Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Third Floor Skeleton

 Is he still talking about that damn tool cabinet? Yep. If you saw last weeks video then you know my goal was to have this thing painted and mounted but not skinned. Here you can see that goal has been met.

 In the above pic you can see how the gap between the locker and my cabinet is uneven. I spent a lot of time thinking I really screwed up my framework by building it out of square. After doing some measuring I discovered that US General is the one with quality control issues. The way the locker hangs naturally on the 72 is wonky. I had to make some adjustments to their mount to get it lined up decent. Of course it looked fine until I added something over the top of it and I'm certain their new Icon line of boxes are built to a much higher standard.

 This cabinet will add a lot of storage space to my setup. If we stand back and look at the entire rig then its obvious I'm gonna add almost one third storage capacity without increasing my footprint at all.

 The above pic shows how I added a door stop on top of the cabinet. The door will now only open 90 degrees. It was getting kinda tall and I didn't want it hitting the ceiling. That and the fact I can't reach the door, even on my tippy toes.

 Some of you may have noticed this odd overhang. Its something I added to the new cabinet and it will have a strip of led lights under it. Actually, three strips. The idea is to illuminate the tool box drawers. No prior testing was done and I just welded this angle iron on hoping things would work out the way I dreamed they will. I realized it could look terrible and not work as expected, but last night I wired those lights in and they do light up the drawers below. I was in a hurry and didn't do much testing so I'm not prepared to say whether or not I'm satisfied with them.
 There is still a lot of work to do. I bought the wood and trim to skin this thing. That will require some cutting, painting and cussing. I need to attach a lock to the door also, you know, to keep the mice out of the fridge. The led lights inside the cabinet need installation as well. Another addition will be a coat rack on the side by the locker. The rack for the storage bins isn't built yet either but I do have a mental plan for that. Finally, because this thing is so tall, I will need some kind of step to be able to reach the top shelf. That project material is sourced but the design is pending.
 Even though its not skinned yet I'm doing the Les Nessman routine and opening the door before setting my lunch pail and thermos up there. I closed the door when I left work last night. Just havin fun with it I guess.


Sunday, December 8, 2019

Tool Cabinet-The Rough Frame

 Its update time on the tool cabinet project. I've been pretty motivated and had the extra time last week so I was able to make some decent progress. The original vision for the gas cylinders that open the door didn't work. It took two men and a boy to close the thing. The next attempt left me with something that operated more like a mouse trap with my head in the path of the violently swinging door. The third attempt snapped closed so hard that if you got your hand caught in there it would take some assistance to get it free. The position I finally settle on gently holds the door closed and has plenty of power to push it open. It doesn't seem perfect now but future plans may include adding some weight to the door in the form of a monitor, and that extra weight should slow down the action of the gas struts.
 Besides the shelf and the slide rails, I also made a valance for lighting that will shine down onto open drawers in the lower chests and a rail for lighting in this cabinet itself. Another feature I installed is this spring loaded pin that will hold the door closed.

 Check out the video:


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Third Floor Cabinet Build

 My last video post talked about wanting to build a tool cabinet over my existing tool box at work. Before I could start that build there were a few basic things that needed to be done. The first was bolting down my hutch to the top of the US General 72. In doing so I found a use for one of those stubby wrenches I claimed to never get a chance to use.

 With the hutch secured I could now take some accurate measurements and start cutting 1" square tubing for the cabinet frame. The band saw at work with a fence stop made cutting multiple pieces of the same size a breeze. I just hope I cut them to the right size because no matter how many times I remeasure the project, I can never cut them longer.

 So these two piles represent the bulk of the cabinet frame. There should be about 25 individual pieces here including the door frame. At this point that door frame hasn't been thought out and is subject to change. Like I've said before, these projects change all the time during the build.
 When shopping at the local big box hardware store I noticed these cheap framing clamps and thought I'd give em a try.

 They aren't perfect for squaring up these long lengths of tube but they work great as a third hand. I thought it was $7 well spent.
 Here is where the project stands today.

 The frame is completely welded, and most of the door is also welded. I have the supports in place, drilled and tapped, for the slide rails that will support the parts bins. I still feel I'm missing something obvious and am hoping to figure that out before I get past the point of no return. I did pick up some drawer slides for the printer tray but I might scrap the idea of the printer sliding out from the cabinet. Not sure if its necessary. I also placed an order on Amazon and got some lighting and also gas shocks for the door. How the hell does a guy calculate how many pound gas cylinders to buy? At first I thought I could save few bucks and use the ones removed from the 26" box. Once in my hand I realized they were too weak but how much too weak? I took a stab in the dark and ordered a pair of 65 pound rated cylinders. I still don't know what I'll use to skin the door but I'd guess the weight of it to be under 30 pounds. The door will be hinged on top and swing 90 degrees open. I'm thinking if the cylinders push on the door closer to the hinge point it will take all 130 rated pounds to open it. Maybe I'm way off. Dunno.


Sunday, December 1, 2019

Tool Cabinet Ideas

 I've hinted about wanting to build a third level on my tool box at work. The reasons for wanting to do this are partially to gain needed storage space and also because I enjoy this type of project. Even if plans were available online for this size cabinet, I wouldn't want to follow them. I'll build this thing to my specs with the features I want. The problem I'm having is the feeling that I'm missing out on incorporating something obvious. In the video I mention wanting to add lights and speakers and even a clock. I've also considered a computer monitor. Feel free to offer your input. What would you add to this cabinet? Do you have a functional idea or even just a creative design idea? I've only just started the build so anything can still be worked into the plan.
 Check it out:


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Grandpas Table Saw

 A long time ago when my Grandpa passed away, I received his old table saw. Its a Shopmaster brand made in Minnesota a very long time ago. Shopmaster was in business from the late 40's to 1970. I remember Grandpa saying he built his house using this saw but the more I think about it I probably remember that wrong. I think he bought the house and then about doubled its size with an addition. He would have used the saw for that addition and I guess that gives the saw a birthday in the early fifties, maybe a bit later. No matter, its old for a home owner power tool.

 The actual Shopmaster saw is a tabletop unit. All that framework and wooden top are an addition Grandpa made to more easily cut sheets of plywood. Its heavy. That huge motor is only 3/4 horse so you know its old school.
 Over the years I've used this saw and struggled with it. The fence guide rail is bent and the added deck no longer sits flush with the table top.

 I also had some belt slippage problems. I thought it would be nice to just buy a decent saw but how many table saw projects with I really have? Turns out more than I ever figured and I just kept fighting this saw. If I replaced it today it would cost about $160 for a benchtop unit with no extended table. Recently I decided if I can refurbish this one for under that amount I'd be happier than replacing it. The first step is to tear it down and see what I'm dealing with.

 This old Craftsman motor still runs fine but the wiring is all cracked. In fact I found a few spots where there was arcing. I knew the wiring was bad but didn't know I was that close to blowing a fuse. Ya, my garage still uses fuses.

 This is the Shopmaster removed from the framework that Grandpa made.

 Patina? If I don't run into any broken parts that can't be replaced then it will get cleaned and painted.

 Underneath everything looks like it held up well over the years. It really just needs cleaning and lube.

 I found my "belt slipping" problem. Turns out the driven pulley on the saw arbor was slipping and ruined that shaft. I'll take it to a local machinist and see if he can bring it back to spec. I saw an old ad for these saws and it claimed to have "sealed for life" bearings. They still feel great but I might replace them if closer inspection shows any seal degradation.

 This is where it sits for now. Once I'm sure the arbor can be saved I'll move forward with cleaning the rest of the pieces. Yes I could slap it together and run it but maybe if I do it right the saw will run another 60 or 70 years.


Sunday, November 24, 2019

US General Power Drawer

 In an earlier video I hinted toward making a power drawer in my 72" tool box. A power drawer is simply a drawer in a tool box that has an electrical power strip in it. This is usually used to charge power tool batteries, flashlights, test equipment or even phones. I had seen the way SnapOn did theirs and figured I would do something similar to my box which never offered the option.
 The editing seems hacked up mainly because I was trimming time off the video to keep it under ten minutes. I'm also struggling with another part of the editing process that originates from the filming process. First let me say that my computer isn't super fast. This means if I film most of this nine minute video in one shot then decided to shoot it again in one shot, both versions having creative genius in them that I want to use, then loading and editing them is time intensive. If I record in small bits then the video is definitely gonna be choppy and thats also a lot of small bits to sort through. Thats lots of note taking and such to piece it together. I don't know if there is a better way or if it just gets easier with time.


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Carb Cover Pin Mystery

 So yesterday I found myself at work diagnosing a string trimmer with running issues. That in itself isn't unusual at all, it just seemed odd running a strimmer outside in the cold with snow on the ground. I determined the unit was starving for fuel which isn't unusual either due to the fact that many of my repairs are fuel related and most fuel related repairs involve lean running conditions, or a lack of fuel. The usual suspects range from a stiff metering diaphragm to a cracked fuel line or plugged fuel filter. Maybe even lack of fuel because its being displaced by water. Usually I can guess at the problem before actually finding the problem but this time just seemed different. I have a routine that I follow and the first step is to dump the fuel and investigate. The fuel I dumped out was clean enough and smelled fresh enough to trust it in the space shuttle, if it were a two stroke. For you gearheads, lets just take a moment to imagine the sweet sounds of a two stroke engine big enough to move the space shuttle. BRAAAAAAAAAAP! RING-A-DING!
 Ok, I'm back.
 I removed the fuel filter and it looked good too. Next I connect a Mity Vac where the filter was and pressurize the fuel system. It should hold 10 psi but I was having a problem. The carb wasn't holding pressure. Once removed from the engine, this is what I saw:

 For the non-gearheads I'll give you a hint. That cover is on crooked. In fact its crookeder than a second term politician.  I've seen rifle sights at the county fair shooting gallery that were less crooked. In fact, I'll bet it was something like this that inspired Chubby Checker to write that song about the Twist.

 The red arrows point to where alignment pins used to be. They are part of the casting and how or why they broke is a mystery. The screw that holds the cover on was tight and I have to wonder if it was assembled wrong at the factory. This trimmer was traded in and I think the reason was because it always ran like number 2. See, this cover seals the fuel pump diaphragm and this would explain the lack of fuel getting to the engine. No problem, I have a big bucket of carbs I can dig through and find a new cover. The new pump diaphragm will come in a rebuild kit.

 The lone cover in front of a pile of carbs. Surely I'll have a donor in here.

 No such luck. This carb isn't a common Walbro or Zama, its some other cheap brand with a name I can't pronounce without straining a tongue muscle. Like a lot of things from over seas, these are duplicates of name brand parts just built cheaper. The difference here is that they build these 180 degrees off. Oh they work the same but everything is flipped end for end or inside out or kittywampus. That means a zama cover won't work even though its the "same" carb. My big bucket of carbs has let me down and the entire carb is too expensive to justify the repair so I'll just order the cover. The boat carrying that new cover should arrive on our shores by the time the snow melts, just in time for strimmer season.