Why Makers & Builders

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I didn't originally plan to post this here on ASA, but ASAers did contribute  
a lot to my path.

Why Maker's and Builders?

Back in the mid 90s atleast partly with help from the Usenet group  
news:rec.crafts.metalworking I made my first "punch" and "die." I needed to  
install some photo beams at a port of entry for a pedestrian counter. I  
designed the "system" using a variety of parts and components, but I was  
concerned about the photo beams themselves. They had something like a 5 year  
warranty, but the lenses were polycarbonate. Each set of beams had to be  
placed in a walkway between counters. My concern was that people brushing by  
would quickly wear the lens as clothing, bags, and misc items brushed  
against the sides of the walkway. I didn't want to be that guy who everybody  
there got to know because I was always there fixing it. I had the idea to  
recess the emitter and sensor so that only the most aggressive brushing up  
against might contact the surfaces. I looked all over, but nobody made a  
recessed electrical plate that I thought would work. I took a piece of hot  
rolled (didn't even know what it was called at the time) and cut one pieces  
with a rectangular hole in it to mate with the back of an aluminum  
electrical blank plate. I chamfered the edges by hand with a grinder so it  
was a decent fit. Then I cut a small piece to mate with it about plate  
thickness smaller all the way around and hand chamfered it as well. Then I  
just mashed a cover plate between them with my hydraulic press. (had it for  
automotive work, not machine work) It looked amazingly good. I doubt the  
guys at GSA ever noticed that was a custom piece.  As a new (mostly black  
box) system it had its development issues, but lens wear of the emitter and  
sensor was not one of them. It was in use for years until they went to a new  
system with some big contractor at all the ports.

That was definitely metal working. I doubt it was really machining though  
except in the crudest sense. I take that sort of approach to a lot of what I  
do. I don't have a stick up my butt about being a "machinist" "welder"  
"fabricator" "mechanic". In fact my knowledge is lacking really in all of  
those areas even though now I make my living as a niche market mold maker. I  
can weld. If its important to look pretty I do some practice welds and then  
do the real weld after I've taken a break and I am fresh. If it just has to  
stick I burn it together and clean it up with a grinder. I know less about  
welding than almost anybody else in any metalworking group, but oddly enough  
I have five electric welders and an OA rig and I have welded parts still in  
use today with all but one of them. (Just got a new AC/DC pulse TIG a couple  
days ago.) Fabricator is a tough term to define, but I've built and  
converted trailers a welding table wood storage rack and various other  
things to fit needs.A lot of welding there, but various other fabrication  
skills as well. Still I don't consider myself a fabricator. I do have people  
bring me things to make or fix, but I turn down a lot of it unless they are  
friends and they stay to help.  I neighborhood kid is as likely as not to  
ask me for help with a motorcycle that needs some work.  What about a  
machinist... No. Just ask any old manual machinist. I'm just a hack, button  
pushing, shade tree, wannabe by the very fact that I never serviced  
apprenticeship for 3 lifetimes in a steam powered line shop. LOL.  As a  
contractor I made more than a few custom parts for communications  
contracting for applications over the years.  Camera mounts, sensor  
brackets, switching systems, etc.  One local fab shop did more than a couple  
tubing bending project for me.


Since I'm no longer a contractor (retired and sold out) what does that make  
me? There is a lot I don't know, but very few projects am I afraid to try to  
come up with a solution. Atleast for myself. I won't always take on projects  
for others. If I don't know I learn how. If I can't figure it out myself I  
ask questions. If I don't have the recommended tools I think about it and  
see if I can find alternatives. If I still have to have the tools I put them  
on the list and when I have money I buy them.  The term "Maker" always  
bothered me. It didn't sound quite right, but ultimately I think that's what  
I am. A maker. I find ways to make what I need and I don't worry to much  
about being true to any particular trade. If it works it works.

I'm a member of various groups. Some very specialized around a particular  
piece of equipment like the Yahoo mailing list for the mini lathe and others  
more broad like Home Shop Machinist, so when I started my own group (on  
Facebook) what did I call it?
Makers & Builders. https://www.facebook.com/groups/MakersBuilders/ Visit or  
don't. I'm good either way.  


Re: Why Makers & Builders
On 4/28/2019 9:08 AM, Bob La Londe wrote:
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Nicely said,  I kind a feel many "ole duds" that have done their own  
business, have been down that road..
Over the past 42 years, I can think of many a custom designs we've put
together for customers..
;-)

--  

*Rocky T. Squirrel, esq.*


Re: Why Makers & Builders
On 4/28/2019 10:08 AM, Bob La Londe wrote:
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Hi Bob,

Nice resume' it sums you up good.
You might call yourself a "Maker & Builder" that fits.
You are also a doer.  So many people are just bumps on logs
and can't think for themselves.  You don't have to make a Million  
Dollars a minute to know you have accomplished so much more than all
the others in just a few minutes.

You and I as well as the other regulars here in ASA must have that same  
bit of gene that makes us the way we are.

I for one say that:
"I am the guy that puts 'stuff' together and makes it work"

You like a challenge are motivated to find a solution to that challenge.

I like doing "one of a kind" custom systems.  When it comes to needing
brackets or mountings that can't be found off the shelf.  I will draw up  
what I need in my CAD and take it to a friend that has the materials and  
welder to put it together.  Had to make a hang over the roof camera  
mount a while back to get the right angle.  Cool stuff!!

As for your Facebook page.  Sorry, I won't be going there.  I am NOT
a Facebook person.  It is just not something I want to do.  If it works
for you, great!!  Maybe I am just too old fashioned or something.
Or just plain O-L-D!!!   :-)

Have a good week.

Les


Re: Why Makers & Builders



On 4/28/2019 10:08 AM, Bob La Londe wrote:
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Hi Bob,

Nice resume' it sums you up good.
You might call yourself a "Maker & Builder" that fits.
You are also a doer.  So many people are just bumps on logs
and can't think for themselves.  You don't have to make a Million
Dollars a minute to know you have accomplished so much more than all
the others in just a few minutes.

You and I as well as the other regulars here in ASA must have that same
bit of gene that makes us the way we are.

I for one say that:
"I am the guy that puts 'stuff' together and makes it work"

You like a challenge are motivated to find a solution to that challenge.

I like doing "one of a kind" custom systems.  When it comes to needing
brackets or mountings that can't be found off the shelf.  I will draw up
what I need in my CAD and take it to a friend that has the materials and
welder to put it together.  Had to make a hang over the roof camera
mount a while back to get the right angle.  Cool stuff!!

As for your Facebook page.  Sorry, I won't be going there.  I am NOT
a Facebook person.  It is just not something I want to do.  If it works
for you, great!!  Maybe I am just too old fashioned or something.
Or just plain O-L-D!!!   :-)

*** No worries.  I wasn't really a Facebook person either, but all my  
younger cousins are on so its often its how I keep up with what they are  
doing.  I'm the oldest of myself and all my cousins, so...  I didn't really  
start "doing" Facebook though until it started generating sales.  Business  
page, groups, and even just direct personal followers.  


Re: Why Makers & Builders
On 4/29/2019 11:26 AM, Bob La Londe wrote:

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Interesting...............
I have a Cousin that thought I should be on Facebook so I would be  
better connected with the "family".  I explained that I was better  
connected the old way.  She took it upon herself to set up a Facebook  
account in my name.  I started to go along reluctantly.  And then about
2 weeks later I started to get emails from people wanting to be my  
"friend" that I did not know.  That was enough for me to DELETE, CANCEL,  
END, QUIT, DISCONTINUE the account.
I am still very connected with the family, my way.  Love my cousin's!!


Re: Why Makers & Builders

On 4/29/2019 11:26 AM, Bob La Londe wrote:
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Interesting...............
I have a Cousin that thought I should be on Facebook so I would be  
better connected with the "family".  I explained that I was better  
connected the old way.  She took it upon herself to set up a Facebook  
account in my name.  I started to go along reluctantly.  And then about
2 weeks later I started to get emails from people wanting to be my  
"friend" that I did not know.  That was enough for me to DELETE, CANCEL,  
END, QUIT, DISCONTINUE the account.
I am still very connected with the family, my way.  Love my cousin's!!

**********
In the parlance of Nancy Reagan, "Just say no."  LOL  

Re: Why Makers & Builders
On 4/30/2019 2:18 PM, Bob La Londe wrote:

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Ditto!!



Re: Why Makers & Builders
On Sunday, April 28, 2019 at 10:08:32 AM UTC-4, Bob La Londe wrote:
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As us old guys are prone to saying  

"That reminds me of something that happened to me once"

A long time ago, (when I was in my thirties) a customer of mine provided me
 with the opportunity to have somewhat of an epiphany.

I'd been trying to train a young man to be a helper and hopefully a alarm i
nstaller. One of the things I would start them off with is learning the whe
reabouts and names of parts located in the work van. Each day I'd introduce
 him to some of the parts used in the repair and installation of alarm syst
ems. As the days progressed ?. it became obvious that he just wasn'
t "getting it" and I knew his days were numbered.  

One day I had to do a window foil repair and since we'd done one the day be
fore I felt pretty sure the kid would be able to get what I needed from the
 truck. I sent him to get the parts and he didn't return. And he didn't ret
urn ?. And finally I went out to the truck and he's looking through
 all of the drawers accessible from the side door of the truck for the foil
 repair parts that were conveniently located in a carry bag in the back of  
the truck. I stood behind him watching him pull out and looking in each of  
the drawers one by one looking for I couldn't imagine what. I just couldn't
 take it anymore and started yelling at him and calling him names and telli
ng him to get the F.... ing bag out of the back and bring it inside. I went
 back in the building ?.. talking to myself which was noticed by my
 customer.  

He said "What's wrong Jim? the kid giving you a problem?" And obviously thi
s gave me the opportunity to vent my frustration by saying "This freaking k
id's been working for me for over a month and can't do a damn thing. He doe
sn't follow directions, can't even hold a drop light so I can see what I'm  
doing. I feel like I'm working with a 5 year old kid.  

Well, my customer said something to me that changed my whole outlook about  
who I am.

He said (simply) "Jim, if he could do what you can do ?.. He'd be d
oing it"

I fired the kid a few days later but what my customer said to me stuck in m
y head and this is how it changed me. ( and the relevant point I'm trying t
o make)

Up until that point in my life, I though that anyone could do what I do. Al
l my life ? if there was something that I wanted to do .. I taught  
myself how to do it. I can fix or modify or customize most anything or find
 someone to do it the way I want it done or to teach me how to do. I just t
hought that everyone was that way. Can you believe that? In my late thirtie
s and I was just figuring out that I could do things that other people coul
dn't do.  


Still amazes me today.

So Bob and all the others here

Realize it or not. If other people could do what you can do ?.. the
y'd be doing it.

And ----  you can do things that other people can't do.  



  

Re: Why Makers & Builders
On 4/28/2019 7:05 PM, Jim Davis wrote:
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WOW!!! Jim,  I have the same problem.
Much for the reason I work for myself, by myself.

I found myself working so much harder when I and an employee than
without.  Had to think 3-4 steps ahead of them and then had to
check their work. Decided a number of years ago it was not
worth my aggravation, not to mention my blood pressure.

My thinking of employees is as follows.
If they do the job efficiently as expected they absolutely deserve to be  
paid for the time spent.
If they have to do the job twice or make mistakes, goof off, etc. they  
are absolutely REQUIRED by LAW to be paid for the time spent.

When I need help for a project I take on a self-employed sub-contractor.  
  Their work ethic is where it needs to be.  And I generally buy lunch.

And yes, I will remember nobody can do what I do, the way I do it.

Have a good week.

Les

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