A full day's work, in the palm of my hand

Mundane and pointless to be sure…

I was going to go upstairs to show off the fruits of my labors in the machine shop this Sunday, and it struck me as how absolutely trivial the small pile of metal in my palm seems, for a day’s effort.

Five bits of metal made on a pleasant Sunday

These are parts for a steam engine I’m working on.

Any of you have hobbies where you invest huge amounts of time and the product just doesn’t look like much to outsiders?

I’m not a hobby person, but I like to hear about other people’s hobbies. You MADE those things?? Bravo, my friend! That seems like a very fine day’s work to me! :slight_smile:

I started laughing the moment I saw the thread title. I figured "Model Railroading, and I wasn’t far off. Looks good and I’ll bet you enjoyed yourself. Looking forward to seeing the finished product:)

Sounds like my entire life LOL

I have about 200 2×3 sketch books full of my art. It represents many hours of drawing and thinking. 2 whole shoe boxes full. That’s all. I do large work too. I recently worked on a mural and a gym floor. But my heart is in those shoe boxes.
ETA the sketch books are 2 inches by 3 inches.

Or the shoes are huuuuuggge…

To be clear, the brass bits came as rough castings in the kit I’m working on, requiring finish machining, so no, I"m not casting metal here.

I have a habit of leaving the tedious not-so-fun things for last in a project, and that’s what these little bits are.

In contrast, here’s an example of a more enjoyable part that I finished in mid May:

Original casting of crankshaft (from kit)
Crankshaft after machining

And you gave me a good laugh as well! I’ll post photos of the engine when it’s done.

Here’s a similar, smaller engine that I finished last summer. It’s about the length of an outstretched hand.

Ohh, that’s a lovely piece! I’m a machinist IRL and wish I enjoyed the work as much as amateurs seem to!

I paint minis and the result of many hours of labor is usually only 28 mm tall.


I was a machinist IRL a long long time ago, and it was my favorite job I ever had, though it wasn’t a good field to go into in the late 80s.
I always dreamed of working with metal again some day. Last year I finally set up a home machine shop and I am enjoying it thoroughly.

Got some pictures to share?

PM me and I can email you some.

I have mentioned this before in other threads, but perhaps the biggest example of this kind of thing comes from WW II.
The enrichment plant at Oak Ridge TN was at the time the largest building in the world and consumed so much electricity that several large hydroelectric dams had to be built just to keep up with the demand of this huge facility. It was highly secret, a real closed city. But the biggest mystery to the workers is that huge amounts of effort and materials kept pouring in to the plant and nothing ever left. Few people there knew what the plant was for, but even fewer knew that every few weeks a courier would leave the plant with a briefcase and go to the train station and take a train to Chicago and on the Los Alamos. The workers were always puzzled by all the work they were doing and nothing ever seemed to come of it. Until the big reveal at the end of the war.

A friend of mine built a little one-cylinder steam engine from a kit. It took him three tries to get a usable crankshaft. First he buggered up the casting supplied with the kit, and the second two he made from bar stock.