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!

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.

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!

The Quick Change Tool Post

About a year ago I was still unsure how to really use my lathe, so I did some digging and found a youtuber named Curt Filipowski who was doing some really cool Taig mods. At the time I was really curious on knurling. I’d seen a bunch of tutorials on knurling, and I had read a bunch of articles talking about how you can’t do it with the Taig. So I find this guy and he’s made a knurling tool, clamping style, for the Taig specifically. So I subscribed to his channel and he’s had some cool stuff out there  since then.

Check him out here: YoutubeHis Website

Anyway. He just a couple of months ago posted that he was working on a set of quick change tool posts for his Taig. I’ve had my eyes on them for a while started with the one from A2Z tools and then the generic OXA version that littlemachineshop has available. But I’m weird when it comes to tools…

It really has to do with the way I learn. I don’t truely understand how things work until I’ve taken them apart and fiddled with them. While a tool post’s concept is easy enough, I still felt like it was something I could make rather than throw the $120 plus shipping at the internet.

So I watched Curt’s tool post video and he mentioned that he might make the plans available. Upvote time. Like a week later he posted a new video with a link to his store for the plans. (buy them here)

The plans themselves are very nice. All done in great detail and 3d modeling. And for me, someone with no experience reading technical plans, or milling, they were easy enough to get through. Well worth the $3.00 I paid.

But lets back up. I had just like 2 weeks earlier gotten an ER32 collet chuck. I had also then the week before found an old Kennedy box full of tooling on Craigslist for a steal. So, I actually had the tools to do the job. time to dust off the milling attachment that I bought with the lathe 3 years ago!

Problem one for me was sourcing the material. Which nicely enough was just 1×1 6061 extruded aluminum. I hate ordering online for metals because its always a huge expense and shipping cost. So I consulted with some local friends of mine in construction trades and tracked down a metals supermarket location. I picked up a 6ft bar for about $20. good to go!

So I cut off a rough block and set off.

I faced down the block to dimension probably over dykemed it and started the layout.

I was actually really surprised at how well it was all going. I also was learning a ton from my regular instagram postings and people graciously helping out. (like the terribly inaccurate alignment and placement of the indicator…)

It was all so good and then I grossly overshot a hole… Rather than tossing the part in my scrap bin, I milled out a channel on the side for a 1/2″ bump knurler that I had gotten in the Kennedy box. Worked out all right since I didn’t have a fine wheel set for my cheap Grizzly clamp knurler.

I pressed on and made the part again.

It took a considerable amount of mind power from me to get the parts clamped up for the 45 degree cuts on the dovetail. But I got it working.

It was at the point where I was starting to make the mating 45s for the dovetail that I realized everything was out of square. great. So forge on and end up with an added angle to the tool from the post or try again?

Try again. Turns out I was using the milling “vise” wrong. I wasn’t actually locking it in place, I was just tightening the hand screw. Number 3 at this point is coming out really nice. I decided to cut the main dovetail and the mating parts out of the piece in the same move so I just had to flip the work and not reset the vise.

(its not in the vise here, I didn’t mill it this way, it was just for the picture.)

This approach worked really well. I wish I had done more parts at this point. My angles are sort of close to 45. Not by any means perfect.

This is the point that I missed photographing some steps. But I did some hand finishing and was able to get the part fit really well. Well enough that I could turn the round parts that I needed with the 3/4 built post.

I’m really pleased at the fit that I was able to get on the dovetail. Its rock solid.

So I went ahead and finished up the main screw and the brass height stops.

I only made one real change to the design from the plans. I made the actual tool holder over sized. to accomidate a 3/8ths tool instead of the 1/4″ that it called for.

I’ve slowly been working on making additional tool holders sort of running them through in multiples as I get time.

I’ve learned so much from this first milling project that its crazy. Its all about going in the right sequence of steps and checking everything all the time.  Its been a great project!

So at this point, I’ve got the post and I’ve got 2 holders. but thats 1 more than I started out with! It also handles the 3/8ths bits that I have now. Which means I can use the tooling I own!

So in summary, if you need a QCTP, make one and follow Curt’s plans. Especially if you have a mill. I can see how this would have been like 10x easier with a proper mill…

Beal ER-32 Collet Chuck

This is less of a build than a talk about a new tool that I bought. So lets get that straight out of the way. My father was awesome, again, for me and he called up his connections at the Beal Tool Co. just east of Columbus OH. I guess I haddn’t really done my homework, but the Beal Tool Co. actually manufactures a really quite nice collet chuck for several different lathes.

It turns out that they happen to make one in a 3/4-16 thread specifically for the Taig lathe.

So the crazy thing is that this single little tube of metal has completely changed my life as far as using my lathe goes.

Its an ER-32 collet chuck and it comes with 6 collets. Its really a great set to get started with some real rigidity in turning, and very little run out. For me, there the run out was +/- .0005 or there abouts. Which is WAY less than I used to have with 3 and 4 jaw chucks.

So as with anything though, I had to make it my own.

So, heres a custom collet holder that I whipped together out of some 3/4 walnut, a bit of 2×4 pine, and a small piece of lacewood.

I would have made the whole thing out of walnut, but I just don’t have enough. (who really does though?) The corners are faux pinned with brass. purely for looks, I still haven’t gotten the steampunk out of my system and can’t stop adding brass to walnut.

Here is the finished and filled piece. I ended up adding a 7/16ths and 1/8th collet to the set that came with the chuck.



Legos and LEDs

Legos are great. This is a fact. I’ve been playing with Legos for years, its even what gave me the push to go into the film industry. It no surprise that I’ve never given it up.

So Lego has also shifted in the last 3 years to include a series of cars. They are making some amazing replicas of high-end european sports cars. The kits themselves are relatively cheap too, for Lego. The speed champions line has several awesome Porsche, Bugatti, Ferrari, AMG, Skudaria, Camero, Corvette, seriously some awesome stuff.

Yeah, I’ve been collecting them as they come out. They’ve released like 4 cars a year. They’re killing it with these little things.

So my father knows that I love lego and cars. He got me this year’s larger scale car kit for Christmas. Its a Caterham.

Its absolutely bad ass. Its also full ‘expert’ Lego techniques — friction fits, angles, and inverted parts. Great kit for adults!

So fast forward a few weeks… He got me a light kit for the scale Mini that I had.

These are made by Bricklink and are totally 3rd party. But, that are amazing. Super bright micro LEDs installed in the bricks. The whole thing is USB powered so it runs off a standard wall charger for a phone.

Lastly I went a little overboard and picked up the latest car kits for 2017.

The VW Beetle was a very great kit. like 1200 pieces. 6 solid hours of building. but it looks great!

Spoon Bits

I got inspired again to sit down and do another build video. I’m still trying to find a format that works the best for me for video.

I shoot video, or at least work with video every day for a living so It sort of takes a good deal of work to get me to make video outside of work.

This one was sort of a cool project, Its not something that really needed a video, nor was it something new or exciting. I just really liked the story telling aspect of it.