Active Atom

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March 17, 2018 - Yucca Valley, California

Hello my name is Connie Carton, writer for America’s Stories.

This story is about a mission of two men on a journey of sharing their gained knowledge. I am here to see there first product, the Clip-Spring Pen machined in various aerospace metals and featuring two new creations and features for the writing pen world.

Why is the product named, Clip-Spring Pen?

The Clip-Spring Pen is designed to enjoy, share and pass on to others as these precision writing devices are built for time.

Surrounded by shrubs, sand, baron rock hills and mountains nestled on a valley floor with the surrounding Joshua Trees and Yucca Plants, you will discover two best friends of 40 plus years, Patrick Lara and Lance Conway.

These two are the founders of a project 25 years in the making at Active Atom located in Yucca Valley, whose small town bird is also the State Bird, the California Quail.

My journey is about their location and environment in the south western end of the vast Mojave Desert region of Southern California, offering views of the north western end of the Joshua Tree National Park to their south, to their west just in the distance, beyond the top of a church steeple is the tallest often snow capped mountain in Southern California Mount San Gorgonio at an elevation of 11,503 feet.

To their east is the Twentynine Palms Marine Base the largest Marine base in the world and one of the only reasons that the local highway passes through this small town.

Regional Geology and a place to focus with little to no outside interruptions is what these two say drove them to locate there home and business in the high desert.

They both really enjoy creating and making things, and I can share that their exploring of the periodic table of elements really excites these two.

My now knowing that they understand and cherish earth elements, it might come as no coincidence that to their north east and between this small 2 man machining operation and the ever brightly lit City of Las Vegas, is a place nearest the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (California’s largest solar power operation) that there is a mine named MP Mining Operation at Mountain Pass.

The MP Mine is so critical to American security for its abundance of Rare Earth Elements (REE’s).
REE’s are lanthanides from the periodic table, 17 of these elements are utilized in military and defense components, spark plugs, camera lenses, x-ray machines, led light bulbs, batteries, rare earth magnets, etc. and some are also utilized in the electronic and electro-mechanical side of the product prototypes in work at Active Atom. They are clearly thinking beyond their current and first ever product for people to enjoy.

Once arriving at Active Atom, what you first see through the gates is an ordinary 3 bed 2 bath house that is across the street from the Yucca Valley Airport in an industrial zone. From the entrance, you observe that there are only commercial and airport neighbors, a clue then emerges to my trained eyes, there are large power lines leading from the power pole into this house (3 phase power). But once you enter the home, you again begin to realize there is something different then entering your typical American home.

The location makes sense upon entry, once you look just past the living room, kitchen and through 2 glass doors to a wooden floor area, you can see a detailed, laid out design of wood and metal rolling tool chests, wood and metal industrial cabinets, butcher block top tables, tools, micro machines and even a few industry pictures hanging from the walls. They share with me that the room is named the workshop and it is climate controlled and sealed from the outside elements.

Just as we head toward those double glass doors, I am ushered to the right through a kitchen and a door into another area, a larger cnc machining parts area which is a spotless converted 2 car garage. This is an area they explain, where the larger machined parts are made for their products and that the workshop area is where they machine and finalize all additionally needed components that make up their completed products.

One look out through the roll up door to the rear yard of the home, they point out a couple of work sheds or out buildings. One they explain is for materials, repairs and storage and the smaller building and where they do all of their parts finishing to control dust and elements that could damage their very precision manual and cnc machines, tools and instruments.

A final two rooms in the house they also share with me are located just before their 2 sleeping quarters are their office, their drawing table (pencil sketches everywhere) and their electronics lab where there were all kinds of electronic devices, test equipment, PCB boards, components and what I assume are future product prototypes.

If not by now (if you know how things are made), you can begin to see what makes these two men and their operation stand out. It is that they combine vintage tools and machine usage from the micro machining world with computer designing, cnc programming machining skills and brought these two together. Meaning each product they make is a combination of micro machined and hand finished skills with small and large cnc machined parts, making them able to produce precision luxury goods and precision machine tools, made in limited quantities yet still made affordable through automation.

The journey of these 2 men is to share on social media outlets and leave a digital legacy through social media outlets such as YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and others, showing and sharing how they make things, what they make in detail, how to make them from start to finish and what is truly great. It is that they do this all in America, all in a rural town named Yucca Valley and all in their small neatly organized home based work shop.

If you like things made with painstaking precision, accuracy and to tolerances too small to see, and you want to see passion at work, you are then able to appreciate them. You will then come along on their journey through there, sharing at Active Atom.

I asked these two self taught and mentored men, why do you seemingly do everything yourselves? And their answer seemed ready and prepared like their whole operation clearly is, we live rural, do it yourself, or don’t do it at all and while we are by no means know it alls, we are do it alls.

Active Atom, LLC
Precision Machining

The company is a small home based American Machined Products design, mechanical and electronics engineering, CNC programming, micro machining, cnc machining, finishing and coating shop located in the Mojave Desert town of Yucca Valley, California.

Contact Information

Active Atom, LLC
57475 Aviation Drive
Yucca Valley, CA 92284
Toll Free:885.750.1414