Five years later, the digits I painted with Rust-Oleum Rusty Metal Primer have weathered pretty well, while the original ink has fallen off the retroreflective sticker:
As before, I wiped off the crud with denatured alcohol and painted neatly inside the lines. The other digits on both sides still look as good as the day I painted them, with only a few bubbles and nicks.
I built a small plywood work table for the drill press:
Obviously, that was a long time ago. It’s a plywood scrap with a small cleat screwed to its bottom, upon which one can position / clamp / hold / finagle smallish workpieces without worrying about drilling into the surface.
The mill vise under the plywood grips the cleat and the whole affair rides on a Sears “Drill Press Milling Attachment Stock No 27585” which is basically a simple XY table with hand dials. It’s not rigid enough for actual milling (which you should never do on a drill press, anyway, because the end mill will pull itself out of the Jacobs chuck), but it’s good for tweaking the position before you drill something.
One should never hand-hold workpieces while drilling.
Actually, those are the remainder of two production runs devoted to reducing the amount of water sprinkling the garden paths. A 50 foot hose runs along both sides of one 14 foot bed, crosses the path, then continues along the adjacent bed. The hoses have (deliberate!) sprinkler holes along their porous rubber body and sometimes the layout puts a hole where it waters the path.
The blue silicone rubber strips provide a bit of sealing to prevent the absurdly high pressure water from streaming through the orange PETG clamps. It’s OK if the clamp leaks, but less flow is better!
I’m getting really good at making those aluminum backing plates and, in fact, I think it’s faster to run the blanks past the disk sander, then drill the holes, than to CNC-machine them. Could be wrong, but Quality Shop Time is not to be sniffed at.
A bit of continuity testing shows the green and white data wires are also reversed, so whoever assembled the cable simply soldered the proper wire color sequence backwards onto both connectors. As long as you don’t cut the cable to reuse the connectors, it’s all good.
Although Jason’s comment suggesting carbon-fiber reinforcing rods didn’t prompt me to lay in a stock, ordinary music wire should serve the same purpose:
The pins are 1.6 mm diameter and 20 mm long, chopped off with hardened diagonal cutters. Next time, I must (remember to) grind the ends flat.
The solid model needs holes in appropriate spots:
Yes, I’m going to put round pins in square holes, without drilling the holes to the proper diameter: no epoxy, no adhesive, just 20 mm of pure friction.
The drill press aligns the pins:
And rams them about halfway down:
Close the chuck jaws and shove them flush with the surface:
You can see the pins and their solid plastic shells through the wrench stem:
Early testing shows the reinforced wrench works just as well as the previous version, even on some new valves sporting different handles, with an equally sloppy fit for all. No surprise: I just poked holes in the existing model and left all the other dimensions alone.