Let’s see if I can recap all the stuff that has gone on since my last post.
I’m ramping up the machining. I quit for a long time. My milling machine was acting up, and I was irritated because the lathe I blew a pile of cash on turned out to be incapable of cutting metric threads. Now I’m back. I’ve been writing about this.
I’m trying to choose a new lathe. The old Clausing I bought doesn’t cut the mustard. No metric threads, overpriced and rare tooling…I’m done.
I’ve been looking at all sorts of stuff. The most appealing new machine is the Grizzly G0509G gunsmith lathe. It’s a 16 x 40 with a 2″ bore, so it would be a long time before I came up with a project that wouldn’t fit on it. It has higher tolerances than other Chinese Grizzlys. It has NSK bearings, not the La Choy or Joyce Chen or whatever brand that goes in most Grizzlys.It cuts a million different threads. It has a short headstock suitable for gunsmithing. Everyone loves it. It’s a good safe bet.
Still, I am considering older machines, provided they’re in really good shape.
This week I found a Mori Seiki on Craigslist for $3800. I was stunned. It’s not far away. I emailed the owner the same day the ad appeared, and naturally, I haven’t heard a peep. Very annoying. I assume some dealer pounced on it as he was typing up the ad. I’ll probably see it listed at AM Metalmaq in Hialeah, for $15,000. They always have astronomical prices.
The Mori Seiki is 17″ by something. I don’t know what. It’s an MS-1250G. If it’s in good shape, it will last longer than I will. The headstock is long, so it’s not ideal for gunsmithing. But it’s real quality, and if the bed isn’t too long, it will fit in the garage.
Same guy is selling a Webb lathe and a Webb mill. He has good taste.
I finally got an air dryer for the compressor. I wanted one that would do at least 20 CFM, and I was scared of the Chinese ones on Ebay. Some guy listed an Arrow Pneumatic 20 CFM dryer on Ebay, NIB, for $410. That’s an acceptable price as-is. New, a dryer with this capacity costs well over a thousand dollars. Even an Eaton would be a four-figure buy.
The seller insisted on using freight, which is expensive. I couldn’t get him to respond to messages about using UPS instead. This is a very small machine; freight is overkill. He wanted $155 to ship it. I got disgusted and made a lowball offer, subtracting the difference between freight and UPS. Surprisingly, he jumped on it, and when the freight bill came, it was $120. I would have been happy to pay the asking price. So because he didn’t feel like answering my messages, he ate a big loss and gave it to some freight company.
This will allow me to use the compressor the way it should be used. I don’t like to use the plasma cutter because of the water problem. It also discourages me from painting and blasting. I had checked into cheap inline dryers, but they seemed like the chintzy, problem-filled approach, so I let the whole business drop. I have seen okay deals on used refrigerated units, but most of them are huge, and they run on 220, and I just didn’t want to get involved in any more giant, worn-out machinery.
Hopefully, next week, I’ll be firing the new one up.
I am working on a 304 stainless garlic press on the lathe. This metal is supposed to be a pain to machine, but it’s working almost as easily as aluminum. Go figure. The press is basically a piston with holes to let the garlic out. As far as I know, it is literally impossible to buy a decent garlic press made in a factory. The steel ones are wimpy. The pot metal ones snap. The aluminum ones stain the food. I’ve had enough.
I was working on the bore the other day when the lathe went nuts. It started making horrible noises, and I shut it down. The motor belt had come apart.
When I looked it over, I found that I had mounted the motor so that the motor pulley and the speed-change pulley between the motor and spindle pulley were not in the same plane. They were way off. I have no idea how I managed to do something this stupid. When I was installing the new motor, I must have taken a break and forgotten that it needed to be shifted. The setscrew in the pulley had come loose, possibly from vibration caused by the belt problem, and it had slid halfway off the motor shaft.
I had to buy a new belt, pound the pulley back into place, set the screw, and install the belt. To install the belt, I had to take the speed-change pulley off its bearings so I could slip the belt over it. What a nightmare. I was covered in grease. I shifted the motor and got everything put back together. Then someone told me I could have bought a linked belt which came apart and could be installed without removing anything.
Anyway, the lathe runs more smoothly now, and I feel like an idiot.
I’m working on a follow rest. I needed to make an angled cut on the aluminum block it’s made from, and I realized the only way to do it was to use my rotary table. Then I discovered a new problem. The clamping set for my mill doesn’t fit the rotab. It’s too big. And I really don’t like lifting the 120-pound rotab from the floor to the mill for little jobs. I decided to add a third rotab to my collection. I wanted a 6″ job, but for reasons known only to Enco, the 8″ ones are cheaper, so I got myself one, and it’s ready to be put to work.
I also got lathe dogs, radius gages (“gauges”?) and telescoping gages/gauges/whatever. Little stuff like this can really slow you down when you don’t have it.
The garage is turning out to be a gift from God. I used to call it the Disco Garage because it had a TV and Stereo. Now that I’ve opened it up and organized it to some degree, adding an old MP3 player with hundreds of CDs, I’ve rechristened it the Garage of Blues.
I ordered two hideous camo backpack chairs from Amazon. They discounted them heavily because no one would buy them. When they arrived, I found that the seats were about ten inches off the ground. I couldn’t send them back, because the shipping cost more than the chairs. I thought it was a terrible buy, but I put them in the garage, and now I love them. I turn down the lights, open a Coke, put on Freddie King, and drift off into a state of total bliss. I really can’t describe the peace I feel out there. There is something about the smell of concrete and tools and oil that does things to a man. It’s better than Valium. I assume. I don’t know much about Valium.
I stuck my creaky old laptop out there, and I have it on wireless. Now I can listen to the blues, machine off and on, and post crap to Facebook without leaving the garage. It’s paradise.
Here’s a photo. I guess it can’t capture the ambience, but seriously, I sit out there thanking God over and over.
Speaking of God, I saw Perry Stone on TBN this week. I can’t believe they let him host their show. TBN is largely about money and ego, and Perry Stone is starting to be highly critical of the hairspray-and-Mercedes crowd. He is saying the same things I keep saying to my friends. This week he had Paul Zink and Damon Thomas on his show, and they started saying the same stuff! They FLOGGED the moneychangers. It was glorious. It showed me that the things I’ve been saying really do come from God.
Damon Thomas said we use the term “megachurch” to describe a place that’s full of people (and therefore tithe money and glory for preachers), instead of focusing on the presence of the Holy Spirit. Perry Stone said we should be looking for the “mega-presence.” They laid into preachers who sit around and brag about attendance, and who spew comforting, politically correct, Dr. Phil-type garbage instead of introducing people to God. It was wonderful. I often tell people I know that we are hearing a lot of Dr. Phil nonsense, and Damon Thomas actually mentioned Dr. Phil, the same way I do! Amazing.
My church goes way overboard on the self-help stupidity, and we have become obsessed with filling seats and getting tithes and offerings. We talk very little about supernatural things, even though we’re charismatic. We bring idiots in, and they teach an inferior version of the self-help that’s available from secular sources. We bring Steve Munsey in, and he teaches his ridiculous lies about the Seven Blessings of This or That Jewish Holiday, and we put up with it because when people hear it, they give money. It still amazes me that no one has called him out on his bogus claim that all the Jews in Israel went to Jerusalem on Yom Kippur. Anyone who can work Google can prove that’s a lie. And any observant Jew can tell you there were no extravagant money offerings, except those people gave on their own initiative. The offerings were generally small, and God scaled them down for poor people.
Watching TBN, I felt ashamed for not being more outspoken. God put me here to be the salt of the earth, and although I am definitely saying enough to annoy people, I am not blunt enough. The salt is not having its intended effect. So I decided to say exactly what I think from now on, when it comes to things that happen in our church. We have been taught to condemn people who say anything critical, and it’s easy to get caught up in that. Legitimate godly criticism has been compared to gossip and grumbling. But it’s not. Find me a Biblical leader who sucked up and pleased men, and who never criticized. There is no such person. But there were plenty of bootlickers who earned God’s wrath.
Obviously, if we teach people to pray in the Spirit and walk by faith, they will receive success and healing and happiness, and that will draw people to the church. This other stuff is filth and ignorance. It’s misdirection. It will never work. I keep praying for God to change my church, and he’s going to do it. My faith tells me that. If I get on people’s nerves, good. I pay the church’s bills. It doesn’t pay mine. I’m not going to worry about the consequences.
We tell people to live by faith, but the church itself operates without faith, according to the world’s rules. That’s no good.
On Sunday, the church tried to get people to sign a pledge, swearing to tithe. Needless to say, I didn’t fool with that. Jesus and James told us not to swear. Anything beyond yes or no is from Satan. He sees the stupid oaths we swear, and he uses them as nooses to hang us. It’s amazing that churches and ministries can’t see the obvious hypocrisy of requiring Christians to swear.
I guess they would say a pledge isn’t an oath. That would be weaseling and hair-splitting. The dictionary equates swearing and oaths and pledges.
God continues taking care of me. He gives me things I will never deserve, and he withholds the bad things I do deserve. It has very little to do with being good. It’s a reward for faith, and even that faith came from him. Anyone can have this, but they will never find it as long as preachers lack the guts to teach them. Very sad. I wish Damon Thompson had a church down here.
What else is going on? I’m building a new guitar amp. A young friend from church is coming to the Garage of Blues tomorrow, and we’re starting work on a JTM45 clone. I can’t wait.
That’s about all I have today. If any of this sounds good to you, follow my example. Pray in tongues copiously every day, and try to communicate with God in private. This is the foundation of a successful life, and everything else grows from it.Stumble it! Save This Page