Archive for category Oddities

MicroMark Bandsaw: Blackened Table

The really bright LED worklights I added to the MicroMark bandsaw produced plenty of glare from the raw aluminum table top:

USB Gooseneck Mount - on bandsaw

USB Gooseneck Mount – on bandsaw

No good deed goes unpunished, I suppose.

While rooting around for something else, I rediscovered my bottle of Birchwood Casey Aluminum Black (basically selenium dioxide) that’s intended for touchup work on small parts, not blackening an entire aluminum plate. Well, having had that bottle forever, it’s not like I’ll miss a few milliliters.

If this didn’t work, I could always sand the table down to the original aluminum finish.

So I applied a sanding block in hopes of smoothing the tooling marks:

MicroMark Bandsaw - sanded table

MicroMark Bandsaw – sanded table

Looked pretty good, I thought, so:

  • Wipe it down with alcohol (per the bottle instructions)
  • Slather on a generous dose of Aluminum Black
  • Let that chew on the table for a minute
  • Rinse off with water, wipe dry
  • Perch atop the furnace for thorough drying
  • Spray with Topsaver oil, wipe down
  • Put it back on the bandsaw

Aaaaand it looks great:

MicroMark Bandsaw - blackened table

MicroMark Bandsaw – blackened table

Well, in terms of metal finishing, that blackening job looks downright crappy. Aluminium Black is intended for decorative work and will surely wear quickly on the bandsaw table, but it’s entirely good enough for my simple needs: the glare from those lights is gone.

After I took the picture, I blackened the brass screw in the slot. Came out a weird mottled green-bronze, might look antique in a different context, suits me just fine.




Forester: TPMS FTW, Redux

Now I know the Forester’s TPMS icon blinks on 1000 feet from a cold start with 12 psi in the offending tire. I returned home and pulled this from a sipe in the left rear tire:

Road debris - blade fragment

Road debris – blade fragment

It’s atop a 0.1 inch grid.

The flat side on the right rode tangent to the tire surface, recessed slightly below the tread, and pretty much invisible inside the sipe. Of course, the point punched through the tire’s steel belt and let the wind out, ever so slowly.

I initially thought it was a utility knife blade fragment, but under the microscope it looks more like a saw blade tooth. It’s obviously been kicking around on the road for quite a while; back in the day, they occasionally swept the roads, but that was then and this is now.

Makes me glad I didn’t buy four new tires after the last flat. I suppose installing two plugs in the same tire counts as a net loss, but they’re small, widely separated injuries and that’s how it’ll roll.

For the record: with 14 k miles on the tires, tread wear = 2/32 inch of the original 6/32 inch depth.

Those tires should last another 30 k miles at our current pace, although I expect more random debris will kill one stone cold dead before that.


LED Filaments: Whoops

Five bucks delivered three sets of five warm-white LED filaments from halfway around the planet:

LED Filaments - 3x5 sets

LED Filaments – 3×5 sets

Unfortunately, the “Top Rated Plus” eBay seller just popped three ziplock baggies into an unpadded envelope and tossed it in the mail:

Unpadded LED Filament Envelope

Unpadded LED Filament Envelope

Which had pretty much the result you’d expect on the glass substrates within:

Broken LED Filament 1

Broken LED Filament 1

Turns out every single filament had at least one break:

Broken LED Filament 3

Broken LED Filament 3

Indeed, some seemed just as flexy as the silicone cylinder surrounding the pulverized substrate.

I reported this to the seller, with photographs, and got a classic response:

can you use?

No, I cannot imagine a use for broken LED filaments.

The seller proposed shipping replacements that would might arrive just after the eBay feedback window closed. I proposed refunding the five bucks. The seller ignored that and sent the replacements in an untracked package “as it is an economical shipping, we have to reduce our loss, so is it ok?”.

No, it’s not, but he / she / it didn’t actually intend that as a question.

Were the filaments intact, they’d pass 15 mA with 50 to 60 V applied in one direction or the other, for 1 W average dissipation. That’s probably too high for prolonged use in air (spendy bulbs with similar LEDs have argon / krypton fill for better heat transfer), but I can surely throttle them back a bit.

Perhaps the replacements will arrive before the feedback window closes?

I did order another batch from a different seller that might arrive intact before then. We shall see…


IBM 5100 APL: Nested Emulators

A discussion about Raspberry Pi performance prompted this:

IBM 5110 Emulator - Javascript on Raspberry Pi

IBM 5110 Emulator – Javascript on Raspberry Pi

From the inside out:

Starting the show takes 17 seconds from clicking the Restart button (second from right, top row) to APL’s Clear WS prompt. I have no idea how that compares with a Genuine IBM 5100.

I distinctly remember writing APL programs, but that’s about as far as my memory will take me. [sigh]


Rabbit Head

Although we don’t think of this as a particularly tough neighborhood, this is the second severed head we’ve encountered in the last few years during our routine walks:

Rabbit Head

Rabbit Head

We doubt a predator would do such a tidy job of parting the head from the body, then discarding it. The eyes surely went to a bird, though…

It was across the Mighty Wappinger Creek, near the far end of Romca Rd. The Red Oaks Mill Civic Association is long gone and their building burned to the ground a few decades ago, but their name lives on.


Airliner Over Snow

Poughkeepsie lies under the southbound airliner routes to the NYC airports, so we often see airplanes high overhead. With a few inches of snow on the ground, a sunny day turns them brilliant white against a blue sky:

Air Canada Flight 706 - Embraer ERJ-190 - snow uplight

Air Canada Flight 706 – Embraer ERJ-190 – snow uplight

Feeding “Poughkeepsie NY” into FlightAware produces a map centered over us with (in this case) two candidates, one of which was Air Canada Flight 706, an Embraer ERJ-190. The obvious search produces pictures confirming the ID.

Air Canada’s current livery shows white paint on the bottom, but plain aluminum bodies shine brilliantly, too.

Back when I used to fly, light snow highlighted the networks of stone walls around all the old farms across the Northeast, from back when this area was NYC’s breadbasket. Those days are gone, but the stones remain where those farmers hauled them out of the fields.


Leave a comment

Vista Point of Sale Terminal Boot Screen

Spotted this behind the Customer Service desk at the local movie theater (or whatever you call ’em these days):

Vista POS boot screen

Vista POS boot screen

I suppose those are the three things you do a lot of…

The next time we passed by, the screen displayed a more-or-less standard screensaver.

1 Comment