As soon as I can get my workbench cleaned off, this is gonna be my next project. Bound to make me a wealthy man, I’m sure every cat lover will want one. I could make ten or fifteen of these a week for Ebay, more once I get automated and I get ASPCA approval…………………………………
Some of you CAMS guys have heard me gloat about my Fairfax County Landfill “treasures”, (remember the railroad rail?). Heres a couple of shots of the latest harvest; a Craftsman 10″ table saw from the 50s (bad capacitor in the motor), and a Campbell Hausfeld compressor (mice made a home in the fan shroud).
The saw is complete except for the rip fence, miter gauge, and angle wheel, but I’ve got two of the three coming from Ebay snipes this week. I plugged the thing in to test it last week, and everything works, but the motor turns slow. An electrician buddy at work tells me the capacitor is bad, haven’t gotten one yet, so we’ll see.
here’s a pic of the motor partially disassembled, loaded with sawdust. I’ll try a new cap and see what shakes. The rest of the motor looks brand new, and doesn’t smell. It has an overload protector, so maybe I get lucky.
Here’s the compressor. Somebody stored it, and the mice made a home in the fan shroud (anyone that’s owned an air-cooled VW, or scrounges cast-off compressors knows the sound). About twelve minutes work got this running like a new machine. Might just keep this for a spare, as I’ve picked up a brand new Ingersol Rand dual stage compressor head (free) for my shop compressor, and this might serve as back-up when I hang the new head. It makes good air, and quick, but I won’t be running the blast cabinet off this one!
My Ball&Chain surprised me this morning with a blank check to go get a pressure washer at Home Despair. She gave me a limit of $900.00 to spend, and I came back with a $200.00 electric deal. Fact is, I can get by with an 1800 PSI unit, and I have a reserve to use on other stuff. If only Home Despair sold Digital readouts for my Bridgeport! I took a couple of hours, and cleaned these Landfill Lovelies, and the front steps too. Gotta keep the B&C happy.
This is my old Snap-On mig welder, that has been in more or less constant service since the 1980s. My only gripe with the thing is it’s wheels, that have bothered me from day one. Being that the band saw base was such a major improvement to usability, and I had a pile of salvaged 3X3 angle iron around, I thought I’d make a cart for it and document the fabrication. Heres a pic showing the cantilevered wheels that allow the welder to tip when backing up.
The first step was to miter cut some 1/4″ thick angle iron straight from the scrap bin. Most of this stuff has gussets welded to it, so grabbing it in the factory vice is a challenge. Big pieces of stock really show the small saws vices short comings. A better vice with a decent swivel base might be a future addition. With the new stand, the saw is at a much better work height, and has a much more solid feel.
Heres the base getting squared up, and tacked for final welding on my work bench. This is a piece of 1/4 steel with a drain trough I welded up for transmission work, but is about the best welding table around. Its dead flat, and you can just clamp the ground lead to the table if the metal is clean. This steel is primed, so I clamp right on the work. You can see some of the existing gussets here, which will work nice to add some support for the Argon bottle.
Nothing real earth-shaking here, just a shot of the finished welded corner. The bottom will be ground flat for the casters.
Again, nothing life changing, just a shot of the finished product, with some paint on it.
Heres a shot of the existing gussets I used to add support the gas bottle at the rear of the stand. The way the welder was constructed, you’d have thought I ordered these for the specific machine. Sometimes I get lucky.
This is the end result. I haven’t fastened the welder to the cart yet, but had to try it out. It works great. This is another thing around here that I’ve been moaning about for years, and finally got straightened out. The welder not only moves easier, but has a more solid feel, and is more stable. You can’t see it in this pic, but I’ve been hanging my wire and ground leads on the gas regulator which is an accident waiting to happen, so I guess I’ll hafta add some hangers somewhere on the cart. I’m probably gonna add a handle on the front that I can use as a guide for the wire feed. The lead comes out the front, and tends to take a lot of abuse. I’m sure one good hit would put enough of a kink in it to stop the wire from feeding. I’ll update when I get that done.
I locked myself in the shop this weekend, and set about doing some housekeeping (damage control is more like it) , so I could move around the shop a little. I had some metal stock that needed to be put away, so I dragged out my Clarke (Chinee) bandsaw to cut some stuff down to size. I’ve been cursing the dismal wheels on this saw since I bought it a couple of years ago. Anyone that owns one of these saws knows what I’m talking about. Its the first thing that new buyers fix when they buy them, and is a hot topic on the Yahoo 4X6 website. I was too busy using mine to fix the problem. Well, I stumbled across a 9 1/2 foot length of 4140 stainless 2 1/2 inch diameter round stock at work in the scrap dumpster (Yeah, in the dumpster), and needed to cut it. I work at a water treatment plant, and have free reign at the metal dumpster, its like Christmas every day! Anyway, I had to support a 300 pound hunk of SS, and wrestle the saw under it to make the cut. The wheels on the saw really showed their stuff, what junk. I finally got tired of hearing myself complain about the Chinee junk and decided to grab some 2 1/2″ angle iron (from the dumpster) and make up a rolling stand for the saw. I had two sets of casters off some Craftsman tool boxes that now support my steel workbench. I probably shoulda gotten some pics of the build, but never thought about it till the paint was drying, I’ll put some shots of it on later this week. Its a world of difference. I extended the rear of the stand to stop the annoying habit it has of trying to flip over when you put the saw in the upright position, and has a much more solid feel to it. It rolls easily and is at a much better work height, about 6″ higher. I wish I had made the stand when I first got the saw.
While I was building the base I was reminded how cheezy the “wheels” on my Snap-On mig welder are. I’ve had the welder for 20+ years, and have been complaining about that for a while too. The problem is that with a big bottle of argon, theres more weight in the rear than with the “homeowner” bottle that came with the welder, and because the wheels are near the middle, the cart wants to tip to the rear when rolling. Now that I’ve made some room for myself, maybe I’ll build another cart for it. I’ve got a couple more sets of casters kicking around. Then theres the Lincon 225 arc welder. I’d kinda like to put that on casters, and have somewhere to hang the leads….
Tonight is a bit of a departure for me. I have never “blogged” before. I do this at the request of my webmaster, Dale, who swears this will make me into an internet superstar. Hes been working hard to initiate the features on this website even though he knows his version is probably better than mine. Thanks for putting up with my “web design” Dale.
My name is Mick Finch, and I am a gearhead. I spent too many years as a transmission rebuilder, and recently bailed on that profession for an easier life. Over the years I’ve done alot of jobs that always seemed to involve metalworking, fabricating, and mechanical mayhem. I grew up, the son of a child of the Depression, who knew how to stretch a buck, and handed down his collection of tools to me. If there was ever a time to say “Thanks” to the Old Man, I’d say this is it. The economy is in the toilet, and any time I can make the month run out before the paycheck does is a blessing. That’s basically what this site is all about.
Over the years I’ve used the Old Man’s tools to bail my @ss out many times. I’ve stumbled into a few good deals on some great machines myself, and just can’t refuse a bargain, no matter how much the machine weighs. The shop is full of American machine tools, and that’s the way I’d like to keep it. Dad use to tell me not to buy junk unless I wanted to buy it twice. I will admit to a few “offshore” tools, but they are in the minority. I’d rather buy a solid machine, and spend the money putting it right, than buy Wang Pow a new Mercedes. In my shop you will find South Bend, Bridgeport, K.O. Lee, Kurt, Rockwell, Snap-On, Matco, Craftsman, Lincoln, etc. You won’t find many Chinese tools, but you will find some. When money allows, they will be passed on to another entrepreneur.
My machines are in a constant state of upgrade. My South Bend 13″ is getting ready for a new compound feed screw, and an “economy priced” Digital Read Out. The Bridgeport mill is going to get a Power Draw Bar installed from a kit plan from eBay. The K.O. Lee surface grinder is ready for a table and magnetic chuck regrind, and gonna be tooled up to regrind mill bits. All this stuff will get done, but is gonna get fit in between the shop re-organization that is under way right now. I started rewiring the shop, because my homemade Rotary Phase Converter was kinda hob-knobbed together. One thing led to another, and the shop got torn apart, but I’m working on it.
Right now the machines are idle, and I’m not producing anything of real consequence, but I’m gonna try to document some of the improvements to my machines with the help of my son. Photography to follow, maybe some video. We’ll see.
The store section of the site will contain items that will make the gagetizer’s life easier. Right now I have Mobil lubricants (Way and Spindle Oil), Gets Oil Hole Covers, and Lathe Way Wiper Felt for your lathe, mill, or grinder. I plan to add some specialized hardware that anyone rebuilding on old machine might need (be patient). If I have to buy a gross of something to get a decent price on them, they will probably be offered up in the store section at a substantial savings. The store needs some work right now, but I’m workin on it. Shipping will be at cost, or as close to it as I can manage. I can’t stand those clowns that offer “bargains”, and screw you on shipping. Won’t happen here. You ordered it now, I assume you want it NOW, right? I like to get stuff I order fast, I will ship anything ordered FAST. Check my feedback on Ebay under the user ID bluechipmachineshop.
I’ve got a few irons in the fire right now, but I’m stepping up the schedule. My plans are to resume making Transmission Rebuilding Tools soon, and maybe a few lathe accessories like carriage stops, T slot bases with studs for quick change tool holders, and spindle thread protectors, and maybe a few other things.
If anybody besides my kids, or Dale read this blog, and find problems with the site, I’d sure like them to let me know. The wife hates it when I talk to myself………………………………………
Look for future topics including:
- Old lathe information
- Machining Projects
- Machine Maintenance
- Workshop tips and tricks
- Transmission Repairs
Stay in touch to see updates!