Monday, October 24, 2011

The Basic Steps Are Very Similar

... things to concentrate on while waiting for the latest "last chance" to save the Euro...
That's what happened in the U.S. The Fed's strategy of printing trillions of dollars and forcing interest rates to near zero has eliminated any and all market pressures on Congress to solve the budget fiasco. As a consequence, Congress is sitting contentedly on a situation where the U.S. borrows 38% of every dollar it spends. In about two years, gross national debt will approach 120% of GDP, the unenviable spot where Italy is today.

And Italy is in deep trouble. To bail it out, experts are already examining how the leveraged EFSF could buy massive amounts of Italian debt on the secondary market (Spiegel). This, despite provisions in the European Union treaty that specifically prohibit such bailouts. But these experts are now looking for a way around the law. The same has already occurred at the ECB, which has been buying the debt of countries like Italy, though by law, it cannot do so.
I've lost count: is this the sixth "last chance" for the Euro?  The twenty-eighth?  

In overview, metal working and wood working have the same basic steps: cut to size, shape as needed, fasten or join, perhaps drilling holes for screws, and finish.  The tools and the techniques vary because of the wildly different materials, but the concepts are pretty similar.  You cut wood to shape with a bandsaw; you can do the same with metal.  You can shape wood on a lathe or you can shape metal on a lathe.  You can cut grooves and contour wood with a router, then take that router bit, put it in a milling machine and do the same things to metal.  You can join wood with glue or pegs, but most people use glue and screws.  The screws for metal are finer threads.  About the only thing I can't think of a similarity for between wood and metal is welding. 

With few exceptions, wood is just not processed to the same accuracies as metal for a very simple reason: wood isn't dimensionally stable enough to hold those accuracies.  A cut to 1/32 inch (.032") accuracy is generally fine in woodworking; in metalworking, you might have need to cut to within 2/10,000 inch (.0002") and even a beginner is expected to be able to finish to within five thousandths, .005".  You can cut metal pieces on a table saw or miter saw, fasten them and use the finished assembly.  With metal, you generally rough cut to size with a saw but do critical cuts on a more accurate machine.  For much work, you can cut steel with a torch - and you're sure not cutting to .001" with a flame.  Today, you can get blades like the Metal Devil blades to cut steel on the same saws you use for woodworking.  

For casual sheet metal work, a pair of tin snips (shears) are fine for cutting to size (draw layout lines on the sheet with a sharpie and straight edge) and a vise is an adequate way to do right angle bends.  To join sheet metal pieces, if screws and nuts are too big, consider getting a "Pop rivet" tool by Emhart. “The 'POP®' Open type blind rivet is a hollow rivet pre-assembled on to a headed pin or mandrel. Rivet bodies are available in a range of materials for complete work piece compatibility”.  POP rivets require a special tool to pull the pin and set them, but it's a tool you only buy once.
Many companies make a miter saw like this little one from Makita.  With the right blades it either cuts wood or metal. 

1 comment:

Reg T said...

Thanks for the tip on Metal Devils. That makes a mitre chop saw much more versatile than a metal chop saw. I've got an inexpensive sliding chop saw I'll have to try a Metal Devil on.