Sunday, March 29, 2020

Tumico Terror

What the everlasting heck is going on here.

I finally got some time to work on these micrometers, and the soak didn't make any difference on the ratchet releasing.  I'll have to power that off, I guess.

There is a restaurant supply house down here, Ace Mart.  They have the neatest stuff for the shop.  This red tray is one thing I got for 3 bucks.  Works a treat for this kind of stuff.

So the tap threaded in with no wiggles or effort....  No sweat at all.  I was sure it was the nut, because no other spindles would thread in there.  So it's time to change tack, again.  I'll pull the nut out, and give it a closer inspection.  I need to figure out if the spindle comes apart, to check the male thread on it. 

Neat project.  I should be a micro-expert after all is said and done....  Or the destroyer of a recalcitrant tool....  Time will tell.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

PSA Harold Hall

Harold Hall

Allow me to introduce you to Mr. Harold Hall.  A machinist that makes models, and very useful tools.

He has a youtube channel:

and a website:

He has authored multiple articles and a few books.

He is heading toward 87, and I just found out he is no longer answering emails.  I had talked with him via email a few times, and he is a treasure.

I planned to make some of his projects, and will at some point.  I own the books he's written, and his work is bookmarked on every pc I own.

I guess this is a PSA, as I don't know how long his website will stay up after he is gathered to his people.  Cruise over and take a look.  If you are the least bit interested in metalworking, you will find a time sink.

That man's mind was creative. 

No money changed hands, I just want you to see this man's work before it goes away.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

New Normal?

Running like an ID10T lately.  Have a neato letter, "Dear LEO, please stop shooting and / or allow the bearer of this letter to get up off the ground, pass Go, and get out of jail free.  He's essential!!"

So, the job keeps on going.  Thankfully.  Allowing me to expand the library, and check on my people in the hinterlands.

New book for light reading:

The author teaches/taught in Bangalore. Copyright is 1994.

The copy I found is brand new, with zero wear.  I was probably the first to own or open it.  Nice score for $2.50.  Great source of information with the formulas and work.  Rivets, Tribology, Pressure Vessels, Power Boiler Design everything a budding 19th century engineer could want or need. 

As with any "do it all" book, it's brief and to the point.  No fluff.

What to do?

They say to keep a six foot buffer, no more than ten in a store, cover your mouth your cretin, etc.  Reminded me of a song, especially the second verse.

Enjoy some light music, my treat.

And a fun one, cause I almost blew coffee when I heard this.  You have been warned....

Take care and have fun.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Essential Personnel

Yeah, I have a new title at work.  And I've been coming home just worn down to a nub.  I drag in and just sit.  My mind is tired, my body is tired, and I'm not very creative or productive when I'm so worn down.

This weekend is a facility relocation, that I unsuccessfully tried to avoid.

Last weekend was a medical emergency and an ED trip for a family member.  I slept like I was dead Sunday morning, and didn't began to feel right until Tuesday am.

Ordered jumble

My world is a lot like that box.  A bit of a jumble but still recognizable.  Some important things are buried under other things.  One or two things are getting a bit rusty from lack of use. 

Well, I gotta get ready to run.  I had my daily ration of blinky milk, about a 1/3 of the way into my coffee cup and a few tools to pack for the relo work.  Wish me luck and health.

By the way...  This is home made.  Was that guy a machinist or what?!?!

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Long night

 I had the best of intentions yesterday.  Planed on a bit of wiring, then a little work on the Tumico Tragedy.  But got an emergency handed to me.

I lieu of real work, here's another project.  It will be coming up in the future.

I plan to make a print of this, if I can get some expert help from a mentor.

I give you..... beauty in form and function:

It is a good taper turning attachment to the little Logan 200.  Mr. Garcia had started on making one of his own, and it's on the back of the lathe.  I haven't had the heart to remove it.  Sentimental I guess.  But, it's heading out, now that the real deal is here. 

The man that I got it from showed me some of his work.  A machinist for over 35 years, he reconditions machine tools to better than new.  It was amazing to get a guided tour of the shop.  Here's a taste of his work and a finger nail couldn't discover the edges:

Sometimes, you find the neatest people that will surprise you with their talent, skill and vision.

Another ED visit.  Late into the night.  I'm a bit "grudo" this morning.  Down in south Texas that means "raw", although normally used to describe hung over.  It wasn't Al K. Hall, it was a long, hard push last night.  Where does energy come from when you're whipped at 1900 and you run at max smoke until 0230?  Man oh man, grudo.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Time is flying

Had to cover for a co-worker this week.  Man, doing two men's work is tiring.

Got through the week, then another family emergency today. 

Some bright spots too!

Post office came through..... twice!!

tap MAGIC!

Tap made it fine, and is a new HSS part.  Not carbon steel, although that would probably have worked okay.  I think the nut is brass or bronze.

And a centering holder.

I got the top facing Federal test indicator a while back.  It works fine, and has a decent case, too.  But I didn't have a good holder to find concentricity on the mill.  Now I do.

I am one tired unit.  This was a long week, with a ED visit to top it off.  Family member seems to be doing better.  Time will tell.

If you're so inclined, send up a prayer for them.  I know they'd appreciate it.  And so would I.

Thanks for stopping by the shop.

Monday, March 9, 2020


So, two of the few mentioned they MIGHT have a 40 tpi tap that could be suitable to chase the threads on the two inch mic.  And after a frustrating measurement session, it appears that it's an odd duck.

So digging around the worldweb for a ab-nominal size tap I found a .275"-40 55° whitworth tap.  Well how odd would that be?  Whitworth??  Is Tumico an English company? 

No, Tumico is from the good, wonderful USA:  "For more than 70 years, SCHERR-TUMICO measuring products have been produced in Southwestern Minnesota. The tubular frame micrometer was introduced in the early 1940's..."

Okay, 5/16 is too big, and a 1/4 is too small......

Laying in bed last night, it was running through my mind like the uneven pavement on the old I-10 bridge to N.O. ..... too big, too small....too big, too small....  5/16.... 1/4....  5/16.... 1/4.....   

hmmmm....  10/32, 8/32....... click!

HEY!  is there a 9/32-40 tap?????

Yes Virginia, there IS a 9/32-40 tap.  And it's on it's way to my little shop of horrors.  Who'd a thunk it?  (Well a plug tap, but that should work if it's a fit: if I trust me to measure it right)

We live in a wonderland.  

In 1989, I was given a Chameleon computer.  The power supply kept blowing out, so it wasn't any good.  I found out we had a resource in the library, that listed just about every manufacturer in the USA.  After digging around and finding the company name on the circuit board of the supply, I went to the library.  Only took about an hour all told, and there was the address of the company.  I typed up a letter, introducing myself, and began the sob story.  College student, broken pc, no schematic, would make a great project, etc.  Two weeks later, I got a letter back.  IF you promise to keep this a secret and not publish the information, you may have a copy of the schematic.  I sent it back signed, and a week or so later, I got the latest and greatest version of the power supply.  It wasn't the version I had, but it was close enough.  One of my classmates had done bench work on Navy sonar transducers and helped me with the parts order and eventual repair.  It worked once, then fritzed again.  I was an old married student and the budget was only so big for dead ends.  It was relegated to the graveyard.

 All that took two months.  Last night, I discovered, sourced, and ordered what I needed, even confirming that I had the proper tap drill if I decided to make my own hole someday.  In the space of 5 minutes. 

We have the entirety of human knowledge at our fingertips and use it to watch morans hurt themselves or cats get into mischief.  It's nothing more than a caveman's campfire for the majority of humans.  But if you need a tool, or a part, it's a quick, word search away.  It's almost magic.

Saturday, March 7, 2020


Spartan-C asked a question.  Here's the deal.

So the minor diameter is about .260"  I measured .265" a couple times too.

The major diameter is .285"

Tumico Disassembly

Had some extra attention to apply to the Tumicos.  And the soaking time has mostly done it's thing.

For working in the house on stuff, I built this little table to hold my projects.  I painted it with Ford Gray implement paint from Tractor Supply.  That puts a nice hard shell finish on that is like the s,W&W commercial.

It's a 2x2 piece of 3/4 inch plywood, BC sanded.  I got some quarter round, glued and nailed around the edge for a fence.  I find it easy to clean off any mess that gets on it, since it's so slick.  That can cause some of it's own issues, though.  So I used pot scrubbers as pads to keep small objects from running away.  I get them at a restaurant supply house in town.  Way cheaper than name brand Sctochbrite pads and they double as abrasives.  They even have some really coarse ones for digging out hard pack goop.

So, the disassembly went well, except for a few little issues:  The ratchet on the 3 inch is stuck fast, and the spindle won't thread back in on the 2 inch.  They are heading back to the can for an extended soak, so maybe that will help on the ratchet.  I may need to work up a 40TPI tap for the spindle.

Cleaned up, out and a bit of polishing on the spindle

The lighter fluid was a pretty good, light solvent.  I like it better than alcohol or acetone.  The smell reminds me of my 8th grade science teacher.  Mr. Hale had been a Marine tanker in Korea.  He could flip-light his zippo with ease.  He walked out side on the porch to smoke between classes.  I really enjoyed his company.  He was a real man you could look up to, emulate, even.  Good memories.

The ratchet mechanism on the two I got apart kept the spring.  I don't know if it's supposed to be captive, but it is.  I had a sewing needle for a proboscis to try and ease them out.  No dice.

Slime in the tapped hole, and a captive spring in the recess to the left

That little steel pin is amazingly tiny, and the end is shaped to work on the saw tooth on the bottom of the ratchet.  Neat in concept and execution. 

There was some real pitting and corrosion on one spindle.  I worked it on the pot scrubbers a bit, light pressure, until it smoothed out to the touch.

I didn't notice any drag when I disassembled them, but the one inch felt tight only .200" inch from closed.  I cleaned it out again, and it went easy.  It's close to being on the spot.

About .0005" off.  That knurled ring on the left is supposed to allow you to adjust the mic to zero.  But on all three mics, they aren't moving very much and the tubes are stuck in the frames.  It may take heat, or John in Philly said I should consider freezing cycles.  I can get dry ice down the street at the grocer, so that may be the next go round.  I figure it'd be pretty cool to try... I couldn't resist.

So back in the bath for a few days.  And then we'll start working on the rest of the stuck parts.

For your edification, I present a film.... with these exact models of mic.  I love how things come together like this. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

For my NEXT trick....

Well, things have been apoppin around the shop.  Like all around it, not in it.

Hospital visits, doctor visits, and some attic work to remove the last remnants of knob and tube.

But, finally, some shop time (so my wrist can feel better)....

If there was any doubt about that steel paint bucket, it sealed perfectly.  And the AA (Acetone-ATF) got a bit warmer, so the lid nearly popped off when I got it loose.

Fished out number one with a magnet, and here it is dripping wet outta the soup.

There was a pronounced odor from the AA.  And it had a hint of sulfur.  Weird ...

I took my almost done for strap wrench, the old welding glove and a set of Knippix that i found years ago, and it turned loose without much effort.  Yes!!!!

Then number two, and it was a ditto!

Then number three, the one incher, and it balked.... hard.  Nope, no way.  Not moving.  So I cinched down on the strap, moved the pivot in a bit, made my grunt face, and................
I filled up the knurling with old rubber.  Took every thing in a notch, and it finally let go with a whimper. 

There appears to be no scoring on the machined parts, so it's a win win win......

 Wiping down the parts, I got that whiff of sulfur again.  Hmmmm..... I'm a trained observer, so lets observe:

Stinks like sulfur, pawn shop in Texas, near the Eagle Ford, black mcnasty all over the rag...  Shoot.  Oilfield use, I'm guessing.  And that black gold down here has H2S all over it, as well as a billion other Sulfur compounds.  I wonder if it was water that caused the rust, maybe crude oil.

Bagged them up and on to the next step.   Disassembly of the thimbles....

Next time, Gadget, next time.

Monday, March 2, 2020

What does this mean?

So, I got a comment on a month old post.  Magic words to get what you want or some such.  So that was this blog's first spam comment.  Wow.

Things are gonna start happening now....  Abbracapocus!