"One Perfect Part at a Time"



The metal machining area and tools of my workshop have seen some action today. The Taig CNC mill has been busy cutting the 6061-T6 aluminum making 1 inch wrenches I designed for the Taig ER16 spindle and collet nut. I have been selling them under the KautzCraft brand in my store. It seems appropriate that the machine the wrenches are designed to fit are also making the wrenches.

The aluminum was purchased from Online Metals. They have a distributor in Grand Prairie, TX which is southwest of Dallas. Round trip from my studio was exactly one hour 30 minutes. Tolls and gas were probably almost as much as shipping would have been. I had the time and I wanted to see the supplier. I didn’t get past the will-call, but it is a large impressive warehouse and cut to order shop. It’s actual business name here is ThyssenKrupp. I don’t know anything beyond that.

Win 10 was giving me a bit of a struggle running CNC as I forgot to disconnect the LAN connection and WIN 10 decided it needed to do an update in the middle of my wrench making. No choice. It just corrupted MACH3 and locked it up, luckily just after I finished a part. Only choice offered was load update and quit or load update and reboot. No wait until later.

I had to find something else to do for about an hour as Microsoft did its thing. I won’t forget to pull the LAN connection next time. I did just that when I resumed work. Next upgrade will be on MY terms. Grrr… I think there is a way to block internet connection while letting the computer access and share files on the LAN. That’s all I need it to do.

The wrench… Continue reading

4 Inch Machinist Vise

There is now another new tool in the THMS workshop. I received my four inch machinist vise from the Little Machine Shop and have it installed on my Sieg X3 Small Mill. I think it is a great addition to the manual mill and have posted a review in The Hobbyist Machine Shop. http://thehobbyistmachineshop.com/cms/workshop/4-inch-machinist-vise

Jump over there for a close look at this medium priced precision machinist vise.

Tight Squeeze

newvice4inchTexas weather has finally relented from the high temperatures and we are now into an El Niño wet spell. But it does mean that it is very comfortable for working in my unconditioned garage workshop.

I do have heaters for the winter but no air conditioning for the hot weather. So Fall is the season for me to spend more hours in the shop.

I am presently considering an addition to my Taig X3 Small Mill. I just made a repair to the DROPROS digital scales I have on the machine. Unfortunately, I haven’t been using it enough to keep the memory backup battery charged. It is a 3Volt rechargeable Ni-Cad rather than a large button cell. I killed it once a few years ago and it died on me again just a few weeks ago.

I sent it back to DroPros the first time (free repair) but I did it myself this time. I found the exact same replacement battery on-line. What happens is the Ni-CAD discharges so low and for so long that it reverses one of the cells. Then it will not take a full charge. New battery and the scales are working perfectly again.

How I discovered it was I had a project that I wanted to use the manual mill and the digital scales. I finished the project with the manual scales and ordered the battery.

The project went well but I decided I really needed a heavier and larger vice on the X3. I have been using a 3” screwless vice for years. Now I am looking for a 4” lockdown style vise. It may or may not look like the picture shown. It should weigh about 35 pounds.

The larger jaws, heavier weight and especially the screw action should make my set-ups much easier. I should also… Continue reading

Lighting Efficiency

I am a professional Certified Energy Manager (CEM) with a few other credentials (BEP) (CSDP). So let me say my real occupation is in energy management and conservation. I am not one of the radical “save the planet” phreaks, but I do take a very practical sustainable approach to energy management.

So anything that can be done with reasonable expectations and return on investment is on my todo list. Many things being promoted today are more political fodder than a practical solution.

One great advance today is in LED lighting. Where there is a need for good lighting, very low heat and a huge reduction in power, the LED lamp has come into it own. Here is what I have begun in my own shop.


LED LightingThis is my X3 small mill. I have two task lights, one mounted on each side. Each fixture is rated for 100 watts but I always used 50 watt PAR20 bulbs. You can see one illuminated in this picture. Using both fixtures, it is 100 watts and most of that power is radiated as heat rather than light.

You can see how “warm” the color tone of the light is. This is typical of incandescent bulbs, especially as they age.





LED LightingHere is a closeup of the same picture as above. On the left is the incandescent 50 watt bulb next to the 9.5 watt LED PAR20 bulb. On the right is how the LED bulb is packaged. You can see on the package it is a PAR20 FLOOD, lasts 30,000 hours and is 500 lumens. I chose the 5000°K bulb which is a very white “outdoor” natural daylight color. So it uses more than 5 times less power and will last 15 times longer than the old bulbs. The LED lamp is built far more rugged… Continue reading

The Twins

DKshopI have a son and a daughter that are twins but they are not in this picture. Ha! What is here is my younger than today self and what I called the Grizzly twins. I think I used this picture in The Hobbyist Machine Shop when I first started writing it. I sold both of them (together) to a fellow who drove down from I believe Michigan just to pick them up.

I had them all tuned up and running sweet but decided to move up to the Lathemaster and the X3. I built the bench just to hold these two tools and the bench has seen a wide variety of machines mounted on its surface ever since.

I found this PIX while pursuing some old files and thought I’d share this blast from the past.

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