Just having turned 5 years old, my mom took this photo of me in 1952. This was in my dad's basement workshop of our house. He started his last of 3 machine shops here and this was where I began learning how to run a lathe when I was 12.
By the time I was 13, my dad had purchased the cheapest excuse for an arc welder from the back pages of a Popular Science magazine.
Extremely frustrating to use I didn't realize what a great learning tool it actually was until years later when I had the chance to try an ordinary 'buzz box' 220 volt welder. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
Before high school I rode my bicycle to my dad's shop countless times to make things for a mini-bike I was building that was powered by a Harley 165cc. 2 stroke. Boy, ..... did that thing fly!!!
I also made my own burglar alarm for our garage around this time.
It worked great except for just one tiny glitch that escapes me at the moment ..................hmmmm................. now what was it?
Oh yeah, I remember now!
It set the house on fire.
Probably to save the house from me, my dad helped me make another one.
While in high school school, I studied Auto Trade at Boys' Trade and Technical High School in Milwaukee, WI. Graduating in 1965. My leisure time was mostly spent with muscle cars, motorcycles, car shows and drag racing. I was also helping a friend build a helicopter in his basement.
As far as I know, he never finished the helicopter once he bought a North American B-25 Mitchell bomber. I had several opportunities to work on that with him. I designed and built 3 jacks to lift the 12 ton aircraft off its landing gear so the hydraulic system could be tested after repairs.
All through high school and for almost 7 years after, I continued to work for and with my dad learning the machining and tool & die making trade.
In 1972 I had the opportunity to become the Experimental Machinist for the Racing Department of Harley-Davidson. I stayed just over one year and during this time I took 2 semesters of auto body sheet metal repair at the Milwaukee Area Technical College night school program. For years I had a desire to learn how to hand form sheet metal and finally did it.
As I mentioned above, I started my own shop in 1973 after leaving H-D.
In late 1975, I negotiated a retainer with H-D and for the rest of the 70s I built experimental & prototype motorcycles for H-D under contract from the basement of our own Victorian home.
There's that basement theme again!
It was in this house that I built the prototype clock that I detail on another page.
Although I have always maintained my business, I went to work for West Bend Company (cookware) as a tool & die maker. I really had my eyes opened up to just how many talented and dedicated craftspeople were around. I realized that most of what I had done up until then had been rehashing the same skill sets I had left with from my dad's shop. Working with several other craftsmen as skilled as my dad, each with a unique perspective, was one great learning experience!
We moved to the mountains of West Virginia to build a homestead for our family and a shop for myself. During that 9 year period we went through many experiences that I am planning to discuss eventually in another area of the website. But for now, here's a view of the building progress.
|The photo above was taken by standing at the front of my shop roof - an old reefer semi trailer shown below.
A few years ago, I discussed this move of my shop in the 'General' section of the Home Shop Machinist forum. There are more photos and explanation in that forum located here:
After West Virginia, we moved to Casa Grande, AZ. One of the jobs I had was as an instrument maker for the Mechanical Instrument Shop of the Physics & Astronomy Department of Arizona State University. Once again I was blessed to work with some of the finest craftspeople I have ever had the pleasure to work with. Several are good friends to this day.
While there, I was able to pick up quite a bit of additional experience.
I designed and built a fairly simple but effective EDM machine receiving a great deal of assistance with the electronics from a co-worker (one of the good friends) from another department.
This machine allows me to make holes in very hard metals and of unusual shape. The top example is carbide, the others are high speed steel:
The rough looking holes are the initial attempts. The crisp hex shaped hole is how well it cuts now. I owe a great deal to my late friend Evert Fruitman who was vital in refining the electronics to achieve this level of control. Over 20 years later, the machine still functions well.
For those of you who might be interested, I posted a very detailed description of this machine along with schematics and photos at:
This thread has a great deal of information on shop built EDMs. My contribution starts with post number 24.
When I first created this web site, I posted the next photo. No doubt some of you have been losing sleep (yeah right!) wondering if I would include it in this updated version. Although the headgear has changed a bit from what is shown, I must now confess that I have contracted LHS (lazy hair syndrome). It no longer has the energy to push its way up, so it just comes out the bottom.
I expect a cure any day now.
The link below is to a page that is under construction. It concerns what I have learned about creativity and I hope to have it become a stand alone area of interest. It is also available as the third link from the top of the links column. I will be expanding it as I can get the time. I have set a deadline for myself of the end of 2018 for it to be more fully developed.
All material on these pages is copyrighted by Jim Haubert 2002 - 2018
310 1/2 W. Second Street, Winslow, AZ, US, 86047
520-431-6533 (voicemail/text only)
Now Located on "The Mother Road", Historic Route 66