Making Metal Making Machines


Will in his Metal Shop

Sometimes we have to harvest the wood and hew the stone to make the tools to build the machines to fabricate the equipment we need to do our jobs.

Fortunately we didn’t have to mine or smelt the stainless steel in this case and while we do produce lumber the wood for this project came from recycled wood from building the butcher shop.

This is Will’s machine for bending, breaking, folding and cutting steel. You might notice that the machine is mostly made of wood. Surprise! You can do much of this work using wooden equipment. This will then let him fabricate steel pieces that over the years will replace the wooden parts so the machine will eventually evolve from a wooden metal maker to a steel metal maker machine.


Machine Repositioned and Rotated 90°

One of the advantages of Will’s version of this machine is that since it is made of wood it is light weight and easily reconfigured so he can move it around and rotate it in the room depending on his needs. The room is 10′ wide by 14′ long by 12′ tall so sometimes it is better to have the machine positioned crosswise as shown in this photo.

The concepts for much of the machine are widely out there in various forms but Will combined them and came up with improvements on the designs. There were some parts that were not available in the large sizes he wanted so he designed and fabricated them from scratch such as the cam levers that tighten the rig, amplifying our strength many fold.

We could have bought a commercial metal break but nothing in our price range would have done metal work as large as Will wanted nor the variety of work all in one machine. Since we only have a small 10’x14′ room (Final Cutting) to work with we benefit greatly from a compact design that does precisely what we need.

For under $1,000 Will built a better wheel that would have cost $10,000 or more never mind the expense of shipping. And besides, it’s good mental exercise and fun!

Outdoors: 34°F/14°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 6°F/62°F

Daily Spark: Necessity is the Mother of Invention. -Plato

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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3 Responses to Making Metal Making Machines

  1. This story appears to me, is as much about advancing your limits, compared to what was a fixed limit a few months ago. In other words, their world just be came a little bit bigger. They proofed to them selves, and to the world (nature does not lie), that you can do those things yourselves, no approval/regulation/oversight required. ….but that would mean…you can do ANYTHING!!!. How glorious it is indeed, to find that the limits that you thought were there, are negotiable, and that cleverness is the currency!

  2. David L. says:

    Will is becoming such a fine man! Your kids amaze me. They are so industrious and creative. Your whole family does so much. So many things. The bredth of what you all do is just stunning. I get up each day and go to my desk job and shuffle papers and try and feel like there is some meaning to it all but for a pay check at the end of the week that just covers my costs and next week I do the same thing again. You people create things. You make things happen. You are all always improving things. I am emvious of your life. I’m sure farming is hard but it is better than the daily grind I just need to some how break out. I dream of someday moving out to a simpler life that is more connected. Keep up all that you do! You inspire people like me.

  3. Dawn says:

    That is the most amazing coolest creative thing I have ever seen! The idea that you can build your own equipment and make it out of wood just blows my mind! I guess home schooling is what we all need to start doing if it produces kids like yours! Or adults. Isn’t Will 18 or more now? I am so jealous.

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