Eagle no 66 oilers

I was out last weekend at the antique mall. Yeah, I’m that lame — A single late 20s guy who goes to antique malls. The worst part is that I actually probably know more about some of the junk there than the people who work it. Who knows. I just like antique malls because its a really cool cross section of history. You get to see how people in the old days dealt with problems. I like going to see if I can learn how the old mechanical things worked. I find that super interesting.

Anyway. I’m also always on the look out for cool old tools, and good deals on things that I could use in my shop.

While looking I found 2 different Eagle brand No. 66 oiler pump cans. These are cool to me primarily because they were old brass. Old crusty brass with a mechanical element. Theres that steampunk again…

So I bought them up. They were both under $20 and seemed to be complete and working.

Well I stupidly didn’t take any before pictures. So I found some from ebay that are in very similar condition.


The ones I got have rigid spouts not the movable kind like that.

So I went to town working only with my 2 speed bench grinder. Which is really just a 1 horse motor with some arbors that my grandfather bought back in the day. He was a dentist and it was the motor for his rotary dental tools in the 60s and 70s. Anyway, I attacked it with a semi-hard cotton wheel with white diamond cutting compound on it.

This is the halfway mark. I took the pump piston out, completely disassembled and cleaned inside and out.

The first can was a breeze, it had been emptied and washed out with a degreaser prior to antique mall. The second can, no so much. The second can’s unused oil, no idea what kind, had turned into a black thick gel that absolutely stunk. It took several degreaser baths to break it down and get it cleaned.

I’m super thrilled with the end results. They both are now filled with some cheaper thread cutting oil, the dark sulfuric oil. So far, not leaking at all.

I will say that they are a really simple design, if you stop and pay attention… I did not when opening the piston chamber of the first can. I nearly lost the ball bearings and springs. then it took an additional 45 minutes to figure out how to put it back together post cleaning. I usually try not to charge in like that, but sometimes I get excited.

Kennedy Box Rescue

Lately I’ve kinda dived into the world of tool making, milling, and tool rescue. Ever since I got a real collet chuck for my Taig lathe things sort of clicked for me.

So I got my collet chucks and its amazing to run my lathe now. Things are actually running true and rigid. So I hop onto Craigslist. I do this from time to time and look at larger lathes, mills, and tooling. Just to see whats out there.

I find; “I’m selling my dad’s old toolbox made by Kennedy.” Ok, I’ll bite. I read further; “I don’t know what any of these drill bits are for, looking for $2.00 per pound.”

The picture shows a 12″ Mitatoyo combination square with circle center. well. How much does he want? I went ahead and sent him an email. Like clockwork, I got a phone call within 15 minutes. I’d never done a craigslist deal before, but it seemed legit. I drove over to the house to check it out. It turns out his father was a union machinist for like 30 years after he came home from the war.

He had just moved his parents into an assisted living facility and was getting their house ready to sell. He just wanted the box gone. But, he also seemed like he wanted to see it go to someone who’d use it too. So I quickly opened the box up and scanned the drawers. It was the apprentice’s size box so not huge, however, jammed full. So, that was an easy $300 sale for him.

I got it home and then the fun really began.

The box itself, while a Kennedy, its in rough, rough shape. It sat on the floor of a leaky garage for 20 years. The bottom is mostly just rust. It would be interesting to try and save it, but I’m just not the welder for the job.

Well I decided to take one drawer at a time. Here’s what I found:

This is the top section. Mitatoyo square, Brown & Sharpe square, Mitatoyo 0-1 mic, B&S depth mic with extensions, Industrial Pipe and Steel caliper. Those were the bigger ticket tools. Theres a Fowler dial indicator but its pretty crusty.

The first drawer on the left hand side was all lathe tooling.

This is pulled out and organized. Its for the most part 3/8ths brazed carbide insert tooling.

The next was the top right drawer.

This was the marking and measuring drawer. Edge finders, thickness gauges, thread gauges, thread transfer points, shims, scribes, pin vises, and some really great small rules.

Next we have some end mills.

There was a bunch of some nice solid carbide drill bits, and some larger diameter end mills in here.

Turns out there was good deal of ball end mills and flat faced mills. Mostly 3/8ths shank, 4 flute spiral.

Next was the boring drawer.

Home made thread gauge plate, a few deburring tools, fly cutter, boring bars. Lots of very specific process stuff that I’ve still got to learn about.

Its fun to go through and organize each drawer as I go.

The first of the full width drawers had a few 0-1 and 1-2 inch mics. a few were broken. There was some more misc lathe tooling and some carbide inserts. Its clear that this was sort of a catch all.

And then finally the bottom drawer.

There were a few more end mills and some nice solid carbide drill bits. But this was mostly inside and outside calipers, 3-4 and 4-5 inch mics. lots of pliers and screw drivers. A few different gauge blocks. Some misc dial and test indicators.

All in all it was an amazing score. I’m so happy I was able to get this. I’ve already started using the end mills on my lathe. I used them to make a quick change tool post so far.

Hopefully in time all of the tools will be transplanted into a new box and have some life breathed back into them.

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!

Wooden File Handles – Revisited

I was looking for an easy one night build after a rough day at work. So I took stock of what all I had going on. I’ve got a deep love in my shop for hand files. I have a bad tendency to keep buying them. So needless to say, I have a pile of files. I feel bad every time I use one on my lathe and it doesn’t have a handle. That’s like safety 101. So I figured it was an easy evening project.

I took a block of cherry. I have a section of 8 quarter, I ripped a small bit off and tossed it on my old, trusty, Jet Mini-Lathe. Its the lathe I cut my woodworking teeth on when I was 10 or so. Its one of the first real power tools I ever used that let me create something start to finish. — Its a lovely machine, even still.

So I turned that cherry chunk between centers as best I could, (admittedly I’ve gotten very used to having a cross slide and carriage). I roughed the end down to size and then took it all over to my little Taig lathe.

I turned up a little piece of brass to use as a ferrule. This is critical. Its the first file handle that I’ve done with a ferrule. Its also probably the only file handle that isn’t going to split in half on my. (like I’ve had happen twice already.)

Anyway. I chucked the rough handle up on the Taig, squared and fitted the ferrule with a nice tight friction fit. Then I drilled out the hole for the file’s tang. I manually stepped it as well so it would seat better. From here it was just a lot of sanding. I ended up doing that back on the Jet lathe. I’m trying my best to limit the wood dust on my metal lathe. Don’t worry, I cleaned it thoroughly then re-lubed everything, ways, apron, lead screws, everything.

as a finish I used some Fiebang’s British Tan alcohol based dye to darken the red in the cherry and then just a hit of Carnuba wax to seal it all.

Overall, it was a nice evening in the workshop — I plan to make a bunch more maybe a full set of matching ones for some needle file sets.

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.

Steam Era Floor Lamp

So, I finally got an office of my own. After nearly 5 years I now have my own 4 walls. Now, what better way to claim it as my own than decorate it with my stuff.

My first real challenge was the lighting situation.

So I thought, well, why not make another pipe/steam lamp. but, bigger, and LED.

I set off to planning and this is what I came up with:

Theres a lot going on here. Which is fun. I never actually plan these things out, so this was an interesting project.

Well I went out to the store and picked up what I could. This is what I came up with.

Not too far off actually. Well this is after like 2 or 3 hours of wrenching pipe and wiring and soldering. This is where the hard part come in. The base.

I originally wanted a nice piece of wood. Live edge walnut. something you know, beautiful. well that didn’t work out. Walnut was not in the budget. I also needed some weight so it didn’t fall over. I went with 3 pieces of Baltic Birch plywood that I had CNC’d to the shape of some gears. They encapsulate an 8lbs weight too. So a little paint and its ready to go!

That last shot is it in the corner of my office. Complete with my Pith Helmet stand and my steam gun.

Steam Gun

Upon completion of my steam lamp and my Halloween steampunk costume I really set out to stretch my legs.

First stop when I’m getting in the mood to make is the antique store. A bit of mantiquing always gets me pumped to make. I love looking through the rust and dirt to find the mechanics of yester-year. I usually come home with some sort of new idea of how something used to work. Which as a side note I have relied on this knowledge for some time, and it has proven to solve many problems that I face daily at work. It really is surprising how useful playing with old contraptions is!

On this particular day out I found an old radio display. whats more, I found an old radio tube grab bag. Only a few buck and a I got myself a ton of 7 and 9 pin full size through mini tubes.  This is a good start!


So where should I start with this gun? Lets tackle the handle. Everybody always starts with a nerf gun. I’d like something that feels functional as much as fictional.

Starting with a design I drew up from my brainporium, with a hint of design element from the tesla guns of warehouse 13. (some day I’ll do a build of one as a replica prop)

Clamp and glue onto a piece of 1/4″ walnut. What a marvelous wood.

rough glue and cut out of both sides sandwiching the walnut.

Nice polished handle in my hand. What a great start.

Ok, now what? What should I put onto the gun?

The Barrel!

So lets custom cut some tubing! but how should we make it even?

Yep you guessed (and dreaded it), I cut the 1 1/4″ pipe I had and opened it up, applied my pattern and cut it out. I used a series of hand files and my belt grinder to shape.

Then its back into a pipe shape. Not surprisingly, this was the most complicated part of it all. I ended up turning a brass insert that was of proper inner diameter. Combine that with a 2oz hammer I got it back round. The fun part is that copper work hardens, like crazy fast. This piece took 3 or 4 heats to get back round without breaking.

The brass inserts were then bored out to accept a mini-tube on one side and a 5mm LED on the other. I’m just getting into electronics on this level. (basic circuitry really…) but I love the look of green LEDs in steampunk gear. If I had done anything different I would have waited and used a slow color changing RGB diode. but theres always the next gun…

So next step was a second photonic plasma transducer. (I just made that up). Blue didn’t look bad for the pair of them.

Well with two barrels built its starting to take shape!

About this time, Christmas was in full swing. I was off of work for several days, amazing time to sit and think in my workshop. I must have made a dozen drawings, and tried 1000 ways to fit these barrels. But I’m not a fabricator in a traditional sense, I don’t have industrial tools or materials either.

So after an intense internal struggle…. Enter the nerf gun.

This is probably the most heavily modified and steampunked nerf out there, the Maverick.

I want my gun to look and feel like I did a thorough facelift. So Bondo!

This was actually my first experience with Bondo. I stupidly bought the wrong one too. I went to the home center. and bought the blue can, all purpose filler. It seems to feel and act like Bondo but it takes WAY longer to set up. (well at least in my shop’s environmental settings) I found it wouldn’t grab the plastic, even though I had heavily sanded rough. Do notice I also cut the frame of the gun too. Opening the trigger guard made it feel more rounded and whimsical to me.

So after I sanded and scraped and sanded and sanded and sanded and the applied more Bondo, and then sanded. I was finally ready for some paint.

I first did about 3 coats of a flat gray filler primer. Then after it dried for not nearly long enough I did a coat of a bronze/antiqued copper primer. I could have probably started here. I’m still not in love with this color.

While that was drying I took out my spare Maverick, because if you can get two of everything it speeds up recovery of your mistakes….

I started fitting and drilling up the barrel ports. I already had a hole from the original barrel, but I needed to add one for the longer tube. not easy to do without measuring many times. I totally butchered the spare. lesson learned I guess.

With the holes properly drilled for the barrel I placed and epoxied in the copper fitting that I had bought for a totally different part. This acted as a great base. It also finally bonded the nerf plastic together. so I closed the open holes with some more Bondo. finished and painted. At this point I went all in with model paints in brass, copper, rust, silver, black. I am real happy with this look. Its the first model painting that I’ve ever done… fumbled through it but it turned out nice.

 Here’s the barrel placed with the painted gun next to the original.

And, shit. The gun is Bondo’d shut. where the hell am I putting the electronics?

Ok the second barrel is now a battery pack. Or, a plasma compression chamber…

I fished the green LED from its holder all the way down and out one of the holes in the copper fitting. I’m using Cat5E UTP wire here. So 24AWG copper strand. Its probably not heavy enough, but I figure its powering a single 1/4w LED so I figure its like less than single milliamp at 3.4V. I don’t really know the maths side of this yet. but why not live a little!

I capped of the battery tube and put an inline switch to turn it on and off. similar to the cane built. No, actually identical….

Once again, I used some 4-40 screws, and drilled and tapped my fittings. It looks more industrial I think. It also comes back apart if I need it to.

Additionally, I added some 1/4″ copper pipe that I heated and bent to contour the gun frame. I think it really adds to have a plasma charging port on one side and a photonic chamber pressure gauge readout.

At this point I could have stopped. But, in the words of Sherlock’s Moriarty, ‘I’m so changeable’.

I have been also playing a ton of Fallout 4, which probably has fueled my steampunkery as well. (unhealthily most likely) I’ve fallen in love with the Gauss Rifle’s design. I love the exposed field windings on the side. So I set out to steampunk them and add them. The biggest hurtle of all of this was finding solid core copper wire.

I want to scrimp and save where I can. I have a bad, bad, habit of blowing money on builds. At this point I’ve gotten 2 nerf guns, 10ft of 1/4 copper, 5ft 1 1/4 copper, 5ft 1 copper, about 10 various fittings, a pressure gauge, switches, LEDs, 3 spray paints, 9 colors of model paints, brushes, some acrylic paints… Yes, a ton of this will get used in future builds. but this gun probably has about $75 in it already. So I started looking for copper. literally impossible to find. It could also be from me not willing to drive around the neighborhood on trash night and try and scrap it out of other people’s old TVs and such.

Well I broke down, I bought 25ft of solid 18AWG copper and went to town on a transformer casing.

Its a walnut box re-enforced with brass plating.  There are 2 field windings. I had not anticipated it getting crowded so quickly so it is what it is.  I made some brass L brackets and attached them to the bottom rail of the gun.

I think it really turned out nice, and totally unique. I’m very happy with my first steamgun, and my first model paint job. It was a crazy hard build. I should start planning these more!

And the final reveal, with the stand that I built for it to display in my office:


Steam Lamp

I recently was given an office at work. Super stoked to have an environment that I can call my own. It also allows me to bring in my own flavor of desk trinkets.

Well, with a window behind my back it makes seeing my computer a bit of a challenge. So I’ve been closing the blinds. My boss thought it was dark in my office then….

So. I built a new lamp.

lrm_export_20161103_215502I found some killer Edison style 40w bulbs at the antique mall for about 3.50 a piece new. Lovely spiral filament and amber glass. I went to the home improvement store and spent about 20 minutes “planning” the build.  From there, I went home with some T joints, a couple of nipples, and some keyless sockets. I mounted it all to some live edge walnut that I had laying around. and it became a bookend.

Here it is in place in my office



Really stoked out how well it came out, and how easy it was to put together.