Archive for category Home Ec

HON Lateral File: Shelf Rebuild

After sliding the HON Lateral File Cabinet shelf into place and installing the bumpers, it seemed rather loose and floppy. Comparing the situation with the other file cabinet showed it had a missing glide button in the rear and two missing slides at the front.

A replacement button emerged from the end of a Delrin rod:

HON Lateral File - shelf button - parting off
HON Lateral File – shelf button – parting off

The original buttons had an expanding stem, which is easy to do with an injection-molded part. I opted for simple adhesive, with enough of a blob underneath the shelf to (presumably) lock it in place forevermore:

HON Lateral File - shelf button - installed
HON Lateral File – shelf button – installed

The slides required an iterative design technique (pronounced “fumbling around”), because nothing on either side remained square / plumb / true / unbent. I hacked the first version from scrap acrylic, broke off anything that didn’t fit, and got better measurements from what remained:

HON Lateral File - shelf front guide - size test
HON Lateral File – shelf front guide – size test

With those measurements in hand, the second version used a pair of weird flat-head shoulder screws (probably from a hard drive) to anchor 3D printed angle brackets into the frame:

HON Lateral File - shelf slides - version 2
HON Lateral File – shelf slides – version 2

Those worked reasonably well, but PETG doesn’t produce a nice sliding surface, so the final version has flat-head Delrin studs in slightly tweaked brackets:

HON Lateral File - shelf slides - version 3
HON Lateral File – shelf slides – version 3

As with the buttons in the back, the original slides had expanding studs holding them in place, but glue works fine here, too:

HON Lateral File - shelf slides - version 3 - installed
HON Lateral File – shelf slides – version 3 – installed

The button isn’t quite square to the surface and the slide isn’t quite flush with the bent metal in the frame, but it’s Good Enough™ for a shelf that won’t get lots of mileage.

For reference, the brackets should print vertically to wrap the plastic threads around the upright for better strength:

HON Lateral File Shelf Slide - Slic3r
HON Lateral File Shelf Slide – Slic3r

If you did it the obvious way, the upright side would break right off at the first insult from the hulking shelf, although they’re basically a solid chip of plastic, with a little infill inside the bottom slab.

While I was at it, I pulled the springs to make them a bit longer, so they touch the back of the frame when the shelf is half an inch behind the front face of the drawers. A firm push and those Delrin contact points let the shelf pop out an inch or so, with plenty of room for fingers underneath the front edge.

Some drawer slide stops near the back needed attention, too:

HON Lateral File - slide stop bumper - bent
HON Lateral File – slide stop bumper – bent

I cannot imagine how hard somebody slammed the drawers, because bending the stops back to a right angle required a Vise-Grip and some muttering:

HON Lateral File - slide stop bumper
HON Lateral File – slide stop bumper

Oddly, the cushiony hollow side faces away from the drawer, toward the back of the frame, because putting it forward holds the drawer front proud of the front frame face. Maybe HON cost-reduced the steel slides by making them just slightly shorter and using the same bumpers?

The drawers have begun filling up from boxes scattered around the house:

HON Lateral File - fabric stash
HON Lateral File – fabric stash

That’s the “orange” part of Mary’s collection, now with plenty of room to grow!

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:

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Monthly Science: Maria Mitchell Astronomy Notebooks

Back in 2016, the Special Collection Library at Vassar put on Seeing the Sun: Maria Mitchell’s Observations, 1868-1888, an exhibit featuring materials from her tenure as Vassar’s astronomer, including several notebooks of observations and calculations. Being that type of guy, I spent quite a while pondering the effort required to do science.

Perhaps this notebook appeared in the exhibit:

Mitchell 8.6 - Longitude computations of occultations 1872-1875
Mitchell 8.6 – Longitude computations of occultations 1872-1875

Here’s what “calculations” looked like in 1872:

Mitchell 8.6 p9 - Occultation of 1253 BAC at 11 hrs - calculation
Mitchell 8.6 p9 – Occultation of 1253 BAC at 11 hrs – calculation

Yeah, grinding out trigonometry by hand using seven-place logarithms:

Mitchell 8.6 p9 - Occultation of 1253 BAC at 11 hrs - calculation detail 1
Mitchell 8.6 p9 – Occultation of 1253 BAC at 11 hrs – calculation detail 1

Not just by hand, but by hand with pen and ink:

Mitchell 8.6 p9 - Occultation of 1253 BAC at 11 hrs - calculation detail 2
Mitchell 8.6 p9 – Occultation of 1253 BAC at 11 hrs – calculation detail 2

Although you’ll find an occasional ink blot, she was probably using a fountain pen, rather than a dip pen, and made very few mistakes along the way. She often recorded direct instrument observations in pencil.

The next time you start pissing & moaning about how hard solid modeling is, suck it up.

Bonus: a Ginger Snap recipe suggesting it wasn’t all toil & trouble in the observatory:

Mitchell 7.5 - Ginger Snap recipe
Mitchell 7.5 – Ginger Snap recipe

The mystery ingredient is saleratus, “aerated salt”, now known as baking soda; they used potassium bicarbonate before today’s sodium bicarbonate.

I spent several pleasant hours browsing through selected notebooks in search of computations, taking pictures of pages under field conditions in ambient light. All images from Maria Mitchell Papers, Archives and Special Collections, Vassar College Libraries.

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HON Lateral File Cabinet Shelf Bumper Replacement

Somewhat to our surprise, our “new” HON Lateral File Cabinets include a pop-out shelf:

HON Lateral File - shelf - closed
HON Lateral File – shelf – closed

The trick: push the bar inward against fairly stiff spring pressure, release it suddenly, watch it pop out maybe half an inch, get some fingers under the front edge, then pull it outward:

HON Lateral File - shelf - extended
HON Lateral File – shelf – extended

Obviously, opening the drawer above the shelf will sweep whatever you put there onto the floor and opening the drawer below seems futile. I suppose it produced a bullet item on the features list.

Note that the topmost “drawer” is also called a “shelf”, because the front cover slides up-and-inward to reveal the contents. Should you stand eight feet tall, you might be able to look down on that shelf, but we mere mortals barely see its contents at eye level.

Dismantling the cabinets preparatory to deep cleaning revealed a pair of rubber bumpers along the rear edge of the shelf:

HON Lateral File - shelf bumper - installed
HON Lateral File – shelf bumper – installed

The slightly angled front side of the bumper (on the right) collides with a crossbar below the drawer just above it, preventing you from pulling the shelf entirely out of the cabinet.

Remove the bumper by pressing down and rearward (to the left), shoving the protruding lip into the slot with a thumb / screwdriver, then pull it upward through the slot:

HON Lateral File - shelf bumper - removed
HON Lateral File – shelf bumper – removed

The second cabinet had only one bumper, so I traced it twice onto a rubber sheet half as thick as the OEM bumper, bandsawed the shapes, and introduced them to Mr Belt Sander for cleanup:

HON Lateral File - replacement shelf bumper
HON Lateral File – replacement shelf bumper

Jammed side-by-side into the slot, they’ll serve the purpose:

HON Lateral File - replacement shelf bumper - installed
HON Lateral File – replacement shelf bumper – installed

As with the replacement foot on the first cabinet, they’re not the prettiest things you’ve ever seen, but Mary doesn’t expect to use the shelf and they’ll never actually bump into anything.

Even the Pixel phone’s HDR image processing has trouble dealing with dark gray objects on a black background in dim light …

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Refrigerator Coil Wand Adapter Rebuild

After five years, the adapter between the Kenmore Progressive vacuum cleaner and the long wand required to reach inside the refrigerator evaporator coils broke at the latch opening:

Kenmore Vacuum - refrigerator coil adapter - fracture
Kenmore Vacuum – refrigerator coil adapter – fracture

A quick fix let me continue the mission:

Kenmore Vacuum - refrigerator coil adapter - temporary fix
Kenmore Vacuum – refrigerator coil adapter – temporary fix

A better fix required a few minutes of OpenSCAD tweakage and a few hours of hands-off build time:

Refrigerator Coil Wand Adapter - Slic3r preview
Refrigerator Coil Wand Adapter – Slic3r preview

The fitting ID is now 2 mm smaller, the 3D honeycomb infill is 25%, and (contrary to the picture) it now has 4 perimeter threads. It’s a two-line change from the last time:

OEMTube = [35.0 - 2.0,35.0,41.7,40.5,30.0];           // main fitting tube
… then, inside MaleFitting() …
cylinder(d1=OEMTube[ID2],d2=OEMTube[ID1],h=2*OEMTube[LENGTH] + 2*Protrusion);

Those will propagate to anything I build from now on, although this is the first latch fracture.

Gotta love it when 3D printing lives up to the hype!

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HON Lateral File Cabinet Foot Repair

We bought the best-looking (pronounced “least bashed”) pair of hulking five-drawer industrial-strength HON Brigade Lateral File Cabinets from the local ReStore outlet’s assortment for Mary’s quilting fabric stash. They came with a steep discount, barely fit inside the Forester, caused minor interior trim damage, and should organize her entire stash.

One cabinet lost a foot nut at some point in its 16 year history:

HON Lateral File - foot hole - weld nugget filed
HON Lateral File – foot hole – weld nugget filed

The surviving foot nuts sported two weld nuggets apiece:

HON Lateral File - OEM front foot
HON Lateral File – OEM front foot

The hole had the remains of one nugget at the top left and looks like a manufacturing defect to me. Of course, we’re (at least) the second owners and the usual lifetime warranty no longer applies.

I can fix that.

Bandsaw a 1×¾ inch rectangle from 3/8 inch aluminum plate to match the surviving foot nut (which is steel, but aluminum will suffice for our needs). Break the edges, clamp in the Sherline, and mill a square protrusion to match the square-ish hole:

HON Lateral File - square nut - rough cut
HON Lateral File – square nut – rough cut

Drill a 17/64 inch hole (looser than the nominal F drill, because I’m a sissy) for a flat-head bolt from the Drawer o’ 3/8-16 Bolts, tap, and clean up.

A trial fit showed the nugget had to go before the nut would come even close to fitting flat into the hole:

HON Lateral File - foot hole - grinding
HON Lateral File – foot hole – grinding

The sheet metal around the hole had absorbed at least one mighty blow pushing the entire surface inward behind the front edge. To compensate, recess the nut’s front edge and slope the sides with a Dremel wheel to let the bottom face sit level:

HON Lateral File - square nut - taper grinding
HON Lateral File – square nut – taper grinding

Another trial fit showed the need for more recess:

HON Lateral File - square nut - deeper cut
HON Lateral File – square nut – deeper cut

Another spate of grinding made it sit mostly level on the decidedly non-level surface around the hole:

HON Lateral File - square nut - ready to install
HON Lateral File – square nut – ready to install

The beveled corners fit inside the swaged hole corners.

Grind paint / crud off the sheet metal and roughen the surface for good epoxy griptivity:

HON Lateral File - foot hole - ready for install
HON Lateral File – foot hole – ready for install

Stand the cabinet top-side-down to make the bottom level. I wish the basement had one more course of block, but it’s not to be.

Butter the nut with JB Weld epoxy, plunk it in place, apply excess epoxy to make a fillet around the edges, apply duct tape to guy the top of the bolt level-ish, and let it cure:

HON Lateral File - square nut - epoxy curing
HON Lateral File – square nut – epoxy curing

After the epoxy stiffened enough to hold its position, remove the bolt, file a crude ¼ inch hex, and saw a screwdriver slot to make it match the other feet:

HON Lateral File - new foot hex head
HON Lateral File – new foot hex head

Not the fanciest job I’ve ever done, but it now behaves just like the other ones and it’s all good. The HON Storage Files FAQ points to a Troubleshooting Guide showing how to level the thing with a hex socket from inside the bottom drawer.

The flat heads on those bolts are basically 25 mm OD steel plates calling for fuzzy felt bumpers on the Sewing Room’s wood floors. When properly leveled, the front will be ⅛ inch higher than the rear. Although they suggest a pencil should roll toward the back, the top sheet metal on this one may be sufficiently warped to confuse the issue; I have a long level well suited to the task.

The original dimension doodle includes metric offsets for cutting with a ¼ inch end mill:

HON Foot nut - dimension doodles
HON Foot nut – dimension doodles

All in all, a satisfying day in the Basement Shop …

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The Return of High-Reliability / High-Availability Trash Cans

Five years ago, robotic trash cans were a thing on Vassar’s campus, including this duo in front of Vassar’s library:

Vassar Library - Trash and recycling containers
Vassar Library – Trash and recycling containers

That was then, this is now:

Vassar Library trash cans
Vassar Library trash cans

I infer the robotics did not work out as anticipated.

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Frozen Fire Hydrant, One Year On

It seems reporting a frozen hydrant to the local fire company didn’t produce any meaningful action:

Frozen hydrant - Sheldon at Rt 376
Frozen hydrant – Sheldon at Rt 376

We didn’t have any fires in the neighborhood where it might have been a problem, but I’ll try the water department this year …

Oddly, the water department repainted most of the fire hydrants along most of the roads last year. This one apparently didn’t qualify, for whatever reason, despite being only slightly off Rt 376 on Sheldon:

Frozen hydrant - Sheldon at Rt 376 - Google Streetview
Frozen hydrant – Sheldon at Rt 376 – Google Streetview

When it’s not frozen, it’s not obvious …

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