Friday, May 24, 2013

A Shop Tour, and a Little More

So, I'm graduating from college. This means that I'll be moving on to a different work space, so I wanted to take a moment to give a tour of the space I've been using (to make so many mistakes, and set myself on fire).

This is the metal shop at the University of New Mexico.

At first glance it appears to be pretty well equipped.
There are stations for Oxy-Acetylene welding, and a couple of MIG welders.

There is a collection of bench grinders and a drill press.

A break and a jump shear.

One natural gas forge and (ruined) anvil.

There's even a fairly sizable tool library containing hand tools and power tools.

However, once you start to look more closely, you begin to notice the out-of-order signs.
Years and years of abuse by thousands of inexperienced students has taken an obvious toll on the equipment here. Someone managed to tear the 3/4 inch thick 220v cord right out of the back of this TIG welder.

The pedal on this jump shear has been broken and re-welded by me and others countless times creating a blob of weld almost two inches wide.

This break needs a little dental work.

This sheet metal roller is so stiff it takes someone with more strength than I have to use it.

This thing actually does work, but I don't think anyone around here knows what it is or how to use it.

Similarly, as I understand it, this metal lathe and a bandsaw that I apparently forgot to take a picture of, work perfectly. Because of some bureaucratic dispute with the school's physical plant, and because of a lack of funds, they've been sitting here unwired for the entirety of the three years that I've been using this shop.

It's the same story in the wood shop.





By way of comparison. This is the metal shop at the Santa Fe Community College.

They have eight MIG welders.

Three TIG welders

Portable oxy-acetylene sets.

Private welding booths with fume shields.

A bunch of anvils and forges, both coke and propane (the right kind). The big yellow thing off to the left is a 1 ton hoist.

A hydraulic shear capable of cutting 1/8th inch thick steel.

A motorized sheet metal roller.
I believe this one can roll a five foot wide sheet of 14 gauge, whereas using the hand-crank one at UNM to roll a three inch wide piece of 18 gauge the other day required three people. Also, that green thing behind it and to the right is a seven foot long break.

Let's see, there's also a belt-disk sander, chop saw, bench grinders, kiln, horizontal bandsaw, sandblaster, plasma cutters, paint shield... I could go on.

Keep in mind that this is only the artistic-metalwork shop. They have two other metal shops for vocational welding, and two more shops of the same caliber just for woodworking.

The difference between these two facilities is that one has a huge amount of support from a city and community that believes in the importance of art education,

and one doesn't.

I'll allow you to draw your own conclusions.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Back to Regularly Scheduled Programming (sort of)

And we're back! This month and a half break between postings was due to a number of factors, not the least of which included the end of my college semester, and unexpectedly getting a real job doing some stuff which I imagine will lead to some posts at some point in the future. 

While this also means that I'm much much busier and overworked than before, and likely going to have even less time for DIY-related things, I'll do my best to keep from taking this long to post again.

PS: Keep in mind that the secret to happiness is low expectations.