• Failing to print…

    Sometimes, it doesn’t go according to plan.

    So this was the plan. I saw in a catalog a widget that would let you clip your tape measure to a corner so you can easily check square. “I could make that.” And so I tried.

    It kind of worked, but not as well as I wanted.

    This was my first attempt at a print in place assembly, where the swivel clip sat inside the main body, but was supposed to have enough margin that they would print as two disconnected bodies. If you look closely, it didn’t work. I tried loosening it up with a knife, and if it still doesn’t work I’ll have to do an autopsy on it.

    Continual learning, right?

  • I have a bench.

    This is the best image I have!

    Back in January, I posted a rendering of my plans for a bench. By early March, I had “finished” it!

    Since the picture to the right, I completed the dust box and insert plate for the router, added T-track, installed electric and dust collection, and ran the jigsaw into it while cutting a piece (oops).

    The table saw stands just proud of the table, making an excellent outfeed table. Dust collection for the saw routes to a blast gate just to the right of the saw, and there’s electric just behind it.

    The dust box for the router is connected directly to the 2″ pipe for dust collection. With the Shop Vac, it catches a huge amount of dust off the router (it misses the larger chips but that’s fine). I mounted a safety switch on the center leg, which turned out to be perfect height to hit with my knee to stop the router.

    I found myself working primarily on the “back” side of the workbench between the miter saw and the bench, so there’s also a dust port over there, as well as electric.

    I still need to build a fence for the router, and I need a better place for my 3-D printer.

  • Need it? Print it.

    The other day, I got frustrated trying to connect my vacuum hose to my Kreg Jig. I looked at the spring clamp I was using and sighed, then grabbed my calipers.

    Based on this Reddit thread, I purchased an Ender 3 from MatterHackers. So far my most successful prints have been vacuum adapters and a Raspberry Pi case.

    Speaking of Raspberry Pi, before my printer had even shown up I had discovered OctoPrint, a program to manage your printer from a web interface. Being able to see my printer (through the webcam interface) from anywhere, abort a print if it is going haywire, and fine-tune nozzle or bed temperatures has really made it easy to work with the printer. I’d highly recommend it. Oh and of course you can print your own case too.

    Being able to print whatever I want (reasonably), whenever I want (reasonably), is amazing. The future is here.

  • Clusters of fun

    I’m a nerd, a fast I’m sure no one is surprised by. One of the side effects of this is overcomplicating simple things.

    Because I’ve always had a cloud server for hosting things like the ADT Pulse/Pushover integration and this site (among others), I decided to complicate that by running a Kubernetes cluster at Digital Ocean for the ultimate in ridiculous personal infrastructure costs.

    That said, it’s been super easy to work with. I host 8 WordPress sites, the backend for Holeshot Events, as well as some personal apps for home stuff, on 2 $20/month nodes.  Could I do this more efficiently? Probably. Would it be as ridiculous? Nope.

    It’s been a great learning experience, and with the release of k3s I’ve been thinking about installing it on the home server too.

  • ADT Pulse to Pushover

    Once upon a time, on a blog rendition long ago, I published a link to my hacked together ruby script that would parse ADT Pulse email event notifications and forward them over Pushover. That blog is long gone (RIP), and that repo is gone (RIP), and that code is gone (RIP).

    In its place is this project: mwalling/adt-pulse

    Instead of being a script that reads the email on standard in, I’m using my email provider (Mailgun) with an HTTP route to hit this code. The code now, instead of being a shell script, is a Python function hosted inside of Kubeless (think self hosted AWS Lambda on your own Kubernetes cluster).

    So much simpler to use!

  • I need a bench…

    So here’s my plan. I’ve combined a bunch of things:

    • Chris Harpster’s mobile shop. He mounted his bandsaw on a French cleat, and I want to do something similar. I’m also putting dust collection in there and power and a router table…
    • Steve Ramsey’s mobile table saw cart. I’m going to make some sort of scheme to anchor this to the workbench so they move around as one unit.
    • Shawn Stone’s router fence. Instead of the dust collection going down into the router lift, I’m going to have a hose out the back. Because I’m thinking about using a Kreg plate, I won’t want to put a large hole in my worktop.

    There isn’t enough room for a Dust Deputy under the workbench, so I’m still thinking of my plan to make a dust cart. The workbench is going to use some sort of shore line power system (20A twist lock is overkill, right?), and I’m going to use that for dust collection as well.

    One of the reasons for not integrating the table saw into the main workbench is a size constraint. Someday we’ll be moving out of this house, so a 3 foot by 6 foot by 5 inch workbench will be manageable to get out of the basement.

    Its a snow day weekend, so I’m going to prep the basement for construction.

  • My take on a balance board

    As I mentioned in this post, I decided to go big and made my first project a balance board based on the one shown in this video:

    My hardwood collection is nil, but my parents had a piece of mahogany that I was able to trim and saw down to act as the inlay, making my colors a bit different.

    I started with a Fusion360 model of the board (as one does). Using Illustrator, I used the PDF plan that is linked from the video to get the general shape imported into a sketch. That plan is based on one side, then flipped and traced onto the other side, but I wanted to have the full model to work with. Using the shape from the original template, I cleaned up the ends (rounding off the nose and adjusting the radius of the tail), and added the inlays based on the spacing mentioned in the video. Here’s the finished model:

    Once I had the full model, I put the top view on a drawing at 1:1 scale, exported as a PDF, and then used Illustrator to print it 1:1 across 12 sheets of paper (or was it 15?). Add some kindergarten tape and scissor skills, some Super 77, and you’ve got a template on the plywood to follow with the jigsaw.

    I think this was a fairly complicated project for my first jump back in, mainly because of the inlays. Even when I did projects with my Dad as a kid, I had never used a router before, and now I was making several fairly precise cuts (as well as the round over, but that was fairly straight forward).

    I did a rough cut around the template, then went back with the scroll blade to clean it up as best I could (foreshadowing). I went back with the router to cut the inlays, still using the template to align my guide board, then used a chisel to clean them up after removing the template. A couple of the inlay cuts are funny looking at the peak, but I’m fairly happy with how they came out.

    The inlays were cut from some mahogany my father had in his scrap bin. Starting with a 1″x1.5″x24″ piece, I ripped that in half, then cleaned them up to just over a half inch wide. I cut these two pieces down to 3/16″ strips on the band saw (the router depth was set to 1/8″), then went home. At home I used my home made miter jig (foreshadowing, again) to cut the inlays to rough size, sanding to fit.

    (Popping the foreshadowing stack, when I cut my jig my saw blade drifted and so the angles were all slightly less than 45 degrees. Oops.)

    Once I had the inlays laid out, I went back and glued them down, threw some cauls on top, then let it sit for the night.

    After the glue dried, I went at the inlays with my block plane to try to knock them down to level. My plane is dull. Very dull. Dull enough that I ended up making a mess in a couple spots.

    Next I used a 1/4″ round over bit along the top and bottom of the plywood. I can’t believe how unforgiving that bit was to my crappy jigsaw job. I also had some tear out of one of the inlays. To clean this up I spent some time with a rasp and made the edges nice and smooth. Adjusting the depth of the round over bit (I had it too shallow during the first pass) and doing another round made it look much nicer.

    The mahogany had some bug holes, and I needed to clean up the mess I made with the block plane, so I used wood filler. Surprise, the wood filler I got is a very pine colored blonde. Looks excellent on mahogany, and not much better on the plywood.

    Anywho, I sanded the whole thing up to 220, then used two coats of wipe on poly to finish it. It was only after the second coat of poly that I remembered that I needed to put blocks on the bottom to keep it from skipping off the pipe, so I made those. I didn’t trust the glue to bond well to where I had already finished, so these also got some screws to make sure they hold (they’re on the underside so I figured that was acceptable) and a coat of poly.

    A couple things I’d do differently:

    • I need to sharpen my poor, abused, plane.
    • A belt sander would have helped significantly in cleaning up the inlays, and I could probably have used that to clean up the edge, although the rasp worked quite well and was satisfying.
    • Chisel skills need work (aka, more than the no skills I have right now!)
    • Wood filler needs color!
    • And, generally, I’d love to have a redo on the fit and finish of the inlay. I think I did pretty well for my first time, but version 2 is always better than version 1.

  • A return to an old hobby

    Not only do I have a blog again (that no one but my mom will probably read), but I’ve picked up a hobby that I haven’t touched in probably 15 years: woodworking. After spending all day staring at computers, the last thing I really want to do is stare at another screen, and this seemed like a good outlet. I went on a deep binge of YouTube, made a list of the tools and safety gear I needed to acquire, and started making plans. Quite literally.

    Turns out, AutoDesk Inventor from my 9th grade engineering class basically lives on as Fusion 360, and its free*. Combining my minuscule CAD skills with Cate’s creativity will mean big things for the future. The first project I’m attempting is based on this balance board. Start simple, right? I’ll have pictures and such when it’s complete, possibly along with the files I used.

    I’m also going to cross post other content I create here too, kind of as a central repository I guess. (After all, I have a podcast and made some YouTube videos for the past cross season.) Maybe some race reports. I’ll use categories, I promise.

    Happy New Year!