Monday, May 30, 2005


I played with Rhino a bit today and did some of the tutorials. The software is incredibly easy to use. Too bad my sculptural abilities aren't that great. Here is my first rendering of the Rubber Duck model
The whole control point approach to deforming solids obviously is going to take some time to learn. Many years ago I embarked on a series of sculpting projects where I made a whole bunch of skulls in gemstone. Since then I haven't done anything 3D at all that wasn't a machine part. So I'll have to access that part of my brain again...

My parents will be here this afternoon, so we cleaned up the house (more an excuse to clean as I don't think they care that much). Had a lovely dinner last night at the (drag racing) neighbor's house, Henry made some great messes.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Geeks behind the curve

I spent some time this morning posting comments on various blogs, spurred by this post (via Make Blog), several blogs have commented on it (here, here and the original post here). what amazes me is how clueless the posters are that the revolution in home CNC fabrication has been underway for at least 5 years. (see my CNC links here, and Taig user pages and pictures for more CNC home use).
I think it shows the degree to which the fabrication end of design has been overlooked by most techie types. Even with a small manual home shop you can design components without once resorting to duct-tape or the Dremel tool (not that there's anything wrong with duct-tape), and with a CNC mill you can make incredible things. If these people would save their pennies for a small machine tool instead of buying the latest Ipod/Imac/Iblah and the 15 disc limited edition Lord of the Rings DVD interactive trivia game they would be able to actually effect their environment instead of just talking about it. That sounds pretty harsh, I know, but someone needs a wakeup call: "The Future is Here, Dammit!"

Saturday, May 28, 2005


I'm letting Henry sleep in so I can have some mental health time this morning. My loving parents are coming to visit on Monday after my cousin Peter's sentencing, I mean his wedding this weekend.

Kent sent me this link that should make those that are merely cluttered feel like pikers.

Figlet has a great post for those of you who need to learn about the international adoption process. I recommend studying it thouroughly before asking stupid questions. I wish I could write such bitter posts without worrying about offending my stupid friends.

Just the other night I was telling the guys at Kents about my obsession with reruns of "What's My Line" on GSN. I took much ribbing over my love of an old gameshow, but this WSJ editorial made me feel justified about my historical interest in the show.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Goop Eye

Henry was over at Marcel's house yesterday and their cat has a goopy eye and was in his carrier awaiting transport to the vet. So all last night Henry kept saying "cat, goop eye, vet", over and over again. For our cat, Henry said "goop eye, no"

The picture of Henry and Trevin having a slap fight has been making rounds all over the internet. I keep seeing traffic to my web pages from all these odd forums, from goth-metal band forums, to NFL fans. It seems when you type "slap fight" into google it is the most evocative picture of a slap fight displayed. I think I need to take the picture down, but I also think it's really funny. As for why people need a funny picture of a slap fight? Couldn't tell you.

We had friends stop by this afternoon so that's all for now.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


I'm a professional writer now, I received my first check for an article I wrote in the Home Shop Machinist. Can my ego get any bigger? I finally finished the gear article, I'll let it sit a day, reread it to make sure I'm not insane and submit it. I have about 5 articles waiting for publication.
Writing is easier money than making jewelry or digging ditches, but as with all the jobs I do it won't pay the bills all on its lonesome.

The weather is lovely today, Henry is not sick anymore. I spent the day updating my web pages.

Here is a spam-ku:
Pre-Open Stock to Watch
New to the Stock Game
Unbelievable Investors Alert

And another:
You Have Been Sent an Invitation
Hamsters are Running for their Lives
Don't Sell Your Blood

(each line from the subject headers of spam I received today)

Sunday, May 22, 2005

I'm Not That Tired, Mom!

My loving mother complains whenever I say that I'm tired on my blog. I'm glad to report that I am currently wide awake, full of coffee and cookies.

Here is an uplifting story about one curmudgeon's day teaching some valuable lessons to a neighbor's kid. It made Felice cry.

I am almost done with Phyllis Diller's autobiography, it is a fantastic story and history lesson. I now need to find Bob Hope's autobiography. I saw Bobe Hope deal with lefty hecklers at the big Earthquake benefit in San Francisco, I am pretty sure that he flipped the audience the bird at one point. He made a bunch of golf jokes and a reference to his friend Ronald Reagan that didn't go over that well... I'm glad I had a chance to see him once.

Do you have any questions about aseptic packaging? I never realized that "tetra-pak" referred to the tetrahedral shape of the first aseptic packages. when you have a kid you learn all about juice boxes. Why do children prefer juice in boxes?

Friday, May 20, 2005


If you ever want to crack Felice up, lip-synch to opera.

I spent the day writing the article on involute gears, almost done. I now see gears when I close my eyes. Other than that we are all still sick, Felice is off to the market tomorrow and Henry and I will stay home and play.

We watched several episodes of "Kung Fu" tonight. It is amazing how cheesy a show it is, yet compelling.

Felice and I both started reading Phyllis Diller's autobiography,"Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse". I'm only in about ten pages but it had me laughing almost every paragraph.

Sleep now.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Henry now says "careful", or rather "cawefuw" when he does dangerous stuff like climbing up the bookcases or jumping off the bed. I guess it's a first step.

We were officially the last people in the world to watch "Team America", tonight. It was very funny, and quite evenhanded. The Pearl Harbor song was my favorite - I hated that movie.

We are all still sick. If you don't hear from me for a week hire somone to clean our mummified bodies out of the house.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Today, sick as I am, I milled a 16 diametral pitch , 20 tooth 14-1/2 pressure angle involute gear out of flat aluminum.


Exciting, huh? I even milled a second and they mesh perfectly. Wow, my life is EXTREME!
It took 12 minutes to mill it out with a 1/16" two flute endmill running at 10K rpm and a feed rate of 5 inches per minute.

Here is the best machine job shop logo I have ever seen

Other than the profoundity of gear milling, today has just been a day of snot and aches.
It has been raining for the past month and a half. I ad-oregon!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


We all have colds, stuffy noses, scratchy throats. Misery. So not much today to write about.

I did some more involute research and have succeeded in drawing a very close approximation of a perfect involute gear. Next step is to mill two out of aluminum and see how well the overall method works. I hope to have it all tied up into another (boring) article soon.

Did you know Google will do research for a fee? I would never be so desperate, but maybe you will be someday.

I just finished watching the latest episode of "The Shield", Glenn Close is working out well in the drama. Here is a recent interview with her about the show.

I really need to get over this cold quickly.

Monday, May 16, 2005


Today on a whim I hooked a webcam up to one of my microscopes. I need to machine a permanent adapter but I think the results came out ok.

A penny

A #10-32 tpi screw (from crest to crest is 1/32" of an inch)

Anyway, we watched "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" tonight. Henry sat with mouth agape and took about 80% of the movie in. I'm turning him into a little movie buff, or scarring him for life. It was a good cathartic-surreal-neo-60's-comedy, and Bill Murray was excellent as always. Anjelica Huston is hot. I can tell I'm middle aged now because of that.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

mundane or boring?

I am not sure whether today falls under the heading of "mundane" or "boring". Henry did not sleep well last night, his head cold kept him awake until we finally dosed him up with some tylenol. Giving a screaming child tylenol guarantees a visual similar to a volcano as the pink liquid is expelled from around his mouth. Luckily we got enough in him to quell whatever pain was causing him suffering and he fell asleep. Poor guy is dripping his weight in mucus every day.

I spent a couple of hours drafting an involute gear in Autosketch. I was somewhat stymied as I was following directions for drafting with paper and pencil, and CAD programs do not have some of the same methods. It was impossible to draw a line tangent to a curve without knowing the endpoint, luckily I remembered that a line tangent to a circle is perpendicular to a line drawn from the periphery of a circle to its center. For some reason the involute curve I drew was a little off, I'll have to do some more research.

Henry says that an orange section is like a "ju-box" (juice box), and Felice has just explained to him that it is "nature juice".

I took apart the bedroom VCR as it seems to be mutilating tapes. Once taken apart so I could run it and observe its actions it has failed to mutilate any tapes. I suspect the culprit is not the VCR but the tapes which stretch over time and suffer some rough handling from Henry. We'll see.

Now was that boring or mundane?

Friday, May 13, 2005


It's official, I'm the sort of guy who bothers busy people to ask incredibly stupid questions.
I recently got into an argument over whether there were other countries besides the U.S. which mentioned happiness in any official documents, such as a constitution. So I went to this site and emailed the owner with this question:

Hi Professor Jones,I stumbled upon your site while trying to win an argument about whether any other constitutions besides the U.S. constitution mention "pursuit of happiness" as a right. I found that the Japanese constitution also enshrines this right (not surprising considering the circumstances), and the proposed constitution of Bhutan, but was wondering if you know of any other constitutions that enumerate that right or one similar in intent if not wording.

Thanks,Nick Carter

I then received this response:

Dear Nick Carter:

If the U.S. Constitution mentions the "pursuit of happiness", it is news to me. Are you perhaps confusing the Constitution of the United Stateswith the Declaration of Independence? Among the inalienable rights ofall men that are mentioned in the second paragraph of the Declaration ofIndependence is that of the pursuit of happiness.
John Paul Jones

So now I feel like an idiot, because I know that the "pursuit of happiness" is in the Declaration, but as I was researching constitutions it got stuck in my mind that I was referring only to constitutions.
You will notice that he didn't answer my question.

Which would you, dear reader, rather be: a well meaning idiot or an unhelpful pedant?

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Busy all day, highlight was Henry using the "big boy" swing at the park for the first time, held on to the chains and didn't fall off. Other than that, I got nothing.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


My beloved cousin Peter says he is the only person reading the blog, so I should write down the gossip from Corvallis and Philomath. The sad fact is that my life, and my community are devoid of anything even approaching a gossip worthy event. To make up for that, you can read the candidate biographies for the Philomath School Board.

I found this passage interesting in a New York Times article on North Korea

Tonight, Japan's prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, played down Pyongyang's statement.
"It has been making gamesmanship sort of remarks," the prime minister said of North Korea, according to the Kyodo News Agency.

Has Koizumi read Stephen Potter? Sounds like he has.

Finally, Samrost is one of the coolest little games I have played on the web, should take you about 20 minutes. Beautiful design.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Henry has developed a habit of whispering "Wake Up" with a very sinister intonation. He also talks about ghosts a lot, which makes me think he sees dead people. I wonder if we can make some money off of that?

Today I got creeped out by reading the manual for Rhino and listening to Sirius Classical. They were playing Alban Berg's Chamber Concerto opus #8, which is dissonant and disturbing, like something you hear in a 50's psychological thriller.

Last night I ended up surfing through Korea into Europe until I found this site that offers possibly the most disturbing toy for a child ever, Hieronymous Bosch figurines. Ok, maybe they're not intended for children, but they would be a great birthday gift.

To cap the creepy off, we watched Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events. I think the movie was a work of genius. I wish I'd seen it when I was ten or so.

Monday, May 09, 2005


Felice ordered a gift for her niece (our niece) through Amazon. Estimates had it delivered with plenty of time to spare for her birthday. Turns out the estimates are wrong, and the gifts haven't even shipped yet. You would think Amazon would let you know, but we had to figure it out by the absence of any thanks from said niece. Let's see how long it takes to get a reply to Felice's email to them...

You guys know that you can leave comments on the blog right? Can you leave comments?
That way you can insult me and my pathetic life.

We watched "Ray" yesterday. We started out watching the "extended version", but the lag between cuts when you watch it with the extra scenes really eliminated any dramatic import so we switched back to the theatrical release version. Oddly enough the movie defaults to the extended version even though it (the direction, or cutting) seems amateurish. We liked the movie, and Jamie Foxx is a great actor (and act he does!). I didn't like the way the movie ends with Ray kicking his heroin addiction, it's as if he wasn't interesting anymore once he got his life back on track. I'm as interested in how a person lives the 2nd half of their life as the first. A little more about the interactions with other performers would have been nice as well. Oh well, it's not like they made the movie for me...

Sunday, May 08, 2005


Yesterday I at a piece of pineapple and got a little fiber wedged in between two teeth. It felt like someone was prying apart my skull.

I was reading an ad for industrial robots yesterday, did you know that Fanuc has over 140,000 robots working worldwide?

Today is mothers day and I didn't call my mom. Sorry. In all fairness I have to deal with the mommy here, although again I didn't do much besides make lunch. My mom sent Felice a balloon bouquet, but Henry has made it his own special friend/tormentor.

I bought Henry a powered Brio locomotive but all he does is leave it running against an immovable object. It is imperative to have rechargeable batteries when you have a child.

I bought some new CAD software, just waiting for it to be delivered. It looks to be very versatile. Of course there will be a learning curve of a month to a year, and I'll probably have to get some new CAM software to take advantage of the features. But I need to learn, and keep learning, or perish.

Friday, May 06, 2005


Ebay kicks ass! I listed two tools today and one sold within 47 minutes and the other after only 4 hours of being listed. Of course this means that I should have set the "Buy it Now" price higher, but that's no guarantee that you'll sell it at a higher price. As it was I made a goodly profit and decreased the pile of stuff I have to list.

Sidenote: It is really hard to type when Henry is screaming "Thomassss!!!!!" at the top of his phleghmy lungs.

I also received the first order for my new 40-50-60 hole index plates which is encouraging. They are a testament to the potential of my little Taig CNC milling machine. The machine can drill the 153 holes, mill out the center hole and trepan the disc from a piece of plate in about 20 minutes, while I sit and drink coffee.

Notice how much more frequently I'm posting?

One last thought, Is it my own paranoia, or is it almost impossible to buy a sack of potatoes that is less than 50% green? They make the plastic either brown or red coloured so that you can't tell what state the potatoes are in. I try and peer into the 1/4" airholes, rubbing the sack to move the potatoes all around in a pathetic attempt to determine whether they have the deadly alkaloids. Unfortunately there is no solanine tester that a shopper can scan the potatoes with. I guess the thing to do is see it as an extreme sport.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


Felice made the 98 photocopies we needed for the various adoption paperwork demons. I ran herd on Henry at Staples while she was doing it, showing him all the miraculous items available. The one product that amazed me was the Microsoft fingerprint scanner which I didn't realize was on the market at all. It does not gauge whether the finger has been severed from the owner's hand, so I don't think I'll be using one for my sensitive documents.

If I am ever in Alberta I think I'll stop by the Canadian Museum of Making which looks quite interesting. The name is a bit odd though, "Museum of Making", when some other word would probably suffice. Are there other museum names that end in "-ing"? It's not like we have a "museum of arting" or "museum of sciencing". A quick Google search finds a "museum of fishing and smuggling", so I guess there are. I wonder about stupid things.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Uneven Shoelaces

My cousin Peter sent me a link to Ian's Shoelace Site, and I emailed Ian to ask him why, after a week of tying and untying, my shoelaces ends were uneven in length. Here is what he said:

"You asked about the ends of the shoelaces shifting. I'd guess that your shoes are probably laced with either Shoe Shop Lacing or Straight LazyLacing. Both of these do exactly what you described. This is because of theuneven distribution of tension. The solution is to re-lace with any of thesymmetrical lacing methods."

I guess I have to relace my shoes...

Monday, May 02, 2005

A Busy Day

I woke up at 3:00AM for some reason last night, and lay in bed with my mind grinding over sundry tasks and obligations that lie ahead of me. I was able to go back to sleep sometime around 5:00AM and awoke at 8:00AM.
My first task of the day was to wash the coffee press, as the dishwasher is broken. After breakfast I took the dishwasher apart, looking for the source of the malfunction. The cause was well known, several weeks ago a plastic chopstick had been chewed up into the machine, but after a terrible noise nothing had seemed awry.
I found that the plastic drive coupler that joins the impeller to the motor had been stripped out. I spent an hour on the Taig lathe making a threaded insert out of delrin and modifying the coupler. The part seems to work but the dishwasher does not seem to drain correctly. If I can just get it to work in a "half-assed" fashion for the week I'll call the lonely Maytag man and have a professional repair done.
Felice is completing the 2nd round of adoption paperwork and had me figure out or assets, only to tell me after an hour's work that the information wasn't needed after all. Ahh, marriage.
Well, that was an exciting post.
Here are a few links:
About Tokyo Rose
University of Nebraska Historical Scientific Instrument Gallery

A New Blog

Since I am unable to do my own blogging, I decided to see if starting a Blogger account would help. We'll see...