Volume 3, Number 8 - August 1998

Journal of the Home Metal Shop Club of Houston, Texas

President - George Carlson, V. Pres.- J.D. Wise, Treasurer - Gordon Lawson, Secretary - Keith Mitchell
Editor - Robert Travers Hm (409) 372-5363 Wk (713) 853-7521 Email rtravers@wt.net


Membership Information

Membership is open to all those interested in machining metal and tinkering with machines. The purpose of the club is to provide a forum for the exchanging of ideas and information. This includes, to a large degree, education in the art of machine tools and practices. There is a severe shortage of written information that a beginning hobbyist can use. This makes an organization such as this even more important.


Notes from the President

I was happy to see the good turnout of projects for the July Monthly Challenge. I think there were about 9 members that brought items in. In my opinion, J. D. Wise's microscopic hammer took the cake. The hammer was so small the danger wasn't smashing a thumbnail, but loosing the hammer under a thumbnail.
The Monthly Challenge for the August meeting is to build something for use in the yard. It can either be a garden tool, or a decorative item such as a whirly-gig or sundial. See what you can come up with.
As advanced warning, the Monthly Challenge for the September meeting will be a Clamping Device. Make some machinists clamps, C-clamps, or other work holding device.
On a sad note, we recently lost one of our members. Gary Pearson died of a heart attack on August 4th. We wish to extend our sympathies to his family. Gary was a fine machinist, who's main interest was gunsmithing. We will miss him.
The presentation at the August meeting will be Yours Truly talking about three-phase converters and how to build some simple, reliable converters for one machine or the whole shop. I hope to see you there.
There are a few more names on the presentation list, but we could use some more. If you have any ideas for presentations, or would like to help out, please call J.D. and let him know.
Don't forget about the business meeting that is held at Barbecue Inn at 11:30. If you have any suggestions or comments on the club's operation, please come and let us know. The Barbecue Inn is located at the corner of Crosstimbers and Yale, about a mile East of the library.


Minutes of Meeting July 18, 1998

by Keith Mitchell

The Chips Meeting was held at 1:00 p.m. on July 18, 1998, at Oak Forrest Library. The following activities took place;
1. A plaque - was presented to John Korman in recognition of his efforts toward founding the HMSC and his contributions toward the growth and success we have all benefited from over the first two years.
2. Interest in attending Prime - in Eugene, Oregon the weekend of September 25 was solicited. This is a show similar to NAMES in Wyandotte but on the West Coast. We may be able to fly into Seattle more readily than Portland. It's about a 2-1/2 hour drive from Seattle to Portland. The other benefit to flying into Seattle is we may be able to schedule a trip to the Boeing Surplus Center. This is where Boeing sells their excess electronics, materials, tooling, machinery, etc. There is a website, which lists the more significant items. Keith Mitchell is the collector of interest in this activity (e-mail: kmitchl@wt.net, Home 281-391-2406). Need to get a headcount by the next meeting of those who are interested.
3. Bill Swan - brought in his homebrew CNC lathe and actually made a few chips in the demo. The lathe featured air operated 5C Colette chuck, with stepper motors for the X and Y travel all driven from a PC. The demo was quite impressive. Thanks to Bill for taking the time to assemble the demo.
4. July Monthly Challenge - The monthly challenge for July was to make a hammer. Among the entries were John Waits - linear hammer to remove coletts from his lathe, J. D. Wise - micro hammer also known as the electron hammer (hammer head 0.6mm in diameter), George Carlson deadblow hammer. Robert Rouse brought several hammers he had salvaged when a former employer had outlawed brass hammers due to an accident. The message was that any striking tool should be maintained to eliminate the risk of the striking face mushrooming and sending out fragments. Another tip was to reduce the diameter of the hammer handle near the head to reduce the shock transmitted to your arm and the resulting fatigue and potential damage with repeated use.
5. August Monthly Challenge - Build something ornamental or useful for the yard or garden. George Carlson brought as an example a lawn sprinkler he had built.
6. Door Prize - the door prize, a 6" dial caliper donated by Rutland Tool & Supply went to David Whitaker.
7. AC - There were numerous discussions of a very timely topic - how to air-condition a shop. Seems the A/C was being justified in most cases for the good of the equipment. Has nothing to do with operator comfort
8. New Store - A new "Metal Mart" type material supplier has opened in Houston. Metal Supermarkets( is located on Pinemont near Hempstead, next door to J&L, and near Wholesale Tool. They plan to be open Saturday morning like many of the other suppliers. Will be selling materials by the inch. If you have been mail ordering might save a little money and achieve instant gratification.
9. Membership - A total of 28 members were present at the Chips Meeting



Shop of the month

David Whittaker has been a member since the beginning of the club. He is an accomplished woodworker who has taken an interest in metalworking. David prototypes many of his projects in wood before committing them to metal. He has a very nice shop with a Craftsman 12" lathe and a small "knee type" mill.

Dave at the latheWooden fixtures

The first photo shows David at his lathe. The second photo shows some of the special fixtures that were made to allow the use of dial indicators on the milling machine. David's use of wood for fixtures and holding devices is very interesting. I think he does a good job of demonstrating how two hobbies, metal working and woodworking, can complement each other.






The view from the past

Bill at the computer

Bill Swan at the keyboard of the computer while he demonstrates his shop-built CNC lathe. This was a very interesting project and it is obvious that he has spent quite a bit of effort learning about machine controls and building his prototype. Thanks Bill for sharing this with us.


A Special Award

Last meeting the members of the club gave John Korman a plaque in appreciation for all his hard work. Most people in the club recognize that without John's selfless devotion, this club would probably not exist as it does today. John was the leader we needed when the club was just starting out.
This is the artwork for the plaque we gave John.

Image of plaque

Many thanks John, from all of us.

Schedule of Presentations for Upcoming Meetings

August - 3 Phase Converters (George Carlson)
September - Welding Technology (Mark VanScoter)
October - Hand Tap Operation (Doug Blodgett)

Humor Mill

Q: What is the difference between a Mechanical Engineer and a Civil Engineer?
A: A Mechanical Engineer builds weapons. A Civil Engineer builds targets.

Golf and the Machinist

A minister, a doctor and a Machinist were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers. The Machinist fumed, "What's with these guys? We must have been waiting for 15 minutes!"
The doctor chimed in, "I don't know, but I've never seen such ineptitude!"
The minister said, "Hey, here comes the greenskeeper. Let's have a word with him."
"Hi George. Say, what's with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow, aren't they?"
The greenskeeper replied, "Oh, yes, that's a group of blind firefighters. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime." The group was silent for a moment.
The minister said, "That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight."
The doctor said, "Good idea. And I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist buddy and see if there's anything he can do for them."
The Machinist said, "Why can't these guys play at night?"

The Machinist

There was a Machinist who had an exceptional gift for fixing all things mechanical. After serving his company loyally for over 30 years, he happily retired. Several years later the company contacted him regarding a seemingly impossible problem they were having with one of their multi-million dollar machines. They had tried everything and everyone else to get the machine fixed, but to no avail. In desperation, they called on the retired Machinist who had solved so many of their problems in the past.
The Machinist reluctantly took the challenge. He spent a day studying the huge machine. At the end of the day, he marked a small "x" in chalk on a particular component of the machine and proudly stated, "This is where your problem is".
The part was replaced and the machine worked perfectly again. The company received a bill for $50,000 from the Machinist for his service. The company accountant demanded an itemized accounting of his charges.
The Machinist responded briefly:
One chalk mark $1
Knowing where to put it $49,999
The bill was paid in full and the Machinist retired again in peace.