Sunday, May 27, 2012

Gifts To Go, Part 2

This spring my current boss announced he was taking another job across the country. Sooo, it was time to make another going away gift. His work scope was broader than that of my old boss so it was a bit tougher to nail down what to make as a gift. However, one thing we always joked about was his penchant for modifying the probes we had made. In the shop we would manufacture the probes to exact tolerances and he would take them and adjust them for his purpose on a belt sander.

We decided to make a miniature belt sander. This is something most folks are familiar with. It started out as a nonfunctioning unit but one of the other guys suggested we make it actually work so I added a motor and a battery pack.

The company had a going away party before we had it completed so one of the other guys threw together a piece of rusty pipe and a probe. He also spelled his name wrong on the plaque. He didn't look real thrilled with it but he smiled anyway.
We gave him our real gift at our department going away party.

Here is the design I came up with.

Here is the exploded view.

Here is the animated assembly view.

Here is the actual working model.

Here is a short video of it running but idiot boy/me shot it sideways so it looks kinda weird.

While I enjoy designing and building these things I wish it weren’t for folks I like to work for. Of course if I didn’t like working for them they would be getting the standard adios plaque.

BTW, He was speechless.

If you were to retire/change jobs what kind of gift would best suit you?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Gifts To Go

Being in the machine shop we are often asked to make unique things. One of those things is going away gifts. Over the years I have made a scaled reactor vessel and a small steam generator for departing folks. I have no pics of those.

Last year one of the senior staff here at work decided to retire.

The company has a standard three figure plaque design they give to retiring management. Problem is I have worked for him in some capacity for over 28 yrs. He and his wife are wonderful folk. His daughter baby sat my kids when they were little. Knowing his family is being part of his family.

For him I wanted to make something a bit more unique. His main field is turbines and turbine generators.

This is not the first time he has left a company where I worked for him. For his first departure I machined a small steam turbine as his going away gift. I turned it from solid brass.  That was about 17 years ago.

This time I wanted to create something more complex. I designed this as a miniature turbine generator. It’s the thing that is turned by the turbine and generates electricity at the power plant. The actual components vary but a common unit is approximately 42 inches in diameter and up to 40 ft long. A bit large for setting on your desk.

This is the concept drawing.

This is the final product.

It is about 10 inches long and has a brass body with 64 hand formed copper windings. I had the body turned by our machinist and the stainless steel end rings turned outside. I made the slot wedges and formed the copper windings. My fingers were sore for days. There are a total of 83 pieces in the completed model.

He seemed to like it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Exceeding The Expiration Date Or Now For The Good News

Thanks for suffering thru these posts. I realize they were long and prolly as riveting as a vacuum cleaner operating manual. However, I have been blogging for 2 years now and since most all you guys have opened up personally at one time or the other I thought I would let you know a little something about the guy you are dealing with here.

Now don’t get me wrong. I aint no where near falling over anytime soon. Since those days, thru the miracle of chemistry, my EF has improved to 30-35%. The doc is pleased with my progress and has relaxed my restrictions. Early on was a bit of a struggle finding my boundaries. The wife drives me nuts. You can’t do this, you can’t do that. She aint quite as bad as she was but she still gets on me. But then again I do tend to push it a bit. I’ve always done physical types of work and it’s hard to ask someone to lift something when you look perfectly healthy. I have gotten the “you lazy SOB” look a few times and I don’t like to use it as a crutch.

After the diagnosis the doc asked me if I had been tired a lot. I thought no, not really. He said he has known folks with a 40% EF that couldn’t function at all and I was functioning fine at the 10-15 %. He said my body must have compensated somehow for it. The wife said she had noticed me dragging a bit but I was working 2 jobs at the time. They can’t tell me how I got it. The main known causes at the time were heavy drinking, drug use or viral. I know it definitely wernt the first two. He said it really didn’t matter as the treatment is the same.

I have physical limits that really don’t impair me too much unless it comes to lifting things. My biggest issue tends to be the side effects caused by my meds. Standing quickly after stooping makes me dizzy. I’ve only passed out from it once and that was 2 months after the discovery and I had been crawling around under the house getting it ready to sell. The main thing is that I do not strain.

Working on the road is a big challenge as we tend to do 12-14 hour days. There is a lot of walking and climbing. At the end of the day I am a bit tired but the doc said tired is not a bad thing.

I was looking at my chart a couple years back and found a line on it that says, “Research Patient”. I asked the doc about it and he seemed a bit puzzled. He said he would ask about that but I’ve never gotten an answer. I aint really worried about it as whatever they’ve done seems to work well and I’ve not grown a second head yet.

I was truly blessed by having the accident. God is good. But I must admit, I have never called the girl and thanked her in person.

And thank you all for not saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. I absolutely abhor that phrase cause it didnt. I also don’t care for the song by Tim McGraw, “Live like you were dying”. I live each day like any other day. I don’t let this thing define me. Too much.

That’s all I got to say bout that.

Y’all take care now.