Atlantic Illumination Entertainment Lighting

AIEL Instructional



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Tech Tips

The
FRUGAL TECH

Being Conscientious
and Thrifty in the
21st Century

    Despite the push toward environmental awareness, we are still too much of a throw-away society. Yet consumers want the lowest possible price. Disposing of useful items and keeping prices low really do not go together. Presented below is advice that can see your business being more friendly to the environment and still save money -- either for yourself, your employer or a client.



THE FOLLOWING MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED
WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM THE AUTHOR ©


The Nickel & Dime Approach

    For a tech to be competitive, continually dicarding equipment and buying new replacements is not always going to be cost effective. Employing the money-saving suggestions here will result in cost reductions for the stage lighting shop, but one may adapt them for general business, too. Some tips will be obvious to the experienced, but for the newbie what is read here will be shortcuts to being more financially efficient.

    Some will say after looking at these suggestions, "It's not worth it to save $10.00 or 10 minutes." These persons have not considered that if these techniques are applied to 10 items and tasks, $100.00 and one hour and forty minutes will be saved. Doing this 100 times in a year yields savings of $10,000 and more than 20 eight-hour days. Perhaps for a large company this might be ignored, but for a small one or an individual working at home, the savings are very welcomed.


  Topics

Reuse, Repair, Refurbish    Obtain "Obsolete" Equipment
Buy Supplies Wisely
Stock Up on Sale Items    Replacement Lamp Savings
A Sprayer Per Product
A Larger Shop?    Only Metric Tools



  1.  

      * Reuse * Repair * Refurbish *

        If you are considering the replacement of a piece of equipment with the same type and don't need additional features or strengths, refurbish what you have. Despite the high cost of shop labour in developed countries, it can still be cheaper to do so. This idea can be also be applied to tools and hardware.

        Another factor is the quality of current replacements versus the quality of what you have. So many poorly designed and cheaply made goods permeate the industry today that many are not as good new as what you already possess used. This is particularly true of tools and hardware, but also applies to lighting instruments, dimming equipment, and to accessories. If you do want quality, it's usually very expensive. Weigh these costs against refurbishing your existing inventory.

    Change your Attitude and Realise that Older
    Equipment is a Resource Rather than a Detriment.

        Labour costs to redo what you already have can be held in check if one takes the time to study the situation. Determine the feasibility by noting the hours spent from start to completion for overhauling a single item, then multiply that times the wages per hour of the person(s) doing the work. If the total does not exceed the cost of buying new, then do the same work on future items. Keep notes of the time spent on each and every item as it is overhauled along with the date of overhaul. Of course, if the savings amount to only a few dollars, refurbishment may not be worth it. I place an arbitrary 75% cutoff: If the work and parts cost exceeds 75% of the new price, it likely won't be done.

        There are exceptions to the 75% figure:
    1. Rental Recovery   If the item can be rented out to recover
      some of the cost before selling it, then the refurbishment
      is carried out. The main reason for this is I dislike waste
      and don't want to throw out old, but usable, equipment, so
      it gets repaired/refurbished and is put into rental stock.
      Eventually, rentals will pay for the repair and then the
      equipment can be kept for additional rental income or it
      can be sold to needy groups or individuals that cannot
      afford to buy new.

    2. Customer Satisfaction   The above leads to another
      exception: The Satisfaction of Customers. Sometimes
      equipment is refurbished for no other reason than to sell
      a usable item to a customer for a low price because he,
      she, or they do not have the budget to buy new, or even to
      purchase good quality used. Monetarily, it may not be a big
      pay-off, but it satisfies a niche of customers that hopefully
      will continue to deal with us as opposed to going elsewhere.
      It's good too, because it is yet another item that doesn't
      get thrown out. It continues to be useful through providing
      service, and thus it stays out of a landfill.

        Equipment that is too far gone gets stripped for parts, and those parts are then restored as required by other gear. Equipment should be considered on an individual basis though, because other factors may result in some things being redone despite the cost. A favoured or sentimental item might be one example. Another is if you want a museum piece for a showroom and wish to have it look and operate as new -- perhaps to be rented as a period-piece for motion pictue purposes. (Peruse Equipment Maintenance in Shop Tips for equipment restoration procedures.)

        Regarding small items and hardware parts, clean them instead of buying new. Use a variable-speed bench grinder with a wire brush attachment to buff hardware back to like new. If a grinder is unavailable, use an electric drill with a locking trigger and a wire brush accessory. Secure the drill in a vise, start it and lock it on. Using a pair of pliers to hold each item, buff away. The pliers will give a better grip and keep fingers away from moving parts. (Remember safety goggles or a face shield; wire bristles can, and do, fly off during buffing.) Coat buffed metal items with a light oil and return to stock or reattach to equipment being overhauled.

        Even plastic can be buffed if it is tough enough. Instead of a steel wire brush, use the side of a brass one to lightly remove dirt and unwanted paint. Brass is easier on the parts being buffed because it is a softer metal than steel. Solvents can be incorporated provided they don't melt the plastic surface too drastically. Even at that, wipe in one direction to give the renewed surface some semblance of uniformity. Finish up with a coating of ArmorAll or an equivalent surface conditioner. (Be certain to have good ventilation when using solvents and to test the plastic in an unobtrusive spot before applying any such fluids.) (See our Lubricants and Solvents Guide.)


        Some of you may be thinking: "Why should I take the time to
    buff a 10-cent part?" Again, do the mathematics regarding the
    price of the new item versus the labour cost to restore a used one.
    As an illustration, let us consider a $15 per hour labour rate for
    junior shop personnel. That works out to be 25 cents a minute. One
    need only buff three 10-cent pieces of hardware a minute to be
    economically favourable when overhauling versus buying new. In our
    shop, workers can average eight or more hardware pieces a minute.
    So even at $20 an hour for that person, we are still well ahead.

        Remember The Nickle & Dime Approach; the savings on just
    this one item over the run of a year or multiple years add up.
    Now consider these little savings for many items over many years
    and the amount can be quite large. It's akin to a big manufacturer
    saving a dollar on a part. It's nothing to a multi-million-dollar
    company, but if 100,000 of these parts are used, the savings
    would cover quite a few other expenses.

              Savings begin with nickels and dimes, people.

        Further to the idea of refurbishing parts, if a retail $48/hour charge-out rate is considered, it's still feasible at that volume of items. For more expensive things, this returns even more for the time invested, even though these parts may take longer to work upon. Take a $10 tilt-lock knob. Only five of those an hour justifies the cost of their refurbishment. (One of our shop staff can easily do six to ten in that time.)

        Regarding the retail charge-out, refurbishment is done during slow periods when customer work is not being done, so we don't actually figure that rate into an overhaul cost. I only mention it for those readers that may calculate a retail time value for in-house shop work. Regardless, if the value of that overhauled item exceeds parts cost and staff wages, one is ahead.

        Another Example: It typically takes us four to eight man hours to carefully and completely refurbish a 150mm ellipsoidal depending on its condition. This is to disassemble, strip or buff the parts, repair, paint, reassemble, lubricate and align it. Even at a company charge-out rate of $48 an hour, refurbishment labour calculates to a $192 to $384 retail value. An equivalent new light might be $500 or higher. Multiply that by ten lights and the cost difference is around $1200 to $3100. That is enough to buy about two to six new $500 lights. If one considers the actual wages paid to shop staff or yourself, the savings are even higher. (You should always consider yourself to be an employee of yourself and receive shop wages for your work-- or at least figure them into the cost.)

        Realise too, that with practice or when overhauling groups of fixtures at the same time, efficiency increases so the overhaul time per light can be reduced considerably. Even when the cost of typical replacement parts are brought into the calculations, it's rare that it is not worth it. Even if it's not, we can put these lights into rental inventory and easily get back the cost of refurbishment.

        Redoing equipment or even small items over a given year can keep rental rates in check. This is especially important to theatre groups and small bands with little to no budget. It can also make your fees for a full-scale show low enough to compete (without hardship) against companies and individuals that must recoup the cost of new equipment. Remember: The key to this method is that your older equipment must perform and be as reliable as new. So do your restorations carefully and completely, and pay attention to small details.

        Something else to consider is that few lay persons (read: clients) know lighting fixtures; if they appear and perform as new, those persons will think that they are. Don't take this as an indication that refurbishment is done to deceive; it's simply that well-performing equipment has no age.

        As an example, a few years ago I was installing some fully refurbished lights into a theatre venue. While a set of them was sitting on the floor waiting to be hung, the venue's assistant manager happened by -- he thought the lights were brand new. They were at least 20 to 25 years old!


  2.  

      Obtain "Obsolete" Equipment

        Manufacturers push lighting products, as do other industries, toward *New* *Improved* *Better*, while dissuading users against that which they currently have. They condition consumers to believe that old is useless. However, differing types and features aside, a light is a light is a light, and each projects illumination on to a stage. Few clients know what is modern and what is not -- and few even seem to care. They are absorbed with other aspects of their productions and rarely take the time to notice. As long as the lighting operates and looks as they envision, they are happy.

        So with all this in mind, seek out older, used equipment -- even that which is not in perfect condition. Educate yourself as to what can be refurbished at a competitive cost so you will become a better buyer. If equipment is restored so that it looks and performs as new, it can be very useful. Doing so can maintain lower prices for you compared to companies and individuals that must cover the cost of expensive, new equipment -- and the continual replacement of the same.

        A good case is the groundrow fixture. With the growing popularity of LED cyclorama-wash units, one can find incandescent and quartz groundrow (and border) lights for a good price. Large, 200mm ellipsoidals are also easy to find. They have been replaced with more efficient and smaller units, but those big, old fixtures cast a lot of light (even with lower wattage lamps) because of their large lens and reflector sizes. They simply need to be overhauled (or at least cleaned and lubricated), and an alignment performed to become a workhorse fixture in a permanent venue. (These fixtures are a little too large and heavy to be considered for inclusion in a touring light rig.)

        Some of you will bring up the issue of reliability regarding older equipment, but this is only relevant if that equipment is not properly preserved. It is not relevant at all for that which has been thoroughly and entirely restored. In many cases, little work other than cleaning, lubrication, alignment, and perhaps some hardware replacements or rewiring, will be required to have extremely usable, older gear.
    If refurbished carefully, older equipment should be
    able to perform as new and be just as reliable.

  3.  

      Buy Supplies Wisely

        One must have some parts in stock because it's a nuisance to go out to get things as needed. It's expensive too, because buying them one-off costs more than in quantity. The question is: "How do I know which items and how many of them to buy?" Unless you are experienced in repairs and/or overhaul, you won't know. Even asking someone may not help because that person will likely have different criteria than you when it comes to generalities. Yet, you must have a good selection on hand.

        For specific fixture and accessory parts, the answer is easier because you can ask that experienced person which ones fail the most often, and then buy accordingly. You can also observe lights, dimmers and accessories in the field to see which are in the worst shape. After a while, a pattern will become evident that will determine which parts to stock. You can also buy up old equipment for parts and use those, or even use ones from newer equipment and then replace them with new or used ones later on.

        For common hardware parts, one solution is to buy assortments of nuts, bolts, washers, springs, and so on. These typically come in transparent, compartmentalised boxes. Buy a number of different assortments to have for stock. Store them in an organised manner and begin to track the hardware used most. Then buy only those individual types and sizes of which you run out the fastest. The "assortment" method guarantees that you'll have most all sizes in stock for the odd time a less-often-required part is necessary. Of course, you'll save money in the long run because the majority of replacements will be those used most, and they will eventually be purchased in quantity, so the price will be lower.


  4.  

    (Image Left: Retail Sale Tags)
      Stock Up on Sale Items

        Consumable supplies that you use during the year as a tech can add up to be a major expense, but they must be purchased in order to do your job. Whenever your suppliers have these items at less than the regular price, buy as many as you can afford -- even if you don't need them right then. It may be more than you want to spend in the short run, but over the time of a year, your consumables can come to cost you far less. Compare this cost to buying items only whenever you run out. Most often you will be paying higher prices for the latter because the quantities purchased will be smaller. Plus, consider the time, expense and frustration when having to go out to get an item versus having one already in stock and near to hand.

        If you are close to running out, buy only enough to last until the next sale. Considering this, keep a usage log, or at least note when supplies of a particular item are running low. Add each item to a "shopping list" which you will take with you whenever you go out to buy things. Each trip, compare the list entries with what is on sale and buy accordingly. If you buy a lot from a variety of suppliers, make separate lists for "Electrical", "Electronics", "Hardware", etc, and take them with you whenever you go out or go to make up an order.

        Shopping lists are best kept in a computer file. Keep a master list of items and copy & paste items into a "To Buy" list as the items become depleted. When you go to take the list with you, it can be either a printed paper copy or an electronic one dumped into a personal organiser or cell phone.


  5.  

    (Image Left: HPL Lamp)
      Lamp Savings

        Replacement lamps are an ongoing expense for any lighting
    person that maintains, or is responsible for maintainence of,
    light fixtures. Here are some tips to lower that cost.
    • Use Long-Life Lamps
      If available, and reduced light output and/or colour
      temperature is not an issue, buy 2000-hour, or more,
      lamps. High output, non arc-source lamps last less
      than 1000 hours. Some very high output lamps last only
      25 hours. 2000-hour lamps will cost more initially but
      pay for themselves over their life.

    • Lower the Socket Voltage
      A 10-percent drop in socket voltage via dimmer trimming
      boosts life of incandescent/quartz lamps by 400%. At
      this voltage other factors may be unwelcome, though.
      Typically, the following is what happens when socket
      voltage is reduced to 90% of rated lamp voltage:


      85% Wattage Consumed
      82% Efficiency (Lumens per Watt)
      70% Light Output
      -100 Degrees Lower Colour Temperature

      Except for wattage, the others may not be acceptable,
      especially light output. One can compromise by limiting
      voltage to a 5% drop, though. This will boost lamp life
      to about 200% while still giving a light output of 85%.

    • Maintain Fixture Sockets
      Nothing kills lamp life more quickly than tarnished
      sockets. Always inspect burnout lamp bases and the
      sockets from which they are removed. Any that are dark
      or corroded need to be buffed or replaced. Also have a
      look at heat dissipation to be sure the sockets are well
      ventilated. Be sure to burn fixtures socket down whenever
      possible. A clue that heat is excessive is discolouration
      of the lamp base and/or socket.

    • Give Lamps a Break
      During rehearsals when there is a pause for a director
      to speak with actors or musicians, tech crew, etc., lower
      the board master to half. It keeps light on the stage and
      maintains the scene, but this increases the service life
      of lamps, gels and fixtures. It may not seem much, but
      added up over the years, it can be significant.
  6.  

    (Image Left: Trigger Spray Bottle)
      Buy Only One Spray Dispenser Per Product

        For any liquids that you spray or otherwise dispense by pump, buy just one dispenser bottle per product, per work station -- say in a 100ml to 500ml size. After that, only purchase volume quantities of their contents. Common products such as soaps, hand lotions, glass cleaners, multipurpose cleaners, disinfectants, polishes, solvents, lubricants and others can be bought in one to five litre jugs, if not even larger. Simply refill each sprayer or dispenser as required from your bulk supply.

        As for the sprayers, go to a janitorial supply company and buy spray bottles from there. They are typically cheaper and they tend to be more robust. Using the same bottle type will standardise your spray/pump dispenser collection. I like the trigger type the best. Ensure that sprayers can be set to `Off', `Stream' or `Mist'. Also check that each is rated for the products you intend to use. Some liquids such as solvents and oils may melt or deform both the bottle and spray head, and/or cause the latter's mechanism to bind or seize.

        Try to buy different coloured sprayer heads when possible. If not, on a dry bottle wind a strip of coloured electrical tape around the entire circumference as well as labelling what is inside. Colour coding the bottles makes it less likely to inadvertently use the wrong product. Suggested colours are:
  • Solvents:              Red
  • Multipurpose Cleaner:  Yellow
  • Disinfectants:         Green
  • Glass Cleaner:         Blue
  • Lubricants:            Orange
  • Oils:                  Brown
  • Polishes:              White

    To have these products last longer, dilute them. Some concentrations may be stronger than your requirements dictate. In particular, water-based liquids can be diluted with ordinary tap water unless that water is excessively hard. Experiment to find which dilution ratio works well. Start by adding 5 or 10% water to soaps, hand lotions and cleaners. This will stretch your budget while introducing smaller quantities of these items into the environment. Be aware that glass cleaners may leave streaks if diluted with tap water; the method here is to use distilled water. Dilute the spray bottle contents so that you can test the ratio with that quantity rather than possibly over-diluting the bulk quantity. This also ensures that one still has the full-strength product available for when it might be needed.

TIP: If cleaner or soap nozzles develop clogs or
their mechanisms become sluggish, they can often be
cleaned by pumping hot water through them and/or by
inserting a small-diameter pin into the nozzle opening.


  1.  

      A Larger Shop?

        For you freelance techs that have your own shops, I am willing to bet that most are smaller stand-alone operations, or are simply an area in your home or garage. Here are ways to keep from having to buy or rent a larger shop space. Rental and construction/renovation costs have not gone down, so reorganise to make more efficient usage of the space you currently have.

    • Give Away / Recycle / Throw Out Deteriorated Whatevers.   Take a thorough look at your shop inventory. How many items have lain around for years that never get used for one reason or another? If they can't be put to use because they have deteriorated too much, can't be stripped for parts, nor placed into storage elsewhere, consider throwing them out. Better yet, give them away to someone starting out. That person can put more labour into them than it's worth to you because, while he or she cannot afford to buy those items, he or she may well have the time to fix them.

          Otherwise, recycle what you can before throwing out the rest. Remember that metals can bring in money. For one trip to the scrap yard, recovered metal salvaged from around our shop was cashed in and garnered just under $80 in scrap value. The bulk was steel, but there were copper and aluminum too. $80 was almost a tank of fuel for the company cargo van. Some metals, such as copper, command amazingly high prices on the salvage market. Take the time to strip the metals of fabric, plastics or other. Clean metal nets much higher prices from scrap dealers.

          Not sure that you want to get rid of an item or three? It's best to hang on to these if you have the space. At the next shop inventory point, consider them again. Few feelings are worse than down the road regretting having gotten rid of something you once possessed. Don't end up singing an "I used to own one of those" lament; keep these items, but store them out of the way. This latter point is discussed next.


    • Move Anything Not Used in the Past Two to Five Years to Upper or Out-of-the-Way Locations.   This is for things that you definitely want to keep but that are not presently being used. Having to move them out of the way or reach over top of them is not conducive to an efficient workplace. Besides being in the way, they take up valuable space in a shop that may seem to get smaller as each year passes. This adds frustration to one's day. It can increase the time to complete projects through procrastination generated by not wanting to work among clutter. A simple repositioning of items not frequently used in favour of those that currently are, can do wonders.


    • (Image Left: Retail Sale Tags)  Store/Sell Anything Not Used in More Than Five Years.   Five years is a long time. If you have unused items that are sitting somewhere for no other reason than that is where they have always been, it's time to move them into storage, or to consider their sale. This point relates to more valuable items that you don't wish to give away, recycle or throw out. If they still have worth or might in the future, be sure to protect them in plastic when storing.


    • Locate Nearest to Hand the Items Used Most Often.   Why stretch for or walk to things you use every day or week? Position them closer to your principal task area. This mainly applies to tools or service equipment hanging on the wall above a bench or work area. Arrange for those most frequently used to be near the work that requires them.


    • Duplicate Items Used in More than One Area.   If there are several work areas and you find yourself leaving one to get one or more things from another, then duplicate those items in both areas. This depends upon available room, of course, but typical items that we have in multiple locations are tools, hardware, lubricants and solvents.


    • Clear Out the Shop and Start from Bare.   A good way to reorganise and to implement the above suggestions is to move out everything and then clean (and repaint, if possible) what remains. Reorganise benches, shelves and electrical power. Things will turn up. They may be those lost items you sought so long ago (or even recently!) This will also be a chance to inventory and catrgorise your items, and to then list them in a binder or on a computer.

            Begin to replace things back into the shop. You can now decide what you actually use on a regular basis, and for the rest you will find out quickly what is necessary and what isn't. While doing this procedure, apply all the previous suggestions to each item. So for what is not brought into the work area, after contemplating each item, place it into one of these piles: "Store", "Sell", "Give-Away", "Recycle", Throw Out". You may surprise yourself with the amount of shop space you can achieve. Even if you keep everything, it would be rare that a reorganisation would not result in more available space. At the minimum, the reorganisation should make for a more pleasant work environment.


    • (Image Left: Steel Pan Shelving)  To Gain more Floor Space, Build or Buy Shelving.   If upper wall space is unused, put shelves there -- right to near the ceiling. The latter may seem excessive, but available shelf space will always become used. Think about dividing those shelves by installing compartments and also placing in-between shelves for smaller/thinner items. Hang a step ladder close by if these shelves become higher than one can reach from the floor. Test that the shelves and mounting brackets can handle the weight of stored items.


    • (Image Left: Tools on Pegboard)  Hang Up Items.   Some things are better hung on walls, posts or bench ends than stored on shelves or in drawers. Of course, this already applies to tools, lighting equipment and cables, but also to other items. Think about hanging up product dispensers for tape and solder; installing a literature rack for shop manuals or sand paper grades; mounting pairs of brackets to grip and spread open garbage and recycling bags for easy, one-handed access; or screwing spring clips to a post to hold work gloves.

            If you hang up enough items, especially smaller ones, you may find that you can free up a drawer or shelf for the purpose of storing larger things. Perhaps a series of bins or parts cabinets might be mounted on a wall bracket with the same result. Pick up kitchen-drawer cutlery organisers at thrift stores. These will keep smaller items from intermingling.


    • (Image Left: Roadcase)  Use Empty Flight Cases for Storage.   Road boxes that sit in a shop take up space. If they are empty and little used, consider them as storage units. Items that are moisture sensitive can be wrapped in plastic and sealed with tape. For extra protection, use any air-tight cases you have for these. Mark or tag each case as to its contents, then arrange them all in a manner whereby the ones with items most likely to be accessed are in front or on top. If room is minimal, stack boxes on top of wheeled cases because the latter can be moved as required to access things in behind.

            If necessary, any case can always later be returned to service, but in the meantime, take advantage of the storage potential of empty cases. Realise: Boxes stack far more readily than loose items!


    • (Image Left: Masonite Clipboard) Remove Little-Used Desks and Tables.   These often become junk collectors. It is more efficient to design and supply appropriate storage for these items than leaving them sit on a desk or table top. If there is a desk or table that is little used for much more than land-line telephone calls, think about a wall phone, plus a wall-mounted writing surface and storage. Phone numbers can be on a clipboard, also on the wall. Pens, paper, phone books and accessories can be put into mountable wall pockets which are available at stationery stores. The space vacated by a desk can be filled with shelves (or some of those cases that were just discussed) so as to gain a greater storage capability.


    • (Image Left: Vacuum Cleaner for a Shop) Adapt your Shop Vacuum to be Remote.   Move your shop vacuum away from your work area to increase your at-hand room. Plug it into an outlet that is switched from within your work area and turn the vacuum's power switch on. Extend the hose up, over and down to your work area. Use U-bolt or electrical conduit brackets as guides for the hose. Add hose extensions as required. Terminate at a wall-mounted bracket to hold the hose. Another set of brackets, a pegboard or a holster at that location can hold vacuum accessories. When needed, lift the hose and hit the wall switch.

            If there is no floor space for the vacuum at its new location, consider mounting it on the wall, too. Don't make it too high or too difficult to access for when it comes time to empty or service it. Regarding the latter, remember to clean the entire hose length from time to time; dips in the hose tend to trap debris.


    • (Image Left: Laptop)  Consider a Shop Laptop instead of a Space-Hogging Desktop.   Laptops are dropping in price as netbooks, e3PCs, tablets and other mobiles become more common. Used laptops are easily available, especially if you place no great demands on a computer system and can make use of an older one. If you require a printer, consider a wall-mounted shelf with a small table below for the laptop instead of a full-size desk or large table. If the printer uses fanfold paper, install a shelf underneath it with ridges at the edges to contain the paper. It's a good idea to make an enclosed housing for all this if your shop generates dust.
    For more on these subjects, go to Shop Tips.

  2.  

    (Image Left: Row of Combination Wrenches)
      Purchase Only Metric Tools

        Non-metric tools are generally unnecessary. Simply stock sizes of each tool type separated in size by only 1 millimetre. A millimetre is about 1/25th of an inch. That is pretty small. It means that if you have a complete selection of sizes, a metric tool will fit any non-metric piece of hardware snugly enough, if not exactly, to be useful. If you need to apply a lot of torque, any metric sizes that don't fit well enough to do the job will have to be bolstered by adjustable models, by half-millimetre sizes, or by non-metric tools. This is to ensure that the fit will be snug enough to stand the strain without slippage. So, excepting specialty tools and the additional few that are required to be absolutely the right size, only one set of tools is needed.

        One can also apply this somewhat to hardware, although thread count will be a factor if one tries to mix & match metric and non-metric. However, if one is replacing, say both a nut and a bolt, they can just as easily be metric. Given the amount of equipment on the market already with metric hardware, it certainly pays to have that hardware on hand if you do an appreciable amount of refurbishment. Eventually, you will find that some non-metric sizes will no longer be necessary to stock. This eliminates duplication, saving you money.


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