Week 35, 2013 – The Summer of Suck

I’ve come up with this new format where I’m going to try and post a weekly status report summarizing the week’s happenings, whether I’ve posted about them or not.  That way, if there’s things I’ve uploaded pictures of to show people on IRC, but I don’t write a whole blog post about it, it still gets mentioned, and the images linked.

I’ve been sidelined pretty much since mid-June by a spate of nasty illnesses, on top of which, a visit to the eye doctor turned up that my sudden rapid decrease in eyesight is due to a degenerative condition of the cornea and can’t be corrected optically. Best. Summer. Ever.

I’m about to do a whole bunch of stuff on here to get caught up, hopefully. So stay tuned.  (I’m kind of locked into it.  I mean, I’ve got stuff goin’ on.)

Achievement: Unconventional Tools

Achievement Unlocked: Unconventional Tools



Unlocked: February 24th, 2013

For: Using a saw to disassemble a hard disk drive.

Notes: Wish I’d thought of it sooner!


-Details Forthcoming-

Coming Soon!

Okay, I got utterly steamrolled by the holiday season, I’m still getting caught up.

I have a couple reviews I still need to write, I’ve begun working with mold-making and resin casting, I have the parts for my CNC mill conversion…  There’s a lot of stuff I need to write about, and I’ll get to it ASAP.

Technical Difficulties

Just a quick update.

I had a couple more reviews coming down the pipe, as well as some other stuff, but have been delayed by computer problems, and some other things.  But everything should stabilize once the holidays pass. (And I should have even more content!)


[Reposted from a May 2nd 2012 post from my old blog.  I plan to do a formal review in the future!]

Last week, I heard about a new site Amazon was launching called AmazonSupply.  Having just gotten an Amazon Prime membership, I jumped at the chance to see if it carried over to the new site. (It does! Gift card balances don’t though.)

Normally, I buy my raw materials and fasteners from McMaster-Carr, but the one downside is that I know I’m always facing a $10~30 shipping fee and I won’t even know what it is until days later when they actually bill me!  Because of that, I don’t order from them unless I have a comfortable surplus of cash.  It also means I try to consolidate my orders, to make the shipping worth it.

AmazonSupply doesn’t beat McMaster’s prices on most things, and they have nowhere near the selection…however, the items that are cheaper, I can afford to pick and choose, because my Amazon Prime membership gives me free 2-day shipping, and $3.99/item overnight!  It also means I can impulse buy materials, or grab things I need ASAP and have them in 1-2 days, guaranteed.  This is evidenced by the fact that in the week since I heard about the site, I’ve made 4 orders. (Mostly for stainless steel round stock.)

So, while they don’t replace McMaster– not by a long shot –they’re definitely on my list of regular suppliers now!


You can use Amazon.com giftcard balances on AmazonSupply, but there’s a catch; you have to find the item on AmazonSupply and then paste the ASIN into the Amazon.com searchbar, and you’ll be able to buy it through Amazon.com and use your giftcard balance.  How do accounts and Amazon Prime carry over, but not giftcard balances?


When you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way it is, and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life. Have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is everything around that you call life was made up by people who were no smarter than you. And you can change it. You can influence it. You can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.
— Steve Jobs, from a recently-released 1994 interview
Let me be the Polaroid back for your brain.
— Bruce R. Pfeiffer, Jr.’s original concept of ‘Tangible Imagination’
The goal is to achieve a lead-time from idea to physical reality that is so short as to be more like a single action than a process; almost indistinguishable from magic.
— John Pfeiffer, re-interpretation of ‘Tangible Imagination’

I like making things.  And because I have so many ideas in my head, I place a high value on anything that makes executing those ideas easier.  I was born at a time when the ‘personal computer’ had just come into existence, and so my life has been tightly intertwined with the evolution of technology in this era.

It’s a very exciting time for me; computer-controlled machine tools, DIY desktop 3D printers which can print the parts to make more printers, consumer laser-cutters…  People are getting smarter and more capable every day.  We live in a time when companies consisting of just a couple people, are pulling down millions of dollars a year selling things they freely give away the designs for, where any sufficiently-motivated group of 2-5 twenty-somethings can be the next Apple, the next Microsoft…

I don’t envy big business right now, we’re approaching the point where any fairly savvy person is going to be able to make a lot of the doodads they would otherwise buy, not to mention make the doodads for the less-savvy to buy.  But that’s just the start…  Eventually these tools—these things which make other things —will become so turn-key that everyone will be able to use them.  It’ll be a very bad time to be a big corporation or a manufacturer…and a very good time to be a designer or a creator.

And so, with this blog, I plan to document my making of cool things, and my making of things to make the cool things.  To share my knowledge as best as I can, and hopefully keep it interesting and entertaining.


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