Big Jigs and Lean Flow

I have some new designs and ideas I want to experiment with.  One of them requires a way to hold small sections of rod (pen endcaps) horizontally and vertically.  So I invested the time with the manual mill and cranked out this beauty!

The center bolts are what will index into the CNC bed.  The alignment will be taken care of with dowel pins resting against the machined outside surfaces and the side bolts apply clamping pressure.  I even machined a small pocket in the center of the double jaws and installed a spring, makes loading and unloading parts MUCH easier.

Here it is mocked up with my everyday carry pen.  In actual use there will be rods in all sections.  Its main use right now will be holding endcaps for engraving but I have some other idea for it in the coming weeks.

Secondly I've been spending far to many hours reading about lean manufacturing and the pitfalls of batch production.  Slowly I've been taking steps to help optimize my work flow and it starts with my most heavily used area, the lathe bench.

I pulled everything out of my under bench drawer, put away anything that wasn't needed for lathe work and slowly started finding positions for everything else.  Here you can see the start of my organization.  Still need to hollow out space for a few more tools but its coming along.

The little coil bound book is a must for me!  Normally I like fancy pants notebooks to write in but in an area where hot chips and oil abound sometimes an el cheapo pad of paper is the ticket.  The lead hammer was passed down from my grandfather, it wasn't seeing much use in the garage but has a nice home with the lathe and mill.  A plastic dead blow is great for seating parts in the vise but a wood hammer feels much better in the hand...might even turn up a brass end for it one of these days.