Monday, May 14, 2007

Haven't lost it yet

I rode into my work Thursday night to work on some parts for a custom wheel-chair caster I’m building for a good friend of mine. His wire suffered from Scoliosis and last year right before Christmas, was paralyzed from the waste down. With two young children (super good kids) and being an active family, they certainly wouldn’t want to give up camping, soccer games and general outdoor actives that most of us take for granted. She had a titanium wheel chair made up, but none of the manufacturers have much in the line of accessories that bolt onto a wheel chair, to give a larger from wheel, to accommodate rough terrain. That’s where his idea and my design and fabrication come in.
I started working at the company I’m at 10 years ago and got my journeyman Millwright license. I’ve since moved up (moved at least, not yet convinced that it was up) into project management and don’t get any time on the tools anymore. My biggest fear when I accepted the promotion was that I’d forget everything that I’ve studied and tried so hard to become good at. As a tradesman, I felt very confident in my skills and there were very few things I couldn’t do. As project manager, I was completely ignorant. I hope that I’m learning and getting better at it, and so far, 3 years later, I still have a job. I hope that’s a sign that I’m learning. There just seems to be so much less gratification in office work. When I come into my office every morning, there’s a desk, papers, and a computer. The same is there when I leave. It’s a different feeling when you start build something (in my case airport baggage conveyors) and at the end of a project, you actually see people’s bags moving on them. I guess you get the same feeling, but you just get it once per project, instead of every day seeing something built and steady visual progress.
These brackets below are what I machined to be the connection point to the wheel chair. Being that this is a custom made titanium ride, I certainly didn’t want to botch something together that would affect the chair, and I wasn’t about to weld or drill any holes on her ride. This is the long way to do things, but I’m convinced it’s the correct way.
I think that I’ve got about 10 more hours on this and I’ll be done, and I’ll post some pictures up with the final result.


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