Author Topic: Oh the pain !  (Read 4308 times)

Offline Rik Shaw

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 15
Oh the pain !
« on: November 05, 2012, 03:46:48 PM »
Oh how I remember the pain. More than fifty years ago I started my technical engineering apprenticeship at the company apprentice training centre in Port Sunlight. The first project we had to undertake was surely designed to knock the cockiness out of us kids. We were all issued with a piece of 6? x 4? x  ?? gas cut boiler plate, a cold chisel, a bullnose chisel and a big ole? ballpein hammer. All edges had to be chiselled square then finished of with a ?? wide 45 degree bevel chiselled along one long edge.

Days later (I am right handed), my left hand ? was a bruised and bloody mess but the best thing was yet to come. Using the bull nosed chisel this time we had to chisel our three initials on one face of the slab in letters three inches high and the radius of the bullnose deep. Those who were unlucky enough to only have two initials had to insert the dollar sign instead. I am sure that the resident instructors had a deeply pathological hatred for us kids and enjoyed watching the pain as the hammer yet again missed the chisel.

Did it teach me anything? I?ll say it did! ? I learnt more new words for ?ouch? than you could ever imagine.

It was such a relief to finish that exercise and start the next one ? hand filing a square in a square, sheer heaven  (derisive grimace !!!!!).

Offline Jo

  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 14693
  • Hampshire, england.
Re: Oh the pain !
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2012, 05:01:18 PM »
As an electronic engineering apprentice I only had the honors of doing C blocks. Which had to fit together every which way including 90 degrees into each other, without a 5 thou feeler gauge being able to fit in anywhere. Every time it went it you lost one of your ten points, when it got to zero the piece was thrown in the bin and you started again. One of those character building tasks  :naughty:

The mechanical boys had E blocks to do and the file a square out of a piece of bar followed by a ball out of that square (of the same diameter as the square).  :lolb:

Enjoyment is more important than achievement.

Offline Raggle

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 51
  • Newtown, Montgomery, Powys mid-Wales
Re: Oh the pain !
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2012, 05:06:23 PM »
I remember that too, also fifty years ago. We didn't carve a slab like that but it was an exercise to remove excess steel down to a line scribed and highlighted with regular punch marks. The idea was to make the punch marks half visible. Line it up against the vice jaws and "walk" the chisel alternating the angle of attack each hammer blow.

The lesson was to demonstrate that all cutting tools are in fact chisels, though they may be in a row, like files and saw blades. I've used the technique many times since, I suppose we all have.

All we're trying to do is combine a fuel and an oxidant in the combustion chamber and burn it in the hope of getting some useful thrust out of the back end. It's not rocket science.


  • Guest
Re: Oh the pain !
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2012, 06:22:19 PM »
We had to chisel a 4 inch long 1 inch diameter mild steel bar until it had a square section. Some guys had blood mixing with the marking blue ...

Offline Admiral_dk

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2724
  • Sųften - Denmark
Re: Oh the pain !
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2012, 11:15:06 PM »
I didn't like our filing exercises when I started at "Svagstr?msteknisk Skole" (DK ~ Low current (ha) technical school) in 1978 (pre school for either an electronic technician or electronic engineer (Master degree)), but with one or maybe two exceptions, I still have all those tools we had to make : A small vice, a PCB holder (multi adjustable), a drill bit sharpener gauge (a scaled 59 degree angle (for 118 degree bits) with a ? degree angle in the other end for the other angle on the bit and the high quality power supply (had to build the case, transformer, circuitboards too).

And we all hated soldering the test frames (a frame with some 10 slots on each side = 100 solder points where the wires meet) with a very lousy soldering iron (a la those cheap ones you see in DIY shops) - one not perfect out of those 100 and you had to make a new - not one in class managed that in less than two months  :Mad: and when you finally managed that you where presented with an old style heavy duty soldering iron and had to do it with that too  :cussing: - But I must admit that it certainly made us good solders (soft solder - we learned silver solder in a day after that, but not to the same standard). So using modern solder stations is a breeze  :)

 I loved the part where we learned to use the lathe and the mill (two months) and have longed for a lathe ever since, so I finally bought this worn down house in 2007 so I could build a workshop - changed from having money but no place to do anything that makes noise, to having the space but almost no money and a lot of repairs to do before doing the shop ::)

Offline Stuart

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1785
  • Tilchestune UK
Re: Oh the pain !
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2012, 03:44:53 PM »
Not the pain but your post brought back soft soldering memories from my apprenticeship days

we had to use gas heated irons these were huge beasts made from 6 inch long  2 inch square slew blocks with a 2 inch X 1/4 copper tip let into the end like a tongue sticking out , thet had a 1/2 dai shaft with a wooden handle, they were considered hot when the  steel was dull red . these were used in pairs one in use and one hotting up.

they were used for soldering up 75 hp armature commutators took about a day to do the soldering and tip them off , boy did your arm ache after that job.  The real rub is that it could take about six weeks to wind the armature ( coils were single turn 1/2 by 1/16 copper tape ) the ends were tined and fluxed ( we uses a resin based flux ) then the job was assembled and drop tested ,at this point the test was perfect evan without soldering up the joints.

as you can imagine the job then stood around whilst the winding was completed and later soldered up ,with no second chance and no way to test the joint

my mentor was about to retire and anything less that prefect ment you were in trouble it had to look right and be right

you may ask why you could not solder as you go , well the steel wire bands had to be out on to stop the coils flying outwards that meant that the coils were pulled down before they were soldered else they would crack at the joint

My aim is for a accurate part with a good finish

Offline Farmboy

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 121
  • England
Re: Oh the pain !
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2012, 09:38:22 AM »
Your post brought back happy memories of my late father cutting a beautiful 1/4 inch keyway in a machine shaft with a cold chisel, to fit a drive gear. Although he was a civil engineer by profession, he had spent a year in the Ruston-Bucyrus works in the late 1930s during his student days, working on the old dragline excavators, where I'm sure he must have endured some of the experiences described above.

He always said you need to do a job by hand so you understand the principles involved before you use a machine.


Offline ScroungerLee

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 299
  • Southwest Connecticut, US, North America, Earth
Re: Oh the pain !
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2012, 12:44:28 PM »
I still get surprised by how often I find myself contemplating some difficult machine setup just to realize I can do the same easier with a file, or hand saw, or even a chisel then file.

I didn't go through the same painful schooling, but all I had were hand tools when I was a youngster trying to repair my motorcycles, cars and other toys.

Mmmmm.... Shiny!