Welcome to
Steve's Britannia
  My Workshop  
My workshop is one half of a double garage that I built during 2012. The following year, I started to internally partition the garage to give me a dedicated workshop space and during April 2015 completed the partitioning of the space, followed by putting up a ceiling. This meant that I could insulate above my workshop and keep it a bit warmer in the winter months. I was finding in earlier years that everything was getting covered with a fine patina of rust by the spring and I would then have to spend a lot of valuable time just de-rusting everything. Prior to putting in the ceiling, heating would have been impracticable as it would just rise to the apex of the garage, the only beneficiaries being the pigeons who perch on the ridge tiles.
The workshop is built with a brick outer skin lined internally with Celcon-style blocks and has a concrete floor which measures 5.5 metres by 2.95 metres. The garage door is just a dummy and is faced with 60mm dense polyurethane foam (Celotex / Kingspan etc) while the main entrance door and window are modern double-glazed units. Power comes up via a 6mm steel wire armoured cable and the garage has it's own earth rod but there are no other services connected. Lighting for the area is by four flourescent tubes independantly switched left-side and right-side and there are ten double sockets around the workshop as well as a separate circuit for the lathe.
The workbenches are all homemade from 60mm x 35mm scant timber with a mishmash of second-hand kitchen worktops set at my favoured working height of 900mm (3 ft). All the small machines are screwed or bolted directly to the worktop except for the lathe which is on a sturdy angle-iron frame.
12/12/15 - I have now rearranged the window end of the workshop and built a new bench to accomodate the new mill. I have made this bench 100mm lower than the other benches so that working the mill is more comfortable.
My Machinery    
My lathe is a Keighly Lifts lathe which is a wartime clone of the Denham Junior and has the war department crows foot embossed on the end of the bedway. There are six speeds available and, because I have altered the driving pulley, the range is approx. 60rpm to 1200rpm. It can swing 7.1/2 " dia over the saddle, 11.1/2" dia over the bedway and an impressive 17.1/2" in the gap if the gap-piece is removed. Distance between centres is 28" and the tailstock barrel has 3" of movement. It has feed to both axis, although not simultaneously, and also screwcutting selected by change-wheels at the end and a 3-speed gearbox selector at the front. The spindle is threaded 1.3/4" x 6 tpi with a 1.750" register and has 13/16" clearance through and a 3MT taper to the nose. The spindle is clutch-driven and, for obvious reasons, is single direction only.
My milling machine is an early Cowells, built in Norwich, and is smaller than the current version which has an extra 50mm under the head and longer table. The machine is calibrated in metric and the largest collet available is 10mm so not really ideal for a 5"gauge locomotive but I inherited it from my father and have used it extensively since. When funds allow, I intend to purchase a new mill and will choose one with a 600mm to 700mm long table.
I have a couple of drilling machines, neither of which are much good, and a combination small belt linisher and grinder. More recently, I purchased a small shotblast cabinet to help with cleaning up materials and have been well pleased with it. The photo to the right shows one of Britannias coupled wheels inside the cabinet, so plenty of room.
In December 2015 I purchased a new milling machine to give me enhanced facilities. I have a number of items that I wish to make but would struggle with my little Cowells mill, However, I'm not going to part with the Cowells any time soon as it is a sturdy little machine and extremely accurate. The new mill is equivalent to a Warco WM16 but with an R8 spindle instead of 2MT. The main advantage of this is that milling cutters can be held in collets extremely close to the spindle nose with additional height now available. The only disadvantage is that 2MT tooling has to be held in an adapter with a subsequent decrease in height available but, for me, this is no problem.
Although I've used the hydraulic press at my local garage, I fancied making my own so that I don't have to keep driving up to Cowes each time I need a bearing pressing in or out, or loco wheels pressed onto axles. What spurred me on was the need to replace the front wheel bearings on my van and being quoted about 180 each to do them. The bearings are 18.50 including VAT at my local motor spares shop so well worth making the effort to build the press. Getting the bearings out and back in will need some serious effort. A couple of years back, I scrounged a couple of long lengths of 4" x 2" box section with 5/32" wall and this came in very useful for this project. It has some real strength and well able to handle any pressure I'm likely to throw at it. The side legs came from an old bed frame that has been stored at the back of the garage, and I dug out my old 5-ton bottle jack from the murky depths. Although five tons is it's safe working load, in this application it will go to fifteeen tons easily. The only parts I've had to buy were some M10 high tensile bolts and four heavy-duty springs from the local hardware store, total outlay about 12.00. This took me a good part of the weekend to build (amongst garden duties and other distractions) but I'm well pleased with the result.