So, the weatherman's been hyping everybody up about snow and cold. Yesterday the snow finally showed up. About 4", which is pretty good for around here. Wet snow, which quickly compacts to ice. I actually like driving in it. No sarcasm, really. I dunno if it is my Manly Sense of Invulnerability or what, but I think it is fun. Like, what fun would it be if every single time you fired, you put it right in the middle of the X-ring? The challenge of making the bullet go where you want is most of the fun. Likewise with cars. The car doing exactly what you want at all times gets kinda old. I like sliding around on ice. Like Brian Boitano without all the ghey costumes. It's pretty awesome.
'Cept most everybody else in town is a moron. They can't drive. Fortunately(?), they're aware of their moron status and refuse to do any dang thing when there is a slight chance of snow or ice anywhere. Which brings the whole town to a grinding halt. More road for me, but c'mon. Last night the University and many other public entities declared a preemptive "ice day" and told everybody to wait at least two hours before coming to work. Well, the snow and ice were all long gone by yesterday afternoon. But the ice fatwa had already been decreed and there's no turning back now.
Which means most of my biggest customers are ordering a whole lot of nothing and it is slow as heck in the shop. That means I can no longer justify procrastinating on a job I really don't want to do... There's a high-falutin' private school here with a "donor tree" where people get their names engraved on an anodized green aluminum "leaf" when the make their donations. Yay. Anodizing a sheet of aluminum gives it color, and also produces a gemstone-hard layer on the aluminum that's only a few molecules thick. Engraving on it sucks. It takes a fair bit of pressure to get the diamond bit through the anodizing but the aluminum underneath is way stinking soft so once the diamond "breaks through" it wants to go too deep. Like trying to engrave a @*#^$ hardboiled egg. Annoying. But wait, there's more! They're running out of blank leaves and need a bunch more.
A guy with a die cutter could make them in a couple minutes. I don't have a die cutter. And even if I did, it's pretty darned unlikely that I'd have a 1.625" x 3.5" elliptical die. So I have to mill them out on the engraving machine.
Real milling machine at work
But I don't have one of those.
I have a little engraver that kind of thinks it is a milling machine. It's way slower and doesn't have the liquid coolant. Nor much for chip collection. So now I'm flecked in little aluminum fragments and look like friggin' Ziggy Stardust. It there is any truth to that rumor that aluminum contributes to Alzheimer's, I'm in big troub
Whoa! What just happened? And why am I standing in the parking lot?
Anyway. The anodized aluminum doesn't mill worth crap. Have you ever tried to precisely bisect... an Oreo... with a Sawz-All? That's what I've been up against. Hard shell and gooey middle and lots of hand filing to clean up the edges.
All so that some Lexus-driving putz can congratulate himself every time he sees his name engraved on a fake leaf.