science is wicked cool
I needed a couple long bean bags for when I have to crawl inside the airplane. During the long panel upgrade project last winter, I made due with an old set of sheets. I decided I’d make real ones today.
I pulled out some old upholstery cloth, some Velcro, my trusty Singer 301 and got to work.
The “bags” were easy enough. Filling them with packing peanuts was another story. What I needed to do was “vacuum the peanuts INTO the bags. But how?
Then I remember how we could vacuum spilled mercury using a water spigot and a special “Y” tube. The water created a vacuum. When I thought about it it dawned on me I could use a similar apparatus and Bernoulli’s principle.
I placed a tube into the sewn bags and then stuck the end of my leaf blower in the tube and to one side. When I turned on the leaf blower, the bag filled with air but more important was there was a vacuum at the opening of the tube. It sucked he packing peanuts right in !
milk crates, and insert, and an upholstered top
A work shop needs to be functional and so too must everything in the shop. A furniture dolly can be useful for moving large objects but it often is idle. This tip makes it much more useful.
The trick is repurposed milk crates. They are very strong and standard sized.
The fist step is to assemble an insert for the furniture dolly so it is solid. I used scrap 3/4″ plywood material that spans the width of the dolly rails. On the underside of the insert are strips that fit just inside rails of the dolly. I finished the insert with two strips on top which just fit inside an upside down milk crate.
Next I cut some 1/2″ plywood (3/4″ works too) so it was 2″ wider than a milk crate on all sides. I took two thicknesses of old carpet padding cut 1/2″ wider than the top on all sides. I used contact adhesive to bond the two layers of padding together and onto the top. Finally I covered the top with some old shop cloth – pulling the covering around to the underside and stapling. I then cut an old 2×4 in half length wise and screwed these as rails to the underside of the padded top. It just fits down onto a milk crate.
plumbing the paint shop with RapidAir
The air supply in the shop has a two stage compressor with a cooling coil and a very large tank. Still, when I’m painting, I can use a lot of air and that air can pick up moisture from the compression process.
The solution is a good water separator.
I keep a disposable “last chance” water separator on the paint gun but I’ve also known I should have a good regulator/separator inside the paint booth. The challenge has always been how to plumb it into my shop air. The solution was to use RapidAir.
The shop already uses the RapidAir system to distribute air from the compressor to a few drops throughout the shop. Fortunately, there were some left over parts. Since I feed to paint booth using the retractable hose by the compressor, all I needed to do was mount the air-hose male fitting outside the booth using a RapidAir manifold block and a slip-in connector. Then, a run of hose into the booth and, using another slip-in connector, feed right into the separator/regulator. I installed an air-hose female quick disconnect. With the exception of a brass step down adapter (to match the different diameter fittings) and a brass 90 elbow, all the other parts were in the shop – left over from other projects.
remove the bottom from a used portafilter
I recently picked up a used Ranchilio Silva Espresso machine. While I was doing the search, I read about the bottomless portafilter and how it helped with training baristas. I figured I might as well pick one up while I was doing my shopping. OUCH! They are $60-$70 each!
Fortunately, I did stumble across an eBay sale for three used portafilters – a single spout and two double spout units. By the time they arrived in the mail, they had set me back $30 total.
I would use the single often enough and I figured I could take one of the doubles into the shop for some heavy metal hackery.
It took about 45 minutes. About 15 minutes of that was to fabricate a sanding drum. I drilled a series of small holes in the bottom of the portafilter and then drilled those out with a much larger bit. I then cut between the big holes. The result looked terrible. That is where the makeshift drum sander did the majority of the cleanup. Once the bottom of the portafilter was gone and the hole was round, I did a little sanding and then smothered it all out with a wire brush wheel.
So, why use a bottomless portafilter? Two reasons. First, as a training tool it lets you see the immediate output. This will tell you things like how consistent a grind you have, how we’ll the puck was tamped, and if you have and good pressure. Ideally, the espresso will flow evenly from the entire bottom of the portafilter basket and will have a consistent color. If there are distinct blonde streaks it means some water is passing too quickly through the ground coffee.
The second reason that home brewers are starting to use them is that – without the mass of metal – the espresso does not cool down as quickly. When out are only making one shot of espresso, you either need to preheat the portafilter or lose 20-30 degrees to heat transfer.
Do you need a bottomless portafilter? Probably not. But, since I had the shop and enjoy little projects, it was fun to make one for myself.
air channel on cylinder baffling
Why do we always think that our problems are totally unique and no one has the same problem?
In the world of RV aircraft, engine cooling is a common topic of discussion – mostly because its a common problem. When you consider the 150hp engine in the RV-8 is the same as the engine in a Piper Cherokee but the RV-8 is cruising at 150-160kts while the Cherokee is down around 110kts, there must be something difference. The buggy is “drag”. Part of the drag reduction on the RV is the tight fit and flow of the engine compartment. This means its critical to pay attention to the airflow through the engine. This is controlled by the baffling.
So, when the sensor on my front left cylinder was reporting high, I needed to do something about it. The common wisdom is that anything above 400 F degrees is bad. When I would take off and climb for a more than 5 minutes I would see 405 headed for 410 and so I would decrease my climb rate.
I looked at my engine and read all that I could to find a solution. I made my best guess and then wrote up my idea so others could comment. I knew “my situation had to be different from everyone else” so all of the suggestions that I read over the past three years educational but “not relevant”. (Read that last sentence with significant sarcasm.)
Well, it turns out my problem was just like all the others and the solution was the same too. Thankfully, a very smart and patient pilot/builder we call DanH wrote up a nice description of he problem and his solution, complete with pictures.
I implemented his recommendation – but with a bit less skill – and my maximum temperature never went above 370 F degrees. Sweet !
I was trying to figure out how to mount my iPhone in the truck but I didn't want to drill any holes in the dashboard.
My first task was to decide suitable places for the iPhone and then look for mounting options in those areas. I finally settled on a spot to the right of the radio controls.
The truck has plenty of storage options. I decided the little coin area on the passenger side was not of much use to me.
I started by cutting a wooden plug and contouring it to match the share of the cubby hole. It needed to be tapered on one side and on top. Once I hade it close, I then mixed up a small amount of resin body filler. I layered it onto the wooden plug much like frosting a cake. I then loosely covered the coated plug with plastic wrap and pressed it into the cubby hole and let it cure. This resulted in a nearly perfect match fit.
I lightly sanded the matched plug and then sprayed three coats of a rubber like coating called Plasti-Dip. The coating not only made up for the small amount of material I sanded off but also provides a grippy surface. When the resulting plug is pressed into the cubby hole, it grabs and stays in place firmly.
I attached a standard 1″ RAM Mount ball to the end. From that point, I can use any of my RAM Mount accessories. The iPhone used a 3″ arm and an X-Grip. The plug is so firmly in place, I suspect it would even hold a tablet.