It seems two months of sunlight will fade laser charred MDF down to its original state:
That’s through a thick layer of indoor urethane sealant slathered over MDF without any surface prep. Obviously, not removing the char had no effect on the outcome. On the upside, the urethane did a great job of protecting the MDF from rainfall.
So. Back to the shop.
Lacking wider masking tape, two strips of tape laid along a cut-to-suit slab of fresh MDF will serve as a paint mask:
Belatedly I Learned: cut the tape close to the edge, then fold it under so the autofocus pen can’t possibly snag it en passant.
Shoot the entire surface with a couple of black enamel rattlecan coats:
Yes, the engraved areas look reddish, most likely due to another complete lack of surface prep. Perhaps brushing / vacuuming / washing would remove some of the char, but let’s see how it behaves with no further attention.
Peel the tape, weed the letters / antlers, slather on a coat of urethane, and it looks downright bold:
Of course, if those two tape strips don’t exactly abut, the paint produces a nasty line:
Should you overlap the strips a wee bit to ensure cleanliness, the engraved surface will then have a noticeable (in person, anyhow) discontinuity due to the laser losing energy in two tape layers, which wouldn’t matter in this application. We defined the few paint lines as Good Enough™ for the purpose; a strip of absurdly wide masking tape is now on hand in anticipation of future need.
Burnishing the tape might have prevented paint bleed around the engraved areas:
But, given that I was painting raw / unfinished MDF with an unsmooth surface, burnishing probably wouldn’t produce a significantly better outcome.
By popular request, the new signs sit a few grids lower on the gates:
Early in the irrigation season, Mary turned on a DripWorks Micro-Flow Valve, only to have the knob + stem pop out and release a stream of water in the wrong place. Mary jammed it back in place until I could chop out the offending valve and install a known-clear replacement.
The knob broke off the stem when I tried to pry it out of the valve body:
The lip around the inside of the cap snaps over the top of the body, which is why I wrecked the stem, but the chip broke off the cap while Mary was turning it just before the stem popped out. Her fingers are barely strong enough to turn the valve, which means something had gone wrong before she started turning.
A look straight into the valve body:
The stem has swarf left over from drilling out the mold flash last year:
All in all, the Dripworks drip irrigation system works well, but their overall attention to QC leaves something to be desired.
We deployed six sticky traps in the onion patch immediately after planting in late April and replaced the cards in mid-June. The first set of cards collected a considerable number of what resemble, to my untrained eye, onion maggot flies and the onion plants remain healthy:
Each image shows both sides of a single card.
The cards sit a foot above the shredded leaf mulch and I managed to drop at least one of the cards while extracting it from the cage, but they all have plenty of onion maggot flies in addition to the random debris.
The cards inside their cages have not accumulated larger insects like honeybees / moths / butterflies, although the tiniest specks are definitely mini-critters along the beetle / gnat / aphid / mosquito axis.
Unlike last year, the second set of cards will remain in place until harvest to maintain continuous pressure on the fly population.
If you’re really interested, the dozen original camera images have more detail.
This is the season for erecting the structures upon which the pole beans will climb:
They’re made from a dozen small trees and branches of larger trees harvested around the yard. They last for a few years, just long enough for the next crop to reach useful lengths.
We lash them together with fabric strips:
My knot hand is weak, but seems sufficient to the task.
Mary formerly tore the strips from old jeans / pants / whatever, which required considerable effort, produced ragged edges, and filled the air with fabric dust. This year, I proposed an alternative:
The weird thing in the middle is a reflection of an overhead can light in the laser cabinet’s polycarb lid.
From starting the LightBurn layout to presenting the strips for final inspection required the better part of ten minutes. I scissors-cut along the main seams to get single fabric layers, with everything above the crotch seam wadded off the platform to the left.
As with my shop raglets, the layout depends on LightBurn’s overhead camera view to align the cuts with the fabric on the platform:
It’d be easier to see with lighter fabric, but that’s what came to hand in the scrap box and the beans won’t care. We do not anticipate complaints about the odor of charred fabric when they reach the top of the poles, either.
The strips must align with the fabric’s grain to put the warp threads along their length, which makes the main side seam parallel to the X-axis. Even I can handle that layout!
Yes, the strips have rounded corners and, no, it doesn’t matter.