Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Odds and Ends on the Night of a Sudden Jihadi Attack

New York City this time, on a bike path in the yuppie heart of the city.  No ARs, no bump stocks, no guns at all - just enough BB guns to ensure "suicide by cop" and go collect his 72 virgins.  Except this is NYPD we're talking about here, and we're lucky they gut shot him and didn't just kill nine other people on the bike path

H/T to The Abode of McThag for the "why didn't I think of this" post of the day:
If only it were mandatory to register any vehicle which will be used on a public roadway.

If only it were mandatory to obtain a license to operate such a vehicle before driving it on a public roadway.

Probably keep them from being used for criminal activity.
That's it!  Mandatory registration of all pickup trucks, so that they're not allowed on the roads without registration.  We'll make them carry a state-issued, metal plate to prove they're registered!  Mandatory licensing and training of anyone who would own, or rent a pickup truck.  We'll make the drivers pass a state-given test and make them carry it as photo ID to ensure they're licensed to use that truck. 

In other words, all of the gun control arguments in two sentences.  If he had put a brick on the accelerator to speed his rental truck we'd have the bump stock argument, too. 

Blog administrivia.  I made some unannounced changes a few days ago and have been in a slightly different direction for the last couple of weeks.  First, I added a note about comments, hoping people would see this:
Comments are always welcome, with the same provisos as everyone: keep it civil, and no spam. All comments to posts over 14 days are moderated, but only spam is deleted on sight.
Everyone handles comments differently.  Some of us reply to each and every comment and strive for conversation; others (and I'm one) tend to not answer unless it's a specific question or seems to be directed at me.  I'm not likely to answer things that seem to be for everyone.  I'll be the first to admit that's not like a law of physics that can't be violated.  Sometimes it can be hard to tell.

That said, comments are always welcome, contrasting opinions are always fine, and the only comments I ever delete are those that are obvious SPAM.   I'm talking to you, "Packers and Movers of Bangalore"!

The other change is in the blog description, which I bet nobody reads. I changed it back closer to what it used to read.
The focus of this blog is on doing things, from radio to home machine shops and making all kinds of things, along with comments from a retired radio engineer running from tech or science news to economics; from firearms to the world at large.
I intend to do more of the "how to" and "what is" (i.e., explanatory) kind of posts.  These take a bit more research and time, but are more helpful to people than the typical "X happened in politics today".  Not to mention more interesting.  This will include more posts like the one on Voyager, looked at the from radio designer's link budget view.  I will also keep posting news that I find cool or interesting from either the engineering trade magazines or the big shows.  And, of course, I intend to be more than just a gun-friendly blog, and anything interesting or new to me from the shooting world will be posted, too. 

That said, Blogger says that around 1500 unique visits happen per day, and I have to assume readers are coming by for something.  If there are things you'd like to see addressed, drop me an email - the address is in the right bar under "Contact Me": SiGraybeard at gmail dot com . 

That said, let me give a peek into my next little shop project.  They're called soft jaws for the lathe. The hexagonal pieces in this view from that website.

What are soft jaws?  The jaws on the lathe chucks and machinist's vises are hardened steel that can and will mar the metal you're working on.  You end up having to machine away the damage from machining the part.  These soft jaws will be made from a bar of aluminum hex stock, which won't mar steel as badly as steel jaws can.  When I built my little steam motor the other day, the two shafts were held in the lathe jaws for threading, and the shaft of the one that was critical, the 1/4" diameter main shaft, was boogered up by the lathe. Nasty marks that I had to file down, which made the fit even worse.  Soft jaws should prevent that.

It falls into the category of an old story I read when I was first getting into machining:
Watcha makin?
What for?
To fix my other tools.
So I can make more tools.
Tools for making tools for making tools.  Sometimes.


  1. Those hex soft jaws are damn cool. Never seen that before :-). thats a slick idea. Thanks SiG !

  2. Whirrrrrr. Click. CLUNK!

    YOU! You have a lathe! You're in Florida?

    I have an approved Form 1 and plans for a HEL E4A suppressor... but no lathe.

    Can you cut threads with a sweaty scots/italian supervising closely?

  3. Don't forget mandatory insurance.

  4. Your final bit of wisdom there smacked me between the eyes the other day as I was standing in front of my mini lathe. That is about all I have used it for since I got it.

    1. Phil.
      Just got done a few minutes ago using my metal working lathe to spin the valve body of a shower wand diverter valve so I could hone the bore with a .45 caliber brass bore brush.
      I firmly believe that my years in the Navy's engineering spaces honed my ability to use tools in ways the makers never saw.

  5. Keep doing what you're doing - I read your blog as almost all of the articles interest me, and your side bar includes almost all of my goto blogs (if you'd add OldNFO and Irons in the Fire, that'd be awesome!)

  6. I feel like a neanderthal. Usually just use three pieces of aluminum to pad the jaws. There are soft jaws available for chucks with removable (two piece) jaws.

  7. OT. SiG, check out the comment by Tony on this post at my blog. Have you heard anything on this ?


    1. Yes, that was in the ARRL newsletter. Last week, I think.

      The kind of thing I could/should post about, but I just deleted it. The ARRL article is here.

    2. Thanks. I figured you would know :-)

    3. Hi again Sig, In regard to the ARRL, I found this over at "Snopes" for what it's worth :


    4. Well, that's pretty amazing. People took an event that's absolutely real - the communications test that's an annual event - combined it with another real event - the Antifa protests which have been talked about everywhere - and mix them into biggest pile of bullshit I've ever seen.

      Snopes, as a typical left wing source, somehow ignores all the antifa crap that's posted in a billion places saying they want demonstrations on Nov. 4th and say, " he warns — without any supporting evidence — that “antifa” has been planning a violent “Day of Rage” for 4 November 2017. " I think they use the philosophy that there's no official spokesperson for antifa so nothing you see posted can be official antifa action.

      Yes, there really is a test on Nov.4th. Yes, it looks like antifa wants confrontation on Nov.4th. No, those things are not related to each other. There's a mini open season for Atlantic Red Snapper offshore Florida on Nov.4th, too. The "Red" in the fish's name has nothing with the red flags of antifa. It's called "coincidence".

    5. I just posted an email I got about the antifa protests. They have taken out full page ads in the New York Times.

  8. You forgot the mandatory cooling off period before buying a vehicle or renting one ...

    As for tools to make tools, c'mon! You are an engineer! You just know that you spend more time making jigs and fixtures to do the job you came here to do than the time the job takes. It is a sort of unwritten law of entropy or something. >};o)

    Phil B

  9. I almost made these soft jaw caps to work on screws and bolts, such as to add brass tips. I only wanted to work on screws, not plain shafts with fine finishes.

    Instead, I got a dozen 1/4" and 3/8" thick 2" diameter round plasma cut hole drops from ebay. I thread these for the screw in question, put a jam nut on the back side of the plate, hold in the outside jaws. Very stiff.

    At the same time I bought a set of grade 5 SAE and metric bolts and nuts so I would always have the right size threaded nuts and mandrills no matter what was in the hardware drawers.

    Using one of these plates I made a brass tip out of a 1/4-20 brass screw and threaded it into the larger bolt, with a jam fit into the partial threads at the bottom. Then I cut the brass screw head into a tip pad. Worked great.

  10. The "Red" in the fish's name has nothing with the red flags of antifa. It's called "coincidence".