Sony Digimatic Flip Clock Repair

In my frequent prowls through secondhand shops, I stumbled on this positively gorgeous piece of pre-digital electronics — A Sony Digimatic Clock Radio

Fully repaired, and keeping beautiful time now!

Fully repaired, and keeping beautiful time now!

As I found it, it wasn’t working properly. The clock would run slow, and get stuck for hours at a certain time, before finally flipping around to the next minute. Something was wrong, so I plopped it on my bench and laid it bare to see if I could fix it… Continue reading

New 3D Printer!

This evening, I went to a local 3D printer meet-up out at the Printrbot HQ in Lincoln, CA.  I came home with (most of) an old, first generation Printrbot 3D printer to try and get working.  Unfortunately, I’m missing a few vital parts, so I shan’t be able to get it up and running just yet, but I’ve certainly got enough to get started and do some testing! The photos are a touch blurry — I was using my phone camera, and did a poor job of focusing and holding steady.


Printrbot As Received!

Printrbot As Received!

More photos below! Continue reading

Table Saw Restoration Progress

Hello Folks!
A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a Craftsman 10″ table saw I found locally on the Craigslist. Here’s the photo the ad featured:

The price was good enough that I didn’t really bother with looking too closely at it, other than to make sure it wasn’t a basket case, before loading it up into the truck and dragging it home. This is it’s story. Click the photos for larger versions. Continue reading


With more and more people writing, and distributing their work online, as e-books to be read on a smartphone, or an e-reader, fewer and fewer books are getting printed in dead tree format. The biggest advantage in this growing trend is that self publishing is now accessible to virtually anyone, since digital books don’t have to be printed in runs, and thus there is no large upfront cost to distribute work.  An author only has to format their manuscript to meet the guidelines of their chosen format, and release it for distribution in a digital bookstore, which collects a small fee on every book purchase.  I’m a big supporter of e-books, and hope that the trend does grow, allowing more and more aspiring authors the opportunity to reach an audience.

I’m fairly content to use an e-reader day-to-day, especially for modern fiction, or long series of books.  I love the idea of being able to carry around hundreds of titles on a device smaller and lighter than a copy of Readers’ Digest, but don’t like how I lack a “feel” for my library.  The magic of walking up to a full bookshelf, and looking for something to read is gone, reduced to picking something from a list, and reading it on a screen.  It’s all very efficient, but feels very cold and impersonal, lacking the certain je ne sais quoi that holding a book in your hands, and turning each page has.

I decided, while looking through some Project Gutenberg titles, that I’d try my hand at binding my own books.  Here’s one of them, a copy of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories, first published over a century ago:

This is the fourth book I’ve bound, and I’ve learned an awful lot working on all of them.  More below. Continue reading

New Drill Press

An acquaintance of mine is going through some tough times, and was downsizing some of his stuff, so I wound up buying his drill press from him.  Here’s the first photo I took when I got it into my garage:

It’s a Craftsman 150 Drill press with the Vari-Slo attachment — it’s a continuously variable speed control that utilizes a reeves drive to alter spindle speed.  It’s a neat piece of kit, and is apparently a fairly rare attachment.  The whole thing was made in the early 1960s, by King-Seeley Corporation (a division of General Motors) in Michigan. Continue reading

Miniature Arcade Cabinet

Here’s the finished product! Ready to play a game of Centipede!


A while back, I thought about how neat it would be to make miniaturized arcade cabinets for folks who like the nostalgia of the 80s, but don’t want to have a full sized cabinet in their living room.  I started doodling in my spare time, taught myself Google Sketchup, and came up with a number of designs, before settling on this one.  Here’s a shot of the final sketchup design I came up with, after a whole lot of false starts:

I took the design, and transferred the pieces to Adobe Illustrator to create patterns, then starting with a cardboard model, I worked out some of the assembly kinks, and came up with the finalized plans.  Click through for a whole heck of a lot more photos and detail. Continue reading

Punching Cradle for Handbinding

I bind hardback books by hand, and part of that is punching holes in each signature to sew them together.  I’d been doing this either awkwardly freehand, or using another book as a cradle, and had not been pleased at all with my results, so I decided to build a punching cradle.  Here’s the finished result with a signature placed for punching:


the halves of the cradle do not meet at the bottom, allowing for the punching awl to pass through.  The cradle is built with simple dowel joinery, and serves its purpose very well.

Using the cradle is simple.  Once your signatures have been folded and grouped, they are placed one at a time in the cradle along with a punching template.  An awl is then used to punch through the crease at the locations marked on the template, to allow for sewing.  Click through for an example of a template in action, and more photos of the cradle Continue reading

Cleaning up Engine Turning

My Craftsman table saw has a lovely engine turned aluminium front panel on it, but after 50+ years, it was looking a bit dingy:


I went through the internet, scouring it to find out how to clean the finish, after I discovered that standard cleaning methods just totally wiped out the engine turning.  It’s so shallowly done, that it doesn’t stand up to much of anything.  I finally figured out a way to get it much brighter and cleaner than it was:

Although it’s still a bit “foggy” compared to new, and there’s some oxidization still present, I think I got the bulk of the dirt and the schmutz off, and got a good “three foot” polish on it.  You’ll see some foulups on the top from some ill advised cleaning methods.  Here’s how I did it… Continue reading