Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Generator Maintenance

Just went out to the Shanty to fire up the generator (for the first time in three months) ahead of the blizzard coming this weekend. She wouldn't start... Apparently she doesn't like 17 degree weather any more than I do.

I pulled about 15 times to no avail. Just didn't sound like anything was happening.
I swapped out the spark plug with a brand new one (the current one only has ~ 10 hours on it) just to eliminate that as a cause.
I pulled about 15 times to no avail. Sounded a little better.
I remembered a little valve that Grey showed me.
I found my smallest flat-head screwdriver and opened it up.
After draining about 2 tablespoons of gas out of the bottom of the generator, I realized it was siphoning from the tank, not just draining the carb, I closed the valve again.
I pulled. It sputtered.
I pulled. It sprang to life!
I flipped the choke back, let it run for a few seconds and shut it down.
I swapped back the old plug and fired it up again.

It's been purring for 30 minutes and it's time to shut her down.

I also added a task to my calendar to fire her up once a month to give her the attention she needs.

Now to get the snow-blower working!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

My Magic Hat

The latest project is a Magic Hat. It's magic in the sense that it does mysterious things that will make people smile.

It is designed on a Tri-Corner hat. Each of the three sides will have 4 NeoPixel (2 million color) individually addressable LED's. They will be lit up red most of the time. However, one Pixel will always be blue. Which one that is will be completely dependent on two factors, which direction my camp is and which direction I am facing.

The electronics consist of an Arduino Mega (need the 256K of code space) a compact GPS, a solid state compass, the LED's, a microSD card breakout board and power.

I am also working on incorporating APRS into the mix, but that will take some extra time and I don't know if I'll be able to get it done this year.

The GPS will tell the hat where it is in relationship to my camp (The first step upon arriving is going to be to set the coordinates of the base camp in the Arduino sketch) and write out the current time and location to the microSD card. The compass will tell the Arduino what direction I am facing. Each of the LED's will cover 30 degrees of the compass.

The LED that will be lit Blue will be decided by the difference between the heading back to camp and the heading that the front of the hat (LED 0) is facing.

I have been playing with the code for a few months. I finally have all of the part and I'm ready to start on the build.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Anchor points on my car.

OK, If you don't know me, then you don't know that I'm not terribly concerned with appearances and I really don't give a crap what people think.

I have recently started kayaking pretty regularly. In the beginning I put the kayak on my tiny trailer and dragged it behind the car. This was not a terribly good solution. It bounced around a lot. I decided to put anchor points on my car to hold it on the roof instead.

I started with a soft anchor on the front. I needed somewhere to attach the strap that holds the nose of the kayak pointed straight into the "wind."

I took a length of tie-down webbing and cut a 2' length. I doubled it over and put a grommet in the open end. This fashioned a loop that I could hook a tie down strap into. An elegant solution if I do say so myself.

I had originally intended to pull the bolt that holds the hood latch put the grommeted loop in the blot hole with a fender washer and be done. Unfortunately, when I looked under the hood, I found there was no exposed bolt to do that with. 
Time to improvise. I drilled a hole. I put it where it would have little chance of interfering with any of the workings.

Next came bolt selection. I found the appropriate length bolt a small washer for inside, a large fender washer for outside and a nut.

I put it all together and done! 


Now when I don't need the anchor point, I just open the hood, flip it in and close the hood. I also made a spare loop in case the first fails. It's in the glove box taking up almost no space at all.


Permanent hard anchor points on the roof were a little more involved. 
First I collected the materials. Some swiveled D-Rings (4), Philips head screws and My favorite permanent adhesive... J-B Weld! Love that stuff. 


I marked out where to drill the holes...


Drilled the holes too small and then forced the screws in to make at least something of a tapping for extra bite.


Now my favorite step; I mixed up the J-B Weld and applied it to the back of the D-Ring holders as neatly as possible. I did not want to epoxy the D-Rings so that they can't move.


Finally I placed the D-Rings on the roof, put the clasps over, put a dab of J-B Weld on the screw holes and screwed them down tight.


The rear strap was easy. Just ran it from the handle on the kayak to the safety chain loop on the hitch.



Monday, May 26, 2014

Kayak cart

I wanted a kayak cart. Something to carry my kayak around on with little rolling resistance. I wanted it to syand high enough off the ground that I could walk naturally while holding one end of the kayak without the other end of the kayak bumping into the ground.

I sketched out a design. (Incidentally one of my more complete sketches)


Oh, the bike! I needed a bike to use as the wheels and forks for the carrier. A friend of mine found me a tiny little girls bike with 12" rims. Perfect!


I cut the back of the frame off the bike ad pulled out the front fork


So, today I got myself four 4 foot lengths of 1/2" rebar to cut up and weld into the cart. 

First I welded a rectangle.


Added a cradle to hold the boat.



Added some eyes to attach tie downs to.

Then I added the forks





The finished rack. Needs paint, tires and pool noodles.

Paint going on!

Completed cart!



Monday, May 12, 2014

GPS mount for the kayak

I needed a GPS mount in the kayak, so I broke out my trusty printrbot and printed one.
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:322918





Monday, February 3, 2014

Making my Utii-kilt

I decided to make a kilt. I wasn't interested in a tartan and I decided on a box-pleat kilt. A knife-pleat kilt seamed like overkill. I bought some khaki duck cloth and laid it out how I thought I'd want it.

I (as usual) didn't bother with a pattern. I more or less visualized what I wanted and went from there.

I cut the fabric leaving the selvage at the bottom. I folded it over and stitched a hem with a double needle. Then I began folding the pleats.



I finished folding the pleats. Stabbing myself at least 45 or 50 times in the fingers with pins. Great fun!


Then I sewed belt loops onto the apron part that I was going to put at the top of the pleats in the back of the kilt.


Then I attached the apron to the top of the pleats. 


I sewed the front panels. I lined the inside panel so I wouldn't have the rough duck cloth rubbing against my, well, you know...


I assembled the front panels to the pleated back


Note the lining on the inside flap below. Reduced chafing!


I'll get better pictures of me in it as soon as I can.

Folded for storage. The stitching across the pleats is to keep them intact until August. I'll pull them before I plan to wear it.


 It still needs buttons and I need to make a "sporrin", but for the most part I'm done building it.