Who is Sue and what is Suelandia?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

In your FACE, thumb trigger.

Hey people.  You know I've been having hand problems.  Most of the trouble is with my thumb, right where it attaches to my hand.  As you may know, I'm known for my amazing ~kung-fu-grip~.  My hands are super small, but super strong too.  Seriously, my grip is like a pitbull's bite-- except for now when even grabbing the steering wheel of my car makes it feel like my thumb is going to snap off.

The prime suspects?-- My side-cutters and pliers, which I use constantly to hand-bend stuff and snip stubborn bits of slag off edges with, and my cutting torch.  It has a button on top you have to press down on with your thumb the entire time you're cutting.  Today I tried a modification I came up with-- tah-dah...

They sell ergonomic torches with a button underneath you grab with your fingers, but it's almost $500.  Yes-- my version uses a rubber band.  Yes-- it will probably wear out, but I'd have to go through a hell of a lot of rubber bands to add up to $500.

The problem is, it's hard to let go of the switch now, because it's also how I hold onto the entire torch.  It's basically *firing* the whole time I'm holding onto it now.  That causes incidents like this.  Yikes.

This was frustrating today a bit, but I got a heck of a lot of cutting done, that I physically wouldn't have been able to otherwise.  Really, I just need to relearn how to cut because it's a whole new ball-game with this modified torch.

I usually *pull* my cuts.  With the thing going off the entire time I had to adapt and be more fluid with my movements, both pulling and pushing, similar to doing contour drawings.  Yes it felt awkward, and no I wasn't automatically good at it.  I pride myself on being really good at cutting and I felt like a 2nd grader trying it.  But I kept telling myself it was easier than becoming right-handed.

Really it is mechanics.  That can be learned.  Cutting the "normal" way felt awkward when I was learning that too.  You've got 3 joints to control, shoulder, elbow, and wrist.  These all affect your torch angle various ways.  Once you've finally got that under control, there's your speed, plus, you're moving the entire time, so it isn't static.  You are adjusting the entire time you're cutting.  Even how you breathe affects the cut.

By the end of the day I was getting pretty good, not great yet for sure, but probably still better than some.  I ran into some duty cycle issues.  My machine isn't used to running like this, and would occasionally *spit* and wreck my nice smooth cut.  I'd patch it with a tiny weld.  Luckily I'm making trees, so, they don't have to be super perfect.

I like to think I'm creating a bunch of new neural pathways in my brain by forcing myself to learn a new way.

Also it was ~new welding jacket day~.  I got this at a second had shop for $15!  I felt a little bad about how dirty and ruined it's going to get, but my old one is literally falling apart.  I am actually glad it already has a war wound or two on it.

Now it is officially my ~shop jacket~.

Just looking at my torch I got an idea of how to modify it even more so the lever on the top has a lower profile that may help me have more control.  Experiments continue...

1 comment:

Maery Rose said...

Ah, the challenges of finding a new way to do things. I like your ingenuity. So much better than what I came up with to carry clothes down the steps when my collar bone and wrist were broken -- a belt looped through a clothes basket, which, of course, dumped everything out as it bumped down the steps. I might as well have stood at the top and threw the clothes down.