View Full Version : Machinisms out in public.

12-13-2003, 01:28 PM

[This message has been edited by pgmrdan (edited 03-19-2004).]

12-13-2003, 01:36 PM
Well, my dad always used to call a spray paint can a "spray bomb". Probably not a good thing to say anymore. Also if you are getting on a plane and see your buddy Jack you shouldn't yell out "HI JACK".

Asking for a portable cable ferrule swager is guaranteed to produce a blank stare.

[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 12-13-2003).]

12-13-2003, 02:30 PM
pgmrdan. I used to go to an Ace Hardware store for off the shelf fasteners, One day I went there first to see if they had some 5mm button head allen screws. I was told there wasn't such animal, because if there was they would have em.
he then asked what I wanted them for.
"Well. I'm a rocket scientist............." He's avoided me ever since.LOL

12-13-2003, 03:05 PM
The thing that gets me is when I ask someone for a particular part or piece and the first thing they say is "What's it for?" It's almost never for what it was intended for and if I tell them "I'm building a German Equatorial Mount" then they are hopelessly lost for good. What the hell does it matter what it is for?

Forrest Addy
12-13-2003, 03:41 PM
I recall going into a good competent auto parts store for two feet of 1/32 plant fiber gasket material off the roll. The guy gave me a blank stare and came out with "Make and model".

There's many uses for automotive parts in places where their designers had no intention of use. I made several lapidery thingys from disk brakes and there's been many a fine tool reforged from leaf strings. The single bearing front wheel holds an attraction for me. Surely there has to be a use for a bearing that both supports a load and resists over-turning moments.

12-13-2003, 03:57 PM
I learned my lesson at HD. It was a weekend, I needed a v-belt for one of my machines. Assuming they would have an assortment of sizes I asked the first clerk if they had belts. He wasn't sure and asked the department head. The head guy disappears into the back room and comes out with a replacement belt for some cheapo Delta tool they sell. To make matters worse he has this know-it-all grin on his face as he hands me the belt.

I said no, that's not exactly what I want. "Well you asked for a v-belt, didn't you?", he says sarcasticly. At this point I can see a quick exit is my best strategy.

I leave and my wife in the background hears the head guy tell the clerk how it takes years of experience to deal with difficult customers.

12-13-2003, 06:32 PM

[This message has been edited by pgmrdan (edited 03-08-2004).]

12-13-2003, 06:49 PM
Metric drills are even scarier - lots more!

Wish I could afford to have them in .1mm steps - maybe if I win the lottery...

12-13-2003, 11:21 PM
reading this thread and the stories of asking for a part to use it for something other than originally intended, made me laugh. i would say 60 or 70% of the time when i ask for some strange part, it is to use it for some "project" i dreamed up. my latest round of blank stares came when gathering pieces for my rotary phase converter. i'd go to pick something up and they'd sure enough ask what it was for. i'd tell them "it's for a rotary phase converter i'm building." that would generally shut them up.

andy b.

12-13-2003, 11:41 PM
I have metrics taps and use them a lot, but try to get metric drills. Some place in Florida sells Chinese made ones for $30 for a small set, but they are the same quality as HF.

Try to get a metric feeler gage for $2.98 at the local discount hardware store.

I went to Canadian tire and needed some Imperial bolts they had them, don't ask for imperial bolts at Lowes. They are basically SAE, but the name Imperial throws people in the states.

When you know all of the terms and sizes, you are beyond the average person at the retail level. That makes you dangerous, you know much more than they do, which may endanger their jobs and their mating position in their species.


12-14-2003, 01:01 AM
I have found that if you DO answer what for, they quickly say they don't have anything "for those". Doesn't matter if its the same dang thing.

If you really get a goodie, its " we wouldn't have anything like that".

I went to a good local hardware store, not a box store, with a gates number to find a V-belt. The original is a pain to get at, and was working but worn, so I wanted a new one to be ready, and didn't want to take out theold one.

They couldn't cross it, they had to have the old one!

I looked at the guy as if he had two heads, and said, "you know that the old one will be stretched and not the right size, don't you? And what do you do if its broken?"

He told me that wouldn't happen........

I think its a secret plan to eliminate old stuff. The parts will still be there, but called something else. They will refuse to sell the parts unless you tell them its for whatever mysterious new item uses the part.

So you will have to toss the old item and buy a new one.

And do it again whenever the parts system changes again.......

12-14-2003, 02:29 AM

On the contrary, sometimes. I went looking for a new primary drive belt for my SB9. It hasn't been changed since I got it 22 years ago, probably the original from 1937. I could still read the number, 5L43. Meaning 5/8ths wide and Length 43 inches. Went to the local auto parts supplier and he looked it up and said, "Yep, got 24 in stock, thats the most common fractional horsepower belt there is." $5.00.

Slam, Bam, Thank you Madm

12-14-2003, 02:19 PM
Reminds me of the tv ad , Boy goes into the library asks for some books, lady says those arent available any more, may i have your name?

also when asked what's it for? I'm building a thermal nuclear device. at one time people thought it was funny, now people get scared. serves 'em right.


12-21-2003, 09:02 PM
When someone 5yrs and up asks"Whut that fur" tell them Make kitten briches!

John Stevenson
12-21-2003, 09:14 PM
True story,
I went into Myfords one day to get an oil sight glass for a new MG9 grinder I had bought. Whilst I was there I thought I'd ask if they had a book on it. The stores guy picked a phone up and dialed a ten digit number and the phone rang in the office at the end of the counter, call want something like this:-
"Percy do we have a book on the MG9 ?"
"No Frank, I know that because I was asked twice last week for one"
Frank turned to me, putting the phone down and says "Sorry there's no demand for them"...................

John S.

[This message has been edited by John Stevenson (edited 12-21-2003).]

12-21-2003, 10:34 PM
Let your fingers do the walking is a good idea. I am not far from a big city so I can buy bolts and such from bolt and screw suppliers and not from HD. Belts and bearings from industrial suppliers who have stock and knowledge. Still there is a problem finding things at times. Thomas Register on the net solves most hunting problems. Industrial supply places are sometimes lower in cost than Lowes or HD, electrical supplies are an example if you find a real good supplier. The big bonus in doing that is that the counter man actually knows a whole lot about electrical wiring and the code in many cases. The counter consultants I have used have saved me really large amounts of money several times. I buy from HD and Lowes all the time but they sell to the large public so you have to expect ignorance and the same goes for hardware stores. If you live in the boonies it is a good idea to pick up a big yellow pages from the closest big cities when you make it to town. I have yellow pages from NY City and several places in Connecticut and Pennsylvania and I live in Texas. Some diamond tool makers and diamond cutters for example are in the NY yellow pages but no where else.

12-22-2003, 01:56 AM
I blame TV for a general drop in intelligence. I am reminded of a term used in the movie "Buckeroo Bonzai" - specifically "MONKEY-BOY". Oh, I have more than my fair share of said Monkey-boys. Trying to find buttonhead allen capscrews in Edmonton is like try to find hens teeth. Only one place knows what in hell I am talking about and the place has a womean working there and she is the only one that knows anything - and she knows everything about bolts & screws. I think I am in love... http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

Skinner had a parts lady that knew inserts inside and out - a real expert. She quit and moved to Toronto for $150K job doing the same thing. Has not been the same since. The staff at Lee Valley are quite knowlegeable about woodworking or gardening (their two areas af sales) - they have a very lax return policy (in my opinion) far too easy to return stuff there!

Ragarsed Raglan
12-22-2003, 08:42 AM
True story:

".....Oh, and can I have 4 #3 Woodruffe keys, please"

Sales Assistant (Oxymoron!) disappears for 10 mins, and eventually returns, and with a totally blank expression....

"What sort of wood do you need the Ruff keys made of?"


12-22-2003, 09:26 AM
I'm reminded of a recent incident which ocurred while shipping a package. The item was to be shipped via UPS to a business less than 100 miles away, in the same state, in a town served by the same airport as us. The clerk asked me if I wanted to ship it there by air. Not exactly a machinist story, but the same level of general incompetence.

Shed Machinist
12-28-2003, 05:05 PM
I didn't know not to call it a drill motor!

12-28-2003, 11:39 PM
Shed, that's cuz it's officially called a 'hole shooter'.

Peter S
12-28-2003, 11:53 PM
There used to be a great cartoon hanging in the store at work - picture of a tearful customer pointing to something on one of the shelves, storeman saying "theres no use pointing to it, the computer says we haven't got it'!

12-29-2003, 04:04 AM
Shed: tell us the rest of the story! And pay no attention to Gizmo-he will twist your mind. Twist it like a drill motor twists a drill bit.

12-29-2003, 01:06 PM
THAT would be like screewing.

Shed Machinist
12-29-2003, 01:20 PM
Well, whenever i am in shop class and somebody asks me for help i tend to tell them. About half of the time the next step is to drill a hole so i tell them to grab a drill motor and get asuch and such bit.

I just love the blank stares!

P.S. My dad says my mind was twisted towards the correct name before i was born.

12-29-2003, 01:36 PM
Hand drill - they are called hand drills or power drills in this area.

My reply to idiot quesions such as "whad ya makin" (must be asked three times, and answered twice correctly before I go off) is "Rudders for a Duck's A##.

Try finding buffing compound...you will get the 3M red in the can auto buffing compound rather than a specialty stick selection.

Ever tried to find the right spring?????? Ask for a compression spring, and they take you to a mixed up box of springs - compartmentalized, and the springs in the wrong compartments anyway, shrug shoulder, and say "here ya go, bring a number with ya".

In my area, thouggh small, machining is still a big thing, thus there ia a local hardware store that carries the speialty items such as number drills, letter drills, taps, a huge array of fasteners and nuts, end mills, and some basic cutting tools such as HSS Blanks from 3/16 to 1", round blanks, and even basic inserts. The owner is a real hardman about the right names for items, especially when I send my students in, which is a good thing all said and done.

Now we have Fastenall, which is great.

Past Errors.....Due to a screwed up order placed by a know it all temp secretary to her know it all hubby auto body worker, I have instead of the order of 10 "buffing compound" sticks, I have still eight cans left of 3-M red buffing compound for cars (much higher grit), and three buffing wheels for an orbital auto buffer - ten years later.

[This message has been edited by spope14 (edited 12-29-2003).]

Rich Carlstedt
12-31-2003, 12:07 AM
Aren't Words fun ?

Sometimes these store clerks get touchy and want the right word, and other times they no nothing !
In fact, if you ask for the right thing, they will gag !
A "Ruler" is a king or such.
A "Rule" is a measuring tool but how many of you say "hand me the 12 inch rule"? or "give me the 30 foot tape rule" (remember, "Measure" is a verb, not a noun)
If the "rule" has proportional markings, it is a "Scale".
Ask for that in a store and they will say "how heavy do you want to weigh"

So here is the Bolt /screw lingo
A "Button Head" is (BH)
A screw with a head is called a "Cap Screw" (CS)
A 6 sided bolt is a "Hex head" (HH)
A 4 sided bolt is a "Square Head (SH)
A screw driver head is a Slotted Head (SH)
A Allen screw is really called a "Hex Socket Head" (HSH)
And a Roberts has 4 sides to its square socket, so it is a (SSH)
Now a "Set Screw" can be slotted (SHSS) or a Allen (HSSS).
Regular Allen Screws/Bolts are called
"Hex Socket Cap Screws" (HSCS)
And a Button head is a Hex Socket Button Head(HSBH) to differ it from a round head Slotted Screw
Now if you are further confused, remember that some screws come in "Stainless Steel" (SS).

So when you want some Stainless Allen Cap Screws, just ask for a SS-HSCS...simple ?

By the way, What is the differance between a screw and a bolt..?

nothing..it has to do with how it is used..
Bolts use nuts, but when put in a tapped hole, they become (machine) screws.

If you think this is bad...go check out the Insurance Industry !

12-31-2003, 01:32 AM
I get a lot of blank stares when I call my
6" machinist "scale" a scale. I always
thought that is what they were to be called.
Don't get me started when a toolmaker calls
a ground surface "flat". Kansas is flat,
a ground surface is parallel at the minumum
to the machine axis and better to the opposite surface.

12-31-2003, 01:35 AM
Cheapest place I've found to buy drill rod is Orchard Supply. It never has the bar code so you tell 'em at the counter that it's 1" drill rod and they price the 1" mild steel. Tell 'em again that's it DR and not MS and then hand over the $3.50 (MS price) and leave. I've never had them get it right yet and I correct 'em every time.

I was just going to ask the difference between screws and bolts. Woodworking is easier - screws is small 'n pointy and bolts is big 'n flat - except for lag bolts, big 'n pointy, so they should be scrolts.

12-31-2003, 01:45 AM
I was taught that the difference between screws and bolts is in the length of the thread,on screws it goes all the way to the head and on bolts only the bit on the end for the nut.
Will in OZ- Happy New Year

12-31-2003, 03:21 AM
Sorry, but nope. The the thread may go all the way to the head on a bolt if it is shorter than a certain length in relation to it's diameter. For instance a grade eight one inch by 1/4" bolt will be all thread but a 1 1/2 inch will have one inch of thread.

12-31-2003, 09:12 AM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Rich Carlstedt:
A "Rule" is a measuring tool but how many of you say "hand me the 12 inch rule"? or "give me the 30 foot tape rule" (remember, "Measure" is a verb, not a noun)
If the "rule" has proportional markings, it is a "Scale".</font>

Just to pick nits, "measure" can be used as a noun and the 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary says that one of the meanings is:

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">2. An instrument by means of which size or quantity is measured, as a graduated line, rod, vessel, or the like.</font>

The difference between "ruler" and "rule" was drummed into my head by my high school Technical Drawing teacher. IIRC, he used to reinforce the lesson with an occasional application to the knuckles of said "rule".


12-31-2003, 10:34 AM

[This message has been edited by pgmrdan (edited 03-08-2004).]

12-31-2003, 12:31 PM
I have to disagree too, a screw is, was, and always will be threaded to the head, and a bolt is not. This is according to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and Society of Mechanical Engineers (SME). And according to the Greatest standard of all, the British Royal Engineers (who actually do have their **** together).

And a Robertson screw is ALWAYS a Robertson screw unless you are American and you can't live with calling it the proper Canadian trademarked/patent name - then you bastardize it into something else - for shame! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

(It's Stand up for Canadian inventions week!)

12-31-2003, 04:42 PM

I'm not sure if you are agreeing with me or not. I do agree with you about Robertson screws.

Here are two bolts. If I go in to the supplier and ask for either one of these as a screw they will snicker at my obvious lack of knowledge of basic hardware. They are both grade eight bolts. It says so on the box.


[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 12-31-2003).]

12-31-2003, 05:13 PM
They are properly called cap screws.
The previous reference referring to bolts as being used with nuts, and screws being threaded directly into a part is correct.
According to Machinery's Handbook, American Standard finished hex bolts and hex head cap screws are one and the same. Threaded and unthreaded portion is determined by length. Nomenclature does not change. Minimum thread length is 2D plus 1/4" under 6" length, plus 1/2" over 6".

Paul Alciatore
12-31-2003, 05:21 PM
pgmrdam said,

"The measure of a man's worth..." is an example of using 'measure' as a noun.
While we're on it, the words that bug me a lot are when IT people (me being one) use input and output as verbs. They're nouns.

The computer didn't 'ouput' the report, it printed the report. The report is the output.

You don't 'input' data to the computer, you enter data into the computer. The data is the input.

I can't believe that there's an IS person who actually knows, speaks, and writes English (as a second language I assume). You need to be the one who writes all the software manuals. PLEASE, PLEASE!

Paul A.

[This message has been edited by Paul Alciatore (edited 12-31-2003).]

12-31-2003, 05:27 PM
So, the fact that many of the "bolts" with shanks that I use are wound into drilled and tapped holes then changes them into screws? For example have look at my milling attachment.

12-31-2003, 05:38 PM

[This message has been edited by pgmrdan (edited 03-19-2004).]

12-31-2003, 07:34 PM
According to fastener catalogs I have seen, a bolt that is threaded to the head is called a "tap bolt".

"Machine screws" are the small numbered threaded "bolts" and nuts sized from 000-14 and in some old texts to 16 or more.

Screws generally refer to a fastener that threads into a tapped hole. Bolts usually mean a fastener that screws into a nut.
However "shoulder bolts" usually screw into a tapped hole.

I'm sure there are some rules as to proper names for hardware, but very few are aware of it.

When asking for something at a supply house I will mention every commonly used name until the clerk recognizes it.
Many times I had to make a drawing of the desired part, to show the counter guy.
Then they will usually say "Oh, you mean a ________" to which I will respond, if that's what you call it, yes.