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A Few Examples of
Restored and Rebuilt
I greatly enjoy improving new, and refurbishing old, workshop machine tools and making jigs and fixtures. However, nearly all this model engineering effort is towards the end of building 7mm scale (O Gauge) railway engineering models but I have also made model parts for others.
This power hacksaw was originally build many years ago from a set of castings by a former colleague's grandfather but it was in a rather a sad shape when I acquired it. Apart from the usual rebuilding and cleaning up, I added a carrying handle and I relocated the handle above the saw frame. Now, the reciprocating saw assembly no longer hits your fingers so that you let go of it and drop the saw onto the job!
The compound vice was purchased at a model engineering exhibition and improved by cleaning up some of the Far East machining, engraving graduations on the lower hand wheel scale and making sets of replacement smooth and soft jaws.
I acquired the pillar drill second hand from a local model engineer who was rationalising his collection of tools and 'winding down' a bit; it had stood outside, although under a sheet, for sometime and looked a bit unloved. The main improvement was to make an arrangement to take up the backlash in the quill but I also needed to find a motor - 1/3 HP Hoover, which is more than adequate for my modest demands on it.
The high speed pillar drill was also purchased at a model engineering exhibition and is appreciably improved by cleaning up some of the Far East machining, making the motor mount more rigid and adjustable for squareness, and bushing the main casting where it slides on the column. With a no-load speed of 10,000rpm, this machine is ideal for drilling small holes, less than 0.03" (0.75mm) say, where a delicate feel is needed. It does perform well with larger drills, although I do reduce the speed with an electronic de-speeder. On small drills, I can thoroughly recommend Drill Service of Horley Surrey who provide an excellent mail order service with no postal charges for online orders to destinations in the UK.
I know the Unimat is the machine that model engineers love to hate but I have had this one for nearly 30 years; it has given me great pleasure, it is well up to most jobs that crop up in 7mm scale model engineering and I can keep it and use in my workshop in the house. If I have need for something bigger, such as making jigs and fixtures, I use my Myford ML7.
I acquired a second Unimat through a 7mm modelling friend and have set it up as a miller. The main improvement was to replace the plastic pulley on the quill with a steel pulley-cum-flywheel (as shewn on the right, above) to reduce the chatter due to windup in the belts during interrupted cuts. As on the lathe, I also replaced the plain socket headed screws with neater clamping handles.
As a useful supplement to the dividing attachment (shewn in use with the miller in the picture above), I bought a rotary table with an adaptor to take Unimat chucks. It was perfectly functional but I decided to address the practical drawback of there being no provision to locate the adaptor to run true with the table. There are captioned pictures on a separate page of how I improved this rotary table for use with a Unimat.
This little watchmaker’s lathe was built by hand from scratch by my late father when he was still at school. I have written up how I restored this lathe in Watchmaker's Lathe.
Attachment of the inner removable jaws from the rear of the cast jaws (as opposed to a screw through the inner jaws) was the only significant modification to this small bench vice but I also made additional smooth and soft face jaws.
David L O Smith - Home
7mm scale railway engineering models