It’s Just a Tool

I have to write this little story. Perhaps just the rambling thoughts of an old man. I will try to add a few pearls of wisdom that come from age and experience.

History Lesson

Humans have a huge advantage over all other life forms on this planet. A brain and thought process that lets us perform well outside our biological and mental limitations. It’s the ability to create and use tools.

A few animals other than human have developed primitive (in comparison) tool making/using abilities. Building a nest rather than living in a cave is a basic example.

I digress. Humans would not have survived as the top species without our tools. No doubt about that.

The best part is that we are not dependent on only the tools we can make ourself. As humans we can trade and barter for the “things” we can not make or do as an individual. 

Tools became machines. Machines are just complex tools.

Jump to present day. 

We try to define ourselves and our worth by the tools we have, use and display. We want the “best” tools on display as an indication of our status among peers.

But a tool is just a tool. The tool can be the best of its kind, but it’s the quality work the user produces using the tool that is most revealing. 

There are “collectors of tools” and there are skilled users of tools. They can be one and the same.

A “good tool” should be judged by its suitability to purpose. A skilled user can do excellent work with less than optimum (but good) tools. But often, an unskilled user will blame the “less than best” tools for the lack of ability evident in their work.

A “perfect tool” in unskilled hands does not on its quality alone, insure great results. Again, it is just a tool. Only works as good as it is used.

The best advice I can give is to purchase or acquire the best tools you can afford and do the best work possible within the limitations. With practice and adequate skills developed, the better tools can make the work easier and perhaps faster, but seldom are the prime reason for excellence.

If it is work that creates a profit, It could be the path toward tooling upgrade. 

In my many creative hobbies, I see much interest by others in the tools I use. Because the person is usually thinking of trying the hobby themself and considering the tools required. Perfectly natural.

I think I have decent quality tools and machines. The quality of things I make are far more determined by the skills I have developed using my tools than simply the “brand” of tools I use. Judging my tool from the work I produce using it, may not be a fair comparison. I can produce junk as well as beauty.

The Test

I recently received a request to do a 3D print of a specific item at a specific layer resolution at a specific speed. Also of a specific material color. This was so the requester could see how “good a job” the printer can do.

They are awaiting the delivery of the same machine I use. I can understand the request. No problem.

But the reality of the request is the machine is just a tool. Results are only as good as the person using it. The hardware of the machine is absolutely capable of outstanding results. I have no doubt. 

The request was (unrealized by the requester) to show how well I could use my personal skills using the tool to fully demonstrate the tools highest ability. 

Not quite a one time, push the start button and let us see what happens. request. Especially with 3D printers.

I like a challenge. So, being the nice person I am, will certainly consider (for my own information) if I will give this a try. But I certainly don’t need the test item requested.