Posts Tagged Repairs

Power Screen Trommel

This monster appeared near Mary’s Vassar Farms plot:

Power Screen Trommel - right

Power Screen Trommel – right

I had to look up trommel, too.

Apparently suffering a breakdown, it spent the next two weeks idle with all its covers open. The can of WD-40 makes a nice touch, but the condition of the central lubrication panel suggested the last grease went through those Zerk fittings quite a while ago:

Power Screen Trommel - lube panel

Power Screen Trommel – lube panel

The manufacturer’s information label, tucked in a protected position, remains pristine:

Power Screen Trommel - mfg plate

Power Screen Trommel – mfg plate

Scrawled notes near the control panel noted that someone installed new oil and fuel filters in late 2004, with 4103 hours on the running time meter:

Power Screen Trommel - controls

Power Screen Trommel – controls

Then, one day, it vanished, perhaps back into the mysterious universe from whence it came …

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Stirrup Hoe: New-to-It Handle

Mary (not the spammer) uses a stirrup hoe for most of what little weeding she does, so it spends much of its life outdoors in the Vassar Farms plot. The bottom of the handle disintegrated and she brought the business end home for repair:

Stirrup hoe - replacement handle

Stirrup hoe – replacement handle

That was easy: a suitable handle lay on the top of the rods-and-tubes rack; I’d harvested it from a defunct rake a while back. Although the wood is weathered, we think of it as well-seasoned. The errant hole marks came from a first pass, before I realized there was no point in having the handle extend beyond the outward-bending part of the brackets.

The bolts and locking nuts are original!

Ya gotta have stuff…

(And not a trace of 3D printing anywhere to be seen. Imagine that!)


Michelin Hair, Without A Flat

Mary heard a faint sound from the back of her bike that neither she nor I could track down. Standing in the garage, we decided it was slightly louder when the wheel turned backwards, but the sound didn’t correlate with anything.

Eventually, I held my hand over the wheel while turning it, whereupon the problem made itself obvious:

Michelin Hair from bike tire

Michelin Hair from bike tire

Another Michelin Hair from a steel-belted automobile or truck tire!

The short hook on the right side embedded itself the in the tread, with the rest sticking out. Turning the wheel backwards dragged the longer arc on the fender, making a slightly louder sound. Of course, the tightest fender-to-tire clearance occurs just behind the seat, where it isn’t easily visible.

Fortunately, the hook wasn’t quite long enough to punch through the Schwalbe Marathon’s armor layer and the tire liner.



Princess House Nouveau Ceramic Pan Handle Locking Button

We bought a replacement for the CorningWare casserole (that a raccoon broke when I put the rice out on the deck to cool) at a tag sale:

Nouveau Ceramic Pan - assembled

Nouveau Ceramic Pan – assembled

According to the information on the bottom, it’s “Nouveau A Princess House Exclusive” that’s no longer in their listing. Evidently, they’ve gone to metal stovetop cookware these days. Anyhow, it has a separate handle that latches onto a cleverly shaped tab molded into the pan:

Nouveau Ceramic Pan - handle released

Nouveau Ceramic Pan – handle released

Latching the handle in place is simple: put the end of the handle over the tab and squeeze the lever until it snaps into the handle. Well, I managed to latch it quite easily, after which nobody could figure out how to release it. That slotted button cries out to be pushed, but it wasn’t push-able.

That’s a condition I call “being outwitted by inanimate objects”…

After bringing it home, I discovered the secret: the slot must be exactly vertical (equivalently, maximally counter-clockwise) before you can press the button to release the latching handle. Turning the button so the slot is horizontal (maximally clockwise) locks the button out, so that you cannot press it and release the handle:

Nouveau Ceramic Pan - handle locked

Nouveau Ceramic Pan – handle locked

The button locks out when the slot is almost imperceptibly clockwise from vertical; if you don’t know what to look for, you’d never notice the difference.

Which makes perfect sense to me. You want the handle to latch securely and require a deliberate action to release, lest the pan fall and release hot stuff all over your front. Any errors should leave the handle securely latched in place.

FWIW, World Kitchen, the current owners of the CorningWare brand, no longer make stovetop-rated ceramic cookware; it’s evidently easier and cheaper to make microwave-only ceramics. World Kitchen also owns the Pyrex kitchenware brand and, true to form, replaced the original borosilicate glass with cheaper tempered soda lime glass. Sic transit gloria mundi and all that…

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New Subaru Forester: Tire Pressure Check

For reasons having to do with our Larval Engineer needing transportation, we just bought a Subaru Forester for us. While chewing through the 540 page Owners Manual, I discovered that, although the tire pressure monitoring system knows all five pressures, it can’t / won’t display them on the dashboard’s fancy LCD panel.

All four road tires had about the same pressure:

Subaru Forester - as-delivered tire pressure

Subaru Forester – as-delivered tire pressure

Yes, I cross-checked two other gauges, Just To Make Sure.

That’s 7 or 8 psi over the spec found on the door frame placard: 30 psi front, 29 psi rear. The tire sidewalls implore you to never inflate them over 40 psi while seating the beads, although the absolute max rating of 51 psi at max load says they’re not really overstuffed.

The doughnut spare tire should have 60 psi and carried 64 psi:

Subaru Forester - as-delivered spare tire pressure

Subaru Forester – as-delivered spare tire pressure

Now, I’ve never had a cold tire gain pressure between checks (other than when the weather heats up), so I tend to run ‘em on the high side of the recommended range. In this case, I left the spare alone and vented the road tires to 30 psi to see how it rides. If all goes well, then maybe I’ll puff ‘em up a bit.

It’s time to check the fluid levels to see what could possibly go wrong under the hood…



Headband Magnifier: Lamp Switch

One of my headband magnifiers has a headlight above the brim, an incandescent flashlight bulb powered by a pair of AAA alkaline cells, that hasn’t worked well since the day I bought it. This being a time of finishing small projects, I finally tore it apart and discovered that the cells and contacts were in fine shape (!), the bulb (remember bulbs?) worked, the wiring was OK, but the switch was bad.

Magnifying headband - lamp switch

Magnifying headband – lamp switch

The switch body seems to be firmly anchored in place, so I pried that red base plate off in situ, un-bent the silver-plated (!) spring-contact-actuator, and reassembled it in reverse order. No pictures, as it took less time to do than to tell, but it now works perfectly… most likely, for the first time ever.

Stop squirming! This can be much more painful…

Magnifying headband - in action

Magnifying headband – in action

I’m mildly tempted to hotwire the guts of a white LED flashlight into the thing, but that would require either another AA cell or a booster circuit and I’m not ready for that just yet.

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Bicycle Helmet Mirror Mount: Re-anchoring the Boom

My original dimensions for the helmet mirror mount used three sections of the inspection mirror shaft, with a short length of the fattest tube screwed into the azimuth turret:

Mirror shaft - 2-56 stud

Mirror shaft – 2-56 stud

Each section has a pair of brass leaf springs applying just enough friction to hold the next-smallest tube in place, with a rolled crimp securing the springs and preventing the smaller section from pulling out. My first version used that short length of the largest section and the next (for Mary’s helmet) used only the two smallest tubes; it’s rapid prototyping at its finest, except that I rarely discard a prototype that actually works.

Late last year I managed to pull the shaft out of the base while adjusting the length and watched those two springs flutter to the ground beside me.

After finding both of them amid the usual roadside clutter, I swore a mighty oath that I’d epoxy the base of the middle tube into the larger one, eliminating one non-functional adjustment point:

Bike helmet mirror mount - epoxied stalk base

Bike helmet mirror mount – epoxied stalk base

The heatstink tubing covers most of the evidence, but you can see a fillet of epoxy around the end.


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