Machine Thinking

Not dead yet

It’s pretty sad but it seems about half of the comments on my videos lately are asking if I’m ok and checking in that I’m still in good health. The answer is thankfully yes, though Life things have come up and I did end up spending a lot of time this last year not working directly on videos for several unrelated but important reasons.

I am happy to say, I ALSO spent a lot of time working on videos. Several in fact. Three of them were derailed by the weird state of the world, but others are moving ahead.

However, these videos take a *tremendous* amount of time to research and make. Way more than I ever imagined and while it’s truly a joy to do and the biggest reason why I do it, I still have a different full time job so I only get to spend a few hours most days working on my videos. I often find I spend an entire evening researching one sentence I’m going to write to try and figure out what is ‘fair’ to say as I have to check many sources and try and decide which ones are ‘most’ correct (as often there are contradictions), or, as the video below says, try and find an expert to talk to which is a whole other rabbit hole. It’s really that slow.

When this video came out today, which is not mine but CGP Grey’s, the first six minutes (though I do recommend the whole thing as it later touches on other important points) sum up extremely well what the process is and all of the pitfalls. I highly recommend you check out at least that much to understand what goes on behind the scenes as it is laughably similar to what I’ve gone through. Each topic does indeed become a fractal that goes ever deeper and it’s also true the moment you publish a video every expert imaginable turns up. Still worth it though.

The latest video I’m working on has now actually split into 4 videos because there is just that much material to cover, and ever more the more I research. I’m in the final script stages now of a video that can’t be screwed up by the state of the world and other ones to follow so I hope you have something to enjoy quite soon!

And I hope you are healthy and doing well, too!

The Story of Iron

This video is “unlisted” on YouTube in that it does not show up on my channel. However, I’ve had many requests for it so I’m posting it publicly here. It does contain some very regrettable errors so please read the comments before posting your own correction. I’ve had too many teachers tell me they’ve used my videos in educational contexts to leave it on YouTube.

It was meant to be a follow up to the previous video, Iron from Sand which showed the process of making Iron from magnetite rich sand using mostly very early smelting techniques as done by the crew at The Crucible in Oakland, California. However, I didn’t want the follow up video to just be about the firepit they built from the iron they made but also to include, as I saw it, the real story of the creation of iron in massive stars. It blows my mind that every bit of iron we have was made this way, even useless bits of iron we throw away.

It was a lot of effort but unfortunately I couldn’t live with the errors being up so I pulled it. Rather than correct it I’ve decided for now to move on to other projects and I’m happy to say yes, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything but I have videos in the pipeline and I hope to have something out soon. Life sometimes gets in the way a bit but making videos, doing all the research and making relevant objects is still something I passionately love.

Shop Finally moved!

I’ve spent most of the last two months moving my shop. It was a huge effort and everything (except for a couple of motorcycles I still need to move) is at the new location. Of course the new location is highly disorganized and I need to get power to my machines but the hard work is done and I should be making chips again soon.

The new shop is much cleaner and nicer plus heated! Also, I won’t have other noisy shop neighbors so I can use more actual machine sounds in videos. Often they were playing music and it meant I couldn’t use the audio or I would get dinged for copyright.

Thank you all for your patience as I get all of this taken care of. More content on the way!

Below is a photo of the old shop. Viewers who watched closely might have recognized that my lathe was under where the two horizontal 2x4s are.

IRON from SAND

From January into the end of May I filmed 6 bloomery smelts at The Crucible in Oakland, California. Iron oxide is extracted from sand and then put into a charcoal burning furnace which has a reduction atmosphere. Here the iron get separated from the oxygen and combines into a bloom – a blob of iron ready for further processing by the blacksmiths. The iron was used in an art piece which will be featured in the next video.

Marble Machine X Engineering Team

I’ve joined the Engineering Team for the Marble Machine X! Part of the reason I haven’t posted any videos on my channel lately is I’m spending much of my free time in the shop working on this part for Martin. I’m almost done and will be shipping it off to him soon. He’ll post a video installing it and at the same time I’ll post my detailed video of making it.

Missing Origins of Precision footage

 

In my first video I would love to have used the footage from the above video from 3:23 to 3:39 as it is the only pre-Johansson gage footage I’ve been able to find.

However, British Pathé is claiming copyright of this footage, even though it dates back to World War I.   To license about 16 seconds it would cost nearly $600 even though this is for completely non-commercial educational usage which will not be monetized.  Ironically, I can freely link to the entire video for you to enjoy.

I strongly suspect they own the rights to the DIGITAL version they created from the original film stock (for which I am grateful they have preserved so much and made available on youtube) but do not own the rights to the original film footage.  Assuming I’m correct in this circumstance (it could still be in copyright by other mechanisms of UK law, in particular, if the creators died less than 70 years ago and the copyright was passed to British Pathe) this appears to be a quirk of UK copyright law which allows for digital versions to be copyrighted even though also under UK copyright law you’re not supposed to be able to be able to re-copyright material which has fallen into public domain.

They also claim copyright on this footage of a USA Miss America pageant clip which has me further confused how they can make that claim.

If someone who is familiar with UK copyright could shed some light on the topics here I’d love to know more.

If there is a copy of this WWI footage (film or digital) that is not copyrighted I’d be most grateful.

Another remarkable moment is the “knocker-upper”  man at the beginning waking the women to start their shift at the factory.  Before electricity and alarm clocks were common this was quite normal practice until the 1950s (or even 1970s) in some areas.