Friday, March 26, 2010

New Drill Press

I have been thinking for a few months now that it is about time to invest in a modern drill press. Since we moved to Homer, I've been using an antique that my grandfather left behind. It's the loudest tool in my shop, and the 1/4hp motor has a tough time driving 1 1/2" forstner bits. I won't discuss the aggravation when the gears fall off. It also only has one unknown speed. A couple of recent mistakes caused by the inaccuracy and vibration of the spindle finally pushed me over the edge.

So, after a great deal of research over the last two months, I settled on the Ridgid 15" floor-mounted drill press. However, in classic form, something got me thinking that maybe I should go a little bigger so that I never have to replace this tool. After even more research and several trips to the CU Woodshop, I settled on the Jet JDP-17DX. This (cheesy) video review was what made up my mind. By some unbelievable luck, the week I went to buy it, Jet had a 10% sale. That closed the deal, and I got to buy my first big purchase from CU Woodshop. Thanks guys!

It took just over a week for it to arrive. I picked it up Wednesday and rushed home to put it together (all 200+ pounds of it). Owen and Aidan helped with the lower half. However, after dinner, I needed the "big guns" to put the unbelievably heavy head on the column:

Here I am after we got everything upright:

It is amazing! If I had any idea what a real drill press could do, I would have bought one years ago. With a large forstner bit and medium speed, it mows right through hard and soft wood. With a twist-style bit and fast speed, it went right through a piece of oak. I can't wait to use it for real work.

Here's the finished product. I reworked my fence to go on the built-in T-tracks. At least for now, I don't think I need to make my own larger table.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Tummy Tub

By the time you're on your fourth child, you have to do some things differently. Otherwise, you just get bored caring for four kids! Because we gave away our old baby bath seat/tub, Kimberly decided to try a new type of tub for Atticus: the Tummy Tub.

Here's all 20+ pounds of him, still fitting in the kitchen sink. Of course, if he had it his way, he'd be taking big boy baths with Owen and Aidan.

In the fall, the Tummy Tub will come in handy for thawing the 20+ pound turkey.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Maybe I'm Not Actually a Geek...

I found an interesting Geekdad article today:

Everyone has annoying habits, and a sizable part of every successful marriage is learning to live with those things each other does that annoy you. I think it’s safe to say, too, that geeks have some habits that we think are awesome, but that non-geeks find a little…less, 10 Annoying Habits of a Geeky Spouse (GeekDad Wayback Machine), Mar 2010

As an electrical engineer, life is a constant struggle to keep "normal." One must always be on the look-out for engineerisms and taking the engineer's view in an argument/discussion (same thing for engineers).

So, here's a summary of the 10 Annoying Habits, and my participation therein:
  1. Punning - I just don't do it, nor am I any good at it. I think this is a personality strength.
  2. Using “frak,” or Klingon, or both, instead of regular swear words - For one, I just try not to swear in any form near my kids. Second, when it's time to swear, damn it, it's time to swear. Maybe that's just my rural Midwest upbringing. I won't even dignify the Klingon reference.
  3. Weird or over-the-top ways of celebrating mainstream holidays - Who are these people?
  4. Dissecting movies - I try not to do this too much, but it's sometimes unavoidable, especially when technology-related SNAFUs occur with too much frequency.
  5. Wearing obscurely geeky T-shirts to “normal” places - Because my wife buys all of my clothes, this is theoretically impossible. I've mostly even weened myself from corporate polo shirts, t-shirts, and jackets.
  6. Requiring extra room in the house for geeky things- I guess it's only fair to mention that I have two separate workshops, one of which is a separate building. But, I like to do manly projects and buy big, cast iron tools. Did I mention that I just ordered a new drill press?
  7. Geeky toys and decorations can be hard to explain to kids - No need to collect these for myself, I just bum off my kids' geeky/fun toys.
  8. Looking up information while a discussion/argument is still in progress - What can I say? I don't own a laptop or a smart phone.
  9. Needing to watch certain TV shows ASAP to avoid spoilers - Alright, I'm definitely guilty of this. Oddly enough for me, this only applies to sporting events - not geeky. Specifically, I try to avoid news coverage of cycling and the Olympics...they're sporting events, trust me...until after I've watched the TV coverage.
  10. Geeky projects that take over the house and whole weekends - Well, I don't know about the geekiness, but our house is constantly one giant project that consumes itself and most weekends.