[sdiy] Special tools for SMT

Mike Bryant mbryant at futurehorizons.com
Mon Feb 14 12:52:31 CET 2022

Ø  Metalwork was proper hands-on in those days, training us (you might say) for jobs which no longer existed

I’m afraid that is what I thought at the time in first year of grammar school.   Later on building my string of rally cars I wish I’d paid a LOT more attention :-)

From: Synth-diy [mailto:synth-diy-bounces at synth-diy.org] On Behalf Of Steve Lenham
Sent: 14 February 2022 11:45
To: synth-diy at synth-diy.org
Subject: Re: [sdiy] Special tools for SMT

On 12/02/2022 17:06, Oren Leavitt via Synth-diy wrote:
On 2/12/22 10:35 AM, Mike Bryant wrote:
As an 11 year old at my school a long time ago one of the things we had to make in metalworking class was a screwdriver.  Put a rod of metal in the lathe and slowly turn it down to the required shape, then grind the end to a flat blade.

Never did find a use for it !

The other thing we had to make was to beat a circle of copper to form an ash-tray.  Things were definitely different in those days :-)

My "useless" screwdriver I made in metalworking class consisted of steel or iron rod that I heated in a forge. While hot, I hammered one end flat and then ground it into final shape. This was then reheated and then quenched in water to temper it. For the handle, I placed the rod with the finished blade in a sand mold with a space to pour molten aluminum to fill out the handle. Finally I ground the rough edges of the mold seam off the handle.

Viola! A pry bar that thinks it is a screwdriver :)

Happy memories! At my middle school in the mid-80s we did exactly the same thing as Oren, though we went a step further by turning the cast handle down in a lathe then knurling it. The results were actually quite attractive and I still have mine somewhere. Metalwork was proper hands-on in those days, training us (you might say) for jobs which no longer existed.

Going well OT, the pinnacle of metalwork classes at that school was the building of a Mamod-style steam engine from scratch. As I went up through the school, I watched the final-year students running their engines up and down the corridor outside the metalwork room and yearned to build my own.

(Only recently, I discovered that the engine design almost certainly came from this 1972 book:

Of course, just as I reached my penultimate year, the powers-that-be realised that nobody needed hands-on metalwork skills any more and totally rejigged the curriculum to concentrate on design skills. No more steam engines. I was gutted, and it still rankles nearly forty years later ;-) Perhaps I should buy that book...


Steve L.
Benden Sound Technology
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