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Goings on at the Because We Cannery

Some new stuff for the shop, and some musing...

So we've been busy re-doing the shop some, trying to make it a bit more efficient in work, tool, and material flow. In other words, we're tired of running into each other or moving the pile of scrap yet again when trying to get things done! Most of it is boring, putting up new shelves, moving stuff around, that sort of stuff. But there is a few things worth mentioning:

Clamp Tree

So we've been busy re-doing the shop some, trying to make it a bit more efficient in work, tool, and material flow. In other words, we're tired of running into each other or moving the pile of scrap yet again when trying to get things done! Most of it is boring, putting up new shelves, moving stuff around, that sort of stuff. But there is a few things worth mentioning:

New Clock!

We got a clock from a friend. It's got a this fun old-school flip display. It makes a terrific horrible grinding noise when it flips from AM to PM, or the Month. It's great!

Clamp Tree

We made this 'clamp tree'. It's a disk with radially arranged slots and tabs for the clamps attached to one of the support columns in the shop. It's been working out really well, I should post this one for others to download and cut...

Shopmaster

MUST OBEY THE SHOPMASTER. We got this big air filter, and hung it from the ceiling. It's helped the air quality a lot.

scrap rack

We made this big ol' scrap rack. OK, so it's not exciting, but it's already made things so much better in the shop that it deserves a mention.

Messy Table

Now onto the table itself. One thing that I love about the Shopbot is that the top of the table gets all scored up, and has a wonderful look to it. You can see a thousand parts overlayed, these ghost-like images of things we cut. But when it gets this cut up, it gets uneven, so we shave it clean again.

Messy Table

The Shopbot runs a routine that simply shaves off a certain amount of the topsheet, which makes it perfectly flat again. You put a very large bit (like 1" wide) into it and let it go.

Messy Table

It goes and goes, and works it's way to the middle, cutting smaller and smaller rectangles. Watching the robot work makes you think, it's meditative even, and it got me thinking about my last day job. It seems crazy to think that only three months ago I left my full-time gig at Gensler because our little design-build firm had gotten so busy that I had to pay full-time (and then some) attention to it. It seems like a lifetime ago, really.

I think I've grown more in the last three months than in the last several years. Ain't nothing like a business to make you step up to the plate, if you will, letting go of the things that used to stand in your way. I feel like I've been changing a lot, getting reinvented by our work.

Something else I do when waiting for the robot to finish something (other than sketch out ideas) is read, of all things, Business Week. There's a regular column in the back, by Jack and Susie Welsh, on leadership and other big-time CEO stuff. Something they wrote a while back really stuck with me, and that's the idea that Humility + Confidence = Maturity. In order to run a business of any kind, you really need both humility and confidence together, as I've been learning (sometimes the hard way) over these last three months. I honestly feel that our work, and the running of a business, is (very quickly) forcing me to be a better person overall, wearing away old bad habits and hangups.

Clean Table

All done, and ready for getting to work!

Clean Table

Jeffrey McGrew