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Thread: What are the most important attributes for a tool builder?

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    What are the most important attributes for a tool builder?

    It's always seemed to me that our hobby (or, more accurately, our wide range of similar hobbies) is very self-selecting for the same sorts of people. In other words, we've all got some basic personality traits in common. Beyond those traits which drew us to the DIY universe…

    What are the most important attributes for a tool builder to possess?

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    I don't know about others, but I was attracted to his site immediately because I'm an old Scrooge... Oh and I love to make things with my hands and the feeling I get when I use what I have made afterward.

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    Thanks for starting a thread like this Kbalch, its something I've been thinking about a lot lately. I think Tim hits two of the high points of the spectrum, but think the core of it IMHO is about doing the Best that we can with what we have, better. It involves ingenuity (seeing the simple elegant solution to a problem and executing it), being able to research and learn, a deft hand to make something from scratch and/or scrap, tenacity to see it through to a place that satisfies the purpose and some mindset of craftsmanship, And a mind that visualizes and [email protected]@'s the large and small of it.

    In a nutshell it's creativity, I think. The powerful thing that this group has though, is Craftsmanship and a want/hunger to learn new things and ways of doing them. It's a tough definition because of the varying degrees of skill/mind sets, but the sharing (what you provide space for) is what brings the broad spectrum to the next levels.

    Of course there is some head scratching and head banging in there too. ~¿@

    ~PJ's Ponderings & Pontifications....

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    Since I was young, I have always had interest in mechanical things. Nothing better than getting dirty taking something down, repairing it, and off to the next project. I found myself very comfortable working as a machinist apprentice, back in the days before CNC machines. Making tools that made projects easier was very interesting to me. I probably would have gotten much better at it, but during the early 80's jobs for machinists in MA kind of dried up, so I invested a decade in the Marine Corps, where my scrounging and building kept many of our vehicles running. Now, years later, I find myself still making tools, and finding new ways getting myself in trouble building things.

    Ron
    ...Semper Fidelis...

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    In my case, I live in a small city in Patagonia, in southern Argentina. In my childhood, toys where expensive or just inexistent, like Lego. So the solution was make my own toys with scrap wood and cardboard. Now, as an adult, the same happens with tools. When I haven't a certain tool or I can't afford it, I research and build my own version of the tool. Sometimes I expend more time building the tool than using it, but the process is often more rewarding. And recently I discover that building tools for my brothers is even more rewarding than building for myself.

    Daniel

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    Well, I was blessed with a Lego when I was a kid, so I guess my creativity and tinkering habits started from there. I also remember my dad giving me a Ferrari windup car that had working suspension, steering and a differential. Guess that's what got me started in cars.

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    It's a tough one to put into a few words, but I'll try: Ingenuity, creativity, craftsmanship, independence, and a passion for the elegant solution.

    Sounds as though many of us found the spark as children. I wonder if we were inspired by people and events in our early lives or if there was something more innate that merely found encouragement and room to grow. The old nature vs. nurture philosophical digression…

    I had all the usual building toys (Legos, Lincoln Logs, TinkerToys, Erector Set, etc.) and was a dedicated model builder (cars, planes, and rockets) throughout my childhood. From the time I was five or six, when a new item came into the house requiring assembly (BBQ, lawnmower, bookshelf, whatever…), I was the one who figured it out and put it together. My father, sadly, was not up to it, so I have no idea where I got the inclination/ability.

    I've always loved mechanical things, almost without exception. All vehicles, engines, watches, pens, guns, et al. I like seeing how things are made and applying different learned techniques to future projects of my own. As others have said, there's also a tremendous satisfaction found in using something I've built myself.

    Perhaps ironically, while I believe in doing things "right" and not rushing, I can be really impatient and am sometimes frustrated when a project is proceeding slowly. I suppose that, as much as I enjoy the building process, it's all about the end result for me. I build stuff I want and the ends are the object of the exercise, not the means.

    I've been online a long time (30+ years - since before there was a "web"; only a number of dial-up BBSs and academic nets) and am thrilled with how easy it's become to share information amongst those with similar interests, whatever they may be. Thanks for being here, guys, and for contributing so much to our community.

    Ken

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    Quote Originally Posted by DIYer View Post
    Well, I was blessed with a Lego when I was a kid, so I guess my creativity and tinkering habits started from there. I also remember my dad giving me a Ferrari windup car that had working suspension, steering and a differential. Guess that's what got me started in cars.
    One of my brothers got the same Lego kit as a teenager and now he is the mechanic of the family. Coincidence?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Danbatio View Post
    One of my brothers got the same Lego kit as a teenager and now he is the mechanic of the family. Coincidence?
    Your brothers experience tends to fall in Ken's nurture category but reminded me of a guy I once had the great pleasure of working with way back when I was turning a wrench. He was from Chile and had worked in the copper mines from a teenager up to his late 20's and had worked his way up to "head mechanic" for all the equipment with no formal training. He told me a story of a major machine that went down (blew a piston) and was going to take 3 months to get a replacement, so he built a forge (no experience), cast a piston (no experience) and machined it to work (OJT)...in about 10 days. I never did ask him if he had a lego set as a kid, doubt it, but that Moxy, drive to learn, and a get it done best as he could attitude, made him one of the finest wrenches I've ever known. You may be of the Nature category based on your profile biography description (Nice!), so - same family nature/nurture adds to the conundrum of Nature or Nurture.

    I may be of the Nurture ilk from my first erector set at ~6 and building the "Ferris Wheel" with my Dad, Ken. We always had a shop and did U-control model airplanes and hand launch gliders, cars, bikes, gunsmith work, and fixed everything in the neighborhood up through my teens, then to rockets and cars and wood work with my son now, so there is something to the Nurture I believe, and grateful that my parents worked hard to provide that foundation.

    The longer I've been around though, the more I realize that people that excel or express their talent have a spark from within that brings forward transformation at what ever they do. Maybe like the AllSpark or the Midi-chlorians , it allow us to be the conduit and let others grow from the vision, creativity, and passion, brought forward. The Japanese sword makers talk of the soul of the blade, and IMHO think that comes from the maker, then the users, whether it's swords, fine clocks, or a quick tool to make a tool, we pass on our Jujube's to every thing and when done well or innovatively others recognize the spark and are attracted, awed or excited by it. Think maybe "Transformative" needs to be added to the list?

    Me too Ken, from the end of CPM, Kaypro's, Big O' Floppies, on to XT's, Gopher, BBS and SIG's and here we are still. Thanks for continuing the tradition and providing a great space for all to learn and share...and a Great Topic!

    ~PJ

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    Come to think of it, a couple of guys I know who had Legos as kids became engineers. I've actually started my grandson on it, and it gratifies me to see him spending lots of time with his bricks instead of on the iPad.

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