Apprentice Pieces

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Mick F
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Apprentice Pieces

Postby Mick F » 13 Jun 2020, 12:01pm

On a different thread, some of you wanted me to photograph the workshop jobs from my apprenticeship in the RN.
I qualified in October 1973, so these jobs date from well before that.

You'll see a number on them.
7460 ........ I was in Class 74 (nothing to do with dates) and my workshop number was 60.
Also, you'll see drill indentations. These were done by the marking people. If you got an indent from them, you'd passed and were able to keep it. The piece on the left of the photos has its indents on the ends.

I have all mine. :D

These are the first two. I'll do another couple in a day or three whilst you all chew the fat about these! :D

All done by hand. Files and hacksaw but with the use of a pillar drill. We had to sharpen our own drill bits as we were deliberately given blunt ones. Each movable piece had to go in all eight ways to a max of 1.5thou error. The best fit with the brass square was marked by a diagonal line.

I'd be delighted to answer any questions or to take other photos of them.
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Mick F. Cornwall

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al_yrpal
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Re: Apprentice Pieces

Postby al_yrpal » 13 Jun 2020, 12:25pm

Haha! The cube and plate! I made 3 plates and 13 cubes before I passed out of the fitting shop. It took 3 months. The cube had to be able to pass through the plate every way. The thinnest feeler gauge 1.5 thou mustnt have been able to be inserted anywhere. The plate and the cube were finished by a scraper and you had to have a very dense pattern when rubbed on a high quality surface plate. We also had drilled and tapped holes which had to be in the correct position. The tools were files, drill presses, hammer and chisel to chain drill and remove the edges, scraper, taps, surface plate, height vernier, vernier capiper, micrometers. Other apprentice pieces were case hardened parallel clamps, adjustable vee block, tin jug, gas and aluminium welding joints to AID standards and various other bits

When you did 3 months in the fitting shop you really knew how to use hand tools, a skill I have never lost. We spent 21 months in the workshop and 3 months in the Drawing Office where we oggled the tracers :D

Have I missed anything Mick? Engineers Blue on the bog seats perhaps?

Al

Just some of the stuff from my workshop days. The jug is always very useful and currently filled with oil.

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Last edited by al_yrpal on 13 Jun 2020, 1:55pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Mick F
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Re: Apprentice Pieces

Postby Mick F » 13 Jun 2020, 12:41pm

No scrapers, and we weren't allows to draw-file either.
As you say, the 1.5thou feeler shouldn't go in anywhere, and the pieces go in eight ways as well.

Can't remember if I did more than one part, but I don't think I did.
The worst thing to happen to one of the parts was to drop it on the workshop floor. It's amazing how much damage is done to a corner or a face by dropping onto hard concrete from a couple of feet.

Yes, engineer's blue on a surface plate, but no scrapers. All file work.

We did two sessions in the workshops. Sixteen weeks and then twenty weeks. The sixteen was the filing and fitting, and the twenty was the turning and the machine-work.

Our apprenticeships were in three phases.
Phase One 18m - was basic workshop, basic electronics, with more in-depth bits about various general communications and radar equipments.
Phase Two was onboard a ship for twelve months working in all the different sections of the department. Three months in each - radars, external comms, engine room electrics, surface weapons. These days, it would have been sonars as well - but back then, it was a different department.
Phase Three 2years - was everything in much more detail, plus all the skilled workshop stuff, electronics, mathematics including calculus, electrical drawing, leadership and management training.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Audax67
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Re: Apprentice Pieces

Postby Audax67 » 13 Jun 2020, 2:05pm

My eyes are bugging out. Hats off to the both of you.
Have we got time for another cuppa?

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Re: Apprentice Pieces

Postby al_yrpal » 13 Jun 2020, 2:08pm

I did 2 years in the workshop including 3 months in the DO and a month in the RAEs foundry and forge. After that it was alternately 6 months at a College of Advanced Technology and 6 months in industry for a further 3 years. I did Pyestock testing jet engines and Bristol Siddeley Patchway on the Olympus RX and 593 and the Pegasus. I still have my deeds complete with wax seals :D . We lived in MOD hostels under firm discipline. My apprentice pals and I still meet up several times a year and look out for one another, we are like brothers. Only one funeral so far... :D My apprenticeship was one of the best times of my life. Although we had no money the scrapyards were full of cheap but awesome discarded motor cars and bikes which we rescued and drove everywhere. The parties, the girls, the jazz clubs, the expeditions on the continent... If only I had that Citroen Light 15, Riley 2.5 or the Alvis now.... :(

Al
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Re: Apprentice Pieces

Postby Mick F » 13 Jun 2020, 2:35pm

Audax67 wrote:My eyes are bugging out. Hats off to the both of you.
:D
Thanks.


Al's fitter's clamps.
We made a pair of those in metalwork at school. No idea what happened to them, but I had them for years.
We made odd-leg callipers as well as normal callipers too.
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Re: Apprentice Pieces

Postby al_yrpal » 13 Jun 2020, 3:00pm

I have a big grey steel double doored tool cupboard which is packed with all sorts of tools for all sorts of tasks accumulated over a lifetime. I am always getting ribbed about it and about the host of woodworking tools I have too. But, people know where to come to get a difficult task done! Although my lifetime job as a design engineer didnt involve manual engineering tasks I have never lost my love of doing them.

Al
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Re: Apprentice Pieces

Postby richardfm » 13 Jun 2020, 3:28pm

I was an engineer in the merchant navy, working for BP Shipping.
I did a four year cadetship. The first two years were at technical college doing an OND in marine engineering, then six months at sea, then another year back at college and then another six months at sea. I was 17 when I started in 1978. We did a lot of workshop on time. I remember one of our apprentice pieces being a small working steam engine.
I was made redundant from BP soon after my first trip as a junior engineer and slowly moved out of mechanical engineering in to IT.
I still have the mentality of the sea going engineer, you can't order parts to be delivered to the middle of the ocean and you can't call the RAC to fix it for you (nor can you call the fire brigade or ambulance service, I've never forgotten my fire fighting or first aid training.
Like @al_yrpal There are group of us who still meat up once a year, nearly 42 years since we first met.

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Re: Apprentice Pieces

Postby al_yrpal » 13 Jun 2020, 3:52pm

Audax67 wrote:My eyes are bugging out. Hats off to the both of you.


Thanks, but they selected us very carefully. We had not only to pass the Civil Service entrance exam, hard enough, but also a practical test and then an interview board at the RAE. Only 1 in 36 made it. So, I guess possible failures were eliminated.

Some of my pals didnt follow a career in Engineering. Pilots, a vicar, owner of a holiday company with 700 caravans in France etc. But one of my apprentice pals is still running a Midlands based engineering business at the age of 82 designing and making special purpose battery manufacturing machinery and shipping it to China.

Al
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Re: Apprentice Pieces

Postby peetee » 13 Jun 2020, 3:55pm

Very impressive work. I wish my metalwork teacher’s apathy hadn’t rubbed off on me. I would love to have the enthusiasm In youth and later the experience to work materials to such a high standard. I have had to graft odds and sods to become workable objects to fix bikes many times and, although perfectly functional, they look bodged.
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Re: Apprentice Pieces

Postby davidcfrank » 13 Jun 2020, 4:09pm

I did a four year engineering apprenticeship with Mirrlees Blackstone - some of you navy men may recognise the name as they made ship engines. The first month was spent filing bits of rough steel flat and square, these eventually became a pair of clamps. The rest of the first year in the training school I made toolmakers clamps, a pair of pliers, a bench vice, scrapers, a sheet metal toolbox, a screw jack and a surface gauge. It was a fabulous training scheme.

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Re: Apprentice Pieces

Postby rjb » 13 Jun 2020, 5:19pm

I did my apprenticeship with the Central Electricity Generating Board. I had gone to a grammar school previously and had no practical experience as wordwork and metalwork were not on the school curriculum. The only practical experience I had previously was helping my dad work on the car most weekends so it was fit to take him to work on Monday. :lol:
The intake for the year comprised craft apprentices who spent 2 years in the workshop and students who did a 6 month crash course and we're going on to degree level. I was there for 6 months and came away with a thorough understanding of workshop practise which has stood me in good stead ever since. Very useful for DIY projects
First exercise involved sheet metal work where we had to make a toolbox, cut out the steel sheet then fold it up. Hinges were made and we also had to use oxyacetylene welding to weld up the corners of the tool tray. The main box was pop riveted together. It's almost 24" wide and weighs a ton. Once the box was complete we had to fill it. More later.
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Re: Apprentice Pieces

Postby ferrit worrier » 13 Jun 2020, 5:20pm

Wow Mick I had to do a double take on your photo. your plate is almost identical to mine that I made in the training school at AEI in Trafford Park circa 1967 that was a super place to learn. 12 months of fitting, welding (gas and arc) foundry, forge, milling, center lathes, armature winding, more fitting, and more fitting. one piece I couldn't keep was a stack of 5 1/4 thick plates that had to be scraped and fitted together as in joining a bus bar. same thing with the .0015 feeler not to go in anywhere.

When I progressed into the factory. I spent some time in the Transformer works in Wythenshawe then back to main works as the factory closed after GEC took over. one job I had there was building some piece of kit with large circular carbon contacts about 1in dia the feeler gauge for that was the tissue paper out of a cigarette packet.

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Percussive maintainance, if it don't fit, hit it with the hammer.

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Re: Apprentice Pieces

Postby al_yrpal » 13 Jun 2020, 5:39pm

Yes, fag papers were really useful whilst setting up your milling machine! :D In our apprentice workshop were many lathes, a shaper, surface and cylindrical grinders, many mills, pillar drills, a big vertical drill. We had a welding shop with gas and argon arc but no ordinary arc welder? Passed the AID welding test on gas and aluminium welding, but never learned arc welding. Argon arc is very similar to gas welding. Did brazing and soldering too. Still able to sharpen my own twist drills now without a gauge.

Al
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Re: Apprentice Pieces

Postby ferrit worrier » 13 Jun 2020, 6:10pm

[ Still able to sharpen my own twist drills now without a gauge.

Al[/quote]

Aye me too :lol: :lol: :lol:
Percussive maintainance, if it don't fit, hit it with the hammer.