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Archive for May, 2009

More Machining Adventures

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Parting Works!

I parted one of my aluminum bars tonight. I guess that will seem boring to most people, but I was in the garage for three hours, and they passed like ten minutes. I had a blast.

I fixed up most of the wiring on the lathe so I could push it back against the wall. This is not something you want to do every day with an 1100-pound machine. I had left the machine pretty far out because the wiring wasn’t done.

I decided to use plain old Alumaflex conduit instead of the expensive waterproof stuff. The upper end of the conduit was going to be open toward the front of the lathe, so it wasn’t going to stop fluids, and I have no plans to hose down the lathe anyway. And I already had a box of conduit.

I tried out my new 11″ back plate to see if it would clear the metal panel I made for the VFD, and I had like an inch of clearance. More than enough. That was a good Ebay score.

Once I got the lathe back closer to the wall, I decided it was time to try out the parting advice I had received. I tried indicating the 8″ aluminum bar, but just like last time, it was hopeless. It’s so heavy the weight pulls it out of line when you loosen the chuck jaws. I had to give up and mount the three-jaw chuck. Carrying that 4-jaw job around and holding it while trying to get the spindle threads to catch is not much fun, so I really did not want to take it off.

I mounted my new cobalt blade in my toolpost with around 1 1/4″ extending out. I had to do that, because the work was 2″ thick. I put the lathe in back gear, got the angle as close to 90┬░ as I could, and fired the motor up.

My only problem was that the blade wasn’t rigid enough to cut perfectly. When I got close to the center of the work, the blade flexed enough to sink under the work and leave a 1/8″ nipple on it. I suppose this is only a problem when you part something fairly thick.

I’ve been told to avoid parting things, because it’s slow and likely to break tools and mess up workpieces. I may get a cheapo portable band saw. There is no way I’d use my wood band saw on aluminum. I’d have to get a special blade and change the speed, and it would be a pain. The saw is supposed to be good for both wood and metal, but that doesn’t mean I have to use it on metal.

When the parting was done, I put a new face on the work with an AR tool. The face was gorgeous. You couldn’t get a prettier finish without polishing it. Then I turned the dial two thousandths and turned the whole cylinder down, to within 1/8″ of the chuck. I did this at about 1350 RPMs. The finish was not good. Lots of vertical lines. Maybe this is not the best tool for the job. I could grind a radiused HSS tool. I guess if I moved slower, the finish would be better, but it would take a week to go three inches.

I turned the post 45┬░ and chamfered the work with the AR tool. I hope that’s kosher.

I love machining. It’s as much fun as using a good table saw, only without the sawdust.

I have to find out whether turning the dial one thousandth reduces the diameter by one thousandth or two. I didn’t see that information in the manual. I guess the calipers will tell me.

Boat P3ner

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Crap Gone, Footrest Installed

Here’s a big shock. I’m currently feeling extremely smug.

But I have a good reason this time. I used tools competently again.

My dad had a problem on his boat. He had a helm chair with a footrest attached to the stanchion with a sliding aluminum collar. The footrest was toast, and the collar refused to come off. I posted about it here earlier.

He wanted to cut it off, but I insisted I had a better idea. I had a bunch of threaded rod and some scrap lumber. I cut a few holes, put it all together and ended up with this (now I have to see if the camera-phone photos worked):


I’ll bet everyone wants to know where to get a pair of boat shoes like that. I think Dad got the only pair made. You can also bowl in them.


That’s a better view.

I cut three pieces of threaded rod, attached nuts and washers, ran the rod through three holes in a piece of scrap wood, attached the rods to the collar, and used a wrench to raise the collar. The stupid thing didn’t loosen enough to slide, so I had to keep turning until it was way up the stanchion. Then I used a hammer, banging the underside of the wood. I would say it took 15 minutes, but it didn’t involve much exertion, it didn’t damage anything, and it spared the [admittedly worthless] parts.

Here is the new footrest. I really like Garelick helm seats and footrests. The old ones were Pompanettes. Pompanette makes horrible crap, at Bentley prices.


I had a better idea for a tool that would let me use an impact driver on a single bolt, but it didn’t occur to me until I was already at the boat, and it would have involved more parts, and it probably would not have raised the collar enough.

Dad was impressed. As if I had perfected cold fusion.

Smugness surrounds me like a warm, fluffly blanket. If you’ve ever worked on a big boat, you know how satisfying it is to defeat it when it tries to make your life hell with an insoluble problem.

His big Garmin GPS has a problem. When you turn it on, you have to hold the power button down to keep the power on. It shuts off as soon as you release it. Garmin suggested a factory reset technique, but it didn’t work. Helpful nerds are encouraged to opine. A repair costs $350 plus shipping.

Chain of Command vs. Plain Old Chains

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

That Appears to be the Choice

The Bible is incomplete. Everyone knows that. We don’t know much about Jesus’s childhood or the years between Malachi and John the Baptist. We don’t have verified versions of lost books like the book of Enoch or the book of Jasher. We don’t know everything that happened in the years leading up to Noah.

Our understanding of Christianity is incomplete, too. Paul said we see through a glass, darkly. We are told that God’s thoughts are above our thoughts as the clouds are above the earth. It’s very obvious that there is information God is withholding, for his own reasons. Sometimes he releases information in code, through prophets, and later we come to understand what it means. For example, the second psalm is about the crucifixion. We can see that now; it’s undeniable. But before the time of Jesus, it made very little sense. If God had made its meaning obvious, the enemy would have understood the significance of the crucifixion and would not have worked to bring it about.

The almost-funny thing about the second psalm is that it nearly taunts Satan. If Satan were as smart as he thinks, he would have understood it and avoided motivating Romans and certain susceptible Jews to bring about the sacrifice. The Bible often refers to the wicked being caught in their own nets or falling by their own counsels, and the crucifixion is the single biggest example. Satan can’t win for losing. When he is most convinced he has accomplished something, he is most defeated.

I think God is a little like George Bush. He does things for reasons he can’t reveal. And he is criticized for it, by people who have no understanding of how a chain of command works. Sometimes human leaders do things that are unquestionably stupid, like mortgaging a nation’s future with socialist bailouts leading to massive debt and bungling, conceited, oppressive authoritarianism. Other times, they do things that only seem stupid until all the facts are known. When in doubt, you support your leader, assuming he knows more than you do. That is particularly true in matters involving classified information.

Prophecy is full of classified information, encoded in such a way that no one can understand it except a human being guided by the Holy Spirit.

And not all prophecy takes the form of human language. Sometimes an object reveals God’s thoughts. For example, I suspect that the human uterus is designed to resemble the Ark of the Covenant. Or maybe it’s the other way around. The tabernacle and the temple symbolized a female body, probably representing the church (the body of human believers) as the bride of Christ. And the veil of the temple was intended to resemble a body part normally found only in female virgins. Notably, it tore at the moment Jesus died.

I think the nation of Israel is designed to reflect the nature of human existence. Like the snow that falls on Mount Hermon, our spirits come to earth from heaven. The water from Mount Hermon flows into the Jordan, and from there it goes to the Sea of Galilee, which represents the earth. The disciples were fishermen; the fish they caught symbolized human beings coming to Christ. The water that leaves the Sea of Galilee goes through the desert to the Dead Sea, which symbolizes hell. It’s a nearly lifeless body of water from which there is no escape except for evaporation. It’s no coincidence that this is a site where hell was literally manifested on earth. This is where human beings were destroyed by a rain of fire, for the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah.

I suspect that the book of Enoch is corrupted to some extent, but I think it’s right about one thing. I think certain angels came down to Mount Hermon, and like misguided socialists, they tried to bring about a perfect age by their own efforts. They interbred with women and gave rise to a polluted race of rebellious freaks, and they gave human beings secrets of technology and magic and astrology. Many theologians think angels can’t reproduce, but the Bible tells us they take human form. Some of us have entertained them. It’s reasonable to believe that those temporary human bodies had all the usual parts, so why wouldn’t reproduction have been possible? The Bible does not say it can’t happen.

If you accept the notion that angels corrupted the human race, the Bible makes a lot more sense. For example, many non-believers think the Jewish God is evil, because he told the Hebrews to slaughter entire cities and peoples, including the old and small children. But that makes sense, if those peoples were overly polluted with the blood of angels. God was working to get rid of them for the sake of humanity, as he did in the flood (the book of Enoch makes this claim). It might also explain why there were so many people on the earth in Adam’s time. Maybe others were created first and became corrupted, or maybe some were fallen angels.

We see a repeated theme of spirit-guided eugenics in the Bible. Satan is constantly trying to exterminate the Jewish race (to keep prophecies from coming true), and God repeatedly reduces the numbers of peoples who oppose him. One of the great sins of the Bible was the refusal to obey God and destroy all traces of the Amalekites, who are believed to have given rise to the people currently afflicting Israel. The Holocaust was probably an attempt to prevent the existence of the Jews mentioned in prophecies about the end of the world. Pharaoh slaughtered Jewish babies to prevent the birth of Moses. Herod killed Jewish babies to prevent the birth of Jesus. And both were guided by astrologers, who were using forbidden knowledge provided by rebellious spirits.

The Bible makes a number of references to the destruction of the seed of the wicked. They will be destroyed, and the righteous will inherit the earth. Look at Psalm 37, as an example. Does the term “seed of the wicked” just refer to bad people, or does it also refer to people who are largely descended from angels, and who fail to accept salvation? In a parable, Jesus suggested some people were wheat sown by God, and others were weeds sown by Satan. Maybe he was speaking more literally than we realize.

The book of Enoch says part of God’s punishment for the rebellious angels was to destroy their descendants.

The waters of the Jordan don’t just come from directly from untainted snow. They also come from the Banias, “Pan’s Grotto,” at the base of the mountain. This is near Caesarea Philippi, an evil city which was a center of demon worship. Idolaters used to sacrifice animals and throw them into a foaming pool at the Banias, and the contaminated water joined the pure water from the other sources. Just as the blood of people descended from rebellious angels joined the blood of those descended from Adam. Is that really a coincidence? Hard to believe.

Pan’s image is the classical image of Satan. A goat with a man’s torso and head, plus horns and a tail. More coincidence. And Jesus began his earthly ministry at Caesarea Philippi, in what was ostensibly Satan’s earthly headquarters. A sort of Satanic Vatican City of its time. Coincidence upon coincidence. Where did Satan begin his earthly career? In the Garden of Eden. The center of God’s earthly efforts. It all makes sense.

Truthfully, I wonder if the Banias is the site where Adam and Eve were tempted. Descriptions of the Garden of Eden mention far-off rivers, but people who emigrate often name new lands and new geographic features after old ones. New York is named after York, England. Kentucky has cities named London and Paris. Who is to say that the rivers of Mesopotamia were not named after the streams near Mount Hermon, by people whose ancestors lived near the Banias?

It would make sense for Satan to turn Eden into his home base. It would be a fitting manifestation of his pride and the joy he takes in supplanting God. And Jesus’s remark about “the gates of hell” refers to part of the Banias. He said the gates of hell would not prevail against his kingdom. The Banias is a very creepy place. There is a giant hole in the rocks there; a dark cavity in the side of the mountain. Inside this hole is the pool where the animal sacrifices were dumped. This pool is still now, but the waters used to bubble as they made their way into an underground passage that led to the Jordan. This pool was called “the gates of hell.”

It’s all very interesting to me. I don’t think it’s just happenstance. Jesus himself created the metaphor of the Sea of Galilee as the earth, and the fishermen as evangelists. I didn’t make that up. He did.

In the end, it’s all going to make sense. The concept of a chain of command, entailing faith in the competence of those above you, is central to Christianity and Judaism, and if you can’t accept it, you will always have an uphill battle before you. I don’t make excuses for God, except to say that whatever he does has to be right. If you ask me why God would be upset with your fun gay hairdresser who is nice to everyone, or why he lets good people get cancer, or why he permitted the Holocaust, my answer is that I know that he exists, and I am satisfied that he is both good and competent, and I believe he has excellent reasons for everything he does. Some questions, unlike the non-issue of whether convenience abortion is moral, truly are above a human being’s pay grade.

I can’t change God, and I’m not supposed to try. I’m supposed to let him change me. That’s what I’m trying to do.

Nice Shavuot Present from the Secular Messiah of Atheist Jews

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

No More “Partiality”

A reader posted a comment linking to an important new story. Barack “83% of American Jews Voted for Me” Obama just froze helicopter sales to Israel, based on the fear that the machines might be used against terrorists civilians in Gaza.

The gloves are finally off.

Frankly, I’m thrilled. Sometimes you need to slap someone in the face to wake them up. I hope liberal Jews all over the US are gagging right now, on the putrid, weevily political meal they wolfed down in November. This grinning larval dictator is your boy. You own this. That faux tolerance tastes pretty good right now, doesn’t it? Electing a black President is a fine idea, but maybe you should have waited for one who wouldn’t respond by cutting your throats.

Who called this one? Damn near everybody who voted for McCain. “Obvious” doesn’t begin to describe it.

It is no exaggeration to say that talking to liberal Jews about politics is like trying to engage a psychotic regarding the validity of his hallucinations. Their bizarre, blind insistence that the left is more hospitable to Jews and Israel can legitimately be described as a delusion. Jews want everyone to think they’re friendly and harmless and generous and lovable, and they are positive voting liberal will create the desired impression. Where they got the idea that liberals are nicer or more moral is an impenetrable mystery.

The Nazis are gone. The Holocaust wasn’t your fault. Stop kissing up. Stop appeasing. It’s not going to save you. Your self-hatred is legitimizing the things leftists say about you and your homeland. I have a T-shirt with a big slogan on the back. Maybe each of you should get one. It says, “Peace Through Superior Firepower.” It worked for Abraham, Moses, Joshua, and David. Old Testament appeasers didn’t fare so well.

The US is not going to save Israel. God and individual believers and the Jews will save Israel. America is not Israel’s true strength. So while it’s very sad that we’re slowly cutting off Israel’s blood supply, it’s only sad for America. God will deliver Israel one way or the other. We, on the other hand, are almost sure to end up like England. We’re going from empire to backwater. God is giving our manufacturing might to the Chinese, the Indians, the Brazilians, and anyone else who happens to be handy. Petty dictators and jabbering nutjobs in khaffiyehs–the kind of people we used to squash effortlessly–are slowly dismantling our global dominance. We are embracing Marxism and authoritarianism, at the very time we need capitalism and freedom most. We are being ushered back to the cheap seats, and if we end up there, we will remain there. What empire recovers, after thumbing its nose at its divine sponsor and dropping its pants for its enemies?

Maybe as Obama’s hostility toward Israel becomes more obvious, American Jews will become fully conscious and understand that they should be enraged. Given their history, however, I think it is more likely that the majority will appease and kowtow until somebody starts building ovens. Until then only a small minority will get the picture. Thank God for Israel. At least we won’t see another S.S. St. Louis, cruising hopefully from port to port with a cargo of Jews nobody will accept.

JEREMIAH WRIGHT. Hello? Obama was his CLOSE FRIEND. He attended Wright’s church for TWENTY YEARS. Wright HATES JEWS and he puts this information IN HIS SERMONS, WHICH BARACK OBAMA SAT THROUGH AND APPLAUDED. He is a friend of LOUIS FARRAKHAN. If you’re a Jew, answer these questions. Would you let your daughter go to the prom with a kid who praised Louis Farrakhan? Would you want to be golfing buddies with someone who praised Louis Farrakhan? If not, why would you be comfortable with a President who spent twenty years listening to, and presumably giving tithes to, a Farrakhan crony? Are you insane?

Keep it up, Barack. Cut off the helicopters, the planes, the ammunition, the money, the cooperation…everything. Cut it all off. Let your supporters see the horror they elected. Stick your finger in their eyes, nice and deep. Make them learn.

Jews and Christians who had misgivings about this fool were right, and we’re going to look more and more right as years pass. We all need to pray that God helps Americans turn back to him and behave themselves. We just went through a big economic labor pain, and though it’s easing now, labor pains always return and get sharper and closer together.

Words can’t express my disgust. I hope we survive this idiot.


Friday, May 29th, 2009

The Transformation is Complete

I am completely out of my mind. I ordered a milling machine. I mean, a MILLING MACHINE. Like a cast-iron Tyrannosaurus with an electric mixer where its head should be. I may have to take the motor off to get it in the garage.

I think I did good. I got Taiwanese, with a Chinese DRO and an X power feed. I was going to get a step pulley head, but the distributor shafted my dealer by selling the last pulley machine while we were working on the deal, so they cut him a nice break on a vari-speed machine. It’s a little more expensive, but not much. And I didn’t have to get the coolant system, which I didn’t want, and which was part of the vari-speed package.

I decided not to go with the rigger my dad represents. For one thing, they procrastinated about getting back to him (I had him call), and for another, I don’t think it’s a great idea to have Teamsters who hate my father deliver an expensive object to my home, where they can take a long, leisurely look at my other tools and decide which ones would look better in their garages.

I found a guy who was very helpful on the phone, and who seems professional. He’ll take delivery and bring the mill here for a good price. He’s insured. He will check the mill for damage when it arrives, so I don’t have to. Great. I always make things harder than they have to be, so this is a nice change.

The motor may have to come off. The mill is very nearly the same height as the garage opening. I alerted the seller and the rigger. We’ll see what solution they propose. For all I know, the rigger has a giant machine that can turn a one-ton mill sideways.

What on earth is wrong with me? I guess once you embrace your own eccentricity, nothing is impossible.

On the up side, I really can’t imagine buying another expensive tool. Because now I have one of each. There will always be little tools I’ll want, but no more giant iron hulks.

Man. I have to get a vise, plus some cutters, collets, parallels, and maybe a clamping set. And an edgefinding set, I suppose.

Small strokes.

Tomorrow I’ll try to find time to see if the parting blades I ordered work. If so, it’s lathe party time.

Thanks, everyone who gave me advice.


Friday, May 29th, 2009

Prayer Request

Reader Bradford Kleeman says he has a kidney stone about 4mm wide. That is a whopper by my standards. He put in a prayer request, so hop to it.

Best Fluid for Hogging Metal

Friday, May 29th, 2009

It Behooves You to Use the Right Thing

I have some lathe tooling on the way, so I’ll finally be able to work the aluminum I bought. Problem: Enco put the cutting oil in a separate package, and it won’t be here until next week. What to do? Nobody around here sells cutting oil.

Do I even have to say it?

Time to buy a can of lard.


Friday, May 29th, 2009

Do Not Thank Karl Marx

Happy Shavuot.

If you don’t know what Shavuot is, just call it Pentecost. Same thing.

This is an interesting holiday for charismatic Christians (I hope Aaron doesn’t read this), because, like Passover, it ties the Old and New Testaments together.

To the ancient Jews, Shavuot was the festival of the first fruits, as well as the day God gave the Torah to Moses. When I was living on a kibbutz, I experienced a secular Shavuot celebration with a “first fruits” theme. They brought out young lambs, calves, and items of produce, as well as young girls. These were considered the first fruits of the harvest. By and large, the kibbutzniks were socialists who did not believe in God, but they celebrated their bounty anyway, presumably thanking Karl Marx in their hearts.

In Hebrew, “shavuot” means “weeks.” I think this denotes the seven-week period of counting the Omer, between Passover and Shavuot. “Pentecost” means “fiftieth day,” and Shavuot takes place on the fiftieth day after Passover.

I’m checking some of this via Wikipedia, so blame them if I’m wrong.

To Christians, Pentecost is the day when the baptism of the Holy Spirit first fell on the church. The Apostles were gathered together, presumably to celebrate Shavuot, and the Holy Spirit hit them, and they began speaking in tongues.

The Holy Spirit changed their character and increased their faith. The most obvious example is Peter, who denied Jesus three times before the crucifixion. After he received the baptism, he became a powerful evangelist and miracle-worker, and he bravely met a martyr’s death. Completely different person. Charismatics (more or less the same thing as “Pentecostals”) believe the baptism of the Holy Spirit made the difference, and that we are supposed to experience it today, and that the usual manifestation is the ability to pray in tongues.

People who oppose this viewpoint note that the tongues used by current believers in prayer usually don’t conform to known languages. The original Pentecost story says the disciples spoke in human languages they themselves did not know, and that this was confirmed by converted Jews from other nations, who happened to be in Jerusalem. But charismatics believe the prayer language is a separate gift, and for what it’s worth, there are many accounts of charismatics breaking into known languages while praying in tongues.

Skeptics claim that tongues only manifest themselves so they can be interpreted publicly, but the Bible doesn’t make that exclusion, and there is considerable scriptural support for the concept of a private prayer language. There is no reason both gifts can’t exist. People who claim private prayer language has been ruled out by the mention of public interpretation are making an obvious logical error. If I give you a cookie and a cupcake, and someone asks what I gave you, and you say I gave you a cookie, you’re right, but you haven’t denied that I gave you the cupcake. And the passages the anti-charismatics cite as proof that prayer in tongues is bogus don’t really prove it. Most Bible scholarship isn’t very good, by secular standards. To a lawyer, these things are obvious. I think the charismatics are probably right.

Anyway, many Christians believe the baptism was a big deal, because it put the seed of God’s character within us, where it grows and supplants our own nature, sort of like a bone marrow transplant. Moses received instruction from without, in the form of law. Christians believe the baptism of the spirit gives us instruction from within. The first Shavuot marked the handing down of God’s law, the Torah. If charismatics are right, Pentecost marked the embedding of God’s law in our hearts. It’s the same basic idea, manifested in a different way. And if you look at the psalms, you’ll see tons of prophetic references to people who have God’s law written in their hearts. “The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. The law of his God is in his heart. None of his steps shall slide.” Etcetera.

So really, what happened to the disciples can be considered the first fruits of the crucifixion, as well as the day God put the Torah inside men’s hearts. Too bad the church later gave up on the Holy Spirit; we might have been spared anti-Semitic embarrassments like replacement theology and the Crusades. For centuries, most Christians have tried to please God using their old natures and their own strength, and it hasn’t worked very well.

In any case, Shavuot and Pentecost dovetail very nicely, and it’s hard to explain, if God didn’t cause it. “All coincidence,” the naysayers will reply. Oh, well. You can lead a horse to living water.

The Jewish holidays have no end of significance to Christians. For example, some believe the Feast of Tabernacles presages the Messianic Age.

We would all know that, if we hadn’t thrown the Old Testament on the fire, along with the Holy Spirit.

Have a good holiday.


Thursday, May 28th, 2009


Today I threaded my first screw. Kind of.

“Kind of” is a giant exaggeration. I learned how to make the longitudinal power feed and half-nuts work. In other words, the lathe was doing everything it was supposed to do in order to thread properly, but Gilligan was at the helm while the Skipper used the head.

I did, in fact, create threads of sort on a piece of steel. However they were extremely crude, and I managed to snap two corners off a three-cornered carbide insert. I snapped the first corner off by turning the drum shift the wrong way when I was trying to back the tool out of the threads. The tool continued on its way, ramming into the shoulder I had turned earlier. The second insert snapped when I reversed the direction of rotation. Something caught it from behind.

I decided to play with the quick change box, using one setting to erase the threads made using the previous setting. Probably not good practice, but fun.

It doesn’t matter. The point of all this was to learn how to make the lathe work properly. Making me work properly is a separate lesson.

The Clausing instructions aren’t very good. For example, there is a knob on the lathe mounted so the face is perpendicular to the floor, and the directions say it’s engaged when “vertical.” So I guess you snap it off the lathe and turn it on its side. I think “vertical” refers to the positions of the three letters on the front of the knob. If “A” is at the noon position, the “A” setting is engaged. And so on. Seems like it works that way.

I still don’t understand the 29.5-degree business for threading. I can’t say I’ve studied up on it. Since it didn’t matter today, I stuck a threading tool in the tool post, used a dead center in the tailstock to set it on the level of the center of the work, and fed it perpendicularly into the metal. I think it would have worked, had I shot for a coarser thread and avoided running the insert into things. It finally occurred to me to use the VFD potentiometer to control the movement.

The Moly-Dee seems totally wrong for turning. Not that I would know, of course. I was moving the shoulder farther down the work today, using the Moly-Dee as fluid, and it seemed like the AR tool refused to bite until the Moly-Dee burned away, indicating that it was lubricating really well but failing utterly as cutting fluid. WD-40 was even worse. People have recommended Ridgid pipe threading oil as a general cutting fluid, so I have some on the way.

Once the tool started to bite, it produced two types of chips. Tiny straw-colored chips or long blue ones. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe I’m supposed to be shooting for the least color change possible. The tool just sat there unless I applied considerable pressure, so I couldn’t make colorless chips.

I don’t know if I’m supposed to use the power feed when turning a piece to a smaller diameter. I figured it would be impossible to adjust. The manual cross feed seems jerky. I have seen the phrase “slip stick” used to describe machine tool motion, and I think that may be what I saw today. But I eventually overcame it.

I sat down and began an instruction manual for the lathe, in English a mere college graduate can understand. I wrote nine pages today, and I took it with me to the garage. Helpful.

It’s pretty sweet, sitting on my shop stool, making good use of the backrest, watching lathe videos and screwing with scrap in the newly air conditioned tool oasis.

I think I have the four-jaw chuck worked out. Once you start using it, you realize you have to do one axis at a time.

I have a list of things I need to do, to get to the point where I’m actually doing something. Might get there in a week.

A Boring Question

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Also: Swarf Disposal

I was about to go study machining and fool with the lathe when I realized I had questions. Answer if you can.

What’s the best way to clean up swarf? The shop-vac doesn’t seem to have the juice to suck oily steel up efficiently. Maybe I should get a dustpan and a hand broom. Funny how the books and videos don’t tell you what to do after you make the mess.

I ordered a boring bar. But it’s big. How small a hole should you expect to be able to bore with a lathe? Do you always use boring bars, or is there a certain point where you give up and use a drill followed by a reamer?


Someone wanted to see the little bit of turning I did yesterday.


A Rest for the Wicked?

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Possible Lathe Project

First item: prayer request. Reader Ruth says Sarah M., the daughter of a friend, has breast cancer. She is not doing well. Her tests keep turning up bad results. The cancer has metastasized to her brain. She is in early middle age, and she has kids. They do not know the cancer has reached her brain. Her mother is a Christian, but Sarah is not. Her mother wants people to pray for healing and for her salvation.

Ruth has had cataract surgery, and she would appreciate prayer for a good outcome.

Mish now has a white blood cell count of 200 per ml. If it hits 500 for three consecutive days, it means the transplant was a success.

Back to obsessing on my all-important hobbies.

Last time I tried to find someone to move a machine in the Miami area, I got nowhere. I don’t know why. Ordinarily, I am the champion boolean Googler of the whole universe.

I have been trying to find someone to move a machine here from a freight terminal, so I could use a dealer who was helpful to me. The local dealer doesn’t need help to get the machine here. Yesterday, I decided to try Google again, and I found a bunch of movers right off the bat.

Weird thing: one of them is someone I already know. My dad has a client whose employees are Teamsters. I helped my dad when he negotiated a contract with them. The name of the client’s business popped up on Google.

The crazy thing about this is that I didn’t know what the business actually did. I knew they had big trucks. That was about it. I didn’t really have to know. But their entire business is moving heavy machinery. So I asked my old man to see what they could do for me.

I may go with the local dealer anyway. The other guy has sort of drifted off. I asked him to give me some quotes, and I don’t have them yet. Maybe I was more concerned about giving him my business than I should have been, but I don’t like letting a salesperson help me and then buying somewhere else.

In any case, funny coincidence. And it shows how little a lawyer may know about his client. That’s a good thing, I guess. You don’t want to pay a lawyer to find out things he doesn’t need to know.

I’m wondering if I should start looking for a follow rest or steady rest. Yesterday I chucked a piece of half-inch dowel in the lathe and screwed around with it. When I applied pressure with the cutting tool, I got some deflection. The metal bounced back and produced a serviceable cut (which might not impress, if the dial indicator were applied), but it seems like a stupid way to machine.

I guess the dowel was about 8″ long, and I had maybe 6″ sticking out of the chuck.

That was stupid, now that I think about it. I could have chucked the entire 30″ piece, with 2″ sticking out of the chuck. The spindle is hollow. I guess I don’t need a rest unless I have to machine most of the length of a thin or long workpiece, or I’m forced to work a long way from the chuck. I suppose I also have to figure out when turning between centers is the best idea.

Jim Dunmyer linked to something about the correct way to use a 4-jaw chuck (thanks, Jim). I better go copy it and put it in a Word document and put it in my notebook.

The Grizzly I stupidly chose not to buy has four brass screws in the left end of the spindle, facing inward. They’re there to steady the free ends of long items. That seems like a neat idea. Last night I was thinking a good project would be to make something like that. My lathe has an aluminum wheel at the left side of the spindle, held on with set screws. I could make a new version of that, with a collar sort of thing added, through which I could run four brass screws. I don’t know if I’ll ever need it, but it would be a good training exercise. Boring the holes would be tough without a drill press or mill, but there may be a way to do it.

I wonder how hard it is to make a steady rest, once you have milling capacity. Seems like it shouldn’t require much precision, since the bars or screws that support the work would be adjustable.

Or I could wait forty years for a used one to become available.

Lathe Twiddling

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009


Today I twiddled around with the lathe. I gave up on trying to part the fat aluminum cylinders I bought. I had a half-inch steel dowel from Home Depot, so I cut off a piece and stuck it in the chuck and fooled with it.

I assume Moly-Dee is not an ideal cutting fluid for steel. It seemed to lubricate and nearly prevent cutting. I have something on the way which is supposed to be more appropriate.

The carbide indexable tools are working fine. I cut a little off the end of the dowel and made a shoulder. That was about all I had time to do.

Now what do I do with an eight-inch dowel with a shoulder?

Mill Ramifications

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

There is no Cheap Fun

First thing: can anyone tell me how to dissolve aluminum galling?

My dad has a helm seat on his boat. The pedestal is a stainless pipe. There is a footrest attached with an aluminum collar. The collar has galled to the pipe. I put Kroil on it last night, and I applied a 3-foot pipe wrench today. Nothing happened.

I think he needs a new footrest.

I was going to finish insulating the garage today, but the defective kit I received put an end to that plan. I’m trying to figure out to do about my desperate need for a milling machine.

A local company will put the mill I want on my driveway for $150. They sell the mill, and they arrange the shipping. If they damage it, they still own it, and I can use small claims court to force them to give me my money back. That’s a very good deal. And no headaches. My only challenge, if you can call it that, will be to rent an engine hoist and move the mill into the garage.

Here is the problem. I wasn’t able to get much information from these people about the machine itself. An out-of-state dealer volunteered to educate me. He has been extremely helpful. I’d rather buy from him, but he says he can’t match the liftgate delivery. He says a mill is too big for a liftgate, and that the other company is full of it.

I located a rigger and asked for a quote, to bring the mill from the terminal and put it in the garage. Haven’t heard from them yet.

Last night I saw a problem with this idea. I figured the riggers would not be responsible for damage, so I’d have to eat the cost if they destroyed the mill. That is too big a risk to take. But now people are telling me riggers have to carry insurance for this kind of thing.

Someone else recommended renting a forklift. But I’ve never used one, and shippers have a way of showing up several days late, after your rented forklift has been taken back to the lot and you have been charged for it. I don’t want to get screwed on the rental, and I am not eager to learn how to use a forklift by moving an expensive machine with it, at my own risk.

The forklift is not a good idea.

I’m kind of inclined to tell the out of state guy, “Sorry, but this is just too messy.” He sent me several long and helpful emails, and I would like to reward him with my business, but this is turning out to be a real pain.

Last night I started thinking about what a major undertaking this was, and I thought of the pretty and functional machining I had seen in mini-mill videos, and I asked myself once again if a real mill was a good idea. So I started checking out smaller toys, like Rong Fus. It’s ridiculous. The cost is maybe 65% of a real mill’s price. A big mill/drill is not cheap. And to get that 35% discount, you have to give up a huge amount of potential. There are things you won’t be able to do, or which will take a lot longer.

The Millrite is still possible, and it’s cheaper, but although it looks very clean, I would not really know if it was sound until I had used it for a while. By that time, it would be too late to return it, and getting anything major fixed would be an impossibility.

I guess a big mill is the better option. Maximum capacity and versatility, and the cost is not that far from the cost of a mill/drill. And there is virtually no possibility that I would ever want to upgrade.

Now, if I could just luck into about a thousand pounds of free tooling.

The Glassed Menagerie

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

I’m in the Pink

Insulation WORKS. Somehow, I am surprised. I knew it was supposed to work, but it’s still weird to see it happening.

I stuck an air conditioner in the garage. It worked, but the garage doors are sheet steel, and they do not make for ideal cold retention. So I ordered a couple of kits from Home Depot. You can’t get this stuff down here. I guess no one in Miami uses garage insulation.

I installed the first kit. The second one was missing parts, so I had to send it back. Still, even with one door uninsulated, the temperature down to under 74 degrees in the middle of the garage. It wasn’t cold near the air conditioner and warmer near the doors, as it used to be. I guess things will get even better when the second door is done.

Now that I’ve seen what the kits consist of, I think I could have gotten the same results with a roll of insulation and some duct tape. I don’t know if it would have been cheaper. At over $60 a garage door, the kits seem expensive to me. You can also buy foam and stick it up there, but it isn’t as good.

I hope there isn’t a reason why no one else in Miami does this. I hope the fiberglass won’t trap water or anything. I blocked some vents, but I think I have enough of them already. It would be simple enough to alter the insulation and let the air out.

Sitting next to the insulated door, I feel much more “indoors” than I did before. A sheet of metal isn’t much of a sound barrier. There is something oddly comforting about the fiberglass. Which, aptly enough, resembles a comforter.

My new lathe challenge is parting. The lathe came with a parting tool, but it goes with a rocker post which doesn’t really work. I tried to fake it up using washers to support the tool post, but the work started barking at me, so I quit. I have some cheap parting blades on the way from Enco. That should fix the problem.

I have no idea what I’m trying to do. I stuck aluminum in the chuck and started playing. I don’t have an objective, except to get familiar with the lathe. I want to start by cutting one of these dangerous 8″ aluminum bars down to 4″. So parting is important.

I considered doing it on the dry cut saw, but that’s a good way to ruin the blade, and I think that blade runs about $140. I’ve read that some people part by holding a hacksaw over a piece of work while it turns. I don’t think they do this with 2″ T6. I gave it a shot, and all I managed to do was cut a shallow groove surrounded by random scratches.

I want to do some boring, just to say I did it. This is a can of worms. The manly way to bore is to find a piece of metal, make a boring tool to fit in the end of it, add a set screw, anneal the end of the tool so the screw will bite into it, and get to work. Something like that. I would rather do that than buy a boring bar right off the bat, because it would teach me something (maybe that buying boring bars is smart). But I don’t have any 1/4″ cobalt or HSS to turn into boring tools, nor do I have a way to create a slot for the tool, nor do I have any way to install a set screw. I don’t have a tap and die set. And I can’t part off a suitable piece of the scrap dowel I was hoping to use.

I ordered a few bits of cobalt, just to play with. Plus a cheap protractor, to help me grind tools.

I have learned how to harden tools. I watched W.R. Smith video. He does it with a piece of steel wire, some roach powder, and a torch. But I guess I don’t need to harden anything. Lathe tool blanks are hard to start with, aren’t they? I’ll have to check. I assume hardening is useful if you overheat a tool, isn’t it? Danged if I know.

I now have a workspace that could be considered functional. It’s a big step forward. Toward being a completely eccentric goof with a garage that rivals Bob Vila’s worst drunken fantasies.

I’m pooped. I had to cut and hang all that fiberglass, and I had to take off and reinstall a garage door part to make it work, and I had to clean up and then shower the fiberglass off. I’d say one door is a two-hour job.

Working on the milling issue. This will be the final piece of evidence they use at my competency hearing. I don’t care. I will mill or die trying.

Time for food.

The True Face of Evil

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Barns of Aggression

In case everyone has forgotten, let me remind you of something.

North Korea just exploded an atom bomb, their leader is crazier than a tree full of coons, and they are working on ballistic missiles that can hit Los Angeles. Iran just sent six warships out into the ocean for no apparent reason, their leader keeps telling audiences he plans to destroy Israel, he has missiles that can hit Jerusalem, and he is running a big nuclear program in order to amass material for bombs. Plus he looks like he got away from a guy who grinds an organ.

Those things are true, but keep this in mind.


This man is the real threat to peace, because he wants to let a few eccentric Jews build barns and chicken houses in the desert. A desert Israel only possesses as the result of a war of unprovoked Muslim aggression. It’s a good thing the Arabs quit attacking the Jews, because if they hadn’t, the Jews would own Amman, Mecca, Beirut, Kuwait City, Damascus, and parts of Detroit. Plus a good percentage of New York City’s taxis.

That miserable bastard. Who does he think he is? Putting highly provocative BARNS up, in the middle of that gorgeous expanse of valuable rocks and sand! I can’t believe we haven’t nuked him already! Why, this is just like what Hitler did!

I know how to solve the problem. We need to send him the guy who wrote the building code here in Coral Gables. Of course I am referring to Building and Zoning Department Obergruppenf├╝hrer Emeritus, Karl Goebbels. I believe he retired to Argentina. And they are trying to send him back.

Karl Goebbels: I hear you plan to change a light bulb in an outhouse in the West Bank.

Netanhayu: It is “reasonable growth.”

Karl Goebbels: I assume you pulled all the proper permits?

Netanyahu: “Permits”?

Karl Goebbels: We’ll need the Board of Architects to look this over. Have an architect do an elevation of the outhouse, and hire a team of electrical engineers to do a report on the light bulb.

Netanyahu: Board? What is this “board”? We want to screw in a light bulb.

Karl Goebbels: We only allow fluorescents now, and they’re full of mercury, so you’ll have to hire a Gables-approved company to dispose of the bulb when it burns out.

Netanyahu: Can I have a list of the companies?

Karl Goebbels: We haven’t approved any yet. They don’t actually exist. But when they do, you can have a licensed contractor screw in that light bulb. Give it three years. Call us every day during our three business hours to check. Leave a voicemail, which we’ll delete immediately.

Netanyahu: Forget it. I’ll tell them to use a candle.

Karl Goebbels: You’ll have to come down and look at an approved chart of candle colors. You know, you could also build a nice shower room. Warm showers. Clean, fresh water. Nothing to be afraid of.

Netanyahu: I think I’ll go join a mosque.

Karl Goebbels: If you want a minaret, you’ll need a variance.

If Auschwitz had had a building and zoning department like the one here in Coral Gables, Hitler would never have gotten his concentration camp built, and there is a good chance he would have blown his brains out ten years earlier.

Hitler: I want to build a breakfast nook and add onto my liebensraum.

Karl Goebbels: It would be easier to annex the Sudetenland.

Always remember the true reason Israel gets the blame for everything in the Middle East: the Muslims are degenerates who cannot be reasoned with and who will set off bombs inside any country that stands up for Israel. Like I have always said, the UN is like a couple of parents who always beat their better child, because they don’t have the spine to deal with the one that actually causes the problems. You’ve seen these parents. One kid has horns and a tail, and the other is fairly normal, and when the rotten one tortures the good one, the parents say something stupid like, “I don’t care who started it,” i.e. “I am too selfish and lazy to teach my kids the concept of justice.” We know we can push Israel around, so that’s what we do. They won’t blow us up.

I guess it’s not acceptable to call people like the Saudis degenerates, but I think it’s better than flogging old ladies and beating women in the street for displaying their calves. Which is what mainstream Muslims in places like Saudi Arabia do.

Last night I was thinking about the way people claim God doesn’t exist and that the Bible is a load of nonsense. Then I thought about what’s going on in the world. Troops from the United States, way over in the Western Hemisphere, are fighting a war in BABYLON, and we succeeded in deposing the king of Babylon and getting him hanged, and we killed his sons. He’s a lot like Haman (another figure who went after the Jews).

Alll that is literally true. Iraq is the ancient kingdom of Babylon, and Saddam Hussein was the king, just like Nebuchadnezzar. He called himself a president, but that doesn’t change what he was.

We’re fighting in Babylon, and the main thing that causes unrest in the world is a dispute over parts of the tiny, resource-poor, cash-poor, militarily insignificant, geographically unimportant nation of Israel. But God is imaginary, right? It’s all coincidence. Keep aborting your babies and doing drugs. Have all the loose sex you want, don’t tithe, and forget charity. Everything is swell.

Man, those barns are still making me mad.