I was rooting through a bunch of old software looking for a specific disc (which I didn't find) when I happened across a CD labelled "archived photos, 1-00 to 10-00".
It wasn't the item I was intending to look for, but it was an item I've been looking for. (If that makes any sense.)
I bought my first decent digital camera, as I've mentioned before, in December of 1999. A 1.3 MP Olympus D-340 point-and-shoot, with an 8MB SmartMedia card (good for about 32 photos) for a mere $350.
Before that, I'd been spending a fortune- like $600 a year- on film and developing. All of a sudden I could shoot as much as I wanted, and I didn't have to wait days to see the photos. Well, not quite as much as I wanted, the thing'd eat batteries like Michael Moore after a box of Krispy Kremes so there was that. I later bought a set of li-ion rechargables, which helped immensely, but I digress.
Anyway, once I got it, I immediately set about documenting stuff. In addition to the day-to-day gun work/shop work, I photographed a lot of stuff just for my own records, not necessarily intending to post it to the 'net.
This disc has most, if not all, of that first years' photos.
Lots of good memories in there- about 'leventy million Shockers, for one. I mean, I knew I did a lot of Shocker mods back then, but geez, when you go through nearly a years' worth of pix in one sitting, y'get the impression I'm ferrying them back and forth to the Post Office in a dump truck!
But besides all that, there were some long-forgotten photos of my shop, back when it was still mostly a storage room. As I noted the other day, I tended not to show much of the shop or clear pictures of the machines, as I was embarrassed to be using a beat-up mill-drill and cheap desktop lathe.
But also as I said the other day, who cares what tools you use? What matters is what you make. The end product. Does it work? Does it look good? Then who cares whether you used a $200K CNC production center or carved it out using an antelope jawbone and an obsidian knife.
Though admittedly if you did the latter, that would be pretty interesting in and of itself. It's not that the bear dances well, you know, it's that he can dance at all.
So, here in most of it's glory- and I use that term very loosely- is almost the entirety of my shop and machine tools, circa early 2000:
On the right is miscellaneous hunting and outdoor gear, old tack, various bits of old junk, and an upright freezer. On the left is the recently-discussed Jet Mill-Drill on the custom steel-pipe stand I built for it to add some rigidity to the column, in a vain attempt to improve it's ratty surface finishes. (Vain because the issue was, I believe, the spindle bearings and deteriorating drive system.)
Also note the cheap drill-press vise. No Kurt or even clone for me back then- that was all I could afford.
The grinder in the foreground-left did double duty; sharpened my lathe tools and buffed parts. That poor thing buffed thousands of parts over the years...
Just one whiteboard, too.
But, as "primitive" as that was- I think I owned less than a dozen endmills, total, back then- I still cranked out what I thought was some pretty good work. Such as this tidbit, which, if my numbering system can be believed, from the same week as that above photo:
That piece, made on a worn-out mill-drill and a drill press vise, is, of course, a conversion block to change a pre-2K Autococker body into a stock-class-fed Sniper.
There's no lathe work on there, by the way. That's careful milling and even more careful file work. The feed tube is "clamped" when the block is tightened down.
Back then, a centerfeed 'Cocker body cost $350 new, and a used, beat-up one was still worth $250- and there weren't and used ones at the time these pix were taken- centerfeed 'Cockers were still pretty new, and this was long before players started buying new guns at the beginning of every season. So my block mod was required not only to hold the tube, but to convert the side-feed body.
A bit of token milling on the body, a few other light tricks, nickel a few parts, send the rest off for anno (in, thankfully, one of the less-ill-fated purple anno runs) and voila~!
This gun went on to appear in APG at least twice, though never with any attribution. And, like always, I have meant for years to build myself one. This was one of my favorites from back then...
But I made it in a cave, with a box of scraps. Always been a little proud of that.