Posts Tagged 'Wood'
2016-06-09

Recently, I was given a 1 gallon pot with some yellow water lilies in it. The lilies could be planted near the edge of my pond, but my pond is seasonal and the edge is always changing. There is no point in planting a flower on the edge of a pond when, in a few weeks, the edge will be 10 feet from where the flowers were planted.

Gears churned and a plan was hatched. I'll make a floating planter!

Step 1: Gather some supplies

There are quite a few empty 15 gallon pots at my place from all of the trees that I've been getting at Kurt's Garden. Add in some 45° 2" PVC couplers and some scrap PVC pipe, and I was ready to get crafty.

Cut some pipe

A few quick measurements, and a couple minutes with a hack saw and I had 8 short lengths of PVC to work with.

Make a ring

The couplers and pipe lengths where joined together with PVC glue and I soon had a nice ring that a 15 gallon pot will easily fit within.

Prepare the pot

After cutting the bottom off of the 15 gallon pot, 6 cuts were make down the side of the inverted pot to create some flaps. The flaps were folded over each other, drilled, and then bolted together.

At this point, I put the pot into the PVC ring, added soil to the pot and then tested the contraption in the pond. It sank like a brick.... back to the drawing board!

Make the pot wayyyyy shorter

Obviously the pot filled with dirt was too heavy, so the bolt as undone, the pot was shortened, and then folded and bolted again.

Atempt #2

Oh hey look, the new short pot is also sinking.

A few seconds after this picture was taken, I was knee deep in water, pulling the "floating planter" off the bottom of the pond. :/

Floaty platform

Fuck it. A 1 gallon pot in the middle of a circular platform shouldn't have any problem floating.... should it?

With some string and a thumb tack, a few circles were drawn on a piece of plywood and then cut. After the cutting, the wood was painted with exterior grade paint an then hung up to dry.

Make a couple mounting brackets

twist twist, twist twist, snip. A mounting bracket is made! Repeat the process, and there are 2 mounting brackets. Being lazy, only 2 mounting brackets were made to affix the PVC float to the platform.

It floats!

Once the platform and float were attached, the 1 gallon pot was put in the platform's center hole and filled with soil and some lilies (which were a bit eaten by some sheepies), and the planter was placed in the water.

It floats!

Did I mention that the floating planter actually floats? Well it does, and I am quite pleased with the result.

Now quit reading, and go make something float.

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2015-08-23

My neighbors are nice and all, but there are no plants growing on our shared property line and it would be absolutely splendid if I could enjoy my morning coffee while gazing at greenery and not simply staring at their back porch. Privacy between neighbors is a wonderful thing to have, and it didn't take long for me to hatch a sweet privacy screen plan: plant evergreens along the property line and irrigate them!

Finding some nice evergreen plants (or any plants for that matter) is easy enough, it just entails a trip to Kurt's Garden. Actually, I took a few trips and picked up a nice variety of drought tolerant evergreens. The difficult part was finding a way to get water to the newly planted trees and shrubs.

Fortunately, there is a seasonal pond and plenty of sunshine at my place. Obviously I needed a solar powered irrigation system to pump water from the pond to the newly planted trees.

Gather some supplies

A Renogy 100W Solar Panel provides the juice
A Cheapo dc well pump does the pumping. (I absolutely purchased the 2 year warranty)

The panel is wired directly to the pump and the pump will push about half a gallon per minute when supplied with 12 volts of power. When the panel is getting straight blasted by the sun, the pump will push close to a gallon a minute.

Build a frame to hold the pump

Since I didn't want the pump to sit at the bottom of the pond and get fouled by all the muck, I decided to build a floating platform to keep the pump by the water's surface.

Gather some more supplies

  • a 5 gallon pot (probably from Kurt's Garden)
  • a metric tape measure
  • some string
  • a marker
  • a nice square of plywood

measure the circumference of the pot

The circumference of the pot was measured with string just under the lip of the pot. The idea is to cut a hole in the plywood and put the pot in the hole.

do some math

Fittingly, this took place on March 14th, but I am just now writing about it. Damn what a slacker. :)

The string wrapped around the pot was 83.5 centimeters, and a bit of formula replacement quickly gave me the radius of the hole that I needed to cut.

trace a circle

Using a thumb tack, some string, and a pen, I quickly drew a circle using the previously determined radius.

Hot damn, that's a good fit

Awesome! Now I need to add some supports and a flotation device.

oh hey!

Not only did I add some supports and a top piece, I also added a nice handle to the top of the platform. The wooden piece that holds the pot is on the bottom of this platform.

floats and paint

A square of 2" PVC attached to the bottom of the platform adds quite a bit of buoyancy. Hopefully the coat of exterior paint will help the wood survive in the water.

pumping away!

A small hole was added to the top deck and lid for the power cable and water line to pass throught. Obviously the hole is just too small. Oh well.

The solar panel leans against a 4 foot tall post and I can move the panel around to change when the plants get watered. At the moment, the panel is facing due East so that the plants get watered for a couple hours every morning.

Recently, a few ducks have taken to relaxing on the platform. This in turn results in quite a bit of duck crap getting added to the irrigation water. Booyah! free fertilizer!

Now quite reading, and go be a water wizard.

Comments
2015-08-24 Alison Chaiken:
SO . . . tracing around the rim of the pot on the plywood with a pen wouldn't have worked? I would have done that, then gone in maybe 1/32 in diameter. How did you cut the hole, a jigsaw? That seems like the hard part to me. You don't mention a battery for the charger, or a timer for that matter, or a level sensor.
2015-08-24 jezra:
You just used a fraction!

The hole was just with a jig saw. There is no battery, or timer, or level sensor.

The solar panel is directly wired to the pump and the "timer" is the positioning of the panel. For a level sensor, I use my eyes. Yup, there is still water in the pond. :)
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2015-08-02

My soil (if you can call it that), is mostly comprised of clay and rock. While this makes planting trees a rather decent work out, it would be nice if I could easily put stakes in the ground. I have some portable fencing and being able to quickly set up the fencing without too much swearing would be a great thing.

Obviously I need a special tool to make a 'pilot' hole for the temporary fence posts.

Gather Supplies!

After a slight drizzle of a brainstorm, a plan was hatched and off to the hardware store I went.

Aside from hardware store goods, I needed a handle for my new tool and there was a wonderful branch on my property that would suit my needs perfectly.

Clean it up

Excess material was removed from both ends of the branch and I was left with about 1.5 meters of awesome wizard staff.

I know what you are thinking, and you are correct: the end of the staff should be made into a slingshot.

Nailed it

In order to poke a hole in the ground, a nice big shiny nail was selected for the job. The head of the nail was cut off and some shallow grooves were cut into the side of the nail.

Damn that nail was tough, and it got quite hot while cutting it.

Some shitty fraction

In the bottom of the staff, a hole was drilled that would house the nail. I have no idea what size the hole is, but I can guarantee that the measurement is some shitty fraction.

Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike fractions?

Now where is my 17/29ths inch doohickey?

All together

The base of the nail was secured in the staff with a hefty bit of J-B Weld. The grooves that were cut into the side of the nail provided plenty of grip for the adhesive.

A 90° angle bracket was bolted to the staff and a block of wood was screwed to the bracket.

Now all I have to do, is position the nail where I want a hole to be, and step on the bracket to drive the nail into the ground! booyah!

They can't all be winners.

Bummer.

Have I mentioned that my soil is mostly rock and clay? On my first attempt to use my newly crafted tool, the nail hit a rock and bent. fuck. Oh well, Now I get to think of a better solution to the problem, and I can still make a sweet slingshot!

Birds!

After the failure of my holemaking tool, I sat and watched the birds for a bit. There is something very soothing about watching the birds interact with each other.

Now quit reading, and go make something that doesn't work. :)

Comments
2015-08-02 Alison Chaiken:
I suggest a tool comprising a pipe plus a sledgehammer.

Watch your fingers with that.
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2015-03-08

Last Autumn, I began the process of building a chicken coop and chicken run for about 4 chickens. One of the biggest concerns for me was making sure that the door to the coop is secure at night. There are plenty of expensive automatic coop doors available online, but I was more intent on building my own door because ... uh... well.... I like to build things.

Enough jibber jabber, let's get to it!

The Door

Mounting the motor

For opening and closing the door, I am using a 12 volt automobile antenna. My original plan was to make the door open vertically, but after a few tests, I opted for a horizontal sliding door design.

In the vertical orientation, is was common for the door weight to make the gears jump in the motor and then the door would come crashing down. I want a door, not a guillotine!.

Push/Pull Mount for the antenna

Much like the mounting brackets for the motor itself, the antenna is connected to the door using plumber's tape. Yea, it looks rather janky, but it is solid and it works.

Opened and Closed

On the top left and right of the sliding door, are magnetic switches that are used to register when the door is finished opening or closing.

A bar of soap was rubbed in the channels where the door will slide, in order to make for a smooth operation.

There is a gap in the door track (visible in the bottom left). As the chickens go in and out of the coop, the track will accumulate straw and droppings that may cause problems with closing the door all the way. By leaving a gap in the track, accumulated gunk will get pushed out of the way when the door closes.

Making A Case For The Controller

The coop door is controlled by a BeagleBone Black running Debian Linux.

Gather some supplies

  • a ceiling lamp for the recycling center
  • some j-b weld
  • a beaglebone black
  • a DPDT 12 v relay
  • a 2 channel relay controllable via IO pins on the BeagleBone.
  • some of those stand-off thingies I like so much

TAKE IT APART!

Sadly, this is the only part of this build where I get to take something apart.

All of the electronic internals were removed from the lamp.

Weld things in place

The relays and beaglebone black were mounted to stand-offs and then j-b welded in place.

The hole in the bottom of the lamp base will be used for routing wires and cables.

Route some wires.

There are 5 wires coming from the coop door that need to be routed into the shed where the controller will be mounted. One wire for each of the magnetic switches, the common ground for the switches, and two wires for the motor.

Mount it!

Here is the 'lamp' with the cover in place. Originally, I had hoped that I could use a USB WiFi adapter for the BeagleBone to access the network but the distance was too great. Instead, I configured a spare router running DD-WRT to act as a repeater bridge and the BeagleBone was networked to the repeater.

A 12v 6a power adapter was wired to the relays in order to send 12 volts of power to the antenna.

Platform and ramp

After the door was finished, a platform and ramp to the chicken run was added to the coop.

Now it is time to get some birdies! bok bok bok!

Why did I use GNU Linux when I could have used a microcontroller with a light sensor to control the door?

I used Linux as the basis for my door because I wanted to use skills and tools that I already know, and I like having choice when it comes to programming languages used in my projects... and the light sensor doors are all fine and dandy until those sneaky no-good raccoons get their hands on a flashlight!

Now quit reading, and go make something.

See also: http://www.jezra.net/blog/The_magic_starts_at_330AM_a_coop_story to see how the coop gets open and close times from the interwebs

Comments
2015-03-20 Alison Chaiken:
I like the repurposing of the lamp: appropriate size, appropriate price, hopefully not scary in appearance to chickens.
2015-03-20 Peter van der Linden:
Where can I get some of that plumber's tape? It seems way better than the pathetic duct tape I have been using to date!
2016-01-06 Larry Moon:
So .. I love this project. Can you tell me what language you used to code in? I love the use of an antenna!!
2016-01-06 jezra:
Larry, all of the code was written in python
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2014-12-15

After making my first windchime, I made a second, and a third and then a fourth, and while it is nice to know when the wind is blowing, I really wanted a wind chime that I could control (preferably with a computer).

Fortunately for me, I had some tools and materials.

Figure out the tube lengths

I started out with about 3 meters of 1¾ inch conduit.

Whoa, am I mixing metric and imperial? No way Bub! I did all of the measurements in metric. That 1¾" pipe is actually 44mm in diameter.

Anyway, I fired up tubell, selected a full octave of notes and entered the total pipe length.

Cut to length

Once I had the measurements, it was time to start cutting.

In hind sight, I probably shouldn't have used a haggard old sawsall for cutting the tubing. Although the sawsall is far preferable to using a hacksaw, a metal cutting blade on a circular saw would have made a much cleaner cut.

After this pic was taken, the holes for suspending the tubes were drilled.

Cut some pegs

my "design" for this Tubular Music Thingy involved making a frame to hold 8 tubes strung together and some pegs would be used to keeps the tubes separate.

I don't remember the length, but these pegs have a 9mm diameter.

Drill some holes to hold the pegs

Technically, I used a 9mm drill to make these holes, although the bit was actually measured in some horrid fraction.

In other news, I should really put "shop-vac" on my shopping list; because there is no way in hell that I'm going to stop building stuff indoors when it is raining out.

Put the frame together

All lined up and screwed together.

See those notches on the short sides of the frame? That is where the end of the string holding the tubes will go.

Legs!

After adding some legs to the tube holding frame, the tubes were threaded and put in place.

And thus completes step 1 of the Tubular Music Things. To be honest, I mostly build this thing so I could play Sudo Modprobe.

Now quit reading, and SWITCH TO THE METRIC SYSTEM!

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2014-07-29

A few days ago, the Inspiration Wizard cast a spell upon me, and through arcane forces unknown, the designs for some shelves rushed through my mind. In a hasty blur, the design ideas were hastily transferred to paper before the ephemeral images vacated my conscience.

After acquiring an assortment of hardware, there was just one more important tool to purchase... a metric tape measure. Sweet! Now it's time to get to business.

step 0: gathering the supplies

Based upon the amazingly detailed schematic I created, it was fairly obvious what sort of material I would need.... haha just kidding.

I sort of moseyed about the local hardware store until I found the steel cable, cable locks, washers, and eye bolts that tickled my fancy. Then I bought a 6' 10"x1" piece of pine. pfffttttt "feet and inches"

Start at the top!

Two 125cm pieces of so called 2x4s where screwed to the workshop rafters as the anchor supports. Before attaching the supports, holes were drilled and eye bolts were attached. The eyebolts will anchor the shelf to the supports.

Add some cables

Some small goofy fraction measurement of cable was purchased in 5 foot lengths; it might have been 3/32 or 5/35ths or 1/8th. It was about 2 or 3mm.

A small loop was put through the eye anchor and then locked down. The bolt on the lock is about 7mm and I need to buy a 7mm open ended wrench to properly tighten these down.

Add a slab

The 6 foot piece of wood was cut in half width-wise and 4 holes were drilled in each half.

the hanging cables were placed through the holes, followed by a washer and a cable lock. A level was used to make sure everything was level. fancy that.

Repeat!

Go look at that hella sweet schematic again. It says "repeat", and that is what I did. :)

And there you have it, one sweet suspension shelf that is ready for me to put crap on.... and it is earthquake proof.

Now quit reading... and um... go read some Robert E. Howard

Comments
2014-07-29 Mikael:
That is a nice shelf! :)

As for myself think I could not have such a shelf, since I would dufferdly bumble into it and break things ;-)

Those white things in the roof, is that insulation? And what it is made of?

We have had the metric system for ages here in Sweden, but in carpentry it lived on for a very long time. Until maybe 10 years ago, I bought wood in "2inch4" etc dimensions, even in shops aimed at consumers. Funny enough, the length was in centimeters. I still think in those terms. Not that I build anything, as I have no house anymore.
2014-07-29 jezra:
Yes, the white stuff is the insulation in the roof of the workshop. The idea is to put either soft things or indestructible things on the shelf so that when I inevitably bump into it, nothing will break.
2014-07-29 Windigo:
Sweet shelves! An excellent way to prevent stubbing your toes on conventional floor-based shelving.
2014-07-29 jezra:
Damn it! Shelf 2 is floor based.
2014-07-29 Mikael:
I haven't seen that type of mounting/placeing/notsurewhattheenglishwordis of insulation here. Interesting. Not that I can say it doesn't exist here. I am not a professional builder.
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2014-07-16

While sitting in the not-quite-scorching shade of a loquat tree, the dischordant tones of a problamatic windchime bothered me. After fixing the poorly tied string of the chimes, it occurred to me that I am lacking a windchime. Unacceptable! Fortunately, I have the internet and some crap laying about.

What Do I Know About Windchimes?

Ahem... "What did I know about windchimes?" "Not much". However, a bit of internet searching led to http://www.phy.mtu.edu/~suits/windchime.html which is a trove of information about the lengths tubes need to be in order to make a musical scale.

What I Now Know
  • The lovely pentatonic scale is:
    1. The Root Note
    2. The Major Second
    3. The Major Third
    4. The Fifth
    5. The Major Sixth
  • A chime should be suspended at 22.4% of the chime's length
  • I should really really really double check my measurement and "cut once"
  • A metric tape measure needs to be in my future because fractions are proof that the imperial system is fucking evil.

Making a Calculator

Before even thinking about what to make the windchime out of, I needed a calculator that would take the largest length of tubing (the lowest note) and compute the lengths needed to make a pentatonic scale of tubes. Originally, I wanted to make the calculator a native application for one of the GNU Linux based mobile operating systems, but none of seem to have native apps. bummer. Anyway I just wrote a crappy Javascript app thingy I'm calling tubell.

The Pain of Fractions

Due to the lack of a metric tape measure, I had to deal with some shitty fractions in order to get a semi-precise measurement. The 1/8th of an inch was my "precise" measurement, and my longest tube would be 2 feet in length; which is 192 eights of a inch.

Sadly, I had to go from eighths to a percent back to eighths. blech gimme that sweet metric system!

The Build

Gather Some Supplies

Make some wrong computations, get some tubes, borrow a hacksaw.

This is my original computations where I use the first 5 notes of a justified scale instead of a pentatonic scale.

Cut the Tubes

Forsome reason, I have not yet built/bought/acquired some form of miter box. Anyway, my hacksaw cuts are a bit wonky, but hey, that's the way I roll.

Make a Metal Drill Bit

After failing miserably to drill a hole through the metal tube with what I can only assume was a drill bit made for wood, I had to improvise.

With my rotary cutting tool, I removed the head from a self tapping metal screw, and used the remaining bit of the screw as a metal drill bit.

The Suspending Frame

The bottom of my PBR bucket was the perfect size for making a circle from which I could suspend my cut tubes.

Divide the Circle Into 5 Parts

Because the windchime will have 5 chimes, it was necessary to mark off the circumference in 5 increments in order to determine where to drill holes in the suspending frame. For this I used a bit of twine, a pen, and a thumb tack.

The smaller circle is from a tracing of my favorite orange cup, and it will be used as the chime hammer.

Make a Metal Drill Bit

Holes were drilled
a rattle can painted things black
scrap was used for the wind catchy thingy
...and the wind chime was hung from an oak tree

In Action

So what does it sound like? Pretty damn good if you ask me!

Comments
2014-07-27 jpope:
Honestly, I'm not a fan of windchimes. My Mom always (and still does) had too damn many of the things. :/

Either way, yours do sound and look quite nice. Good work on such a meh item. (my opinion of course...) :P
2014-07-27 jezra:
From the feedback I've been getting, people either love windchimes, or they hate windchimes. Perhaps I need to make another windchime that is an octave lower and only has 3 chimes.
2014-08-10 Alison Chaiken:
Screw the tubes: I would just pre-record the tones in the right ratio, then use a wind sensor to trigger them. How about a big feather that can blow in front of a cheap photocell and interrupt an IR beam?
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2013-09-12

In the "backseat" area of my car, instead of a seat, there is a moldy warped piece of particle board covering an empty area of the car body and chassis. Today, I finally got around to making a decent replacement.

Empty Area

This is the empty area. Normally a seat (and I use that word in the loosest sense of the word) would be present on top of this open area.

My car didn't have a seat, it had crappy particle board that I pitched into the rubbish bin.

Time to get to work!

Shitty

Whoa! Cool your jets, bub! Before I can get to work, I need to be able to rock out.

This antique chamber pot made a great resonating chamber for my less than stellar ZTE "Open".

No. I didn't listen to chamber music.

Sweet Skate Ramp

Remember the old adage "measure twice, cut once"?

A certain Jezra who will not be named didn't heed that advice and had to adjust his so called "design" midway through the project. Actually, having two separate pieces makes it easier to do what I want to do. Winning!

Once Piece In

The ends with the 2x4 screwed to them go towards the center of the vehicle and the end of the cover fits nicely into a little groove in the body.

In one of the empty areas, I will be storing my mini 2-ton floor jack. BOOYAH! Ideally, I will have a spare set of tools stored in that empty area as well.

Both Covers On

Wow, what a boring picture.

The fit is quite nice, and it feels pretty solid.

Carpet

That's about it. Both pieces are in and the interior carpet fits over the covers perfectly.

That bottle of motor oil should probably go into the new storage area.

Hold on a second! Won't that wood get wet and rot like the old particle board cover?

Nope. Thanks to the help of my buddy, the leaky seal on my rear window has been replaced.

Now quit reading, and go build something out of wood.... or fix your car.

Comments
2013-09-14 Alison Chaiken:
A reptile tank would have been a nice touch, with a lexan cover. Imagine sitting on top of an iguana enclosure . . . Given the retro themes of your tech exploits, I like the idea of a record-player based car audio system, too.
2013-09-14 jezra:
The car-puter will probably go in there as well.
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2013-09-04

Survey says... I sit too much. Being sedentary for too long can be hazardous to one's health and many people in my profession have chosen to start using "stand up" desks; a desk that is tall enough to work on while standing. With the goal of owning a sweet stand up desk, I decided to see what I could craft with my carpentry skills.

Step 1

Every good project starts with a well designed plan.... yet surprisingly this project still turned out OK.

After collecting some slightly soggy 2x4s, a tape measure, and a pen, I cranked up the Credence and got busy.

Step 2

Armed with a degenerate right-handed circular saw, I managed to cut four legs at 41 inches in length.

Based on my best guestimation, I wanted my keyboard to be somewhere around 43 inches from the ground.

Step 4

Using some less than nice looking two by four (s)crap wood, 3 foot long bracing were cut and screwed to a pair of legs.... twice.

Step 5

hmmmm.... all of a sudden the desk is looking far more complete that it should. Someone might have forgotten to take enough pictures.

Two 2 foot long 2x4s finished the top table bracing and some 1x4 was use for structural strength* at about 20 inches from the floor.

Step 6

After a smoothing with a random orbital sander, and 2 foot by 37 1/2 inch piece of plywood was screwed to the top of the desk frame. Yea, that's a Care Bear wastebasket...

I'm thinking of putting a few slats of wood across the mid-leg supports for storage, but that would be more work and I'd rather be hacking on some code.

Now quite reading, and go make something.

*You might expect this footnote to be about "structural strength". Well you are wrong. Apparently "strengths" is the longest single syllable word in the English language.

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2009
December
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2008