ShopTalk Sunday: Problem-Solvers, Tooling Up, Machine Runs

There is a ton of material this morning – mostly in the form of stories and vignettes, so pour a long cup and let’s have a go at this:

EBay Bargains

T’other day on eBay, I was out “buying information” and I came up with a couple of real gems.  Before I tell you about them, though, let me give you my “shopping excuse.”  Writer’s are sorta like computers:  To get lots out of them, you need to put lots into them.  So, as a professional (ahem…) writer, I have an “information and research budget of several thousand bucks a year.

Thus, when I see something interesting on eBay, I have no qualms about clicking and buying.

This week, I picked up a couple of gems.  One of which is the Woodworkers Guild of America’s “Shop Made Problem Solvers” DVD.  Someone was cleaning house, or something but this thing set me back a whole $7-bucks including the shipping.

Wow!  Notice the wall behind the host:  Loaded with shop jigs.

I’ll tell you why this is important:  Because anyone can take a drill or router and eyeball something and kluge together.  But a couple of hours watching George VonDriska’s “problem solvers” (jigs and setups) and how he made them?  What a bargain!

Thing is – even the early episodes of “This Old House” were very good – anytime you can spend with a Master of any craft – is time well-spent.  $7-bucks and two cups of coffee into it, I was thinking I was a genius.

Curiously, not a lot on Amazon (who’d have thought?) but click over to the WWGOA website and take a look at some of their DVDs.  I was really impressed so this will become a “regular” eBay track for me.  Although that $3-dollar a year deal on the WWGOA website looked interesting, too.

Thing is?  You’re smart, I’m (well, it’s debatable), but given enough time we could figure anything out.  But lemme ask:  Who has “enough time?”

Second gem?  75-year DVD of Model Railroader.  I didn’t but I have regrets!

Right Tools for the Job

Mostly sat on the wallet this week, even though a pretty good-sized tax refund from I.R.S. landed. Besides, once you get a good stable of power tools, maybe the “Top-20” the rest is in technique, job planning, layout accuracy and a lot of other “fine points.”

One of which is a “folding rule.”  Yeah, yeah – been a HUGE fan of the Stanley Fat Max series of measuring tapes…forever.  For one thing, they will self-support out to almost 8-feet horizontally.  If your “helper” is helping herself to a break in the house, or if the helper had a hangover and didn’t show, then a 6-1/2 foot folding rule is extremely useful.

What many people don’t know is they come in two flavors:  Inside reading and outside reading.  I opted for “inside reading” because if I stick a tape into a cabinet to measure, I don’t want to play ‘flip-around’.

Only my experience, but an “inside measuring tape” lays flat with the still folded part on top so the tape lays on the work doing layout.  Outside reading is a PITA because the 1 in on the left and the big numbers on the right.  Real PITA (wait, or is it the other way around?).

Right Adhesives

A couple of “problem children with glues recently.

For example, attaching the red light strip to the inside of a skateboard helmet (new light crown -NOT SPEED CROWN) is not well-suited to photo resin glue (as I pissed away an hour learning).  Loctite 406 (holds in about 1 minute) may be the winner – we’ll see.  But the marketing spiel is that it is surface agnostic.  I’m anxious to find out.

If it works, I will give it a try on the additional neoprene skirt for the 12″ HF chop saw.  Although that dust collection 3D print works like a charm.  Now I’m going for perfection.

Hot glue (Gorilla and generic) didn’t hold the neoprene skirt.  Maybe I have no patience (*yeah think?) or maybe the materials just ain’t “pal-sy.”  406 may solve that one.

Keep Them Machines Turning

My brain is always working, so I like to keep my machines going all the time, too.

This week, so far, four of those metal-look napkin holders have come off the CR-10 print line.  And several large (190x190x140 mm storage boxes.  Getting. anymore, so when I open a fresh roll of filament to print, I like to have a whole roll’s worth (and then some) of objects set to print.  No point getting humidity into filament and spoiling it.

I did mention UltiMaker Cura is up to 4.10 on revs now and just keeps dialing in better incrementally?

Didn’t have time to set up either the small 3018 or the larger 3040 CNC machines.  But hell, the lawn got mowed.  Can’t do it all.

Let’s Have a Tumble!

Another one of those “machines in waiting” which has been patiently sitting on a shelf waiting for me to stop doing other stuff was the rock tumbler.

Years ago, Harbor Freight had this dual rock tumbler on sale.  It was like $39.95 on sale.  *(They were about $65 when I looked Saturday).

Never tumbled (rocks, lol) before.  Simple enough:  Add 3 pounds of rocks, two shot glasses worth of coarse grit (one to each half) and fill with water enough to cover the rocks.  Seal up and wander off for a week.

At which time, you rinse everything out, only this time using a finer grit, a third time another week later.

Doesn’t make too much noise and seems like fun.  Only takes a few minutes for each task step.  Mostly you’re letting time do the work for you.

Progress as we go.  Hundred dollar pastime, though. Less if you’re near a beach.

Elaine’s got this idea that sounded pretty neat:  “I wonder if I could cut the rock, arrange and glue them down.  You know…like a “rock painting?”  (How this question arises while wearing a cut-off Hooters Tee-shirt and black PB Bunny ears is one of those mystery’s of the Outback. Where do these ideas come from?   Never sure what to focus on with E…well, maybe I ain’t that old…)

3-Hour Project

Did I ever show you the 110 and 220 VAC outlets out in the shop lean-to?

If you’re comfortable doing wiring (or know an electrician who likes beers to do the final 10-minutes of the job) putting 220 wiring for a welder on one end of your shop is well worth it. Fumes and sparks stay out.

Don’t miscomprehend: I love welding everywhere.  It’s the sparks I get paranoid about and they’re better outside than in.  And on a breezy day no messing with fume fans, for instance.

OK, millions of minor projects and plans…have a great Play Day and remember to work as hard (or harder) on your own projects as anyone else’s.

Write when you get rich,

37 thoughts on “ShopTalk Sunday: Problem-Solvers, Tooling Up, Machine Runs”

  1. Rut ruh G
    – sniff, sniff..that is without a doubt a kettle of fish I am catching a whiff of this AM………..Stone Pictures – Intarsia !

    Ure gonna need MOAR tools – U slut.

    thats right – nippers, dedicated dremel, trim saw-a must, jewelers epoxy..
    Personal opinion – some of the most beautiful art ever made – constructed 100% natural materials that can be experienced in & on many different ways and levels – meditatively speaking.
    U go E! let that genius flow or is it grow?

    • “Ure gonna need MOAR tools – U slut.”

      Lol lol I can totally relate to that Comment.. the boss was giving me guff just yesterday because I’ve corrupted my grand children lol..

  2. Today is my 67 BD. I have been in construction since 8 yrs. age (installed asbestos insulation in crawl-space attic). Did underwater builds for two years in Eastern Aussie and a dozen years Film-TV @ T.O. and built live-theatre for five yrs.
    “Tool Slut” is my middle name.
    Dedicated supporter of G. and E. and U.S.A.
    Never forget Urban Survival

  3. Did you buy a sincturizer or do you still have to send your 3d parts out to be finished?

  4. re. Model Railroader magazine archives CDs (DVDs?)
    I am a serious modeler, mostly trains the last 40 years. (70+) There are many articles on machining and electrical gizmos but the electronics wonders are in the more recent (>2K) issues not on the CDs.

    I find the articles useful even at the theoretical level. But not something I would highly recommend to a more generic hobbyist. I have seen in the past where you have a general interest in the hobby, but not too serious. I, on the other hand, have been NMRA Life since 1971 and have many models. Some plastic, but mostly cast(ZAMAK) and brass. Hence my digression into metal working. Even had a new layout started when the most recent stroke left me in a wheelchair, unable to walk.

    Overall, the CD set (DVDs?) were well worth the cost to me but would have less value to one such as yourself. Mostly for ideas not specifically related to trains but still useful. Remote control, et al.

    Which leads into another (semi-related) field, 3D printing. I do not have one. I seem to have an aversion to plastics in general. I will use a silicon mold to cast low temperature alloys (bismuth, &c). But generally shy away from plastic as the end result. My loss, I’m sure, just the way I think.

    Wife has one; I bought her one a while back but never got involved. It may well be still in the box. She was “day dreaming” on the subject, possibly along her boyfriend’s train of thought. So I sprung for one, at which point she seemed to lose interest. “Boyfriend” is probably a misnomer, she has a grandson older than him. I am 10 yrs her senior and she is a deep north (Maine) yankee country girl. Just someone to talk to, I am an engineer and don’t say anything unless I have something worth saying.

    re. Stick’em (glue)
    The subject came up on a “machinist’s” hobby site a few days ago. Looking to surface melt Delrin. . . I have been using MEK, methyl ethyl keytone, for years. It has been removed for sale from retail outlets because of some ho’made drug. But, I think still available from industrial suppliers. I mostly used it as a generic plastic cement, works beautifully. Still have a good stock on the shelf, but now reserved for those plastics where nothing else seems to work.

    Motorcycle helmets were of some wierd plastic composition way back when. DOT safety specifications are to withstand only 13 MPH impact. Seems silly to me, I used a ‘Snell’ police half helmet that has withstood a much higher impact several times, but not DOT approved. I have “decorated” mine occasionally, using MEK. It held good, on older models. I haven’t ridden since I started having strokes, can’t always remember which way is up. Besides, the Moto Guzzi Eldorado got lost when I was outside the country for a few years. Seems no other machine “feels” the same, Japanese or European. Sort of like you and the Porsche. . .

    The point is that MEK holds some plastics that nothing else will touch. LocTite may have a more modern adhesive; I tend to stick to older proven solutions. Again, just the way I think. FWIW, I still have a supply of “Trichloroethane 1, 1, 1 tech.” on hand. It’s been outlawed for years, but still has its’ uses for archaic electrical equipment. I AM aware of the hazards and use it appropriately.

  5. Ure stuck on glue,, drill some holes in the helmet, heavy duty thread and sew/lace/rope-a-dope the lights to the helmet, Ya, I was a rodbuster at one time, tie wire and pliers #9 Kleins
    my lights came! they are Quite flexible , 1/8″ thick, 5/16 wide 6″ long with a 6″ pigtail on each end, can be daisy chained together, have a 3m tape on the back, 9 leds per strip
    bicycle helmet? why did not I think of that, duh
    let us know about the red lights,,, healing?
    my lights
    I am wondering if a 9v battery or 2 would do? freedom of movement while lighting up

    • Look great.
      I am building another l/c and this one is on a metal/fiber hard hat base with the 9 pt suspension ripped out.

      Then, using a 16 foot 600 LED light rope (red) which specs 660 NM but that’s at 12.8V – if you drop the voltage down to 9, still fire, but you get red-shift so around 680 or so – even better. When you turn up voltage the wavelength gets smaller. Like a voltage controlled oscillator (some configs) but with visible output.

  6. Thanks for that picture/idea of the 110/220v outlet you used in your shed project. I have a use for that in both my garage and shop. That’s wired 220v to the double box and the 110v is a spur from the 220v, correct?

      • That will work(tapping one leg of the 220 to neutral, but unless there’s a local breaker, its only protection is the 40 or 50 amp breaker at the panel.

        Of course, if you only have a 20 amp 220 feed, you’re safe.

        Regarding sparks, I worry more about them outside where they can start a wildfire than inside a concrete garage.

      • We just had another inch of rain overnight…leaving the implied formula (in spreadsheet logic)

        IF Dust[shop[] is > flammable than Dried Vegetation [outside] THEN [outside shop] ELSE out [inside shop]
        GOSUB [Shop VOV explosion risks]
        # lol#

      • Bingo! That’s what I did in my ham shack (spare bedroom) when I needed 240vac for the new linear amplifier. After crawling the attic and pulling some #10-3 down into the radio area, I put in the 240vac outlet for the amp, and then split the two sides into two separate 120vac outlets on separate circuits to power other ham gear and the closet shop outlets.

      • LOL great broadcast minds. I went with 2X #12-2 w/g and put half my 110’s in office on one side and half on the other. Also only run one of the amplifiers at a time (J Thunderbolt OR SB220) by only wiring up a single 220/240 crowfoot.

    • That works but is definately not code acceptable. Watch the load imbalance. I used a 4×4 box outside so could avoid cutting the siding. Just a small hole, a short 1/2 nipple, and lots of caulk. That way the siding can be (m/l) reused if needed.

  7. A distant relative tumbled rocks and glued them on a pre made bracelet designed for such things. It was an amazing gift for a preteen. I absolutely loved it to death…the rocks fell off.

  8. People would go for brightly polished boulders around their pools and yards.

    In order to tumble a boulder one would probably need a cement mixer.

  9. Yeah, I have a rock grinder sitting on the shelf, waiting for the critical part… the “Round Tuit”. I have some red granite slab to cut and polish and apply conductors to test it’s resonance (like a pure quartz crystal). Was there a reason the Egyptians and other megalithic cultures used red granite for those ‘special’ blocks or saracophagus??

  10. The best glue for a lot of that stuff, especially nonporous plastics where a glue has to attach to a slickery surface is RTV silicone. IMO nothing works perfectly…

  11. Dad got Mom a Thumler’s Tumbler for her birthday, back in about 1967. IIRC it cost ~$20 and used two 1-quart paint cans with rubber inserts (for use as liners) as the tumbling drums. We were doing a lot of camping during the summers. When we did Michigan, we spent 3 days at Petosky and a week at Grand Marais. I collected four (~35-40 pounds each) garbage bags of Petosky stone and agate, respectively, from the beaches… ‘Kept my mother happy and occupied for years!

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