Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Google Image search:

I occasionally use Google's Image Search, but for me, it's mostly a curiosity. However, I just used it to solve a serious problem. For the jewish holiday of Sukkot, we build a Sukkah, a temporary structure, to eat in, and -- maybe -- to live in, for a week. The structure consists of aluminum poles (8 and 12 feet long) held together by three-way pipe joints. Several of my joints are "frozen" -- the holding screws cannot be coaxed to turn -- so I decided to buy some more.

Web sites that specialize in sukkah materials will sell the joints to me for $15 apiece. I suspected that was much too pricey, so I went to an enormous hardware store to find my joints. At the hardware store, I discovered that what I want are not plumbing joints and not electriccal joints, and not normal hardware store products. My only hope was to find them on the web. I did a series of image searches. I needed to find a picture of the joints I wanted, because I had no idea who might sell them, or what to call them.

The winning search was: pipe structural fittings "allen wrench" .
(I might have used "joints" but I did not think of that.) The picture popped up at The Diamond Aluminum Company, which sells these joints and the same pipes for do-it-yourself construction projects.

1 comment:

Martin Langeland said...

Jargon is all!
Once I sought "square cross section copper wire" to make nails for wooden boat builders. I called every copper wire provider in the State of Washington (and one or two in Portland) without success. On the second pass through the list I spoke with an old timer in the trade who said: "Oh. You want Magnet wire. We don't sell it." and hung up. (Magnet wire is used to wrap electric motor cores. Being square conserves space and weight for a given capacity.) I recalled several on the list and asked for magnet wire. The same salespeople who didn't have "square cross section wire" were willing to supply anything from a reel to tons of magnet wire. That is described in the ATSM Book as "copper wire which is square in cross section".