Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

We've been quite busy but today we get to relax a bit.


All wrapped up.


Spider Man




A lovely card.




Lego Books.


All unwrapped...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Making Some Hooks…

I had to make a larger jewelry display for the local food co-op. The hooks the earring cards hang on are somewhat expensive and not really available in the length we want at a smaller wire diameter. Besides I wanted less of an “L” hook and more of a gentle bend at the end. So I made some to suit.


Drilling some steel rod.


Milling a 45 degree angle on one end…


One short piece of rod drilled only 1/2” deep.


Other piece slips over the end of the rod.


Bend down to 45 degrees.


Look at that…


That’s the type of bend I want to make it easy to slip the earring cards on and off the hooks.


Here’s my high tech setup for whacking up a bunch of bronze welding rod (which I had laying around) to length. That’s a rivet trimmer (scroll down to "Rotary Rivet Cutters") held in the vise.


The stop allows me to cut them all to the same length.


A pile of blanks.


Used a cup bur to round the hook end of the blanks.


I set up my Geometric die head with #6-32 chasers.


Done…I love my die head. I could have theoretically set the turret up on the lathe to part the rods to the same length, round the ends and cut the threads but that seemed like more work than the method I chose.

Here’s a short video of the operation.


This is what happens when you don’t lock the tailstock…


A pile of threaded blanks.


All the blanks bent.


I ran them in a tumbler with some walnut shell, wood pegs and rouge for a day. Didn’t completely remove several decades of oxidation but made them acceptable.


And all the hooks screwed into the display.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I didn’t realize it had been so long since I had blogged…hazards of the information age. You haven’t been missing out on much. Here’s the latest fun project, a home aquarium:


Home with a bag of fish.


Such excitement.


Max is the fish obsessed one but Henry likes them as well.


Four fish. Poor doomed little fish.

Besides normal life I’ve been working on some 3D modeling work for TDC and their website will someday be updated with the new designs. It’s nice to have a third part time job, I think I was slacking with just the Taig sales and jewelry.

In hobby news I finally found a few new airguns to play with and blog about, although I’m a bit heavy on bb guns right now. It had been a whole two months without getting a new airgun and I was going through a bit of withdrawal.

I finally gave up on getting Photoshop Elements 1.0 to play nicely with Windows 7. I’m trying out although I find It’s easier to do file saving and renaming as a batch job in Irfanview after editing and color correcting the pictures in I find it hilarious that’s homepage has google ads that tout other photo editing programs. In any case it’s a good piece of software and free.

As part of the above mentioned modeling job I often have to illustrate steps taken in Rhino so we can keep on top of the process. Turns out Windows 7 has a neat program called Problem Steps Recorder (just type PSR in the search bar). It captures everything in a .mht archive file that’s .zipped. Unpacking the .mht into html and separate pictures was giving me fits, I finally decided to just save everything out from IE separately as the unpacking programs I found didn’t work. Wake up! You fell asleep from the boredom.

Felice and I both transitioned to using a dual monitor setup on our PCs. I can’t believe I used to suffer with only one monitor. One thing that will drive you crazy is trying to get the displays to have the same color and brightness, etc. I found that by opening this picture in separate windows on both monitors was a good reference for tweaking the settings.

I know, I’m not being nerdy enough. Last month I also installed Virtualbox on my PC then installed Ubuntu linux on the virtual machine (yes nerdburger, I did just upgrade to Maverick Meerkat). Virtualbox is pretty slick not that I have any real use for it.


Oh yeah, I checked a bunch of rechargeable batteries with my multi-tester. Some days I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.

If you grew up in the Boston area in the 70’s you definitely remember this from almost every movie you saw.

George is working on rebuilding a Whizzer bicycle engine:


And I found this at a yard sale for free:


but I donated it to Goodwill. I didn’t have a Colecovision which was needed to get it working and it took up a ton of space I don’t have.

So that’s the last month and a half or so.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Latest Things

August has been a bit busy, so you get a dump of pictures and links…

Here’s some pics from DaVinci Days


Max Likes Bugs

07171002 07171003 07171004
Off to save the galaxy.

And some from the Steam Up:


Evey year we take a pic in front of the biggest Cat.


Kindly fireman.


Spotted a time traveller…


And his wife.


Walker Bulldog.


Yes it is.

08011007 08011008 08011009

Neat home made rail bike/cart.


Spud took Max and me fishing down the Long Tom.


Small fry.


Going back into the river.

So that’s the last month in pics, at least the high points.

Besides that I’ve been messing with computers a bit (I’ve bought a bunch at yard sales dirt cheap). So here are some computer links:

I bought this IOGear Keyboard for use in the bedroom, works well although the trackball doesn’t work well beyond about 40 degrees tilt.

How to boot from a USB or CD even if your BIOS won’t let you. Very handy, allowed me to restore a $3.00 laptop purchased at a yard sale.

CPU-Z tells you everything you need to know about a PC. Great for dealing with unknown hardware and figuring out what’s what.

Guimark is a great way of benchtesting a machine’s flash performance (I use the “Flex 3” test). Amazing the differences a little ram or CPU speed make when rendering Flash streaming video.

I installed a Netgear WG111 wireless PCI card (no Amazon link because I wouldn’t recommend it…) on one of the Barn PCs. It disabled “Fast User Switching” – AKA the normal XP login screen. Here’s an article on how to get it back. It’s 2010, Netgear, get your act together!

Online “Crap, I left my Caps Key on while typing that 10 paragraph blog comment” converter.

And some other non computer links:

Telegraph Instruments of Europe

The Making of a 15th Century Cannon

Harry Epstein Closeout Tools

Kolbasti Dancing.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Old Telephone

Picked up this old telephone at the thrift store today.


Interestingly enough there’s a twin of this phone in the Benton County museum. I’m guessing they came out of the same place, but that’s just a guess.


Not really ergonomic.


“Property of American Tel & Tel Co 323 Pat USA Jan 14 191?”


“Western Electric”


They really want you to know who owns it.


MIssing the bell, if it had one.


Old wire bundles.


The bottom…

If anyone knows about this model I’d love to hear about it. Googling hasn’t turned up much beyond the museum link above.

EDIT: My friend Kent says: "With no dial it came out of the Julian, Corvallis, or Benton Hotel, if local. That way it was hooked to a switch board. When the reciever was lifted a light came on at the switch board, the operator then plugged a 1/4 phone plug into that hole and asked what number they wanted. The switch board operator had a dial, and dialed the number wanted, then plugged the lines together. If they were real nice they unplugged their line or else they didn't and listened to the conversation. Either way when the phone was hung up the light went out and they unplugged the line."