Sidetracks: the Metal Season

drill-bits

The strangest items remind you of things now missing from your life. When you come across them, they carry you down byways of memory lane.

I forgot I’d kept a few melted & broken tips of drill bits I used to repair — chop off the bad, regrind new tips. Even after so many years, the damaged tips fascinate me. Speed and feed are terms anyone who works with machines knows, and these tips show one of the things happens when speed and/or feed is badly wrong. With the possible exception of destruct testing, this doesn’t occur without operator error, be it inattentiveness, inexperience, altered consciousness, bad math, or…

Yet there’s an eerie and violent beauty in the textures and color changes. Even today, the force and heat required to cause such metallic distortions still amaze me.

They marked the ending of a defining life season. Though I still enjoy machining as a hobby, it’s not quite the same. The machine shops where these came from passed into history, but the effect they had on me remains.

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