Monthly Aphorism: On Non-Economic Repairs

  • The skills we acquire fixing stuff that we don’t care about serve us well when we have to fix something that actually matters

Courtesy of John Rehwinkel.

A long time ago, I read this in E. E. “Doc” Smith’s The Skylark of Space:

He could study safeblowing fifteen minutes and be top man in the field

Even back then, I knew knowledge didn’t work that way. If your fingers haven’t done it, you don’t know how to do it. The more you do it, the better you get.

Go fix something!

  1. #1 by CodeRage on 2011-07-01 - 09:38

    Ed,
    So true. The gear indicator on my brothers van was suddenly out of index. The culprit was a plastic adjustment bracket that was damaged when the transmission was rebuilt. I am guessing they forgot to disconnect the linkage when dropping it.

    After an hour measuring and modeling.

    and installed

    • #2 by Ed on 2011-07-01 - 10:55

      Excellent!

      There’s really no way of knowing how strong a 3D printed part will be, but I think for most of the repair projects we deal with they’ll be strong enough… and if not, you can always learn from the failure. After (at most) a few iterations, it’ll work fine and you’ll have a better idea of how this whole process behaves.

      Almost justifies the price of admission right there, doesn’t it?

      • #3 by Jason Vreeland on 2011-07-02 - 11:27

        Almost! I try ignore all the time and cost of building the printer. Being the first utilitarian part printed, it may have been cheaper to buy a used van, pull the part, and throw the rest of the van away :)

        • #4 by Ed on 2011-07-02 - 11:41

          Ah, but think of all the other parts you’d have on the shelf after discarding the picked-clean carcass… [sigh]