Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The grave(r) state of affairs

So this afternoon I decided to play on the Taig lathe. I have been doing a project, which I will describe later. It requires great precision and careful measuring. Well, I was kind of tired of the .01 mm stuff. Wanted something  more freehand. I have been reading my clockmacking/watchmaking books. They do not always employ toolpost-held tools. Instead they use hand-held tools called gravers. These are not unlike wood-turning tools on a wood lathe. But the idea is the same. You use the graver much like you would use a skew chisel in wood turning. The book said "it is not mysterious. Take a piece of faced-off brass and round the corners. That will get you started". OK, let's try it.

Using Handy Bandy I sawed off a piece of aluminum rod. I did not dare to use brass because it is expensive and not easy to obtain. About 20 minutes later...

... I had the shape  you see above. The end looks rather like a ball and the other decoration is sort of an ellipsoid. All freehand. Whee! This is fun! Notice I was using the chuck. Not a good idea, because the tool can hit the chuck. So what is a graver?

A graver is nothing more than a chisel. I had this tool, which you see above. I had made it to cut threads on the pole lathe by chasing. I reground it. With it, I faced off (squared) the end of the bandsaw cut -- freehand. It takes quite some practice to learn how to use a graver. There are three axes (pitch, roll, yaw) and you have to get all three right. Note I am using the standard Taig wood-turning tool rest.

After a while I learned my wood-turning parting tool works just as well for cutting grooves in Aluminum as it does on wood. Not surprising, Steel much harder than Ally. So I learned to rough out with the parting tool and blend in with the graver.

Much more to learn. For instance, the chuck is a bad idea. It interferes with tool movement. So fortunately I have acquired a set of ER collets and an adapter to replace the Taig collets. This is a much better option than the chuck. More to come. Still learning, but it is very enjoyable.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The New Shop

On examining my camera --w hich has sat, batteries flat. for some time now -- I seem to have lost a whole bunch of photos. Well, such is life in these modern electronic times. So I will have to reconstruct a whole bunch of projected posts.

So while I do, I thought I would give you a tour through my new shop. I have one half of a two-car garage. This seems like a huge luxury. Much more space than I had before, namely one hallway. Let's start at the garage door.

My priceless woodworking bench, which I built in Juneau some years ago now, occupies pride of place. At last I can do woodworking in winter. Previously Mr Workbench lived in the barn -- very cold in winter.  Impossibly so. In the foreground, two out of my three trusty Workmates (TM) . Just wait until you see the vise I got for this workbench. Meantime it's Workmates for clamping. Moving om to the rear of the garage, we have the metalworking machine bench, exactly as it was at Chalupy. Lathe, mill, drill press. No novelty there. I had, of course to add some shelves.

The aassembly/general workbench follows towards the rear. Again, some wood to hold all the tools I need.

 Finally there is the grinder bench , -- the shinto temple of a previous post -- with my grinders and a new contraption, the cabinet. Madame Cabinet is a winter project. It is a ten-drawer cabinet which I hope will reduce the clutter in the shop. I built it out of a couple 1x2s, and some particle board. It deserves a post all to itself, maybe I'll do one.

With this environment in mind I will reconstruct the projects currently underway, as soon as I get a new memory card for the camera.

And now it's time for bed.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Chalupy Acres lives again!!

I have been stymied from posting by the internet situation in this new home. My "real" computer was set up for an ethernet connection at Chalupy. The box from the phone line went into the router. From there I ran an ethernet cable to the conputer, and presto! Internet.

Here I was limited to an evil laptop. At least it spoke wi-fi. Getting a USB mouse helped a lot. But I still didn't have all my familiar software. All the stuff to get photos off the camera, all the nice keyboard features that I have become used to. So my daughter had a brilliant idea. The cable company supplied a cable modem. Form thence we went to a router which supplied wi-fi to the whole house. But an ethernet cable from the router (upstairs) would have been about 30 meters long -- posssible but very unsightly. Or I could have drilled a hole in the floor -- verboten. Or I could put a wireless USB "dongle" on my real computer. Which I did, but there is something missing. "Device not found" it says.

The brilliant idea was to note that the downstairs room where I have my stuff set up has a cable outlet. So why not attach the cable modem to the downstairs connection, take the router downstairs, and plug ethernet into that? IT WORKED. The router broadcasts wi-fi everywhere, so why worry about the cable modem/router location?

So now I am online again downstairs. I now have to revive my camera and get the photos off it, and I might be in business again. Note the absence of pictures in this post. When I get the camera up I can show you what I have been doing. Several projects, the new shop, the whole thing. Cameras, unfortunately, require batteries and I am afraid that this may take a few days.  And I may have lost a few photos.

Chalupy acres apologizes for the long absence, but hope is in the air.