Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Babies and Nature

Just some pics of what we've been doing lately.

Max making a bird feeder out of a pinecone, peanut butter and birdseed.

Max and Henry enjoying a teeter-totter.

Henry en route to a duck molestation charge.

Adoring our friend Bev's baby.

Henry was nervous holding the baby.

Some links:

Friday, February 19, 2010

Energy Efficient

We received a card saying that we could receive free testing and sealing of our heating ducts. A quick check with the power company confirmed it and we made an appointment.

A nice guy (also working on his Masters degree at OSU) showed up and got to work. He sealed off the front and hooked up fans and gages.

I felt a pang of sympathy as I hate going into the "attic". The guy found multiple problems and was working until about 7:30 at night. End result was our duct air leakage going from 250 CFM to around 50 CFM. That should save us money.

We also bought a new front loader clothes washer. The old one was on its last legs.

The new drain hose was smaller in diameter than the old one which left space for air to get into the house.

I took two pieces of plywood, butted the edges and drilled a hole at the edges.

Some weatherstripping and we'll paint it in the summer.

Now for other pics.

Henry with one of his latest Lego creations.

He put a small flashlight inside the vehicle.

So it lights up the dark.

Max is a bit obsessed with those Big Mouth Billy Bass talking fish. So we made a paper frame for his head. That's his impression of a talking fish.

It kept him in place for toothbrush time.

Here's Kent working on something at shop night.

Drilling the end of a long piece of flat stock.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Brace Yourself

Our friend Kiko is a bit of a luddite. He asked me if I could make an adapter for his bit brace so he could use 1/4" hex screwdriver bits. Being lazy I checked to see if such adapters are available and indeed they are. Lee Valley tools has them for $8.50. So Kiko ordered it. I decided to try making one anyway.

There isn't a standard for bit brace tang dimensions as far as I can tell. Easiest way to measure the taper was with my vernier protractor. All the bits I measured have different tapers.

Here's another way of measuring.

Measure twice...

or thrice.

It seemed that 10 degrees was a good average so I selected a 5 degree angle to support the work.

Then I drilled out some 1/2" tool steel to be a press fit on the hex circle of a magnetic bit holder.

And reamed it for a slip fit on the outside diameter of the holder for about 1/4".

Then I pressed the holder into the steel.

I knew it wouldn't run true so I checked it against an indicator and whacked it to get it within about .005" which is way more precise than needed.

I then turned a taper at the other end.

I set up the mill with the angle clamped in the vise.

Then put a 5C collet block in the vise against a stop.

It was a simple matter of milling a flat, turning the block 90 degrees and milling another flat.

About halfway done.

I then turned down the shank so it was smaller in diameter than the tapered section.

And it works.

I figured that since I had the mill and lathe set up I'd make another adapter.

Turning the other end 3/8"
I used a die to make 3/8"-24 threads. The tailstock chuck keeps things square

And a drill chuck threads right on.

More milling...

And turning...

And I have a nice adapter.

I gave them to Kiko and he gave me a wooden spoon.

I'm a Twit

Way back at the dawn of the internet, well 1998 or so, there was a network called ZDTV. ZDTV became TechTV. I used to watch it often. It had many shows that helped me get up to speed with the new technology of the internet. The anchor of TechTV was a guy named Leo Laporte.

Then in 2004 TechTV was bought by Comcast, moved to LA and gutted. Sad times. So I went for many years without a TV technology fix. A few months ago my Roku box added the Twit Netcast Network. So I checked it out and found that many of the old TechTV people were on this new internet network, started by Leo Laporte. (besides Twit there's also Revision3 which has some of the other guys, like Patrick Norton)

It's worth noting that non-techie Felice likes watching them as well, which says that they are somehow making tech accessible to non-nerds.

So While watching some of these new shows through the miracle of high speed internet I decided it would be fun to make a pair of earrings with the TwitTV logo and send them as a gift of thanks, as my ability to use the computer for jewelry design and production is partially due to the lessons learned from watching all those old shows. Unfortunately it's harder than I expected to figure out where to send them. I may end up listing them on Etsy and waiting for them to sue me:) (gratuitous emoticon).

Anyway, here's how I made the die and earrings:

The Taig CNC mill set up with a block of aluminum for the die.

The Mach3 screen showing the toolpath.

Milling the die.

The die as milled.

Cleaned up with a disk of silver next to it. Note that the logo is reversed.

My stamping press and an old laptop running Puppy Linux so I can listen to podcasts on Twit!

Stamped disk.

The finished earrings. Because of my use of computers I can prototype and make dies quite rapidly.

I'll keep you updated if I ever figure out how to send them to Twit. I figure they can give them away, auction them for charity or something. I probably should have thought this out further.
EDIT: Success, managed to get in touch and get their address!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Long Overdue

Apologies for such light posting, we've been busy with everything.After Christmas we thought we'd take time off but work continued, as well as various projects. Now work has slowed slightly which makes us worry and work harder, so we basically just work all the time. Could be worse and we're not complaining!

One project was to get a bunk bed for the kids. We ordered one off of Amazon.

They key to success in flat pack construction is to separate every component including hardware so it's easy to find.

Max tests the ladder.

The kids room is too small to take a picture of the whole bed. The boys love it and get to sleep slightly faster.

George is almost done with his 5 cylinder model aircraft engine. He brought it over to shop night.

He's a master machinist.

Tiny details like bronze bushes for the rocker pivots.

I bought this box of misc wrenches for $1.00 at an estate sale, mostly for the ignition wrenches as I have a strange compulsion about them.

The hex keys in masking tape are actually Bristol wrenches. I didn't have any until now, not that I needed them.

In any case I'll try and take more pics of the kids and I'm working on some interesting projects.

I'm waiting for the software CD to come for a QX5 microscope I picked up at the thrift store the other day. Why they don't just have the software downloadable is beyond me. $5.00 for the disk and $5.00 shipping...They did have the drivers so I could test that it worked, at least.

One of my projects was loading Puppy Linux on my old Thinkpad. It's now out in the barn so I can listen to Pandora, podcasts and BBC radio. Emboldened I loaded Ubuntu on an old desktop, it works but won't recognize the wireless card. So that project has stalled. I am not an expert or even enthusiast of Linux but it can be handy. I came upon a neat site about PC power connectors while I was breathing life into the desktop.