Dec 31 2019

Sorry for the lack of posts, it’s not been from a lack of working in the garage.

A few weeks back I posted the first picture below, wondering if anyone could guess what I’m building. Not one message, which either means that no one guessed, or that no one reads this stuff other than myself, hah. Anyway, it’s done – a power drawbar for the mill, very much a copy of the Kurt brand. Sure, there are a lot of DIY power drawbars on YouTube, but having always been a contrarian, where’s the fun in copying a simplistic one when I could spend a lot more time figuring out how Kurt designed theirs. It’s mounted and working; the question now is how long my custom 3/4″ socket will last against the hardened drawbar. I may do a Youtube series on its development…

In the last picture, my brother mentioned that someone he knows regularly waxes his metal workbenches to keep them from rusting and to keep liquids from the metal. Seemed worth a try and it came out pretty nice, but time will tell.

Not much going on with Midlana, as it’s been raining a fair bit. After that, it got cold enough for snow in the mountains, which means tons of traffic during the holiday, never mind wet roads to spray down Midlana. Being on-call also serves to put a damper on fun things, for now.

13 Dec 2019

Checking over the car, a front spring was found hung-up on its spring  perch. Makes me wonder how long it’s been that way, because it changes where the tire is on the camber curve. Oh well, tire wear isn’t much different, but it is a reminder to keep an eye on things.

In the garage department, my brother made a workbench that sits over the front of his car, and given how little space I have, it seemed like a good idea. I almost went with wood, just because, but due to the design, worried that over time it would sag, so I went all steel. The fun started with a 36′ x 72″ sheet of 1/4″ steel plate, having not figured out what I signed up for—180 lbs., by the way. The first entertainment was that when it was pulled out of the truck and the back edge sat on the ground, it caught on the cement joint between the driveway and garage. No problem, I thought, because it kept it from sliding the rest of the way out of the truck. I managed to stand it up vertical, but then the bottom edge dropped all the way down into the joint. The joint is deep and narrow enough that I couldn’t lift it out far enough to keep it from sliding back in, but it also wasn’t deep to keep it from falling over if I let go of it to go get tools, and would likely snap off the cement along one edge. Fueled by many bad words and getting irritated, it finally came free.

The plan for the table was for the legs to fit between the front wheels and the nose of Midlana, offset to miss the front suspension. The top would be offset over the car, creating a new workspace in otherwise wasted space. Locking swivel caster wheels means that it can be rolled out when necessary.

So that’s what was done. Once the legs were done and welded, with a connecting frame between them, came the next challenge, getting the sheet onto the frame. Theoretically, one end could be sat on the frame, then the other end lifted up and slide over. In practice, it didn’t go well, and I’ve learned to listen to the little voice saying “you’re going to hurt yourself.” Time to pull out the chain hoist, which made short work of lifting the sheet onto the legs. It’s tack welded to the frame in case it ever needs to be removed, and also forms a convenient electrically conductive welding table. Not shown is that the four corners have been radiused to avoid damaging clothes and flesh.

Once in position, it was time for the first project, which I may have mentioned before, a wooden-gear clock. In short, this project hasn’t gone well. The first problem was finding that my laser printer doesn’t scale drawings properly in both dimensions. Next, I tried having the parts cut with a CNC router. The problem there is that the edges are somewhat splintered and in a few places, chipped. With a lot of work with sandpaper, they’re probably usable. Still, I was frustrated by the daunting amount of work, so checked into having another set cut with a CNC laser. This leaves very nice (if somewhat burnt) clean edges, and given the number of gears, that’s a pretty big perk. Unfortunately, going that route is around $600 and kind of took the wind out of my sail. Until I decide which way to go, again, that project has been set aside, again.

Next project… well, let’s see if you can guess what it is based upon the last picture, hah.