Tuesday, August 10, 2021

when you find you are only human after all

  When I saw all the tool marks in drill and mill tables, and the general scarification of all the tools in general in my high school metal / machine shop, it wasn't hard to understand how they got that way, especially when I watched some of my devolved classmates, one or two of which had the intellectual capacity of a small plastic soap dish.

 But when I first set foot in a friend's professional machine shop, which had been in operation since the 1950s at least (he took over the business after working there for 30 years) I was startled to find that machines used by professional machinists also get all scarred up with tool marks.  In my youthful naiveté, I thought it evidence that too many careless employees had been hired.  Pffft.

 When I bought my (home shop grade, floor-standing, junky major
name brand) drill press, not old at all, and from the original owner, I
smirked at the drill holes I found in its table:


 Not long after that, my friend with the machine shop decided to sell one of his Bridgeports to make room for a CNC machine, and sold me the 1970s era mill for 1/5 what he could have sold it for on the open market, which was nice.  Of course, I had to buy a vise, and tooling and cutters and fluids, and replace the one-shot oiler, and get a phase converter to run the 3-phase motor, and so on.

 By the time I bought that machine, I had already seen it among the three my friend had at his shop, and I had probably even used it at some point in the past, so I knew the table was marked up here and there...

 And I told myself, "other people may be that careless, but I never will!  I will take good care of my things!"

 Now, this is of course, the voice of youthful naiveté, and it is tantamount to saying:

 "Other people may operate their power tools when they're tired and working to a deadline, but I never will!"

 "Other people may work in their shop when they've had one too many beers (or painkillers), but I never will!"

 "Other people may lift carelessly and hurt their backs, but I never will!"

 I mean, just thinking that way is dumb enough, but if you actually say it out loud, that's just begging the gods, the spirits, your ancestors, The Fates, the local hobgoblin, who- or what-ever, to directly intervene and bring down your hubris a notch or two!

 But dammit, I really did manage to keep from making any new marks in my new toys, mostly by actually following my own seemingly sensible rules.

 Until one day I didn't...

 I was moving the mill's table, and I needed to move the quill up a little to clear the vise jaw.  The quill handle on the Bridgeport is odd in that it can be placed in a lot of positions for comfort and convenience, but this means if the handle is up and you push, the quill goes up, but if the handle is down and you push, the quill goes down.  If the handle is out in front where it belongs (and where nobody every uses it) then the quill follows the handle motion intuitively, you dummy.

 So I pushed when I shoulda pulled, or vise-versa* and now I have a divot in my mill vise.  *goth-sigh*

 I also managed to not hurt my back for nearly the same amount of time, until I did, and I'm still recovering from that one.  I'm far more over the divot than the back injury, for what it's worth.

*see what I did there? VISE-VERSA?? OMG I SLAY MYSELF.  Ha.  Haaaa.
Thanks so much folks, I'll be here all week, try the veal!

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