Monday, September 28, 2009

Population: 60 Million

Went on a weekend trip to Italy 2 weekends ago. It was an extra long weekend for us so it allowed us a little more time to see most of the standard sights. We rented a car and left Friday at about 9 AM.

The first place we got to was Pisa to see the leaning tower. And if you're wondering if I took a picture pretending to keep the tower from falling you are going to be disappointed. Thinking about it now, I should've got a picture of other people taking these pictures... shit.

Anyways, after seeing the tower and having a bite to eat we left for Florence. We didn't have a place to stay yet so that ended up consuming a little time when we got there. But after we got that settled we found an obvious tourist spot to take some nice pics. Florence was pretty nice and it was here I discovered my new love for gelato. That stuff is magnificent...

The next day we drove to Rome. After arriving and asking someone for a little direction, we left our car at an train station and headed into the center. We walked around for a solid 5-6 hours and after that lost it's enjoyability we just had a few drinks at a nice bar.

This is actually a picture I took, not a drawing or art project. (I'm really enjoying learning about editing photos!)

Then on Sunday we drove to Venice. Didn't realize it was an island! But it is a really nice city and was nice to see a city with no cars. But we really need to keep the kids off the canals.

It was quite a whirlwind trip seeing this much in 3.5 days but it was well worth it. I will hopefully be making a trip back for some more gelato and delicious pasta. If you would like to see the rest of the photos I took on the trip (the ones worth keeping) here is a link:

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Just a quick video from today. This is basically what I do all day right now... and yeah that is the sound of the motor. Imagine 4 of those going at once and that's what it's like. That's why I like to listen to tunes. It also helps me focus. I was just turning a cylinder at 3.00 mm for a tool. I have to do only half at a time since the tool rest isn't wide enough to cover the 20.00 mm long I wanted. It's sort of dumb but you get used to it I guess.

If you can't see the video from your RSS reader go to the actual website...

And here are a few more photo's from the recent projects.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The milk's gone bad

Went on a hike this Sunday which showed me a few things about the strange Swiss culture. Hiking is a pretty big deal over here and even though it's not my most favorite activities, it's the best way to see the sweet views. Anyways this hike was about 4.5 hours and about 350m up the mountain. Now there are a plethora of hiking trails and most are indicated with these little yellow signs. At first these would appear to be helpful, but not being from around here I didn't know the little things that makes this system work. First of all there are many trails that to a Canadian non-hiker are not technically trails. Walking through a random field on the side of a mountain just doesn't seem right to me. Second, since there is not always a trail you will be dodging the many piles of cow shit on the steep slopes. It just didn't feel quite right to me. But allegedly the GPS we had indicated us to be on a trail (even though it was in the middle of a field). The third thing is that all areas of the mountain (and I mean ALL) are surrounded by electric fences. It's just one little wire or braided rope. There were usually little gates but sometimes the path (or lack there-of) would make it so you had to crawl under or over said fence. This seems ridiculous to me. Why would a mapped out hiking trail lead you to have to navigate electric fences? I guess I will just have to get used to this system.

This is an example of some of the signs. This tree is growing through the fence ha.

As for the cows, I found 99% of them to have full out cowbells. You can tell exactly where they are even though they are pretty much everywhere. It's pretty crazy to see these cows just chillin' out on the side of some pretty steep slopes. I bet the Swiss cows would easily win a balance battle against the sad flatland Saskatchewan cows.


As for the rest of the trip it was not very nice weather until the end of the day so most pictures are kinda sad. But we had a fondue when we got up to Moleson Village. It was a little heavy for my taste but not bad. I am realizing I don't have the palette needed for all these cheeses here.

The end of the day got sunny which was nice because we went to this castle. It's called the Chateau de Gruyeres. We got there to late to go inside but it was a cool little place outside of it. Also found it weird that this was the place I saw my first Harley Davidson in Switzerland.

I'm sure I will end up on many more hiking trips in the future and maybe will come back with some much better pictures.

Wait, wait

This is what I've been doing, this is what I've been doing...

I've basically been sitting in front of the lathe for the last 2 weeks straight and have gotten pretty decent at it. Just making some more tools.

This first one is a 3 toothed cutter. I have to finish the knurling part of it and also harden the steel. It is quite difficult to get those 3 little faces flat and even and to the right angles. Each end takes me a few days to complete. And of course there are tolerances to be aware of. All my measurements are within 2-3 hundredths of a millimeter.

This next one is a chamfering tool. I've done part of it but not enough worth taking pictures of.

This piece is a center punch. It's used to make a center point as a guide for when I drill into a piece.

This last one is a polishing tool. It's about 180mm x 6mm x 2mm and is tapered to 0.5mm at the point. Took me about 3 hours and one painful cut on the finger.

I'll post more pictures as I complete more on these projects...

Friday, September 4, 2009

New girlfriend

Last week I moved on to the turning part of the course. I was told when I started that I was to receive a new girlfriend. Now I am a little unimpressed with this since I wasn't ready to be dating and well, it's a mechanical lathe. I have to clean it and make sure it doesn't rust, and generally take care of it. Unfortunately it returns none of the favors, unless you count the work I can achieve using it. But I tell you it's just not the same...

So I decided to take a few pictures with my new gal, who shall remain unnamed at this point. Here is the first of I'm sure many pictures behind this "beauty":

The majority of this week consisted of using hand gravers to make perfect cylinders with the lathe. I am now capable of turning perfect cylinders accurate to within 1/100th of a millimeter. I've now moved on to making 4 more tools for watchmaking. They all are made of steel and I will have some pictures when I finish them. But for now, here's a picture of the start of a cylinder I was doing for practice:

Anyways, I will be doing this for more than a few weeks I'm sure so don't expect too many new and interesting things on the watchmaking front.

Random thought #2

- I don't understand the purpose of the line, "I don't need to drink to have fun." Great, no one does. But why start a fire with flint and sticks when they've invented the lighter?