I update this page as my life goes on, the most present is at the bottom of the page.
Up to 2012 - Before I chose to create this web site. From about the age of six I always had an interest in how things worked, literally everything I could get my hands on was taken apart. I think by the age of twelve I had been through every single household appliance and tinkered with small engines. By the age of 13, me and my father had built an off-road buggy with a motorcycle engine, it was a lot of fun, sequential gearbox and a solid rear axle made it great to drift.
At the age of about fourteen I discovered capacitors, I did everything I could to get my hands on them. Most of the projects around that time were small coilguns and railguns. I managed to get hold of about 400, 63V, 4700uf capacitors and strung them all together to make a 120V 3kJ capacitor bank, something everyone my age is building, ok maybe not.
At fifteen I managed to get a small lathe, my first. it was probably close to 100 years old, but it was great at the time. I saw on tv people making bottle rockets and potato cannons, so I built them. My potato cannon, made from copper tube used a 2L coke bottle at 200psi to fire fruit, bolts, batteries, anything, TV is such a bad influence. I got really interested in electrolysis using it to make small rockets or exploding bottles. I contacted a stainless stockist (I lived in Sheffield - Steel City) and they gave me a 8ft by 4ft sheet of 316L for free. I built an electrolyser that plugged into the mains, it produced 20L per minute and was the largest on youtube at it's time. Launching hydrogen rockets got boring and I managed to sell the thing. My next project was a foundry, I built one from a gas bottle and foundry cement, It melted aluminium which was cast as bars to use in my lathe. I kept the foundry right up until 2016.
I then got an interest in building my own bb gun, combining the coilgun project with this one I managed to design a new type of valve. The bb gun would fire the pellets at around 900fps, which was three times that of what you could buy in shops, the bb's used to go through 1/4" plywood. At school I chose electronics as a subject, I had done a lot of things with logic chips and previously bought a microcontroller programmer, it was totally over my head at the time. We started programming chips using a flow-diagram based software, it was great, I then learnt a basic language over a week and had completed my final project on breadboard before we were asked to think of a design (My GCSE project). I seemed to do so much that year, but I did have a short attention span as a kid.
At sixteen it was time to go to college, I chose an electronic and electrical engineering diploma. The final years project was a solution to a problem and I enjoyed machining. I thought of retrofitting a manual lathe to CNC, I had designed and drawn up the plans before we had to choose the project. I came into a great deal of financial luck and ended up upgrading an existing CNC lathe. I really had a lot going on in my life at that time and it's something I do not wish to discuss further. Despite everything I still managed to blitz my college course and achieved two awards in the process.
At eighteen, sort of by luck, a man noticed a lathe in my garage and offered me a job to work as a CNC machinist. I truly hated it at first, commuting on a motorcycle every day of the year was not fun, plus what was going on in my personal life and the type of atmosphere at my workplace really made this one really unpleasant part of my life. Why did I stay? Things can get better if you persevere, which they did to an extent. One reason to make me stay was that I was promised my university tuition, nearly £10,000 a year paid for, why not. Well this got postponed that year, and you can guess as you read further on this page that nothing came of it.
2012 - 2015 - I use a pseudonym - Edward, which I prefer. I started writing this web site at the age of 19. After having some pretty bad luck over the past few years things started to look up. I had a stable job for four and a half years and managed to build the workshop I had always wanted. I originally set this web site up with the intention of making and selling air rifles. Up until the end of 2015 the web site was still called prometheanrifles. It turned out that this web site sort of became like a project log of my electromechanical interests. I also started uploading some of my personal documents and created a calculators page just so that when I'm out and about I can access the information I need to without having to trawl through a text book.
I had always had an interest in electromechanical engineering and originally chose to pursue electrical engineering, firstly achieving 16/17 distinctions in my college diploma while being awarded student of the year and student of excellence the following year by IET (The Institute of Engineering and Technology). Circumstances were not right at the time and I had to work instead of going to university, although I certainly do not regret doing so, it has taught me so much. My job was manufacturing seals on a CNC lathe through programming the machine myself. I was considered the most proficient machinist and was given the task of training apprentices, making tools, fixing machines both mechanically and electrically, providing demonstrations to customers and so much more, yes I had to do all this while running a machine that required constant vigilance and monitoring.
My wage had peaked and working a compulsory 60 hours a week there was little time for play. I felt like I was not moving in any direction with my life, sure at the age off 22 and drawing £2000 a month after tax was quite a substantial wage. I wasn't prepared to accept my working life especially with all the silly little daily drama's that went along with it, I do not wish to talk bad of my last place of work, and I won't, but communication certainly could have been better managed. I would have no objection to this type of work again, but my experience has taught me life needs a balance. I had to play it smart so while I was earning money I bought many of the things I always wanted in 2015.
I had certainly grown up a lot in those years, I also feel I lost out on a lot. I said I would tick off some of my bucket list in my last year of work. This included target shooting, which I was actually very good at. I bought my dream motorbike, a chopper. I chose to do a road trip driving though the major cities in Italy, drove a 458 Ferrari through Modena, got a tour through Lamborghini factory, private tour around Maserati's private collection, private invitation to Pagani and met Horacio Pagani. I had forgotten what fun felt like because all I did was work, so I terminated my employment. I concentrated on my projects and the start to a new direction in life. I would rather see what I can achieve and fail than accept a what I have now.
2016 - A start to a new life, I applied for a Canada work Visa. I knew an approximate time scale of the events that were set in motion, giving me up until the end of April to complete all of my projects and sell everything I own. My nuclear fusion project was the first to go, I was so close but I had to accept that I couldn't pump any more money into the project, I was a lot closer than I realised. Selling on an internet auction site attracted some attention and I even got a Cambridge researcher share his research with me, I swore confidentiality so cannot comment further, although nothing malice in content. Luckily I managed to sell the fusor, exploding wire and some other parts in one bundle. I was gutted to sell them for such a small price, but I learnt something in the process.
I chose to change the name of my website in March as the original name may have been misleading and possibly averted people from viewing it, originally prometheanrifles. I then rushed to get through my projects as the workshop was the next lot to sell. Consequently I started to panic so I ceased all projects and proceeded with selling everything. Personally a really difficult sale, but needs must. 8 weeks before departure I had a full workshop, 7 weeks before departure I had sold almost all my workshop, well no need to panic, it sold really fast. In the end I had no problem selling everything, I planned a minimum, middle ground and maximum amount that I would expect to receive for the lot, I in fact added an extra 10% to the projected maximum.
So yeah I'm currently living in Canada, I should now get the time to continue with my electronic projects.
The plan over here in Canada is to treat the first six months as a vacation, get my electronic workshop running, get a car and generally just get used to the area. To stay here I must have been working for at least one year with a total of 1000 hours, the job must be in a specific professional field, such as "electronic technician" or in manufacturing. So long I can get something like this part-time I will be happy, I can build up my experience in the role, if I can get full-time, even better.
2017 - At the start of the year I decided to apply for a job in the field I worked previously, I thought it would be an easy way into work. It was, I got the job within a week of an interview, the job was not advertised, I just approached with my expertise and hoped for the best. The job was ok at first, of course it's not what I intend to do ultimately but it was a stepping stone. I knew that I would need to stay here for at least a year to get the hours required for my immigration paperwork.
I have managed to get through quite a number of projects this year, of course I cannot spend too much on them as I need to save. I have no idea yet whether I will be accepted into Canada as a resident, if not my back up is to study as an Aviation Electronic Technician, it is also my ultimate plan, health dependent. If I can't stay then I should hopefully have enough money saved to start again in the UK, I wouldn't be tied down so I could move anywhere in the country to find the job that suits me the best.
All I can say is this was a super stressful time of my life, and it really affected me physically and mentally. Money, immigration, a new country and just horrible people to work with. I had never experienced such a
The end of the year started to get a little stressful since I had to cover for a lot of the jobs another employee was messing up, even worse they earned double my wage and was the shop manager. I booked some time off over Christmas and got harassed almost every day about my future there. They wanted to demote the current shop manager, then make me his manager. He was completely oblivious to the fact they were trying to constructively dismiss him, and that I was the one to tell him I'm his manager. However he would still get paid double me and my boss still wouldn't address him directly. Well the stress finally got to me and I blocked all phone calls over Christmas. I don't like to be the messenger being shot at, I just don't understand this places reasoning, this was quite a wake up call. If the boss won't face someone directly and go behind their back, what else are they going to do, what if they decide they don't like me one day.
2018 - What can I say, later last year and earlier this year I got my health back, I feel great and now I can start enjoying the things I used to do. It's amazing how much I detested work before but now the days fly, what has changed, I'm not I'll at work anymore. It has also been a great start to the year at work because we chose to go down a different business route which has allowed me to rattle through some CNC machining and welding projects, I'm having fun. They also gave up on the idea making me the shop manager, maybe because what they were doing was illegal, well actually they didn't.
Mid way through the year I just gained the work experience in Canada in order to put in an application to stay. The plan was still to make me the shop manager, but after six months of constant reminders they did not even complete my immigration paperwork. So as of May my work Visa expired and I had to stay as a visitor, oh good bye savings. The worst part is they kept asking me to work illegally, which I declined, they even put a course in someone else's name and expected me to come in and do it. It is not all that bad since it gave me a lot of time to finish projects and also work on a larger project for my car. Even though I'm unable to work I'm really enjoying myself, sure it does get a little boring but I feel good. This time a year ago was the worst health I've ever had, 105 lbs, I am now 145 lbs which is literally perfect for my height.
All of the paperwork got accepted by the end of November and I was able to work and make a living again. I kept myself quite busy while I was unable to work and met some very interesting people. I had three job offers but decided to return to my previous place of work due to a couple of reasons. The main one is that I could use the machines for my own projects and they were wanting to invest in a metalworking shop, that only I would run. These employers had cost me six months wage but they had promised to pay half my immigration fee's too, and as you can imagine going through a lawyer is very expensive. I'm very surprised they wanted me back since I had cut contact, constantly being harassed to work illegally is not fun. Imagine if I had and got caught, it would have certainly ruined my life. They pleaded for me to come back so I thought that maybe there would be a reward in it for me, getting money back for my immigration fee's would certainly be a start. In total I lost about $30,000 in immigration fee's and lost wages.
2019 - This should be the year I get my life on track and plan out my future. At the start of the year I spent quite a lot of time on the seal manufacturing side of things. I spent a lot of this time very frustrated as I had to machine much of what my manager could not despite earning around 68% more than me. The frustration grew so much that I demanded a pay raise to be told it is none of my concern, that too much money was being spent already in the company. There is something seriously wrong when the shop manager is loosing customers through incompetence and the underdog is the one fixing these mistakes.
At the end of March the metalworking shop was ready to go. I started to have fun on this side as it was a new venture. I also invested quite a lot of money and time on my own projects. I learnt a lot of how to work with milling CAM software on my own parts that it greatly increased my efficiency on parts for the company. I was very meticulous with my work which allowed us to produce a high standard of parts. I am now technically a mould and tool maker.
Even though I was enjoying this side of things I was still been pulled off to help the seal manufacturing side catch up. It was not a simple fact of too much work, but incompetence. The fact I had to work night shifts, no premium either, to remake the work of someone on a considerably higher wage than me, it made me feel very bitter towards the company. The fact that I put pride in my work, overtime, shifts at no notice, and many other extras into the company seemed to mean very little.
The fact is that when an employer allows the carcinogen of the company to thrive but pushes those that want it to run efficiently just does not make sense, it creates a terrible atmosphere. I decided I would give it one more month before I would move on. Shortly after to everyone's surprise the canker was removed from the company along with another employee walking out. This would mean that without me picking up the slack the company would be surely to be in a pickle. So I had to lay it out to them. They cost me six months wage, totaling a year of my life, tricked me into returning to pay my immigration fee's, receiving nothing, picking up slack, I also saved material usage by 30%, designed parts, the list goes on. I thought that maybe this would be the time they respect me. I had to hand my notice in order to get a raise, not even the raise I asked for. The guy before me would have still earnt 26% more than me yet I have to do all of the work he refused to do, I also don't get all of the perks he did, plus I still have to do the mould making.
The production times have been greatly reduced since I started running the shop. Less scrap, less time, more efficient use of the managers time (me) by setting up programs in advance. The shop has never run this fast and efficient. I have very mixed feelings at the moment, the issue is that this is apparent. In the end I chose to terminate my employment, I was offered pay raises but declined. The company desperately wanted to keep me when they could not find a replacement after a month of searching, after laying out what changes I wanted in the company, basically more staff, I decided I would give it one more shot. Time will tell if I made the wrong decision, my bank balance however is looking more positive.
All of the new employees set on would be with the intent of replacing me as I were told I would be teaching them. The first machinist had to be let go, for various reasons, not replaced yet. The second machinist had to be kept on the plastic side, simply they couldn't pull him off for me to teach. The third machinist was briefed in many interviews without my knowledge that I would be teaching him, I found out from him and not my employer. There was a huge rush to get him taught immediately, very suspicious. Well we were super busy on the plastic side, so again I could not teach him, he moved on because they would not pay him a reasonable wage. We are certainly going through a lot of machinist, the common theme is they're all on minimum wage and told we're not making enough money for raises. Considering this is the busiest we have ever been and my boss spends half the year on vacation, it's an insult to be making this up.
2020 - The start of this year is going really well, I can say I'm even looking forward to it, especially the summer. Thankfully more people were employed and someone else took care of the production schedule. I now do my own thing making moulds, tools or anything else that needs doing. I also design the seals and liaise with design engineers, yet I am not even one myself, technically. It is quite amazing to see that the person who took over my role is now feeling the same as I did. I have made some interesting moulds this year and I'm enjoying learning more complex machining on the CNC mill. The only problem is that this year is flying by.
I am really enjoying learning new stuff in regards to programming and electronics. I hope to finish my engine control system this year along with the software for it. I'm building up a second engine that I can use to tune the system, that is almost ready to go. Over the past year I've been putting at least 50% or more of my spare earnings into my education fund, it's looking healthy now. The rest I try to spend on interesting projects, or I save that too.
The whole virus thing hit, like the rest of the world and the economy started to suffer. At work we got dropped down to two days per week, a government scheme called "work share" to prevent lay-offs. We also let three of our machinists go. Within a week we had to go onto three days since we were still relatively busy. There has not been a single time where the machines have stopped, partly thanks to some parts I designed. I also recently found a part I designed for a customer totally exceeded their expectations, surprisingly I found this out from the customer themselves a month later, it was kept secret from me again.
A CNC milling machine at work had failed a year prior, so I asked if I could take it. The machine is worth scrap value so I would be doing them a favour by taking it. It was agreed that I would do a couple of favours, some design stuff. I broke the machine down and started to purchase some parts. A day before the move my boss decided that he would charge me 10 days of labour, not money, but actual physical days. I have argued blue in the face to these people in the past, I just accepted it is what it is.
I am slowly reducing the list of projects I'm working on and pretty excited I can start to machine some at home. I really want to start making some small scale engines again and work on my modular ECU system. I also have a hydraulic forging press that is nearing completion, this has some small business potential. I have also designed a tool changing system for a desktop PCB engraving mill, that is something I cannot wait to make. Overall life outside of work is going great and I have some potential kick starter ideas with working prototypes. There is also the research project I need to finish, that is a new idea no one in the oil and gas industry is trying, so potentially I could sell that idea, but that requires a lot of documentation.
2021 - The year started out pretty good and work was certainly very busy. The manufacturing staff had been on part-time now for 9 months, that is pretty tough to lose 40% of your wage. I was told that we were outsourcing work to keep us on part time, which I did not take very well at all. This government scheme is known as the workshare program, it is to put staff on part-time to avoid lay-offs. The government stipulates that all employees must work a minimum and a maximum, all shared equally. If there is too much work or the company earns too much then they have to come off workshare. So the company decided they could reduce our hours by outsourcing work overseas, work that we had always done ourselves. There has been a lot gone on since I started my time there, a lot of disgruntled employees have left, it was finally my time to move on and work on a personal project instead.
I have a product idea that I have loosely been working on, although I started to take it quite serious at the end of last year. Since leaving work I have made excellent progress and will be ready to do some testing very soon. In this time already I have learnt C programming, a new CAM software for machining and PCB's, and how to control precision measurement sensors. It is still early in the year so I have not got much to update.
I have done a lot of thinking about my past work experience, those I have worked with and those I have worked for. To cut it short I need a better education to even stand a chance of getting a decent wage or enjoying what I do. When talking between both employees and the owners of companies in all there is one thing that divides them, money. People who don't need to show the world their status or wealth are often happy with living an average life, they have friends and enjoy the small things in life. People who require "status" and believe they need to show that through their wealth will never be happy with what they have. They will sacrifice friendships and even family relationships to gain something. They will scrape every penny they can at the expense of everyone around them. Some of these people become very rich and successful but many also cripple their own growth because they choose not to invest the money in the right areas. Unhappy employees, cheap equipment, poor maintenance, lack of training, etc... may save money short term but overall cost more, hampering progress. So ultimately what I'm saying is, if you talk to someone and the conversation always ends up with them talking about themselves, but more importantly their achievements or greatness, avoid, those are the key signs of a sociopath, they will never have your interests in mind, only their own.
I want to start my own company but I certainly do not want to employ anyone. I am happy to lead an average life and don't require great wealth. I don't want the responsibility of someone's life on my conscious, just my own. Over the next couple of months I am working on a couple of ideas, but if those do not work out then I'll be setting up a workshop. I was originally in a long-term rental agreement, the reason I chose to build a workshop. The landlord got divorced and decided they wanted to live in the property, so I had to put the whole workshop into storage, which I cannot use. All of this got me thinking about life, especially that relying on others can be unreliable and financially unviable. Who knows what will happen in the next 4 months, what is for sure is that I'm putting eggs in my own basket.
2022 - Life can change very quickly for the better or the worse. Everything got turned on it's head last year and it made me think differently about life. I realised that life is too short to be around terrible people, that includes working for them. I met some good people and even started my own machining business, why not pursue what I'm good at. I've managed to put myself in the position where I don't have to earn a crazy wage to pay the bills and my unit rent is pretty low because I'm sub-renting that too.
My business has several aspects to it, but I like to keep that separate from this site. It took me quite a lot of time to getting setup because I had to refurbish a CNC mill and also make a lot of custom tools. There is a particular idea I have which requires me to build a machine, and if that machine works will allow me to be very competitive. In short terms I could be a leader in the industry I chose, as in the whole of Canada, which is scary to think when I'm starting off this small. The problem is that I have to invest a bit of money first, which I need to earn from regular machining jobs.
At the end of last year a company got in contact with me about my grappling gun project. They came across as very motivated and I set to doing some design and research, but the subject of money was always avoided. It took them over a month to send an NDA which by then plenty of information had passed from me to them. At the start of the year I set it straight saying I could not continue the project without being paid something, again that was always avoided. Just about everything they promised never came to fruition, but luckily for me they passed not a single bit of confidential information after the NDA was signed. I gave them the ultimatum of being paid or I drop the project. So not a penny after 100 hours of work, they dropped the project. I made the decision not to put that research to waste, so I will pursue that project for myself.
It's quite surprising how many people contact me from this website, for the most people want free information. I used to be quite open to that idea, but thinking someone is going to make a lot of money through my help no longer sits well. I still do answer people but in general I don't commit any time to their project unless I think it is a good idea and they're concerned about contracting me. Often those who do want to go ahead generally have a good idea but don't realise the time I have to invest, and even though I'm cheap it can still come to a lot of money. For myself I have chosen to sacrifice a lot in life to pursue my projects. If those who truly believe there is potential in their idea should commit to it, as in general a half-hearted attempt has less chance than diving in head first with everything you've got.
2023 - Another year has passed, as I write this the last day of the year it has been a moderate success. I'm going to sum all of this up a bit shorter than I usually do, partly because it's unlikely I'll be updating this website much more in the future, but I'll always keep it on the internet. I commented how I spent some time on a project with the grappling gun and how nothing came to fruition because they were cheap. I took on another project which someone sourced me from finding this website. It started out as me quoting the full price to design and build a unit, which proved to be too expensive for them, and I made my hourly rate very low. I ended up giving them a cheaper option. Well, what can I say, that turned out to be a problem.
I started their project at the same time I started up my business, and simply theirs was not a priority as I had to find work and pay the bills. It dragged on for over a year and I proved their concept worked in the end. The big problem is that there was no money in it and they changed their design requisites a number of times, which I should have said no, but I didn't. In the end they got a government fund, but kept secretive about the amount of money, so I assumed cheap and designed it on the cheap. The only problem with cheap is that it moves further down the priority list. I found it really difficult to make time for their project, but I did spend a lot of time on it. There was however a monumental design flaw with their theory, which I had pointed out in the very beginning. I brought up this flaw again with a diagram to prove it will not work properly. In the back of my mind I was apprehensive to go ahead because while my part will work theirs will not because of the flawed theory. My biggest fear was them wanting a refund or wanting a complete redesign for free, so I was in an awkward situation because this could potentially ruin me and my business. In the end due to me making a lack of updates they dropped me from the project, which was a massive relief.
Half way through the year I committed a whole month to their project, without making a single penny. They did originally pay me two thirds of the prototype, that covered 80% of the materials. So in the end it cost me a few hundred dollars and about 500 hours of time. The month after that I made a mistake on building a manufacturing tool which didn't work out as intended, and instead had to buy one. For two months in a row I didn't make a single penny but still had to find money for rent, bills and materials for one of these projects. I then did a job for a customer straight after that which in the end paid me 3 months late.
So overall I made two bad decisions and a bad customer put me in a bad situation. This almost put me out of business, but thankfully I have a really excellent customer that helped me stay afloat. Those decisions ruined my year socially and have put me in a tight situation right up until the end of the year.
Thankfully things are looking up and I have plenty of work in the pipeline. I feel I need a few more months into the next year where I'll be in a much better situation. I have bought a number of machines and tooling, but also have a ways to go on the tooling.
What have I learned from all of this over the past two years. Being cheap is helping nobody, especially with desiging. Those who expect the most are often the ones who are cheap and pay late, it's best to concenrate on other people, drop them down the list. Don't take on design projects unless paid upfront, and don't give discounts, you're not helping yourself. Just because you can make a tool cheaper doesn't mean you should, sometimes buying one will save you money in time elsewhere.