Rolltop Cupcake Box

It’s actually the sample Bread Box, sized just about right for a cupcake or two:

Rolltop cupcake box - closed
Rolltop cupcake box – closed

Even if I have a soft spot for cupcakes, it’s also the right size to corral the batteries we use on the bikes:

Rolltop cupcake box - open
Rolltop cupcake box – open

I’d never done anything with flexible plywood sheets, so I started by cutting the door all by itself. Turns out 3 mm plywood flexes wonderfully well, which led to cutting the rest of the box.

The zit on the left side is a knot on the “bad” side of the plywood, visible due to not reversing that piece to put its “good” side downward. I also had to re-cut the curved door guides along the front edge (using the paper support) after they fell through the stock (up on spikes) and got torched during subsequent cuts:

Rolltop cupcake box - cutting guides
Rolltop cupcake box – cutting guides

The instructions recommend applying wax to the sliding surfaces and that’s a very good idea; although I used cutting wax, paraffin should work. In addition, I filed off the projecting edges of the guide plates around the interior curve, if only to be sure the door couldn’t possibly catch after it was permanently assembled.

I glued it in about five stages to keep everything aligned, starting with the right rear corner stabilized by the bench block and eventually coaxing the left side over all those fingers.

Hit the custom URL with all the build parameters to make your own, although you should tweak the measurements to suit your plywood.

Thermador In-Wall Heater

Our house dates back to 1955 and features several fancy items not found in contemporary dwellings. Take, for example, the Thermador in-wall heater in the front bathroom:

Thermador In-Wall Heater
Thermador In-Wall Heater

It has a finger-friendly design apparently intended to admit a small finger through the grille, where it can easily contact the resistance heating coil, so while we were moving in I snapped a GFI circuit breaker into that slot in the breaker panel. We advised our (very young) Larval Engineer of the hazard and had no further problem; as far as I know, that breaker never tripped and no fingers were damaged.

Back then, while adding that breaker and cleaning the first half-century of fuzz out of the thing, I evidently blobbed silicone rubber on the screw terminals of the switch:

Thermador In-Wall Heater - switch contacts
Thermador In-Wall Heater – switch contacts

They don’t make switches like that any more.

For reasons not relevant here, we’ll be using it for the first time since we moved in, so I spent a while cleaning / blowing / brushing another two decades of fuzz out of it.

Minus the fuzz, the heater no longer smells like a house on fire:

Thermador In-Wall Heater - glowing
Thermador In-Wall Heater – glowing

If that doesn’t warm your buns, nothing will!

CPAP Hose Dryer: Filter Bottle

With the general idea being to dry a CPAP hose by pulling clean air through it, putting laser-cut MDF upwind of the inlet was a known-bad idea:

CPAP Dryer - overview
CPAP Dryer – overview

It did, however, dry the tubing and the construction was Pretty Close™ to being the proper size.

Making the stand from acrylic sheet eliminates the MDF stench:

CPAP Dryer filter - acrylic stand - fitting end
CPAP Dryer filter – acrylic stand – fitting end

Incoming air passes through a dome-style N95 mask:

CPAP Dryer filter - acrylic stand - filter end
CPAP Dryer filter – acrylic stand – filter end

The mask sets the overall size of the stand:

CPAP Dryer - Filter holder - LB layout
CPAP Dryer – Filter holder – LB layout

Given that we’re not talking Level 4 Biohazard, any filter would work equally well. A dome mask has a nicely defined and self-supporting shape with a flange around the edge.

The flange provides a convenient way to build the clamp ring, starting with a scan from the face side:

Demetech Dome Mask - interior scan
Demetech Dome Mask – interior scan

Tracing the flange outline using GIMP’s Scissor Select tool and doing a little cleanup in Quick Mask mode produced a selection suitable for becoming a binary mask of the N95 mask:

Demetech Dome Mask - perimeter mask
Demetech Dome Mask – perimeter mask

Ex post facto, I realized the mask has a sufficiently regular outline to fit a much simpler Beziér spline:

CPAP Dryer - Filter holder - LB splines
CPAP Dryer – Filter holder – LB splines

That began in LightBurn as a circle fitting the lower part of the mask, converted to a path, then tweaked with the Node Editor to fit the top of the nose and add two nodes to pull the path inward on either side. In the unlikely event I make another bottle stand, the cut will be irrelevantly smoother.

The hole in the clamp comes from insetting that path by the flange width of 4 mm, whereupon the N95 mask pretty much self-centers in the hole:

CPAP Dryer filter - acrylic stand - filter clamp
CPAP Dryer filter – acrylic stand – filter clamp

You could draw a face on that thing…

The four small holes fit M3 aluminum rivet nuts:

CPAP Dryer filter - trimmed Rivnuts
CPAP Dryer filter – trimmed Rivnuts

They’re shortened by 1 mm (from the original length shown in the upper right) to fit 1 mm of mask sandwiched inside a pair of 3 mm acrylic sheets:

CPAP Dryer filter - Rivnut installed
CPAP Dryer filter – Rivnut installed

The glowy edge-lit acrylic sheet has 4.8 mm holes for a snug push fit and the white clamp ring has 5.1 mm holes for a loose alignment fit. I drilled out the laser-cut holes for nice smooth sides.

I picked a bottle large enough to also hold the mask’s elbow, so that it would dry in the same stream of clean air. So far, the elbows dry well enough on their own, but the bottle remains a convenient size for fitting the mask on its end.

On the other end of the bottle, the lid gets a hose fitting turned from PVC pipe:

CPAP Dryer - filter hose fitting glue rings
CPAP Dryer – filter hose fitting glue rings

The Official ResMed fittings on the masks and the AirSense 11 machine are about 20 mm long and just over 22 mm OD with a slight taper. The unheated hose has silicone rubber ends fitting very snugly around those cylinders, so I made the pipe fittings 25 mm long and 21 mm OD to ensure a low-effort, but still secure, fit.

The grooves cut into the fitting anchor a generous hot-melt glue blob sealing it to the lid:

CPAP Dryer - filter hose fitting inside
CPAP Dryer – filter hose fitting inside

Yes, the foam disk and the hole through the lid were both laser-cut. Making perfect circles in thin organic material with zero drama is wonderful.

The downstream / mask end of the heated ClimateLine hose (left) is physically identical to the unheated hose ends, but the machine / upstream end (right) sports an electrical connector for the spiral heating element and the thermistor (in the white stud protruding into the mask end lumen):

ResMed ClimateLine heated hose ends
ResMed ClimateLine heated hose ends

Yes, that does look a lot like a naked USB connector, as does the main power connection on the machine, and you can actually slide a Type A USB connector around it. The ResMed manual pointedly notes:

•Do not insert any USB cable into the AirSense 11 device or attempt to plug the AC adaptor into a USB device. This may cause damage to the AirSense 11 device or USB device.
•The electrical connector end of the heated air tubing is only compatible with the air outlet at the device end and should not be fitted to the mask.

ResMed AirSense 11 Clinical Guide

Protip: When you must carefully explain why T. C. Mits should not mate two obviously compatible and mutually antagonistic devices, your design-fu has failed.

The four ribs inside the upstream end slide over a 23.5 mm cylinder, which is enough larger than the 22 mm cylinder on the machine to wiggle the not-USB connector into place. Without a connector to worry about, I turned a sleeve adapting the smaller fitting to those ribs:

CPAP Dryer filter - heated hose bushing
CPAP Dryer filter – heated hose bushing

It’s 27 mm long to keep the lip of the silicone seal away from the setscrew, 23.5 mm OD to exactly fit between the ribs, and a 21.5 mm ID slip fit over the bottle snout.

The tiny M3 setscrew lives in a hole tapped into the inner tube, because the sleeve is only 1 mm thick:

CPAP Dryer filter - acrylic stand - bushing center drill
CPAP Dryer filter – acrylic stand – bushing center drill

The setscrew turns outward into a clearance hole drilled in the sleeve to lock it in place.

The outer PVC pipe in the vise is a simple cylinder fixture bored to match the sleeve, so I could grab it in the lathe chuck / vise without distortion. Just the force from a normal grip squishes the fixture enough to keep the sleeve from turning / moving / getting annoyed.

Improving the MDF fan box awaits a few parts, but, being downstream, isn’t on the critical path for drying hoses. The only trick is keeping the bottle inlet upstream of the fan exhaust.

CPAP Hose Dryer: MVP Overview

For all the usual reasons, we’re now confronted with the need to dry a freshly washed CPAP hose:

CPAP Dryer - water droplets in hose
CPAP Dryer – water droplets in hose

Those droplets might not seem like much, but I am reliably informed they produce over-humid air and sprinkle when they migrate into the mask during the night.

Commercial drying machines are available, but seem grossly overqualified and require proprietary foam filters. I wondered if simply pulling air through the hose for a few hours would work:

CPAP Dryer - dried hose
CPAP Dryer – dried hose

Why, yes, it does.

That test took two hours and another with a different hose required about five, but simply “hanging the hose up to dry” consistently produced poor results after three days, so we count a few hours as a win.

I cut the first minimally viable prototype CPAP Hose Dryer from MDF:

CPAP Dryer - overview
CPAP Dryer – overview

Stipulated: MDF is absolutely the wrong material for an air-handling project, because laser-cut MDF stinketh unto high heaven. This was the first pass using cheap material to see how well, if at all, the idea worked.

The CPAP hose goes between the fittings on the bottle and box, with air entering the bottle through a hole drilled in what was its bottom:

CPAP Dryer - filter bottle cutout
CPAP Dryer – filter bottle cutout

An air filter seemed like a Good Idea™, if only to keep ordinary room fuzz out of the bottle and hose. In this Third Pandemic Year, I could simply pull a least-favorite N95 mask from the stockpile and fit a clamp ring around it:

CPAP Dryer - filter clamp installed
CPAP Dryer – filter clamp installed

The motivation for pulling air through the tube, rather than pushing it, came when I realized I could build a much cleaner intake structure by starting with an ordinary HDPE bottle than I could possibly assemble from random parts.

So the fan in the box pulls air through the fitting on the side of the box and blows it out the swirl on top:

CPAP Dryer - fan box
CPAP Dryer – fan box

The box contains a coaxial power jack, the switch, and an 80 mm fan extricated from the Box o’ MostlyFans. I briefly considered an LED, but it’s obvious when the fan runs. The box and swirl cutting patterns come from the invaluable

The two slots give the bottle somewhere to stand while idle. In use, the hose is sufficiently unwieldy to require standing the bottle wherever it wants to be, rather than insisting on putting it anywhere in particular.

More details to follow …

Rodent-Approved Carrot Crop

The final garden harvest included several carrots minus their leafy tops:

Rodent-approved Carrot
Rodent-approved Carrot

I sliced that top from a rather rotund carrot and the broad tooth marks suggest a large rodent. Mary found and blocked a tunnel under the fence, so we think it was a groundhog, rather than a rabbit, but we’ll never know the rest of the story.

The rest of the carrot was fine, so the unknown critter had mmmm good taste. Unfortunately, it sampled far too many root crops as it toured the buffet, leaving Mary’s root-cellared stockpile unusually low for our winter meals.

Step2 Garden Seat: Seat3

Another tray becomes a replacement for the plywood on the Step2 rolling seat in the Vassar Farms plot:

Step2 Garden Seat - weathered plywood
Step2 Garden Seat – weathered plywood

I reused the old hinges, as this tray seems to be slightly thicker than the one on the home garden seat. The straight edges show it’s also somewhat smaller, but it’ll work just fine.

The bottom of the tray with its Silite logo now faces upward, because the top surface has eroded to a matte finish while supporting a bunch of plants outdoors during several summers:

Step2 Garden Seat - tray top
Step2 Garden Seat – tray top

So you can get two or three years from a painted plywood slab out in a garden, depending on how fussy you are about looks.

After two seasons, the first tray doesn’t look any the worse for wear: Silite trays really will survive the Apocalypse and be ready to serve breakfast the next day.

Leaf Bag Flagwashing

The data plate at the bottom of the the leaf bags we get from the town seems intended to set expectations at a certain level:

Dano Leaf Bag - data plate
Dano Leaf Bag – data plate

Which is immediately belied by the situation at the other end of the bag:

Dano Leaf Bag - crimp line typo
Dano Leaf Bag – crimp line typo

OK, it’s just a typo that could happen to anyone, but it first appeared last year and seems to be continuing. Possibly the Town of Poughkeepsie bought a lot of bags and we’re working through the stack.

However, the built-in gashes along the sides of some bags were a new feature this year:

Dano Leaf Bag - side gashes
Dano Leaf Bag – side gashes

Perhaps a misalignment in the folder or stacker:

Dano Leaf Bag - side gash detail
Dano Leaf Bag – side gash detail

Enough bags had slices, perhaps four in some ten-packs, to justify keeping the packing tape dispenser at hand while we were shredding up a storm:

Dano Leaf Bag - side gash detail
Dano Leaf Bag – side gash detail

Which frosted Mary pretty severely, as she recycles the used bags as garden path pavers after distributing their contents as mulch, so she’ll be stripping plenty of tape next year.

Although I’m not privy to the Town’s dealings, Dano’s chart suggests the bags cost about 40¢ in truckload lots, about as much as Lowe’s charges for similar bags in retail five-packs. Surprisingly, you can also buy the same Lowe’s bags from Amazon for a lot more, suggesting some folks live much further from a Lowe’s than we do.