"One Perfect Part at a Time"


A Visit to My Personal Machine Shop

I keep judging my shop’s quality. I consider, “Is this as professional as it should be? What are the right tools for me?” I feel it is so much a personal decision; I will never see or believe an answer from anywhere but within my own desires. If I am doing machining just for the challenge and personal pleasure to myself, no one else can tell me what’s right for me. One thing a personal machine shop is… is that it is personal. So be it… it is then a personal machine shop.

Is there a difference between a hobbyist’s machine shop and a personal machine shop? I think it is mostly just a difference in title, but that little change in thought from hobby to personal does make some subtle change in impression. To me it removes the vision of play and non serious application of time. It sounds a bit more “professional”. Maybe even to the imagined ability of producing professional grade work. The roles and actions have not changed at all. It is just word crafting to create subtle changes in how some people relate words to meaning. It is the basis of how “political correctness” works.  What’s the difference between garbage man and sanitary engineer?

I have never had a hobby where quality wasn’t important. Many hobbyists find a way to maintain the very highest standards and output from the skills and equipment they have and can afford. Hobby machinists for example, can generally produce with a far better standard than is needed for professional work. Even with “hobbyist” machines.

I feel describing my shop as a “personal machine shop” can be an image enhancement to the non hobby person. The same reason the personal computer (PC) is now seen as a professional tool. The… Continue reading


I decided I should move back on topic here in the THMS Blog. One perfect part at a time is a hard challenge. I am the first to admit I am far from perfect. How boring life would be if everything was perfect. That’s why I doubt heaven or whatever that great place you want to be in the next life is as perfect as it is cracked up to be. If it is, it might be a place for a short visit but I wouldn’t want to live there forever. But then it all boils down to the definition of perfect, doesn’t it? Perfect could be just enough frustration to keep life interesting. A need to make enough bad parts to make the good parts enjoyable.

Wow! No wonder metalwork is such a perfect hobby!

Note the heading doesn’t say, “One Perfect Part EVERY time.”


Halloween Thought

I have discovered I might have all that I need to die happily in my machine shop. Well, almost. It’s that “almost” that will keep me alive in the long run. Just one more tool then I will die happy. It may be the “just one more tool” that keeps me alive forever. What do vampires know about immortality? HA! All that awful yucky blood and stuff…

It’s bad enough when I nick my finger.  I have a cute little scar on the back of my left hand middle finger where earlier this year I let a 10,000 rpm end mill remove some flesh.  CSI (Crime Scene Investigators) would have enjoyed figuring out what happened at the scene of the accident from reading the resulting blood splatter. <’ulp…>

Ninety nine point nine percent of the time I practice safe workshop.  That’s ok as long as the last tenth remains minor. The vampires can stay in their dark places, thank you.

Small Stuff

I am still in lust for the smaller projects. I had a discussion with a caller about machine tool size. I admitted I liked some of the larger machine tools, but I have no projects that can justify them. Mostly I cannot justify the very high cost of the tools or the materials. I’m just in my comfort zone where I am.

I have been doing some recent machining so small I have to wear one of those dual lens magnifying hoods to see the work.  When I push it up or take it off, I always feel amazed at how tiny the work is that I was doing. I think it is a lot of fun doing miniature machining.

There is a trade-off between modeling something very small for display and… Continue reading

Object-Oriented Machinist

I was exploring some computer programming software information and I discovered this analogy. Is so good, I have to share:

…Simply stated, object-oriented design is a technique that focuses design on the data (=objects) and on the interfaces to it. To make an analogy with carpentry, an “object-oriented” carpenter would be mostly concerned with the chair he was building, and secondarily with the tools used to make it; a “non-object-oriented” carpenter would think primarily of his tools. Object-oriented design is also the mechanism for defining how modules “plug and play.”

I know what I am. What kind of hobby machinist are you?

Good Feeling

I received the thrust washers for the HB2 yesterday. Great quality and FLAT washer type bearings. I am so used to seeing and using stamped washers with a crown and rounded edges and imperfect holes, it is a simple pleasure to see a perfect square edge. Why do I feel good about such a simple part? I guess it is just the precision of a well made part and the machinist in me.

NOTE: Log in is for admin and members only, not required to post comments.