New tool – mig welder!

I decided to get myself a MIG welder after recently having some trouble welding some light gauge metal with the arc welder. The real catalyst is that I am painting the woods truck (sand camo) since rust is really starting to be visible (the hood and roof have more rust than paint). Well, the fenders and door bottoms are rusted out, so I am going to want to take care of that (the right way, not just with bondo or fiberglass) and for that I’ll need to be able to weld light gauge sheet metal. I am not real sure how to form the metal, but I guess I’ll figure that out as I go (and like most repairs these days, youtube research will be a key starting point).

While I do want to buy quality, most of the recommendations on the welding websites are for $1000+ welders. I am surely not going to get that much use out of it! And if I do, I can sell my starter unit and move to that high end one later. In the mean time, there isn’t a lot out there between the $90 flux core harbor freight special and the $500 [… click to continue reading this post]

E-bike fail

So actually I’d consider this project a bit of a fail and a success. I was able to mount the motor on a bike frame and even get a decent tension on the belt. At 18v there was very little torque, so I put a second battery to make it a 36v pack. Doubling the voltage would then double the current, thus doubling the torque. That still didn’t do much, so I swapped the sprockets on the bike front to rear to again double or triple the torque (and slow down the speed). With that it was able to move on level ground, but on the second trial run the sprocket came off the aluminum pulley (it wasn’t a well fabricated part). I also managed to short out my battery, DOH! Worse, it was my 3.0aH battery that new is $100. Fortunately I had gotten it for $13, but it doesn’t make me feel a TON better. At some point I will try taking it apart to see if I can fix it somehow. Not sure if it is a fuse or if the circuits are fried.

Still, at this point I’d have to get up to 80v or more [… click to continue reading this post]

New project – electric bike

This past Saturday morning I was surfing Youtube before I was ready to get up and came across a nice electric bike add-on. I thought about it and I have all of the components needed. I have a treadmill that isn’t being used (and won’t be any time soon due to my wife’s foot issues which are what are prompting the desire to make this), a couple kids bikes they have outgrown (not to mention the two adult bikes), an Arduino and a variety of components including a high amperage MOSFET knowing at some point I’d want to control a high draw device. I started disassembly on Saturday and some machining of a pulley and rod, though after I did the math and saw full power would be 40 miles per hour and figured I’d need to re-do this work and use a larger step-down pulley. Part of that math was finding out the RPM of the motor using a strobe disk from here and then calculating the RPM using the gear ratios.

The metal working is a bit time consuming since I don’t really have the lathe set up for using, plus everything in the garage is jam packed [… click to continue reading this post]

So much for my homemade ratchet rake

Well, I went to spend some time in the garage and the plasma cutter wouldn’t fire up, even putting new consumables in. I took the torch apart and it looked like an arc flash had happened. The electrical lead was loose, so I went to tighten it and the screw twisted right off. Through this I found several things out through this. First I found out what model torch was on this plasma cutter, something that would have been handy before. I could have ordered the correct consumables with that information; I don’t know if the incorrect consumables are what caused this issue or if it is just the fact the thing is old. I also learned that this torch is old, out-dated, and poorly supported. You can replace the torch, but that was $400-600, WAY too much for me. I wouldn’t have a plasma cutter had it not been given to me for nearly free.

I was going to mothball the thing, and I still may, but I”ll first try to fix it by drilling out the old screw and re-tapping. If it fires up then I’ll order the correct consumables for it. This will be VERY low on [… click to continue reading this post]

Trying to figure out what to do with the garage

I was considering coating my garage floor so that it is easier to clean, so oil and such doesnt soak in, so it doesn’t etch with water coming from the cars in the snow, and so it just plain looks nicer. So after doing TONS of research I am conflicted and do not know what route I am going to go. Epoxy would take several coats over several days and fades in the sun, poly-urea/poly-aspartic cures very quickly, but is harder to apply because it cures so fast. More of a deal breaker though is that quite a few people seem to have issues with the home applied coatings after 1-5 years. I don’t want to have 500-1000 of materials and 2-7 days of time in and then have it flaking up or chipping in a year or two. So then I called a couple companies to see what it would be professionally applied. They can turn around the garage in one day and I found one that carried a 10 year warranty, that was appealing. The cost was around $6 per square foot, my garage is 750 sq ft. That is more than I was hoping to spend. I [… click to continue reading this post]

Household organization – awesome shelves!

I admit it, I am pretty terrible when it comes to organization. I (and my wife on my behalf) will be the first to admit it. It is one of the issues with being a guy, we are involved in such a variety of different hobbies and household tasks that we have 20 different unrelated types of tools and parts. It is exasperated when you are young because you work and struggle to afford a few hundred dollars over a few years to accumulate the tools and components you need now or will need in the future, but who can afford hundreds of dollars worth of shelving? It takes somebody a lot more organized than me to be able to consistently put everything back in its place.

I am currently investing in good shelving that I will be able to take with us when we move. In fact, preparing to move is one of the reasons I went ahead and got some of the shelving. The particular shelving I’m using is here, it is modular shelving similar to the warehouse type shelving you see around. I got it because it is 6′ tall, a good fit in our drop ceiling [… click to continue reading this post]