolant I mixed soluble oil and water in a pump sprayer. This works well not only on the bandsaw but also elsewhere. .
2. I keep soluble oil and water mix in the coolant containers near my grinder to cool as I grind. The soluble oil seems to help keep the water from evaporating and seems to prevent the water from rusting any bare metal.
3. Certain welding rods (E7018, E6010 in particular) only work well when they are kept dry. Damp rods cause porosity in the weld and poor arc stability. The coatings absorb water from the air on humid days to the point that after a few hours they need to be dried. I dry these rods before I use them in the kitchen oven at about 300( F for three hours. (The Lincoln Electric website advises much higher temperatures, however, this has worked for me. My welding is far from x-ray quality.) Place them on a clean tray or wrap them in aluminum foil to avoid contaminating them with any residue in the oven. Let cool in the oven long enough to allow handling and place in one of the containers available at welding supply stores for rod storage. I've kept them dry for months with this method. When I use them I open the container long enough to remove the rods I'll use in the next hour, them immediately reseal.
4. I keep a cheap Skil saw around with a metal abrasive cutoff blade. I use this preferentially over flamecutting. The cut edge needs no grinding, it will cut materials, which cannot be flamecut, and there's not a lot of heat to burn the surrounding area. The saw needs to be considered sacrificial since the abrasive grit will eventually eat the bearings.
5. To pick up steel chips with a magnet wrap the magnet with a paper towel. When you have all of the chips collected that the magnet will carry take them to the trash. Unwrap the magnet carefully. The chips will stay with the paper towel rather than sticking to the magnet and being a problem to remove.




Hybrid Sterling Engine
By: John G. Korman

The engine shown in the photo is a hybrid Stirling engine. The original kits (Miser) purchased by the club for low temperature Stirling engine required a mill for some of the machining. A mill was not available so the engine was modified using plans for the "N92" engine by James R. Senft. James Senft is considered an authority on LTD (low temperature differential) engines. Plans were available in his book, Low Temperature Differential Stirling Engines. Construction requires only a lathe and drill press.

The N92 engine require a larger diameter displacer cylinder, therefore, some modifications were needed to have a sweep volume ratio of 50:1. This was accomplished by decreasing the stoke of the power piston. The unique feature of this N92 engine is the use of four ball bearings, two for the flywheel shaft and one on each connecting rod. LTD engines do not tolerate leakage or friction at all,
therefore, the ball bearings are a great help in reducing friction to a minimum.

Presently the engine will run at a very LTD, i.e. heat from TV set; and with some more fine tuning it will run on the heat of a your hand.