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What made you guys first?

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  • #46
    we needed robots to pack cameras and chemical sniffers into dangerous locations at work. we made our own for a tenth the price of commercial bot, built from the ground up to suit our unique needs. I was front and center when they asked for volunteers.

    I've just always, since my earliest memories, wanted to build stuff. At this point I almost feel compelled to build stuff. I have no idea why.
    first thing I built was a birdhouse. the feeling you get when you see birds in your birdhouse can not be duplicated with drugs, alcohol, sports victories or any other common adolescent experience.
    Last edited by AD5MB; 01-30-2017, 12:51 PM.


    • #47
      When I was quite young, maybe 4yrs old, I was utterly mesmerized by mechanisms.

      When I would hear the garbage truck coming up the driveway, I would run to watch the mechanism that would dump the back bin into the top of the hopper

      Even when I got older, the old mousetrap game was hypnotic to me. I didn't want to play the game, just set it up and watch it go. Rube Goldberg machines still fascinate me.

      My dad had been a machine shop owner for many years, and through World War 2. He kept subscriptions to Popular Mechanics and Popular Science, and I would read all of them.

      He bought me the big erector set and Heatkit electronics experimenter sets, when I was young. I was always taking stuff apart to see how it worked. Once I took an etch-a-sketch apart, and left it lying around on the bench. My dad got the graphite all over his work slacks, and I caught hell for not warning him!

      My dad had a lot of interests including shooting, photography, wood working, welding, and kept a pretty decent shop in our basement, mostly Delta Milwaukee shop tools. A drill press, band saw, 12in disc sander, lathe, radial arm saw, oxy-acetylene welding rig, etc. So I became accustomed to using all of them at about 14. As I got older I would maintain/rebuild my own motorcycles and cars.

      I eventually became an electrical engineer, and lived in apartments for about 10 years after college, and lost the shop facilities, although I kept all the tools in storage after my dad died. When I had a place of my own, I set up all the tools again. Still use all of them to this day.

      Then I got into building aircraft and bought a big bench-top mill. Eventually bought a used Bridgeport, then a new lathe, then a mig welder, and all the acoutrements.

      Through the influence of this website and others' I think I've become addicted to tools.

      Now, as I approach retirement, I enjoy machining as much as I love electronics.
      Last edited by jmarkwolf; 01-31-2017, 08:18 AM.


      • #48
        Originally posted by Fasttrack View Post
        This! It started off with wanting a go-kart when I was in 5th grade. I started snagging old lawnmowers out of the trash, learned how to fix small engines, learned basic metal working, welding, etc. Eventually I wanted to build a transmission for my karts using the gears out of a self-propelled mower so I started poking on the internet... I found this place and bought a Smithy 3-in-1. The rest is history!

        I learned electrical, plumbing and carpentry when I bought a house. I now do tile, drywall, furniture and cabinet making, etc. all because I want to build the things I want!
        Pics of these karts are required or this is a complete fabrication!


        • #49


          • #50
            I must have been 10 or 11 years old. I remember wanting to get my hair cut to look at the Popular Mechanics magazine they had in the barber shop. Really like looking at the articles with the lathes and mills in it. Didn't know a whole lot as to what I was looking at. But thought I'd be able to make anything I wanted to some day. I also wanted to go to trade school. Parents would not that happen. They though that's were deplorable basket was. THEN I witnessed an RC airplane. Well a career in electronics is what happened. But the cellar has a shop in it.



            • #51
              This is version 2. Condensed from the story I had written previously which was full of unnecessary ramblings. I'm a professional rambler

              Machine shop exposure came during junior and senior high schools. Both parents came from families who were very independent, largely due to the Great Depression, so I grew up in an environment where we made things ourselves and fixed things ourselves. Within reason of course. Dad wanted things done right so if he couldn't fix something properly a professional was brought in.

              After high school I forgot about metal shop and went to tech school to be a mechanic. Machine shop abruptly came crashing back into my life when years ago I had a problem to solve at work. A lift gate chain sprocket had a roached needle bearing, the lift gate needed to be working the next day. I hacked a bushing from an old brass fitting with a bench grinder and drill press. It was to be a temporary repair but it lasted for about a year. That's when the thought entered my mind that the whole job would have been much easier if a lathe had been available.

              Now, there's a small group of machines sitting in my basement that I use frequently. I can't believe how liberating it is to not be chained to the "parts not available" syndrome.


              • #52
                At that time of age when you start wondering what you will do for a living I was at a boiler shop with my dad, he was a boiler inspector, and after standing around outside in the snow watching the welders work on a wet boiler we went inside thru a warm machine shop. That's all it took, I decided to be a machinist not a welder. Years later I was working for Washington Iron Works and the snow blowing under the door wasn't melting and I wondered if that was the best decision.



                • #53
                  One of my grandfathers was an engineer. When I was about 5 or 6 he gave me an erector set. It included an electric motor kit that had to be assembled. I built a 2 foot tall robot with swing arms and wheels. Then I had to figure out how to build the motor with a bunch of gears. Before building the motor he gave me a clock to take apart and put back together. If I could make the clock work again he figured I would be able to make the motor kit work too, which I did.

                  So I got it all working and it was running along the shiny hardwood floor. My grandmother complained that it might scratch the floor with the metal wheels and he told her to be quiet and go do something else. And yes, I did that when I was only that old. I started reading when I was three and by the time I was five/six I was reading at the high school level. I still have that first "real" book. The "BOYS FUN BOOK" from Foremost Books. "Things to Make and Do".

                  That book has all sorts of neat projects from model airplanes to many things that required some sort of metal working to make. Things for a bicycle, "How to build a speedy Soap Box Racer", "What you can make from old Tin Cans" and many other cools things.

                  It wasn't just machining that I got into, it was and always has been about creating things myself. It really doesn't matter what it is and I always like to put an element of art in what I create.

                  I always think "this chunk can be machined into some $1,000,000 possibly life saving part, or just turned into waste/scrap." That thought has always intrigued me.
                  Very much the case with me too. I made a cutter some years ago that was going to be used to make medical tools for surgery I think. That was by a former member here that I don't see on here now.
                  Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


                  • #54
                    I just like making things.
                    Paul A.
                    SE Texas

                    And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
                    You will find that it has discrete steps.


                    • #55
                      Some of you Americans really inspired me .Remember I am just a hobby guy, but always try my best. When I started out woodworking I remember seeing some of your workshops , a lot of them, not all, were simply beautifully designed. You guys being perhaps at that time slightly more affluent always had nice clean shops usually double garages and we had very little in the uk to compare.
                      I was born into very poor circumstances in the notorious Gorbals in Glasgow and saw a lot of hard times. If people had any for of a workshop when I was young, it was usually made up in the backyard from old house doors very crudely knocked up to keep out the rain, that or Nissan huts formerly used as bomb shelters during ww2.
                      They were always very cold with many broken windows, usually filled with old newspapers, and the saw dust was always knee high. And they I remember always were full of giant spiders.
                      Those images seemed to prevail until the late seventies or eighties along comes our pal NORM, and we saw how it should or could be done. By that time most of us were earning better wages , and could afford to set up home in nicer neighbourhoods, and then they always had a nice garage car staid out on the drive. No more using two sides of the toilet paper. LOL just kidding Many hobbyists like me now have pretty good stuff the demise in this country to any form of industry meant many had to give up and restart in new types of jobs. As a result of that the Indian and Chinese governments bought up at auction a lot of the useful bigger stuff , leaving many good used heavy duty machines for me and me alone LOL.
                      I started out almost always buying used good stuff and as it was for a hobby never had to worry about getting it to feed the family. My heart went out to many who did have to give up in the eighties , during Margaret hatchet. Then two thousand businesses a week were going bust, while she was paying outside companies to come here and set up without guarantees of staying ,rant over anyway love hearing about you guys. Alistair
                      Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease


                      • #56
                        My dad had his personal auto repair shop in the garage, with an old flat bed atlas lathe. I fell right into that! It was the most natural thing for me since breathing, take a piece of old metal and turn it into whatever the need is for. What freedom! I still marvel that my God has blessed me so, in other ways even more as well.


                        • #57
                          Well You say parts production take a piece of old metal and turn it into whatever the need is for. What freedom! I still marvel that my God has blessed me so, in other ways even more as well.

                          Well said my thoughts exactly . The first time I saw someone take an old piece of round stock that was rusted, and put it in the lathe and turn it into new stock, just like taking a tree branch and turning it into a candle stick or truncheon etc I was also hooked. MY question is Parts production (Wish we had a smaller name) why do so many excellent or otherwise wood turners or metal lathe workers by ready made little fittings that could be easily made. I had a friend who was a good woodworker he told me he had just bought an expensive new woodworking bench and asked me what I thought. It cost around seventeen hundred pounds uk I replied why did you not buy some wood and make one your supposed to be a woodworker. He then did this and made an excellent workshop bench and sold the one he bought all within a month for way under what he had paid. What are we thinking sometimes. ?Alistair
                          Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease


                          • #58
                            I was about 12 years old, the neighbor kids and I were building a coaster car (orange crate on four wheels) needed a rear axle shaft. The kid's dad, Mr. Preskop cut one for us on a little Atlas 6" lathe. I was fascinated with the idea of actually cutting steel.... the rest is history... Bought my first lathe (10" Atlas) in high school (1963). Six semesters of high School machine shop, eight semesters of mechanical drawing. Since then have accumulated a pretty extensive machine "hobby" shop. I still have the Atlas lathe, my go to machine for small stuff. Also have all of my late father's precision tools, he was a tool and die man.
                            Joe B