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18 November 2006

where's the nearest home depot?

we are in dire need of a depth micrometer and a 1"-drive, 46mm socket. if you don't know what the micrometer is, it's not important, but you can probably check wikipedia for a detailed description. nevertheless, it is used for precision measurements to .001", and i repeat, we need one. being as i said the other day that there is nothing but sand for miles around, getting tools here is almost as bad if not the same as in india, EXCEPT that in india, they made what they needed no matter how crude. this site has a very good safety program in place so they don't allow making your own tools onsite.

over the past week, we've found out the soonest we can get the socket is about 3 weeks from the UK including customs clearing time, or 2.5 weeks from the UK carried in someone's suitcase. yesterday, we decided to take a random and rarely used 1" socket and cut the sockket part off of it. we also cut the bolt part of a 3/4"-drive, 46mm socket off and welded those two pieces together with a piece of pipe in the middle (so it's deep enough for the tall bolts). then they ground off the weld build up and no safety person is any the wiser. ah, emergency ingenuity.

this leads me to another pseudo-funny anecdote. this one about the micrometer. the equipment manager onsite is in charge of getting the tools we need as fast and cost efficient as possible, but as far behind as this job is, speed is heavily weighted over cost. he tried the more usual routes like looking them up in mcmaster-carr (super tool catalog) and whatnot to no avail. his final solution... a 5 euro bid for one on ebay. granted, he WAS thinking outside the box which can be good in such a position, but EBAY!!! there wasn't even a "buy it now" button so we are waiting 5 days, 17 hours, and 4 minutes to see if we get this cheapo knockoff micrometer from ebay. the poor guy (he's indian, so i'm showing SOME sympathy which is new considering my experience with them) gets razzed about it daily. he just chuckles along with everyone else while inside he's trying to figure out if the over head light in his room can support his weight. like i said, poor


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