I recently purchased Tom Hartley’s AirPi which measure the air conditions and is a good start to a weather station.

I really like this device and have made some modifications to the code which over the next few days I’ll post on here.

1. The latest code as of Jan 2014 gives the reading of each value to a very large number of decimal places – far too many to give any meaningful value and really only clouds the reading.

Navigate to the airpi directory:
cd AirPi

Edit the airpi.py script
sudo nano airpi.py

Line 187, edit so that it reads,
dataDict["value"] = round(i.getVal(), 2)

This rounds all the values to two decimal places and makes them much easier to read.

EDIT- I have now corrected an error with Value to lower case value.

17 Jan, 2014

Bluing screws and zinc removal

Posted by: Raynerd In: Screw Bluing + zinc removal

Blued screws are a tradition in clocks and watches but finding plain steel screws is a great difficulty these days as they are all stainless or zinc plated. I’ve had the idea of attempting to remove the zinc and blue screws in the past but as luck would have it, I have had the required screw in my fast dwindling stock. The current project requires an m4 x 80mm screws which is insanely long for such a small diameter, having no stock it was time to test the theory.

I purchased some cheap zinc plated screws off eBay and first placed the screws in dilute hydrochloric – 2M to be precise which removed the zinc within 30minutes. For those not able to source lab acids, I also used white vinegar on one bolt leaving it 24 hours but I got the same result so this should be doable for anyone.


I then blued up the heads which is a skill I’ve been developing for a while. Heating it slowly through yellow, purple and when deep blue dunking it in oil. It is night time here and I used an iPhone but the screw is very blue and any imperfections are down to my lack of efforts in polishing the screw head before blueing. I’m very pleased with the result which are not truly captured in the photo.


04 Jan, 2014

Wooden Clock Build

Posted by: Raynerd In: A Wooden Clock Build

When I built my CNC machine last year I purchased DFX files from woodentimes online. I never looked at the files in detail, getting distracted as I often do and so last week I emailed David to ask if he would kindly resend the email, which he did. Over the last week I have been busy purchasing bearings, carbon fibre rod, beech chopping boards(!) and other odds and sods to build the clock. I also used v-carve to chop up the DFX files into pieces that my CNC machine could handle due to the limit bed size. I started cutting the plates over the last few days. Interestingly, I also asked an local ebay seller to laser cut the plates (who did it for the same price I paid for my ply wood alone!!). I did this for two reasons, firstly because I’m curious about one day making a laser cutter and secondly, because I wanted to compare my CNC cut wheels to accurately profiled laser cut wheels – basically due to my lack of confidence in my CNCing ability! Incidentally the CNC has turned out well so I am intending to build two clock at the same time… A CNC clock and laser cut clock.

Here is part 1:

04 Jan, 2014

Building a Penny Pusher / coin pusher

Posted by: Raynerd In: Homemade Penny Pusher

It has been a while, in fact, it seems longer than a while…ages since I have last made a post!

In the interest of logging all my projects as a diary of my work, I’m going to post a series of videos of a build I did this summer. I attempted to build my daughter a penny pusher after a enjoyable holiday to St Ives in which we played on these machines on a number of occasions!

I started July and sold the machine near complete in November. I made it too big, too life size and it was taking up too much room. Tears were had (and my daughter cried a little too ;-) ) but it really needed to go.

I`ve not been in much so have been working on the code side for the change machine I`m building into it.

Purchased a 10p hopper and connected that to an arduino:

Then I purchased a coin acceptor off ebay and connected that to an arduino:

Next step is to make the hopper and coin acceptor talk to each other!

I`ve also built in some genuine coin shoots which also checks the coins are the correct ones! Pictures to follow.

After 2 weeks, the code is very nearly there. I have a lot more to do in terms of some additional features but proof of concept is there!!! It works.

So the coin acceptor is going to go at the top of the machine and it will dispence coins into the win tray.

Thanks to people who have helped via email, pm and even facebook! Thank you,

I don’t get a lot of time in my workshop but writing this code has sucked up a lot of shop time so back to building it now!

Painted a first coat on the case – arcade red. Fitted pink car stereo although this will be covered, speaker, coin selector and all the electric are in and now sorted!

Lots more to do but a good next step…

Once again, weeks and weeks pass with only short spells on this machine. In all honesty, I’ve had enough now and just want it finished so I can get on with some metal work. Anyway, here is the coin splash feature I designed. It is by no means perfect but the concept works and admittedly I expected this to be a complete disaster. Thoughts, opinions and suggestions welcome.






27 Jul, 2013

Rawyler Mill

Posted by: Raynerd In: The Workshop & Tools

Here are some photos of the Rawyler mill I am selling. The box of bits shows the parts that were removed from the lever conversion to graduated dials. If you have any questions then please get in contact. I’ve never really got a chance to use this machine but it looks a superbly made Swiss machine and I am reluctant to sell but family circumstance dictates.












It is now late January 2013 and back in November, I purchased the plans and brass for Parslows skeleton clock. After having a son born in December, I expect I can be excused in beginning this build!

I’ve made lots of plans in my head about this build and actually I’m currently insistent on trying to build two of these clocks at the same time. My plan is to stick to the plans on ones clock and try and be a little more flexible on the second clock, possibly CNC frames and a more different look to the original.

I wanted to try the hardest part first, the pinions. I used some 8mm silver steel, turned it down to 5.69mm OD. I put the full cut on of 1.49mm and at low speeds of about 120rpm, started cutting with lots and lots of oil and a slow feed. The steel was not supported by a tail stock and so under the microscope, you can see slight vibration marks. A lot of hard work in polishing these pinions has started to bring any marks out the pinions nice and clean. The end has been centre punched a touch too far, so I’ll need to turn a couple of mm off the end before I drill and ream then part each pinion to size. I’ve turned up 1″ of pinion so have enough to make quite a few of the 8teeth that are called for however will need to make another lot up. It would be nice to try a tail stock but a. I don’t have one for my 4″ vertex and b. the tail stock and centre would get in the way of the cutter without some thought,

Anyway, the fruits of this evenings labour.



23 Jan, 2013

Cowells Lathe Rear Tool Post

Posted by: Raynerd In: Cowells Rear Tool Post

After a bin full of scrap recently, I needed something for my confidence! I decided to make a nice rear tool post for my cowells and do a decent job of it. A kind chap on the yahoo group provided dimensions, I purchased a piece of 25mm square steel bar, slotted it and made a start!


Faced all the sides square, mainly to make it look nice! Got a decent finish but my machine vibrates too much and still leaves little hair marks.


Nothing much to it I know, but took my time and it looks nice!
Next thing was a tnut, 1/2inch wide but with something like only a 2 mm height at the sides. Was a little tricky but I seemed to get a decent finish again, rightly or wrongly with the big facemill.



I could have just locked it all down with a nut but I choose to make a handle. It unlocks and locks back on quicker than my qctp on my boxford! I must admit I want a qctp for the cowells and rather than trying to making one, I’m strongly considering just making lots of square tool holders with a similar lock down handle.

Wanted to give it a nice finish so tried to blue it. I’ve blue small pieces of steel before for clock and watch projects but nothing this big (still tiny I know!). Heated it with a blow torch and dunked it in car oil when it looked about right. I think in hindsight I left it a couple of seconds too long so I lost a little of the real deep blue but it still looks a good colour. Hard for my camera to pick out….



Then looking good on my cowells! Just need to buy a standard hss parting tool. I got one of those small ones with a parting blade and it doesn’t sit properly and sticks out the back too far!


There are now a few methods of successful and less successful gear or clock wheel cutting that I’ve attempted and documented on this website. I have never really been happy with any of the methods show. I read about the Eureka tool in Ivan Laws Workshop series book. The device allows you to put relief onto multi tooth gear cutters. Although I do try and make all my tools due to time restrictions, I advertise if anyone had one for sale. I had two replies and went with the cheaper offer, Unfortunately this turned out to be the wrong move as the tool was very poorly made and really not functional. After many hours of re-making various parts and correcting numerous mistakes I finally had a working tool.

This picture shows the parts:



The tool is incredible! A number of eccentrics and a ratchet wheel turn a blank cutter in an eccentric motion, 1/12 of a turn per one revolution of the chuck. This eccentric movement allows the relief to be put on the cutter using a standard “button” type profiling tool.

This is a cutter of 0.6 module of cycloidal clock wheel form for my latest clock. This a 12 tooth wheel cutter and will be cutting brass only. Consequently I have been told from a reliable source that cutting only brass, this tool will be fine made from case hardened steel. My next cutter will have to be made from O1 tool steel to cut steel pinions. Future cutters will all be made from O1 but for this first one, I wanted something a little easier to cut for testing the eureka.

The picture below shows the steel blank mounted on a mandrel with 12 x 4mm holes drilled as near to the edge as possible. The wheel is then turned down in the lathe to expose the holes. These holes become the back relief and gap between teeth.



Finally the finished cutter, with relief!




30 Dec, 2012

Cowells ME lathe

Posted by: Raynerd In: The Workshop & Tools

Since looking for my first lathe back when I purchased a unimat 3, I always wanted a cowells but funds didn’t allow. I’ve finally managed to pick one up at a great price and I’m more than pleased with it. Rigid, well made and a true precision machine; I hope this will be with me for many years to come.

This actually is a very early cowells. In fact, after a couple of brief chats with the director over at cowells, he is pretty sure that this is one of the first cowells just after the transfer from Perris lathes. The big give away is the absence of the cowells casting “stamp” on the bed. In actual fact, my lathe is likely to be a Perris made bed sold under the new name of Cowells. All fairly immaterial since the design has not changed.

The lathe came with very little in the way of tooling and accessories but for the price I could afford, I’ll have to add these as I go. Cowells is still going strong and so all parts are readily available, but sadly at a price! – check out their website for more details.



The lathe came with a 3 jaw chuck but no key and I’m really really struggling sourcing a key!


I have also added an ER16 collet chuck since it is a good scale size for this lathe and I already have a set of collets.


The standard ME lathe came with the change wheel set for the auto traverse gearing but not with the suitable gear cutting change wheels so obtaining these was first on my “to do” list. I now have a full set of gears including some teeth count that should give me imperial BA threads on this metric lathe.



The tail stock is a zero morse taper. I was lucky enough to pick this threaded original cowells arbour and original cowells sold chuck off eBay very reasonably priced.


Just a couple more things I want to do now. Firstly I’d like an independent 4 jaw as soon as I can afford one. Secondly and perhaps less urgent would be a quick change tool post but I am considering making this. For completeness, I’d like a fixed and travelling steady at some point.

From what I’ve done on it so far, I wouldn’t be without it!

It seems that as these machines are getting harder to find, they are often in need of repair! This post hopes to give details on the Kennedy Saw. If you have any info or pictures of the saw please email me!

I don`t often post with none project related information but since I get an awful lot of questions regarding my Kennedy Power Hacksaw, I have posted the manual and other info related to this saw.

These manuals are often sold on ebay or similar websites, so if you wish to make a small (£2-£5) donation to the site, it would be greatly appreciated: chris@raynerd.co.uk





Information & Pictures from “Russell”:
The rod in the centre of the piston goes through the hole in the casting . The spring then hooks on the end and down to a peg on the casting to provide pressure on the blade. The other rod screws into the piston and opens the valve which is simply a thin disc of metal which you can see in the picture. There are half a dozen holes in the piston for the oil to flow through


  • Steve Richardson: Pretty cool stuff! I work with some real talented machinists and they are gonna dig your website!
  • Mike: Hi.where did you purchase the plate from. Been looking for a good stockist. I love your idea and would like to make one for my boxford. Also, sorry
  • Don bath: Thanks for the reply,currently I am making the escape wheel arbour and back cock plate ready for the next phase of testing .Your comments regarding th

Welcome to Raynerd.co.uk

I`ve always wanted to learn more about engineering and electronics and my list of projects both complete and ongoing has been growing over the past few years. I like to document my progress more for my own understanding as much as anything, it helps keep me on track. I hope you can find something of interest to you, my clock building project is my priority but as you can see, I have many other builds I`m working on. Please leave a comment, it is nice to see people are reading!