Twiddling my thumbs!

Twiddling my thumbs!
Just twiddling my thumbs!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Probable new project

What you see here is the nifty new/old dust collector I got at an auction. Generally I get sad at auctions and this one was no exception. All of some guy's stuff laid out on display.
Anyway, I needed this kind of dust collector because the grinder generates sparks and all sorts of interesting things can come from sparks.  As you can see, it's connected to a funnel-like object that is suppose to suck all the dust in.

 Sometimes it's close to the wheel...
 ...and sometimes it's a bit farther away.

Now it's making sparks all the time, near and far, so it seems to me that there might be a more efficient way to do this.
 There's this convenient mounting point right here next to the wheel.
After I sawed out the broken area, this fitting might be a good basis for a dust collector end.
So now I let it percolate in my pea brain until I can get a better idea of what it's suppose to look like.

This is how projects start; sometimes they don't get finished.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

New toys

I take a lot of pictures of stuff I make, sometimes for posterity and sometimes for the hell of it.  
Anyway, when my friend Rob was working on my company website,
he brought this nifty portable photo booth that had lights and several different color backdrops so he could take better part shots than I already had.  I thought it was way cool and decided to get one. Happily, they aren't very expensive.
So the other day I set it up and began experimenting.
I'm already disappointed in the lights, but I figure I can add more as needed.
This piece is a keyboard key removing tool I cobbled up when I converted my first keyboard to Dvorak.  Actually, this is the second one; the first disappeared. 
It works surprisingly well, for as simple as it is.
I think the picture turned out nice.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Sometimes I amaze myself. I've got this old reel push mower that was in desperate need of sharpening. My first thought was to take it somewhere because I didn't really have the desire to figure it out for myself. I ended up spending the better part of a day pursuing this line of thought. The problem is that this machine is so old that the blade adjustment is different than more modern machines. Turns out that the blade adjustment is the most critical factor in sharpening a reel mower. So this kid at the hardware store is explaining why he can't sharpen my mower and I'm looking at it and thinking that the setup on my machine would allow for very precise adjustment, the little light comes on.  Back at the shop, I do a little surfing and find a video featuring a cute Canadian tomboy going through the steps to sharpen a reel mower. Cool! I follow the link to Amazon where I can buy a kit for around $18. But I already own everything in the kit, except the crank. You need a crank to turn the blade backwards. Hmmm. I grab a piece of 1/4 inch round, stick it in the vise, grab a hammer and start wailing. The left end hooks on the axle of the mower and the right end chucks up in my hand drill. Some tweaking was required to get it to run straight, but I now know that I could keep that mower going for a long, long time.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The world's most expensive shelves, part 1

A little over five years ago, there was a fire in the building we were in.  The end result being the relocation of my shop. Some shelves had to be dismantled and stored because there was no way to reassemble them the same way in the new shop.
What I needed was uprights, so being the enterprising idiot I am, I bought some angle iron.
Time passes.
In order to rescue the angle iron (a very useful thing ) from being consumed by other projects, I cut it into twelve tall and four short uprights and set them aside.
Time passes.
What is featured here is the culmination of a process that included; determination of the size and placement of the slots, and a stop to provide for accurate spacing of the slots. Programing the CNC was in there too, but only took about five minutes.  One end of each upright was squared off and now all is ready to begin milling 76 slots!
Time passes.
Keeping in mind that in order to pay for the shop space I must use my machines for "paying" work and not have them tied up with personal projects, therefore I do not get back to this right away.

Eventually though I take the five or so hours and finish this step. Maneuvering five foot long  pieces of angle iron can be tedious.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Eight page views! I haven't even posted anything yet.
Thought I'd riff on the art of quoting for a bit; In the world of professional making is a concept we call the "quote". This is not me spouting Benjamin Franklin but rather me telling you I can make your thing for some amount of money.  If I do this well, my business prospers. If not, we have another concept known as "eating a job", where you not only are not making money but it's costing you money to finish the job. 
Another event in the art of quoting is the "quote of the year". This is the job that you want really, really badly.  The job that will make everything else pure gravy. So you spend a lot of time with this one, making sure it's as good as you can do. You never get the job, of course, but you never know.
So quoting a job is the real game here, a role of the metaphorical dice. Fortunes, or at least income, is won and lost here.  Probably why I don't go to casinos.