Our own words used against us…

Warning! Beware! Whilst out “shopping” (I know, but it’s best just to go along with it) with Senior Management and despite my best efforts, she spotted the shoe shop. She uttered these sinister words: “you know how you always say “one can never have too many clamps…””

It’s a year since I made my first post. To be honest, I didn’t think I could keep it going. But I must say, I’ve quite enjoyed it! (Obviously. Otherwise I would have stopped)

What surprised me was the amount of people from so many countries around the world who’ve had a look, some more than others. It would be great to get comments from folks.

I think I’ve mentioned in a previous post how it can sometimes be difficult to keep up the posts. In fact, though, my average is one a week. That’s not so bad, I think. The thing that stops me is the feeling that I have too many other higher priority things to do, and so the blog never comes to the top. This has been caused by a tremendously high workload as we’ve been training new pilots non stop since May. The second half of the year has been particularly stressful, actually causing me to need some unfit days as it’s upset my system (I’m diabetic – yes, you’d be surprised what conditions you can carry and still be an airline pilot. We’ve got people with one eye, one ear, one arm, one leg. Recovered heart attack, recovered cancer, recovered alcoholics, recovered depressives. All safe, sound and a great example to others)

Refurbishing this lathe has been as therapeutic as I’d hoped. Now that this year is almost out, I can look forward to something brighter next year. Which brings me to these chucks. They weren’t that bright as found…

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…and, of course, full of gunge.

Dismantling a three jaw chuck

No diagrams available so flying blind, a voyage of discovery, journey into the unknown, etc blah blah. How hard can it be? I unscrewed the obvious hex bolts on the back…

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…and the sides…

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The back came off easily…

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Unscrewing three more pins enabled the cone shaped gears to be withdrawn…

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Then I realised the jaws were still in, so before removing the other two gears, I turned them using the key and all three jaws dropped out. The annular gear turns and there seemed to be nothing holding it in, but it wouldn’t just drop out, even with banging it on the bench. Naturally, brute force was called for, so I set up the three side pins and sat the chuck over them, with the points touching the ring…

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Using a block of wood between the hammer and the chuck, the annular gear popped out easily…

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Here’s all the parts before cleaning…

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Both the annular ring and the cone gears were caked in a white substance…

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It was not quite solid but even after soaking on GUNK it was very difficult to get off…

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It took a long time, with each tooth needing done individually. Eventually everything was clean and bright. It was all in good condition too…

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Rebuilding the three jaw chuck

Assembly was easy. I used a lot of grease on everything…

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These wedge cone type things…

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…engage some grooves on the back, obviously to hold it tight…

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The jaws are all numbered and there’s a corresponding number against each slot…

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This is so they go back in the right place, so that they follow the spiral in the annular ring evenly. They go in and out quite easily, by turning the key to wind them in…

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This is the cleaned and reassembled chuck…

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…and it fitted to the lathe…

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That was quite good fun. Four jaw chuck next. Or a book review?

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FTL drive?

…a man rejoices in giving the right answer, and a word spoken at the right time—how good it is!

The trouble with Faster Than Light travel is that if you jump away for a day, several months have passed for those left behind.

I wish I could use FTL travel as an excuse for not posting since the 9th of October, but I suspect some of you might have trouble believing it. And it would be a lie. And FTL travel hasn’t been invented yet (come on, scientists. What the hell are you doing all day?)

No, the truth is, I got out of the habit. The reason I got out of the habit is that – brace yourself, this sounds strange – I suddenly got absolutely sick and tired of the lathe.

This has happened to me before with long projects. When I get close to finishing, I start to get all excited. Then one day I realise how much I still have to do. Then I look at my sparse amount of spare time. Then I realise by how much I’ve missed my – admittedly artificial and arbitrary – finishing deadline. Suddenly, the project seems like a bully (remember Big Bad?) and I don’t want anything to do with it anymore, or anything related to it. Crucially, though, having done the lathe course, I saw how the machine would get very messed up very quickly if I was to actually use it.

That set up a quandary. I want to use it. But if I use it, I’ll undo months of cleaning work. But if I don’t use it, what was the point of all those months of work? So I don’t want to use it; but I do want to use it. A Loop.

So I “got sick of it”. I did nothing for a couple of weeks. Because I did nothing, I had nothing to write about; so no blog entry.

Then I started to dismantle and clean the chucks. But I’d got out of the habit of blogging and so when I remembered to blog, it was usually at an inopportune time, so I didn’t.

Anyway, enough of the excuses. The lathe is actually finished. Over the next short time period (note how I didn’t commit myself there..) I’ll write about the chucks and stuff. Bet you can’t wait…

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