On the square?

Discussion in 'Tips & Tricks' started by Dave Harris, Jul 28, 2008.

  1. Dave Harris

    Dave Harris Member

    a little square 1.JPG

    a little square 2.JPG

    Priced a machinists square lately? They aint cheap! On top of that they don't come real small. How about Making your own? It's really pretty simple. Here is a pair I built a while back, actually somewhere, I have one that is only ONE inch, this small one is 1 5/8 inch.
    Sometimes these little jobs can be real handy on a building project . They will fit in a pretty tight corner.
    All it takes to make them is a piece of 3/8 keystock, costs about a buck for a 12 inch piece. The blade is a piece of a 12 in. .032 feeler guage , another buck or so. Both of these should be available at any good auto parts house or industrial hardware store. There is enough material in this 12 inch piece to make several of them , if you need a neat gift for a friend or three .
    Use a hacksaw or a dremel & a cut off disk to cut both items to the right size, file a bit to make them square, cut a slot with the Dremel using a .035 cut off disk & solder the blade in.
    Of course you need to have them clamped or to something square while soldering. I used a hardware store flat corner brace ( one of those little steel gizmos with holes drilled in for screws.)
    Won't take long & boy do you get the wows from your buddies when they see these LITTLE gems.
  2. Dave Harris

    Dave Harris Member

    Probably took longer to figure out how to post these pictures than it did to make these squares. Of course I'm better at soldering than computering hamr
  3. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    I just use the hardware L-braces themselves, which come in sizes from large to tiny, as I always have a few in my parts cabinet for home projects. I just check them for square before using, and then use them as is.

    I guess if I really needed a tiny machinists square I could ask my nephew, who is foreman of a metal fabrication company, to cut some out in various sizes using their computer-controlled laser cutter.
  4. Dave Harris

    Dave Harris Member

    Well yes, you could--- Kinda like using a howitzer to kill an ant. A probably multimillion dollar machine to produce a 50 cent square--- now theres real econmy of purpose.
  5. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    I think you have it all wrong. Afterall, you sdacrificed a set of feeler gauges and some other stuff, and considerable time and labor, to make yours, so it cost you much more than fifty cents, didn't it?

    The owner of the fabrication company encourages my nephew to use otherwise wasted scrap pieces for small, unique projects that demonstrate the versatility of the company and it's equipment. I have an eagle made out of eighty-some-odd pieces of metal that interlock solidly to form a three dimensional bird with wings spread. It's one of several produced to hand out to potential customers for promotional and demonstrational purposes. I also have the frontal silhouette of an Apache helicopter cut from stainless steel, made for the same reasons - in this case to demonstrate the thiness and sharp detail achievable. The company also sells some of the small items to visitors, to offset the small cost of the scrap that isn't re-cycled.

    My nephew actually seeks out oddball projects that challenge him to pushing the equipment envelope, and since he is the only man in the company besides the factory rep who knows how to program the computerized machines, everyone else leaves him alone. He has made them a lot of money since becoming foreman.

    It's no more overkill than the cases I have read about - some of them right here on this forum - where modelers have friends who are professional machinists, artists, graphic artists or computer or electronics engineers who "help" them with their layouts. The moment you bring in professionals to "help" you with a layout, it isn't your layout anymore - it's the same as contracting it out to experts. But curiously, no one ever seems to objexct to that

    BTW - the machines that produce common nails, screws, nuts and bolts also cost millions apiece; that's hardly a decent argument. The difference, of course, is that those machines are "dumb" and cannot do anything else. Which one is the greater waste, I wonder - a multi-pupose machine programmable to do almost anything, or a dumb machine that can only produce a single item and must be rebuilt if specs are changed? Meanwhile, no one says anything if a forum mrember uses a laser color copier or a graphics machine at work that costs a fortune to run off a few personal decals or raodside signs - we applaud him for his cleverness.

    While you may have paid "fifty cents" to make your square, I will get mine for free and it will be very precise indeed, custom made to any scale I request. And why shouldn't I take advantage of a free offer that benefits both myself and the other person as well? It appears that all the rest of you do.
  6. Dave Harris

    Dave Harris Member

    OK ----you win. In a lot of cases a company does not appreciate so called "govenment jobs", apparently this one does.
    The fact remains that there just may be some other modeler who can find value in the idea & does not have a relative in such an envieable position.
    Also, a foot of feeler guage & key stock will make several small squares -- so 50 cents is a viable number & time spent on a hobby project is usually not compensated --soooo?
  7. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Soooo...stay true to your credo and never, EVER accept any assistance of any kind from a professional in any field.

    But if you ever need a replacement square, drop me a line. :rolleyes:
  8. Dave Harris

    Dave Harris Member

    I have tried very hard to see in your ascerbic comments some measure of possibly good natured , rather wry humor, but have had no success doing so.

    I also dected not a whit of an offer to supply me with some really fine precise custom built squares untill your last post --- "But if you ever need a replacement square, drop me a line. " Sorry I missed any earlier hints that you intended to help my tool supply--- I could use a one inch model to replace the one I lost or gave away.

    Therefore I can only assume that you are hoping to firmly chastize me for having the audacity to actually feel that I had some expection that my meager offering might have some merit for someone.
    I suppose I can take some measure of satisfaction that at least I did not get quite as much sarcasm dumped on me as Trainut did when he commented on your post about ziplock bags to protect track while doing scenery.
    It occours to me that this could be just your nature --- acid comments & ridicule of others serves to reinforce your feeling of superiorty needed to assuage your overblown ego.
    On the other hand I may be off base here , I firmly believe that one should not ascribe to malice that which can be explained by incompetence or stupidity.

    In any case I would bet that the egocentric in you will always insist you have the last word, so I will speak no more of this after you answer with more vitrol, otherwise this would become a never ending conversation.
  9. Goattee

    Goattee Member

    Ok! Don't make me give you boys Time Out!!!
    As a retired machinist and the husband of a retired machinist and the father of a machinist, I would like to add a side you both might not of thought about.
    All three of us have talked about this very thing and came to the conclusion that it is self satisfaction that makes you make a tool, and spend a week making it that could be bought for the 50 cents. Not only that but it could be that you may think of some little modification that is needed.
    Just my two cents worth.
  10. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    But when you already have the machine, making one thing more with it doesn't cost much. That is, the marginal cost is low.
  11. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    It isn't your method of assembling a square that bothers me; it is the openly expressed opinion that by going a different route I have somehow done something wrong. One of the things I truly dislike about modelling hobbies is the tendency of established old-timers to want to set the rules for everyone else, while the real pros go around producing mega-layouts that incorporate the free skills of electricians, machinists, computer programmers and everyone else they can rope in.

    This is a hobby which I undertook to find relaxation and enjoyment, not scorn or criticism for simply accepting a favor from a relative, something everyone in the hobby has done at least once.

    As for offering you one, I wouldn't dream of offending you in such a fashion.
  12. armchair

    armchair New Member


    Slow reader here. Enjoying the backand forth talk. announce1 I just read somewhere of a Navy Officer had his ship docked at Monterey so he could attend one of John Alans operating nights. That may be the expensive machine.

    As for squares to build you buildings "right on", have any of you checked the squareness of your stick built house walls? That would be improving on the prototype.

    I have a granit sample from a counter shop that is heavy and flat. And you can tape two drafting angles (30-60 or 45) to get a good square. I even used the inside corner of my desk to hold a building to dry.

    And my layout will be runing UP Big Boy, CB&Q Pioneer Zypher, and anything else I like because it all fits my era, local and prototype.

    Remember, Model railroading is fun!

  13. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Gentlemen, let's keep it civil. There's more than one way to make things square. Too each their own. :)
  14. Dave Harris

    Dave Harris Member

    Ralph--- you really should drop by more often:mrgreen:--- this rather ascerbic exchange took place over 3 months ago.:cry: Since then mountain man & I have actually had some nice exchanges --- I think.:woot1:
  15. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    We have indeed. :cool:
  16. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Well that's good! I actually saw this thread the first time yesterday because I've been so distracted moderating a thread in General talk from 2002. :)

  17. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Ah,Ralph admit it..You had a senior mintue..sign1:ANYWORD:
  18. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    I'm too young to have senior moments! :mrgreen: Ok, so maybe I'm practicing so I can be good at them later. :rolleyes:


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