Sunday, November 24, 2019

Corvette Engine - Wrong Intake

While trying to get the corvette started a few weeks ago, I found an oil gusher coming from an exposed oil hole on top of the engine block.  It's not the original engine, but it is the original intake manifold.  Please note, it IS a first generation small block.  My mistake was to assume that all first generation small blocks are identical or compatible.  They are not.  So, it was time to do some decoding.  I grabbed pictures of the ID numbers on the block and on the intake, just to make sure I had the details.

Here's the firing order, just to post it for posterities' sake.

The block offers a little more detail.

So, I have a 14057053 intake manifold (lots of virtual links to 1980-1985 Chevrolet 305/350 engines), and the engine block has V0228TKS engine code that matches a VIN of T4U511082 .  The block ID of V0228TKS looks like it was made in Flint, Michigan.  The 0228 are a date stamp, meaning February 28.  The rest of the letters (TKS) on the end indicate it was a 1974, 1978, or a 1980 small block, and destined for use in a van or truck (on really old engines, the three letter code starting with a "C" for cars and "T" for trucks).  Prior to 1970, the suffix codes were only two digits.  So, we know we are at least 1970 and later.

The VIN part helps us isolate it between the 1974, 1978, and 1980 model years.  The start of it indicates the manufacture target even more.  Starting with a number 1 would be for a Chevrolet, 2 would be for a Pontiac, C for a Chevrolet truck, and a T for a GMC truck.  The second digit of the engine VIN represents the last digit for the year code (number in the 1970's, letter in the 1980's).  The next digit (a letter) represents where the block was manufactured.  I have a "U".  The rest of that VIN code should match to the last digits of the vehicle the engine went into, so I don't care about that.

So, this was a first generation small block engine that was made February 28, 1974 in Flint, Michigan for a GMC 350 truck that was assembled in Hamtramck, Michigan.

Now, if I order a carburetor adapter for a holley 4160, I know to order one for a 1974 GMC 350.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Made a Wood Lathe Insert Tool

I love my old Dunlap wood lathe (534-0601).  It is a blast to do wood work, really.  This was made in a few different variants, such as a Power King, a.k.a. Atlas (who actually made it for Sears).  Under the Sears moniker, it came known as "Craftsman", "Dunlap", and also "Companion".  It is similar to the Harbor Freights of today in that one maker is manufacturing for many different brands with a few minor modifications.

I had already built a carbide wood turning handle (round), and wanted some additional ones.  I used the Hazard Fart (stupid spell check) to mill out a seat, and then drilled and tapped it for an 8-32 hole and dropped in the diamond insert.

While I was there doing metal work, I was welding a new stand for the Dunlap wood lathe, and dropped a square tubing from 3 feet onto my finger.  Not pleasant.  It definitely hurt.

Meh.  I chiseled out a groove to match the rod and glued it together, turned it on the lathe, and threw on a copper pipe cap as the ferrule (I did drill it out and file it square to match the square rod).  After coating it a few times in boiled linseed oil, I have a functional (and complete) tool.

Now to find a new project to use it on.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

New Shop Tool - Old, Obscure Dividing Head

I've needed to create a gear to finish the hand lever collet closer attachment.  This meant I needed a good dividing head (well, I had the small rotary table, and could have done just fine with that one, because a 40 tooth gear is perfectly divisible on a rotary).  I ordered an old dividing head off of eBay. It's time to get it identified.

It appears to be labelled as a "Republic Tools", and the "1161" prefix stamped into the spindle was also stamped into the bottom of the casting (matching numbers... that's a good thing).  It rotates very smoothly, so it's been well cared for.

Typically, a dividing head is a 40:1 ratio, meaning you turn the handle 40 times and the spindle turns once.  This one looks different.  It felt like a 48:1 with the brief check I ran.  I will have to verify this, but it felt less like a 40:1.

The spindle through hole is about 1" (0.923" in the back, probably just an awkward angle and not accurate in any form of the word, and about 1.050" in the front).  There is no real taper on the bore of the spindle, so it's not 3C compatible.  It is definitely not 5C, or a morse taper.   That is going to force me to use the threads for any indexing purposes.

The spindle thread is 1 3/4-8 TPI, so it's an older thread that I might have to build an adapter or a backplate.  I'd like an adapter do I could potentially move from the lathe to this without removing the workpiece from the chuck itself, then things are more likely to be concentric if I need to change machinery between turns.

My brain went immediately to trying the infamous 127 tooth gear so I could potentially cut metric threads on the lathe, and that lead me to check the diameter of the hole plates :

At 4.875" on the outside diameter, if I ran a hole pattern around a 4.5" diameter circle (14.137155" of travel along that diameter) and divided that 127 times, we'd have 0.11131618" between holes along that path.  Seeing as that hole pattern would not have enough material between holes (let's call that "meat"), it could not be a 127 straight-line sequence.  I would have to offset the holes to get a good pattern into at least two rows, but considering 127 is a prime number, it should be three rows (or you end up with two holes on the same path right at the end).  Is that doable?  Absolutely.  I might just have a shop put the holes in the plate for me, though the accuracy isn't as critical for them because I'd be using that to bootstrap another 127 hole plate.  If another shop did it for me via CNC, I'd not need to bootstrap it - it would be accurate enough.  If I do it myself, I would use the index plate to make a second index plate (causing it to be much better in accuracy on the second one at 48 times, if the ratio is 48), and then I'd use the second index plate to create a third index plate.  This would improve the accuracy 48*48, by 2304 times.

This looks like it is going to be a fun addition to the shop!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Pointy Stick Thingey

I was asked to lead some music, specifically, a congregation.  With my background, I needed a baton, and the closest thing I had was a piece of 3/16 stainless steel rod.  I grabbed it and did what I was supposed to do.  When all was said and done, someone was teasing me about my "stick thing" (which was hilarious, because that young lady knows music and what a baton is).

I needed to step up my game.

Today, I ran out to the "shop", and found a chunk of 3/4" round brass rod.  I drilled and tapped the end, then turned the outside down to just over 1/2" (I hit 0.600", not that it really matters), about 1.75" long.  I threw the 3/16" stainless into the chuck next, and turned the tip down, then flipped it and threaded it to match the brass pommel using an 8-32 common thread.  A dab of Loc-tite, and the baton (official term is actually "pointy stick thingey" now) was complete :

Note, the music is copyrighted.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Kennedy Cantilever Toolbox

I found a local guy willing to sell an old cantilever tool box.  I bought it for $50.  It was dinged up a bit, internal paint chipped, and needing some oil.  It seems functional.  Turns out it was a Kennedy 1017-336418 .

I was going to put the fly fishing tying setup into it, but it is a little large.  I might need to just make the right sized tool box for that and use this in another position.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Finally, MQTT Sensor for Home Network

I had been building my own home alarm system a long time ago.  I found that the event server had a memory leak I tried to figure out numerous times, but never succeeded in getting it identified.  It would just get killed randomly on the raspberry pi.  I needed a better interface.

The first iteration was the Arduino with code and a custom TCP connection for alerts.  The server side was the problem here.  This functioned well, but the "server" was a cheap desktop PC that failed because it was on all the time and wasn't designed to.  The PCI bus failed, and it went down.

After the server crash, I then moved it to a raspberry pi to get it online (I didn't care about the PC).  Though it functioned well, it was at this point that a memory leak raised it's ugly head.  I found a number of that I tried to figure out numerous times, but never succeeded in getting it identified.  It would just get killed randomly on the server by the out-of-object memory killer.  (SSH would also get killed, which made it difficult - the process killed was random, and the SSH job dying would force me to pull the plug on it and go through the filesystem scans, HMPH!).

At that point, I switched over to MQTT.  I ran some initial tests using Raspberry PI GPIO's as inputs and Mosquito as the server.  Most seemed to work, but the raspberry Pi would die on me weirdly.  I think the issues with the memory leak were the Linux distribution on the Pi, but it still frustrated me.  Rebooting it forced me to start those processes manually, even though they were in the proper RC files.

At this point, just MQTT (still Mosquito) and a few MQTT translator python scripts was the next move.  It's been going for a while now (with a few power outages) and it fires right up into operational state fairly quickly.  The GPIO's (probably where the kernel had the memory issues) have been offloaded to an Olimex ESP32-PoE device.  It has a simple MQTT plug-in loaded onto it and all it does is check pins and update the MQTT server. I do have one problem where the garage reports errors regularly, so I have to figure out one line (hope a mouse didn't chew through it, or next I'll have to go mouse hunting).

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Easy way to a Lathe Tool Holder

I have a cheap Chinesium quick change tool post (the found-everywhere 250-100 AXA clone), and a few tool holders.  I'd wanted a way to keep the tool holders close and organized, but I was frankly too lazy to 3D print something I didn't think would last long.  So, I cheated.

I bought some 1.5" x 0.375" 6061aluminum rectangle bar ($50 for 5').  I tossed it into the Wen angle vise ($75), and then milled the bar at 30 degree angles to get the 60 degrees needed for the tool holders.

I tested them out, and probably should have used bar that was more than 1.5", but it will still work just fine.

The next step is to drill and counter sink the pieces so they can be bolted up to a brace, and then they're done.

Installing a Collet Closer Attachment to a South Bend Heavy 10 (10L) Lathe

I'd been eyeing the collet closers that keep appearing on eBay, and finally pulled the trigger.  On arrival, I realized I had a few issues to work through.  Not having ever used one, I didn't know what I was getting into.  As I played with this puzzle, I realized I was missing a few things, so I asked a great machinist forum (all are welcome there except for folks who push for power or troll everyone else endlessly - it's a welcome forum) - The Hobby Machinist Forum.  The response came back rather quickly.

First, these collet closers include a pin that sticks out of the headstock.  My headstock didn't have that pin.  Most Heavy 10 lathes include a threaded plug that you can pull out and install the pin.  However, I didn't even have that on my headstock.  I had to drill the headstock, tap it, and thread a shop-made pin in.

Second, I was missing the gear.  Yeah, in case you didn't know, the outboard gear on a heavy 10 lathe (the one driving the reverse tumbler mechanism) is not the same for collet attachments.  That one sticks out a little bit to engage a woodruff key in the attachment itself.

Third, the good collet closer attachments have a Gits oiler on top to keep the brass bearings for the clutch handle lubricated.  Mine didn't have that.  It means I'd have to replace the threaded pin holding it on up top with a new one that had a hole through it and an oiler.

First was handling the pin in the headstock.  This is easiest (and doesn't get cast iron chips into the machinery) if you remove it from the lathe and dismantle it.  Once ready, you need to center punch where you will drill, then do the normal.  The procedure is documented on the hobby machinist thread where I originally asked those questions.

If you look in that last picture, you'll see my lathe's live center in the quill.  It allowed me to keep the tap centered along the axis of the hole I'd just drilled.  However, it should be noted that you don't want to do this if your live center doesn't have a tang to help remove it when you are done.  It's a serious pain to remove if you don't pay attention to this.  I first tried holding things at an angle into the quill, different keys, and even prying on things I shouldn't.  I finally gave up, grabbed one of my ball joint separator forks, shoved it around the live center taper, gave it a couple of small whacks with a hammer, and it came loose.  Again, please don't ask me how I know not to do this.  It's a painful memory that has repeated itself twice.  [sheesh].  Don't forget to counterbore the hole.

Well, with that ready, I had to make the pin.  It's pretty simple,  Again, dimensions come from that hobby machinist thread I'd mentioned earlier.

Install the pin, drop that arm over it, then bolt the arm up to the closer handle, and this piece is done!

I also had to create the set screw/Gits oiler combination.

Next was to get the gear.  I'd watched eBay for a while after knowing I needed one, but never found one.  It's a 16DP, 40 tooth gear that sticks out 1.4" farther than the standard gear.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Tools to Make Tools

I've been wanting a tubing bender.  So, I downloaded plans from the chopper builders handbook website (a JD2 clone), ordered some stock, and started making it.  In the middle, I realized I needed to bend some flat stock on a hard angle for the handle.  So, my tool quest turned into a second tool quest.  This tool, my "brake attachment" for the harbor freight shop press, is made from :

  • 1" angle iron about 16" long (4 pieces)
  • A flat bar stock that will fit two pieces of angle iron wide
  • A flat bar stock to hold the upper piece of angle iron
  • 7/8" tool steel dowels about 5" long (two of them) for guide pins

First, I cut the edges on two of the pieces of angle iron so they could be welded site by side to the bottom plate.  I then welded the second piece of angle iron to the other two inverted.  This gave me an inverted 90-degree channel offset by 45 - exactly what I needed.

I then drilled and tapped at 3/4-16 the two ends of the bottom plate, turned down the two dowels to 3/4", and then threaded them to 3/4-16" to fit the bottom plate.  This was my first foray into power tapping.  Can you do it on a harbor freight mini mill?  Yes, but you want the tapping head.  Collets are a bad idea - you'll ruin your collets when it galls from spinning.  This got it started, and I was able to hand finish the tapping.

I punched two matching holes into the top plate to loosely fit the two dowels.

Lastly, I need to weld the last piece of angle to the top bar with everything in place so that it all lines up perfectly.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

South Bend Heavy 10 (10L) Build

So, with the Heavy 10 Lathe Headstock I purchased to put on my junior bed, after realizing I'd made a mistake and bought an under drive headstock that wouldn't work with the Junior I had, I knew I'd need to just build me another lathe.  This one would be tough because I had to buy a lot of pieces from eBay sellers and then assemble them into a hopefully-functional lathe.  It's a lot of money to throw at a hope, but I'd done it before with the car.

With the headstock, I had to then purchase :

  • Lathe bed
  • Lathe bed feet and adjusters
  • Spindle
  • Spindle Pulley
  • Spindle Bull Gear
  • Spindle drive gear
  • Spindle thrust bearing
  • Spindle thrust (outboard) bearing and lock nut
  • Back gears
  • Chuck (still not purchased)
  • 5C adapter for the 10L spindle
  • Face plate
  • Reverse tumbler assembly
  • Banjo
  • Idler gear
  • Gear box drive gear
  • Gear cover
  • Headstock hold down bolts
  • Quick Change Gear Box
  • Lead screw end holder
  • Lead Screw
  • Apron (and gears)
  • Saddle
  • Cross slide
  • Cross slide gib and screw
  • Cross slide hand wheel and screw
  • Compound base and hold down pins/set screws
  • Compound slide
  • Compound slide gib and screw
  • Tailstock base
  • Tailstock hold down clamp
  • Tailstock
  • Tailstock ram
  • Tailstock lead screw
  • Tailstock dial
  • Tailstock hand wheel
  • Tailstock ram spring
  • Tailstock lock
That's a pretty big list.  The "good" thing about this is I can clean up the parts and paint them before assembly.  I started with a 4-foot bed (a little more space over the Junior would be nice).  I didn't get that until late March - and immediately stripped down the bed and feet, scraped it clean (and into specifications) and masked it off to paint.  The bed had serial number "9272RKL14".  The serial card gives :

This is a lathe manufactured March 11, 1957 that had a regular clutch for the power cross feed.  It was shipped on April 12, 1957, but then shipped again on June 24th, 1959 to Grimes Mfg. Co. in Urbana, Ohio.  Grimes Manufacturing Company was started by Warren G Grimes (you know, the guy who invented the navigation lights we see on all the aircraft) in the 1930s, and later purchased by Honeywell.

The lathe itself is a heavy 10 Large (the "L" in "RKL") 10x4 "Toolroom" lathe with undercount drive.  It came with a quick change gear box on a 4' bed.  I got it out of California.  The model is CL8187AB (listed in the Vintage Machinery catalog).  Catalog number is CE2801D.  Gear box is DTG106R, and originally included collets, a collet rack, micrometer carriage stop, and a taper attachment (no threading dial).  For the sale, on June 10, 1959, it was changed to a toggle cam clutch before being delivered.

The lathe bed came with a saddle, and I picked up the compound base and slide from the same seller along with a lead screw for the bed.  He did not have the compound base screws - those were ordered on eBay - nor did he have the cross slide (also ordered off of eBay).

The tailstock was interesting in that someone sold it cheaply on eBay (if you call $60 cheap) because they couldn't get the ram screw, ram, and a drill chuck apart.  That was joyous.  I think the seller didn't realize it's a left-handed ram screw, once I got the screw out.  It had been modified for a hand-lever instead of a hand-wheel.

It was a short and quick stripping/cleaning/scraping of the tailstock.  I then masked off the tailstock and painted that up.  I needed a tailstock screw, so I used the current tailstock screw to measure the surfaces, and then ordered a chuck of left-handed, 1/2" ACME screw threaded rod.  I turned it between centers to get the threads off, then Loc-tite was added to the shaft and a piece of steel was put over the shaft and also pinned.  Unfortunately, I turned the features down BEFORE connecting it to the threaded rod - if you have to do it, turn the features down AFTER you anchor it to the threaded rod.  Luckily, I found out that the features I had turned were the wrong size, so I had to put it back on the lathe between centers and turn it down, so it all worked out.

I got the tailstock painted and re-assembled, and it works excellent!  It was time to work on the cross slide (I had ordered a cross slide from eBay).

I tracked down on eBay a compound slide gib, and from another seller I picked up the compound screw, dial, and hand wheel assembly.  I could not find a gib screw.  I do not have a rotary broach, so I needed to find a gib screw, and ended up taking a chance at a gib screw from an 11" lathe.  Note to self, the 11" lathes used a 5/16-18 gib screw, while the heavy 10's used a 1/4-20.  Still, I turned it down to get the screw head the right size, cut the threads off to get down to 1/4", then put a 20 pitch thread on it.  Works like a champ!

I cleaned the headstock, and masked it off.  I was able to get it painted, but have yet to install the headstock parts I'd ordered.

At this point, I have the carriage/saddle/cross slide/compound slide cleaned, painted, and assembled, the tailstock/parts cleaned, painted and installed, and the headstock ready for parts.

So, I started on the gear box, but I'm having a difficult time removing the tumbler shaft because someone peened over the taper pin holding it in place (probably why I got it for so cheap on eBay) :

I thought I'd have to drill the taper pin out - but I didn't.  A friendly suggestion over on the hobby machinist website ( - and that's not a paid endorsement, though I probably should be paying to endorse that group) pointed out a simple heat up on the cast iron and give it a good whack should loosen it up enough to release it.  I'm going to have to back this up now, as that's exactly what happened.  Don't head it up too much, though, as if it gets too warm too quickly, the cast iron could break.  Note, because I couldn't reach in with a punch, I used my broken ones as "spacers", and gave it a good whack with another punch against that one.

Once the tumbler shaft out, I was able to dismantle the gear box, paint it, and re-assemble it.  I was able to pick up reproduction badges from eBay (I believe the guy who makes them is trying to get out of that, and I don't blame him at all).  I stamped the model number into the new name plate, the bed length, and added it to the gear box.

At this point, I knew I needed to start making a stand so I could lug the thing around.  It's getting brutally heavy, and I don't want to assemble it only to try and lift it onto a stand.  So, a few trips to Home Depot to grab some (I know, some will call this insufficient material) 1.25" square tubing with a 1/16" wall thickness.  I measured a few things up on the lathe base, made some cuts, and started welding :

The most painful parts were the kerf cuts to get the bends, and getting the right angles (14 degrees to get the foot spread for stability) and also those angled cross braces on the back end.  Those all interconnected at the middle in a lot of weird angles (so that the horizontal cross braces in the middle could be level to turn into a shelf and also a motor mount).  I really need to get through this, as the lathe (over the oiled surfaces) is now starting to grow spider webs.

I was finally able to transfer it over to the new stand after a few weeks' delay because of a humanitarian trip.  I was able to bolt the bed to the stand, the headstock to the bed, and the gearbox (and lead screw) to the bed as well (though the gearbox went on first).  I had to piece the headstock together (back gears, spindle, etc is all installed), and I'm missing three screws - one that keeps the back gear lever from over reaching, and two that pin it down from underneath.

I started working on the collet closer I'd picked up :

I was missing the oiler on top, as well as the gear and the pin in the headstock.  I had to drill the headstock (good thing I trammed my drill press table to within 0.002" over 15" a while back), and then tap it.  I used stainless steel to make the closer mounting pin for the headstock.  Then, in my ah-ha moment, I center-drilled the upper screw (the one that should be an oiler).  I made a two-ended nut that fit onto that screw and then an oiler could screw into that.

I still needed to make the gear that engages everything, but I'm one step closer to the closer (I had to say it).  On the Heavy 10 lathe, the change gears are 16 DP, and the spindle gear has 40 teeth.  While though those two numbers are factually correct, this lead me to an improper assumption, and that is that the spindle gear of 40 teeth was also 16 pitch.  That is incorrect (like my password, so many times), but at the time, I botched that one (unknowingly) and ordered a 12" long, 3" round rod of ductile iron that I could cut my blanks out of.  I had to put it in the steady rest so I could bore it out to 1.750" to fit on the spindle.

Unfortunately, my steady rest on the South Bend Junior does not have a capacity of 3".  That required center drilling the end on the drill press :

Once I had a center drilled, I could put it in the chuck and the center support.  I didn't have the center tight enough and ended up with a lot of chatter, but kept turning it down until I found the maximum capacity of my steady rest, which comes in at a large 2.795" (it fits, but it is really not usable with this capacity - I'd suggest using the steady rest for work no larger than 2.750").

I was a bit surprised.  When I center drilled it, I had the center within 0.035".  Sure, that is a lot (it took a few passes before I had the stock round), but it is workable, considering I was on the drill press.  It was at this point, thinking I had to get from 2.79" down to 2.625" for the outside diameter of the teeth.  I thought I better double check it.  I grabbed the caliper for a close-enough check, and found the outside diameter of the existing gear was 2.310" .  Uh..... that definitely doesn't sound right.  I re-counted the teeth.  40 of them, just like I'd counted before.  I plugged the numbers in and the result hit me pretty soundly.  The tumbler and spindle outboard gear aren't 16DP at all - they are 18DP.  I don't have 18DP cutters.

I'll have to either buy cutters (or a single cutter with a question as to saving cash now or buying a full set), or I'll have to 3D print a gear and then cast it out of aluminum.  We'll see what I can come up with here.

I also needed a micrometer attachment to get closer to the original lathe.  I picked one up and installed it.

My to-do list is :
  • Convert the star knob on the apron to a cam (like the conversion noted on the card for the second sale) - this is a lower priority as the star knob keeps me functional
  • Make the spindle drive gear for the collet closer
  • Build the countershaft/motor mounts
  • Install pulleys and belts
  • Finish the bottom rack to lift it onto castors and move it around (
  • Wire it up
  • Assemble a taper attachment (I have parts, I just need the upper dove tail, gib, and screw)
I'll get this thing running soon enough.  I'd like to get my hands on a keyway cutter (they aren't "milling attachments" like everyone claims), as well as a turret tailstock - just so I could say this thing is fully loaded.  It's already a nice machine, but I wouldn't mind getting it decked out, then breaking into some simple videos on how things work and operate.