Tour Easy: Rear Brake Pads

A horrible grinding sound from behind me suggested it was time to replace the Tour Easy’s rear brake pads:

Tour Easy - worn rear pads - side
Tour Easy – worn rear pads – side

Yeah, about half of the “Wear Line” text remains visible; the actual line is long gone to dust.

The retaining pin in the lower pad is twisted forward:

Tour Easy - worn rear pads - face
Tour Easy – worn rear pads – face

The pad wore enough to let it scrape on the rim, which certainly can’t be good for it.

The new Kool-Stop KS-MTTSA pads tout their leading wedge’s suitability for scraping mud off the rims, which isn’t a problem with my use case:

Tour Easy - Kool-Stop MTTSA pads - 20873 miles
Tour Easy – Kool-Stop MTTSA pads – 20873 miles

The odometer reports 20873 miles since the last battery replacement fumble.

Sherline CNC Mill: Y-Axis Nut Mishap

The need to gnaw a V groove into the side of two 60 mm aluminum bars led to this Sherline CNC mill setup:

Sherline Y-Axis Nut Mishap - setup
Sherline Y-Axis Nut Mishap – setup

Milling the near end of the bars put the angle plate’s rear lock screw within a millimeter of the column; the vise fits in exactly one spot on the angle plate and that’s where the jaws must be.

While controlling the mill with the Joggy Thing and some manual command entry, because it’s easier than real CNC programming, I overshot the near end and rammed the column with enough enthusiasm to dislodge the Y-axis leadscrew nut. An interlude of utter confusion ended with the backlash preload nut firmly jammed against the leadscrew coupler on the other end of travel:

Sherline Y-Axis Nut Mishap - stuck preload nut
Sherline Y-Axis Nut Mishap – stuck preload nut

The paper shreds show where the bellows formerly stuck on the Y axis stage.

The backlash nut chewed off a few star lock gear teeth on its way out, as seen here just above where they mesh:

Sherline Y-Axis Nut Mishap - chewed star nut
Sherline Y-Axis Nut Mishap – chewed star nut

It’s been quite a few years since I took the thing apart to replace the nuts, so I used the opportunity to lube the otherwise inacessible X axis leadscrew inside its table upside down on the bench.

The setscrew locking the Y axis leadscrew nut in place heaves into view with the X axis table off:

Sherline Y-Axis Nut Mishap - setscrew
Sherline Y-Axis Nut Mishap – setscrew

I thought about jamming it in place with a second 10-32 setscrew, but the ones on hand were just an itsy too long and collided with the X-axis table:

Sherline Y-Axis Nut Mishap - doubled setscrew
Sherline Y-Axis Nut Mishap – doubled setscrew

The thought of having the additional setscrew work loose, grind into the underside of the table, and require major surgery for recovery persuaded me to drop it back in the drawer.

With everything in place, I adjusted the backlash (on both axes) down to a few mils:

Sherline Y-Axis Nut Mishap - backlash test
Sherline Y-Axis Nut Mishap – backlash test

Tweaking the X axis preload nut under the table is not my idea of a good time, but it’s been quite a while since I had to do that.

Folding the new paper bellows and installing them took about as long as repairing the mill.

Milling the second V groove worked fine; all is right with the Sherline again.

Wheelbarrow Rebuild

For reasons that should be obvious by now, I volunteered to rebuild a wheelbarrow used at the Vassar Community Garden plots. It spent all its time outdoors and one of the handles eventually broke off:

Wheelbarrow rebuild - old handles
Wheelbarrow rebuild – old handles

I’d already removed the wheel and front strap, which were in good condition.

The new handles were undrilled, so I marked and drilled them with a nice brad-point bit to get clean holes:

Wheelbarrow rebuild - handle drilling
Wheelbarrow rebuild – handle drilling

The metal “barrow” had cracked around the carriage bolts holding it to the frame, so I filed a quartet of fender washers to fit the square section under the heads:

Wheelbarrow rebuild - fender washer holes
Wheelbarrow rebuild – fender washer holes

After a false start, I marked the bolt heads and washers to line them up properly while tightening the nuts on the other end:

Wheelbarrow rebuild - fender washer installed
Wheelbarrow rebuild – fender washer installed

One front strut had gone missing, so I replaced it with a mashed-and-drilled section of ski pole:

Wheelbarrow rebuild - front strut
Wheelbarrow rebuild – front strut

All in all, a few hours of Quality Shop Time interspersed with a few pleasant bike rides to various local stores, wherein I learned who doesn’t stock the necessary hardware.

Protip: Home Depot has the highest-entropy hardware assortment.

For the record, all the bolts have a 5/16-18 thread.

Fiskars Bypass Pruner Rehabilitation

Mary found a rusted Fiskars bypass pruner in the trash pile near her Vassar Farms plot and brought it home for proper disposal. The nuts and screws responded to an overnight penetrating oil treatment and it came apart easily:

Fiskars bypass pruner - as found
Fiskars bypass pruner – as found

The movable jaw may have once sported a PTFE coating, but it’s likely just a different steel alloy.

After scrubbing the pieces with an abrasive pad, a little diamond filing, and (at the insistence of the Squidwrench chorus) some Dremel wire-wheel action, it looks almost new:

Fiskars bypass pruner - restored
Fiskars bypass pruner – restored

The blades sport a few nicks from their previous life, but work well enough.

Power Outage Explained

Spotted in the corner gas station’s wrecked car lookaside buffer:

Rt 376 midnight crash - vehicle
Rt 376 midnight crash – vehicle

The white paint seemed familiar:

Rt 376 midnight crash - 2021-07-20 - C
Rt 376 midnight crash – 2021-07-20 – C

Word has it the 16 year old son was driving, with his father in the passenger seat, and managed to lose control without any of the usual causative factors. Everyone lived to tell the tale, which is a tribute to the contemporary auto tech we all take for granted.

Contrary to what we thought, they crashed around 8 pm and Central Hudson cut the power around midnight to repair the lines.

Looks they’ll need another truck; that ain’t gonna buff right out.

Amber Side Marker Light Hackery

Start with the amber side marker light sporting a cataract and distorted beam:

Side Marker - beam test - E
Side Marker – beam test – E

Part off the lens:

Side Marker E - cutting case
Side Marker E – cutting case

The cut is just in front of the PCB and went slowly to avoid clobbering the SMD resistors very near the edge.

The cataract turned out to be crud adhered to the LED lens:

Side Marker E - LED cataract
Side Marker E – LED cataract

Brutal surgery removed the LED and installed a replacement:

Side Marker E - replacement LED
Side Marker E – replacement LED

The PCB had two 150 Ω SMD resistors for use with 12-ish V automotive batteries. While I had the hood up, I removed one and shorted across its pads to make the LED work with the 6 V switched headlight supply from the Bafang motor.

In round numbers, 6 V minus 2.2 V forward drop divided by 150 Ω is about 25 mA. The original LED ran at 35-ish mA, but it’s close enough.

Glue the lens back in place:

Side Marker E - clamping case
Side Marker E – clamping case

The bubbly stuff is solid epoxy from the original assembly, which is why removing the PCB is not an option.

The new LED is no more off-center than any of the others:

Side Marker E - new LED - front
Side Marker E – new LED – front

It does, however, sit much closer to the lens, due to the ring of plastic I cut away to get inside. As a result, the beam is mostly a single centered lobe with only hints of the five side lobes; there isn’t much waste light from the side of the LED into those facets.

Replace the one I originally put in the new fairing mount:

Side Marker E rebuilt - installed
Side Marker E rebuilt – installed

However, it’s still not much more than a glowworm in the daytime, so we need more firepower …

Another Power Outage

We woke just after midnight to a completely dark and silent house, I padded around shutting of half a dozen UPS units under various desks and benches, and we eventually got back to sleep:

Rt 376 midnight crash - 2021-07-20 - status
Rt 376 midnight crash – 2021-07-20 – status

According to our clocks, power actually returned about four hours later.

Our grocery ride the next morning went past the crash site:

Rt 376 midnight crash - 2021-07-20 - A
Rt 376 midnight crash – 2021-07-20 – A

Tracks in the grass leading up to the smashed mailbox on our right suggest the driver didn’t quite make the very slight curve leading to the straight section.

It was garbage collection day and the debris field covered the entire front lawn:

Rt 376 midnight crash - 2021-07-20 - B
Rt 376 midnight crash – 2021-07-20 – B

Both poles have rectangular reflectors, but the one on the smashed pole (on the left) shows the pole is maybe four feet shorter than it used to be.

We have no idea how a can of white paint got involved in the proceedings:

Rt 376 midnight crash - 2021-07-20 - C
Rt 376 midnight crash – 2021-07-20 – C

[Update: Now we know where the paint came from.]

Quite some years ago, an errant driver demolished the front corner of that house and, more recently, the whole building burned out, so there may be a jinx on the site.

Other than that, we had an uneventful ride …