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Odd Lots


  1. A state may allow fireworks, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t banned on a more local level. California is listed as allowing fireworks, but Mendocino County (where I live) bans them. I believe that Sonoma County (to the south of me) allows them, but some cities within it do not.

  2. Rich Shealer says:

    Here in Pennsylvania we have a fireworks store near the Maryland border. You can buy the big fun fireworks there as long as you do not reside in Pennsylvania.

    From their website:
    PA residents may only buy sparklers, novelties, poppers, snaps, smoke items, spinners, and fountains (certain restrictions may apply in some areas). We have over 200 items of these items to choose from. A Local Permit from your local municipality (township or borough) is required to buy items that explode and/or go into the air, and items such as Firecrackers, Rockets, Roman Candles, Mortar Tubes, Multiple Shot Items, etc.

  3. Bob Halloran says:

    The Florida fireworks law sounds a lot like Pennsylvania’s, *BUT* the stores can waiver you on-premise for uses such as stump removal, scaring birds out of your crop fields, etc etc, with their eyelids getting tired from the wink-wink the whole time.

  4. TRX says:


    Actually, the answer is more complex than that. In the last 25 years or so, the charts are probably good enough. If you’re looking at a prewar issue of Model Engineer”… who knows?

    If you look at Machinery’s Handbook and older engineering texts, you’ll find that “gauge” often depended on what material you were measuring. Aluminum, brass, steel, gold, all were different. And sometimes it would depend on which industry you were talking about using it in. And then they were slightly different between British, American, and French standards.

    Even now, gauge is only a rough guide. Due to trying to rationalize some interchange between various standards (“so many too choose from!”) the tolerance on thickness is quite wide, nearly 10% on some sizes, though almost all vendors hew to the minimum thickness to maximize their margin.

    You’d buy a piece of sheet metal to make an air conditioning duct by gauge, but if you’re doing engineering, you’d normally call out .039-.043, .059-.064, etc. just to make sure, particularly if a foreign supplier was involved anywhere in the chain.

  5. TRX says:

    Whoops, hit Send before I was done…

    > I’m old: My first impulse was to grab my
    > caliper and measure some.

    With your caliper you KNOW. Good engineer-think there.

    One problem with the Google is that you can search until you find the answer you’re looking for… another is that concensus doesn’t mean correctness.

    “A man with one watch knows what time it is. A man with three is never sure.”

  6. Bill Meyer says:

    One wonders why the How Many site would not avail itself of Machinery’s Handbook…

    Actobotics is a worthy find, and I shall have to explore there when I can make some time. Not cheap, as you say, but neither is Stock Drive Products, which offers one of the few other sources for many mechanical items. ServoCity does have some relatively inexpensive motors. But the small selection of chain products prompted me to wonder why there is only 0.25″ in metal chain–there are smaller chains made, and for small devices, 0.25″ seems like overkill.

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