Re: bootstrapping

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From: Kragen Sitaker (
Date: Fri Feb 04 2000 - 10:45:57 PST

Dave Long writes:
> Several years ago, I ran across a series of pamphlets which
> purported to start with casting hand tools using charcoal, sand, and
> a bucket, and to end with producing an industrial lathe, using the
> outputs of each step as the inputs of the next. Have any of you run
> across this series, or know of likely fruitful avenues of inquiry?
> [I found it at] <>

That's very interesting. I had seen ads for this series of books (the
Gingery Metalworking Series, apparently), or something very similar, in
the back of some magazine in years past. I'm curious whether anyone
(anywhere) has actually tried this --- it sounds like years of work,
and I'm sure there are lots of unexpected things that would come up in
practice that wouldn't come up in theory.

It does appear that at least the author, Dave J. Gingery, has done the
whole set of constructions from beginning to end, and quite a bit more
besides; there are photos on the web site. His son, Vince, is doing
other interesting stuff in the same area. There are books on how to
make (how they made?) a vacuum forming machine, a pipe-bending machine,
a metal-cutting saw, an injection-molding machine, a fuel-alcohol
still, and a couple of engines, among other things.

What I'm really interested in, though, is automated fabrication. I
have speculated that it wouldn't be too difficult to monitor the
current through a stepper motor (which Don Lancaster's,
another great hardware hacking site, says are relatively easy to build
large instances of by rewiring old starter motors) to tell when the
motor had been turned. Perhaps the motion sensors from $5 mice could
be used for the same purpose?

<>       Kragen Sitaker     <>
The Internet stock bubble didn't burst on 1999-11-08.  Hurrah!
The power didn't go out on 2000-01-01 either.  :)

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