The Big Think

May 9, 2015

Ring 1, Ring 3!

Filed under: The R2 Project — jasony @ 8:55 pm

Today I got a huge chunk of the frame done. I milled and tapped holes in the “A” and “C” rings (JAG01 and JAG03). It took about six hours to index everything and slowly tap about 30 holes. I have to admit, the holes are much easier to tap than I’d thought and I haven’t broken a tap yet (knock on wood). Erin showed up at TechShop with dinner and I let her set up and tap a couple of #4-40 holes herself. She did a great job and didn’t seem that phased by it.

I also met a really nice guy working on the other mill by the name of Josh. He took quite a bit of time to watch my milling technique and give me some very much needed pointers. He even got me out a jam when I couldn’t figure out how to proceed.

I really feel like my machining skills are improving by leaps and bounds. It might have to do with the fact that I spend 14 hours in the shop today, 12 yesterday, 10 the day before, and 14 the day before that. 50 hours in four days! Malcolm Gladwell would be proud. I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately so I’ve been getting up really early and driving to TechShop to work. I never thought I’d say this but I’m glad they’re open 24 hours.

In related news: I think I need some new shoes, or at least new insoles. 🙂

I went through the blueprint book tonight and “signed off” about a dozen pages. Those parts are done! Not only did that feel absolutely great, but just looking at the parts I’ve completed gave me a big confidence boost that I can actually tackle some of the upcoming parts. The more experience and confidence I gain in the shop, the better I am able to look at a part and “see” in my mind how to go about machining it. I’m asking a boatload of questions of the other people at TechShop and everyone seems pretty excited about the project. The employees give regular tours every hour or so to prospective members and whenever they come through the machine shop they always say “And this is Jason. He’s building an R2D2”. No matter the age of the people on the tour, everybody breaks into a smile and takes a minute to watch me tap a hole, cut a part, or page through the blueprints. This project really brings people together.

Sorry for the lack of pictures in these posts. I’ll try to do better. One of the reasons is that there are a ton of tiny aluminum shards flying everywhere in the machine shop and it’s very easy to get a little bit of aluminum on the iPhone screen. I made a tiny scratch on the screen tonight trying to clean it off. So I keep the phone hidden away and use my new bluetooth ear protectors (these babies) to listen to podcasts and talk on the phone. That way the phone (and its camera) stays hidden away in my toolbox.

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