Saturday, November 15, 2014

A New Project

The other day Chelsea and I were talking about hobbies, projects, and the sort. She said if she had as much going on as I do it would drive her crazy.

That being said, I'm here to tell you about one of my newer projects.

As you may know, this summer I took ownership of a mill and lathe for metal working. I've actually had dibbs on them for more than a year before that, but it took me a while to get them from Utah to Washington. Not only that, but once I got them to Washington, it took me four more months just to unload them from the trailer. The trailer is happy to have them out. They were heavy. Now, all I have to do is get some garbage out of the garage from the kitchen project, and the car will fit again.

So here are the machines:

The Mill:

The Lathe:

They are both made by Jet which is a great brand, but they are kind of old and need a little rehabilitation.

Now doesn't a machine rehab/rebuild sound like a great time? I thought so.

These machines belonged to my grandpa. He mentioned them to me several times before he died. I know that towards the end of his life he wanted to spend time using them but age was catching up with him. I know they were important to him and I know he hoped they would have a good home. Well, they do. Fortunately, I have many friends that I can rely on for help and advice.

That's it for the back story, so unless you're interested in the machines themselves, you'd better stop reading now. I'm going to go into some detail on the condition and plan for each machine.

Table: 9.5" x 23.5"
Quill Travel: 5"
Column Travel: 12"
Spindle: R8
Available tooling: 1/2" shank end mill holder, some hold downs,
Current Condition: Rusty on unpainted surfaces, grimy, some homegrown motor tensioning,
Rehabs: General cleaning, liberal scotch-brite, basic lubrication
Upgrade Wish List: Keyless R8 drill chuck, center drills, basic R8 collet assortment, assorted end mills, 4" swivel milling vice, Android Digital Readout, Stepper Motor X-axis Power Feed, X-Y Feed Ball Screws,

Swing: 12"
Center Distance: 36"
Spindle Bore: 1-3/8"
Type: Gearhead, Benchtop
Available tooling: Quick change tool post, MT3 drill chuck (for tailstock), 3-Jaw chuck, 4-Jaw chuck, steady rest
Current Condition: Rusty on unpainted surfaces, ways are in rough shape, grimy, needs new belts, motor wiring is pretty messed up, bent gear selector pin
Rehabs: General cleaning, liberal scotch-brite, basic lubrication, new belts, new gear selector pin, Quick change tool post cleanup, disassemble & clean apron
Upgrade Wish List: Android Digital Readout

Both machines mount to the tables in the pictures. The lathe table is much larger than the lathe. It was centered on the table, but I want to shift it towards the front to make it a little more ergonomic. I plan to use the open space on the back of the table to mount a bench grinder for making lathe tools (and maybe prepping the crazy hard ball screw).

It's going to be a great project. Thanks Grandpa!

Saturday, November 08, 2014

(Apparently) Award Winning Chili

This week I was surprised to win my office chili cook off. I've climbed the ranks over the last three years winning third, second, and finally first. So many people liked it that it was also People's Choice. I even got two fun trophies. It's especially surprising because I wasn't planning on entering this year. I felt like I had too much going on outside work, but last week the office administrator came and begged me to enter given my past success.

Now I wish I could say that this was an old family recipe and that it's been handed down through the generations. That it has morphed and perfected over the decades and now is finally ready to be a champion chili.

But that's not true.

A few years ago we were planning a church chili cook off with the scout troop. I had to participate so I got on the Google Machine and clicked a few times. Pretty soon I came up with this one:

Emily's Chipotle Chile

Now, I'm always a fan of chipotle flavored foods so I thought it was a good candidate to start with. I made a couple of small modifications, too, so I'll put down my modified recipe. The biggest change comes from the fact that kidney beans suck, while black beans are delicious. Black beans also fit the chipotle theme better in my opinion. (Of course, all this discussion on beans is purely academic anyway, seeing that real chili should be bean free.)

Anyway, here we go.

Tom's Chipotle Chili

  • 1 lb Ground Hot Italian Sausage
  • 2 lbs Ground Beef
  • 1/2 lb Thick Cut Pepper Bacon, Diced
  • 5 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Coriander
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Large Onion, Diced
  • 1 (28 oz) Can Diced Tomatoes (Not Drained)
  • 1 (15 oz) Can Tomato Sauce
  • 1 (14 oz) Can Black Beans
  • 2 Tbsp Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, Minced
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

  1. Cook sausage, bacon, and ground beef in a large pot over medium-high heat until lightly browned and crumbly. 
  2. When the meat has released its grease, and has begun to brown, drain off accumulated grease, and season with chili powder, cumin, and coriander. 
  3. Cook and stir for 1 minute until fragrant.
  4.  Stir in the garlic and onion. Cook until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 4 minutes.
  5. Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, kidney beans, chipotle peppers, salt, and pepper. 
  6. Bring to a simmer and cook on low for 30-60 minutes.
  7. Find some sour cream and shredded cheese QUICK!
  8. At this point, the original recipe says to put it in a slow cooker and cook for 8-10 hours. I think it's good right away. To be fair, though, the chili in the contest had spent about 4 hours slow cooking in the crock pot.

    In my recipe I also upped the chipotle peppers from 2 Tsp to 2 Tbsp. This is not a mistake.

    I hope you like it.