Prepping: & New “Old School” Resources

If you haven’t deduced it by now, is likely the main deliverable nearing the end of my next book “The 100-Year Toaster.”  The book is a critical view of the wrong-headed globalist resource squandering of the past 150-years and what we can do about it.

Spoiler alert:  We need to  redenominate.  Because everything together has a “price” and “profit” attached to it.  We don’t need to reinvent everything, but that which is worthy of our time making needs to last 10-years, or more.

One Answer:  Is to “defang” globalism by seizing the “means of production” and taking them back to the local level.

As you may be aware, in addition to “traditional shop tools”  (like a table or band saw, planer, jointer, drill press, etc.) a new class of computer-directed tools have not only sprung-forth from dedicated open source people, but they have recently come down in price to the “magic price point” where mass adoption becomes not only  possible but ion our view,  increasingly likely.

We’re discussing it here because  dispersed manufacturing may be an important continuity of humans element should either resources (oil and energy) or manufacturing (China, S.W. Asia) be impacted by “Global Events.”

We I younger, say my son’s age, it would be a hard call as to whether to buy a high-end table saw (a good hybrid or cabinet saw with a few accessories is in the $1,200 range by the time you get freight costs in), or whether the money wouldn’t be better-spent building a small “Ultra-Making” shop consisting of three computer-driven tools and a small drill press.  Two out of three are here.  A 3D resin printer is still in our future.

The tools – a plastic filament printer along with a resin printer, and a material CNC router –  when married-up to open-source design software offer an almost infinite number of design possibilities across much more media than dimension lumber, and sheet goods (such as plywood of particleboard).

Since a lot of this operates with platforms as simple as a smartphone, which call do you make?

The Age of E-Mailed Products

The key vision over at Ultra-Make is that we have entered an age where almost anything can be emailed.  Yes, that’s right:  Products.

A complex product might have four email attachments:

  • One would be a stereo lithography (.STL) file to print something out on a 3D filament printer.  Build space on ours is approximately a cube of 8-1/2 inches on a side.
  • The second .STL file might be a number of small parts in the harder resin printer category.  Your dentists uses a similar UV sensitive resin for some fillings…  Smaller build space, about 2-1/2 inches each dimention of the cube.
  • The third file is G-Code (for us, GBRL).  This is what can “router” a printed circuit board (PCB) out of inexpensive single, or double-sided PC stock.  Easily scooped up from Amazon.
  • And the fourth file to “email a product?”  That would be written instructions with notes on printing (specifying which plastic, for example – since there are many choices) along with assembly instructions.  Or, a simple link to a Youtube video…

What’s come into view is that this is “bare parts” only.  There’s more needed, and toward this end many solutions are obvious.

One is to encourage designers to “kit up” the Balance of Build (BoB) and sell the kits on Amazon.  Small pieces of special metal parts or screws, washers, O-rings, and adhensives, for example.

And what of electronics?  Well, I’ve sent the outline of this “combined making technology” to one of the largest electronics kitting companies in the country.  Their New Products group will look and consider.  We’ll see where that goes.

We still need other parts, though, and some of these are faily obscure.

Mass Kudo’s to Ray

Recently, one of our readers (Ray) was kind enough to send me a list of “Maker Sources” that he’s been collecting.  This list is independent of the 3D Printers and CNC Routers, though.  This list is just good ‘ol Making materials.

I wouldn’t even BEGIN to attempt to visit all of these in a week, let alone in a day on the web.  There’s just too damn much that stimulates designs, which run on the “Goodness Scale” anywhere from “red-necking” a quick solution to a “graceful commercial product.”  All depends on whether it’s a one-off, or whether you plan to kit and sell the products on Amazon, or elsewhere.

Here’s Ray’s dizzying list:

(Have your spousal unit impound credit cards before clicking on any of these links!)

My Own Picks

I’ve had most of these in my bookmarks, though leave it to Ray to spot the obvxious:   Compile the Link List!

Two of the best are and Amazon for small parts.  is the go-to source for custom (and kitted) round electrolytic capacitor work-alikes.  This is critical if part of your “old school” resto projects includes things like classic tube-type hi-fi’s.  Yet, you can re-cap most things.

Speaking of capacitors, you can bring about half of TV’s and monitors back to life with a capacitor kit (eBay, shop by monitor brand and size) OR, if a television, maybe a board swap.  For this?

Sometimes, you’ll want to resurect something (and it’s not Sunday, lol).  For this, if the ressurection involves 2 or 4-cycle power equipment, Jack’s Small Engines can’t be beat. One of the best parts is they have .PDF’s of most manuals on line.  So, in my case, when I was too dumb to intuitively “see” where a Hausy Yt-4345 lawn tractor belt was routed, a reference to the .PDF is why I’m a customer for life of Jack’s.

More than anything, what matters is how you use the resource.  Before you hit any of this sites, jot down a few points about your particular “Make.”  Is it a one-off, or are you going to make enough to share with friends?  Are you going to sell this as an Ultra-Make kit?  One where there are files and small parts?

Order Slower – Match Lazy to Lead-Time

A personal problem I have is  buying too far ahead of making.  The result will be a shop like mine, chock-a-block full of wire, insulations, boxes of filament unsorted as to color or type, and so forth.  Some of these projects can’t possibly be “gotten to” for a year, or longer.  (Which ensures I have to live a long time past 72!)

A key mental discipline of effective Making is to ONLY ORDER WHEN YOU’RE OUT OF SUPPLIES.

You have no idea how many kits and upgrades are sitting in boxes in my office just waiting to be built.  There’s a solid couple of year’s worth.

And metal out in the machine area of the shop?  Lord love a duck!  Insane.

When you have your machines set up, it’s as though a little voice in your head may begin screaming:

You have the machines, so where are the sheet goods?  You really ought to order a few sheets each of 1/4″, 1/2″,  and 3/4″ Birc h plywood and have it on hand to avoid materials delays when you want to build something.  Then, since you’ve got that, get a couple of dozen 2-by-4’s so you can rip them down to size on the  table saw and then run ’em through the planer for precise dimensioning…”

Next thing you know, the brain is awash in idea, the shop is so full of supplies nothing is getting done, and right about here a new crisis will arise (plumbing problems or roof leaks seem to happen when a big build is ready…)

Last, but not least: Look for materials in unusual places..

l recently got a wild hare to build a new antenna idea.  Needed some 1/2″ (or thicker) plastic to do it.  Looked on eBay but the size I needed would be about $30 bucks.

Hmmm…what will work  instead?

A trip to Amazon revealed a 12″ X 18″ plastic cutting board that would to the trick at half the price.  A slow pass through a 10-inch table saw with a carbide blade and I have exactly what I needed for a fractioin of the price.

Oh, and that gets me to one last idea:  Get familiar with what’s in your local “dollar stores.”  For some things, cheap spray paints, or plastic dishes, or….(insert creativity here) can be found.

Go for it!  Gatting hammered, you see, doesn’t mean the same thing to all people.  Especially people who have shops.  (And write when you get rich!)

26 thoughts on “Prepping: & New “Old School” Resources”

  1. I had an interesting discussion with one of the managers I am friends with at a large mega center store.
    I asked how it was working out that they do online sales and deliver them to the car when you pick up.. He said they have had a lot of discussions on this very issue of spontanious sales.. the real issue they have been facing is in the last six months.. SHOPLIFTING has increased dramatically.. they can’t figure out which economic class is doing it..
    I told him that when I worked back during the reagan recession.. we were surprised to find that the ones that were the main shoplifters were , Store managers, store security, and the upper end of the economic spectrum…. we caught some of them with camera’s..
    they have had a huge loss of sales since the implimentation of online shopping..
    The big sign of the coming times is.. the drastic increase in…. SHOPLIFTING….we are talking to the tune of hudreds of thousands of dollars….
    the increase in shoplifing during the eighties was because of the economic down turns..the recession..

  2. It looks like Mike Vrabal brought the Bill Belichek style of coaching & his 3 Super bowl Rings earned while a Pat to the Titans last night as they embarrassed the Ravens 28 to 12. Defensively they made Lamar Jackson look like a Rookie, which he is, only in his 2nd year. Talk about the Titans literally running over the Ravens offensively is what Derrick Henry did last night. I even stayed up until midnight to watch the full game, which is hard for old people.

    • I have always been a huge fan of Mike Vrabal as a player and he is proving that natural football instinct and toughness as a coach. I loved the way he played linebacker as a player for the Pats. Maybe it’s a Ohio State thing. The Bosa Boys, Nick (Niners) and Joey (Chargers) have that same focused, defensive mad streak about them. Whatever it is, it was a Great beat down of a good Ravens team.

      I am another huge fan of the Shanahan family. Older, 2 time Super Bowl champ Mike was a great coach and innovator and his son has taken that intuitive football knowledge and has put together one solid and dominant team in the 49ers. Like the Titans, the Niners dominated the Vikings.

      As a Niner fan, I am hoping it’s a like father/like son scenario. Kyle sure has accomplished a lot at a much younger chances are the Shanahan family have a lot of unfinished business.

  3. The boss opened our 8 year old dishwasher a few days before the holidays and found the top rack laying on top of the lower. Several of the wheels on the top rack had broken away from the rack due to age. I was able to redneck the unit back into place with zip ties and a few well chosen bad words. A couple of calls to the local shops here by the ranch was a waste of time. Any thoughts about looking for parts on each trip back to town always was an exercise in futility. Finally returned to our old friend the Zon and as usual there they were. The first listing was for a single wheel and axle at 6.50 per. WTF, these are the size of a dollar coin. Further search found 4 for 17.50. AYFKM! After spending way too much time looking for a better price I sucked it up and ordered 2 of the 4 pc units for a total 45.00. I may be a tightwad but to me that price was ridiculous 8 little wheels.

    Long story short is these would these not be a perfect example of things that could be manufactured in your own shop. I think they are. And I wager for a hell of a lot less than 45.00.


  4. George

    “One Answer: Is to “defang” globalism by seizing the “means of production” and taking them back to the local level.”

    If the Powers That Be can’t control the makers using their new tools to escape their rigged game then they will find another way to rig it.

    Two ways come to mind.

    Number one is to make it hard to get the raw feed stock to actually make something.

    Number two is to require licenses, fee’s and taxes to actually produce a product.

    Don’t get me wrong I think your on the right track. It’s just that the parasites who run the world will not go down easily.

    Can’t have those peasants leave the global plantation.

  5. The new HP 3D printers produce plastic parts without any layers, or need for supports. Just drop the files into the digital bucket and pull out parts a few hours later. Better parts, printed in color. The market for these machines is small manufacturers that don’t want to make injection mold tooling. The parts are production quality, ready to use.

    My point is that when these machines get cheap enough to put on your workbench, 3D printing will be a vastly different experience with quality parts many times better. What you know ow about 3D printing is crude parts that are hard to make by comparison. Bottom line, it’s going to get better and better, and this latest tech is trending towards affordability. It always will. We are just getting started really. Think of the hp multi jet fusion as analogous to the first color tv.

  6. The local Lowe’s has the GE Refresh LED light bulbs. I tried ’em in the 5000 K variant, then bought some more. I have bought samples of the LED bulbs in the past, but I haven’t really liked what I’ve seen until this batch. Looks like I’m making the switch from CFL’s.
    I still haven’t tried outdoor LED floodlights yet. That’ll be the next upgrade.

    • GE Refresh LED light bulbs

      Thanks N____ I am going to try those.. I made the switch a long time ago.. but as technology advances I am sure its just getting better..I have a couple of the high output flashlights.. god that thing lights up a city block.. amazing

  7. Bookmarks notes:

    I culled my current bookmarks for these because I believed a few of them would relate to “Ultra-Make,” but all would be of interest to George and there might actually be a couple he didn’t have (there are many more, and more-interesting ones, on a computer I can’t get to right now.) A few of the links, like Antique Radio Parts and Steve’s Web Junkyard, go to others’ links pages.

    The reason for HD, Lowe’s, and Menards is because the box stores are often among the cheapest sources for quality new tools. Menards is a regional Wisconsin company and its southernmost store is in Branson, MO, but I got the impression from their website that they now ship some items nationwide. Also, HD has begun selling 3D printers and supplies, partially because Dremel is now in the 3D printer biz.

    Brownell’s is in the list because there are a number of gunsmithing tools which can be handy for the DIYer, especially for printed circuit board-level work. I didn’t link to Midway or CheaperThanDirt (which are often cheaper than Brownell’s) because sometimes ya gots ta see the whole catalog before you can decide which tool is best for your application.

    Find the tool or part first, THEN decide from where to purchase it…

    Tone Lizard is a Canuck who restores and mods antique music amps. I first hit his site nearly 20 years ago when I wanted to learn how to align tube testers.

    Sequoia Brass is about the only place in North America where I’ve found a reliable supply of high-purity solid copper rod which could be used as grounding rod in acidic or alkaline soils (acids and bases “eat” all grounding rods, but because of the electromotive mismatch, will dissolve copper-plated steel “grounding rods” within a couple years), or for difficult grounding situations like sand and stone, which drain so quickly their soils don’t supply an adequate ground through steel. (Menards sells 10″ wide by 50′ and 100′ rolls of thick copper flashing. If’fn you need to ask why I mention this, y’all haven’t been paying attention to our host…)

    The links are in no particular order — just how they came up in a quick grep. I have dealt with every one of the vendors at one time or another without issue, but I make no claims, representations, or recommendations, and of course, YMMV…

  8. In a pair of tweets, Rouhani admitted that “Armed Forces’ internal investigation has concluded that regrettably missiles fired due to human error caused the horrific crash of the Ukrainian plane & death of 176 innocent people,” adding that “The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake.”

    As I said, Iran’s missile batteries can NOT be fired by a single person. Somebody had to order the hit.

    Now, where is that passenger manifest…?


    How to make stupid people and low-information sheeple support the Ayatollahs:

    Trump Tweets Support To Iranian Protesters, Warns Government Not To Harm Them As They Chant For Regime To Go

  9. ah nothing like a deflationary depression .. watch old salty pull another one out to get his ego going .. or the strange bloke in vegas .. hes in another world .. yep everybody fixed , gold and Jerome .. get your new caddi !!! god bless lying

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