Apr. 13th, 2017

randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
Today I did commodities trading.
I traded about 25kg of lead, stuff I collected off the side of the road as a child, for about 15kg of brass.
I have several coworkers who shoot, a lot. They reload cartridges (and, I just found, buy bulk floor sweepings from local shooting ranges to reload those, too) and at some point the cartridges get metal fatigue and begin to bulge, at which point they go into buckets.
I now have one of those buckets.
2017-04-13_07-58-50

Cutting brass on the lathe is really enjoyable, and I can make all sorts of neat things, so now I get to find out if the foundry is capable of melting brass hot enough to pour.

Work is kind of stressful. My part isn't: I took over technical writing to free up time for people directly in the line of the stress, and spend my day merrily typing. Man, can I type a lot of words. The project I'm working on was up until quite recently our showpiece, because we're forecasting selling half a million of them before August. We run all our chips through a slew of physical tests, in addition to electrical ones: we freeze them, bake them, shock them, shake them (I just made that up but I'm totally gonna start using it at work.) In one of our tests, they're having issues in a particularly inexplicable manner. That's the most detail I can go into. But everyone is going crazy trying to figure out why. One of the ways we do this is by looking right at the silicon, which is inconveniently (for this situation) all nicely covered up in baked epoxy packaging intended to keep the silicon sealed against everything for at least a hundred years.
The traditional way of doing this is by dripping hot concentrated nitric acid onto the chip over a period of a few hours. The nontraditional way of doing this is called the Bic Decap: you take a cigarette lighter, hold the chip over it, and burn off the epoxy that way, leaving you with a somewhat battered piece of silicon. I volunteered a somewhat middle way: to chuck it up on my mill and cut off 99% of the epoxy, so that we can remove the last little bit at a reasonable rate with acetone.

On the way home, I stopped by Harbor Freight Tools on the theory that since I got one bum hydraulic jack there, why not get another? (To be fair, I bought the first one fifteen years ago and it did work for several years.) Our particular Harbor Freight seems to attract particularly dubious people. There was an extremely twitchy guy with face sores who spent the whole time cursing quietly at his wife, telling her that she was stupid and looked stupid and made him look stupid, while she doggedly picked out the things she needed. I feel very uncomfortable with situations where I feel like someone's being overtly abused but I also feel like if I even acknowledge the situation is happening I'm going to get stabbed.
There were two registers open. Both registers were occupied by customers who were, as far as I could tell, attempting fraudulent returns in hopes of getting cash: one had a return for which she had no receipt and said the credit card on which she'd purchased it had been cancelled, the other had some incredibly complex transaction involving buying multiple items in another state and trying to return one here after claiming he'd returned one at a third store and hadn't been properly credited for it, so had a wad of greasy receipts that he claimed showed the returns. I spent twenty minutes waiting for them to get their accounts settled, and after all that, I wouldn't be surprised if this hydraulic jack didn't work as advertised either. (But at least I can take it back, with a receipt, and the correct credit card.)

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