Ramblin' Dan's Workshop

The Sanctum of Fine Art and Invention

Home Workshop Enjoyment

I like doing many things that require manual and mental involvement and there are two major areas I really enjoy. I like electronics and making things involving electronics. That developed into my amateur radio and computer activities. The other is designing and building anything from scratch. The result is my home workshop with woodworking and machine shop activities.

Putting the both together, my involvement with scratch building my CNC controllers and machines is understandable. Sometimes I don’t go purely scratch as I am not above using kits of parts if they meet my needs. Kits are simply a short cut to material gathering and if include well documented instructions, can also be a great learning experience. I recommend kits.

There is a term model builders call “kit-bashing” and that just means modifying kit construction by substituting or changing parts or using kit materials to do something else. I do that most of the time. A kit is just a package full of resource material.

I have made parts for inclusion into kits for building real human carrying aircraft. For many years complete house building kits were sold through catalogs like Sears. Kits are produced for all kinds of construction projects, simple to complex and are a sure way to get all the right parts in the correct quanity and usually quality.

So kits are not cheating and only a die-hard purest scratch builder would argue otherwise. I know those purest folks are out there and I can say I feel their passion, but I also have some practical standards that tell me to just go with what works for me.

My RoboBoat project is using a model boat kit for construction of the test vehicle. That kit is a box of flat wood pieces and a set of drawing of the finished design. It is truly a major construction project with lots of personal decisions required on how I am building the boat and what all the other materials (other than the wood) that I need to use. I am loving every minute even though the construction pace has been very slow so far.

I have lots of things left to explore, learn and do. I have this wonderful ability and freedom to make things and do things just because I want to. The experience to overcome the challenge to be creative with my own abilities, hands and tools is my reason for existence. I am blessed with a spouse that understands me. She has her own desire to do the same with her talents. Our projects are different but our enjoyment goals are the same.

My lifelong income producing career has a lot of the same dynamics of construction enjoyment. The projects have been much larger than what I now do in a home workshop, but the reward of accomplishment has been the same thrill.

At age 65 I have put some distance between myself and most of the aggressive hands on work I used to do on the job. Today it is more management than wielding the tools. The home workshop provides the manual hands on creativity that I still have to have. I planned it that way. Fifteen years ago I started building the current workshop I knew I would enjoy at this point in my life.

Start now my friend. Life is short.

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