Tree Stump Removal

This makes writing 3D modeling code and turning threads look downright attractive:

Tree stump - crater
Tree stump – crater

The previous owners apparently surrounded a cedar (?) tree with a ring of large, decorative rocks. The tree vanished long before we arrived, with the stump accreting random stones, bricks, and similar impedimenta ever since; my first task involved (re)moving a couple hundred pounds of rocky debris.

After using the stump as a fulcrum for that steel bar to break the rotted roots and loosen the surrounding soil, it’s out and away:

Tree stump - excavated
Tree stump – excavated

Back to the Basement Laboratory …

Garden Hose Valve Wrench: Reinforced

After five gardening seasons, my simple 3D printed wrench broke:

Hose Valve Knob - fractured
Hose Valve Knob – fractured

Although Jason’s comment suggesting carbon-fiber reinforcing rods didn’t prompt me to lay in a stock, ordinary music wire should serve the same purpose:

Hose Valve Knob - cut pins
Hose Valve Knob – cut pins

The pins are 1.6 mm diameter and 20 mm long, chopped off with hardened diagonal cutters. Next time, I must (remember to) grind the ends flat.

The solid model needs holes in appropriate spots:

Hose Valve Knob - Reinforced - Slic3r
Hose Valve Knob – Reinforced – Slic3r

Yes, I’m going to put round pins in square holes, without drilling the holes to the proper diameter: no epoxy, no adhesive, just 20 mm of pure friction.

The drill press aligns the pins:

Hose Valve Knob - pin ready
Hose Valve Knob – pin ready

And rams them about halfway down:

Hose Valve Knob - pin midway
Hose Valve Knob – pin midway

Close the chuck jaws and shove them flush with the surface:

Hose Valve Knob - pins installed
Hose Valve Knob – pins installed

You can see the pins and their solid plastic shells through the wrench stem:

Hose Valve Knob - assembled
Hose Valve Knob – assembled

Early testing shows the reinforced wrench works just as well as the previous version, even on some new valves sporting different handles, with an equally sloppy fit for all. No surprise: I just poked holes in the existing model and left all the other dimensions alone.

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:

Kenmore 158 Sewing Machine: More Deglaring

My first pass at deglaring the shiny metal parts on Mary’s brightly lit Kenmore 158 used translucent mailing labels on the “hand hole cover” in front of the needle:

Kenmore 158 - non-glare cover plate
Kenmore 158 – non-glare cover plate

That worked surprisingly well for surprisingly long, but the edges eventually came loose and, after far too long, I deployed the Tiny Sandblaster™:

Kenmore 158 - matte cover plate - feet
Kenmore 158 – matte cover plate – feet

The mottled matte effect isn’t quite what I expected, but it’s better-looking in person and we deemed it Good Enough™ for the purpose.

You saw the foot on the left in the previous effort:

Kenmore 158 - matte cover plate - feet - detail
Kenmore 158 – matte cover plate – feet – detail

The rounded plate directly under the needle sits far enough back to not reflect any of the LEDs toward her normal operating position, so we decided it didn’t need sandblasting.

She now has plenty of light where she needs it, with no glare from the metal bits.

American Standard Kitchen Faucet: Yet Another Replacement

These cartridges seem to wear out after two years, at most:

American Standard faucet cartridge
American Standard faucet cartridge

The handle becomes difficult to move, both left-to-right and up-and-down, with lubrication of the (obviously metal-on-plastic) shaft being unavailing.

Having devoted considerable time & attention to keeping this thing alive, there really aren’t any user-serviceable parts inside:

American Standard Ceramic Faucet Valve Cores - old vs new
American Standard Ceramic Faucet Valve Cores – old vs new

I think the sliding fit between the two ceramic blocks laps itself into a more perfect joint, to the extent it’s wrung together and can’t be moved. Even after filtering, our town-supplied water apperently has enough micro-fine grit for the purpose.

So I have another valve core for the collection …

On the upside, the improved spout bearing rings continue to work fine, although it’s only been five months.

Floor Lamp: Rattle-Can Black

Shooting the modified copper elbow with gloss black atop gray primer definitely improved its disposition:

Floor Lamp - painted elbow - installed
Floor Lamp – painted elbow – installed

I’d have been more inclined to apply several light coats if the wind weren’t blowing up a storm. As it was, I shot enough black to cover the not-quite-dry primer (“top coat at any time”) and called it a day.

The scuffed tubes aren’t quite that ugly in person, but they have suffered some abuse along the way. Seen from a normal working distance, however, it’s all good:

Floor Lamp - finished
Floor Lamp – finished

The lamp isn’t quite as tippy as I feared, so I’ll try it without the broken truck spring counterweight until something untoward happens.

I loves me some happy ending …

Garden Rake Cross Bolt

Mary’s long-suffering garden rake pulled apart while we were flattening a section of what will become something like a lawn next to the garden:

Garden rake - shank and ferrule
Garden rake – shank and ferrule

For whatever reason, there’s no cross bolt holding the shank into the ferrule, like there should be on any tool subject to pulling force.

After marking the wide spot on the shank, a couple of good shots with a two pound hammer flattened the ferrule around it well enough to start a hole with a 3/16 step drill:

Garden rake - cross drilling
Garden rake – cross drilling

Go through the far side with a 13/16 inch drill for a generous 5 mm fit, drop a bolt into the hole while it can’t get away, tighten the nyloc nut, and it’s all good:

Garden rake - cross bolt
Garden rake – cross bolt

In fact, it’s better than it ever was, because now the shank can’t pull out until the ferrule falls off the handle. Which could happen, but I’m not averse to another bolt.

Admittedly, it’s not a stainless steel socket head cap screw, because that’d just about double the value of the rake. The handle is in such bad shape that the bolt will probably outlast the wood …


Update: The consensus says I totally missed the Ritual Invocation of the Epoxy, so:

Garden rake - epoxy fill
Garden rake – epoxy fill

Now all is right with the world …

Floor Lamp Height vs. Reach: Plumbing Fitting

The floor lamp with the invisible / non-tactile controls moved to a different chair, where it didn’t have quite enough reach and too much height. Knowing what was about to happen, I spliced a JST-SM connector into the wire inside the tube:

Floor Lamp - base wiring JST-SM connector
Floor Lamp – base wiring JST-SM connector

After trimming off all the extraneous bits, the larger half of the connector (male pins) fits through the tubing and the smaller half (female sockets) barely fits through the bottom bushings.

It turns out half-inch copper pipe fittings (ID = 15.9 mm) almost exactly fit the tubing (OD = 15.7 mm):

Floor Lamp - copper 45° elbow
Floor Lamp – copper 45° elbow

A quick test showed the 45° (actually, it’s 135°, but we’re deep into plumbing nomenclature) positioned the lamp head too high and with too much reach:

Floor Lamp - gooseneck exercise
Floor Lamp – gooseneck exercise

So shorten the tube attached to the head and deburr the cut:

Floor Lamp - tube deburring
Floor Lamp – tube deburring

The 45° fitting is too high and a 90° fitting is obviously too low, so cut a 20° slice out of a 90° fitting:

Floor Lamp - copper 90° elbow - 20° cutout
Floor Lamp – copper 90° elbow – 20° cutout

Cut a snippet of brass tubing to fit, bash to fit, file to hide, buff everything to a high shine, silver-solder it in place, and buff everything again:

Floor Lamp - copper 90° elbow - 20° fill strip
Floor Lamp – copper 90° elbow – 20° fill strip

The 5/8 inch aluminum rods serve to stiffen the fitting, smooth out the torch heating, and generally keep things under control.

Wrap the obligatory Kapton tape around the butt ends of the tubes to fill the fitting’s oversize hole, put everything together, and it’s just about perfect:

Floor Lamp - copper 70° elbow - installed
Floor Lamp – copper 70° elbow – installed

I immobilized the fitting with black Gorilla tape, but it really needs something a bit more permanent. One of these days, maybe, a pair of setscrews will happen.

The additional reach required a little more counterweight on the far side for security, so I added the broken stub of a truck leaf spring. It should be secured firmly to the base plate, but no tool I own can put a dent in those three pounds of spring steel. Maybe it’ll merit a fancy enclosure wrapped around the base?