"One Perfect Part at a Time"


New Look

If this is not your first visit, you notice the look of this site has been refreshed. The content hasn’t changed but there is now a family resemblance between the THMS blog (here) and The Hobbyist’s Machine Shop.

They always work together and now they look like they belong to each other.

This blog site runs in a Content Management System (CMS) called WordPress and the Web site uses a CMS called Joomla. Conveniently I have a site design tool named  Artisteer that permits me to share a site design between CMS systems. Some background info, but you can see the results.

I think is looks new and refreshing. I like the change.

How to Cure a GAS Problem

I ran across an interesting read in a Photography blog called F/8 (f-stopeight.com) written by Olivier Duong. I had an immediate impression about his style of high contrast B&W photography. I think it is interesting but just not my bag. It works for him and that is all that matters.  What I do like is what he has to SAY in his blog about photography and his case of GAS, and that is spot on.

His story is a line about Gear Acquisition Syndrome he acronyms to G.A.S. and having G.A.S. attacks. What he writes about is using “Self Talk” as a justification and it sure hit home with me. I experience self talk all the time, but I almost always talk myself out of the mistake.

I haven’t gone overboard on camera gear, but I easily could. I may be close to the addiction edge on machine tools, computers and other hobbies. In fact I see where what Oliver has to say reaches far beyond his world of photography to many other acquisition addictions.

I like that Oliver doesn’t knock gear acquisition per se, but only when it conflicts with his intention of becoming a great photographer. It’s a confession of a camera gear addict that has found a way back to sanity, like a recovering alcoholic.

His words ring true. GAS is an addiction and like all bad habits, can’t be erased, but they can be replaced with a different response.  Go read what he has written. Ignore he is writing about camera gear. You may as I did, see a part of yourself.

What a Workout!

I just spent about 100 man-hours doing a total overhaul on “The Hobbyist Machine Shop” web site. The site has been in existence with constant updates for about 10 years (a decade!). I decided it was time to set a new standard with a fresh look and feel. Actually it doesn’t look all that different from the original as I was not about to start from scratch.

Previous articles here in the BLOG cover the essentials. I have changed from a static website to a dynamic Content Management System. The background operation is very much the same as this BLOG. There is a MySQL database at the root of both systems.

There is a wonderful world of extremely good open source free software that makes projects like this affordable for users like me. “The Hobbyist Machine Shop” is now running Joomla. Follow the link for more information. It is built from modules that allow unlimited configuration. Some modules must be purchased, but nothing critical. I pay a (low subscription) fee for an enhanced text editor for example.

This BLOG uses WordPress and there is a link on the home page “Log In Box” for the program.

Web publishing has moved into a new era.


I had to re-link every picture to its new location. So I was actively involved re-reading everything I have published for a decade. Not everything I write gets published so that is probably a good thing in this effort. What has happened is I re-lived every story and project.

Now I literally want to get back on track with things like with the Pennsy A3 project. Maybe a lot more live steam projects. I see so much I’d like to do; I just have to have a second life (maybe a… Continue reading

The Hobbyist’s Monster Soup Update

The last couple of posts indicate I am doing an update on my “The Hobbyist’s Machine Shop”.  I am half done with part of it. Ha!

I have decided I am going to convert the entire old website into the new CMS style. It’s been great fun reliving all those old projects and there is still a bunch more to go in the WORKSHP and VISITORS tabs, a lot more. The web site is OVER 10 years old and I am discovering the several different styles and three editing programs I used.

PHP and CMS are still very much HTML so most of the work is just copying files from the old to the new. Sounds like alphabet soup doesn’t it?  The end result is I think the new pages look very good. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) takes care of the new consistent style. (More soup anyone?)  A few links are broke in the new pages until I get the Workshop pages converted. There are some internal cross links to that section. I hope I can find them again. The web site is VERY large.

You are welcome to browse the new pages but they are still a WIP (Work In Progress). I added a link in the top right column. There are a few places where I need to do a rewrite due to the changes. I did a few already, but I have been working harder on the transfer than the rewrite.

If you are the type that likes to look for those things, this is your chance. I probably know of most of them, but you may find one or two bugs I don’t know. I fixed a few expired external links but there has to be more. Drop me a bug… Continue reading

The Monster That Ate My Machine Shop

New THMS front page sneak peek

Sneak Peek

“What have I done? What have I created? It’s too late now. It lives, it is ALIVE!

Uh, well it’s just an update to “The Hobbyist Machine Shop” website. It is just starting to take on a life of its own. I was expecting it would.

I am moving the old pure HTML website into a PHP coded, MySQL database assisted, Content Management System (CMS). I documented my intention and provided more information in a previous post.

As of this post I have the new monster breathing and it can be viewed live at http://thehobbyistmachineshop.com/cms/.

It’s not ready for prime time with only about 8 hours work on it so far. When ready, I will change the link and the new site will just open without needing the “cms” directory pinned on the end of the URL.

I already like the better file management the CMS provides. The present (old) site is a monster of its own far worse than the new one as to how all the pieces are stuck together. I was going to let the old monster live and just start using the new beast for current events. That creates a lot of look and feel differences. So I am pretty resolved in letting the new site devour the old until the old can just go away.

That’s no easy task. There are hundreds of directories and many thousands of files. I have found a way to copy and paste and transfer whole directories of files and pictures. But that means I have to re-link every picture in an article to its new location. I could leave the photos where they are and the links will work just fine. Then the photo files live outside the expected structure of the… Continue reading

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