Friday, July 29, 2022

Side Note

I read a book about ham radio when I was in high scruel.  I didn't know anyone that had one, but I was always interested in it.  Met my first ham in 1985.  He was a go getter and had all the awards you could want.  He wound up cutting his coax feed lines and disassembling his station in a fit.  High strung I guess.  I told him I was interested, but he said "not interested".

FFWD to fall 1987, second semester at LeTourneau College.  I met a yankee from MA.  He was a ham, had a Technician license.  He invited us over for Thanksgiving.  After a fine meal, he took me to a deadbolted closet.  That was a bit weird, but he was a yankee.  I didn't know how they lived in a foreign country, so I held my peace.  He opened it up, and there was a radio, and some other stuff in there.  Kenwood TS520 as I remember.  He fired it up, and let it warm a while, then tuned it up. (peak and dip, vacuum tubes for the win!)

He started speaking in tongues:  "CQ CQ CQ Hello CQ this is Kilo redacted..........."    And some voice calls back, FROM MONTANA!!!  We were in Longview, TX.  So I was kinda impressed.  He let me "third party", or take the mic and talk to this guy.  Suddenly, an Aussie breaks in, and my buddy grabbed the mic, and I got to watch for a couple hours....  It was pretty heady stuff.

I bought some code practice tapes and started working on the 5wpm morse code to pass my first tests to get a novice license.

The other day, my daughter told me that the oldest granddaughter is learning the code.  That is too amazing.  I remembered I had something that might help her when she gets to that point.  A code practice key.  I got it for cheap because it was not working.  So, some disassembly was required.

 Code Practice Oscillator
Nye Viking is a pretty good brand of gear

The internals were glued down, and that is old enough to be worthless, so a reglue is necessary.  I also found corrosion under the two screw posts on the key base.  Copper and Aluminum don't play well together over the decades.  I need to clean that up.  There were felt feet on the bottom.  Only two are there now.  Need to fix that, too.  Won't do that have it skidding around.  Can't send CW when you are chasing the key across the desk....

At first I thought there was some electrical problem with the board, the circuit is simple and robust.  And it's fine.  There was corrosion on the two silver contacts.  That circle at the bottom of the picture above is real silver.  It was black with corrosion.  I used a bit of baking soda and water with a rag to get that off.  Very little effort to do that.

Touching the black and red wires together gets a nice tone.  But I want to put some spade lugs on the wires so there isn't the dissimilar metal issue.  Solder doesn't seem to worry the aluminum like copper does.

The arm contact is in the center of the picture, real silver.  Good for another 50 years or so.  It's old, but still serviceable.  I gotta get some better glue than I have right now to reattach the speaker to the bottom of the enclosure.  I'll get some more pictures when I'm done with it.

Fun little quickie project.  I hope she likes it.  I'm having a ball getting it back to useful.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

House Mouse

Took time for some cleanup.  May have a job to do on the mill.  It was covered in swarf from the last go round.  I really hate how much falls into the tee slots.  Those things catch everything I don't want them to.  I've seen some really neat covers for them, but they are pricey. The Scot in me keeps the billfold shut when I think I want to buy some.  I made some long years ago with hardboard.  But they were slick and stuff flew off them like they were ice.

I was digging around looking for some pvc to split or something similar.  And I found something called PEX.  Too cool.  It was the proper diameter to be a friction fit.  Looks like I can just vac up the chips and swarf without digging into the slots.  And it will keep the drill bits and end mills from hiding in them as well.

Hi Viz Orange filler

That orange thing on the vise is a deburring tool

I cut the front and back a little long and ran them under the vise.  The middle ones were cut to length due to the tee nuts holding the vise.  I ran a small cube of steel over them and got them level with the top of the bed.  I think that will help hold the swarf up and still let the cutting oil seep on through.

Still have a long way to go to get the shop neat.  But every day I get a little farther along.

Keep punching!  I'm hanging in there, too.  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

20 ¢ents per pound

I need some tubing to make a dolly for the new to me Sheldon lathe.  I got a good drawing to go off of.  I've been looking for some stock to use, but I don't have enough of the stuff I need.  We have a scrap yard just north of town.  I'd gotten some stuff there in the past, so I decided to see if they had anything that would work for me.

Wow.  Lots of oilfield cast offs there now.  Tons of it.  I found an old pump jack gear box, but it probably was 10 feet tall, and had the counter weights on it.  I guessed 10 tons of weight, easy.  An old Massey Ferguson 185 tractor, John Deere round bailer, and multiple piles of wire rope.  Loads of pipe, but little to none rectangular or square tubing.  I don't know how many pounds of 3/4 inch bolts were laying around.  Gobs of them.  The caliche had been pounded into powder and it was like walking in baby powder.

I found a much smaller pump jack gear box with a seized electric motor.  The gear box moves smoothly. I snagged that.  And a 5 gallon safety gas can.  I started thinking about the uses of the gear box.  Giant power hack saw?  Huge tree saw?  Monster Pharaoh fan?  I don't know, but that thing was too cool to just leave.  $26.00 out the door.... 

Ha!  time to dig up the patent drawing*

about 3 feet tall

Well, I have a choice looks like

 Reminded me of a story.....

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Merge With Existing Traffic

Starting last week, I began to feel a bit more like getting back into the shop to piddle around on mid-weight stuff.  Then Stewie (Stew Meat aka son's dog) sidelined me for a day or so.

I got out this am and did a bit o' welding with this unit:


amazon purchase
Morphon 200 A 220 V MIG / MMA Inverter DC

It was a cheapo from B3Z0S-ville.  Back in February, it looked like my days at the welding shop were over, so I snatched this up to finish a couple little projects. I had to rewire it to DCEN (DC, electrode negative) so it would run flux core wire.  I got the wire from 3BaY.  

It was smooth.  The welds look okay for someone who hasn't done any welding in months.  With the proper polarity, it lays down nicely and doesn't spatter very much at all.  I tried it DCEP (electrode positive) right after it arrived and it was a mini-Vesuvius, all spatter and little bead.  But that was just a function check.  All in all, it's a nice little unit so far.  And they don't have anymore of 'em I guess. 

The project is a chuck tree I started about Christmas of 2019.  I got wheels on it last year as I was healing up from the Klung Fu.   It's supposed to help me get my chucks sorted for the Sheldon and the Clausing.  Yeah, that old Clausing... it has become a shabby storage table.  It's plum embarrassing.  But times, they be a'changing...

Here's the welding on the addition to the tree...

Why, yes, I HAVE done a lot worse than this

and the reason for the addition....

Behold the chuck tree

Still need to make a hook for lifting the bigger chucks that puts the lift point over the center of gravity. 

$140 plus tax and shipping or I can just make one

I'm only putting the light weight stuff on top, the heavy stuff goes down low.  I may even put tubes over the caster bolts to allow chucks to lay flat.  I keep finding stuff (wait... is that another lathe chuck??!?!?!)  in the shop. I swear they have been reproducing in the dark while I have been down and out.  Why didn't I throw some C notes in there????  Why o' why....  

This is arguably just a storage spot for the crane, I have another assembly I can use on the bed ways with a little judicious milling.  It would be clamped to the bed like a steady rest and the crane fits in it.  I think that makes more sense than this top heavy, Rube Goldberg foot destroyer.

Next project for this little welding box is stake pockets on the F150 Kurtz.  Eventually, I plan to hide the gas fills so that project will need this as well.  The bed is made of 4x4 red iron structural tubing, like a metal building uses.  Perfect for this light weight welding machine.  Eventually, I'd like to make a mini fold down A-frame for the bed of the F150. Like a tiny gin pole truck.  I figure that would be worth doing, just for laughs.  It would help get the spare in and out, too.  (hmmmmm.....)

I figured out a quick way to mount the remote control panel for the VFD.  They make smart phone holders with a 1/4 x 20 thread for use on camera tripods.  That worked perfectly here.  Cost $7 but that gave back an hour of project time to schedule for something else.

Perfect spot for it

The arm is healing up.  But the arm bone (Ulna, I checked) right below the wrist knob is still sore.  I guess that was the pivot point for the neat little sawing action.  Had to have been lots of pressure and I didn't even feel it.  Crazy what the brain chooses to focus on when stuff is happening fast.

 Have a great weekend.  And thanks for stopping by the shop.

PS pictures:

Control Panel with a new sticker....  Ooooo.....  That yucky QCGB plate needs work

VFD contactor control

VFD box and messy wiring


More to follow....  like a power supply for the lamps on the stop and power switches.....


Friday, July 15, 2022


Just about the time things are starting to click...  I get dog bit.  Wound up in the ER yesterday to make sure the bones weren't broken.  Hurts like a son of a gun today.  Swelling is down and I gotta go get some antibiotics.  


Just call me Lucky.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Sticky Wicket

I mounted the KA5 beside the KA1 I was using for the NO contacts.  No joy.  Then I had a bright idea!  Don't rely on the cam for both, stack them!  Wohooo!!!  And..... I failed again....   The KA5 was not the panacea I figured it was.  Folly. I wired it so I can manually turn off the VFD.  Or maybe I should just put another 30mm hole in it for an off switch.  Grrrrrr......

Dug into the catalog, and there it is, big as Dallas.  It looks like the K85 is gonna be the fix.  Push on, Push off.  Ugh....  I don't know that I want to play that game anymore....

Side note, the 15 ohm braking resistor made it here post haste!  It looks good, measures at 15 ohms and says it's rated at the nominal 1000 Watts disapation.    Here's hoping that the 20 cents on the dollar I paid for it will prove a good investment.

And I lost my ever loving mind again....

I've been looking for parts for that Atlas drill press.... Hey whats that????


I guess we'll look at it when I get it...  I'll be eating peanut butter and crackers for the rest of July....  😕