Teh Squeaky Wheel
Halloo Teh Nation!
I know Paddy has a bon mot he uses for Thursdays, but -- in the words of Curly Howard -- “I try to think, but nothin’ happens!”
Coffee has failed me this morning.
JimCo’s keeping me hopping again this week. The opportunity’s wonderful, but many folks have unrealistic expectations, despite our best attempts to manage them. Oh well…definitely beats trolling for work.
Sure Happy It’s Thursday?
That would be the one. 🙂
“unrealistic expectations”? I made some gauges for Sandisk to check SD cards and components for thickness and warpage. These were a steel plate 3″ x 4″ by 1/4″ thick. One face was lapped flat withing .0001″ and a mirror finish over the working area, the corners were not really important. They did not need to be a close tolerance on thickness or parallel with the bottom. There was a bridge type piece about .5″ x .625″ x 3″ that mounted across the middle. The outer 1/2″ on the ends were mounting surfaces and the middle 2″ was a gap so when set at a 60 degree angle on stands I made (like a Scabble game rack) a part would slide through if withing the thickness and flatness or be stopped if not. These were made to a plus or minus .0001″ tolerance so I made them within .0001″ as accurately as I could to be safe. They would use two as go and no go gauges. I made dozens of these in different sizes. They started ordering duplicates as they sent some over seas to the factories and kept some here for QA. They did not tell me this until later. One engineer/ department manager complained that once in a while a part would pass one gauge but be stopped in a duplicate gauge. I explained this could happen with a .0002″ tolerance, even if the gauges were in spec (you make sure production has the tighter gauge so anything passing it will pass inspection, but they did not do this and I did not know they were doing this until then). He said he understood tolerances and .0002″ was fine but they had to be exactly the same as others the same nominal size, showing he did not understand tolerances at all. I explained that if I could make them exactly the same I could make them to a tolerance of millionths, and that would require a place like Bell Lads and a very much higher price. He was the only person at Sandisk I had a problem with and mostly got along but I should not have had to explain this to a degreed engineer. These gauges were electroless nickel plated looked very good. I checked and fitted them with Deltronic pins in .0001″ increments and plus or minus 20 millionths tolerance. Carbon steel does not machine nicely, it tears and leaves a rough surface so I machined them as flat and smooth as possible and then lapped them in by hand, many hours of it. My hands still ache with the memory, but I made good money on them. Memories.
Your ability to make things to such fine tolerances -- which permit the the manufacture of other stuff to tight tolerances -- is sure more beneficial to civilization than putting dots on music paper. Or making radio ads for carpy teevee shows and films.
Or even correctly diagnose / solve roofing issues. 😉
I am truly in awe of people like you, Mac. Seriously.
Just blue collar work, Sir. I enjoy it, but love designing tools and gadgets more. Creative work is always more demanding than what I did. I just enjoyed it and took pride in it. The computer is really changing the field.
“Just” blue collar work? Pffffft!
Perhaps I’m weird -- many people think so -- but I’m not so dismissive of folks like you, PMK & bro, my JimCo cow-workers, plumbers, HVAC techs, etc.
As Mike Rowe’s old show noted, it’s folks like the preceding who make civilization possible.
Some schmuck making radio ads or various instrumental hootling noises? Not so much.
Happy Larryville makes national news again!
[Warning -- Annoying autoplay video]
Kind of an urban take on Santa eating milk and cookies as he enters houses? I think it said it was December 25th?
Yup…it was on Christmas.
“¡Jo jo jo!”
But Larryville ain’t exactly “urban”. 😉
Customers with “unrealistic expectations”? In California?
Good morning Fatwa and GN!
Hope you’re feeling better.
Hard to believe, I know. 👿
Sure Happy It’s Thursday, Gerbil Nation!
Good morning, Fatwa, Mac, and Sven!
“Unrealistic Expectations” -- sounds like a name for a cover band.
Mac -- I understand the machining aspects of what you were describing (not that I could make such a thing), but then you added hand lapping while maintaining dimensional and flatness tolerances.
I used wet or dry paper taped down on a granite surface plate. Hours of figure eight lapping on ever finer grits until I was using 1200 grit, sometimes crocus paper. Mirror finish and very flat. As it did not have to be matched on the bottom, I checked them by setting face down on three matched points on a surface plate and sweeping the bottom surface with a 50 millionths indicator with a long indicating arm. Many. Times.
I usually made from four to eight in a batch. The gaps were different but the plates were the same. Because of slight variation in plating thickness I wanted flatness less than .0001″ before plating. The center two to two and a half inch circle was the critical area. The bridge part had the two feet on the plate, held by screws into threaded holes in the plates, and the center gauging part was angled in at 45 degrees from both sides leaving a gauging area about i/8″ wide and 2″ long. This formed the gap to the bottom that checked the parts. It was their design but I worked out how to make them. I would have preferred stainless steel but the porous surface marked paper labels so they wanted carbon steel with nickel plating. They did look nice, shiny!!
For metallurgical cross-sections of printed circuit boards, I used to use an inclined sanding station to wet-sand the samples. The station had four strips of sandpaper, running from 200 grit to 1200 grit. The next step was a horizontal disc polisher with a napped cloth and diamond paste, followed by 0.05 micron alumina suspension.
That is serious! I had a 12 x 12 and a 12 x 18 granite plate I used for lapping. I did not use my inspection plates. I always hated seeing people use those. I used my plate for inspection too much. I had some very nice instruments for inspection on the surface plate.
I did a lot of lapping like that. I lusted after a lapping machine but stayed with hand work. I went through a lot of abrasive paper and two sided masking tape. Used a lot of the tape machining plastics. I bought it by the case and thought it was bad at ten dollars plus a roll but I recently looked it up and the cost is staggering. I think a case was over a thousand dollars. Glad I have a couple of rolls left, I still use it for some things. 3M was the best.
I always made the gap to the maximum size allowed when machining because I could lap a slight amount off the feet if needed in final fitting and assembly. The feet were against the bottom plate and did not show and the amount removed if any usually did not even go through the plating. If it did I used a cold phosphate treatment for protection.
Mac: Nice to see you and hear about your engineering endeavors.
Fatwa: Did you see this:
It was some information for you not actually on the subject to which I was replying. Plus it was a daunting wall of text so you may have missed it.
But Harper and I wanted you to know about some software you might like and make use of.
I got to see some of Gentle Mac’s beautiful machine work when he came up to visit us in Portland several years ago. One of the more endearing things I’ve ever been privileged to watch was how Mac’s Little Mouse lifted each piece out of the case and gently patted it as she set it onto the table. Then she quietly beamed at him as he told us about them before she carefully wrapped each piece again before putting it away. She was so proud of his work and so smitten with the man. She’s a lovely woman and so in love…
It made me very happy.
It was such a pleasure to meet you both, my gentle friend.
She just didn’t trust me to put them away neatly.
If so, that’s not the only reason. She took such pride in your work.
She liked helping in my shop. We worked as a good team when bending these guards.
I made a strip heater and she worked the parts down the line on the heater, flipping them, and I bent them with a set up on the table. We went through them very quickly.
I’m sure you worked well together. I love doing projects with dv8, too.
I always thought it was wonderful how you worked together.
Meeting you two was a real highlight for us, Gentle friend.
This has been an interesting thread today, gentlemen.
Gentle Mac, do you have a picture handy of that neat machine you made?
Which machine, Gentle Lady?
The robotic one
Or this one?
The one I had pictured in my head was the first one but will you tell me about them, please? If you have the time. I lost my pictures and information about them on a hard drive death three years ago.
My pleasure. This was a machine I designed and made for Fujitsu to grind through ceramic covers on parts so they could examine the board underneath, using diamond burrs. I bought the spindle and cross slide but made the rest. The head unit could swing back to change the burrs and relocate accurately. The gauge read the depth of cut to allow precise feed.
It’s such a beautiful piece of work! It would be amazing to be able to do work like this.
This was one of the parts.
I remember this machine. And wasn’t there a …what….my memory is struggling with this but wasn’t there a reception held for the other machine? I know that sounds funny but…
I don’t know about a reception. I designed and made a pallet system for benchtop CNC mills that was put on display at the big tool show in Chicago, a major event. Could that be it? He had a mill set up making parts to give out using my pallet system.
Maybe I’m thinking of something Fujitsu put on when they got the machine? I remember the machine and nice flower arrangements.
Did one of the machines win an award? My memory is a mystery.
No awards. I am not that level. My customers were happy, and on three occasions they added ones in front of my price on invoices, changing $940.00 to $1,940.00. That was nice. The CEO at Sandisk knew me though I never worked with him. When he saw me there he would ask what I brought them.
At the show a rep for Mideco, a vendor of pallet systems for bigger machines was very interested and came by the booth three times so we were hoping they might buy them. The market was not really big enough for them to make them but it would have made me.
I sold a few sets locally.
This was a test fixture I designed and made for Sandisk to use a probe card. It had to control the depth of the stroke within .001″ but had to be fast as well. The carriage ran on the two 20mm shafts on linier bearings so it was smooth and precise. I made a toggle linkage so as the handle was pulled the carriage moved fast until close to the bottom and then moved slowly until it touched the stop. I liked toggle linkages and used them often in my designs. I used a gas/oil strutt from a car hatchback as a return spring so you could release the handle and it did not slam to the top but was damped.
“I used a gas/oil strutt from a car hatchback as a return spring so you could release the handle and it did not slam to the top but was damped.”
Oh, that was clever.
It was a fun project. They needed something in a big hurry so I knocked out a crude but usable tool. I then made this one and traded it for the temporary one. They were happy as this would have cost three times as much. I wish I had better pictures of these. The other machine was photographed by the broker I made it for, as was this tool setter I designed and made. We were hoping to sell these, he had a shop.
That is pretty. Very elegant looking.
It was fun to design and make. Black anodized aluminum and stainless steel.
Seeing some of your work in person is one of my fondest memories, Mac.
Thank you, dv8. It was so much fun.
Well. I’m going to try to sleep a little so I’ll be fresh for work tonight.
See ya later Gerbilators
Sleep well, Sir.
Thank you, again, my friend. I really enjoyed seeing these machines and remembering about them. You’ve had a fascinating career.
I’m ready for a nice nap now. Please give my warmest regards to Little Mouse.
Thank you for the time, Gentle Lady. It is such a treat for me. I need to contact Elena’s doctor and sort out one of her prescriptions. I was going around with the insurance people earlier. It always seems to take a while to get Humana sorted out but then they do well. This is my third year with them for my meds and Elena’s first.
Goodness…I missed Harper again; DRAT! Y’all have been mighty chatty today.
I somehow missed that comment re MIDI Tapper yesterday; thanks so much for linking it today. Will check out when I’ve got a chance. (Still haven’t had time to finish your video from a couple of days ago, either.)
Glad tomorrow’s Friday…
Hmmmm. Lots of interesting stuff to read here today…
From a news account of the Iranian shootdown that was really Trump’s fault: “The report from Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization said witnesses -- on the ground and among the crew of another flight in the vicinity -- reported seeing a fire while the Boeing 737-800 was still in the air, followed by an explosion when it slammed into a field near an amusement park.”
What I wonder is what kind of “amusement park” they could have in Iran? It must be one fun ride after another over there.
“What I wonder is what kind of “amusement park” they could have in Iran?”
I picture something where they throw dummy grenades at Jewish kids, or maybe a version of the Kitten Cannon that shoots gay people from the cannon?
Maybe Flog the Rape Victim?
Bring the kids!