Posts Tagged Improvements

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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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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Bird Box Entrance Reducers: Round 2

One of the bird box entrance reducers I installed nigh onto a decade ago is still on duty, although downy woodpeckers definitely want a larger hole:

Bird Box - gray PVC pipe reducer - woodpecker damage
Bird Box – gray PVC pipe reducer – woodpecker damage

Another reducer had gone missing over the years, so I made one from a length of PVC pipe:

Bird Box - PVC pipe reducer - shaping
Bird Box – PVC pipe reducer – shaping

It started as 1-½ PVC pipe, 1-⅞ inch actual OD and should fit into a 1-½ hole, so I measured 1.5 × 3.15 around the circumference, bandsawed out the excess, draped it over a 1-½ Forstner bit, toasted it with a heat gun, and squashed it so it’s just a little bit bigger than the (enlarged!) hole in the box.

Now the entrance is 1-¼ (-ish), just like it should be:

Bird Box - PVC pipe reducer - installed
Bird Box – PVC pipe reducer – installed

The bird box in the front yard has been attracting starlings, in addition to serving as a hawk perch:

New Coopers Hawks - bird box takeoff whoops
New Coopers Hawks – bird box takeoff whoops

The oblong hole required advanced manufacturing techniques:

Oval Entrance Reducer
Oval Entrance Reducer

The front face should be too slick for larger birds and the little ones will zip right into the hole:

Bird Box - 3D printed entrance reducer
Bird Box – 3D printed entrance reducer

The two starlings who’d been evaluating the box seem to have moved on; we doubt they’re now homeless.

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:

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Kensington Expert Mouse Scroll Ring Fix

Apparently the newest Kensington Expert “Mouse” trackballs have a hack re-orienting the scroll ring quadrature detector. The picture from my original writeup shows the previous situation:

Scroll ring IR emitter-detector quadrature pair
Scroll ring IR emitter-detector quadrature pair

The quadrature detector, the black block on the left, is oriented with its lens (and, thus, the actual detectors) pointed away from the IR emitter. I thought it might be an assembly screwup, but it’s actually worse: the PCB layout is wrong.

A note from Tristan in NZ explains the situation:

So I have a later model than yours. It has a 2nd PCB chunk between where the legs normally would be. Just a floating piece with two holes for the legs, holding the legs from the board […] to the main board.It is also pointing the correct way (with the lens towards the three leg emitter).

Kensington scroll wheel revision2
Kensington scroll wheel revision2

The new quad detector has only three pins and no convex lens, but the active area now faces the emitter across the gap.

Because the interposer PCB occupies the space previously devoted to the emitter & detector leads, Kensington apparently soldered the new parts directly to the top surface without any clearance:

It’s like they failed to put through-vias to the rear or didn’t route them to the bottom another way, hence the solder is under the component

Tristan managed to wreck the detector while attempting to re-solder the intermittent joints, a situation I’m painfully familiar with. He replaced it with a quad detector harvested from a mid-90s optical mouse and it’s back in operation.

So I think the correct “fix” for the old-style PCBs (without the new interposer) is to unsolder the detector, rotate it so the lens faces the emitter, then somehow rewire the pins to the original pads. This won’t be easy and definitely won’t be pretty, but as long as it’s pointed in the right general direction it should work:

mine works off axis quite a bit

Should either of my Expert Mouse trackballs fail, now I know what to do

Many thanks to Tristan for reporting his findings!

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Video-rated MicroSD Card Status Report

Having just returned from the fourth ride of the season, it’s worthwhile to note how the MicroSD cards in the cameras are doing.

The Sony HDR-AS30V helmet camera has been running a 64 GB Sandisk high-endurance video-rated card since late August 2017:

Sandisk - 64 GB MicroSDXC cards
Sandisk – 64 GB MicroSDXC cards

In those 29 calendar months (maybe 20 riding months) I’ve ridden 4500-ish miles at perhaps 12 mph, so call it 375 hr = 22.5 k min. The camera fills a 4 GB file every 22.75 min, so it’s recorded 1000 files = 4 TB, which is 62× its capacity. This is better than the defunct Sandisk Extreme Pro card (3 TB & 50×) and much much better than the Sony cards (1 TB & 15×), although I have caught the camera in RCVR mode maybe twice, which means the card or camera occasionally coughs and reformats itself.

The Cycliq Fly6 rear camera uses a Sandisk 32 GB card that’s been running flawlessly since late 2017:

MicroSD 32 GB - Samsung EVO and SanDisk High Endurance
MicroSD 32 GB – Samsung EVO and SanDisk High Endurance

The new 16850 lithium cell continues to work fine, too.

The SJCam M20 rear camera also uses a Sandisk 32 GB high-endurance card and has worked fine since early 2018. An external battery eliminated all the hassle of its feeble internal batteries, although the one that’s been in there has faded to the point of just barely keeping the clock ticking over during winter weeks without rides:

SJCAM M20 Mount - Tour Easy side view
SJCAM M20 Mount – Tour Easy side view

All in all, paying the premium for video-rated MicroSD cards has been worthwhile!

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Homage Tek CC: Subscripts & Superscripts

The GCMC typeset() function converts UTF-8 text into a vector list, with Hershey vector fonts sufficing for most CNC projects. The fonts date back to the late 1960s and lack niceties such as superscripts, so the Homage Tektronix Circuit Computer scale legends have a simpler powers-of-ten notation:

Tek CC - Pilot V5 - plain paper - red blue
Tek CC – Pilot V5 – plain paper – red blue

Techies understand upward-pointing carets, but … ick.

After thinking it over, poking around in the GCMC source code, and sketching alternatives, I ruled out:

  • Adding superscript glyphs to the font tables
  • Writing a text parser with various formatting commands
  • Doing anything smart

Because I don’t need very many superscripts, a trivial approach seemed feasible. Start by defining the size & position of the superscript characters:

SuperScale = 0.75;                                       // superscript text size ratio
SuperOffset = [0mm,0.75 * LegendTextSize.y];            //  ... baseline offset

Half-size characters came out barely readable with 0.5 mm Pilot pens:

Tek CC - Superscript test - 0.5x
Tek CC – Superscript test – 0.5x

They’re legible and might be OK with a diamond drag point.

They work better at 3/4 scale:

Tek CC - Superscript test - 0.75x
Tek CC – Superscript test – 0.75x

Because superscripts only occur at the end of the scale legends, a truly nasty hack suffices:

function ArcLegendSuper(Text,Super,Radius,Angle,Orient) {

  local tp = scale(typeset(Text,TextFont),LegendTextSize);

  tp += scale(typeset(Super,TextFont),LegendTextSize * SuperScale) + SuperOffset + [tp[-1].x,0mm];

  local tpa = ArcText(tp,[0mm,0mm],Radius,Angle,TEXT_CENTERED,Orient);

  feedrate(TextSpeed);
  engrave(tpa,TravelZ,EngraveZ);
}

The SuperScale constant shrinks the superscript vectorlist, SuperOffset shifts it upward, and adding [tp[-1].x,0mm] glues it to the end of the normal-size vectorlist.

Yup, that nasty.

Creating the legends goes about like you’d expect:

  ArcLegendSuper("pF - picofarad  x10","-12",r,a,INWARD);

Presenting “numeric” superscripts as text keeps the option open for putting non-numeric stuff up there, which seemed easier than guaranteeing YAGNI.

A similar hack works for subscripts:

Tek CC - Subscript test - 0.75x
Tek CC – Subscript test – 0.75x

With even more brutal code:

  Sub_C = scale(typeset("C",TextFont),LegendTextSize * SubScale) + SubOffset;

<<< snippage >>>

    tp = scale(typeset("←----- τ",TextFont),LegendTextSize);
    tp += Sub_C + [tp[-1].x,0mm];
    tp += scale(typeset(" Scale -----→",TextFont),LegendTextSize) + [tp[-1].x,0mm];

The hackage satisfied the Pareto Principle, so I’ll declare victory and move on.

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