"One Perfect Part at a Time"

Resting on an Obsession

I got myself into a binge improving my websites. I have to admit that web publishing and doing it well has become a personal obsession as big as working in my shop on “hardware” projects.

I suspect that creative work is never finished as almost any design engineer, graphic artist or programmer will admit they usually come to a stopping point rather than a finish. There is always that one more little tweak that can be added. At least I find that is true for me. What it becomes is a point of diminishing return and a decision is made that the mission (project) has been accomplished. There is no obsession to keep going.

I think I am at that stopping point in updating my blogs and website displays. Well, maybe it is more of a resting point. I am satisfied with design at the moment. I hope that for my sake it is a rather long rest. Ha! Now I can just need to train myself to just add content material and stop playing with design of the box.


There is an aura of obsessive perfection about a machine shop and the people who enjoy machining. It stems from the general knowledge we work in the realm of one thousandths of an inch (or 0.0254mm). Not so well known is we sometimes get into one ten-thousandths of an inch, thankfully not often.

Some machinists, especially the newer untrained hobbyist types have an overwhelming creative desire or obsession for dimensional (± 0.000) precision. That is not the meaning of my THMS slogan, “One Perfect Part at a Time”.

I know there are times to be critical of exact dimension but that most of the time there is an important thing called tolerance. Good design includes and specifies tolerance. Professional (expert) mechanical drafting always includes allowable tolerance (and surface finish) as a printed specification.

Hobbyist many times work without specification of allowable tolerance. Hand drawn sketches usually don’t get into that detail on a one off personal design. Experience tells us what is critical and what is not.

I find when time is my cheapest resource I will invest it toward achieving some level of what I consider appearance perfection. I am comfortable taking time when not in a production “time is money” situation for a good “cosmetic” finish. I am definitely not an obsessive perfectionist of any genre. I do my best work with considerable clutter around me. The clutter is of course part of the process I am performing.

My workshop in pictures looks obsessively clean and I sometimes get email about that. I keep it “tidy” between major work sessions (part of that cheap time resource) but it is far from sterile.

So I rest on my case for obsession. I think my only real obsession is to enjoy working in my hobbyist machine shop.


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