Posted on May 9th, 2012 No comments
As you may have noticed by reading this blog and checking out my other web pages, I am the VP of Engineering at Simplified IT Products, LLC the company that makes the Picture Keeper. It’s the easiest way I know of to protect your digital pictures. The people at AM Northwest recently ran a segment with organizing expert Krista Colvin that talks about the Picture Keeper along with several other tips for managing your digital photo collection. If you are concerned with the security of your digital photo collection, the video linked above is well worth watching.
Posted on June 22nd, 2011 7 comments
I knew from watching the cartoon, The Jetsons that when I grew up, commuting would be fun. Surely, by that time all the technology showcased on that cartoon would have arrived. But sadly, much of the Jetsons technology is still missing, especially the flying cars. But lately, I’ve been using George Jetson’s approach to commuting that has made a 108 mile round-trip commute that I do several times a week not just tolerable, but enjoyable.
Here are a few rules I follow to make my commute more enjoyable:
- Ignore roads, travel in a straight line.
- Don’t take a route that has traffic lights, stop signs, or other commuters.
- Travel at twice the maximum speed limit, say, 150 mph or so.
- Stay 2000′ above other commuters.
I guess you can tell by the images that I’m talking about commuting using my airplane. This works for me because one of my consulting clients is based at an airport so I don’t need ground transportation after I arrive. One of my colleagues actually lives on an airport, so he has the benefit of commuting door-to-door using his airplane alone. I have to drive 10 miles to the local airport first before I can hop in the plane…. but if I could only figure out how to take off from my back yard….:-)
Posted on December 31st, 2010 No comments
If you have a 115 piece drill set and have lost the chart that translates the diameter of the drills to a decimal equivalent based on the drill number, letter, or fractional size I have scanned mine, stitched it together and have it available as a jpg or pdf file. When I lost mine, I spent an inordinate amount of time with calipers searching for the right drill diameter. Now that I found it again, I keep it near the drill index and if I ever lose it again, I’ll know where to go to make a new copy of it.
The chart is a real time saver. If you click on the image below, you’ll get the full scale jpg image of it. From there you can right click and ‘Save As’ to have your own copy of the jpg file so that you can print it.
I generally print it to fit to a single page, which shrinks it a little. If you prefer, you can print it full size from the pdf file and then cut and tape it together.
UPDATE: After looking at that image for a while, I decided the chart needed a ‘do over’ and so I put it in a spreadsheet and printed it as a PDF which makes it much more readable. Click on the image below for a PDF file suitable for printing on a single page.
Posted on December 30th, 2010 No comments
My friend is building a Stirling engine and when he found out that I owned a small lathe, he asked if I’d machine a piston and cylinder for him. Having some materials on hand like copper tubing for the cylinder and some solid aluminum rod for the piston, I happily agreed to make the parts. Another one of the parts he needed was a 7/16″ bolt with a hole drilled down the center of it. He had tried to make the hole with his drill press, but ran into a problem where the hole he drilled was not centered. This became apparent only after the hole was finished, of course, as it exited the far end of the bolt off center.
I had an idea about a procedure for drilling an accurate center hole in a cylindrical part with a drill press by first aligning a drill vice to hold a drill bit stationary while using the drill chuck to grip and spin the work piece. My drill’s chuck can hold a drill up to 1/2″ in diameter, which would be more than sufficient to grip a 7/16 bolt on its shank. I thought I’d run a quick experiment and document the procedure for anyone else who may want to try using a drill as a lathe for making a center hole in a cylindrical part.
A lathe is most often used to turn a part using a cutter that can either remove material from the diameter or from the part’s face. But it also has a very nice feature when a drill chuck is inserted in the tailstock, and that is to accurately drill a hole precisely down the center of the part. An example of that is shown below.
Normally, you would use something called a center drill to start the hole and then swap it out for the drill of the proper diameter. If the hole is large, you may have to drill with several drill sizes to get it up to the finished diameter. In this case, the hole I wanted to make was just .125″ in diameter so it was possible to do with just a single drill in one step. The procedure I describe below would need to be modified by resetting the alignment for each drill if you need to open the hole up in several steps.
If you didn’t own a lathe but had a drill press and a drill vice, here is a procedure for drilling a center hole in a cylindrical part.
First, you put a drill of the desired diameter in the drill chuck and tighten it. Then gently raise the drill table, clamp the table to set its height, and then and move the drill vise to the bit and clamp the drill vice down on the bit. The drill vice must have a ‘V’ groove one its jaws to align it vertically on the drill bit. This is important for a subsequent step. After everything is aligned, then use a pair of ‘C’ clamps to hold the drill vice to the table so it cannot slide from side-to-side. Then un-clamp the drill bit from the chuck and the drill vice and turn the bit upside down and clamp it in the vice’s V-groove again so that its tip is facing upward. Then clamp the workpiece in the drill chuck. In this case, I’m using a .5″ diameter section of aluminum rod as the workpiece.
Here the drill is clamped in the vice pointing upward and the workpiece is just partly visible and clamped into the drill’s chuck.
Then turn the drill on. Just like on the lathe, the drill bit will be stationary and you can lower the spindle with workpiece and it will drill the hole accurately through the center of the part. Remember to lift up on the spindle periodically to clear out the metal chips. If you got everything aligned correctly, the drill will make the hole directly in the part’s center. In my case, the hole was within .002″ of being concentric with the outside diameter of the part on both ends of the part. That’s about as accurate as you would get with a lathe so the technique works well.
It may not be apparent but the part is spinning, the drill bit is stationary.
Here’s the finished part with the hole perfectly centered.