The Blacklight Candelabra: Dewey Decimal System

Create three 3-digit numbers using your selections from the first step.
Next, visit this Dewey Decimal System website and find the subjects that match your three digit numbers.

My number is 671 – Metalworking and metal products.

Tool School

The infamous Blacklight Candelabra means it well with me together with the Dewey Decimal System. I choose three random numbers and I arrive in the world of metal. I worked in the world of metal for thirty years as an export clerk. I was not up to my arms in metal shavings as shown in the photo. The photo shows the remains of the metal working process, the metal that was no-longer needed. there was a bar of metal, a rod or a block at the beginning which no-one could use. It had to be shaped and so it was shaped with various end mills.

Ok, you are confused. My employer manufactured the end mills in various shapes and sizes according to the work to be done. Metal is not just metal, it comes in various flavours. The basic flavour would carry rust if got wet, so it was refined with other ingredients. For the sake of simplification we called it HSS meaning high speed steel. In the beginning metal was created, but refined, had additions to make it stronger, perhaps more pliable, to suit the operation the end mill would perform.

And so the end mill was made to shape the metal to form the mould that a company needed. Take a look in the bathroom and what do you see. Perhaps a towel hanger, a tap, even a shower head. These things do not appear with the wave of a magic wand, they are formed from metal and so again to the beginning. The rod or bar or lump is cut, but with what. With a suitable milling tool inserted in a machine, a special machine. The excitement then begins forming the raw form. There is much noise the metal screaming as the mill ploughs through the surface. I am burning cries the metal and so it is simultaneously cooled with a liquid addition. Water, yes, but mixed with oil. I never did find out why, but probably to do with the friction caused on the surface and the oil made it nice and slippery and there was no traffic jam in the machine.

Various end mills are employed according to the shape of what you wanted to make. A metal mould might be created for pouring the liquid metal into it in the shape of your bathroom appliances, or even a kitchen machine. Like a cake, various ingredients must be added to the end mill to achieve the perfect result. You get to the part where we talk about tungsten carbide, or perhaps the cobalt content may be raised from 5% to 10% in the end mill. No this is too technical, I am to explain the world of metal.

Not all mills can be called end, they are the straight rigid ones. The ones with a shank and the fancy bit at the end for milling. Some are round and flat, some are cone shaped, but they all do the work, eaten metal to make a form.

There is also something called a tap and dye not to be omitted in the world of metal. You buy a screw and want it to fit. Have you ever thought how many threads there are to be screwed (in a metallurgical way of course). There are thousands and so the taps and dress are made in thousands of forms. The difference between the two: a tap is long and bores into the metal making an internal thread such as a nut, and the dye carves the thread around the metal forming a screw.

If you fall and break your arm the magical metal titanium will be screwed into the broken bones to keep it together. Oh I remember the wonderful photos of my left arm taken at the hospital showing the interior decorations of 15 screws and a metal plate keeping it all together. This was six years ago and my arm is still in one piece, thanks to titanium.

Of course there are casualties in the metal working business and you can see the remains of the work in the photo. These twiddly shiny decorative metal remains are not buried and put to rest forever, nor do they pollute the surroundings. The are renewed, rehashed, redone and brought to a new life by melting them down and reuse. Do not ask me how, I was only an office worker sending the end mills to other countries where they were applied to make steel forms, bathroom taps. I remember an agricultural organisation in Holland that used the end mills for shaping the hooves of cows.

I took many photos, the men in the department wondering what an office worker was doing hopping around their department in all sorts of positions trying to get the correct setting for her camera. Am I boring you? Probably, but this was my life for many years. I still have memories of the waft of oil and metal in my nose and the scraping noises of metal against metal, or the saw with its rhythmic back and forth sawing the bars and rods to the suitable size. Oh happy days.

Tool School

The Blacklight Candelabra: Dewey Decimal System – Metalworking and Metal products

Daily Prompt

10 thoughts on “The Blacklight Candelabra: Dewey Decimal System

  1. Who knew metal working could be so interesting? I feel enlightened. Thank you. I worked with EBMud (East Bay Municipal Utility District — sewer and water for Berkeley and Oakland, California) … and with a paper mill … and in planning a satellite catcher for NASA (it didn’t work and the astronauts had to just grab it by hand), a radar system. All kinds of stuff and each time, I learned something in which no one is the least bit interested, but I am interested. I have a head full of information and no use for it — which is why I sometimes stick it in a post for no reason except, why not ? This was fun!

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    • I had to be careful not to get too boring. I did a lot of translations and interpretations for visitors from other countries. I followed a lot of new developments. When I began tungsten carbide was something special and when I finished it was the normal daily practice. There were various coatings for the tools to strengthen them. I remember the TiN coating which gave them a gold surface. TiCN coating gave them a slight violet tinge etc. etc. My son No. 1 also works in the metal business in a factory. He applies the tools we made. He is autistic, but did a special apprenticeship.

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  4. Ha! I see what you did here. Interesting take. I’m afraid mine might have been a little cliche, though deeply expressive of my ideas. When it comes around again (and it will), I’ll have to do something else.

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