Brass nameplates.


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Hi,

I enjoy new challenges and trying out ideas I dream up so here's another unusual project which came off successfully.

I had cut 45 cast iron gears/wheels for an AVO coil winder I had fully restored from scrap and needed somewhere to store them safely; change wheels have a habit of getting lost as was the case here.

I designed and made the new hardwood box for the gears the box being comb jointed at its corners and having turned feet; the box was then stained and french polished. With so much work having been carried out now I had a box of change wheels without identification so as I like brass nameplates I thought I'd have a go at making a new nameplate.

I've never seen this done before so found it most interesting and if it didn't work I would only lose a bit of brass sheet but gain a lot of useful experience so whatever happened it would never be a complete failure.

I printed the details out then glued the letters as cutting templates onto sheet brass I had kicking around; A fretsaw fitted with piercing saw fine tooth blade was then used to cut each letter out after firstly drilling an entrance hole as needed for the blade to be inserted.

It proved to be a slow tedious job as I cut out each letter but I've got plenty of patience and determination; the letters each in turn were fettled using fine files. At this stage the letters looked quite poor but then each in turn was glued onto a blank backing piece of brass and the glue allowed to dry. Edge strips were also cut and after fettling were glued to form a neat border.

I didn't use undercoat but sprayed with a rattle can of auto black gloss lacquer completely covering the letters and backing plate; I had removed the paper templates so now there was just the brass letters with their backing all painted black. The paint was allowed to dry overnight then a sheet of 240 grit abrasive paper was placed on a machine cast iron bed and the plate gently rubbed upon the abrasive paper until all paint and blemishes were removed from the face of the letters; WOW it worked a treat then the new nameplate was blown over with clear acrylic lacquer.

Had undercoat been sprayed in first then after rubbing on the abrasive paper there would have been a fine line of undercoat around the letters edge which was to be avoided.

As with many such projects I attempt more thought goes into the project than actual work; coming up with ideas is the hardest part but now the idea is seen to work it looks so easy?

I sold the AVO Wave Winder a few years ago to a guy who would use it to wind vintage radio coils; I restored the winder just for the fun of it and for my efforts was honoured in 2009 with best restoration award; I much prefer to come up with my own ideas than to simply copy; I enjoy the challenges this creates.

Just another of my stories; hope its of interest.

Kind regards, Colin.


AVO.jpg

Homemade cast iron gears in home made hardwood box fully french polished.

AVO1.jpg

Very basic cutting method; please note most important item; the mug of hot tea.

AVO2.jpg

The back of the AVO badge as just cut with the saw looking a bit rough.

AVO3.jpg

Arranging spacing before cutting out the brass backing piece.

AVO4.jpg

Getting there with everything now glued into position still looking quite rough.

AVO5.jpg

Just an idea put into practice; it's nice when things turn out like this.

AVO6.jpg


The finish of what was a difficult and highly complicated project. I doubt the new change wheels will be separated and lost in future from the winder. Without doubt the most difficult part was in cutting the many change wheels but this is another story of its own because I dreamt up a new method of indexing which worked a treat and is accredited to me. I love this kind of work.
 
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Hi,

I enjoy new challenges and trying out ideas I dream up so here's another unusual project which came off successfully.

I had cut 45 cast iron gears/wheels for an AVO coil winder I had fully restored from scrap and needed somewhere to store them safely; change wheels have a habit of getting lost as was the case here.

I designed and made the new hardwood box for the gears the box being comb jointed at its corners and having turned feet; the box was then stained and french polished. With so much work having been carried out now I had a box of change wheels without identification so as I like brass nameplates I thought I'd have a go at making a new nameplate.

I've never seen this done before so found it most interesting and if it didn't work I would only lose a bit of brass sheet but gain a lot of useful experience so whatever happened it would never be a complete failure.

I printed the details out then glued the letters as cutting templates onto sheet brass I had kicking around; A fretsaw fitted with piercing saw fine tooth blade was then used to cut each letter out after firstly drilling an entrance hole as needed for the blade to be inserted.

It proved to be a slow tedious job as I cut out each letter but I've got plenty of patience and determination; the letters each in turn were fettled using fine files. At this stage the letters looked quite poor but then each in turn was glued onto a blank backing piece of brass and the glue allowed to dry. Edge strips were also cut and after fettling were glued to form a neat border.

I didn't use undercoat but sprayed with a rattle can of auto black gloss lacquer completely covering the letters and backing plate; I had removed the paper templates so now there was just the brass letters with their backing all painted black. The paint was allowed to dry overnight then a sheet of 240 grit abrasive paper was placed on a machine cast iron bed and the plate gently rubbed upon the abrasive paper until all paint and blemishes were removed from the face of the letters; WOW it worked a treat then the new nameplate was blown over with clear acrylic lacquer.

Had undercoat been sprayed in first then after rubbing on the abrasive paper there would have been a fine line of undercoat around the letters edge which was to be avoided.

As with many such projects I attempt more thought goes into the project than actual work; coming up with ideas is the hardest part but now the idea is seen to work it looks so easy?

I sold the AVO Wave Winder a few years ago to a guy who would use it to wind vintage radio coils; I restored the winder just for the fun of it and for my efforts was honoured in 2009 with best restoration award; I much prefer to come up with my own ideas than to simply copy; I enjoy the challenges this creates.

Just another of my stories; hope its of interest.

Kind regards, Colin.


View attachment 1713
Homemade cast iron gears in home made hardwood box fully french polished.

View attachment 1714
Very basic cutting method; please note most important item; the mug of hot tea.

View attachment 1715
The back of the AVO badge as just cut with the saw looking a bit rough.

View attachment 1716
Arranging spacing before cutting out the brass backing piece.

View attachment 1717
Getting there with everything now glued into position still looking quite rough.

View attachment 1718
Just an idea put into practice; it's nice when things turn out like this.

View attachment 1719

The finish of what was a difficult and highly complicated project. I doubt the new change wheels will be separated and lost in future from the winder. Without doubt the most difficult part was in cutting the many change wheels but this is another story of its own because I dreamt up a new method of indexing which worked a treat and is accredited to me. I love this kind of work.
I suspect there is little you cannot do in that magical workshop!
 

Ian

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I can only imagine how long that must have taken to cut out each letter - I wouldn't have guessed that this was done by hand if I looked at that last photo alone! Good job :D. I learn a lot from your posts, as you tackle things in ways I wouldn't have thought of.

Out of interest, in the first photo you have a bank of switches and test sockets. I'd be interested to know what they are for :).
 
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Hi,

Many thanks DM. :)

I was taught the old fashioned way on manual machines using steel ruler and micrometer etc so really understand what is going on as I use hand tools or machines; 55 years ago machinery wasn't covered in guards or fully papered with health and safety notices; I was taught if I poked a moving machine or cutter while these were in motion I would lose the finger.

I don't know how modern apprentices are now taught; to me it appears pressing buttons now rules with CNC and DRO etc. Electronics as we now take for granted were unknown when I was an apprentice and as a child up to about 5 years of age our cottage didn't even have electricity.

In industry now if a machine breaks down it's a case of getting the specialists in but in my day we repaired the machines whatever type or size the machine was. The top engineers who taught me not only repaired and maintained a vast array of machinery but could and did make parts from scratch when the spare part wasn't available these were genuine engineers not merely "fitters". I've often told this story but I'm aware new members are continually joining the forum.

I do embrace modern technology up to a point; I use a digital vernier calliper for speed but for accuracy to a tenth of a thou on the lathe I still revert back to my trusted manual micrometer. My Lorch metal lathe and Graduate woodturning lathes are powered through a VFD so although I'm now regarded as a dinosaur and not using CNC or DRO I understand what these are. I like turning handles and pulling levers having full manual control and for my needs I can possibly have the job done before a CNC machine is set up? Just to compare; a few years ago I saw on TV a contest between someone texting and someone on a Morse key; both had to send the same message and the Morse key won.

I'm not in any way knocking CNC because once fully set up CNC is brilliant for mass production and wil run all day and every day without tea breaks or strikes etc it being a wonderful invention.

I was also taught to use my head and BOTH my hands whilst doing a job; I can't understand how modern tradespeople ever do any useful work these days with mobile phone in one hand cigarette in the other hand; it must prove extremely difficult for them?

The reason I can do what I do is only because I was taught by top engineers not because I'm clever or smart in any way; I'm certainly not the sharpest tool in the kit.

Workshop_001_01.JPG

Special bearing caps impossible to buy so I made my own; these needed to be extremely accurates as to bore size. lots of aching bones though after all the hacksaw and file work.

Workshop_002_01.JPG

Wave winder knobs; the largest is original the smallest one I made.

Workshop_003_01.JPG

The broken Myford lathe headstock at the main bearing; the top cut away with hacksaw then hand filed to fine tolerances to accept new bearing cap.

Workshop_004.JPG

Not having new bearing caps won't stop me; it will slow me down; here are the Meehanite blanks having been faced and bored in the broken Myford lathe these caps were being made to repair this lathe.

Workshop_005.JPG


The Myford headstock fully repaired not only with new bearing caps but with very accurate home turned new Tufnol bearings. All because I was taught the old fashioned way to make things from scratch.

Thanks for asking Ian. When I retired I adopted vintage radio restoration as an hobby to occupy me during our nine month long winters; I'd never done this kind of work and never received this kind of electrical training so I was a novice but it proved to be a most interesting hobby spanning the following ten years as I gained experience and having related articles published; I'll have a go at anything which interests me and if it seems impossible then it adds to the interest; vintage radio restoration though is highly dangerous and can prove fatal so I'm not recommending members follow my lead; health and safety is paramount to me and if I'm switching something on for the first Time I'm out of harm's way.

Vintage radio_003.JPG

Here is a Philco 84B Bron kindly bought me for Christmas years ago it being the roughest vintage radio on eBay at the time; it's location was America so it had to be imported; it was complete when it arrived but it sure looked rough; above is a picture of the lengths I used to go to in order to fully restore one of these sets; the rougher the set the better but once fully restored I then lost interest in them and onto the next to restore.

Vintage radio_001.JPG

The same Philco after a touch of TLC resplendent in new French polish and fully working; I converted it to "Wattless dropper" allowing it to be powered from our 240V supply; it was originally 110V.

Vintage radio_002.JPG


Finally Ian the answer to your question; above is a better view of all the switches; this was then my radio workshop crammed with spares and lots of test kit; oscilloscopes; signal generators; component testers; AC and DC power supplies including home made special power supplies; coil winders; the 100W lamp bulb seen to the right of the bench was a lamp safety limiter; just behind this in the enclosure was also an isolation transformer; having removed the chassis as seen the chassis would be connected in series with the lamp and also hooked up to the Marconiphone loudspeaker in the wooden enclosure seen middle left; if the lamp glowed then the power would quickly be turned off before anything exploded there being a direct short; these old radio's are very dangerous indeed and to simply lift with both hands one of these chassis whilst the chassis was under power could have been a nasty death for me so please DO NOT FOLLOW WHAT I DO IT CAN BE HIGHLY DANGEROUS. Sorry about picture quality but most of my time in this workshop was in winter.

Some of these vintage radios could need five different voltages including both AC and DC hence the need of all the power supplies and many switches; the whole workshop was powered through a single 13A plug apart from the workshop lights; I could isolate the power by pulling the plug each time I left the workshop; no one was admitted unless I was present it was an highly dangerous place to be in.
 
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Thanks for the detailed reply Colin. What a cracking setup - I really like how you've integrated the test/power equipment like that :). I'm looking forward to retiring already, so that I have more time to tinker in the workshop (and write longer posts!) :D.
 
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Hi,

Thanks Ian. I stopped restoring vintage radios a few years ago and sold or dumped most of the items I'd gathered over the years; at one point I must have had over 70 vintage radio sets.

I can't work if I can't put my hands straight onto tools; I've been in workshops where it takes ten minutes just to find a small screwdriver; one guy's workshop was absolutely cluttered with just a narrow aisle on the floor to walk and the bench tops buried; his excuse was that his boss where he worked told him all the space had been paid for so had to be used?

It's amazing what can be learned from scratch as a total novice; when I first adopted restoring vintage radios I hadn't a clue what caps or resistors were and I'd never used a multimeter; however I learn quickly and the picture shows just how much kit I gathered. By the time I packed the hobby in I could wind bespoke wire wound potentiometers and design/wind my own transformers.

Kind regards, Colin.

PSU_001.JPG


Here's a very special power supply I designed and made for the guy who had deeply cluttered benches; I did the lot including making the wooden enclosure. It had multiple outputs in both AC and DC allowing any vintage radio to be powered up; I wound two transformers for these being high and low tension. Restoring vintage radios is a brilliant hobby but highly dangerous.
 
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I'm amazed at how you have room to store all of your projects :D. At some point, I'd also like to start winding transformers and working a little more with HV stuff, but that's something for another day.
 
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Hi,

Thanks Ian; lots of my projects I've given away or sold over the years to make space for more projects; obviously the big projects I've done around home are permanent.

If you ever get serious about winding your own transformers Ian you'll end up fascinated by them as I did;

https://golbornevintageradio.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?tid=2028

Please save this information Ian;

https://www.amazon.com/Wireless-Coils-Chokes-Transformers-Camm/dp/B0012K0DJA

I have a copy of this excellent book; mine is the eighth edition as above and although there are included only a few pages giving basic transformer information this information is written in a very easy to understand way it must be because after I read it over and over many times I rewound my first output transformer; having successfully done this I quickly progressed onto mains transformers and even designed and constructed a number of bespoke transformers for my home made power supplies. The high tension outputs on my power supplies were mostly used for the vintage battery type radios; the HT ranged from around 60VDC up to 120VDC; I've long forgotten all the specific details but I arranged the voltages in 10V increments through a multi way wafer switch using Zener diodes to accurately fix each voltage and these in turn were individually switched to a power transistor; not being electrically trained this work was done over many months whilst I researched each stage; all I had was the idea so I set about putting the idea into reality. For the low grid voltages I used variable regulators giving from 0V up to 32V.

https://www.electronics-tutorials.ws/blog/variable-voltage-power-supply.html

These regulators are excellent and proved perfect for my needs available in both +ve & -ve. Possibly transformer winding would be better as a separate thread because transformers are a huge industry?

I'm doing something rather more less complicated today; tidying the garden.

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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Ian

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Cheers Colin, I'll bookmark your post so I've got something to refer to. It's likely going to be a couple of years before I get round to this - I've got an "experiments / projects" folder where I keep ideas of things I want to build and test, many of which are just learning experiments so I can understand things more fully.
 
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Terrific stuff.
Colin
The last photo (power supply) looks like Dan Dare's cockpit.
Enjoy the organised clutter and don't be tempted to clear - it's the sign of a busy person.
I didn't know Avo did things like coil winders, but they probably made everything they needed.
Our old workshop had the very solid Model 8's multimeters as were standard.
I can't remember what the batteries were, but like everything else, probably a job to get.
The valves would probably be of interest to someone.
BBC still use valves in their time signal transmitter at Anthorn. Apparently they are enormous and nobody makes them or more like doesn't have the will. When the last one blows apparently BBC will pull the plug and scrap the transmitter.
It's still widely used for "Radio controlled" clocks or MSF on 66kHz and long wave Radio 4 still transmits the Economy 7 time-switch signal
Hopefully, the Germans will keep the DCF77 transmitter going , but it runs on a different frequeny to UK - typical EU.
 
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Hi.... Most impressive indeed. Your workshop looks like what I envisioned mine to look like back in 1968....all dials & knobs & various power supplies!.....Alas, being in the garden shed with no heating and unreliable power supply it never really took off.
I was just starting at Radio School, with a view to being a Radio Officer in the Merchant Navy which entailed lots of homework of the technical, not practical kind.... (there was a decent workshop at the school anyway.) so I had little time to improve the set-up.
But what I remember quite well was obtaining an 1155 receiver set: RAF issue & used in Lancasters, I believe.
Of course, sadly, I had no power supplies to power it. Also, at that stage, I thought the valve caps were at EHT, course, I was wrong....as that only applied to transmitter type valves!
They were, of course, the grid control connections at a very low voltage.... You live & learn!
So that particular project never got off the ground.
I just wish I still had the set though..... It was a gem.

And your mention of the TV show involving a "contest" between Morse & modern technology.... I remember that too.
Here's another memory for you on the subject:
We were rounding Brest heading for the English Channel when it was announced by Brest-le-Conquet coastguard via VHF radio that there was a "man-over-board" situation in the area: Despite many requests from various boats & ships, no-one could understand the operators English in giving the exact position in Latitude & Longitude. I called up the station via morse (500khz) and obtained the correct information in seconds and duly relayed it via VHF to all the other vessels. (Many were not large enough to be carrying a "Sparks" as such...just VHF Radio.)
Just one of many instances where language can still be a serious barrier to international understanding.
Sometimes, the old ways prove more efficient.

Anyway, keep up the good work.
Best Regards.
 
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Hi,

Sorry for the late reply and many thanks for your posts which are much appreciated. :)

I'm usually very tidy piglet but when I had my radio restoration workshop everything was crammed into a small space; after ten years of restorations though I lost interest and cleared the lot out allowing me to get on with wood/metal working. You mentioning the AVO 8 though brings back memories; I used to have a couple of these and always used them for testing potentiometers enjoying watching the needle sweep across the dial it being more interesting than watching lots of numbers dance around on my DMM. These AVO 8's had two batteries; the big one readily available but the smaller battery could at the time still be bought through Maplin's at around £15 each but Maplin's are no longer with us. By the way AVO is abbreviation of AMPS; VOLTS; OHMS.

Lots of smaller valves (tubes) are still available and I used to have a good stock; some I believe are still in production but the really big valves once they die they die for good; I've not browsed eBay for ages regarding buying valves but there used to be plenty for sale; Wilson Valves the other side of Huddersfield used to have a huge stock of both receiving and transmitting valves; I used to visit twice weekly; Roger looked after the receiving valves whilst the late Jim looked after transmitting valves. When Jim passed away the business was sold. Most things these days are solid state.

Yes AVO made a few models of coil winder and two can be seen below in the pictures.

I started from scratch repairing/restoring vintage radios PatagualFixer just as a long winter hobby and the workshop simply evolved over time whilst I gathered lots of test equipment and even in later years winding transformers/coils/chokes also I made a number of power supplies. The hobby was fascinating but I became so proficient I lost interest because there were few challenges left open to me. My workshop it being one of a two roomed rear extension to our bungalow used to freeze up in winter; when it had ice on the inside of the windows I moved into the kitchen to carry on working; not the ideal situation but between mealtimes I did lots of successful restorations.

Before meeting and marrying Bron I once spent a night at RAF Wittering where I sat a Morse test with the intention of joining the RAF; I was offered a choice of 11 different posts such as clerical and wireless operator; in the end I declined because all the posts were home based here in the UK and I wanted to get well away.

It was common for me and other radio restorers to place a bare finger on the valve cap whilst the radio was under power; this gave an indication whether that particular stage had a bit of life; of course I was well insulted whilst doing this; yes there were lots of different voltages on the valve pins hence the reason I built my own bespoke power supplies; I never did like playing with VHF sets due to all the valve screening and the small valves used making connections difficult.

You might be able to buy an 1155 set through eBay because lots of such kit is still available but possibly now at a cost. Out of interest my late father was on Lancaster Bomber final assembly at AVRO;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avro

Before retirement I worked at Brook Motors here in Huddersfield for 24 years Brooks being part of Hawker Siddeley although Brooks during my time there were subjected to lots of new owners.

Morse Code is brilliant and must rank as about the best most reliable method of communication ever invented; it certainly didn't incur huge mobile phone bills?

Kind regards, Colin.

1803


One of two German Aumann coil winders I used to own

1804


The coil winder above is a genuine AVO winder and I wound many coils on this it being very reliable and easy to use; I no longer own it but these used to go for around £150 each on eBay.

1805


Above is a very special AVO Wave WInder; these wound beautiful tuning coils and this is the one I bought as scrap and totally rebuilt it being honoured with top restoration award by the BVWS (British Vintage Wireless Society) in 2009. I restored it just for the fun of it but never used it in anger; when sold it went to a guy with lots of WW2 aircraft parts so it went to a good home.

1806


Front view.

1807


Stripped right down and here is the main frame fully restored.

1808


The same wave winder as bought with missing parts and seized absolutely solid with rust.

1809



The wave winder didn't have a single gear when I bought it so I made my own gears together with a fancy hardwood box. I no longer touch these old radios or equipment but I did enjoy ten years of the hobby.
 

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