Category Archives: Technology

Toys?

I attended and open house event at a major manufacturer of Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machines. They were demonstrating robots to automate production and run the machines “lights out”, that is overnight without any human interaction.

I asked a sales rep how business has been going during this “age of COVID“. The rep told me that business has been BOOMING. They are selling machines as fast as they can make them. The rep said right now lead time on a new machine is 20 weeks. They are also having supply chain issues. The rep mentioned that they too are suffering from the chip shortage as they can’t get everything to build up the “computer controllers” for the machines.

I asked the rep what sectors were creating the demand for machines and the response was quite interesting. The rep said that the “TOY manufacturers” are buying up machines. The definition of “TOYS” is not Barbies and Hot Wheels, but  gun parts, automotive accessories, and other flashy accessory bits. The rep speculated that all of the COVID relief money, rent relief, loan forgiveness, and extended unemployment benefits made millennials who live with their parents, flush with cash, and they ended up spending all the “virus” money buying “TOYS”.  The rep also said the medical manufacturing sector was up as well, which makes sense.

The only sector mentioned which had a downturn on machine purchases was aerospace/aircraft manufacturing.  Speculation is that the airlines weren’t buying new planes when air travel was almost nonexistent during the virus crisis compounded by Boeings ongoing issues with the 737 Max.

I spoke at length with a vendor of fixtures which increases the productivity of the CNC machines and he also said that demand is up for “TOYS“. He too said that the “gun guys” demand for parts is higher than he’s ever seen it before. He’s been in the industry for over 40 years.

Interesting data points.

Lunch Bucket Joe need to give out more money for “TOYS“.

Going Green

I own an electric vehicle. Call me Mr. Environmental Sucker. Here’s the issue.

The battery in my Nissan Leaf is going “Tango Uniform” as the folks in the military say. The car was originally touted as having a 100 mile range. Right now I’m limping around with about 50 miles of range and it’s still decreasing as time goes on. The simple solution should be, replace the battery. Here’s the problem.

Car companies would rather sell you a new vehicle instead of extending the life of an older model. What Nissan has been doing is raising the price of a replacement battery to make fixing the car unaffordable. According to kbb.com the car has a private party value of $5000. The trade-in value is half of that, around $2,700. How much is a new identical replacement battery from Nissan? About $10,000!

There are some shops that will replace the battery with a used battery from a wrecked newer car and prices vary from $5000 to $9,500 depending on the capacity of the used battery. The upper end batteries are almost double the capacity of the original battery, increasing the range to 160 miles, which is an improvement.

At this point, I’m not sure if spending more money on the electric car is worth it. On top of the repair costs, here in the People’s Republik of Kalifornia, the electric company has raised the rate of electricity. At peak times the charge is about $0.58 per kilowatt-hour. Compare that to the national average of about $0.12 per kilowatt-hour. If the battery were 100% efficient in charging (which it isn’t) and I was able to get the full 100 miles per charge (which I can’t) it would cost $14 to drive the 100 miles, best case. With gas at about $3.00 per gallon, the equivalent “gas mileage” is 21 miles per gallon. An equivalent sized gas car gets 30 or more miles per gallon, which means the gasser is 50% more cost effective to drive.  My bigazz, four-wheel drive, diesel pickup averages better than 25 miles per gallon beating the electric car on cost effectiveness.

Given all that, I have no idea what I’m going to to with my electric car.  Anyone want an electric vehicle?  I have a “Green New Deal” for you.

As an owner of an electric vehicle, “Going Green” means that “Green is Going out of my wallet“.

You Think We Can Go To Mars?

NASA and the President talk about landing men on Mars.

I say that it won’t happen.

When the leadership in our country is worrying about renaming “Manholes” to “Maintenanceholes” because any word with “Man” in it is offensive to all of the 97 made up genders, there is NO way that we could come together to put men on Mars.

Additionally when the government leadership celebrates passing laws that prohibit a veterinarian from DECLAWING A CAT and that same leadership also celebrates passing laws allowing doctors to terminate a human baby’s life right up to the moment of birth, I somehow doubt we have the wherewithal to put together a program to land men on Mars.

Oh yeah, unlike John F. Kennedy who declared in 1961 “...of landing a MAN on the moon…“, we would today spend all of our time and money arguing about the gender declaration that would land on Mars.

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, and the other 95 genders are from Uranus.  Mars,  it ain’t gonna happen.