Saturday, December 6, 2014

What A Crappy Year

I can't believe it's been almost a year since I posted anything to this blog! WTH! My life just isn't the same as it was when I started this. I hardly ever get into my workshop any more. I miss crafting tomes, and making props and binding books. I miss it, but the rest of the world has me stretched so thin, if I ever do have any free time, I just want to veg-out. Still, it's nice to have a reliable income, even if it's not from the kind of work that I want to be doing.

Well, I haven't been in the workshop much this year, but that doesn't mean I haven't made anything. I still make stuff at work (sometimes). Not the kinds of stuff I normally make, but it is enjoyable. So, since the year is almost over, and I just couldn't stand the thought of ending the year with only one single post from way back in January, I thought I would throw up a couple pictures of some of the things I have made while I was at work.

Yep, that's a stairway. And no, I didn't build it. But I did modify it. Those blue parts were built by a professional metal fabricator. They look nice, and they were well made, but they don't actually satisfy OSHA safety requirements. The hand railing was inadequate. No rail on one side, and no mid-rail. So, I had to add a mid-rail, and build a complete railing for the other side. Those ugly brown rusted metal bits, those are mine. I just did that yesterday. Designed it, cut it, welded it, all by my lonesome. My boss never lets me paint anything. He thinks is't a waste of time, and given the life expectancy of just about everything at this plant, he's probably right.

Made the railing to protect this transformer, the day before yesterday. The blue bits were made in-house a few years ago (one of the last projects we were actually allowed to take the time to paint) and were installed elsewhere in the plant. We re-purposed them and added to them (that would be the brown bits) to make a corral around this transformer. Exciting, yes? But wait, there's more.

OOh, look. More hand-railing! I built this over the summer. Just the handrail around the catwalk at the end just above the grey control box. It has a removable gate to make maintenance on the machine easier. I helped build that end of the catwalk too. It was added on. The platform didn't originally extend around that end. Oh, you see that big honkin' trapezoidal thing on top? That's a hopper that feeds into the top of the Artech shredder (the machine that I run as the main part of my job). I built that too. Well, me and a guy named Carl, who doesn't work there any more. We built that a couple of years ago. That thing is built like a brick shit house. Reinforced walls of five-eighths inch thick plate steel. WAY stronger than necessary for the amount and type of material going into it. But I didn't design it.

No, not a hand railing this time. A safety guard (fence). Certain areas have to be gated off if they have mechanical hazards, like moving belts and rollers that could rip your arms off if you got your hand in them (and yes, it has happened, at this plant, though not while I have been working there). I made about a dozen of these metal barriers to cordon off dangerous areas in the past month or two. Unfortunately, they keep falling over in high winds because the angle iron they bought was way too light for the job. But the boss wanted them, and that's what he bought to build them with, so that's what I used. Iv'e also had to repair most of them at least once, because people keep bumping into them with the heavy equipment, and they are so light duty, they bend all to shit if you hit them with anything. C'est la guerre.

So that's been my life recently- safety guards and hand railings. I've built some conveyor belts done a little carpentry work around the plant too, but I don't have any pictures of those (and frankly they are as boring as these anyway). Not as sexy as movie prop tomes or steampunk diving helmets, but it pays the bills, and at least I'm making something. A maker makes, always.

So, Merry Christmas, and thanks for coming and checking out my blog, even though I haven't posted all year. I do have one personal project that I did this summer, sort of an adjunct to a project I did last summer, but I'll save that for another post. It'll give me something to look forward to for next month.