precision earrings

Today’s banner: the unexpected juxtaposition of two totally unrelated ideas: “distance-measuring instruments” and “adornments of the earlobes”, with the obvious result… precision earrings! And yes, if you’d like a pair, we’re selling them at our new Etsy site: hackamajig.etsy.com. These earrings are Hackamajig’s very first product.

If you’re wondering how they came to be, it’s because we use an old university-surplus stereo microscope.

To explain: we wished to visually measure minuscule things using said microscope, which, being old and university-surplus, lacks a built-in visual scale. Our inkjet-printed paper rulers proved too imprecise for measuring minuscule things. Moreover, we wished to measure minuscule things right now, as we are slaves to instant gratification, and as we possessed no high-precision ruler suitable for microscopy, we clearly had to make one. Immediately. So we grabbed a small chunk of aluminum and a sharp chunk of steel, and we (i.e., our Taig micromilling machine) scratched out lines a hundredth of an inch apart:

Here’s a closeup of the scribed lines:

One of us observed that this tiny ruler would make a great earring. Such an observation was inevitable, because we are geeks, and to us the word “bling” signifies “high-precision devices, preferably shiny”.

To complement the imperial high-precision earring, the second in the pair would of course need to be metric. So we found another chunk of aluminum, and we scratched out lines a hundredth of a centimeter apart:

We were curious to see whether we could do this reliably, so we made a second earring in 0.01-centimeter graduation.

So, yes, the work was repeatable. But sadly, without a microscope this 0.01-centimeter graduation looks like a single gray line:

But a 0.02-centimeter graduation can still be seen with the naked eye.

We estimate the accuracy of these high-precision earrings to be better than one half of one thousandth of an inch, traceable to standard Taig milling machine leadscrews.

— stochastic