Tuesday, December 06, 2022


      Yesterday, the first day of what should have been an "Oops, there's time left this year" week off, I worked.  We had three long-stalled projects aloft and that was the day a crew was available. 

      At the end of the day, only one was completed.  Another might be, but changes elsewhere in the Big Corporate Behemoth for which I work make it impossible to check right now -- and that was a "drop-in" replacement that required drill-press work and rewiring.  And the third job, once we'd had the device hauled down from a truly dizzying height, turned into a "box it up and send it back to the manufacturer" repair.

      Meanwhile, correcting another ongoing problem has turned into a year-plus slog for parts, thanks to pandemic-related materials problems.  And the long-term "temporary" fix for it has developed problems of its own, which result in my phone being sent alarms every few hours around the clock.  The base problem has been known and discussed since 2009 -- known, discussed and left to fester, while I improvised ways to keep it from getting worse; but those ways rely on other systems working, systems which have begun to fail.

      I'm singularly unimpressed.  There's only so many patches on patches on patches I can keep going; I've documented it and if all fails, well, then it does, and I'll help 'em recover from it.  But they can yell at themselves over it, not me; I have done my part.

      (In related news, it has taken the "full speed, push hard" people at work twenty-seven years to break or ruin every drill in a 1/16" to 3/8" by 32nds index.  I suppose I should consider that a victory; at the main location downtown, the same job takes them about six months.  Unless you're drilling a lot of steel and iron or abrasive materials, twist drills should have a very long life.  Copper, brass and aluminum don't take much to help the drill work, a little chalk or high-tech Boelube and care with feeds and speeds, but if you won't do that, you'll kill 'em quick.  Of course, these are the guys, a subset of my co-workers, who never heard of a "file card" brush to clean clogged files, or rubbing a file with chalk to help cutting and keep it from filling up.  The rest of us try to keep them away from the tap and die sets and the better screwdrivers -- which they use for pry bars, of which we have a nice assortment -- and wrenches. Pliers, vise-grips and the wrong hammer for the task at hand are their natural tools.)


Prairiedruid said...

Thanks for the tip about using chalk on files. I'm going to give it a try the next time I'm sharpening my chainsaw.

grich said...

Many of the tools at our version of the North Campus date to its 1972 construction, and are in decent shape. I felt awful when I lost a wrench from the 50 year old set of Craftsman Ignition wrenches (whatever size does SMA connectors).

The set of tools and Fluke 77 I was given for my downtown workbench 29 years ago are still in good shape. The good wrenches are kept in a locked cabinet. Those that aren't are beaten or AWOL.

Anonymous said...

Great tip on the files. I wasn't aware of that trick. I can totally sympathize with tool usage as I once caught my ex-wife using one of my good wood chisels as a screwdriver and my now wife tends to use whatever is at hand for whatever task she wants to accomplish. I often cringe when I catch her at it

Rick T said...

And now the guys know how she feels when you use her Fabric Scissors for cutting paper....:-)

KC9AIC said...

Grich, the standard size hex for an SMA connector is 5/16” IIRC. You can also use an 8 mm wrench if you have one, since 5/16” is very close, at 7.94 mm.

I’ve also found a 180 mm Knipex pliers wrench to be a handy tool for everything from stubborn SMAs to 7-16 DIN connectors, plus the hardware on EIA flanges. It’s also proven very helpful up on a tower, when I realized that the antenna I was attaching used heavy hex nuts (7/8” instead of 3/4”), I didn’t have the right size wrench in my tool bucket.