Copper Wire Recycling

Posted: April 13th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Comments Off on Copper Wire Recycling

Found this great page over at Notcot with tons of truly beautiful photographs of a Russian foundry recycling old copper into beautiful, new spools of copper. Fantastic photos with descriptions  – my favorite is when the photographer notes that he melted a tripod while photographing the casting of metal blanks!  Also its interesting to see the second stage of refinement where all the metal blanks are hung in a giant electrolysis bath which separates the pure copper from impurities. (the page is written in Russian but my links are filtered through Google Translate)

Synergy – One Mouse to Rule Them ALL

Posted: April 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: | Comments Off on Synergy – One Mouse to Rule Them ALL


A LOT of my time these days is spent at the computer. I’ve got 2 computers I use side by side – a Macbook Pro and my new Dell desktop. Up until now had to use 2 different mice/keyboards for them which can get very frustrating. I’ve always wanted a “ONE Mouse (and keyboard)” solution. I tried some of the KVM cables that can connect peripherals from 2 computers together but I’ve found them a little buggy (slow to switch, and sometimes I get problems restarting my PC without the keyboard USB switched the correct way first).

Just the other day I was procrastinating and searching on the internet for a simpler solution – I was actually looking for a simple USB switcher – thinking that since the KVM switchers handle audio & video maybe a USB-only fix might work better.

But I found an even better way to fix the problem. SYNERGY. Its a software solution, and so far (I’ve used it for 3 days now) it is AWESOME. Since the keyboard and mouse are connected to the Dell, my PC is the “server” and the Mac is the “client”. If I’m working on my PC and I want to send off a quick email, all I have to do is move my mouse to the right and it appears on the screen of my Mac. Since the keyboard switches with the mouse, I can use my PC keyboard to type up a quick email, send it, and – with a leftward swipe of my mouse – I’m back in PC land.

So far the only issue I have is the control keys don’t work on the mac (command, option, control) – But I think I can fix that if I put some time into it – it looks like Synergy has some utilities to address that. It probably doesn’t help that I use a mac keyboard on the Dell (I just like the feel of an Apple keyboard) and I’ve had to remap some of the control settings so it works on the PC (using Sharpkeys).

I keep expecting some huge problem to crop up, but so far it is fantastic. Thanks SYNERGY!




Posted: April 5th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Comments Off on Linkss

Good example of quick & dirty problem solving : Video of a restaurant fella Peeling apples with a cordless drill.

Funny Unhappy Hipsters blog. Helps put all that contemporary design and architecture into a more human frame of reference.

Cool Candle that melts into a whole new candle.

I like this new Night Light concept – LEDs built into receptacle coverplate : SnapRays Guidelight kickstarter page.

Thanks Andrew over at Nine Stories Furniture for posting a few pix of my recent site work (which he has been of great help with)

Love this Tool Snob Review of a rather alarming multi-tool marketed to truckers. He compares it to something you’d see wielded in The Road Warrior.

Spax fasteners. Love them – look at all the little tooths on the screws.

Lego Patent

Posted: March 26th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Comments Off on Lego Patent


Love this image from Lego’s original patent. Signed Inventor: Godtfred Kirk Christiansen.

Hard to imagine LEGO was once a new idea.


Posted: March 26th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Comments Off on Linkssss

For some reason I started this post months ago but didn’t post it. Here it is

Learning from the future’s mistakes : Important project management lessons we can learn from Sci-Fi Movies

Plastic cars do it faster : Air Powered Lego Hot Rod

Why Sci-Fi writer Charles Stross wants Bitcoin to die in a fire

Where all the cool staircases hang out :  Stair Porn

Unrelated to work but interesting all the same : Police Mugshots from the 1920s

One of the tool review blogs I’ve found : Tool Snob

Happy Mill

Posted: December 21st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Comments Off on Happy Mill

It’s been waaaaay too long. After 3 years or so of having my Bridgeport mill, I’ve so far been unable to properly lubricate the ways. Partially this is because I did not have the proper lubricants and partially because the operation requires a rather unique tool – an oil pump that fits onto the “Zerk” fittings on the bridgeport. Luckily I found a Bridgeport Mill Lubrication Kit on Ebay which comes with all the proper oils for the different areas of the mill. Once I had that I did a quick conversion of a grease gun to an old oil gun that had been lying around my shop (I probably bought it years ago at a yard sale when I still had my GMC).

What a great satisfaction I felt watching the black guck ooze from out of the ways as the shiny golden oil was pumped in!

Invisible Craftsmanship

Posted: December 18th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Comments Off on Invisible Craftsmanship
Dremel Wrench
Here’s a pic of Andrew Rumpler’s mod to a Dremel collet wrench. He did it because he was frustrated that he could not pick up the wrench while he was wearing gloves. So here’s his beautifully done solution – putting half dowels on the sides, cutting tiny grooves and wrapping them together with string. I think he also epoxied them on and  applied some lacquer. This is why I love checking out the Nine Stories shop. It’s filled with the normal detritus of making, but in his case all the jigs, tools, tables etc are beautifully crafted.
Now I get the whole wearing gloves thing – I can imagine I might get frustrated too and want to deal with the problem. But – if it were me I would have just slapped some epoxy putty on the thing and then called it a day.  I also would be super embarrassed if anyone happened to see it….
So hats off to all you who make things beautiful even when there’s no need, you’re not getting paid to do it, and  when no one will ever see.

Apple Intention

Posted: June 13th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Comments Off on Apple Intention

Apple’s Design Philosophy.

Boy I wish Solidworks ran on Mac OS……

That said I’ve been running SW for a few years now on my old Macbook Pro running Windows 7 with BootCamp. Haven’t had any problems but the horsepower is just not there for more advanced work.

So here I am planning on getting another computer soon and sadly it will be either a Dell (boring) or a DIY Hackintosh (more fun but no warranty….)


Kickstarter Success(?) Story

Posted: May 31st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Comments Off on Kickstarter Success(?) Story

Une Bobine

Great article at Fast Company which tells what happened after a fledgeling company’s Kickstarter campaign succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Hoping to raise only $9,800 to get their Une Bobine iPhone charging cable design into production, Fuse Chicken reeled in a staggering $212,265 from Kickstarter. The tale that follows shows how raising money is not always the hardest part of getting things done. Though the tone of the article is somewhat in the vein of “this is what happens when you ask for money from strangers on the internet,” the story is (from my perspective at least) quite a success story. Fuse Chicken’s founders, having worked in product design for many years, already had some relationships with manufacturing in China, and the article tells of no problems with the manufacturing. The sticky bits come under the heading “logistics” : getting manufactured goods from China back to their offices in short order, sending out thousands of finished pieces to Kickstarter donors (grand total of $20k in postage), dealing with international taxes, and picking trustworthy sales representatives out of the thousands of requests that came in through the internet.

The article mentions that Kickstarter is subtly discouraging people from projects like this, and I think I can understand why. Kickstarter is awesome and revolutionary and somewhat mindblowing. But — Kickstarter is also an avenue for inexperienced people to get in way above their heads. If you have a good idea and can sell it then there’s no reason why you can’t bring in huge donations just like Fuse Chicken did. Fuse Chicken’s story is excellent because it show how difficult things are even for the best prepared. And, by the sound of it, they are succeeding – but only after a long and grueling learning process.

But of course who gets anything started without a long and grueling learning process?

(via notcot)


Apollo Rock Box

Posted: May 24th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: | Comments Off on Apollo Rock Box


This box was used on the Apollo 11 Lunar mission to transport rock samples from the Moon back to earth for study. Manufactured by Union Carbide’s Nuclear Division, the all-aluminum case has triple seals to maintain a protective vacuum inside the case during the trip back home. This carrier was filled with 21.8 lbs of lunar material from the Sea of Tranquility by the Apollo 11 astronauts.

(photo: Smithsonian Air & Space Museum)