View Full Version : The need for speed. Calling Mickey Mouse

01-11-2009, 02:54 AM
:p I know I am nuts but I ran into a situation today that had me seeking Mickey Mouse. MM has always been a silent partner. I try to call upon him only when I feel there is no other way.

I am running work that I am very backed up with. I could not afford another delay. I am doing drilling on my lathe and one of the ops. is a drilled hole setting up a tapped hole in a later op. The part gets a 1/4" hole through and then flipped around and drill a 11/32 .750 deep.

The 1/4" is easy as it goes thru. But when the other side is drilled it can only go .750 deep. I hate using the dial on the tailstock handle. It is much easier to use a dial ind.

I had made a clamp plate that clamped on the tailstock barrel giving the dial a reference point. This plate broke the other day. As I said I did not want anymore delays. I needed quick, I called MM.

He was sleeping but he came out with an idea. I scanned the shop quickly took a minute tops. Reminded me of those supermarket free shopping sprees where you have 1 minute to grab all you can.

This was my mindset. I scanned and grabbed a magnetic dial indicator base (less the dial and arm) stuck it on the tailstock barrel, put my magnetic backed dial on the top of the tailstock and whalla I had my MM quick 1 minute fix that has worked all day and I am sure will the next few days as I wrap this job up. I then will redo a real mount but for a mount in under a minute, MM your my bud.

How about you guys posting some of these times you had and what you did to get by. And if you use MM= Minnie Mouse that is ok too. I find her to be too bossy. :D

Thomas Staubo
01-11-2009, 08:11 PM
Hey, Mickey Mouse can be a nice friend to have sometimes. :)
Glad you figured out an easy solution to your problem.

I thought I'd bump this thread, for no reason other than to subdue (right word?) the bickering and arguing threads.:D


01-11-2009, 09:57 PM
Umm... Mickey Mouse? What's that mean?

01-11-2009, 10:06 PM
Umm... Mickey Mouse? What's that mean?

Mickey Mouse, in this context, means rapidly thrown together or improvised. As in jury-rigged.

I tend towards MM due to many years (decades??) of not being able to afford real tools, and living in apartments with no workshop.

My only vise for many years was a 4 inch C clamp with angle braces (the 2 inch size you get at home depot) brazed on as legs. Screw a couple of lag screws throug the legs into a benchtop and I was good to go. I did that in the 1970's and it's still in my garage.

I have many, many other examples.


01-11-2009, 11:02 PM
Oh. Did Mickey mouse of old improvise things?

01-11-2009, 11:06 PM
Nope. Micky Mouse started as a very sketchy cartoon, rather crudely drwn even for that time. That's my opinion. I could be wrong.


01-16-2009, 10:40 PM
I find myself doing a lot of mickymouse things.

My micro mill has a scale on the left side that you use to find the height of the Z axis... Well, it tells you the height of the casting that carries the head. The head moves up and down with the quill. To determine depth of the cut you touch off and then count the number of revolutions of the fine feed.

To give me a real measurement of the depth of cut, I added a 1 inch travel dial indicator. It measures the quill travel, accurate to .001 +.


But that still leaves me unable to determine the depth of cut after repositioning the head for a deeper cut than it's 1.25 inch travel can handle.

I could not justify a $200 DRO for a mill that was on sale for $229. I found this 12 inch caliper on sale for under $30. That's more like it.


One jaw is clamped to a quickly thrown together bracket. The tail of the depth guage is clamped to a bracket that is screwed to the benchtop.



It's a nearly perfect example of micky mouse. It can be removed in seconds. it is flimsy. It is cheap. The caliper can still be used as a caliper.

But used with some care, it provides repeatability within .001, as proven by touching a 123 block, zero, moving the head up and down till it touches again, moving the quill with the handle, etc.

One does NOT expect it to be repeatable over time. It's bolted to wood for goodness sakes!


01-16-2009, 11:48 PM
I'd be embarrassed to tell of some of the things I do MM style.
I'm a weldor for gawdsake...I can glue damm near anything to anything...
I can even cut wood with a plasma cutter.. :D...or with my ironworker...
OK...you don't need to know anymore...or I'd have to kill you...

01-17-2009, 12:43 AM
I think 90% of what I do is half Mickey Mouse. Picked up an OLD surface grinder the other day, never seen one before. Fabricated a mounting plate for a motor, scrounged a belt and a stone. Now, how to true the wheel?
Had a diamond dresser on a 2" x 5/16" threaded rod, but how to mount it?
Thru the scrap pile for something to fabricate a mount, nothing looks promising, then what heck, small machinist vise, and a v block, set dresser vertical in v block, clamped in vise, set on mag. chuck, snuck up on the downwind side and trued the stone. Dont think I will even bother to fab a mount for it now.


Doc Nickel
01-17-2009, 03:10 AM
How about needing to centerdrill a rough-sawed horizontal arbor, so you can turn and thread the end in the lathe?


As for the etymology of "Mickey Mouse" in relation to slapdash work, I always associated it with the assumption the work being done was cartoonish. In the old 'toons, whenever you'd see the characters building a house, or raising a barn, or running a restaurant, or whatever, the action was, if it were done in real life, dangerous, wasteful and slow.

Remember that Popeye cartoon somebody posted here about a month ago? Hilarious to watch, but the characters were getting wound up in lathes, caught in presses, dragged along conveyors, nearly-missed by saws and hammers and jammed into open gears.

So the accusation becomes "what the hell's going on in this Mickey Mouse outfit?!?" or "what kind of Mickey Mouse setup is this?!?" insinuating that whatever is being done is being done badly, dangerously, stupidly, incorrectly or a waste of time.


01-17-2009, 03:20 AM
I think taking a surface grinder and making some kind of a radial arm saw out of it would be a little Micky Mouse.

Your Old Dog
01-17-2009, 06:17 AM
What I wouldn't give for some quality time with Mickey. Most of my shop time is dealing with Mr. Murphy :D

01-17-2009, 08:59 AM
Umm... Mickey Mouse? What's that mean?

time to short Disney

01-17-2009, 09:11 AM
What I wouldn't give for some quality time with Mickey. Most of my shop time is dealing with Mr. Murphy :D

I'm not surprised YOD.

(Mr. Dan) Murphy runs the biggest chain-stores/barns for selling booze in OZ.

I can do quite well in creating endless SNAFU's with no help what-so-ever from Dan M - he didn't help at all - I tried - diligently!!

01-17-2009, 09:19 AM
We call Mickey Mouse, Heath Robinson in the uk .

A cartoonist who drew wacky set ups and inventions for national news papers.

here's one of his drawings


all the best.markj

01-17-2009, 09:29 AM
Heath Robinson's American cousin is Rube Goldberg.

Mickey Mouse has a rather different connotation, a nicer way of saying half a$$ed, though I can't really say why.

01-17-2009, 02:10 PM
I did d google search and came across this little tidbit, though the site it was copied from has disappeared.

But the true origin seems to be in the jazz world. According to the
Online Etymology Dictionary (a source that I've found trustworthy in
the past):

"Mickey mouse (adj.) 'small and worthless' is from 1936, originally
used especially of mediocre dance-band music, a put-down based on the
type of tunes played as background in cartoon films ...."

That does make a lot of sense. The early cartoon music was VERY simple, often just a piano with a simple tune.

On Topic;

When I got may lathe, the tools were 1/4 inch square but the lathe required 3/8 inch. I used the metal straps from the packing crate that the lathe arrived in for shims. They raised the cutting tip the centerline. One strap yielded dozens of 3 inch shims.


Paul Alciatore
01-17-2009, 02:33 PM
All I can say is,

"Rube would be proud."

oil mac
01-17-2009, 03:13 PM
Over here i new a marine engineer who was called the chocolate mouse, would that be Mickeys cousin from the old country?

never mind Mickey mouse is one of my favourites from a more gentle age

01-17-2009, 05:00 PM
I am going to make a Mickey Mouse setup for "analog read outs" on my micro mill.

I need to duplicate hole difference precisely in a part that cannot be clamped...

It's a connnecting rod made by my great-grandfather.

And it broke.

So, Indicol and Pythagorean Theorem time.

Frank Ford
01-17-2009, 08:16 PM
Seems that when I call for Mickey Mouse, I get Goofy instead.

A few decades ago, I needed to make a bunch of kerfed guitar lining strips, so I put together a rig for my bandsaw. It's a little carriage with a lever that stabs the wood with a phonograph needle, and pushes it to the left by a measured amount:


As I push the carriage forward to the stop, the lever hits an angled piece and pushes the wood just before it goes into the blade:


The cut stops when I hit the piece in the table slot, and I can cut the kerfs about as fast as I can move the carriage back and forth:


01-17-2009, 08:43 PM
:eek: Ford's Mickey Mouse Kerf Cutter. Order one today folks.

That is a damn good idea Frank and easy to repair.

01-17-2009, 10:31 PM
That could be made into a nice version--- THing to try.