Build Your Own Metal Working Shop from Scrap

Build Your Own Metal Working Shop from Scrap is a series of seven books written (and initially self-published) by David Gingery. Here’s Wikipedia’s description:

[The series] details how to build a reasonably complete machine shop at low cost, often from scrap metal and other items. The hobbyist starts by constructing a small foundry capable of melting silicon-aluminum and zinc alloys from recycled automotive parts. Then green sand castings are used to make a metal lathe. The lathe is the first machine built since it can be used to help build itself. The lathe and foundry are then used to make more complicated machine tools.

Many hobbyists undertaking the project have documented their builds of the “Gingery Lathe” online, and these are worth seeking out. Watching people start with simple tools and create increasingly complex machines has become a way for me to soothe my anxiety about the possibility of a post-collapse life. The Gingery machine shop reminds me of a series of videos by Clickspring about the workshop and techniques that may have been used to build the Antikythera Mechanism.

Here’s a link to the series on YouTube.

The existence of a mechanical calendar that was built over 2,000 years ago is a valuable reminder: humans are clever and resourceful, and when given the opportunity to do so, we can create wondrous things.

People are quick to point out that we could not experience anything like the standard of living to which we are accustomed without the support (and coercion) of the State and unsustainable consumption of energy. That may be true, but we absolutely are capable of sustaining a life full of beauty, leisure, and wonders without either of those things. And some of those wonders may spring from parts cast in sand using a simple charcoal foundry.