Home – John’s model engineering interests

This site covers my interests in model engineering.

The material on this website was,  originally, just about milling. As it expand it is organised by the process used to make something. It seems that many people are more interested in “how to” or “how to make” type questions. In this case, it is possible on any page, to use the search option to find something.

There seems to be a difference between “how to” and “how to make”.

“how to make” index see “Make”

“how to”


Many ways of making a metal component can be classified into three main classes. There is where a piece of metal has its shape changed into that required. In this case the volume of the starting piece and the end piece stay, roughly, the same. There is then where the workpiece is made by removing metal from the starting piece and then, there are processes whereby metal is added to the starting piece.

go to processes

measuring, alignment etc

tools for measuring

measuring problems – links

Pages relating to, alignment , centering  etc

computing gear trains

Hobnail – software for computing gear trains

notes on using Hobnail 

 Brocot’s method

Materials – links


go to components – links


Something completely different

  1. Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m
    impressed! Very useful info specially the last part 🙂 I
    care for such information a lot. I was looking for this certain info for a very
    long time. Thank you and good luck.

  2. Thanks for making the effort to publish your knowledge/tricks/tips. Very informative and helpful. You are in my ME faves.
    Stuart AKA Rik Shaw

  3. Ian said:

    i would like to know if a dovetail setup on a milling machine table can be used up side down.( male top and female bottom) or must it be male bottom female top?

    • johnf said:

      I am not quite sure what you are asking. But this might be it. In principle one mmight think that a dovetail could be either way up but often the length of the two parts are different usually the longer part will be on top. The shorter part is always the female part because the female part always hold the jib and it is desirable that the jib is on the shorter part.
      This is, in fact, the usual arrangement for a milling table long table – male – on top short part underneath female with gib.
      hope this helps. Let me know if this is not the answer.
      john f

      • Ian said:

        Tanks for your respond. I can get a dovetail table from work, it comes from a very robust wood working machine that was damaged in transport but the table is still 100%. Before i striped it from the machine, it looked to me that i would need to turn the table up side down, to use it for a compound milling machine table.(I would like to build a 3 axis stepper motor cnc milling machine.)After i striped the table from the machine, i realized that i can use it as is…. I THINK? Sorry i am new to this site! How do i attach a photo so that you can see what i meen? In short, the long main table with male dove tails is at the bottom and the short table with female dove tail and jib is on top, travelling left to right or right to left. can i use it like this or do i have to turn it around.( i can mount MY TABLE on the female table as it is now, then i will have verry long travel left and right.)

    • johnf said:

      Somehow I seem to have missed this comment. sorry. The difference is that the gib is invariably fitted to the female part. This means the female part is the shorter part – the male part is the longer. In the case of a milling table the longer part has to be on top hence has to be the male part.
      hope this helps.
      john f

  4. Ian said:

    thanks, i will as soon as i get my new cell, i will take a photo at work an send it to you. should be thursday/ friday.

  5. Theo said:

    As a beginner, excellent info for me! Thanks for putting this online!

    • johnf said:

      Let me know if you have any particular questions.

  6. Hi john, Alistair here from shooftie. Going to have a look through your site, glad to have found the link.

    • johnf said:

      Let me know how you get on.
      john f

  7. Umer said:

    Dear sir,
    We need hob cutters of different sizes…
    Please send us details

    Umer Munir
    Email: madingears@gmail.com

    • johnf said:

      You can buy both metric and imperial hobs for making involute gears from ARC EURO who live somewhere around Leicester.
      If you want to make them yourselves there were some articles by Giles Park in Model Engineers Workshop magasine. There are several indexes on the web that would enable you to find the article. If you joined SMEE you would be able to photocopy these for yourself in the SMEE library.
      john f

      let me know how you get on.

  8. Umer said:

    Dear Sir,
    we need hob cutters
    2 module
    12 dp

  9. Farrukh Jamal said:

    I am preparing a training guide for CNC and machining operations, for education purpose only and not for sale, and would be available free for trainers / students of vocational training. I found your website vey useful for such applications. I am seeking your permission to include few items to be included in the training guide. Your website reference will given.

    • johnf said:

      Yes you can copy them but you might be better off by just inserting the address of my page in your text as a link.
      john f

  10. Hi John,

    I was looking at your page on problems related to alignments: https://johnfsworkshop.org/problems-measuring-aligning-and-centering/problems-aligning-vices/ I saw a comment that says: Mew no 182 p40

    A Aligning a vice using a DTI

    I was wondering, what is this MEW reference? I can’t seem to find it using the Google. Is it a text?

    I’m trying to learn some machining basics. I took a class years ago, I definitely need to re learn lots.



    • johnf said:

      Well, I am surprised. I thought this was all written up properly but it clearly isnt.
      MEW is Model Engineers workshop. But the article quoted is useless.
      I thought I had written the solution but it has been overlooked.
      I will have a go at this section and will email you when I have sorted it out.
      I have done this particular problem search ” parallel, angle plate, square”
      Theres no photo yet. I’ll try and do this this w/e and update the page next week.

      john f

  11. Walter Maisey said:

    Hello John,
    I came across your website while searching for information about straight jib strips, it was related to a member in a yahoo group, I have passed it on to the poster in the group, I figured it would be easier and more detailed than my trying to explain it to him, this evening going through your site I came across tapered dowels, and it occurred to me that they never seem to be used in tooling anymore, for instance it was common years ago to attach a ball handle to a shaft leadscrew, but now most hobbyists drill and tap a hole and use grub screws with a flat on the shaft (horrible in my opinion) also the tapered dowel is great in accurately locating two plates together, (if the lineup is out) you can always reset and taper ream again, not so with straight dowels, so do you think you could do a piece on the versatility of the Tapered Dowel

    Yours respecfully Walter Maisey………..Alberta

  12. Nice to meet you John and to visit your workshop. Also to see your very useful site.

    You can see some of my photographs and how they are organised at my website below.

    Best wishes

  13. Looking for change gears, 22mm id, 5mm key, 16mm wide. The few I have appear to be 20dp. Or, I can make but need nmbt40 22mm arbor for my horizontal universal mill (HERO 1C). Or, 7/8″ shaft gear cutter source. Can you point me to a source? Thank you,

    • johnf said:

      In the uk, I would go to homeworkshop.org.uk and ask.
      john f

  14. Thanks very much John. Next month when I have a little more time I am going to do a reverse engineer of my unit and create some schematics and service data on calibrating the unit. I will pass them on to you when done. Am am hoping to interface a Mitutoyo 519-521 lever probe to mine. Yours seems to work ok with a single probe. What is the make of leaver probe in your picture?


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