Monday, December 28, 2015

An Expensive Lesson

I violated a rule a couple of weeks ago. I didn't even know it was a rule until after the fact, when Phil Oles acquainted me with it. It's called the "Three Tooth Rule," and it basically says, "when cutting, make sure you have at least three saw teeth in the material at any time."

I found out that if you violate the rule, you are liable to have two simultaneous outcomes:
  1. A loud bang.
  2. Broken parts.
Sadly, the broken parts were on one of my most prized tools, my Bosch compound miter saw:

Sunday, December 27, 2015

An Experiment in Frugality

I just saved $4.13! That's the cost of 30 ea. #6-32 x 3/4" screws at Home Depot. Of course, it took me two and a half hours to do it, so that comes out to $1.65 an hour. Makes McDonalds' wages look like the 1% by comparison.

When I wrote about my recycled 14-drawer cabinet from Radio Shack, I mentioned that I was going to use part of it to store hardware - screws, nuts, bolts, etc. I recently took stock of what I had on hand, and found a pretty motley collection. But of #6-32 machine screws, for some reason I had 70 screws of 1-1/2" length. No other lengths, just that one, which is actually sort of long for such a small screw.

I got the bright idea that I'd make several fixtures to hold the screws, to allow them to be shortened to a standard length.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Vise for Cutting

First off: yes, it's "vise." The other word, "vice," is something different, as in "Miami Vice." But if you're looking for a big metal holding thingy on Craigslist, it pays to search for both spellings!

Part of my modest collection of machine tools is a small metal-cutting band saw. I had been using it with varying degrees of success with a homemade sliding table, but I wanted better. Specifically, I wanted a vise that could hold the material very near the blade, while keeping my fingers a very safe distance away. After pondering a bit, I bought this at Harbor Freight - on sale and with a 20% discount coupon, it was only about $15:

Monday, December 14, 2015

My First Engine

My first automotive engine rebuild was actually decades ago, but this is something different - my first engine built from scratch! Not very big, and not really able to do useful work, but it's an engine, and I made it from a small pile of aluminum, brass and steel. It's powered by air: