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Sat Jan 7, 2012, 09:51 PM

Learned an interesting and handy new term the other day, kind of the opposite of unobtainium..

Scrapbinium.. Basically you make stuff out of whatever is in the scrap bin, I've built a considerable number of things with that remarkably protean substance.

I spent a lot of my working career fixing the unfixable, orphan (but expensive to replace) equipment where the manufacturer has long since gone out of business, parts, diagrams, schematics and information simply don't exist so you do whatever it takes. A lot of times it took just the right bit of scrapbinium and some reverse shade tree engineering.

Just seemed like a good thing to share with fellow frugalists..

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Reply Learned an interesting and handy new term the other day, kind of the opposite of unobtainium.. (Original post)
Fumesucker Jan 2012 OP
Curmudgeoness Jan 2012 #1
Fumesucker Jan 2012 #5
Curmudgeoness Jan 2012 #8
dimbear Feb 2012 #11
Curmudgeoness Feb 2012 #12
dimbear Feb 2012 #13
kristopher Jan 2012 #2
Joe Shlabotnik Jan 2012 #3
Phentex Jan 2012 #4
Fumesucker Jan 2012 #7
Curmudgeoness Jan 2012 #9
wtmusic Jan 2012 #10
lumberjack_jeff Nov 2013 #14
freshwest Jan 2012 #6

Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Sat Jan 7, 2012, 10:05 PM

1. Kudos to you.

I wish I had any engineering ability. I do try to fix all that I think I can handle, and I usually still get myself into a jam.

We need more people like you!

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 07:39 AM

5. There's an old saying amongst us technical types..

Technical skill is in direct proportion to the amount of equipment you have ruined..

Which is a fancy way of saying that you learn more from what you do wrong than what you do right.

Arthur Clarke once said that in order to learn the limits of the possible you have to venture at least a short distance into the impossible. Well, I've ventured quite a way into the impossible and have taken copious mental notes on what does not work from sometimes quite literally painful experience.

On one technically oriented forum I frequent that deals with scratch built electric vehicles they have two relevant acronyms, KFF and KFH, they stand for Kentucky Fried Finger and Kentucky Fried Hand..

A KFF looks like this..



And a KFH looks like this..



So keep on trying, every time you screw up you learn something new about what does not work, most of us who are better at it have just had more practice in discovering new and sometimes painful ways to break stuff even worse than it was broken in the first place.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #5)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 08:54 PM

8. Oh......my.......god!

Ummmm, will you think less of me if I pass on it. My mouth is agape. Holy crap. I do not want KFF or KFH. Ever. Can I just learn the easy way and watch someone else do that????

But I can appreciate what you are saying....and I know it to be true. I will not forget the time that I took my dishwasher apart thinking that I would be able to find out what was wrong with it. I meticulously lined up the parts as I took them apart, and when I couldn't find where the problem was, I put everything back together and called a repairman. He was taking it apart and asked me who had been messing with it. I asked how he knew, and he said because "this piece was in upside down". Embarrassing! The lesson there was never to call another repairman who will humiliate me.....actually it was to put the pieces not only in a meticulous line, but also just how they came out.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #8)

Thu Feb 9, 2012, 08:28 PM

11. I've worked around electricity for years, and nothing like that has ever bitten me.

So be reassured. However, my father once knew of a guy who was vaporized.

The dads worked with hydropower plants, megawatt stuff.

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Response to dimbear (Reply #11)

Thu Feb 9, 2012, 08:36 PM

12. I bet you know what you are doing too, huh?

You had me laughing about how reassured I should be, then relating the story about a vaporized guy.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #12)

Thu Feb 9, 2012, 09:10 PM

13. It's remarkable how many volts there are in some old radios.

Atwater Kents, for example, often have 600 volts or so. Nothing that a 14 year old should be playing with, but probably good training for later life.

I remember once walking down a factory aisle when a power supply for one of our line of RF amplifiers, just a few kilowatts, blew up. Sounded just like a high powered rifle. We all hit the floor. Then we got up and laughed, since nobody got hurt. That thing scattered when it blew........

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Sat Jan 7, 2012, 10:32 PM

2. Love it!

Scrapbinium....

That describes 80% of my projects.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Sat Jan 7, 2012, 11:49 PM

3. LOL brilliant

I have always found pride as a fabricator. Owning a landscaping company with tools, trucks, and heavy equipment going down all the time, it became a necessary skill, and some of the "Eureka" moments are indescribable. I'm gonna try and remember both of your terms!

Here's a pic of one of buddies. He's a machinist, evil genius, and an Incredible fabricator. One day he got bored sitting at his desk, then 2 hours later he drove the country mile between his house and mine for a beer. You should see what he can do when he's serious!

[IMG][/IMG]

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Response to Joe Shlabotnik (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 10:26 AM

4. It's a very worthwhile skill!

Often out of necessity but looks like your friend had some fun!

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Response to Joe Shlabotnik (Reply #3)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 08:28 PM

7. Here's my most ambitious scrapbinium project..

This is a Bridgeport computer controlled milling machine that was made in 1982, the original computer system was the size of a refrigerator and the magic smoke had long since left the building, electronically speaking it was pining for the fjords but the mechanical parts were still in pretty decent shape although it was stone ugly after decades of cutting metal. I got the machine off Craigslist for the price it would have fetched at the scrap metal yard, then after I disassembled, cleaned, sanded, repainted and reassembled the entire machine I retrofitted new control electronics and motors and a PC with custom software and a touch screen monitor to run it. You can see the PC up top and the control electronics are in the box behind the PC.

Basically this thing was a battleship anchor, now it works better than it did when it was brand new. It took me nearly a year to get the machine to this point, it's an effort about equivalent to a ground up restoration on a vintage car.

Oh, and other than the PC and the touch screen monitor I got off Craigslist the new control electronics were all made in the USA, the custom software running on the PC is also from the USA.



Here's what it looked like when I got it..

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #7)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 08:57 PM

9. You have the cleanest machine shop I have ever seen.

I know, that isn't what you wanted me to be in awe of, but wow.

And yes, I am impressed with what you did too.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #7)

Sun Jan 29, 2012, 11:14 AM

10. Looks like an inventor's dream tool on the cheap

Is that what you use it for?

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #7)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 11:45 AM

14. How did I miss this thread first time 'round?

 

http://www.mechmate.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1789

That bridgeport is awesome. I spent some time looking for a donor before I forced myself to realize that shop space was going to be a problem.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 01:27 PM

6. Many Amazon reviews of products made in China include the repairs needed.

I'm in awe of those who can make something useful out of the junk being shipped here. They don't complain, just explain what they had to do to cudgel a repair to make the thing work. That's harder than making it from scratch.

I grew up in an era when public high schools taught students how to make everything from lamps to engines. That's been sorely lacking, and should be given more respect. The shade tree mechanic used to be one of your best friends, but the vehicles are now made with components that end up being disposal. You can't repair it without destroying the design.

It's interesting that because of the embargo against Cuba they learned how to cudgel the most basic parts to keep vehicles running. I feel that is where we're going in this country, as well.

I enjoy youtube videos of people re-using various things that would have gone to the landfill to make, for example, passive solar devices for heating water, heating the air in their homes, cooking or preserving.

I have reduced all my purchases and reuse everything before recycling. I encourage things that require more human interaction and reusing, like glass bottles in the grocery. Kudos to you and all our frugal fixers!

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