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Saturday, May 2, 2009

TechShop, Welding class and an incredible LED flashlight!

While there is very little that ties these three goodies together they all represent my near obsession with tools and a love of just really great technical stuff, genre ambiguous…

First, My two youngest boys (Emery 27 and Randy 25) and I signed up for a 12 week, 30 hour general welding course at Durham Technical College. We all have wanted/needed some skills in this area and though I have both Rod and Oxy-Acetylene welding equipment, I have used it so rarely in the past 30 years that I feel like a kid playing with matches in a fireworks factory every time I even think about getting it our for some little project or other…. so I usually don’t.

This class (basically Free for Sr. Citizens) will get me back into a comfort zone with the equipment.  I have a lot of little “quickie” projects that I would like to do to enhance our RV setup, storage capabilities and such and have just kept putting them off.

For the younger set the tuition for this continuing education class is only $85 and covers most of the common types of welding equipment with about 30% of the time in the classroom and the rest in the workshops.

I am really looking forward to this because I have long  been considering having a small wire feed MIG welder along on our travels… just in case.  I still have the GVWR for it but maybe renting/borrowing one if and when I need it on the road would make more sense, I know. If I feel comfortable with the skills, I will not be so hesitant to rent something unfamiliar to use.

Now, this is a good segway into the TechShop in Durham.  On the way back from signing up for the welding class, Randy had seen some info on the TechShop and wanted to just check it out so we did.

Hey, this place is amazing!  They took a building that had been offices all on 1 floor, and basically, turned most of the office spaces into Project rooms that can be rented to people that want to work on “projects” and need a place to get their stuff together and have virtually all of the tools available to them to use.

To assist in creating designs they have the SolidWorks 3D CAD package on all of their Computers (and they have a lot of them). Members can come in anytime to work with any tools they need and a lot of supplies that can be purchased at below retail. That can save a lot whether one is woodworking, metalworking, doing textiles, plastics, automotive or even Cooking.

Heck, they even have a 3D printer that will “print” a 3D drawing in solid works into a scaled plastic 3D working model of the drawing.  Pretty cool stuff to see it print out a working crescent wrench (of course, being made of plastic makes it not particularly useful for anything other than a lot of ooooing and aaaahhhhhing!

Now, for something I hope you will really like….   How about a 2 D-Cell LED Flashlight that throws a 200 lumen white beam for $19? huskyledlite Well, Husky makes the Tactical 4 Watt LED flashlight that Home Depot normally sells for about $25 ( Their (Husky) number is 626731 ). Right now, its going for $19! (Its the one in the middle of this picture.)

Unfortunately, I cannot find it on Homedepot.com but that is not so unusual. You know, one would really think that stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s would have decent online catalogues with really well thought out search engines to help people quickly get to what they really need. In fact, both companies have search engines almost as bad (or even worse) than most discussion forum sites…. (but that is a peeve for another time).

But this Tactical (I think they use this word because it has some real heft like a full sized MAGLite and could be used as a defensive weapon if necessary) light is very impressive for the money. But I just like that it lights things up enough that I no longer have big concerns in walking Katie the poo at night and having a close encounter of the 3rd kind with any snakes or scorpions.

This thing throws a beam that Scotty could use as a backup transporter.!!

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