Affordable Oscilloscope?

Posted: July 28th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: , | Comments Off on Affordable Oscilloscope?

Just saw this scope over at Make. Don’t know much about the specifics and so I will definitely wait until someone does some tests with it.  But $300 for a full functioned dual-channel scope? Incredible. Check it out here.

via Make

New Bridgeport Mill

Posted: July 28th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on New Bridgeport Mill

After years of searching for a good deal, last month I bought a beautiful used Bridgeport milling machine for the shop.  Awesome!

I bought it in Bridgeport, CT from a guy selling a lot of equipment from a mold making shop that closed. Originally interested in a small M-head Bridgeport with a small work surface, I saw this variable speed beauty and couldn’t resist.

I got a great deal with all this, and was able to throw in all kinds of extras! A vise in good shape, a rotary table, a high-quality drill bit chuck, a box of misc. mills and a bunch of collets! Here it is at the warehouse with all the good stuff:

And transporting wasn’t as much a problem as I thought. I drove a Penske truck up to the warehouse in Bridgeport, popped the head off (with much friendly help from the forklift operator) and they loaded the beast onto the truck with a pallet. Strapped that sucker down & good to go:

Off-loading was not TOO bad. It would have been a bit easier if I had (a) borrowed a forklift, or (b) asked for any help whatsoever. But amazingly I did get it off the truck and into my shop with nothing more than a pallet jack. The tricky part was compensating for the fact that the truck was too low for the loading dock at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. I had to back the truck up on ramps I made from some 2 x 10 boards lying around. Then I had to work the pallet slowly toward the back of the truck (since I was working against a bit of a slope). This took some time, moving forward a few inches at a time, and screwing a board to the floor of the truck to keep everything from sliding back again. Anyway, it all worked out. Here it is safely on the loading dock:

Once in the shop, I borrowed a friend’s chain hoist & popped the head back on:

Moved everything in place with the pallet jack, and all was done!

Hooray! Time to get to work:

Milling plastic with Bridgeport Mill

IPod Oscilliscope

Posted: April 10th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: , , | Comments Off on IPod Oscilliscope

Want one of these. Wow.

via notcot

Laser Lessons

Posted: January 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Blog, Work | Tags: , | Comments Off on Laser Lessons

I love my PLS 180 laser level. Bought it last year for a metalwork installation job and I wonder how I ever did anything without it (I vaguely remember using strings for something… but how did I level them? no matter….)

Last week  I did learn the hard way that despite how useful they are, lasers are unforgiving when you treat them badly. Mine was faithfully stuck via magnet mount to a beam in my kitchen renovation in Park Slope when someone (who will remain Nameless….) knocked it off while we were putting insulation in between joists. 8′ fall down to the floor and voila! It’s out of level 1 inch per 4 feet now.

Since we were about to install the ceiling framing and I needed a level reference I had to improvise quickly. I managed to set up the laser so it would project a beam across the room and I very carefully shimmed the bracket while manually checking the level with a a spirit level. It wasn’t as perfect as I would have liked, but it was better than buying a new laser (and trying to remember what I did with strings….)

Anyway – it went off to PLS today via next day air. Hopefully we’ll have it back before we have to put up the cabinets.

Tools – the Basics

Posted: December 5th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: | Comments Off on Tools – the Basics

I started to build my tool collection when I first returned to NYC in 1998 after a few years on the road with circuses. I had learned to build while working with circuses so my first purchases were of the tools that I had found the most useful while on the road. This is what for me is the basic kit. I bring these tools everywhere – to any jobsite no matter what I think I’ll be doing. With these you can improvise & make nearly anything:

Cordless drill (DeWalt 12v)
Bosch Jigsaw
Combination Square
Tape Measure
Utility Knife
Drill Bit set
Phillips driver with countersink combination
Pliers w/wire cutter
10-in-one screwdriver set

Minus the Bosch, this list is what I like carpenters to bring to my job sites. Anything less and they will be using tools you may need (sharing a cordless drill or tape measure is insane), and anything else is a bonus.

Best Made Axes

Posted: November 30th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: | Comments Off on Best Made Axes

Best Made Axe

If I needed an axe, I’d get one of these from Best Made Co.

(via Made in England)

Wood Love from Maine

Posted: November 9th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Wood Love from Maine

About six years ago a friend bought me my first japanese pullsaw from the Shelter Institute in Woolwich, Maine. I had forgotten the name of the place until recently but I have not lost my weakness for the lusty wood-love of this Timber Framing school. You can tell from their tool selection. This little item is a Starrett stair marking guage (ah Starrett…)


New Levels!

Posted: November 9th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: | Comments Off on New Levels!

I love to get new tools, and wish I could do it more often. Last month though, I did my part for the economy & bought myself a beautiful new set of Stabila Levels. Not cheap but not having to worry about the accuracy of levels is priceless….stabila-mason-levels-1

Space Tools

Posted: May 27th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: , | Comments Off on Space Tools


These tools were designed for repairs to the Hubble Telescope. Boy I wish I could play with them…