I must confess that I've a great weakness for the very latest gadgetry of all sorts. My fascination with technological advance often outweighs my common sense, and then I usually end up owning the widget and have fiddled with it a few days before I ever get around to admitting that I'm unlikely to use it regularly because while pretty darn cool, it's just not all that practical. But you know, it might just come in handy for some future project!
So to my wife's ongoing dismay, my collection of electronics, tools, kits, parts, and assorted books seems inevitably to grow. (She was, however, warned in the spirit of fair disclosure concerning what is clearly a genetic trait when she saw my Dad's workshop in Atlanta for the first time.)
Occasionally, I am vindicated when some household repair project becomes a 30 second exercise because I happen to have the right tool at hand. But my real heroes are those folks who can use whatever is lying around to do wondrous things, and I think I have a new idol.
The Make blog just posted a story about a fellow named Iqbal Ahmend, a machinist for hire in Nagpur India. For any of you inclined to pine for the latest numerically controlled gadgetry, check out his workshop.
And now check out the incredibly cool WORKING engines he makes using just his one ancient lathe!
A "Mary" beam engine from the 19th century
A small vertical engine complete with boiler.
Iqbal's World Record-holding 1.72 gramm working steam engine
So now, I'm looking to see if he will sell any of them, or better yet, share some of his lathe secrets!