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My 1910 Mitchell "parts car" project


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Those fittings look a whole lot different now joe. I know you said you hate polishing so it must have felt pretty good when you opened the box! It’s great having him right next door for sure!

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This morning I got to discover if my fixture for turning the copper gaskets really worked. I did have my reservations... but I started by taking light cuts...

 

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And eventually it started to be round.

 

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Then it was just a matter of taking it to the finished size. This worked better than I'd anticipated and I think the aluminum supports on each end were a big help in keeping the thin sheet copper from bending.

 

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They came out very uniform. They still have to be annealed as this was 1/4 hard copper strip.

 

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I then tried it again with the rubber I bought. This was not as successful because the rubber expands too much when compressed. I have a possible solution to this that I'll try shortly but I think that, in a pinch, these would also work.

 

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I then moved on to finishing the other punch - the one I had to make a bushing for because the hole was too large. The bushings were pressed in to be flush on the top and bottom of the punch and then the inside surface of both pieces was surface ground.

 

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I then reassembled the punch and reamed the hole to 13/16.

 

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Then cut some 2" squares of copper and tried it out. It worked just as well as the 15/16 punch. This takes a little time because you can only do done at the time and you have to take the punch apart each time to insert a new piece but in an industrial setting this would be done with very elaborate machines...I'm just glad to be able to do it.

 

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Today I used the repaired 13/16 punch to make up some copper and rubber blanks...

 

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I also had to make the reinforcing rings...

 

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Then assembled the fixture with a rubber gasket between each copper one.

 

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And turned them down. The glare on the aluminum makes it difficult to see the alternationg black and copper pieces.

 

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But they turned down nicely to 1/4"

 

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This worked better...the gaskets are uniform. You can see one of them on the banjo fitting I replaced on the sump. The surface area of these gaskets is probably 3 times the surface area of the fiber rings I used previously. I would prefer to use the copper ones because I think that is more authentic but crush washers are "one use only" and I know this will be apart and reassembled many times so I'm hoping the rubber ones will be useful...I may not put the copper ones in until the final assembly but, of course, i'll have to test them first.

 

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I may also have to get a bit more copper and make more of the larger version...

 

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Wow.... what an ingenious solution!   I've gotten used to your nifty solutions so I guess I shouldn't be a surprised but I am.  Precision and simplicity without exotic tools.  I've struggled with similar needs for gaskets and had to rely on what I could get from McMaster-Carr and they're never quite right.  Can't wait for the next need for a gasket to come up!!

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The gasket solution is exactly what we came up with twenty five years ago by experimenting..........making fiber washers for Stromberg carburetors. We actually use the same method for production.........all hand work. We probably make a run of everything we need every three or four years. It’s usually two days full time turning what we need. The gaskets are used by different people to make up kits. It was the only way we could get the correct size parts without it being a half assed deal. Since there are not that many cars that use them, it isn’t much of a burden to do it this way. The cork gaskets are cut by hand using tooling we made twenty five years ago.......you can make almost anything you need.........it’s only time, supplies, and money. Joe, as usual, a fantastic job. I was thinking , maybe we should build a giant condo /retirement home and put all of us pre war car guys in it..........with a huge shop for everyone to use!  Not a bad way to spend your golden years.......

 

 

PS- The photo was taken more than 25 years ago with my first digital camera........that cost 1800 dollars, and only held15 photos in the memory.......no cards back then to increase capacity. A fixed lens camera.......how times have changed!

 

 

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Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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6 hours ago, edinmass said:

 I was thinking , maybe we should build a giant condo /retirement home and put all of us pre war car guys in it..........with a huge shop for everyone to use!  Not a bad way to spend your golden years.......

 

 

I think I'm already into my "golden years" and busier than I've ever been. Aside from the car stuff (which I do during the day) there is more demand for my other job - editing and designing books on antique arms - than there ever has been.

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7 hours ago, edinmass said:

"The gasket solution is exactly what we came up with twenty five years ago by experimenting..........making fiber washers for Stromberg carburetors. We actually use the same method for production.........all hand work. 

PS- The photo was .......how times have changed!"

 

Hello Ed,

 

That's neat! Like that $1,800.00 digital camera, technology has sure changed for gasket making as well: Meet my new best friend - Sure beats the old ball peen hammer!

I have not tried it on fiber washer material yet. With school letting out early for the pandemic we didn't have much of a chance to really put it to the test.

 

Below are some gaskets I cut for the Wisconsin T-head (top cover, Upper water manifold gaskets and lifter guide gaskets.

 

Keep in mind that we are always looking for cool live work projects for my students.

 

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Edited by Terry Harper (see edit history)
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Ed...where do you get the fiber gasket material? I haven't been able to find it is anything like the small amount I could use.

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Hmm...I looked there. Maybe I'm so recognizing it. I'll look again. I think I order from the about once a week.

I got to thinking about the little caps I made for the shackle bolts. I really don't want to start from scratch again so I decided to try turning them down. fortunately, I left the wall thickness thicker than I'd originally intended so I may have enough material to turn the knurl off and re-knurl them. Besides, if I save these I won't have a bag of brass caps that I didn't use but are "too good to throw away" hanging around the shop for the next 20 years.

 

I put one in the lathe...

 

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Unfortunately, the top popped off but I was able to resolder it and keep going. While I was doing this I also cut some ground stock to use for the bolts. There are actually 3 different lengths - The front bolts are about 1/4" longer than those in the rear because the rear springs are slightly wider. I also have this to deal with...this is the mounting for the front end of the rear spring. You can see they just used a big carriage bolt. It's shorter than the shackle bolts and no provision was made for lubrication. I'll have to cut this out because the head of the carriage bolt just turns when I try to  take the nut off.  I'll put another bolt with a grease fitting here.

 

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The forged mounts will have to come off the chassis to be bored and bushed and I'm not convinced they actually line up perfectly across the chassis. All that will have to be delt with eventually because it is important that the brake shafts be in perfect alignment. The caps are fussy to do so I didn't quite finish...

 

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I finished turning the caps...

 

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And knurled them. I was aiming to put the knurl in the middle of the cap but got it slightly off. It's a little low but they are all the same and that isn't a detail I'm prepared to loose sleep over.

 

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These caps have proved fussier than I'd anticipated but I think I've learned a few things in doing them. I had to re-solder about half of the tops as they popped off when I was turning them. That never happened with the repaired caps so I am thinking that the aluminum fixture I originally used cools off to quickly. When I did this before I used a steel fixture to hold them and I suspect that by retaining the heat longer, the joint was stronger. I didn't use the aluminum fixture for the repairs.

 

While I was waiting for the caps to cool I started on the actual bolts. These are 1/2" ground rod so the surface is accurate to less than .0005. Off hand, I don't remember what the material is but it is about 1/3 tougher than the stressproof I'd used previously. I don't know how it will thread but I'll find out shortly.

 

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Posted (edited)

I need to face off one end of the bolts and came up with this idea to position it in the collet. It's just a piece of 1" aluminum with a 1/2" hole in the center but by using it as a guide to set the piece in place I was able to do this without having to measure each piece or even adjust the lathe...once set up, all the pieces were the same.

 

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I did the same thing to bevel the front edge.

 

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And to cut the relief for the threads.

 

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I don't know how much time it saved but the job went smoothly and the parts are as close to identical as anything I've ever made.

 

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To thread these I decided to single-point it about 2/3 of the way and finish with a die. The depth of thread is .032 so I went to .020. As I guessed, this steel doesn't single-point nicely. I suspect it is close to the grade 5 bolts I threaded a few weeks ago. Even with a fine thread, it is very likely the piece would slip in the collet if I tried to use the die to thread in one pass. This worked very well. The threads, when cut with a die, are just about perfect.

 

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As I finished threading each one, I screwed the head on using a little Loctite. That is probably overkill but why not?

 

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This was going so well I decided not to push the envelope and quit before I made my usual "late in the day" mistake.

 

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Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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The ends all threaded and the heads of the bolts screwed on...

 

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The about 3/4 of the OD turned round to 13/16.

 

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Next I started cutting the relief for the end of the thread.

 

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So far, this has gone well. You can see why making them in two pieces gives me a near perfect "bolt". If I had a cylindrical grinder I could have made them in one piece but that's a machine I can't really justify for the little I'd use it, especially when I can get pre-ground stock.

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I finished cutting the reliefs...

 

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Then shortened the bolt heads about 1/8" and beveled the front edges.

 

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Leaving them ready to thread.

 

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I fitted a cap to the first one. By using a dial indicator to measure the depth of cut, I could go on and do the others without having to stop and measure each time.

 

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I had to take a long phone call so didn't' quite finish...

 

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As I finish each one, I take a cap at random out of the box to make sure it screws on. So far, they all have.

 

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Breaking complex parts down into 2 or more pieces is a game changer for the home machinist.  I've been rethinking a few of the pieces for the Metz and I can see much easier ways of getting them done that I'll be able to handle rather than farming them out.

Thanks for sharing your secrets!

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Posted (edited)

Yes. it certainly is. We have to keep in mind that many of the complex parts we see in a completed form were made in more than one piece as a prototype. They are made in one piece because that is more efficient for mass production...it isn't always the best way. It's the cheapest way. But we're not making this stuff to sell - or if we are on a very small scale - so doing it the "hard" way is actually much simpler.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

This is an extreme example, the valve cages I made years ago. This is one of the jobs I think I may do over some time in the future because I'm so much better at this now than I was when I did them but I won't even consider it until the car is up and running. You can see the original casting (I only had one of them). Reproducing that would have entailed making a pattern and some rather elaborate fixtures to machine it. Also, the Mitchell people didn't use any kind of valve guide bushing so when they wore out, you were pretty much stuck with it. These are exhaust valves but they did the same thing with the intakes...just bored and reamed a hole in the block. Fortunately, the original valves had 1/2" stems so I was able to press bushings into the blocks for the intakes. For the cages, I made screw in valve guides with bushings that can be renewed. I also used bronze valve guide bushings although I now think fine grain cast iron would have been better.

 

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On the right you can also see an original valve with the "fix" someone did a long time ago...

The little extra spring and retainer you see at the lower right is to hold a thick, oil soaked felt washer, inside the actual valve spring, to act as a valve seal. I've done the same thing for the intake valves. The new valves have a stem diameter of 5/16. The top of the guide and the "barrel" are made of cast iron, necessary in this case because of the heat they will be exposed to. I also made the exhaust holes larger and uniform as I think that may improve the breathing.

 

The Mitchell engine is EOI (Exhsust over Intake) rather than the much more common IOE design. My Model R REO, which was a slightly smaller and less expensive car, had screw in intake guides. I broke one one when getting the car ready for a show the next day and made a new one that evening. It was the first time I'd ever done single-point threading.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Luv2Wrench said:

Breaking complex parts down into 2 or more pieces is a game changer for the home machinist.  I've been rethinking a few of the pieces for the Metz and I can see much easier ways of getting them done that I'll be able to handle rather than farming them out.

Thanks for sharing your secrets!

 

I'm anxiously awaiting your return to the Metz project. I suspect that the shop you've put together will make that job far easier. Short of the main castings, you could probably build a Metz from scratch now! There aren't many of us that go to such lengths but the main reason behind my starting this thread was to show that, with patience and a little ingenuity, almost anything is doable.

 

I should add that brass-era cars are the easiest because so many of the parts were designed to be made on the same antique machines we can now find for near scrap value. I don't envy Ed's wrestling with disintegrating pot metal castings and the like. That is an entirely different and, to my mind, more difficult proposition.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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On 8/7/2020 at 2:26 PM, JV Puleo said:

I finished cutting the reliefs...

 

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Then shortened the bolt heads about 1/8" and beveled the front edges.

 

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Leaving them ready to thread.

 

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I fitted a cap to the first one. By using a dial indicator to measure the depth of cut, I could go on and do the others without having to stop and measure each time.

 

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I had to take a long phone call so didn't' quite finish...

 

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As I finish each one, I take a cap at random out of the box to make sure it screws on. So far, they all have.

 

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Looks great ! I am going to have to do something similar on the Staver. The rear shackles are very poorly  engineered. Just plain links with punched round holes on one side and square holes on the other.

simple carriage bolts sandwiching a heavyish gauge tubular distance piece.  No provision for lubrication.  That technique was probably OK on buggy's ; Stavers main product , but leaves a lot to be desired  

on an automobile spring.

I would post a picture but they are stored away somewhere in my basement and are not easily accessible.  Let's just say they are flimsy at best. Most of the other engineering on my chassis is good, I wonder

why Staver cut this corner ? Either that or perhaps a better quality original fitment wore out and a poor quality substitute was fitted by a repair man using what he had at hand.

 

Greg

 

Greg

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2 hours ago, 1912Staver said:

 

Most of the other engineering on my chassis is good, I wonder why Staver cut this corner ? Either that or perhaps a better quality original fitment wore out and a poor quality substitute was fitted by a repair man using what he had at hand.

 

 

I've noticed the same thing on the Mitchell as well as several other brass-era cars I've worked on. I suspect that only the very best makers, Pierce, Peerless, Packard, Lozier, Locomobile, etc. really thought about the engineering on EVERY part. They occasionally got it wrong but, generally, the best way to do things was known. There are no bushings in the Mitchell spring eyes...or in the mounts on the chassis or the shackles. Aside from the original bolt I showed, and that my new ones are based on, they used ordinary carriage bolts, a few of which were drilled and had little spring-loaded "holes" that would allow nominal oiling. I have no idea which is original - maybe they both are. In any case, the spring perches on the chassis are very badly worn, the shackles less so but in no case do I see what I'd think of as really good workmanship. This is in contrast to the axles, which look to be very good and show very little wear. The Mitchell chassis used Babbitt metal for bushings everywhere, including places where it was commonly known at the time that it was inappropriate. I can only conclude that it had a life expectancy of four or five years – beyond that, they weren't concerned.

 

I have 3/4 elliptics but I have the same long rods to position the rear axle, one of which is bent. Those will require attention at some point and I will probably make them over with the facility for adjustment.

 

Note: It was Greg that put me on to the PM Heldt book which has been a godsend on this job. Thanks!

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My rods are adjustable. Where they go into the big cast clevis there is a threaded connection { forward end }.

I am amazed by the detail Heldt put into his books. I don't think any automotive text book since has been as informative.  Some of the British engineering books are close but still fall short. 

Have you ever come across the British periodical  "Automobile Engineer " ? I believe it started in about 1910 . Similar quality to Heldt. And a huge volume of material covered  over the decades.  I only have a few  x - library bound volumes but very interesting. 

You are reasonably close to some serious libraries , perhaps they have a set or microfilms.  But be prepared to spend a lot of time reading.

 

Greg

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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No..I haven't seen that one but I'll look for it now.

Since I don't watch television I have lots of time for reading. I think I own between 2 and 3 thousand books...most of which I've read.

I ran into a problem with the plumbing job I'm doing at home so I decided to come into the shop.

 

The threading is now done...

 

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Then I set up my device for drilling (or boring) a hole to a specific depth on the lathe and put a 5/8 ball-end end mill in the quill.

 

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This was to put a round-bottom hole in the heads of the bolts. It worked quite well although you can't get a really perfect diameter with an end mill in the lathe. I use ER collets to hold the end mill which works a lot better than a drill chuck but still isn't perfect. For a job like this, where the exact diameter of the hole isn't critical, it works just fine.

 

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The bolts still have to be trimmed to the exact proper length and drilled for the grease hole. I'm also going to put little zerk fittings in there - I know they weren't available in 1910 but this is a case where I'd like to be sure I was forcing the grease in.

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Greg, is that "The Proceedings of the Institution of Automobile Engineers". I've found several bound early years - the shipping from the UK is a killer but I may go for them in any case.

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Hi Joe, I think those would be roughly the equivalent to the proceedings of the SAE.  Probably a bit dry.  Automobile Engineer is a Automotive Engineering  trade periodical. Technical but also quite readable. The only drawback is that all the articles are about British vehicles. Interesting for sure but nothing we ever see

here in North America. Probably most are very rare even in the U.K. after two World Wars. 

 I am sure there was a North American equivalent publication. Possibly like Horseless Age except with more of a focus on true Automotive Engineering. 

 

Greg

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I think it mostly has to do with the weight. Since they discontinued surface mail it's more and more difficult to buy books from overseas. I will ask the bookseller though...if I buy several I may be able to save a little. What I found was the Proceedings of the Institute of Automobile Engineers. As Greg says, it's probably really dry stuff but I like to feel I've left no stone unturned so I may go for them in any case. Ultimately, if I find only one or two useful bits it will probably be worth it. We should remember that serious engineers read all the material available at the time so even if they pertain to British rather than American cars there may be some useful stuff. The vaue of this early engineering stuff is that it usually tells us how things were made - which is something that is almost never included in the regular "mechanics" books.

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Posted (edited)

This is slightly off topic but may be of interest. If anyone reading this thread in the New England area is thinking about undertaking this sort of work I have a friend who is disposing of some machines. These are in a shop building he owns. The gentleman who operated the shop was a long time friend of his but died unexpectedly. My friend is stuck trying to dispose of the tools so he can rent the building. There is a Reed-Prentice Lathe and a Bridgeport mill. Reed-Prentice was a good machine, much favored by the Navy. I know very little about Bridgeports but this one is not the early "round ram" type. I believe it takes R8 collets which are common as dirt and cheap. The machines are in Upton, Mass and the building does have a loading door. If anyone is interested, send me a PM and I can put you in touch with the owner. His son lives next door so even if he's not available, viewing them is possible. They haven't been advertised anywhere as yet. Although I haven't done it, I believe both could be powered up and they must have single phase motors because the building does not have 3-phase service, although there may be a phase converter...I didn't look but I am certain all the tooling for each machine will go with it. I don't have prices but I know the owner to be very reasonable and realistic. Chances are, any reasonable offer would be readily accepted...

 

Ten or fifteen years ago I'd have been all over this lathe but I have no need, or room for another.

 

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Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, JV Puleo said:

I think it mostly has to do with the weight. Since they discontinued surface mail it's more and more difficult to buy books from overseas. I will ask the bookseller though...if I buy several I may be able to save a little. What I found was the Proceedings of the Institute of Automobile Engineers. As Greg says, it's probably really dry stuff but I like to feel I've left no stone unturned so I may go for them in any case. Ultimately, if I find only one or two useful bits it will probably be worth it. We should remember that serious engineers read all the material available at the time so even if they pertain to British rather than American cars there may be some useful stuff. The vaue of this early engineering stuff is that it usually tells us how things were made - which is something that is almost never included in the regular "mechanics" books.

 

 

The 3 or 4 early { teen's } bound volumes all came from U.S. University library's . On ebay US about 10 or 12 years ago. I think at that time there was a big push to transfer " ancient "

material like this to microfilm and save on storage space. So yes, US engineering programs were definitely keeping up with what was news in England and probably other countrys as well.

Those machine tools look  like a brass car guys dream.  Way too far away for me . Hope they find a good home !

Greg

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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Yes, they are both on the big size for what most "home shop" machinists are looking for but not too big for a garage. To my mind, tiny "bench top" machines are of marginal use unless all you ever work on is very small parts. The lathe, despite it's age (it could be pre-WWI but I suspect about 1918–1925) is infinitely more capable than any of the mid-size Chinese imports although using it will engender a learning curve. You can't use carbide tooling very well on these older machines because the speeds are too low but I've never had a problem with high speed steel and it's much cheaper...it's a situation where none of this stuff is viable from a commercial point of view but that has only made it readily accessible to hobbyists.

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In between re-plumbing my house, I've been pressing on with the shackle bolts.

I now had to trim them to the exact length. I cannon, however use the 5C collets with the stop at the bottom because the 7/8 hex on the bolts will not fit inside the 5C. It will fit inside the old collets that came with the lathe but those have no provision for a stop. In order to put each bolt in the collet so it was protruding exactly the same amount I made a sleeve to go over it, inside the collet.

 

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I trimmed one to exactly the length I wanted and set up stops on the late bed. In this way I was able to do the others so that they all came out identical...the bolts for the front springs are 1/4" shorter than those for the rear springs because the rear springs are that much wider.

 

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I used the same technique to set the grooving tool to cut the relief for the threads.

 

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And repeated the process for the threading. This is the first one. I only finished 3 before I decided to call it a day.

 

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Posted (edited)

I finished the threading...not a difficult job but still it takes time when you have 13 of them to do...the last two can't be done until I've removed the mounting from the frame. I'm not confident I'd measure it perfectly and there is very little room to work with on that one.

 

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Next I have to drill them. I started by putting a center hole in each...

 

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And then set up the lathe to drill. The hole in the center is 1/8". This is also a tedious job because the holes are about 2-1/2" deep and the last thing you want is to break a drill off . That would effectively ruin the piece as there is no good way to get a broken drill out. The answer is to be very careful and take you time...which will be a lot less than if you destroy one and have to make it over.

 

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Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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In between replacing all the plumbing in my house I have managed to get a little done on the Mitchell project. I finished drilling the center holes in the bolts. This proved to be a long process because I was going very slowly making sure not to break a drill. To finish them I needed a longer than normal drill. These are tricky to use because in a small size like this (1/8") they want to flex. I drilled the holes most of the way with a conventional drill, then went back and did them again with the long drill. The hole that was there served to support the long drill so even though it was slow, it did get done without mishaps.

 

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In order to get the holes to a uniform depth, I used my "tail-stock depth fixture". I made this a long time ago because there is no scale on the quill of the lathe. If you want to drill a hole to a specific depth you have to guess. This isn't accurate to more than a few thousandths but it has proved a real godsend.

 

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Then the bottom of the cavity in the bolts was flattened using a center-cutting end mill held in an ER collet.

 

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And a #3 hole drilled 3/8" deep...this was the test.

 

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I threaded the hole and screwed in a small Zerk fitting. I know this isn't entirely kosher but it's important to get grease into the spring eyes and I'm making all these pieces to such a close tolerance that I like the idea of having a pressurized grease gun to push it in. Also, since I soldered the tops on the caps I'm not sure how much pressure they can take but used simply as dust covers they won't be a problem. And, greasing the springs will be easier and cleaner.

 

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Since I now know it works, I'll go ahead and do the remainder of the bolts.

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I often replace or upgrade shackle pins to pressure grease fittings, because it’s very difficult to get them properly lubricated. On the JN in March I discovered the Bejur system wasn’t working to the shackles......every where else it was fine. I removed the shackles......no small feat, cleaned out the oil lines, then while leaving the automatic system in place, added Zerk fittings to push grease in under pressure. It was a lot of work, two of us for three weeks. Now the car is tight and lubricated correctly......you can feel it in the steering. Car handles much better, including the ride quality.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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That is good to know. I had presumed that proper lubrication of the shackles was important to the ride and the handling but I've never undertaken this sort of job with a car I drove afterward. I don't think I've even taken out an original bolt that didn't have the hole in the center plugged with hardened grease.

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Today I drilled and tapped the holes for the Zerk fittings.

 

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Then set the drill press up to drill the little holes the grease comes out of. I did this with a small center drill which will give me a tapered hole and made certain to go through only one side of the bolt.

 

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With all the holes drilled. I blew them out to get rid of any small chips and screwed in the grease fittings.

 

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All that remains to be done is to drill the holes for the split pins. I'll make a fixture for that. I have them for 3/8" and 7/16" but I've never made one in 1/2".

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Posted (edited)

To drill the holes for the cotter pins I squared off a block of steel. I think it's 3/4" x 1-3/8" but the size is not terrible important.

 

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Then into the drill press to put a hole through it the long way.

 

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Reamed to 1/2". It's purposely off center top to bottom to give the set screw that will secure the bolt a few more threads.

 

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Without moving the vice, I turned it down and put a center hole in for the pin hole, them moved it down to drill a tap for a 1/4-20 set screw. By keeping the same orientation on the piece these holes will come out perfectly centered on the long hole without having to measure anything.

 

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I then moved ot over to my small drill press and drilled the pin hole through the block. The hole size is about .100 for a 3/32 cotter pin.

 

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Then it's just a matter of putting each bolt in the fixture, locking it with the set screw and drilling the hole.

 

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All done, or at least as done as I can now. The last two bolts at the front of the line are not threaded yet. Those go through brackets that are riveted to the chassis with bolts in them that will have to be cut off. The brackets have to come off to be bushed so there is nothing to be gained by not waiting until I have the bracket in hand to measure before trimming and threading the bolts They are, otherwise, finished.

 

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I packed everything away on a shelf in a box labeled "shackle bolts"...

Now I can go back to the engine.

Edited by JV Puleo
missing word (see edit history)
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