They just don't get it

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Greg_Lewis
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Location: Fresno, CA

They just don't get it

Post by Greg_Lewis » Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:06 am

I had a visitor to my shop the other day, looking at the slow progress of old # 26 ½. At this point, the engine will run, sans cab, and the tender is nearing completion with all the major components complete.

I don’t like to brag so my wife is the person who drags visitors out to my shop to show off the project. As my biggest fan, she was explaining to a recent guest how I’ve made all the parts from scratch. She pointed out that the hinges on the tender toolbox, the tender trucks, drivers and side rods, and on and on, are all hand-made by her hubby.

But scratch building is an idea that some folks just don’t get. The visitor said something about, “or you could get a kit.”

“No,” I explained. “There aren’t any kits. You make it all yourself.”

The conversation went on for another minute or so and again, our visitor said something about kits. And again, I reminded her that there aren’t any kits. I don’t think she got it.

This hasn’t been the first time. Some time ago, I had explained to a gentleman visitor that I make all the parts and enjoy doing it. To me the fun is looking at the original and figuring out how to recreate it in 1/8 size. Even though all my machine tools, welding gear and stock rack are in plain sight, another minute into the conversation he said, “Where do you get parts?”

“I make them,” I replied. We went on and again, a few minutes later, he said, “It must be tough getting parts.” Oh well.

I guess that’s a reflection in the change of our society. If you look at old Popular Mechanics and similar magazines from 75 or so years ago, many of the articles were how-to pieces about creating something useful out of raw materials. Today, such content is rare, perhaps reflecting a change in what most people do with their time. I don’t think there is all that much making of things across our culture any more and, obviously, most folks have a hard time understanding that you really can make something from scratch.
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of the dull toolbit.
Our motto: "That looks about right."
Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

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FLSTEAM
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Re: They just don't get it

Post by FLSTEAM » Sun Jan 25, 2015 7:06 am

Funny you should post this. Just yesterday I had a guy (not a train guy) stop buy. I invited him out to my shop. You could have been writing about my visiter.............

John B.
http://www.ngshay.com/
Shay drawings and castings

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ccvstmr
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Location: New Lenox, IL

Re: They just don't get it

Post by ccvstmr » Sun Jan 25, 2015 7:49 am

A more common occurrence is trying to explain our hobby to the non-large scale model railroading oriented people. When they hear miniature trains...they think of something that runs around on a plywood table table top. No...our trains are a little larger...you can sit on these. The next response is usually something akin to...oh, like a Kiddieland train? Well, yes, but not that large.

For whatever reason, people have a hard time visualizing something (relatively small) that we can still sit on and ride. Or in a few special places, get out and operate trains like a real railroad with freight car switching, passenger trains running on schedule...and in some cases, an unscheduled military train running about to get in your way. Steam locos are miniature versions of the real deal...without all the valves and handles in a real loco cab.

I'm with you, Greg. The "fun" of this hobby is creating something not readily available or ready-to-run off the shelf. While I'm in the process of "carving" some alum window frames for a caboose rebuild...that's the kind of thing I'd rather purchase and adapt, instead of cutting everything away from a piece of raw stock that doesn't look like the window I want. On occasion, I'll sacrifice exact scale dimensions for something already available. It's a time vs money kind of thing. And as we get older...time becomes more valuable than money. My worst fear....have too many unfinished projects that I couldn't complete before my clock runs out. Greg...I think it's great you've got a wife that understands what it takes to visualize components, make the parts and can appreciate the effort that goes into the entire process from design to fabrication. She sounds like a "keeper". Take care of that woman Greg!

Okay, now back to some chip making! Carl B.
Life is like a sewer...what you get out of it depends on what you put into it!
I don't walk on water...I just learned where some of the stepping stones are!
I love mankind...it's some of the people I can't stand!

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Fred_V
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Re: They just don't get it

Post by Fred_V » Sun Jan 25, 2015 9:20 am

Most people are dumbfounded by what we do so all they can do is blurb out something stupid like "awesome".
Fred V
Pensacola, Fl.

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John_S
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Re: They just don't get it

Post by John_S » Sun Jan 25, 2015 9:26 am

ccvstmr wrote:A more common occurrence is trying to explain our hobby to the non-large scale model railroading oriented people. When they hear miniature trains...they think of something that runs around on a plywood table table top. No...our trains are a little larger...you can sit on these. The next response is usually something akin to...oh, like a Kiddieland train? Well, yes, but not that large.
This is when the era of smartphones helps. I always have access to live steam photos right then and there to show someone who's not "getting it" when describing our hobby.

I too have had folks ask about parts and kits and not understand that most of what we build is, in fact, made from plain old pieces of metal stock.

An analogy I like to use is that 30 years ago when I was a kid our Legos were nothing more than basic shapes: square block, rectangle block, etc. We'd sit for hours and build things with these and call them cars or houses or whatever. Look at Lego sets today. They have thousands of custom pieces, i.e. universal joints! There's no imagination anymore, just follow the instructions and put all the pre-made pieces together and there it is -- nothing left to the imagination. (And you can't use those pieces for anything else!)

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Harlock
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Re: They just don't get it

Post by Harlock » Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:55 am

If I show them the machine tools and parts in progress then it usually sinks in. All of them are typically unfamiliar with how you make things out of metal.

Sometimes we have house parties and various random people are over and sometimes they have kids with them. My favorite thing to do is say "Do you like trains?" And I usually get a nod yes. so I take them to the garage and they are -never- expecting anything that big! Always fun to get the reaction.

Or "Yea I build model trains..." and they are expecting tabletop electric mice stuff.

really my favorite thing lately has been to expose new people to it. They are always amazed by the tracks, the trains and the dedication of us crazy people who do all this. One day I'll get someone interested enough to recruit them! hee hee.

-M
San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
Product Development and E-Commerce, Allen Models of Nevada

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LVRR2095
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Re: They just don't get it

Post by LVRR2095 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:47 pm

I have had guests visiting and when they saw the live steam locomotives they said...."Gee I never knew Lionel made them that big!"

Keith

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Greg_Lewis
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Re: They just don't get it

Post by Greg_Lewis » Sun Jan 25, 2015 3:30 pm

LVRR2095 wrote:I have had guests visiting and when they saw the live steam locomotives they said...."Gee I never knew Lionel made them that big!"

Keith
I'm also reminded of the time a 10-year-old boy new to the neighborhood saw my engine for the first time.
He was uncharacteristically quiet and after a long look, he asked, "Where's the remote?"
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of the dull toolbit.
Our motto: "That looks about right."
Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

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Pipescs
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Location: Lester Alabama

Re: They just don't get it

Post by Pipescs » Sun Jan 25, 2015 3:45 pm

An analogy I like to use is that 30 years ago when I was a kid our Legos were nothing more than basic shapes: square block, rectangle block, etc. We'd sit for hours and build things with these and call them cars or houses or whatever. Look at Lego sets today. They have thousands of custom pieces, i.e. universal joints! There's no imagination anymore, just follow the instructions and put all the pre-made pieces together and there it is -- nothing left to the imagination. (And you can't use those pieces for anything else!)
Funny You should say this. This was the whole plot of the recent Lego Movie for kids. It was the battle of the imagination people wanting to become master builders and those evil beings trying to say that you must follow the instructions and show no imagination.
Charlie Pipes
USMC Retired

Current Projects:

2.5 Baldwin 2-4-2/2-4-4/0-4-4 Conversion (What ever)
Little Engines American Restoration
Bobber Caboose

James Powell
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Re: They just don't get it

Post by James Powell » Sun Jan 25, 2015 3:52 pm

John_S wrote: An analogy I like to use is that 30 years ago when I was a kid our Legos were nothing more than basic shapes: square block, rectangle block, etc. We'd sit for hours and build things with these and call them cars or houses or whatever. Look at Lego sets today. They have thousands of custom pieces, i.e. universal joints!
Lego U joints date to the 70's, and you had better believe that it can still be used as a building toy just like before. Just because there is something like 10 000 active elements in lego, doesn't mean that it doesn't require engaging brain before building.

ImageDSC02122 by Peach James, on Flickr

(yes, that is my basement)

James

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Sandiapaul
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Re: They just don't get it

Post by Sandiapaul » Sun Jan 25, 2015 4:22 pm

Back when I was in high school my dad and I and my best friend took our 1" Pacific to an outdoor public event(not train oriented). We had the engine fired up but just jacked up and running on a stand. My friend and I were tending to the fire and water and lo and behold our high school English teacher shows up. She was considered quite a tough and somewhat dour teacher, who of course was a strict grammartarian and was always very "proper". There was the usual type of conversation referred to above and then she asked what it ran on. She didn't quite believe us when we told it had a coal fire. So we decided to just show her and we opened the firebox door and showed here the fire. Her response was: "I'll be G_ _ Da _ _ed!" The two of us nearly died! Of course this was back when people's every third word was not a cuss word, and to hear your English teacher say it was even more surprising!

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PSeyfrit
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Re: They just don't get it

Post by PSeyfrit » Sun Jan 25, 2015 4:51 pm

Our club used to go to an off site event where we ran a few hundred feet in a straight line hauling passengers. I would have people ask (as the safeties were lifting and smoke pouring out of the stack) "where is the engine hidden?" Or my favorite "where did you find the miniature fake coal for the tender?" Like the others I had to show him the fire as I shoveled the "fake" coal in.
Paul
Maryland
Club website http://calslivesteam.org

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