a recent workshop at which I appeared, conversation turned to the
best things to carry in your tool box.
1: A YouTube image from Discovery’s “Dirty Jobs” episode shows
host Mike Rowe going up. The episode about a tower erection by Great
Plains Tower aired in 2011.
than one engineer told me he could buy a stocked Xcelite brand tool
kit yet not use many of the tools it contained. That’s a big kit to
lug around if you only need a handful of tools. I’ve seen engineers
repurpose metal microphone boxes or canvas tool bags to lighten the
kind of things do you really need to stock?
an engineer of a certain age, how about bright LED flashlights to aid
with weaker vision? Amazon offers a variety of hats and clip-on
devices with the LEDs in the brim, or other similar headgear that
light up the workspace. We’ve pointed you to these clever hats
of failing eyesight, how about a desktop magnifier for your
workbench? These are also sold in small handheld versions.
a variety of hardware — nuts, bolts, washers and screws — at
hand. This will save time when the nut you need falls into the bottom
of the rack or is missing. Use small pill cases, prescription bottles
or — if you can find them — 35 mm film cases to keep hardware
it may take awhile to scan, how about a thumb drive with critical
manuals and schematics? I’ve also heard of engineers keeping the
INI files for the hard drive system on a thumb drive. In addition to
alcohol for cleaning, how about stocking a bottle of Formula 409,
Scrubbing Bubbles or other brand of cleaner, plus a box of rags?
“clean T-shirt material” for a number of companies that sell
recycled clean white cotton cloth. They are cheap and ideal for
have I started you thinking? What else would you include in your
ideal tool kit? Email suggestions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reski is owner/operator of Great Plains Tower. He has also served two
terms on the board of NATE, the National Association of Tower
a recent LinkedIn post, Kevin wrote about the effects of cold weather
on machinery and diesel engines. Based in North Dakota, Kevin knows
cold — and he knows that fuel and block heaters attract mice.
found one of his solutions interesting. Kevin and his crew learned
that mice can be repelled not only by moth balls, but by placing
strong-smelling, pine-scented urinal cakes all over the heated
machinery. These odors keep the mice away. Kevin and his crew also
toss the cakes and moth balls into the bottoms of rope barrels to
keep mice from entering and nesting there. The cakes are a small
price to protect against pests that might chew up a 2,000-foot rope
at precisely the halfway spot.
Plains Towers had the honor of hosting Mike Rowe and Discovery’s
“Dirty Jobs” while erecting a 330-foot tower a couple of years
ago. They attached an antenna in the rain and Rowe and his camera
crew were a part of it. You can see the video clip at Great Plains
Towers’ website: www.gptowers.com/dirty-jobs/.
Payne does some tower climbing of his own. Fig. 2 shows him heading
up a tower to perform some maintenance.
that hunters might aim at tower legs, Mike’s are solid rather than
hollow and can withstand such insanity. However, guy lines and egg
insulators are certainly prey to this nonsense too. In Idaho, where
Mike does a lot of work, most folks own at least a 30.06 rifle; and a
heavy-load .44 will generate just as much havoc.
2: Mike Payne is ready for some tower maintenance.
most folks don’t pass their time aiming at guy lines and
went up on a tower recently; halfway up he saw damage similar to what
we described, which can be hard to see from below. He went back down
and told the owner that he was done. Of course, he was never invited
if you don’t do the climbing yourself, routine inspection and
maintenance is a must; so hire a tower service.
engineer and fellow RW contributor Dan Slentz offered software tips
in our previous Workbench. He’s back with a really neat educational
is called SkillShare.com, and it offers a variety of free educational
classes. One that Dan thought readers would like is an introduction
to 3D printing. I also found an introduction to Photoshop and modules
on increasing your productivity. Classes are free.
the link: www.skillshare.com/classes/design.
to Workbench. You’ll help your fellow engineers and qualify for SBE
recertification credit. Send tips to email@example.com.
Fax to (603) 472-4944.
John Bisset has spent 44 years in the broadcasting industry and is
still learning. He handles West Coast sales for the Telos Alliance.
He is SBE certified and is a past recipient of the SBE’s Educator
of the Year Award.