Showing 11 - 20 of 43 posts found matching keyword: diy
Monday 3 August 2020
Social commentary! Oh, yeah!
Tuesday 14 July 2020
My latest lawn ornament:
I was planning something for "Back to School" season next, but since it doesn't look like there's going to be one of those, maybe football season instead. That'll be a sure thing, right?
Friday 22 May 2020
My Memorial/Independence Day yard art:
And a closer image from his inside stand (each painting so far has it's own foot so that it can be displayed in the house between visits to the yard):
I created Captain America about two feet taller than Santa Claus because he's someone everyone should look up to. (Santa Claus, on the other hand, is a dirty socialist.)
Happy Memorial Day!
Saturday 4 April 2020
So, when I took down my Santa Claus decoration for Christmas, I left two anchoring poles embedded in the front yard. Rather than let me pull them out, Mother insisted that I create more decorations for other holidays.
Turns out, I've got nothing else to do.
Introducing my Easter Bunny:
Here's another beside the front door for better scale.
I'm already working on the next piece. (I had to brave a trip to Michael's, where only 10 customers are allowed inside at a time, to pick up some blue paint.) I'll show it off when I get closer to July.
Friday 6 December 2019
November wasn't only about pies and movies!
When I was a kid, my favorite Christmas decoration was a pair of legs painted on plywood mounted to the top of a chimney. They were connected to a windshield wiper motor and kicked, like Santa was stuck face down. It was a good gag.
Cue earlier last month when Mom said that she wanted a new Christmas yard decoration. She was looking at lit Santa Claus blow molds like she had on her door as a child, but when she tried to convey the idea, all I could think of were those kicking legs.
I didn't manage the same level of technical innovation, but I think I got the nostalgia angle right.
Kind of looks like a bit of Photoshop there, doesn't it? Here it is a little closer.
My next door neighbor seems to like it. He's already asked where we bought it so that he could get one of his own. Mom had to let him down easy. This Santa stands alone.
Tuesday 19 February 2019
This counts as news only to me, but I fixed my bedside lamp. The switch had worn out.
It's no antique, though it's no spring chicken, either. I "inherited" it when my college roommate graduated and moved to the west coast. (Hi, Jason!) That was only... fifteen years ago. I don't know how old it was then. (Can you shed any light on that subject, Jason?) If I've yanked that chain twice a day ever since, that's somewhere in the neighborhood of approximately 11,000 pulls. Maybe I should have been counting.
Anyway, thanks to a replacement switch found on eBay, I can now read in bed again. Sweet dreams, everyone.
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Wednesday 14 November 2018
I woke up to a text from Friend Ken who needed advice regarding his broken range top. "Boy, am I glad I don't have his problems," I thought to myself.
And then my kitchen sink broke.
Somehow, the nut holding the pipe on the strainer basket in the left basin had become completely stripped. As a result, the pipe slid sideways, and the dishwater, instead of draining away to the septic tank, drained into the cabinet.
Mom and I debated calling a plumber, but we ultimately agreed that replacing a sink basket is no big deal. I should be able to handle that repair easily. Unless the locknut nut is rusted in place. Which, of course, this was. Enter the hacksaw! In a tiny cramped space! On my back!
Two hours, one trip to Home Depot, and $17 later, the sink was back together and successfully holding its water. That's when I noticed that the pipe in the right basin had a cracked nut that was also leaking. Grr. Fortunately, I had the replacement parts leftover from a previous repair to the basement sink. So another hour later (in a tiny cramped space, on my back), both sides of the sink were good as new! Almost.
On reinspection, the left basin was leaking again. Thinking it must be because I had used too small a bead of plumbers putty, I unscrewed everything again. That's when I noticed that while reassembling the parts last time, I had accidentally placed the high-tech piece of cardboard (meant to reduce friction between locknut and gasket) above the rubber gasket instead of below it. It turns out that cardboard is terrible at holding water. Who knew?
Maybe I *should* have called a plumber.
Anyway, everything is working as it is supposed to again. So take that, Ken! The ball is back in your court, buddy.
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Friday 22 June 2018
On the afternoon of Wednesday, May 16, lightning struck a tree behind our house. Though the strike was indirect and didn't hit our power lines, several electronic components were still damaged. It killed our Tivo, broke our TV's HDMI processor, and, most importantly for the purpose of this blog post, fried my elliptical.
The elliptical console would no longer power on. A quick test with a lamp proved that the power outlet still worked. My trusty voltage detector told me that the elliptical power supply was still functioning, but the console just would not respond. So I did what anyone would do: I bought a new console.
That was easier said than done. My Schwinn 430 is a discontinued model, so parts aren't exactly easy to find. I did eventually find a retailer online with a new console in stock, and the part arrived a week later. Only it wasn't exactly identical to mine — meaning it was an updated redesign used by more modern models. It also didn't work.
To be clear, the power supply doesn't plug directly into the console. It plugs into a round hole at the base of the elliptical, and power is passed through a sensor array and then transfers to the console motherboard via a 8-pin connector cable. Therefore, I couldn't tell if the problem was that the new console was incompatible or some other problem.
At this point did I do what I should have done earlier and tested the cables inside the elliptical's sealed wheel shroud. That required quite a bit of deconstruction. I took apart the arms and the treads and the mast only to be stymied by the crank arms. To remove the crank arms required a crank puller, a bicycle tool. I didn't have a crank puller. So to continue my disassembly, I had to order one of those. While I was at it, I decided to order a new power supply from the same source to save on shipping.
The crank arrived in three days, and it was perfect for the job. But before I took the cranks off, I decided to test the power supply. Surprise, surprise, plugging that into the system made made it all work again! Both the old and new consoles worked fine.
The replacement console cost me $240. The crank puller was $12, and the new power supply was $10. I spent far more than was necessary when it was the cheapest part that needed replacing. The worst part is that I'm sure I didn't learn anything from the entire experience.
Epilogue to this story is that when I finally got everything put back together and working again and started my first workout in nearly a month, the power to the house went out. If there is a God, he's got a sick sense of humor.
Monday 28 May 2018
This is what I spent my May building: new stairs for the front porch!
Not bad for someone whose best tool is a keyboard, if I do say so myself.
Thursday 22 June 2017
In 2003, my grandfather gifted me a backlit 1975 Ingress-Plastene Coca-Cola clock (Model G017) that he had been storing in his garage. The light still worked, but the timekeeping didn't. I took it apart and tinkered with it a bit, but for reasons I couldn't recall, I never got around to finishing the repair and the clock was put, in pieces, into storage in my garage. Like grandfather, like grandson.
In April, looking for something to do between programming jobs, I finally decided to finish my decade-old clock restoration project. Having forgotten why it wasn't working, I started over at the beginning. I spent $20 on assorted parts to replace the missing winding mechanism before I re-discovered that the original motorized movement was worn out. Then I remembered why I didn't fix it 10 years ago: the company that made the electric motor stopped making clock parts in the 90s.
Unwilling to give up a second time, I took to the Internet. Replacement Lux series 2350 movements are available periodically on eBay for prices as low as $25. In fact, the whole clock is common enough enough that I could buy a replacement between $50 and $250, depending on condition. But I didn't really want a replacement; I wanted the clock that my grandfather once owned to tick once again. Besides, I couldn't really trust 40-year-old parts to keep working any longer than they had in my clock.
So I went ahead and spent $40 on a new electric movement — Made in the USA™ — with a set of hands that mimicked what I had. (The original had a sweeping second hand and the replacement steps, but beggers cannot be choosers.) It took a bit of tinkering with a drill and a vice to make the new, shallower movement fit with the original florescent lamp interior, but it worked out well enough in the end.
After nearly 15 years, I finally have a working grandfather clock. Now my mud room looks like a little league snack bar, and that's just the way I like it.
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