Welded stool

My first welding project. 1″ steel box section.


Welded and painted stool with waxed.pine top seat

First I tried stick welding… Not easy. I eventually worked out that the rods I have are too thick, and blow holes in the 2.5mm walls of the steel tubes too easily.

I got better at grinding bad welds down…

Then I had a go at MIG welding with argon & CO2 gas…

That was much easier to get going once i had figured out how to connect some gas…

Essential equipment as I wait for the paint to dry…..

I sealed the knots with knotting solution and waxed a few coats…

Done. Time for a sit down…

Overall I’m pretty pleased with the result. It seems solid enough.

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Sieg SX3 Milling machine upgrade : Installing a DRO

Having been learning, practicing, and getting more comfortable with machining with my Sieg SX3 mill for a while, I wanted to see if I could be more accurate still.
So far I’ve managed with digital callipers, constant re-measuring, and using the calibrated dials on the mill winding handles. Having a Digital Read-Out (DRO) might make things easier, and less likely that I will make mistakes/mis-count turns of the handles…etc.

This is how I installed my DRO

X (top) and Y (bottom) axial measurement displays attached to the Sieg SX3 mill.


My Sieg SX3 milling machine is due an upgrade. I want a DRO (Digital Read Out), so that I can tell where the cutting head is on the X-Y cartesian plane, with a 0.01mm granularity.

Glass scales are too expensive for my budget. They are at least twice as expensive as the capacitive-type scales. I don’t do enough milling to justify it.

I ordered a set of X- and Y- scales from Arc. I wanted the displays for the scales to be separate from the measuring-end, so got these:

Arc Euro-trade scales

I guess if I find that these are not good enough, I’ll have to start saving up…

For the X I bought the 500mm length, and the Y I got 15mm. 500mm is too long, so I had to cut it down a bit (see below).

As normal, Arc dispatched them quickly, and they soon arrived in a well-protected cardboard tube package.

Now I needed to figure out how to mount them onto the machine…

The X axis

Mounting the scale on the X-axis is easier than the Y-axis.

Taking the table off


Adding two blocks to the side of the table…

Although the photos show countersunk M5 screws, I soon swapped these for socket-head M5 screws, and rebated them into the block so it was smooth on the top.

I could then mount them on the table…

To the blocks, I could use a counter-sunk M5 bolt to attach a length of 30mm x 50mm ‘L’-profile. It’s 5mm thick, so can be counter-sunk easily enough, forming a smooth surface on the inside of the ‘L’

Attached the L-section to the table mounting blocks.

Dialed it in, so it was parallel with the table.

The L-profile attached to the table.

Took the table off (again)

Added a block to the saddle, to which I could attach the scale slide block.

The slider connector block for the X-axis installed on the table saddle.

Then I could attach a thin plate to the back of the scale’s slide block…

Thin plate attached to slide block.

The scale itself was too long. I carefully lopped-off about 5cm with a hack-saw, so that it fitted well on the 50mm part of the L-section. Arc advised that I wrap the scale in cling-film to avoid getting it covered in dust/grease.

The scale was attached to the L section using 2 m4 screws. The bracket had a slot for adjustment, so I could dial-in the scale bar parallel to the table too.

Final assembly, with one final M4 bolt to attach the thin plate to the saddle anchoring block.

Attaching the slider arm to the scale block (m4).

Voila ! A DRO on my X-axis !


To mount the scale on the Y axis, I started with a 20x20x100mm mounting block attached to the table saddle. I milled it to size with clearance holes, and rebated the holes to accommodate an M5 machine screw socket head bolt.

Drilling into the machine was a tense task. I center-punched the hole positions first, then used a hand-drill to carefully create holes in the table saddle. Tapped and tested the fit.

Next was to make a ‘stand-out’ block and ‘down-plate’ which connect to that mounting block, and allow the motion of the table to be conveyed to a slide on the side of the machine…

The assembly to attach to the mill table saddle.

The installed attachment.

It just stands away from the base of the mill.

So now I have a plate which moves when the table moves, to which I can attach the scale.

One of the two mounting blocks, with a 1.4 degree slant to counter for the slope of the table base side.

Then attach more 30mm .x 50mm x 5mm L-angle (aluminium)…

Then attach the scale itself.. by adding yet another block at the bottom of the sliding arm, so it can attach to the scale sliding block.

… and the y-axis now works too.

Related Links

I found this after I’d finished: http://blog.offcuts.dk/2013/11/12/sx3-dro-xaxis/ and it would have been helpful to have read that before I started.

Taking the table off : I used Arc’s super-helpful disassembly/re-assembly guide here: http://www.arceurotrade.co.uk/machineguides/Super-X3-Mill-Dismantling-and-Reassembly-Guide.pdf




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Plant watering system using arduino

Daughter cobweb likes to solder things together, and she has a plant on her window sill which doesn’t get watered enough. Why not build a plant watering system … This is how it turned out.

Continue reading

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Garage paper towel dispenser

Bits of scrap wood, a hole drilled in the bottom. A bit of sawing using a rough idea of a bird-box, and a few screws later…

Added a hacksaw blade at the bottom so I can cut the paper. Holds 2 rolls. Paper towels are dispensed from the middle of the roll.

Mucky hands no more !

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Mounting plates for Cleats

I made several of these up, so I could mount them to the back of the house.

A few pulleys, rope, and eye-bolts later, and I was able to hoist the garden shade sail without getting up a ladder.


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Milling Curtain Bracket

The Curtains are pretty heavy. They kept pulling the bracket off the wall. Something more over-engineered was required 😉

That gave me 4 screws to fix into the wall instead of 2, and the bracket doesn’t bend at all.

The Curtain rail itself needed a bit more support in the middle of the span, so I made a lighter-weight bracket mount for that, as it’s visible when the curtains are opened.

They are all fitted, and the curtain hasn’t yet fallen down. Job done.

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Security AppleTV Cage


At work, in an open-plan area, things can “walk” if they aren’t bolted down.

One of the useful gadgets we have is an AppleTV. It makes it really easy to project a MacBook screen onto the office TV.

But there is a problem. AppleTV has no Kensington lock, and no other way of bolting it down to stop it “walking” off. … so I thought I’d fix this. Building a ‘cage’.

The brass stand-offs were milled to the correct height, drilled and tapped so when installed, they lock the AppleTV gizmo in place. I polshed them, then sprayed them with cellulose dope in the hope that they stay shiny, and don’t go black with corrosion.

The Kensington lock is a 3mm slot. Had to thin the back of the back-plate.

I finished it off with some tamper-proof M5 machine screws (A star Torx shape with a central pin). Installed in the office it works a treat. And its’ still there !

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Milling a revision card holder


It may seem an odd thing to want, or make, but daughter-cobweb wanted something she could stack a set of filing cards onto, as she was writing logs of notes on these cards for her exam revision.

Christmas came around, and just before then I got the metal together and crafted this with the milling machine.

Tip: The sides are 2cm thick. I bolted them together so it was one 4cm thick plate, and milled that, guaranteeing that the sides had the exact same dimensions.

Tip2: Polishing was done using graded grit up to 3200, then with some metal polish on top. Manually buffed it up as best I could, but could have got a better shine using a buffing mop attached to an electric drill.

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Bannoch recipie

  • 100g salted butter
  • 100g sugar
  • 170 flour
  • Milk
  • Handful of sultanas

    Mixup and shallow fry in veg oil.

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    Bread Roll Recipe


    Recipe for really good white bread rolls. Family favourite.

    Recorded here for posterity and to make sure we never loose the only copy of the amounts which are currently on a scrap of paper somewhere in the pile of cookery notes and books.


    • 500g String white flour
    • 1 table-spoon sugar
    • 1 tea-spoon salt (though less is probably ok)
    • 7g dried yeast / one sachet
    • 30-40g vegetable oil (a good glug)
    • 300ml water


    • Pizza setting in bread machine
    • Shape and prove
    • Bake
    • Eat


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