Archive for category Machine Shop

Subaru Forester Relamping

Prompted by RCP’s battery misadventure, I replaced a handful of the Forester’s incandescent bulbs:

Subaru Forester 2015 - replaced bulbs

Subaru Forester 2015 – replaced bulbs

Despite what look like “squeeze here” markings, you must push the license plate bulb holders toward the center of the car:

Subaru Forester 2015 - license plate bulb holders

Subaru Forester 2015 – license plate bulb holders

They were both stuck firmly to the trim plate, so I braced a screwdriver against the outboard edge of the trim panel, after which it becomes obvious how pressing inward compresses the (plastic) spring clip so you can pull the outward side of the holder away from the hatch.

Casual searching turned up a bunch of exceedingly helpful advice for anyone DIY-ing through a Forester.

The bulbs with conical ends, known as “festoon” lamps, (unsurprisingly) come in  several lengths. The Forester bulbs are about 25 mm long, (unsurprisingly) much shorter than the 31 mm LEDs that seem to be the smallest available replacements, but (surprisingly) the socket tabs have barely enough compliance for the extra half dozen millimeters:

Subaru Forester 2015 - dome with 31 mm festoon LED bulb

Subaru Forester 2015 – dome with 31 mm festoon LED bulb

The LEDs are much much much brighter than the incandescents, although I’d prefer warm white to cool white. The cargo compartment lamp in the back is still way too dim; I don’t understand how Subaru decided on a plastic cover tinted tinted dark smoke gray.

All in all, a worthwhile upgrade!

I wonder how long they’ll last? I have one spare of each type …



Tour Easy Front Derailleur Cable Clamp

In addition to sawing through the side of the cable ferrule, the front derailleur cable began breaking at the edge of the derailleur arm:

Tour Easy Front Derailleur Cable - frayed

Tour Easy Front Derailleur Cable – frayed

It wouldn’t have survived another ride!

Dan pointed out CNC machined aluminum cable clamps are a thing, but those are sized for larger frame tubes than the 1.0 inch steel used on our Tour Easy ‘bents and, although I’ve shimmed everything else on the frame, I wanted to tweak the cable angle to match the arm on the derailleur.

A bit of OpenSCAD wrangling produces a likely candidate:

Front Derailleur Cable Clamp - Slic3r

Front Derailleur Cable Clamp – Slic3r

That’s a bulked-up revision of the prototype:

Tour Easy Front Derailleur Cable Clamp - installed

Tour Easy Front Derailleur Cable Clamp – installed

Done up in orange PETG, it demonstrated the idea worked, but two perimeter threads wrapped around 15% infill isn’t quite up to the task. Note the split along the screw on the far half and various irregularities around the ferrule.

The cable angle isn’t quite right, either, as the proper compound angle would, alas, aim the cable into the pedal crank. The bulky bushings get in the way of putting the ferrule where it should be with the screws aligned in a tidy manner, so I must get used to the jaunty angle.

The bulkier version, done with 50% infill and four perimeter threads, has the same tilt angle, but the ferrule sits further from the screws:

Tour Easy Front Derailleur Cable Clamp V2 - rear quarter view

Tour Easy Front Derailleur Cable Clamp V2 – rear quarter view

The view from the left side shows the cable angles slightly to the rear, but the smaller angle should make it happier:

Tour Easy Front Derailleur Cable Clamp V2 - side view

Tour Easy Front Derailleur Cable Clamp V2 – side view

Probably should have used black PETG. Next time, for sure!

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:

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Tour Easy: Front Derailleur Cable Angle

Spotted while in the midst of replacing my Tour Easy’s rear grip shifter:

Tour Easy - front derailleur cable angle

Tour Easy – front derailleur cable angle

As you might expect, the cable saws through the side of its ferrule and the brazed-on frame fitting, because it’s been basically impossible (for me, anyhow) to find a replacement derailleur duplicating whatever the good folks at Easy Racers shipped back in 2001.

On the upside, this derailleur’s cable entry has a nicely rounded ramp eliminating the need for my brass cable pulley widget.

Memo to Self: Perhaps running the cable around a bearing anchored to the frame fitting would help?

I’ve obviously forgotten to fix this for several years, so putting it here may serve as a Round Tuit.



Primo Comet vs. Green Glass Chip: Kevlar FTW!

The gashes don’t look like much:

Primo Comet gash - tread view

Primo Comet gash – tread view

Not even from the side:

Primo Comet gash - side view

Primo Comet gash – side view

When they happened, I knew where to look, because the Kevlar-belted Primo Comet had two conspicuous bulges surrounding debris jammed between the tread and the carcass along the sidewall: the gashes were wide open!

Much to my astonishment, the tire hadn’t gone instantly flat.

Some screwdriver probing in the leftmost gash produced this nasty glass chip:

Primo Comet gash - chip side view

Primo Comet gash – chip side view

AFAICT, the smooth side slid over the internal Kevlar belt as the edge sliced between the rubber tread and the carcass. I think the top entered first, with the somewhat crushed end hitting the pavement on each revolution:

Primo Comet gash - chip edge view

Primo Comet gash – chip edge view

The other gash emitted a somewhat smaller chip.

I rode over something crunchy, most likely the remains of a beer bottle, in a shaded section along Rt 376, and we stopped a few driveways later to diagnose a once-per-revolution thump from the front tire. The tube still wasn’t losing pressure, even after extracting the glass, so I continued the mission; it was a fine day for a ride!

I later filled those gashes (plus a few others) with silicone rubber to keep grit out. It’s surely a feel-good gesture, but maybe it’ll help the tire reach the end of its tread life.

You can judge our “riding environment” by the tire’s condition …



LXI-Tools for Siglent SDS2304X Oscilloscope and SDM3045X Multimeter

For whatever reason, my Siglent SDS2304X Oscilloscope and SDM3045X Multimeter partially implement their documented command sets through partial implementations of the VXI instrumentation driver network protocol. The Linux command-line side comes from lxi-tools, which one must fetch from its repository and compile from source(do liblxi first, then lxi-tools)  through the usual ./configure - make - sudo make install process, after tediously installing whatever dependencies might be revealed by incremental progress through the configuration(s) on your system(s).

The alternative, of course, is Labview on Windows.

The SDS2304X scope doesn’t respond to the LXI discover broadcast, so you must know and specify its IP address in the command. It’s easiest to configure the Siglent instruments at fixed IP addresses and be done with it:

lxi scpi -a "*idn?"
Siglent Technologies,SDM3045X,SDM34whatever,
lxi scpi -a "*idn?"
*IDN SIGLENT,SDS2304X,SDS2Xwhatever, R10

Although the LXI tools also come in a Snap package, installing them that way prevents storing files outside the user’s home directory; having evolved a fairly extensive NFS filesystem, Snaps seem basically useless for my purposes. I don’t see much more security exposure from downloading and running a Snap than from downloading, compiling, and running the source code, but they obviously know what’s best for me.



Mower Blade Standardization, Lack Thereof

The blade from our current Craftsman mower is on the right:

Sears Craftsman mower blades

Sears Craftsman mower blades

The other two came from our previous Craftsman mowers.

Stipulated: Sears sources their mowers from various suppliers, but it’d be great if everybody could agree on a single blade mount and be done with it.

Obligatory XKCD.

For the record, a 5/8 inch socket works fine. One could surely use a 16 mm socket in a pinch.

Wear leather gloves to prevent a nasty gash from the stamped-steel muffler shroud as you pull the sparkle plug cap to avoid an absolutely impossible engine startup while you’re wrenching under the deck.

Replace the air cleaner while you’re at it.



Michelin ProTek Max Tubes: Slow Leak

The back tire on my bike was flat when I rolled it out for a ride (the day after replacing the front shifter cable), which ought not be possible with a Michelin Protek Max tube inside. On the other paw, we’ve had zero flats in the not quite two years since installing the things, which says they’re doing very well, and I’ll take a flat in the garage over a flat on the road any day.

With the bike up on the stand, I didn’t spot the expected large glass chip or sharp wire, but I did find three smaller gashes:

Bike tire tread gashes - composite - 2017-05-13

Bike tire tread gashes – composite – 2017-05-13

… from which I extracted two small glass shards. Perhaps a wee puncture spent four days parked at the top of the wheel, with the ProTek’s internal goop drained away and unable to plug the slow leak.

Having spun the tire a few times while looking for trouble, I pumped it back up to 80 psi. After delaying the ride for half an hour, the tire pressure remained constant, and we enjoyed a fine ride around the block.

Because I’m writing this in the future, I know it’ll hold pressure just fine, which means I can declare victory and move on.

The tube & tire weigh more than some frames, but they’re worth it!

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