"One Perfect Part at a Time"


Small Update

I haven’t written here for some time. I have been spending a lot of time on the HB2 making stuff from wood that just didn’t seem appropriate for posting here on the machine shop blog. However, it is machine work when you come right down to it. It just isn’t a METAL machine shop project; picky, picky.

Yes!! I have posted SOME of the wood projects so the choice isn’t an absolute.

I have started to build up a materials order sheet for making a small model airplane diesel engine. It looks like a fun project and totally within my capabilities. I may have to push a little into some inside threading work that I have not done but that doesn’t stand out as a problem. There will also be some machining of clear plastic required for the fuel tank. I am wondering how that will go. That is also new to me.

I have been kicking another interesting opportunity (for using the machine shop) back and forth through emails with a friend. You may know that I am a long time (40+ years) Amateur Radio enthusiast. There is an area in UHF and SHF radio type activity that could use the skills of a machinist. The microwave bands use very short wavelengths measured in inches or less. The radio generation, amplification and transmission equipment is not made like High Frequency equipment. There are NOT a lot of wires and discrete components connected together in a loose arrangement. That just doesn’t work at microwaves. Many parts are actually machined from solid metal and use extremely precise dimensions in cavities and rod length and other very mechanical contraptions. Metal patterns on circuit boards become active radiation components just from their shape and location.

I have a fair idea how all this… Continue reading

Taking Stock

I am sitting here in my work shop typing away at the shop computer. Until I started typing I was just surveying the machine tools and just sort of taking stock. I always do that, especially after a clean up session. That’s another thing I just did. I gave the workshop a good clean up.

Now the clean up is not a perfect one but it looks better than it has in a long time. I have had just too many things going on with the disasters and all, to stay on top of it. But now I actually have clean space again to work on projects.

To me “taking stock” is not so much a literal term but includes examining myself and deciding what are my work shop goals and objectives. I let the HB2 project kind of rule the shop. That is what was needed to stay on track and get it completed. HB2 took about a year. Time really flies. Now I am considering , “What now”? HB2 will get a workout on carving projects but I need some metal work too. The Pennsy A3 is still calling me.

I renewed my subscription to the Model Engine Builder. I like IC engines as well as EC and there are some folks doing wonders in miniature engines. The shop I have is perfect for most of that work so I am considering another engine project. Probably a model airplane Diesel or glow plug engine. I’ll see what grabs me…

The Creation

With HB2 running it has been fun refining MACH3. There are just so many things that software can do that I am always experimenting with settings. Thank goodness everything can be saved under various setup names. I have two main versions, one for the little Taig CNC mill and the other for HB2.

I am also spending time with the Vectric Aspire software. This is a serious program that works very well at composing very nice projects. I hesitate at saying it creates very nice projects as I feel that is still a human function. Aspire is simply a tool.

I am making signs and nameplates. I am looking for the “killer app” that will be something I can make in suitable volume for sale to others. Gross profits after taxes will go into a building fund to eventually find or build a better shop. That is my long term goal.

The replacement metal gears I sell have been a good sideline but the lack of inventory is killing me. My import person is also beside himself wondering what is going on. I can only think there has been a breakdown somewhere in the shipping process. I can’t sell from an empty basket or without finished product of my own design.

All in all, I am still excited HB2 is a success. Now to put it to work.


This blog is attracting a lot of European registrations. Most are just name and email registrations through gmail. It is obvious who they are. A few post inappropriate links that the filters eat. Yum!

I try to understand why but I am at pretty much of a loss. I assume it might be a way to improve standings in the web crawlers, but most seem to be private entries. Maybe it is just a game. Perhaps they just want to belong. If it is marketing, it is way off track. (Old railroad term). It does prove (I think) someone is reading this blog. Ha!

TEDEX was suffering the same flood, so I shut the door.

At TEDEX I first suspected frustrated kiddie hackers who have written or downloaded a program that crawls the web just trying to blindly enter and join open blogs and BBS’s. However, I don’t see how they get past the visual filters. So it must be live people with a lot of time.

Joining here is quick and easy but just permits replies. Not much status there. Most post nothing after joining. Those that do take the form of very strange links. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. Maybe they are barefoot like me except when I am in the shop… 🙂


North Texas Hobby Board (or Blog)

I sent emails to the posted contact persons for two (as they identify themselves) North Texas home machinist groups. Neither post that they have a web site, just a contact email. I offered to create a free message system (either a Blog or BBS) for North Texas home machinists to contact each other. I don’t intend to start another organization, just a common communication site, since they do not seem to have one.  My involvement would be completely invisible other than top level administrator. The board activities would be controlled by others. In fact any group could have their own space if desired.

No feedback yet so it is as I suspected, probably old contact data or they are waiting for their next “meeting”. In any case, if you are located near Dallas (That includes Oklahoma or elsewhere) and would like to see a localized board for posting about home workshop activities let me know. Does anyone think a bigger “service” area should be included?

What I would like to see is a place where any creative hobby can be posted, metalworking, woodworking, boat building, quilting (huh!), etc..  A place to brag what you do or ask questions on how-to. Also a place to find out about something you need. Say a quilter is looking for someone local who could build a nice wooden storage case. Get the idea?

This Blog is too personal for this and TEDEX works well but is also too associated with my activities. I dislike commercial boards (Yahoo, etc.) as they are heavily marketing directed. Maybe people like the ads and the fact they are tracked.

The truth is the software is free and I have already paid for all the server cost in my other activities. Other than the time… Continue reading

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