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Free time on my hands - Suggestions requested

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  • Free time on my hands - Suggestions requested

    Hello HSM's,

    I have been an active member here for a while; contributing occassionally, lurking mostly, I am a rookie, and loving all the valuable tidbits that I have gleaned.

    Two weeks ago, I had a mild heart attack and subsequent quadruple bypass surgery. I am now faced with 6 to 8 weeks of enforced free time and am looking for suggestions to keep me busy in the shop.
    I have to start light, no lifting or pulling over 3 lbs, but should be able to increase activities as I heal.

    I have started with simple cleaning and organizing of my tools and will move on to continuing to hone my HSS sharpening skills for my lathe tooling.
    I have a little Grizzly G4000, 9x19 lathe that I am learning on and a BP 1J that I need to put a VFD on to begin milling operations.

    I am going to go back over the Shop Made Tools thread again, there was tons of stuff there I'd love to try.

    Any other suggestions for small or short term "rookie"/apprentise projects is greatly appreciated. Don't let me go crazy with boredom.


  • #2
    Look over Frank Fords site. His small follow rest is on my to do list.
    Byron Boucher
    Burnet, TX


    • #3
      I find that organizing small parts , such as machine screws, washers, etc. , is light duty work that pays big dividends in saved time and saved frustration later on. Most of us have boxes or cans of assorted small parts and fasteners that have needed organizing for a long time , and you never know what you'll find . I hope you're back in action soon !


      • #4

        Perhaps for a more machining oriented venture, maybe try a small model "steam" engine. There are many free plans for pretty simple "wobbler" type engines that take very little material and can be done on a lathe alone. Google Elmer's Engines or others.

        Heal well!

        If you think you understand what is going on, you haven't been paying attention.


        • #5

          Sorry to hear about your heart attack. If you don't mind sharing, did you have any symptoms beforehand?
          Reason being, I'm going in on Wednesday for a nuclear stress test. Already have six stents, but feeling a little short of breath when I exercise or really exert myself.
          Guess this will help tell if I'm clogged up again. Most likely headed for a bypass at some time in my life.



          • #6
            Organizing is a great idea. An orderly shop is a pleasure to work in as well as visit.You will spend your time doing a project rather than hunting through the shop or chasing around town looking for things you already have. Organize tools too - all the drill bits together, sorted by size, all the lathe tools together, end mills together, etc.
            Next do an inventory of what you have (should have a pretty good idea by now) and figure out what shop aids, jigs and fixtures, etc. would compliment your existing machines and would expand current capabilities.
            For example, an end stop for the mill vise, an indicator holder, a 2nd chuck wrench for the 4 jaw lathe chuck, a milling attachment for the lathe if you don't have a mill, a spring loaded tap guide, etc.
            By the time you are back to normal you will have a shop that is truly enjoyable to work in, you will have upgraded your skill set and be ready to tackle any project that dares to poke it's head in!
            Kansas City area


            • #7
              I have several sites bookmarked in my "favorites", with projects I wish I had time to build. Mostly improvements to my equipment or shop made tools.

              Are you looking for "projects" like a steam engine, or tools and equipment mods? Here is another to go along with Frank Fords site.


              You might want to spend some time just checking out links/sites until you get a little more strength back. 3#'s isn't much, you certainly don't want to over do it.

              Hope your back to par soon.


              • #8
                While you're laid up, get yourself a spiral bound notebook, or a legal tablet. Make a list of all things you want to get done, divided by location. I have a page for shop tools, a page for future shop projects, one for the house, one for the race car, one for the RV. Shop organization, inventory of tools, inventory of available materials are all good suggestions. Mark the ones you are physically able to do now with astericks. Cross out the ones you complete, mark new ones with astericks as you are OK'd to do more physical activites. Keep your lists with you at all times, never know when a new idea will strike.

                My book goes with me everywhere.
                Definition: Racecar - a device that turns money into noise.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by sid pileski View Post

                  Reason being, I'm going in on Wednesday for a nuclear stress test. Already have six stents, but feeling a little short of breath when I exercise or really exert myself.

                  Not to divert the thread ... but .. just for fun ... you should get yourself one of those cheap
                  radiation detectors off of ebay .. they are about the size of a cigar tube. I ordered one of those
                  and when It got here .. I turned it on and it went nuts. I thought that it was useless until I
                  handed it to my wife and the thing shut up. Took it back and it went nuts. I finally remembered that
                  I had a test just like yours a few weeks earlier. I stayed hot .. for a little over a month.

                  Btw .. I have stents and a bypass .. don't sweat it. They are good at it now a days.
                  John Titor, when are you.


                  • #10
                    Hmm, forced shop time?

                    1.) Inventory combined with organization of material and fasteners
                    2.) project list
                    3.) tooling list required for #2 and decide what can be shop built or needs to be purchased
                    4.) material list for #1 & #2
                    5.) compare #4 with #1 and #2 to make shopping list
                    6.) win lottery to pay for #5
                    7.) go shopping
                    8.) make tooling
                    9.) make projects

                    By the time you get through all 9 steps, you should be well pat the period of convalescence. Take care of yourself, have fun, and don't get over extended.
                    Design to 0.0001", measure to 1/32", cut with an axe, grind to fit


                    • #11
                      and don't rush the healing. after breing released from my open heart, i was rushed back for major lung problems where im told i fought hard with the e/r's because i could not breathe. it seems that i weakened the rib cage where they wired me back together and shortly after my second release i rippe the wires thru the rest of the way. now, nearly a year later, im still unattached. its very uncomfortable, and will never heal. it really limits what i can do......... follow the restrictions very carefully regarless of how good you may feel. . . . .


                      • #12
                        FWIW, You've got my full sympathy for the enforced restrictions. And to be honest I've got to agree with David too. Remember, that 3 lbs is MAXIMUM. You've got one shot at this, so there's no point of taking a chance and screwing anything up. Some good 3 lb or less books should keep you busy enough till you heal up a bit more. If it were me? I'd take things nice and easy.

                        Your symptoms sure sound like what I had for a few months before my heart attacks. A real good long time friend has been waiting for over 6 months for a triple bypass, He's under strict doctors orders for absolutely no extra exertion for any reason.



                        • #13
                          Ditto on David's comment. While I have not had heart surgery (knock on wood) I've had more than enough orthopedic work. The key factors in my full recovery were 1) excellent therapists & 2) following their orders.


                          • #14
                            Sorry to hear about your illness and wish you a good recovery.

                            Whatever you do, and as I remind myself, don't waste the time....because when it is gone you are not getting it back again!
                            " you not think you have enough machines?"


                            • #15
                              Look into making some of the various kinds of 'turners cubes' I know the variations aren't real turners cubes, but you get the idea. Light weight and more of a mental and hand/eye coordination challenge.

                              They were some of my first projects just because they challenged me in many ways. Fixturing, close measuring tolerances, dial control, etc. made a few on the lathe and on the mill in sizes from 3/4" to about 1-1/4". Still haven't got around to making the bigger 3"x3" guy. Havent made the real turners cube either. All mine, except one, still have all the segments connected. When my daughter saw them she wanted me to make a set as hanging earrings for her. They actually turned out very well.