Sim Card Tool

Everybody gets a phone these days that takes a sim card. Well I had a request from a friend to make a hardened sim card removal tool so that he didn’t need to keep a sim-key around, he can keep it in his IT screw driver case.

So I used one of the bits out of the driver set. (its a cheap harbor freight set) It was the solid 5/32 hex stock. I went ahead and turned it down really small.

Turning it down was actually a bit of a challenge. It was already hardened, but not tempered. That’s that harbor freight quality…. So I first tempered it with a torch to a straw color. I let it cool and then started machining.

The actual turning process was interesting because it just wanted to flex once it got under about 0.1250″. So to finish it off I chucked it into my hand drill and went to the belt sander. I went slowly and kept the temp down but I was able to thin it out and keep it fairly true.

The final piece will be held in a little interchangeable hex micro-driver.

I’m not too worried about it with the home temper. Its obviously cast and poorly ground steel. Well, I’m not even sure it was steel. It machined terribly and I was using carbide.

Chip Tray

I’ve finally gotten mad that I don’t have a good way to catch my chips on the lathe. So I went and used a 20% harbor freight coupon and picked up their light duty 18″ metal break.

It took a good deal of googling but I was able to figure out how to bend a box.

So far it seems to be working. I did have to notch out the bit around the base of the lathe. I’ll probably be re-making at some point. But for now it seems to catch a lot!

Another New Toolpost

Ok, so I built a set of toolpost and tool holders for my lathe. I loved it. Its a great design. But, I ran into a little problem… It wasn’t rigid enough. I think this was totally my fault. I had never milled anything, ever. Its not terribly accurate either. I didn’t have a mill and used the lathe.

Well, I broke down and ordered one from the to get my Taig lathe really running right.

So far its pretty great. Its supposedly designed by Tormach. We’ll see how that is. It looks pretty Chinese. I’m going to be ordering more tool holders from Shars soon. Its supposed to be a standard OXA aloris style wedge.

Hand Vises

Ok, I’m sure that if you’re reading this by now you know that I have a bit of a vise vice. I love my vises. Work holding is an amazing technology to me. Not really sure why.

Anyway I was recently challenging myself to make some miniatures that would get too hot to hold too quickly.

My father has long been a tool collector and he has a beautiful little hand vise. Its like a leg vise and a pin vise together in one. Its amazing, old, and beautiful.

So I took to the ebay and I found a similar one.

His is the top one, mine is the bottom. I’ve got a little work to do, I think it was scotch-brighted or wire-wheeled. not sure. I might do a gun bluing on it and then a polish.

There’s not much to this post, just bragging about finding a new vise.

Tubalcain’s No Spill Oilcan

I have to confess, I am a feverish watcher of MrPete222, Tubalcain, on youtube. That man is amazing. I wish 1) I could have taken machine shop in highschool and 2) that he would have taught it. Seriously go watch his videos now.

Anyway. Recently he did a quick little build of a no-spill or low-spill oil can that can be used with a brush. Well, I’ve started using brushes a lot more and I really get it now. Its much less messy and much more effective.

So I set out the other evening and made one. Its a quick and easy build.

Its really just a larger 1/2 can of chicken with the chicken removed. A hole cut in the top and a copper tube soldered in place. The bottom of the tube has a notch out for oil flow, and theres a 1/16th inch air hole in the top.

It works amazingly well and I’ll be making lots more!

‘Reclaimed’ wood wall

Its funny, but once you work with good lumber you really never want to go back. Well Recently I had the opportunity to do a build out in a church with the pallet wood walls.

Actually my father and I both went to build on it. Its weird. I’m used to working with a full cabinet table saw and a nice DeWalt chop saw. Well, for this we had neither. Instead we had a pile of “wood” and they wanted us to match widths and brad nail it to the furring strips they had loosely framed in.

That’s dumb. I made the executive call and we dug out a little DeWalt jobsite table saw. We ripped a ton of lumber and then started placing it in.

My father up placing some more furring strips

This was the back wall.

My Father with the wall that we built in like 4 or so hours.

The outer back wall. None of which was ripped and took the other group twice a long to make.

A wide shot of the whole area that we built out.


All in all it turned out nicely. I still dislike the use of pallet wood. We should have just used stained and ripped plywood sheets. It would have been faster and fit better. But, who cares. It was free and easy week long build in the evenings after work.

Lightsaber Build

So I have to confess, this isn’t really a build right now. I purchased a lightsaber build from Romans Props. Its an exact copy of an original graflex land flashgun. It actually works too. I put a flash bulb in it and test fired it. Its amazing that with the right cables I was able to fire it with my Canon 5DmkIII.

Anyway, I bought it pre-converted into a ESB style. Its not got any lightsaber internals YET. I just got in the blade holder so I’ll be converting that soon.

Stay tuned though. I think I’ll be doing a full crystal reveal, custom making a chassis — machining most of it out of brass and making it look functional.

Travel and Time Away

With my work in the summers I end up having to take several trips nearly back to back. So I was away from the workshop recently in Miami, Florida for a week and then in Banff, Canada for a week.

I didn’t really make anything while I was out, well except for photos and videos. But heres some cool shots of Canada. Its amazing up there.

That was my office for the week. It was a pretty nice view.


Yeah It was a good time.

Miami wasn’t bad either though!

This was the ballroom that I spend most of my time in though.


But this is why I haven’t been in the workshop for a while. But I’m back now and back to weekend builds!

Hello world! (Again)

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start writing!

Well, this is my first post on my new server that is. I did a complete rebuild and a new OS. So this is now running on a fresh instance of Windows server 2016 instead of the old Ubuntu LTS 14.4. It not that I had anything wrong with the old Trusty Tahr, (aside from the usual I don’t know what I’m doing with linux…)  But its time to step up and learn some better server software so I can better do the IT part of my job.

Whats pushed me into this is the fact that at work, I have had an old server. It was a 2008 era storage server with a single volume 8tb RAID 5 for data and a RAID 1 for the OS. It was an antique. I didn’t build it, I wasn’t even around when it was built. Well, there was finally a bad day for the server. I lost a data drive and an OS drive within a week. So emergency protocols went into affect.

I’ve long been talking about needing some real storage, or at least current storage. So I’ve been specing out a server. I’ve looked at all the prebuilts and the cost is a bit out of my small company’s range. So I’m looking at building.

Currently looking at a supermicro board with 32gb of ram, a Xeon-D 1518 and 18 8Tb storage drives  with 2 OS SSDs. The total storage looks like a 64TB RAID 6, a 24.5TB RAID 1, and a 8TB RAID 1, and  a 512GB RAID 1. This gives us a fast OS, Reliable Deep storage, Fast recent storage, redundant webserve. It looks to be a pretty hefty machine.

Well, the real stumbling block here is my lack of knowledge when it comes to Windows Server. So. time to rebuild the home server.

Previously I was running 2 4tb drives and a 64gb ssd. I didn’t have any RAID or redundancy set up at all. Linux was, well, something I used because of its cost. I really never learned it properly.

So I did a rebuild of the architecture. I popped 4 4tb 2.5 inch drives into a 4 bank 5.5 adapter, this opened a bunch of room in my micro ITX case and has significantly dropped the heat. I’m still running the 64gb SSD as an OS disk. but as it is now I have 7.8TB in a RAID 10 (kind of, its a windows storage space so not really a RAID array) but its redundant and big!

Today really was about getting the server up and running, installing the remote features and getting my webhost back up. So its nice to be back up and live!