Let Yourself be Machined
Yesterday a rigger came by. Riggers are people who move big machines. I got a very good rate on shipping my new lathe to Miami, but I can’t have it shipped directly to the house. I had to ship it to a commercial address with a loading dock. It will be unloaded there and moved to another truck, and that truck will bring it here.
It has to go to a facility with a loading dock because freight trucks don’t come equipped to lower two-ton loads three or four feet, from their beds to the pavement. You have to have a forklift and maybe some other stuff, like pallet jacks and things called “skates.” So the easy way to deal with this is to ship your stuff to riggers. They put it on the ground and slide it into your garage for you.
The rigger sent a guy over, and he looked around and essentially said they were going to shove it in there in one move and go home. He did not seem intimidated at all. I guess they’re used to moving things like 20,000-pound turret lathes, so a comparatively tiny manual lathe must seem like a joke.
I listed the Clausing for sale. I don’t know if it’s going to move without an Ebay ad. I may have to do that. I don’t know how to put it on a pallet. That will be great fun, I’m sure. I found places that give pallets away, so I should be able to come up with a fair amount of free wood.
Yesterday the 3-jaw chuck arrived. This is kind of interesting, if you’re a tool person. It’s Chinese. Not Taiwan. Mainland China. The land of sand-filled castings and pot metal screws. But it’s a very good chuck. The brand name is Fuerda. Their chuck line is called Gator. Ask anyone who uses one. They have a great reputation. They’re not as cheap as other Chinese chucks, but they beat the pants off Bison and Toolmex, who manufacture in Eastern Europe.
Fuerda and Phase II both make good tools in mainland China. I think we’re going to see other brands moving in behind them. Even the Indians are making some good stuff.
I decided to go with an adjustable chuck. These things have screws that let you move the chucks until they’re very concentric with the spindles. It’s a little bit like having 4-jaw accuracy with 3-jaw convenience, except that you don’t adjust them for every part you chuck. As I understand it, it’s not qoing to be quite as good as a 4-jaw chuck, but it will be considerably better than an ordinary 3-jaw of comparable quality.
It also has two-piece jaws so I can turn the jaws around for big parts or remove them to use soft jaws. When I started looking for a chuck, I thought adjustability was the most important thing, but people corrected me. You want those 2-piece jaws (just like that cowbell). I thought they were just for holding bigger stuff; you don’t have to take the jaws completely out and reverse them, because you can turn the upper parts around. But that’s not the whole story. If you have one-piece (“solid”) jaws, you can’t screw anything to them. The screw holes that remain when you remove the top parts of two-piece jaws allow you to attach other things, and soft jaws are the primary examples. You can make special jaws to hold unusual parts and to give you good repeatability (I think).
The chuck looks good, and the jaws move well. The machining is nice. Not perfect, but I think it’s more than adequate. My big complaint is that there was grit on the adapter plate that allows you to put the chuck on a D1-6 spindle. I think it must be grinding residue. It’s greasy and gritty and black. When I tried to put the cam pins on the plate, the grit prevented them from going in all the way, so I had to clean the plate with brake cleaner, hose everything with Eezox, and start over. It looks like there are some grit spots that will never go away, but they won’t interfere with the chuck’s functions.
I got myself a couple of tool holders and some 1/2″ HSS blanks. The tool post on this thing will accept 1″ carbide holders, and I was afraid that meant I had to buy everything in that size. Then I found out 3/4″ tool holders were fine, and I could use 1/2″ blanks. There are a lot of Kennametal holders (with extra inserts) out there for good prices, so that’s what I got. The ones I bought don’t have clamps to support the inserts, but I am told they should be fine if I’m not an idiot when I use them.
I truly look forward to using the lathe. The Clausing was a huge compromise. I couldn’t find tooling for it. It was worn. It had no metric threading. It’s fine for people who are more worried about saving money than getting things done, but I wanted to be able to use my lathe. The new one has very nice rests, good threading options, an insanely heavy bed for rigidity, and good speed options. It has a clutch and a brake, a feedscrew AND a leadscrew, and a DRO. I can already sense the relief I’m going to feel when I use it. So many frustrations will be things of the past. I won’t have to stick indicators on the lathe to find out where I am. I won’t have to take tiny cuts. I’ll be able to machine thin stuff with the follow rest. If I have a metric thread to do, I may actually be able to do it without shopping for dies. It should be just like using my mill. I’ll concern myself with machining, not with clever ways of making dubious tools work.
The garage’s existing wiring will power this thing. I’ll have to use a machine to provide 3-phase, but I won’t need an electrician. The motor, truthfully, is way bigger than I will ever need, and I should probably put a smaller one in, but it will run without major surgery on the house.
The Garage of Blues is getting weirder and weirder. I feel like I have to get out there and pray in the evening, or nothing is going to go right. God manifests himself to me there, more powerfully than anywhere else. When that happens to you a few times, you get to the point where you have to have it. Maybe this is why so many early Christians, who greatly exceeded our familiarity with the Holy Spirit, were so willing to die rather than renounce the faith. The more of God’s presence you get, the more value it comes to have. Jesus said the kingdom of God was like a pearl of great price which a man bought after selling everything else he had. No matter how great the value of eternal life is, the promise of salvation will not give you the inner strength to face execution. Daily intimacy with God is probably where that kind of determination comes from. When they offer you a choice between the axe and renouncing God, it’s like asking a junkie to quit cold turkey.
Sometimes I have strange sensations when I’m out there; partly physical and partly spiritual. I can literally feel the Holy Spirit doing things in my body. Sometimes I feel a strange pressure in part of my skull, as if something is being moved. It’s very odd. I don’t understand it.
Very often, I’ll feel God’s power lifting me up, like a stimulant. I’ll go in there feeling down and lethargic, and something will rise up inside me and make me sit up in the chair. It doesn’t come from me. I can’t tell when it will come. Usually, it starts to happen after about twenty minutes of praying in the Spirit.
I can’t handle stimulants any more. I can’t drink a cup of coffee or smoke a cigar. I’ll stay up all night. I can drink Coke and tea, in limited amounts, but that’s about it. Something inside me is making me alert and energetic. It’s as if the Holy Spirit is a drug, and he doesn’t want other drugs taking his place.
I was right when I started to believe that Christians do not emphasize the supernatural enough. We talk about character and hard work, but that’s stupid. Heathens can have character and do hard work. If these things were what mattered, Asians would be the most spiritually advanced people on earth, but they’re not. Christianity can’t break 2% in Japan. The Bible doesn’t tell us how hard Jesus and Moses worked. It tells us that God did powerful things through them by supernatural means. Not as a reward for what they did, but for what they believed.
The other day I was reading the Gospels, and I noticed that Jesus defined God’s work. He said, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” That amazed me, even though I had surely seen it before. Obviously, you have to try to do good things, but the real work is done by your faith. To this day, all man’s technology and effort can’t part the Red Sea and dry the bed, but the faith of Moses did it in an instant.
Christians hate this message. We are just like the ancient Jews. We LOVE talking about how hard it is. We love tightening up our little pinched faces and wagging our fingers at people and telling them nothing comes easily. We love citing the passages about the persecutions that will come to us. What a great way to persuade people to run from God! Give up everything you like doing, hang out with stiff, uptight people, and live in constant defeat! Who wants to sign up?
We act this way because we’re arrogant. We want to think we do things for God. Secretly, we want to think he owes us. We love thinking we’re better than THOSE people…the ones who don’t sacrifice and pray and do. But Jesus said we would come to him at the end and point to the good deeds we had done, and he would tell us he had never KNOWN us. He wants us to take on HIS projects, not ours, and he wants us to succeed at them by HIS power. That only comes through the Holy Spirit.
Think about Samson. What did he do to deserve his strength? Let’s make a list. He chased heathen women. He violated his Nazirite oath by handling unclean things. He married a woman who worshiped Dagon. Yet God gave him the strength to kill a thousand men in one fight. God remained with him until he voluntarily gave up the source of his supernatural power. If God only gave power to people who consistently did right, he would glorify us and not himself. Over and over in the Bible, we see God giving assistance and power to people who forsake other gods and admit they need his help.
God resists the proud but gives success to the humble. How can you be humble if you think you’ve earned God’s help? Seriously, now.
So anyway, things are getting stranger and stranger, and I am seeing more power and change. I only wish I could put other people on the same track. I keep a diary of things I think God has said to me, and the other night, I felt that he had told me this: “I no longer have needs; I only have desires.” I think that’s true. My health is good. I enjoy life. I have things to do. I am not worried about money. God heals me. He gives me his help every day. Usually, when I pray for something for myself, it’s something I really want to have, not something I actually need. That’s great, but it seems to me that if I’m stabilized, I should be able to devote considerable strength to helping other people who are still in trouble.
The biggest obstacle I’ve found is people’s insistence that they already know the way. Nobody wants to hear that God wants them to believe more and do less. Some people want to drive. Others derive a perverse pleasure from pushing the car. “Look at me, pushing the car in the hot sun, all sweaty and holy! I’m so wonderful! Thank you, God, for making me so great!” Personally, I would rather admit I’m a nothing and enjoy the air conditioning.
I have some friends who listen. The worst thing I can say about them is that they’re just like me. They develop a good routine of praying in the Spirit, and their lives improve fast. Then something distracts them, and like a manic depressive who forgets his lithium, they stop praying. And things go downhill. Then someone has to remind them how it works, so they’ll get back to prayer. It’s frustrating, dealing with people who are no better than you are.
God compares us to bits of clay on a potter’s wheel. That’s funny. If you think about it, a potter’s wheel is actually a lathe for clay, and the cutting tool is the Holy Spirit.
I hope I haven’t offended anyone, but I probably have. I hope the people I haven’t offended will take this and run with it.Stumble it! Save This Page