Monday, October 22, 2007

Ms Stormcrow makes a pleasing quilt

Ms Stormcrow has nearly limitless energy. Here's her latest quilt. Each block is made of various dark fabrics and several scrappy light-valued concentric circles. The circles are machine appliqu├ęd and left rough-edged so they fluff up in the wash.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Eagle Ceremony

My son earned his Boy Scout Eagle rank some time ago, and we had his ceremony recently.

Here's a before-ceremony shot. Why the pensive look? Because Thomas and Trey are rough-housing with gusto, and he's probably wondering if he's going to get an elbow in the face.

Here's the after-ceremony shot, sporting a new neckerchief. The time does fly by, indeed.

Here's a pic of Justin and his troop participating in Justin's Eagle project. Justin and his troup designed and built a privacy fence around an exposed portion of Raptor Rehab of KY. This pic says it all - all the boys are working together.

Caveat Emptor

I've been examining my lathe. Fundamentally, it's sound. However, practically, Houston we have a problem :-D

This is probably a common situation when you don't really know what you're buying, you can't really inspect what you're buying (ebay), your funds are limited so you can't just go buy a showroom piece, and the item must be within a reasonable drive.

The issue is that as far as I can tell, it's been dropped. There are too many cosmetic issues to chalk it up to happenstance or age. Here's the score of defects:

1. The tail stock has a non-original handle, a chip out of the casting, and works oddly.

2. A bracket holding the lead screw has been welded.

3. The handle on the cross slide has been replaced with a faucet handle (remarkably, it's very comfortable to use.)

4. The pot-metal carriage traversal mechanism is broken. The seller did give me replacement parts, however. I don't know if they fit!

Those issues are cosmetic, really. I probably need to rebuild the tail stock and see what's going on inside there.

The other issues are

4. The motor's bearings are shot. This is a 1 1/2 hp Baldor. If I can replace the bearings I'll have a prize. This motor isn't original and is about 4 times more powerful than the original motor. I'll probably put a spare 1/2 hp motor on it and proclaim victory. And sell the Baldor.

5. The counter shaft isn't original and the cone pulley was slipping. I could make it work pretty easily. However, this is a key part of the lathe. I can't use the lathe to make this part. I need to make this right since the rest of the lathe depends upon it.

6. The back gear shaft is also not original. Chances are, there's some damage to one of its mounting bracket castings. I'll remake the shaft, should be easy. The problem is the back gears won't stay engaged. I get conflicting reasons why from the web. I expect I'll be making a new part that will keep the arm engaged.

7. All the bearings need to be inspected. The babbitt bearings look good, thank goodness.

8. I need to replace the lost-to-time gear cover as a safety issue.

So the lathe is indeed a project. But not everything needs to be done at once. Once the counter shaft is repaired and I strap on a new motor I can run the lathe.

This lathe, an Atas/Craftsman 101.07383, is pretty old, and as it turns out there isn't much information on the web about it. Clausing was kind enough to send me a 1941-ish parts list, however, and it is posted here with permission.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

My new lathe

I suppose the surest sign of getting old is buying a lathe. Especially a metal lathe. My lovely wife said, "And exactly what are you going to make with that? napkin rings? Candlesticks holders?" I was like, "I will probably use the lathe to make accessories for the lathe."

She just rolled her eyes and walked off.

So, I acquired a 1939 Craftsman 12" lathe, model 101.07383. It isn't a very popular lathe but it will do nicely for a while. The previous owner, Jim, was a remarkable man and a professional machinist. In his spare time he build and flew an aircraft. Around town, he was the guy you went to when you needed something fixed. He could tell you how to fix it or make the part you needed. Jim passed about 2 years ago.

I'm not really sure what happened to this lathe, but it is showing signs of being used and maybe abused. Most of the more ornate pieces are gone, replaced by more mundane parts. For example, a wheel on the apron has been replaced by an old water faucet handle! Perhaps this is what a working man's 70 year old lathe looks like.

My list of projects are:

1) Replace the motor, or repair the bearings.
2) Replace the counter shaft
3) Find out why the back gear shaft won't stay put.
4) Repair the carriage's traversal gear assembly

So once these are done, the lathe should be operational if not perfect.

Fortunately, I have access to a spare motor. #1 is handled for now.

Here's a picture. I'll get better ones up when the new basement shop isn't dungeon-dark.

I got the counter shaft off tonight. It isn't original and needs to be replaced. This should be cheap on ebay or easy to make. It isn't much more than a steel rod with two flats on it. I will have to learn how to replace bushings however.