After moving back to Michigan nearly eleven years ago, my father-in-law introduced me to the fun of going to auctions. In particular, we like to go to auctions that have lots of tools and machinery, which, in Southeast Michigan, are plentiful. As a result, we’ve bought our share of what are known as box lots, which are literally boxes full of things that really aren’t worth trying to sell individually–miscellaneous fasteners, hand tools, fishing reel parts, lead weights, and left-threaded bipolar frobulators. My father-in-law is so devoted to auctions, he’ll sometimes bid on these things just to keep the sale moving. Most of the time, the items are fairly mundane, but occasionally we get something that is either beautiful, mysterious, or sometimes both! Rather than keep them secreted away until someone buys them at my estate auction, I’m going to share them (virtually) here in what I hope will be an irregular series. In each installment, I (or others–guest tools are welcome!) will share a couple of tools that are either aesthetically pleasing examples of bygone industrial design or non-obvious in their purpose and/or use. The goals are to share the beauty of these tools, have some fun, and maybe learn something too.
To kick it off, I’m sharing a couple of recent finds. First off: goggles. The goggles shown here are fairly uncomfortable (and they could use a good cleaning), but I love them because they’re just so wonderfully archaic! The aluminum frames and glass lenses suggest a manufacture date in the 1940′s, but that’s just a guess. The levers on the sides appear to allow the lenses to be removed for replacement (or cleaning), though I haven’t been able to get them to move; there is a bit of corrosion on them and I’m afraid I’ll break them if I push them too hard. The leather strap on the bridge allows for a bit of adjustment; the buckle is thoughtfully placed so that it is facing outward, rather than pressing against the bridge of the nose. The padding around the eyes is some kind of plastic or rubber which may have been pliable at some point but is now rather brittle. The cheap staples that hold the pads on is a little incongruous with the overall quality of the goggles, making me wonder if perhaps they’re an after-market mod. Given that the lenses are glass (and seemingly not impact-resistant), I’m guessing that these were probably meant to be used for welding. What do you think?
My other recent find is less showy, but it makes up for it with a bit of mystery. The “5 Minute Vulcanizer” clearly has something to do with rubber, but I don’t know how it might have been used. Perhaps it was used for patching the sidewalls of tires that appeared on cars like the Model T? Or, perhaps its rustiness is fooling me into thinking it’s older than it really is. Please register your educated opinions, observations and wild guesses in the comments! And, if you want a larger picture, click on either photo to see it in its full 4000 x 3000 resolution.
Until next time….
This Friday, May 11th, at 7:30pm, we will be having some guests from The Henry Ford museum over at i3 Detroit to answer questions about exhibiting a project or volunteering at Maker Faire. Please come with ideas and questions you might want to get answered about our favorite event of the year!
This event is open to the public, so we expect plenty of other makers in the area to attend. What a great chance to meet new makers!
Note: Parking in front of the building is likely to fill up, so please consult this map for overflow areas.
Also note: Open Shop Friday will be taking place as usual, with the caveat that loud tools shouldn’t be used until the meeting wraps up, perhaps 9:00-ish.
TechShop Detroit held their Grand Opening Celebration this weekend on May 5–6, 2012.
For their People Mover Design Challenge, they generously offered use of their makerspace, classes, and the help of their very knowledgeable staff to a joint i3 Detroit / District VII team composed of Kristine Diven, Micho Detronik, and Hans Chen.
President Matt Oehrlein was also invited to speak at the panel “Putting the D in DIY”.
A big thank you to TechShop and all its Detroit and out-of-state staff for their amazing hospitality, generosity, and making us such an important part of their opening!
Middle: STN1110 multiprotocol vehicle interface IC.
Bottom: MCP2551 CAN transceiver IC.
None of this stuff is particularly expensive or hard to find, but in i3′s electronics lab, it’s already been picked out, ordered, shipped, and sorted. With this potential within arm’s reach, what will you build?
Tomorrow (Sunday 4/22/2012) from 10am until 5pm I will be at i3Detroit with my Robot Fight Club cohorts making the arena python code better. If you like Python, OpenCV, Microcontrollers, or Fighting Robots bring your laptop and lend a hand! We can use all the help we can get.
phone: (248) 906-8473
For tours, just drop in before a meeting (Tuesdays 5-7pm) or any Friday evening (5-9pm).
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