A Mighty Fortress is My Garage
The Garage of Blues has undergone yet another metamorphosis.
I could not deal with my old Clausing lathe, so I started shopping for a new lathe that actually worked. I got tired of shopping, and I prayed for God to send me a good lathe at a good price. The next day, I got a sudden email message advising me that a reputable seller had knocked thousands off the price of a machine, and that it had been equipped with some stuff I like, and that stuff I did not want had been removed.
I took some photos while the riggers were moving it in. They gouged it slightly, but having seen what BAD riggers do, I was still satisfied. Here it is.
That thing is a 16 by 40. It can swing a part almost 17″ wide. It’s not packed with features, but the quality is very good, and the construction is heavy. It only has 12 speeds, but the range is nice: 20-2000 RPM. The motor is 7.5 horsepower, which is insane. The threading options are a little limited, but change gears can be had. The ways are a foot wide, the castings are Meehanite. It came with a neat light and a DRO. No complaints here.
Og told me to get a 12 x 36, and he was probably right. He was right when he told me to get a Grizzly instead of the Clausing. But come on. This baby has a 2″ bore. I can part stuff that would otherwise require a saw. You know I needed that.
I actually wanted a 14 x 40 with variable speed, but the seller I had in mind would not give me a quote. He kept saying he’d get around to it. He said he sent it, but it must have gotten lost in cyberspace. After two months, I gave up on him. I think the smaller lathe would have been fine, and it would have had a big bore on it, but I can’t hold people at gunpoint and force them to do business with me.
I could not get him to sell me the smaller lathe I wanted, and once I had decided on the big lathe, people told me not to use a VFD, which is the cheapest way to run a big lathe on single-phase power, without derating and other potential issues. They told me I needed a digital phase converter, which is pretty ridiculous. They cost a lot. I was determined to get a VFD, but over time, I decided to bite the bullet and do it right. So now I have the phase converter on my wall. Right now it’s only connected to the lathe, but if I feel like it, I can add the mill to it and bypass the existing VFD, which does absolutely nothing except provide three-phase power. I can also put up sockets and run whatever three-phase stuff I get later. This is advantageous, because a lot of great three-phase equipment goes on the market for low prices, and it’s generally better than single-phase machinery.
I went with Gator chucks. Ordinarily, the lathe would have come with no-name Asian chucks, but they were not included, so I got to pick my own. Gators are made in mainland China, but the company has a very good reputation. I got an 8″ adjustable 3-jaw chuck, which is practically my fiancee now, and I also got a 10″ 4-jaw which I haven’t even tried, because the 3-jaw is so great. I can’t measure the runout on the 3-jaw, and so far, that has held true on diameters of 1″ and 1.5″, so it appears to work well, at least within that range.
I was going to get cheapo Chinese carbide holders, but I got yelled at when I mentioned this to actual machinists, so I found a great deal on two Kennametal 3/4″ holders, and the seller threw in 10 inserts. Very nice. Super rigid.
The lathe isn’t leveled yet. I was going to use the famous “Rollie’s Dad” method, but research led me to conclude that it wasn’t really that great, so I reluctantly ordered a good level. I went with Tools4cheap. I’m hoping the level lives up to the hype.
The lathe is a DREAM to run. It scared the crap out of me when I first got it going. I accidentally started the giant chuck spinning at 2000 instead of 500. But it does what it’s supposed to do. The repeatability on the 3-jaw chuck is a wonder to behold. The worklight is bright and very easy to position. The controls work MUCH more smoothly than the ones on the Clausing. It just does what it’s supposed to do. I don’t fight all day to make the tool work. It’s just like my gorgeous milling machine.
I finished up my 304 stainless garlic press. It works great. You stuff it with garlic and whack it with a hammer, and pureed garlic poomps into a little chamber. Then you pump the piston again, and the garlic pops out on your cutting board. This is the first decent garlic press I have ever seen. And I’m improving it. I’m making a big base that includes the pulverizing holes and the chamber for the crushed garlic, and it’s going to thread onto the main housing. It will come off easily to go in the dishwasher. I love it. It’s so cool I can’t stand it.
After this I may make a nutcracker. I don’t need one. I just hate nutcrackers. They’re wimpy. They slip and shoot nuts across the room. They break. I’m going to make one that will open a golf ball, if that’s what turns you on.
Today I used the lathe to bore out a 1 1/2″-wide piece of stainless, for the garlic chamber. I saved my old 1/2″ Albrecht chuck from the Clausing, and I got an adaptor sleeve to make it fit the new tailstock. I drilled the work with three bits, creeping up to 1/2″, and then I went to a boring bar that would fit in the hole. Then I put it on the mill and flattened the bottom of the bore. Going back to the lathe, I turned on the DRO, put in a bigger bar, and set the bottom of the bore as zero. After that, it was a simple matter to open the bore up until the walls were about 3/16″ thick. The bar screamed like hell–nothing I do seems to change that–but the finish is really nice, so I guess it’s okay.
I have to figure out what to use for the internal threading on the end that joins the press body, but other than that, this will be a cakewalk. God willing.
I wonder if cooks would pay for stuff like this. It would be pointless to make these things for less than thirty bucks. But they would last forever and work like nothing else on the market.
I love the garage more every day. I have a guitar amp out there, which I’m halfway done building. I have my tools set up in a nice ergonomic way. I have peace and quiet. I have air conditioning and comfy chairs. I have hundreds of albums on the MP3 player. And I have the ultimate place to pray. I generally do at least an hour and a half out there in the evening.
I have been asking God to tell me what my job is. Crazy as it sounds, I think he answered. I think prayer is my job. Some people go to Calcutta. I go to the garage. It suits me to a tee. Prayer is the most powerful thing anyone can do, even if no one appreciates it. And if you’re in God’s presence every day, for long periods, good stuff is going to happen to you, regardless of whom you pray for. It’s a little like being God’s treasurer. You’re distributing his supernatural wealth. Some of it is going to stick to you.
I believe God has given me a fortune, and the substance of that fortune is faith, which is much more valuable than money. If God gives you a fortune, you have to share it. So, unless I’m wrong about what he wants me to do, this is going to be my primary function for a while. Pray for others. Pray for the country. And of course, pray for yours truly. Come on, man. I need a little piece of the action. You can’t muzzle the ox that treads out the corn.
Life has changed a lot. Things work better. Things that used to cause me stress are turning into blessings. Even the collection calls from student loan servicers and collection agencies are kind of pleasant now. I executed a release, so they can never get another dime out of me, but they still call from time to time and ask–very courteously–if I know where they can find the borrower. Now I feel I can relate to them, instead of seeing them as relentless sources of aggravation.
If you’re a cosigner for someone who won’t pay, for God’s sake, ask about executing a release. Not a settlement. A “release.” Trust me; this advice is gold. I got my freedom. Get yours. They will negotiate. You may lose some money, but thereafter, you will sleep well while the person who took advantage of you has to worry about things like wage garnishing, lawsuits, and debts bankruptcy doesn’t affect.
I don’t think I’m going to be here too long. My faith tells me I will find a better place to live. I don’t want to budge until I get a clear indication. I truly look forward to kissing Miami goodbye forever. My family endured so much sorrow here. I don’t need to look around me and be reminded. My life is in the future, so I don’t want to be wrapped up in the past. I think God has given me the Garage of Blues so I can have a little comfort while I wait.
I think my dad is coming around. He sees how I am blessed. That has to have an impact. My sister…another story. Some people are extremely hard for God to teach, so they go through shocking trials. I’m not worried. I keep asking God to do specific things to bring her around, and he keeps doing those things. Whatever happens, she will have the best shot prayer can provide.
I have to go work on the amp. I can’t wait to hear it!
People are asking about the garlic press. I have really bad photos. The end result is what matters, so here are two photos of the garlic on its way out. This should give you an idea of what it does to the garlic. The press is one inch in diameter, to provide scale.
The garlic may look solid, but that’s because it was mashed into a cylindrical space. It has passed through several 1/8″ holes.Stumble it! Save This Page