Archive for April, 2014
The leg shafts broke free after a bit of struggle and it now prowls my desk in search of handouts:
I like the semi-transparent crystalline effect of natural PLA, even if it’s not appropriate for an elephant…
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.
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…
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.
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:
The heatstink tubing covers most of the evidence, but you can see a fillet of epoxy around the end.
We attended a talk in the Taylor Hall Auditorium at Vassar College, which features lovingly restored lamps that illuminate the pull-up desks on each seat:
The housing consists of black-painted cast iron, with a 7 W (“Christmas tree”) incandescent bulb keeping it pleasantly warm to the touch. A metal conduit connects the lamp to the main conduit running parallel to the seat rows at the edge of each step. Another hole on the other side cast light upward toward the ceiling, perhaps providing general room light in the Good Old Days.
The restored seats are much wider than dictated by contemporary standards, perhaps allowing enough room for the classic conical skirts often seen in historic Vassar photographs:
That’s about 170 W of light down those two rows. I didn’t think to run the numbers at the time, but there’s gotta be a kilowatt of those little lamps in that auditorium!
And, yes, male pattern baldness affected a remarkable number of attendees…
Spotted this (so to speak) on a journey:
Evidently, the bee is out and the shell is in…
The Whirlpool water heater anode rod is corroding nicely:
The new GE water heater anode rod seems to be passivating:
There’s some corrosion up near the bolt head, so it’s not entirely asleep:
I hammered the coating off the rod, scuffed the shiny parts with coarse sandpaper, wiped off the dust, and stuck it back in its socket. We’ll see what it looks like next year.
Both tanks flushed nicely without too much sediment.
Searching for “water heater” will turn up other posts…
Two 40 W incandescent bulbs in the front bathroom burned out within a few days of each other. Being that type of guy, I know that I installed this bulb nine years ago:
The date is easier to read with the bulb in hand: 13 Feb 05. The (5 yrs) indicates the previous bulb in that socket lasted five years.
The other bulb date went in during March 09, so it survived only five years; the previous bulb lasted 6 years.
Even though 40 W incandescent bulbs are history, maybe I have enough spares on the shelf that the next owner can replace ’em with cheap LEDs.