"One Perfect Part at a Time"

Request by Readers

Where is it made?

I received an email from a person who had been viewing my ecommerce web site. He asked me where (what country) a certain product I sell was made. The product is sold from Germany but the first thing I replied was, “with today’s world economy, he should have asked where the product was assembled.”

I didn’t know the answer so I gave this person the toll free number of the distributor in the USA and also the email for the same. I also made a remark (maybe unfairly, sorry) that it is far easier to dial a free number and ask, than to read three mindless guys posting pure speculation in a forum like somehow the answer was a secret and none of them had a telephone.

At least my guy wrote to me (a dealer) to ask. I wasn’t chiding him. It’s OK to ask the horse for the answer and hear it directly from its mouth… Ha!

That is as far as my response went, but it did set me off to thinking. Asking where (what country) something is made is a fair question. It is interesting information. I use that kind of information to influence or create an image of quality or sometimes lack of quality. It’s a common marketing ploy.

Today it is more smoke and mirrors than helpful decision making information. Leaving politics out, we are truly in a world economy. Many things are much better made and lower cost because of this fact. Even the American (Made in the USA) slogan where some people here in the USA demand 100% USA parts, seldom get it. The bauxite used to make the aluminum I machined on my Asian lathe to create the Made in Texas, USA component might have been imported from Canada.  Yeah,… Continue reading

Where’s the Beef!

The “beef” is in the bun. Some of my readers sort of ask me that question.

I have received a number of emails wondering what my latest project might be of if I still like or use such and such a tool that I published in my now aging website. I think it is mainly because I have not made any major updates in the old style web pages for awhile.

The truth is I still report rather actively but not in the same way as I have in the past. I started my THMS web page before there were such things as dynamic web site Blogs and CMS (Content Management Systems) like Joomla. There is actually quite a bit of work building a pure static HTML web site.

I still like the old format when I want to publish a full article with lots of pictures. The total control is awesome. But I am finding more of a liking with the high level presentation format available in dynamic publishing.

Most of my web pages now have both a URL identified server where the management code is stored and lives but also requires the services of an SQL database server to hold and provide the dynamic data. It sounds complex and it is. My several blogs (WordPress), one Bulletin Board (TEDEX), and multiple Joomla sites all require two remote computer servers to provide the viewer the content you see, like this very page.

The result is that publishing content is 10 times easier once the website is set up. I love the design complexities and that creative exercise, but when I want to post something like this, it only takes five minutes or less, just the time to log in and upload, and the world can read it fully… Continue reading


I have been punishing myself by fretting over the TEDEX forum. I started it may years ago even before the current date which is showing about 5 years. It has been closer to ten years as I had one system crash that totally wiped out the original forum and messages during a move between ISP server companies.

Blogs like this one were not even thought of or invented back then. The BBS and Forums were and still are great places to share information in an interest group.  Blogs do that too but require much more user discipline. I tried it here for awhile but management was messy.

I got within two weeks of shutting the TEDEX down. I am just today placing a hold but still counting on the fate of TEDEX. I love the Internet but it truly is a “big city” cesspool. I don’t want to regulate freedom of communication but regulation is necessary when it is my own and isn’t universal.

The TEDEX forum is now a private membership by request, but open for general viewing except for the pictures. Only members (logged in) can see the pictures.

I hate to lose all the information and pictures available in TEDEX by just shutting it down. It is still a great place for members to post whatever they want. I know some folks like to think of it as an on line club room. That is OK with me.

The welcome messages in TEDEX tells the story.

New Publication Format

I am nurturing an idea for a “future state” THMS web publication. The literal big picture is video. I believe Internet bandwidth and present day hardware are fully capable of exploiting this content delivery method. Example: My last post contains video.

Since the beginning of the World Wide Web, but more so as it became commercial, the medium has been handicapped by the belief (and a self standard) we could not abandon the old obsolete tools and practices of the past. Some websites today are still being constructed to accommodate text only browsers. I am not trying to be a techno snob but, TEXT ONLY BROWSERS!! Give me a break.

The Amish value the “simple” life, so the horse and buggy make perfect sense. But just like the horse, text only browsing is not in my view a mission of the modern highway called the Internet. Yes, it can be accommodated over on the berm*, but it is truly out of place. (*Chiefly Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. the bank of a canal or the shoulder of a road.)

I am designing my future messages using the visual method of quality video presentation as well as continue my present standard of high quality photography. The video and new photo story pages will be in a new format section linked to the present THMS website. The present “frames” site and this blog will continue unchanged.

Blogs are the hot delivery medium, and I already have three. I decided not use the blog format for my new design. I won’t be looking for easy feedback, as blogs attract a huge assortment of low life and spammers because of that feature. I presently reject 99.9% of entered comments because of off topic abuse. In my… Continue reading

What will it cost to make this for me?

I receive requests from designers and people with ideas asking if I can make something for them. Most of the time I say no, because I have enough projects of my own on which I would like to be working. There are also some designs that are beyond my means, usually because it is too large or requires special tooling and materials. (I wish I could charge the designer for the new tools!!)  Some if not most of the designs also suffer from knowledge of how things are made on machine tools. The sketches and drawings show holes where they can’t be drilled or unnecessary and difficult areas requiring multiple setups.

These requests show that there is a need for prototyping services and these inventors and idea people have problems turning their ideas into products.

But prototyping is not as simple as sending out an unproven design for bids. (Yes, I know it is done.) But I am talking about solicitations from hobbyist and small time inventors who have never worked with a prototype or even in a machine shop. A good design is one that can also be made as inexpensively as possible on standard machines and tooling. That seldom happens on the version #1.

What I am saying is the folks who approach me don’t realize their design may need a lot of cooperation (face time) between the designer and the maker. Of course I am not talking about a bar of aluminum with two holes drilled into it. The designer can do that himself. I see the hard stuff, like machining threads on a very thin tube and the tube is thinner than the thread depth. (Yes, I have seen this.)

Outsourcing prototyping is not inexpensive. Building a prototype may cost 100 to 1000 times what… Continue reading

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