The Patience of Trees: Guide Rail

Found behind a store in Red Oaks Mill, overlooking the Mighty Wappingers Creek:

Tree stump around guide rail
Tree stump around guide rail

The old rail fell off its (long gone) post before the tree grew around it and the newer rail (upper right) definitely isn’t fresh from the factory, so this tableau has been on display for quite a while.

The tree’s growth rings have pretty much weathered away.

Sharing the Road on Raymond Avenue: Zero Clearance

We’re bicycling on Collegeview Avenue, approaching the eastern traffic circle (of three) along Raymond Avenue. I’m in the lead, hauling a trailer with the week’s groceries:

Zero Clearance - Ed Front - 2021-09-07 - 0497
Zero Clearance – Ed Front – 2021-09-07 – 0497

The four digit frame numbers tick along at 60 fps for my helmet camera and 30 fps for the rear cameras.

Note the “splitter” (a.k.a. “pedestrian refuge”) on the left, intended to separate Collegeview’s incoming and outgoing traffic. It formerly had one non-reflective black bollard on each side of the ladder crosswalk, but errant drivers destroyed so many bollards along Raymond that they’re now WONTFIX remnants. The flush concrete disk in the lower left of this picture will become relevant in a few seconds of real time:

Zero Clearance - Ed Front - 2021-09-07 - 0593
Zero Clearance – Ed Front – 2021-09-07 – 0593

Collegeview has the same deteriorating pavement as found along Raymond Avenue, so we must maneuver beside the potholes:

Zero Clearance - Mary - 2021-09-07 - 0797
Zero Clearance – Mary – 2021-09-07 – 0797

The potholes make maintaining a safe-ish distance from the parked cars somewhat difficult:

Zero Clearance - Ed Rear - 2021-09-07 - 1140
Zero Clearance – Ed Rear – 2021-09-07 – 1140

All of us are slowing to stop at the traffic circle, with Mary behind the car that will eventually stop beside me:

Zero Clearance - Ed Rear - 2021-09-07 - 1522
Zero Clearance – Ed Rear – 2021-09-07 – 1522

Mary could see the car behind her in her helmet mirror, but she’s slowing to stall speed with no time for sightseeing and no room for maneuvering. The view from the camera on the seat frame behind her left shoulder:

Zero Clearance - Mary - 2021-09-07 - 0957
Zero Clearance – Mary – 2021-09-07 – 0957

Two seconds later:

Zero Clearance - Mary - 2021-09-07 - 1078
Zero Clearance – Mary – 2021-09-07 – 1078

One second:

Zero Clearance - Mary - 2021-09-07 - 1110
Zero Clearance – Mary – 2021-09-07 – 1110

Two more seconds:

Zero Clearance - Mary - 2021-09-07 - 1182
Zero Clearance – Mary – 2021-09-07 – 1182

Mary has stopped, as shown by the parked car’s unchanging position in the frame over on the left in the next images. The driver, however, continues creeping slowly forward; there can be no doubt she sees Mary at this distance.

After three more seconds:

Zero Clearance - Mary - 2021-09-07 - 1270
Zero Clearance – Mary – 2021-09-07 – 1270

One second later, the front wheel is exactly at Mary’s left foot:

Zero Clearance - Mary - 2021-09-07 - 1308
Zero Clearance – Mary – 2021-09-07 – 1308

The same events, viewed from the camera on my bike, start less than one second from the 1522 image above. I’m stopped, while the driver next to me continues to roll forward.

Mary is extending her left leg in preparation for a complete stop, at about the same time as the 1078 image:

Zero Clearance - Ed Rear - 2021-09-07 - 1542
Zero Clearance – Ed Rear – 2021-09-07 – 1542

Three seconds later her toe touches the pavement, while both she and the driver continue moving forward very slowly:

Zero Clearance - Ed Rear - 2021-09-07 - 1634
Zero Clearance – Ed Rear – 2021-09-07 – 1634

Five seconds later, she is stopped with her foot firmly planted:

Zero Clearance - Ed Rear - 2021-09-07 - 1773
Zero Clearance – Ed Rear – 2021-09-07 – 1773

And the driver continues moving:

Zero Clearance - Mary - 2021-09-07 - 1333
Zero Clearance – Mary – 2021-09-07 – 1333

Another five seconds and the sidewall bulge of the car’s radial tire is pressing her foot to the pavement:

Zero Clearance - Ed Rear - 2021-09-07 - 1934
Zero Clearance – Ed Rear – 2021-09-07 – 1934

A closer look:

Zero Clearance - Ed Rear - 2021-09-07 - 1946 detail
Zero Clearance – Ed Rear – 2021-09-07 – 1946 detail

She yanks her foot away:

Zero Clearance - Ed Rear - 2021-09-07 - 1953
Zero Clearance – Ed Rear – 2021-09-07 – 1953

While the driver continues to creep forward:

Zero Clearance - Mary - 2021-09-07 - 1397
Zero Clearance – Mary – 2021-09-07 – 1397

Sometimes, it’s the only way to get some attention:

Zero Clearance - Ed Rear - 2021-09-07 - 2026
Zero Clearance – Ed Rear – 2021-09-07 – 2026

Mary is now off-balance, leaning on the car door, explaining what just happened:

Zero Clearance - Ed Rear - 2021-09-07 - 2152
Zero Clearance – Ed Rear – 2021-09-07 – 2152

Mary regains her balance as the driver backs cautiously away:

Zero Clearance - Mary - 2021-09-07 - 1546
Zero Clearance – Mary – 2021-09-07 – 1546

Were the bollard still atop that sad concrete foundation, the driver might not have driven up on the splitter to get around Mary, if only to avoid scuffing a fender:

Zero Clearance - Ed Rear - 2021-09-07 - 2479
Zero Clearance – Ed Rear – 2021-09-07 – 2479

Compare this clearance with what you saw earlier in the 0957 image:

Zero Clearance - Mary - 2021-09-07 - 1627
Zero Clearance – Mary – 2021-09-07 – 1627

Mary can’t get far enough away, but this must suffice:

Zero Clearance - Ed Rear - 2021-09-07 - 2761
Zero Clearance – Ed Rear – 2021-09-07 – 2761

Now the driver can pass her again with more clearance:

Zero Clearance - Mary - 2021-09-07 - 1891
Zero Clearance – Mary – 2021-09-07 – 1891

I pointed to the car, then to the circle, and shouted “GO!” because neither of us wanted to be in front of that particular driver:

Zero Clearance - Ed Front - 2021-09-07 - 2540
Zero Clearance – Ed Front – 2021-09-07 – 2540

We’ll surely meet her again, ideally with more clearance.

Henceforth, we will take the middle of the lane into splitters, as cyclists should do on a “shared” roadway. I was assured by the DOT engineer who designed Raymond Avenue that it’s all “standards compliant”, so this is what NYS DOT regards as “making their highway systems safe and functional for all users”.

Having amateur radio HTs on the bikes lets us talk with each other in real time, which is a definite asset when stuff like this happens.

Not to mention having cameras here, there, and everywhere.

Elapsed time from the first to the last picture: 33 s.

For the record: blue Ford (although the ersatz fender vents seem reminiscent of an old Buick), license ANC-4273.

Red Oaks Mill Dam: Flood Stage

The remnants of Hurricane Ida dropped half a foot of rain in our area, so we walked to the remains of the Red Oaks Mill Dam to see the water:

Red Oaks Mill Dam - 2021-09-02
Red Oaks Mill Dam – 2021-09-02

The white water crests stand in place over rocks in the stream bed, with hypnotic flowlines.

The concrete abutment over on the left is now completely submerged. It was more conspicuous in May:

Red Oaks Mill Dam - 2021-05-17
Red Oaks Mill Dam – 2021-05-17

Surprisingly, most of the tree trunks and debris collecting over on the right remain jammed in place, as seen in March:

Red Oaks Mill Dam - 2021-03-19
Red Oaks Mill Dam – 2021-03-19

For completeness, the scene in February:

Red Oaks Mill Dam - 2021-02-25
Red Oaks Mill Dam – 2021-02-25

The USGS has a hydrology station just downstream that reported about 10 feet of water, the “moderate” flood stage, around the time I took the first picture. The normal level is 3 feet.

The “major” flood stage is 14 feet and, back in 2007, this is what it looked like at 15 feet:

Red Oaks Mill Dam - 2007-04-17
Red Oaks Mill Dam – 2007-04-17

Our reference point is a drain pipe on the retaining wall behind the hotel: when the Mighty Wappingers Creek covers the pipe, it’s well and truly flooding.

Searching for “red oaks mill dam” will surface more pix and stories.

The Value of Closeout Pictures

With the Bafang BBS02 and all its gimcrackery on the Terry Symmetry buttoned up and ready to go, I took a few closeout pictures for future reference.

The motor has a sheaf of wires sticking out of the bottom crying out for a protective covering:

Bafang BBS02 - wire bundle cover
Bafang BBS02 – wire bundle cover

Although cameras tell only the truth they’re allowed to see and can be made to lie by omission, sometimes their latent truth was completely invisible to eyewitnesses in real time.

I only noticed the mis-routed shift cable when I looked through the last set of pictures.

It should pass through the plastic channel under the metal tab holding the cable guide to the bottom bracket shell:

Bafang BBS02 - wire bundle vs shift cable
Bafang BBS02 – wire bundle vs shift cable

Normally, aiming the cable into the channel is no big deal. In this case, I had to undo the shift cable, remove the left crank, loosen the motor and rotate it out of the way, nudge the cable with a small screwdriver, then reinstall in reverse order.

Dang, that was close …

Microscope Stage Positioner: Rigid MakerBeam Edition

Rebuilding the XYZ stage positioner with MakerBeam aluminum struts, but without the steel brackets, produce a much more rigid result:

Microscope Stage Positioner - rigid Makerbeam
Microscope Stage Positioner – rigid Makerbeam

This requires drilling holes through the extrusions:

Microscope Stage Positioner - Makerbeam drilling
Microscope Stage Positioner – Makerbeam drilling

Running the center drill down until it just nicks the sides produces enough of a pilot hole through the center section to capture the 3 mm drill. If I had to drill enough holes to make a fixture worthwhile, I could probably eliminate the divots.

Two more holes + epoxied M3 brass inserts attached the 60 mm beam directly to the Z Axis stage, thereby eliminating the vertical beam and a steel bracket:

Microscope Stage Positioner - Makerbeam joints
Microscope Stage Positioner – Makerbeam joints

The M3 SHCS attaching the 100 mm beam goes through both beams. I think you could get the same result with a Tee Nut or a 12 mm Square Head bolt, should you have those lying around and don’t want to drill another hole. The Corner Cube screwed into both beams prevents rotation and helps ensure perpendicularity.

The Y stage now attaches directly to the beam, rather than through a pair of Corner Cubes, because I realized I wasn’t ever going to adjust its position.

The Z Axis stage stands on the plastic plate through a hellish mixture of metric and USA-ian screws. Basically, the 6-40 screws into the stage were long enough, the 6-32 screws through the plate fit the existing holes, and M3 screws are for MakerBeam:

Microscope Stage Positioner - Z Axis base
Microscope Stage Positioner – Z Axis base

To my utter astonishment, the threads in the end of the vertical beam had the proper alignment to let a Square Head bolt snug the beam against the 40 mm beam on the plate. As a result, the L Bracket just prevents the vertical beam from turning on the screw and the combination is as rigid as you (well, I) could want.

The 40 mm beam has two spurious holes, because I thought I could avoid drilling another hole in the baseplate. Nobody will ever notice.

After squaring and tightening everything, the 100 mm beam along the Y Axis is now horizontal within 0.2 mm and the X Axis is horizontal to better than I can measure.

It’s definitely Good Enough™ for me:

Microscope Stage Positioner - in use
Microscope Stage Positioner – in use

Remember, nothing exceeds like excess …

Microscope Stage Positioner: MakerBeam Rebuild MVP

Over the course of half a decade (!), the 3D printed arm on the XYZ positioner I use with the stereo zoom microscope sagged:

Microscope Stage Positioner - PETG creep angle
Microscope Stage Positioner – PETG creep angle

It’s about what you’d expect from a plastic beam carrying a big lump of brass and steel:

Microscope Stage Positioner
Microscope Stage Positioner

The near side of that arm (the -Y end) drooped about 5 mm below than the side nearest the Z axis slide, so it was time for an update.

Having some MakerBeam ready to hand, this didn’t take long:

Microscope Stage Positioner - Makerbeam overview
Microscope Stage Positioner – Makerbeam overview

Protip: before dismantling a fitted slide, mark one end so you know how to put it back together. Bonus points for taking a picture:

Microscope Stage Positioner - slide marking
Microscope Stage Positioner – slide marking

Double bonus points for writing a blog post.

Rather than fight with the existing fine-pitch USA-ian screws, I drilled out their threaded holes:

Microscope Stage Positioner - Y slide drilling
Microscope Stage Positioner – Y slide drilling

And epoxied 3 mm brass inserts in their place:

Microscope Stage Positioner - Y slide M3 inserts
Microscope Stage Positioner – Y slide M3 inserts

Those holes match up with a pair of corner cubes normally appearing on the end of the beams:

Microscope Stage Positioner - BHCS mods for Makerbeam
Microscope Stage Positioner – BHCS mods for Makerbeam

It turns out M3 button head cap screws will slide into the beams if you file the slightest angle on opposite sides of the button, although a small bag of tiny tee nuts should arrive in a while.

Then a variety of brackets spliced everything together:

Microscope Stage Positioner - Makerbeam detail
Microscope Stage Positioner – Makerbeam detail

Although it looks strictly from industrial, it actually wasn’t much better than the plastic edition and, in fact, the beam supporting the XY slides sagged about the same 5 mm. The plastic upright post also contributed a bit of wobble.

It turns out that the extruded aluminum beams have plenty of longitudinal and torsional stiffness, but all those flat steel fittings don’t.

There’s a way to work with the beam strengths, rather than against them, but that’s a story for another day …