i could do it all day
December 12, 2012 7:44 AM   Subscribe

If you like watching other people work, you are going to love the YouTube channels of Myfordboy, Keith Fenner and Tubal Cain.

Myfordboy (real name unknown) is a UK "model engineer", meaning he makes working scale copies of steam engines, trains and similar machines. He's self-taught and has relatively limited equipment (the classic British Myford lathe, a mill and some woodworking tools), but manages through clever techniques to accomplish quite a lot.

His wordless (except for occasional text) videos reproduce a quiet, zen-like "flow" that many love about a workshop.
If you want a little more explanation behind what you are watching, you might prefer Keith Fenner. Keith is jobbing machinist. Easy-going and likable, Keith takes time even during rush jobs to give explanations of what he's doing and why and to set up nice shots with good lighting and multiple angles. The work he does varies with whatever comes into his shop, which might be as simple as removing some broken bolts (although you'll see that can be more involved than you think) or as complicated as designing a custom tool using a variety of shop skills.
Both of the above have been doing what they do for so long that they don't even think to explain some of the very basics, however. If you want to dig deeper into what these fellows are doing, Tubal Cain, aka Lyle Peterson (previously), is a retired 40-years-experience shop teacher becoming known to machinists online for displaying extreme (even excessive) clarity and thoroughness of explanation, with models and diagrams on a wide variety of topics. Some of his most introductory videos are:

All three channels have far, far more than the selection above.
posted by DU (11 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
This looks fucking incredible!
posted by OmieWise at 7:47 AM on December 12, 2012

Sweet. Bookmarked for later viewing. Thanks, DU!

I keep thinking I want to get a small lathe just so I can, you know, make round things. Rounds things seem like something I would enjoy making.
posted by bondcliff at 8:00 AM on December 12, 2012

Actually, you'd be surprised at the non-round things you can make with a lathe. Holes and flats are also possible. Notches (as in gears) even. Theoretically, a lathe can build another lathe.
posted by DU at 8:21 AM on December 12, 2012

I love work! I could sit for hours and watch people work.
posted by Floydd at 9:27 AM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

The sandcasting from the first link brings back memories of college. While my classmates took intro to psych for their electives, I took machine tool process and industrial manufacturing. Shop for college credit distinguished me from my classmates and ultimately landed me my first job in research engineering.

There are few things more relaxing after coding for 16 hours than casting, forging, welding, machining, programming CnC machines, operating a break, water jet cutting, and/or operating a forklift. Seriously - you get the precision of the task, you get the attention to detail, and at the end, you have a physical object to be proud of...
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:54 AM on December 12, 2012

Yeah, even after just doing a little work on the lathe and drilling a hole I still run upstairs with the part, still oily, and force my wife to admire it.

At lot of hobbyists get CNC or even just digital readouts but I don't want any electronics or computers in my shop. I do that all day long. I want to get dirty slowly and at the end have a physical object that I know every crevice of.
posted by DU at 10:23 AM on December 12, 2012

That was...soothing. I am literally eating popcorn.
posted by UseyurBrain at 3:56 PM on December 12, 2012

"Theoretically, a lathe can build another lathe."

So, a hipster 3D printer?
posted by NordyneDefenceDynamics at 5:55 PM on December 12, 2012

Ummm...lathes have been around since the beginning of technology and the modern "screw-cutting" lathe since the 19th century.
posted by DU at 6:02 PM on December 12, 2012

I've been watching Keith all day... the tool chests he's been going through have made getting over this head-cold a lot easier.

You've hit all the great resources I'd otherwise mention. Thanks for sharing!
posted by MikeWarot at 8:57 PM on December 12, 2012

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