Light Swicth

Prototype One

The model shows an attempt at push buttons in the front. The drawing shows the next design, vertical buttons.


Building Feydeau requires many disciplines, even if the skill level in each is basic. I hadn't welded since high school shop class but I knew I had to add this tool to my list of options.

For $89 I purchased a flux-cored arc welder from Harbor Freight. Flux-core doesn't produce a pretty weld, lots of spatter, but it did work. My main concern wasn't price so much as size of the tool. Limited shop space and multiple disciplines means size is an issue.

I also got an auto darkening helmet for $39. I had read some reviews which put performance even with $250 helmets. The higher priced helmets out performed on comfort, but I'm not welding 8 hours a day. I do think investing in the best available tools can somewhat mitigate less than perfect skills. Poor skills together with poor tools will end badly.

Using magnets as clamps worked wonderfully. Just a dollar or two on sale.

I made some elaborate jigs, like the one in the photo, for holding the shaft and the key separately. Later I switched to just overlapping the key stump and shaft and all I needed was a single magnet. Getting the key on perfectly straight was difficult with the butt weld.

Machine vs. Human Made

The in the photo is a good example of the difference between Gadget Craftsman and machine made. When I make jigs I'm heading down the machine made path. I'm trying to emulate the machine. Nirvana is reached when the part looks machine made and I can crank out the exact same part repeatly.

But when I use a single magnet I line it up by eye, when I weld I have to be careful to not bump the peice and knock it out of position. Each part is different.

I've made a lot of jigs in the past, and a lot for this project too. But I'm starting to respect human ability more. Starting to see the beauty in a part that appears to be human made. I still appreciate the machine made, and they can be beautiful. I'm just making a place for human made as well.

Solid brass push plate from a restaurant door. Real patina.

Cover Plate

The cover plate is a soild brass push plate off some beautiful huge mahogany doors from a Pacific Breeze restaurant I got off craigslist. The brass hadn't been lacquered and so had a beautiful genuine patina. I managed to reuse two of the original screw holes and their unique patina. Gadget Craftsman never fakes patina.

This cover plate design yields many options. Polished brass, clear glass, mesh, wood, painted picture...endless. Another opportunity for art. As easy to replace as a regular switch plate.