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Wanted: Hunchbacked Lab Assistant

January 5th, 2017

Free Swill; Must have Green Card

I feel like I’m reaching a turning point in my evolution from white collar sissy to metalworking technonerd. I’m finally starting to feel like I have almost enough crap.

Back in around 2007, when I started buying tools, I would go out in the garage, hoping to do something, and I would see a big void. No table saw. No welder. No band saw. No nothing! Then I started accumulating stuff, bit by bit. This week, I knew I had made progress, because the 2017 Grizzly catalog arrived, and I didn’t even open it. There is nothing I absolutely have to have, right now, in order to keep from going crazy.

Mmm…Chinese TIG welders…mmm…credit card points…

Sorry.

Today I was working on Ladyada’s Arduino tutorials again, and I opened a new page. It listed a bunch of junk I had to have in order to do the next tutorial. Listed: a tiny push-button switch which can be inserted in a solderless breadboard.

I groaned. My local Radio Shack went Tango Uniform a while back, so if I want electronic parts, I have to drive across town to the electronics supermarket (where I will definitely spend over $75 regardless of what I “need”), or I have to wait for Ebay. Or I guess I could drive to the nearest Radio Shack, but dang, I love that electronics supermarket.

Anyway, I decided to check my stuff just to be sure I didn’t have what I needed. I went to the garage, and in the little drawer cabinet on the wall, I saw a drawer labeled “SWITCHES.”

Yes, I already have maybe thirty switches, not counting the ones I have left over from making guitar amps.

I’m living the high life. I should be in a beer commercial.

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4 Responses to “Wanted: Hunchbacked Lab Assistant”

  1. John Bowen Says:

    You should take up making folding knives. There’s a time sink with a tangible reward.

  2. Steve H. Says:

    Now that the belt grinder is working, I need to finish my poultry-boning knife. I made two of them, but only one looks like it’s worth sending to be hardened.

    I think I should go get a length of crappy mild steel bar and grind blades out of it for practice.

  3. Terrapod Says:

    Go to the automobile scrapyard nearest you and purchase one set off leaf springs off any truck or old car. They make the best stock steel for machetes and knives and are dirt cheap, no one wants them any more except folks like me who repair old cars or want to make a nice machete . I am keeping an eye out for a used industrial belt sander. Forget about the Chinese TIG machines, they don’t last, get a low end Hobart (1300 bucks) or find a used miller on the industrial auction market.

  4. Steve H. Says:

    I wouldn’t want to use leaf springs for practice. I want something thin and easy to cut. I’m thinking I’ll just get a long bar of mild steel. I don’t want to waste money on something that can be hardened, since I would be grinding the shapes purely to improve my skills.

    You’re not going to be happy making knives with a belt sander, if you mean something like a 6×48. The speed is slow, and the belts are too wide. A 2×72 grinder will give you lots of speed plus a ton of versatility.

    The Chinese TIG’s are getting much better, and the prices are very good. A lot of people really like the AHP AlphaTIG 200X.

    I’m nervous about buying used, because people who sell old tools tend to be liars and crooks, and even used, a Miller or Lincoln that can do what the AlphaTIG ($840) does will cost at least twice as much. Better yet, I can get the Chinese machine with credit card points.

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