8 Aug 2006 tbenedict   » (Master)

A big thanks to marev for certifying me as an Apprentice and to steve for certifying me as a Journeyman. I appreciate your trust in me.

With the certification from steve I should probably move my ROV build out of my blog and into a project, but the thing's almost finished. I'm going to go ahead and finish it up in my blog, and put my next robot into a project.

The props came in and were mounted last night. The only real gotcha: the motors have a 2mm shaft and the props have a 1/8" bore. Making Delrin shaft adapters took about five minutes, and the newly-propellered motors run great, even in water.

Rather than focus on the ROV, I'd like to make a plug for having a home shop that includes at least a lathe and a drill press. I could try to make a case of having tools pay for themselves, but I won't. I haven't made money off my tools yet, and I've easily spent more on them than any other single hobby including photography.

The real pay-off for having good tools is the ease with which you can do other things. Making those shaft adapters without a lathe would've been painful, at best. With a lathe it was so easy I didn't even slow down. To date that lathe has made ROV parts, robot parts, rocket parts, optics mounts, toys for the kids in the neighborhood, custom tooling, even a steam engine. The list is too long to write out. In monetary terms I've never made back the $750 I spent on it six years ago. But I have to think it's payed for itself time and time again in what my shop can now do.

If you don't have a lathe and a drill press in your shop, read up on them. Price them. See if maybe they're something to consider. The online communities for home shop machinists are very active and on the whole extremely supportive. Even with zero machining knowlege, I've seen people tool up and get going in ways that are simply amazing.

I wouldn't give them up for the world.

Tom

P.S. And if you thought a lathe was fun, you're going to have a blast with a mill!

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