Tag Archives: workshop

victory is mine!

210421 repaired magnifying loupe
210421 repaired magnifying loupe
210421 repaired magnifying loupe
210421 repaired magnifying loupe
210421 repaired magnifying loupe
210421 repaired magnifying loupe

i got the nuts that fit the screws, i took the loupe part off the old, broken frames, and mounted it on the new, unbroken frames, with entirely new screws and nuts, and washers from the repair kit the denmat/perioptix people sent me. the new screws are TINY alan-key drive… mcmaster-carr doesn’t have philips-head screws that are 2-64… 😒 i don’t actually have an alan-key small enough to tighten them, but i’m pretty sure i got it tight enough with a wrench on the nut side. 🔧

ETA: it turns out i do have an alan-key that is small enough, and i did get it tight enough with a wrench… HOWEVER in my final look-over before i put it back in the box, i noticed something i hadn’t before, which is that the hinge is completely broken, and, while the repair kit they sent me has a replacement hinge, it’s actually the part of the hinge that is a molded part of the magnifier, itself, which means that i cannot fix it, because it is an integral part of the actual optical piece… replacement parts for which, i already know they no longer make. 😒

210421 eyebrow hole
210421 eyebrow hole

at this point, it’s still in one piece, and functional, so long as you don’t move the hinge around too much, but the hinge has already failed and cannot be repaired. it’s just a matter of time before the whole thing falls apart. 🤬

i also burned a hole in my eyebrow, when i was grinding down the screw so that it wouldn’t poke the wearer in the eye, and i put the frames on to test them too quickly after grinding… 😉

the irritating story of the non-standard screw sizes… 😒

workshop, workshop, workshop, workshop, workshop, workshop…

there are quite a few nit-picky details i have left out, and some people who helped a great deal, who i haven’t identified, in the attempt to make this less overwhelmingly verbose. sorry.

a few weeks ago, moe asked me if i could do some improvised repair work on a magnifying loupe belonging to her clinic.

what she brought me was a perioptix loupe, which was originally mounted on a pair of safety glasses, the frames of which had broken… and then been not quite repaired (a number of times, apparently) with the surgical equivalent of duct tape.

seriously… why smart people with degrees, DOCTORS, think sticky cloth tape is an appropriate medium to affect the permanent repair of a broken surgical instrument, is WAY above my pay grade… 😕

she also brought me a set of oakley “safety” glasses (i’m not sure if they are actually SAFETY glasses, because you can remove the lenses, and replace them with shaded lenses, which were included), the frames for which would be an almost perfect replacement for the broken perioptix frames… except that the frames are a “skosh” thicker, and thus, the screws that hold the loupe on to the original frames are not quite long enough to fit through the test hole that i drilled in the oakley frames, when i accepted the project.

thus commenced the arduous and frustrating task of finding screws that would fit.

first thing i did was measure the screws. what i came up with is that the screws are NOMINALLY 2-64 threads — i say “NOMINALLY” because they’re REALLY small (although not as small as most pivot screws for most musical instruments), and when threads are that small, unless the manufacturing is INCREDIBLY precise, there are going to be not-quite significant, but noticible differences between what the “standard” is, and what appears “in practice”.

then, i started casting around for somebody who had the correct size screws, reasoning that i’ve already got washers and nuts for the screws, so, if i can find someone who has 2-64 thread screws that are A LITTLE longer, i can save having to buy nuts for them. i figured that places that sell optical equipment would be a good place to start, but they all said that 2-64 is “a lot bigger” than they use currently, and, also, if it’s optical, they measure things using metric, rather than imperial measurements.

after checking with a few optical places, i confirmed that the screws were 1) probably metric, and 2) WAY bigger than the screws that are used in MODERN optical devices…

the magnifying loupe is around 7 years old, and they have already stopped making replacement parts for it. 😒

so, i figured that it would probably just be easier to make the screws myself… because that’s a skill that i have…

however, musical instruments usually do things with imperial measurements (at least, here in the land of imperial meaurements), and i trained as a musical instrument repair technician: i don’t even HAVE a metric thread-pitch guage…

so i contacted a friend (the guy who rebuilt my trombone slide a couple of years ago), and asked him if he had a metric thread-pitch guage, which he did. i brought one of the screws to him, and he told me, with confidence, that it was a 2.4-52 metric thread.

as i said previously, unless the manufacturing is REALLY precise, there can be enough “slop” in the threads that it may actually fit in more than one die, so i went out to find a 2.4-52 metric die, so that i could make my own screws.

home depot and lowe’s, as expected, didn’t have it, and i drew blank expressions from the employees who i asked if they knew where i might get something that small. 🤷

mcclendon’s was a little better: they, too, didn’t have anything that smalll, but they suggested that i go to swift tools, in auburn, which “caters to machinists”. i went down there… and their showroom is closed, due to COVID. 😒 so i CALLED them (from the parking lot in front of their location), and said that i was looking for a 2.4-52 metric die…

and they didn’t know what i was talking about. 😒

they said that there AREN’T ANY standard metric dies that are 2.4-anything. if i wanted a 2.0 die, they had them, and if i wanted a 2.5 die, they had them, but they had never heard of a 2.4 die, and, while they could have one specially made, it would be expensive, and i would have to be sure that it was what i wanted before they could even start on that project, because it would be expensive, and if it wasn’t what i wanted, i would have to pay for it anyway…

reaching the end of my rope, i contacted another friend who has the ability to get just about anything, and, with A LOT of back-and-forth, arm waving, and measuring things with my micrometer-caliper (which measures down to .00001 inch), we determined that it’s NOT a metric screw, that the screw’s outside diameter is EXACTLY the standard for an IMPERIAL 2-64 screw (down to five decimal places) and that all of these people who had been telling me that it was metric were, probably, wrong.

he, then, directed me to the McMaster-Carr web site, where he gets a lot his weird shit, and, sure enough, they actually have exactly the screw i needed… so i ordered a package of five, and mcmaster said that it would be delivered on monday.

by the end of tuesday, i was wondering where my screws were. the UPS web site, apparently, doesn’t know where it is… according to the UPS site, the package left pacific (which is just down the road from us) last wednesday morning, and then the package vanished… the web site now says that it’s scheduled to arrive on friday 4/23, but it still has the package leaving pacific, on a UPS delivery truck, LAST wednesday 4/14, and it hasn’t been seen since, so i don’t hold out much hope. calling UPS is a lost cause: their automated “customer service” robot assured me that a real person can’t help me, if the package didn’t arrive, to contact the sender, and unceremoniously hung up on me without even giving me a chance to speak to a real person.

so, i contacted the sender, who, graciously, sent out another package of five miniature screws, this time by fedex, which arrived this morning. 👍


these screws are, guaranteed, 2-64 screws. the nuts that i have, which are the original, perioptix nuts, SHOULD fit…

but they don’t. 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬

perioptix, apparently, had PROPRIETARY screws and nuts made to mount their magnifying loupe, just to make things EXTRA DIFFICULT for anyone (like me) who has the audacity to repair one of their products, rather than just buying a new one. 🤬

fortunately, McMaster-Carr doesn’t JUST have screws… and, for some unknown reason, the screws were 5 for $10, but nuts that will fit the screws are 100 for $2.

they’ll deliver them (by fedex) on wednesday. 😒

workshop workshop workshop

the title is an imitation of stanley, who enjoys saying “workshop” with no context.

this, however, has context, so it’s not as amusing.

i fixed an alto saxophone for a colleague this afternoon. i started on it on monday, prepared the neck for a new mouthpiece cork, and then discovered that 3 of the 4 pads it needed were ones that i didn’t have… 😒

so i ordered pads, which arrived today.

three of the four pads were also on the left-hand side keys. the high F key is normally activated by the palm of the left hand, but it has a rocker underneath it, which is activated by the high F auxiliary lever, which is part of the left-hand stack, and activated by the left index finger… and the high F rocker was bent WAY out of whack, so that you couldn’t actually activate the high F key with the high F auxiliary lever.

so, as well as having to replace the pad on the high F key, i had to completely remove the left-hand stack, and the side E key, which is activated by the palm of the left hand, in order to adjust the high F rocker.

that was easy enough, but, because of the fact that i don’t actually work on as many saxophones as i used to, i had to assemble, and disassemble the left-hand stack no less than three times, in order to get the jigsaw-puzzle of keys to get to fit together in the right way…


i had to get the B♭ bridge under the F# bridge, which is part of the right-hand stack, and i had to get the C key, which has an actuator that goes behind and above the other keys of the left-hand stack, installed correctly, and i had to get the side E key under the top of the left-hand stack, but above everything else, which meant that i had to carefully install the side E key with the left-hand stack in place — minus the top two keys — but not held in place by the long steel that goes through the hinge-tubes of all the keys.

i ended up not having a problem, once i figured out how to proceed, but it was a hassle, putting it most of the way together, and then remembering that something had to go underneath the keys that i had just installed, and having to take all the keys off again to fix the problem.

it was definitely worth the $100 that i’m going to charge him.

maque asked me to build a bullroarer

maque asked me to build a bullroarer. i may have gone a little bit overboard…

i built a 30″ bullroarer. it’s big enough that i had to order special rubber bands to finish it. then, when i realised that i had to wait for the rubber bands to be delivered, i went crazy and spent two days going various places searching for a suitable alternative.

180506 30 inch bullroarer
180506 30 inch bullroarer

it’s a lot quieter than i expected. i’m going to have to build a smaller one, like this:

to see if smaller helps it be noisier.


yeah, i’m still here…

i was cleaning up in the workshop today and i found the keys to the thule box, which i had to have new ones made several months ago when i wanted to use the thule box for something and couldn’t find the keys. they were sitting on the surface of my secondary workbench, under a massive pile of other projects (at least 5, going back to last summer) which either got abandoned, or the detritus from finishing never got cleaned up. i didn’t finish cleaning up, but i made a significant start. maybe tomorrow.

i’ve got my DX7 on my desk, because i want to work with reason to find some synth voices that i don’t have to tweak, so that the next time i go to bellingham i’ll have something ready to play live. about half of the time that i spent playing music last week was actually tweaking the voices to get something that didn’t sound like it was part of a pop song. i would use the DX7 voices except for the fact that the internal battery is dead, and i have to take the synth completely apart to replace it. fortunately the battery is really common (i have a couple of them that are still in their blister pack), but replacing it is something that i think i want to have help with, much in the same way that i needed help replacing the brake pads in my old car… not that i don’t know how to do it, but someone who knows how to do it to make sure that i don’t do things incorrectly, and to help if something breaks.

this is after taking my piano to bellingham, in the hopes of being able to use that, but one of the first things that was done to it after i left was that one of the tines was broken (number 50) and, until a replacement is found, the piano is currently in storage in the attic, which is doubtless a lot safer place for it than where it was, under the window in my living room.

but, as much as i would like to, the probability that i will be going to bellingham in the next few weeks is low, because of the looming moisture festival and its surrounding chaos.

the moisture festival is approaching at an appalling rate, and i am, once again, playing in three out of the four bands at the palladium: The Fighting Instruments of Karma, Snake Suspenderz and The Fremont Philharmonic. i have rehearsed and/or played with snake suspenderz (or significant portions thereof) and the fremont phil enough recently to know that we’re probably going to do okay, but we could use more rehearsal, and i haven’t played with the FIOK enough to be absolutely certain that we need more rehearsal, but probably aren’t going to get it. i’m still ambivalent about my participation in the moisture festival, but my vocal ranting has been dissipated somewhat by the inclusion of snake suspenderz in the lineup of show bands… but i didn’t donate $100 last year to get a star on the wall, like i did two years ago, and, unless the “stipend” is well above where it was last year, it’s not likely that i’m going to donate this year either.

today has been a banner day for people or robots trying to crack my shit… once again, i will advise you that if you try to login using anything other than the correct username and password, you get two attempts and then you are IP blocked for two weeks. after that, you get two more attempts and then you are blocked for a month. here’s a final hint: the username is NOT admin. 😛