If you like that, now would be a good time to become acquainted with Lindsay's Technical Books
and David J. Gingery Publishing
In Paul Hawkin's seminal book Growing a Business
, one of the key strategies for creating a business venture was to "bring back something that was lost."
In the case of Lindsay and Gingery, the "something lost" is the knowledge that was once the part of every inventor's, machinist's, and engineer's 'common body of knowledge' back around the turn of the last century. Manufacturing and tool shops didn't go out and buy their equipment back in the early 1900s. They started by building
basic machinery, and then used that
to fabricate increasingly complex machinery, until they had a fully populated shop floor. Talk about bootstrapping in its purest and most physical form!
Here's what Dave Gingery has to say about himself and his approach:
When someone asked me for a biographical sketch I was a bit confused and embarrassed so I answered lightly: "Most of my life was spent in trying to figure out how to do a $50.00 project for 50 cents, and the remainder of my time was spent in trying to scrounge up the 50 cents."
No doubt, many of us identify with this statement. Although mildly amusing, it is painfully true. Few of us can produce the ready cash for those projects that may very well mean more to the inner person than does that which we do daily for a living. The result is that we learn to do the impossible by the most improbable and impractical means, but the resulting success is rewarding beyond measure.
That lack of cash that presents itself as an obstacle is really only the medium of exchange for those items of material and equipment we think we need. Actually, a whole list of apparent obstacles holds us back, but the lack of ready cash is the easiest obstacle to recognize and to discuss. As a result there is often too much discussion and too little practical work done. What is really needed is to put the whole matter into perspective so that apparent obstacles can be put aside and we can get on with the business at hand.
You'll note that I said "we think we need" and "apparent obstacles ". It is interesting to note that most of our best ideas meet with opposition in our own minds as quickly as we conceive them. The objections we raise usually seem so reasonable that much of what we might do never gets done. If you don't want to do a project just write down the first dozen or so thoughts that come to your mind and you will have at least a half dozen good excuses. If that doesn't do the trick just toss the idea to the experts and they will usually be happy to kill it for you. If you really want to do it, though, it is most likely that you will find that it does not really cost very much and it is not nearly as technical and dangerous as established experts would have you believe.
Now I don't mean that you should just throw caution to the wind and just light a match or throw a switch and see what happens. There is never a need to proceed foolishly in blind ignorance.
Acquiring knowledge is a relatively straight forward process, and so is the development of manual skill. You can know what others know, and you can do what they do. Your level of performance is determined by a combination of opportunity, energy expended and available resource.
You can provide your own opportunity, and you can decide how diligently you will apply yourself. So, we must deal with the problem of resources which is no small matter if you are the bird with 50 cents who needs $50.00 worth of stuff! Nevertheless, it can be done, so let's get with it while we are yet young and eager. Reduce the Technology
Since the whole problem is really a matter of determining the difference between what we think we need and what we really need, the first step is to reduce the technology. You will remember from your arithmetic lessons that they tried to teach you to reduce a fraction to its lowest common denominator and to reduce an equation to simple terms. This is much like what must be done to the problem at hand, and it is in itself a delightful exercise. I would urge at this point that you refer to a comprehensive dictionary where you will find that the word "reduce" has at least a dozen distinct definitions and uses. Each of them applies in some way to these matters, so you will be sure to gain from a brief study of them.
Ironically, the reduction of a technology requires a rather full knowledge of it, but you must not let that become an obstacle. Your mind is surely as capable as most, and some have done wonders with even less mental ability. Acquiring the knowledge you need is more of a process of sifting through information than it is learning, so you'll have little trouble unless you try to acquire encyclopedia-like knowledge before you do any work. In this case, it is the excess of useless information that is the real obstacle, so confine your initial study to what is truly basic and fundamental.
The Lindsay and Gingery books allow you to follow in the same footsteps your grandparents did back when they were creating
the foundations for the technological world we live in today. (Prices for most titles are also closer to our Grandparent's times than ours too!)
Check them out. Highly recommended.