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May 23, 2006

the drill press mistake

by sven at 8:00 am

It seems like there's a progression of complexity for puppet armature designs:

  1. Mike Brent: aluminum armature wire, epoxy putty bones, nuts for tie-downs
  2. Nick Hilligoss: aluminum armature wire, wooden body block, T-style tie-downs
  3. Susannah Shaw: aluminum armature wire, K&S plug-in limbs
  4. Lionel Ivan Orozco ("LIO"): "open-hole double-ball" joints made from steel strips, bearings, and rods.
  5. Tom Brierton: multiple types of joints, milled from aircraft aluminum stock

I've gotten to the point where I can make a Susannah Shaw design pretty comfortably. For a while, I thought it was reasonable to just take the next step up -- getting only what I would need in order to make a LIO armature... That meant: a drill press, and some special-order metal stock.

Ryobi 10" drill press

About two months ago, I actually went ahead and bought a drill press. I was reading and re-reading LIO's tutorial on how to drill type 302 stainless steel balls. In the photos, he uses a 10" Ryobi drill press. I could see in Nick Hilligoss' tie-down tutorial video that he uses a Ryobi bandsaw. Ryobi seemed like a trustworthy brand. Affordable, too: the 10" drill press only costs $99 at Home Depot. After coveting it for weeks, I finally decided that my ultimate purchase was a foregone conclusion, and that I might as well quit putting it off.

However, I wound up taking the drill press back just a few days later -- never even having taken it out of the back of the Svan.

Reason #1

At the point of purchasing a drill press, you enter into the world of tabletop machines -- which take up quite a bit of space. If a milling machine were able to both mill and drill, then perhaps for the sake of space I ought to just save up and get the more versatile machine.

LIO ranted a little at me that a drill-press is an essential tool in any shop. That helped goad me into purchasing the drill press. He's an authority that I respect... But did I feel like I truly understood why I need both tools? No. So I decided I should take the drill press back. I can always re-purchase it later, if I finally understand why both are necessary.

Reason #2

I realized that I just didn't know enough about machining metal yet. I was depending entirely upon other people's tutorials and advice. When I'd ask a question on SMA, I could see my own ignorance reflected back in what I wrote, and it just seemed ridiculous.

My new resolve: I'm a smart boy -- I can own the knowledge of metalworking for myself -- no more dumb questions -- go forth and read up on the subject! So, I drove to Powell's Technical Books and purchased The Home Machinist's Handbook by Doug Briney and Tabletop Machining by Joe Martin (owner of Sherline).

Research research research....

posted by sven | May 23, 2006 8:00 AM | categories: sculpture, stopmo