Week 39, 2013 – Some Projects and Some Links


I have some interesting airsoft-related projects in mind, but they’re really in the larval stage right now, a little too early to say much about them.  It’ll be cool though.

My mother brought me an interesting find; what turned out to be an antique paintball marker.  A PMI/Sheridan Magnum 68, manufactured in 1988.  Missing a tank, missing a hopper, pretty filthy, but it has what turned out to be an aftermarket— and pretty hot shit —bolt.  I have it in mind to refurbish it beyond new, to fabulous! Clean it up, strip the beat paintjob, replace it with a powdercoat finish, make a new lightweight breach block that incorporates a picatinny rail instead of the old dovetail sight rail, maybe improve the grips…

Someone asked me “Man, why the f#%k does your mom keep giving you weapons?!” because, yeah, this is not the first time.  Recently she brought me a sword cobbled-together by hillbillies that we’ve come to call the ‘Compleat Rural Defendre’ (sic)…pictures to come once I work up a Diablo-style stats screen for it… And before that, she found me this beauty; A pre-1975 Crosman Mark 1 Pellet Gun, IN THE BOX, with an original tin of pellets, and a box of CO2 cartridges.  And I know it’s pre-’75 because in ’75 they removed the pressure adjustment screw and clamped it to a lower projectile velocity, because people were leaving it wide open and then complaining about crappy gas efficiency.


Claudio Grassi’s YouTube channel, primarily chronicling the construction of his 1/6 scale radio-controlled 6×6 truck, with functional hydraulic power steering and air brakes…all handmade! His videos on broaching the planetary gears for his 6-wheel drive powertrain were especially enlightening.

I stumbled upon this thread about a really awesome compressed air V8 that Chuck Fellows machined.  Hella impressive! You should also check out his YouTube channel.

Week 38, 2013 – A Different Kind of Patent Trolling

One of my many hobbies is collecting airsoft guns.  Given that I am exceedingly poor, I have taken great interest in making airsoft guns and accessories.  Electric guns are easy, everyone knows how they work.  Gas guns are…not so easy.  I mean, the general how is fairly easy to understand, but the mechanical details and the way valves and stuff go together…  So I did a lot of digging for information, and that’s when I stumbled upon a patent, as well as the whole ‘Google Patents’ sub-site.

Once I figured out how to search right, my brain’s knack for retaining seemingly pointless trivia whether I want it to or not came in very handy.  For instance, a lot of Taiwanese and Hong Kong airsoft company names are seldom given as anything other than acronyms… But the full names— which over the years I have occasionally come across —are what’s on the patent applications.

Examples: ICS = I Chih Shivan Enterprise Co., Ltd. and HFC =  Ho Feng Industry Co., Ltd.

And of course the Japanese companies like Western Arms have all sorts of patents.  And all these applications have mechanical drawings.  Not dimensioned or anything, but I get the idea of what’s going on.

Here’s some interesting patents:
In-Magazine Pressure Reduction Valve (For 12g CO2 cartridges)
12g CO2 Cartridge Gas Gun Magazine (HFC’s patent)
ICS’s design for 40mm BB shower grenades (Not as nice as Madbull’s!)
The Firing and Rotary Magazine Assembly for ICS’s Rotary Launcher

Week 37, 2013 – Harbor Freight Sale

So, I made an order at Harbor Freight to get in on the Labor Day sale, and I used the main sale coupon to get 20% off the already absurd price on their Chinese knock-off ‘Porta-Band’ (Portable Band Saw), getting it for a mere $65.  I was going to get their horizontal band saw, but that would’ve been all my money, plus I found out that it wasn’t even on sale.  Then I saw the Porta-Band.  At any rate, I needed one or the other to cut stock into manageable pieces.  Especially cutting down round rod for the lathe.

I’ve only made a few test cuts with it, I’m ordering some more suitable bi-metal anti-vibration variable pitch blades from McMaster, and then I’ll probably be able to really review it next week or the week after.

I also bought their 1500-watt dual-temp heat gun, because I was really getting tired of having to lug around my SMD reflow soldering hot-air workstation just to shrink-tube something! It was 30% off at $10.

I ordered an air compressor, something I’ve desperately needed for YEARS, and it was 20% off, bringing it down to just $104…  But for some reason, they dropped it from my order and refunded the money.  It wasn’t out of stock or anything.  So now I have a compressor accessory set, an air filter, an airbrush hose…and no goddamned compressor!  What’s more, if I were to re-order it, I wouldn’t get the $25 off… I’m going to have words with them about that, but for the time being, I said screw it and decided that the $100 could be put into materials for projects in the meantime.

I found these great ear plugs at Amazon.  I’ll review them after they get a bit of use!

Week 36, 2013 – Holding Pattern

Nothing to report right now.  Been planning a lot of stuff, plotting out my whole operation and my idea portfolio.  Made an order at Harbor Freight, will have a little something to post next week!

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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