Are you looking for a hobby to take your mind off COVID-19? Relieve stress? Create an additional source of income?
Hobbies not only relieve stress, but they can also promote good stress, known as eustress. “Eustress is a positive type of stress that makes you excited about what you’re doing. The excitement you feel translates to your life in general.” Check out developgoodhabits.com to the “22 Benefits of Having a Hobby or Enjoying a Leisure Activity.”
Mabel resident and businessman Tim Mengis suggests finding an activity you enjoy. “Hobbies are supposed to be enjoyable. The first one might not be for you, so keep looking. I found golf too frustrating, so I rarely golf.”
It may not be a surprise to Mabel’s residents that Mengis has more than one hobby. One resident mentioned that when she sees a plane flying low over Mabel, she knows it is Mengis flying his small plane. He also enjoys Bob Ross type of painting and delves into a “little bit of wood carving” and pumpkin carving. When social distancing is not required during the cold winter months, Mengis and his friends take advantage of the high ceilings and space at the Mabel High School gymnasium to fly radio control planes and drones.
Mengis also enjoys creating tools, miniatures, and puzzles out of blocks of aluminum. This article is about Tim the Machinist.
As defined by Wikipedia, machining is “any of various processes in which a piece of raw material is cut into a desired final shape and size by a controlled material-removal process.”
Now for the interview.
1. Did you have any formal art training? “Not really. I had some art classes in college. However, back in the days of the VCR, I recorded several VCR tapes full of Bob Ross’ TV show.”
2. How did you get started making the churches, and how long have you been making them? “I started making the churches about 20 years ago after seeing the plans in a machining magazine that I subscribe to. I started making the larger church, which is about two inches long. When my son Alex was little, he liked anything tiny, so I reduced the church to half of the bigger church.”
3. What type of metal do you use in making the churches? “Two separate pieces of aluminum are used to make the churches. One is used to make the church’s main body, and the other makes the bell tower/ steeple.”
4. What else have you made? “A few other things I have made include a gyro, captured nut puzzle, barns (like the churches), accessories for the milling machine and lathe. I started working on a .22 caliber Gatling Gun from plans that I got.”
5. What equipment is required? “I have a small milling machine that uses end mills (drill bit looking things with a flat bottom). A few years ago, I got a small CNC milling machine that is operated by a computer. A drawing is made upon a computer, and the milling process is programmed to tell the machine what to do. It has been interesting and frustrating because I haven’t had a lot of time experimenting with it. I also have a metal lathe that makes things round. That’s what I made the captured nut puzzle with.”
6. What is the process used to make the churches? “The blocks of aluminum are clamped on a milling machine in different positions, and the features like the slope of the roof, the windows and door are then cut away with an end mill.”
7. How long does it take to make the churches? “If I make one at a time, it takes about 10 hours. I try to mill out all windows or the door on the same side and then do the same on the rest of the churches before moving to the next side. That saves some time with setting up the parts.”
8. What is a captured nut puzzle and a gyro? “The captured nut, also known as the impossible nut puzzle. It has a nut on threads in the middle of a round bar. If done correctly, it is hard to figure out how the nut got in the middle. The gyro is a toy that you wind a string around it and get it spinning, and it balances itself or doesn’t want to change directions.”
9. Why do you make them? “Many of the things I make or try to make are from plans. I have plans for several different projects, including a model radial engine and a small steam traction engine. I am fascinated by figuring out how things work together and try figuring out how to set up and machine apart. I still consider myself a beginner and always trying to learn. I’ve made plenty of mistakes (and still do) and try to figure out how to correct the error before starting over.”
10. Why machining? “I think I got my interest in machining from my dad, who was a master at tinkering. He had a small machine that had both a mill and lathe together. He worked on a few small projects on that too. His main passion was working on his airplane and doing more work with forming sheet metal.”
Do you have a hobby you would like to share with Fillmore County Journal readers? If so please contact the Fillmore County Journal at firstname.lastname@example.org.