"One Perfect Part at a Time"


Not Makin’ It

After working in my shop on a successful project I sometimes ask myself if I could make a bunch of this or that and sell them for a profit. It’s fun to think about a running a little cottage industry. I bet any reader of this blog has thought the same thing about something they enjoy doing and making.

I have published many times my thought that most of the hobbies I do involving manufacturing are not because it is the least expensive way to make something. Usually it is the only way. The onsies and twosies items hobbyists make are more like expensive prototypes than mass production.

Examining all the costs and time involved, I have satisfied myself that most people including myself won’t pay for all the costs of something that can clearly be mass produced at a lower cost. The perceived value must be greater than the cost to produce plus reasonnable profit.

What we call “original art” falls into that  category. There is an emotional value with original art that makes it worth owning at higher than mass production price. A plain wooden mass produced box can probably be imported to the USA, completely built for $0.99 and after hand carving, painting or finishing at a cost of $10.00, can be sold for $25.00 at a boutique. Making the box from scratch, one at a time may have a COST to produce of over $25.00. If you are an artist with talent, the same box may be worth $250.00 to someone.

So the options are to become very good and fast at duplication or provide something special that has far more value than the cost of the time and material. I think it takes a little of both. Actually, getting paid well to make prototypes… Continue reading

New Article

I wrote a new article and posted it in the “Articles” column to the right. It is titled What Goes Around. It has to do with rotary tools and my selection options for the power head on the HB2 system.

Ramblin’ ’bout tools and personality

Again, I am caught up the design and construction of machine tools. The purpose or the products, for which these machines should be used, keep sliding back in my timeline. I wonder if I am more involved with the creating tools than I am involved being creative with their use. But then in a way, after proper cogitation, I realize I am actually being creative. A fine working tool or machine is a worthy accomplishment and good utilization of one’s time. That is being productive.

Is time spent thinking about being productive actually nonproductive time? Not for me, but any period of thought can be viewed by some folks as non productive. It all depends on personality. At one time my major employer (TAC) encouraged employees to know their own personality and that of their coworkers. This stems from the sixteen Myers & Briggs personality types now in vogue. There is some descent on this being valid science.

Never-the-less I test as an “ISTJ” personality. I dislike being put in a box, but I admit this is my comfort zone. You can look up ISTJ on the link if you want to know what it means. Hobbies or non work activities almost always relate closely to personality type comfort zone. Like I said, it is where I prefer to operate because it is most comfortable, but there is no lid or lock on my box.

Work life is “in your zone” when it is something you really like to do. In that case work is NOT a four letter word. Stress is a foreign expression when a person is working their zone of comfort. It is a wonderful experience when you can match your work to your personality. The first step is to know thyself. ~ Socrates

A Memorable Weekend

I am a veteran so first and foremost this weekend I honor and respect those who gave their lives in the duty of their country. I am among the privileged to have returned alive from wartime service. We are all privileged for the lives given for us.

So I enjoyed the long weekend. It started with something special I did on Friday, That event and result I’ll post here later. I don’t have it all yet but a hint is it has something to do with gas pains.

Cutting the grass was #2 but that is an almost continuous duty.

Here is a picture to drive wannabee hobbyist machinist a little crazy. They all tell me they want to see the “chips” Ha! 😆 I have removed the “project” and will detail what it is a bit later. For now I have to clean up this mess.

Update 6/1/08

OK! Here is the LINK to what caused all this mess.



I have been making more lithophanes on the Taig. I don’t plan to show them all off here. Some day when I have enough  “good” ones I may decide to do a gallery here in Ramblin’ Dan.

I just ordered a backlighting kit from http://www.vibelights.com/info.html. Once I have it tested out I will show the results here. I may be buying a lot of these things.

The 5.5″ x 12″ work area on the Taig is fine for what I am doing now. However, the urge for a larger working area is always lingering. All my designs for a larger HB2 keep ending up looking like a certain commercial product. At least the designs with the components I can afford to use. Don’t be surprised (I won’t be) if HB2 ends up being a hybrid of commercial and home brew. There is little if any cost advantage to total component scrounging. As I have written in Funding HB2 there is retained value to tie in with a recognizable brand name product.

Next anticipated big event for Gloria and me (and Steve and Danielle and Aunt Shelley) in this little corner of N. Texas is the arrival of Tessa our first grandbaby sometime this month. Pictures will follow and of course Gpa’s plans for making “things” for her.  😉

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