Diesel Heater Service and how to do it

My diesel heater has been installed and working for a few years and I have never had a problem with it starting or running until this week. We had a spell of very cold mornings and on switch on it just created clouds of white smoke before the pump finally starting to click.

I have never had the heater apart and I was somewhat concerned about doing this but the internet solved this. I recommend the following site which although relating to an Espar D2 heater, the details are much the same for the Chinese copies. The embedded video is worth watching.


The essence of the service is that if the heater smokes on start up then the gauze filter around the glow plug is clogged.

The strip down is quite simple with the only issue to watch is that the two large gaskets can easily get damaged. The gauze filter was different to the one as shown in the Espar above, more just a simple gauze tube. Getting the filter out is tricky but a pair of narrow nose pliers and some careful poking did the job. The filter showed heavy carbon deposits which were cleared after soaking in WD40 and using a fine wire brush. The main heat exchanger shell was very clean considering the period of use but I did managed to liberate some carbon dust particles from the burner tube head.

The heater assembly went back together easily and it fired up from switch on this morning despite another chilly start.

New gauze and new gaskets are available on EBay.

UPDATE: After a few warmer days I didn’t fire up the heater. When I finally needed it the smoke was back. I believe that the fuel is bleeding past the fuel pump when it is sat dormant. This builds up in the glow plug chamber and gets burned off when the heater is next used. If the heater is used each day there is less of a problem.

In the course of searching for a new pump I came across a UK source of an ‘electronic’ replacement for the pump. This is a stepper motor and metered pump. Because this pump does not need lubricating via the diesel lubricants you can use kero or similar lower cost fuel. With current UK pricing this is 70p saving per litre so the cost of the electronic pump would be quite quickly recovered. I have ordered one of these and will update here with my experiences.

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Ubiquitous Dishwasher Tablets and their uses

Worth a mention but not engineering (sorry….).

We are still in France so engineering activity is minimal other than time on Fusion 360 which sadly included creating a layout plan for a small tiling job we had to do. (Must recommend this to Autodesk ….).

Some years ago we installed a Jacuzzi spa. This contains two large filter cartridges. These need regular cleaning. You can buy the branded proprietary cleaning agent either as a powder or a spray on fluid. Both work well but are expensive. The powder is used as an overnight soak. The problem with cleaning spa filters is if the cleaner is the wrong compound you cannot get rid of the soap content and the spa becomes a huge bubble bath when you turn the pumps on. There is a similar problem if you rinse your swimming costume afterwards in the shower. The soap residue in the material leads to spa froth when you next use the spa. You can of course go ‘au nature’ but that’s another story.

After some research we found a source of bio dishwasher tablets. Four of these dissolved in a large container will clean the spa filters overnight. The tablets do not appear to damage the filter material fibres and rinse well to not leave a contaminating soapy content. Needless to say they are much cheaper than the proprietary cleaning chemicals.

This got me thinking. How many other such filters are there in the house which could also benefit from a clean and reuse rather than dump and replace ? A vacuum cleaner is another which depending on the model could contain three or four filters. Cooker extracts are a possible target although many now have a stainless steel filter which can be cleaned in the dishwasher. HEPA filters in 3D printer enclosures ? (not tried this)

Finally, same theme, it’s Saturday night and you have had maybe a nice steak or fish cooked in your griddle pan. It’s late and you want to crash out and clean up in the morning. You know how horrible that pan is going to be to clean tomorrow but bed calls. Just part crumble a dishwasher tablet into the pan and add some hot water. Tomorrow morning you will be able to just wipe it clean.

These tips brought to you by Woody’s Workshop, a Yorkshire born engineer always looking for a lazy, low cost way to solve a problem. (Smiley face)

Don’t worry I’m just going stir crazy and need to get back home and into the workshop.

BTW – Did you see that Clough42 got the YT 100k subscribers award. Well deserved. Congratulations James.

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Adding a logo to a Fusion 360 model

How to take a PNG file and import it as a SVG

While you might think I write my activities on my blog for general interest, you might be surprised to know that the main reader of my blog is me ….. my posts act as an aid to remembering how I made something or the processes I use.

I recently had a item to make and this needed a logo inserted onto the Fusion 360 model. I had the logo as a PNG file and I needed this to be converted into a SVG for ease of import to Fusion. You can do this conversion online for free at the following link : –


Once you have the SVG file you import this into Fusion using the Insert menu in the Design workspace. The inserted SVG can be manipulated to fit the location on the model and can then be extruded either as a cut or a build on the surface selected.

There is a simple video covering this activity on YouTube on the following link : –


Sorry that was nothing exciting but it will help me remember next time I need to do this.

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Myford Lathe ‘Bits’ Tray

A Rainy Day Job

Browsing this months copy of ‘Model Engineering Workshop‘ I was taken by the idea published in the Readers’ Tips section by Bernard Towers for his ‘Bits and Bobs’ tray for his Myford lathe.   A simple but obvious idea.  Quite often I am machining small parts or need to make drill changes and the related items all get lost in the swarf, tools and detritus that has accumulated in the tool tray.  Either that or I put them somewhere ‘safe’ on top slide and they get knocked off and lost …. we have all been there.

It was another grey and miserable lockdown day outside so the idea looked worthy of an hour or so of rewarding therapy.  The nice part about Bernard’s design was the ability to slide the tray in and out on the top slide front edge with a spring loaded T slot retaining strip.

I had inherited a stock pile of surplus nickel silver flat pack RF screening cans with one or two pieces having pre-etched folding lines that would match the size and shape needed.  Only a fourth side needing to be cut and hand folded.  Conveniently these folding lines were just at the right height for the tray walls so they would not foul the cross slide rotation.   Once all four sides were folded up a fillet of solder was run down each corner to seal it and any sharp edges removed.   Nickel silver is one of my favourite fabrication materials being rust free, strong and easy to solder.

The tray is held in place with a length of T slot material and I created this as a 3D print in PLA.   I included hex profile holes on the lower surface to take M4 Nyloc nuts.   This meant I was inverting the retaining construction as shown by Bernard.  I also used cap head screws to mount the pressure retaining springs.

A lovely and useful time filler project and I am indebted to Bernard for publishing his idea in MEW.


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