Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Playing Detective

 So this post was just gonna be some random pics from my phone of life at work. The more I scanned for shop pics, the more I found pics showing the results of detective work I've done to find running issues with chainsaws. Lets see what we've got.

 Here is a common one. Someone will come in with a saw that floods itself out. I'll rebuild the carb and when they get the bill they bitch because they claim they just rebuilt it. I state that I know it was just rebuilt because whoever did it screwed up and then I show them why. Sometimes its gaskets installed wrong but many times its because they didn't clean the protective coating from the rubber tip of the new needle valve. In the above pic, if the needle were clean it would be completely orange. "Well it was actually my brother-in law that did the work, I'll have words with him". Ok buddy, whatever.

 Two pics above, the intake manifold on the right and the cylinder on the left. I really wish the owner would have told me he put on an aftermarket cylinder before I had to figure it out on my own. He would have saved some money in labor costs. This case is something I see a lot. People pay for parts and spend time trying to fix it then bring it to a shop and pay to have someone else fix it the right way. This guy didn't save any money buying a chinese cylinder and ended up buying a new factory cylinder anyway. In the pic above you can see the port is too big and the lip of the seal hangs in the opening of the port. This creates and air leak and a lean condition that would eventually ruin the piston and cylinder if not caught early. Pro tip: if you have an unusual high idle condition and a saw that will rev really high but has no balls in the cut then shut it down and have it looked at. It most likely is running lean.

 Above is another example of an air leak/lean runner. This plastic intake manifold isn't something that a person would normally remove and look at. Because the bolts were tight and the plastic isn't warped along with this being a newer unit, there is a fair chance this came from the factory this way. While a company can have a good reputation, it is still made up of individuals that can make mistakes.

 In the above pic you can see a rubber intake boot on a concrete saw is not seated properly. It was replaced by a shop mechanic that usually works on large equipment. He was so close to getting it right. I don't think the owner liked paying his guys wages to fail and then pay us to figure it out because we get a lot of small engine work from them now.
 Most of the time these types of air leak problems are found by doing pressure and vacuum test of the crankcase and then searching for the leak. Sometimes even when you know where the leak is, it still takes some figuring out why. Factories want to know why for warranty claims and people want to know why so they can blame someone else.
 I enjoy playing detective and its a nice break in the action between the broken starter recoils, oil leakers and dirty air filter tune ups.


Sunday, January 26, 2020

There Is Still Hope

 In todays video you will see a "double bullshit" rant about the way some dick heads park their cars while we are trying to plow a parking lot. I had pretty much given up hope for mankind and was just about to declare war on parking lot stupidity but then something amazing happened. After I made this video I was plowing a lot and a guy walked out of the building, moved his vehicle to a plowed stall, and went back inside. This almost never happens and I can't think of the last time it did. This act of decency has renewed my hope for the future of mankind but remember, it only takes one dick head to get me in a pissy mood. Don't be a dick.
 I like plowing snow but this last seven days has been murder on my schedule. Most but not all of those days have been early morning starts and that really screws me up, leaving almost no ambition to take on projects. Check it out.


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Grandpas Table Saw Continued

 Back in November we talked about the table saw that used to belong to my Grandfather. I've picked away at refurbishing that saw but only in very small chunks. First I talked to a machinist about repairing the arbor. I bought a new pulley and it didn't feel too bad on there. After some discussion about load, usage and cost to repair, we both decided it would be best to just use a little epoxy on the arbor. It really wasn't even needed but I felt I something should be done to justify taking everything apart in the first place.

 The saw looked pretty rough and needed some cleaning and paint. I also spent some time cleaning up the mechanisms that control depth of cut and angle. I still need to set the 0 degree stop and align the pointer but it got late during my last session and I'll try to remember to finish that next time.
 Speaking of next time, this project was started in late November but I think I've only worked on it three separate times. There seems to be extra time in the winter for projects but that can easily get jacked up when it snows. This last weekend I had to be to work at 2am on both Saturday and Sunday to relocate the white stuff. I'd get home with an afternoon to myself only to end up napping in my recliner. After that it takes a day to get back on schedule. I don't remember it being this difficult when I was in my twenties.

 The saw itself is completed with the exception of hanging the motor. After that I'm gonna look at modifying that home made stand the saw is mounted to. I think there may be some room for improvement here but in the end I may just say screw it and slap it back together the way Grandpa had it set up. I'll keep you posted.


Sunday, January 19, 2020

A Place I Can Hang My Jacket

 I've always been a tool guy. I remember at a very young age getting my first 1/2" drive Craftsman ratchet and socket set as a Christmas present. Nothing in the house with a 3/8 through 15/16 nut was safe from my shiny new tool. Receiving tools as gifts was a regular thing and pretty soon I needed a tool box to store them in. That first box was the traditional silver metal Craftsman box with top handle and red removable tray. The bottom rusted out and that box has long since been recycled as scrap.

 I've got a lot more tools now that I did almost fifty years ago and the tool boxes have continually gotten bigger as time rolled on. Some of those tools seemed like a good idea when I bought them but have turned out to be dust collectors. One of those tools is a set of Craftsman nut drivers. I almost never use them. If you're familiar with the set then you know the standard set has clear handles with a colored band on them. The shank is chrome and the whole tool is shiny. I must be a sucker for shiny because I never bought the metric version that has the boring grey handles.

 When I decided to add a coat rack to the side of my tool box I wanted to make it out of something either tool or small engine related. I considered a lot of things but one day when I was in the garage at home I spotted the nut drivers. It must have been driving me nuts that they weren't driving any nuts and knew the only way I would ever get any real pleasure out of these tools was to make my coat rack out of them. Yes I had to destroy them but this way I use them every day at work and that makes me happy. You may notice I found another use for those Harbor Freight magnetic strip steel holders that used to contain magnets. Re-purposing those makes me happy too.


Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Tool Cabinet Upgrade

 I'm still not quite done with the mods to the tool cabinet. Huh, I gotta call it something besides a tool cabinet because there ain't a darn tool in there. The cabinet makes room for tools in the 72 and locker by creating space for non-tool crap that loaded up those boxes. Mini fridge, parts bins, clothes and a printer take up the bulk of the space. In the morning my lunch box and cooler go in there and that still leaves a couple cubic feet of storage space for more crap. Thats fine, gotta have room for expansion.
 At the beginning of the day the cabinet looked like this with the exception of that upright support in front of the shelf, to the right of the printer.

 That support is for a bracket that will hold a computer monitor. Remember, this is "gear head on a budget" and I didn't go out and buy a monitor for my tool box. One of my daughters (and Tyler) upgraded their tv and gave us the old one, freeing up this one for me.

 So now when I open the cabinet door it also reveals a monitor. That bracket allows it to swing out for better viewing when I'm sitting in front of my pull out work table.

 The monitor will also swing all the way to the right and tuck back allowing access to the printer.
 Is this needed? No but a lot of things aren't "needed". It will be useful and practical in many ways but there is also a "cool" factor that plays into this too. I like it.
 I think my toolbox has morphed into a work center. I have an office upstairs but I found myself running up and down the steps all the time to help customers or whatever. Now if someone has a
"chainsaw emergency", I'll already be at my work bench to help. Also moving the laptop between the office and my box was a drag. Then running back upstairs to print something and back down with the report. Chainsaws and automowers now get connected to laptops for testing, updates and warranty reports, hence the need for a laptop. Thats why I originally made the hutch, to hold the laptop and printer. Its easiest to have the laptop and printer right at the box and now having the monitor will mean when someone wants to see the screen they won't be looking over my shoulder and rubbing their nuts on my back. I won't miss that.


Sunday, January 12, 2020

Tool Box Running Board

 My last post was about the step that I added to the front of my tool box that allows me to reach up into my new tool cabinet. This post is also about that step, this time in a video version. I wanted to do these back to back using the tradition format and the video format just to get some feel for which works best. Also, if I would have added a video to that last post then it would have eaten up a lot of your time with the long post and then a video. I know that after watching some of my videos you're already thinking "there went five minutes I'll never get back".
 I kinda like the idea of a video showing the completed project and a separate blog post showing details. I like doing the videos but I'm not willing to give up the traditional blog in favor of just a YouTube channel. Bottom line is that I'm setting myself up to use either format should the other become unavailable or boring and this hybrid form of "The Greasy Shop Rag" is what you'll see for a while till I figure out if there is a better way to do this or if this is as good as it gets.


Wednesday, January 8, 2020

A Step In The Right Direction

 During much of the build of the 3rd level tool cabinet the big joke has been that its too high and I can't even reach in there decent. The other joke has been that if my tool box was still sitting on the other wall there would be space for a 4th and 5th level and I'd need one of those librarian ladders that slide back and forth to gain access. Thats all very funny but also true. I needed a step and hinted about it on this blog. I told a few people what I had in mind when I was trying to source parts and as it turns out was lucky enough to score a brand new running board from a body shop dumpster. They are only sold in pairs and only needed to replace one so they tossed the other away. I just got really lucky on that one and many thanks to those that contributed and made it happen.
 Here is the running board. Its the same length as the US General 72" box. Those factory brackets have to go.

 Here it is mocked up:

 I spent a lot of time deciding how to best do this. The way these boxes are built I couldn't just bolt it to the sheet metal bottom. Even the cross supports were questionable. I figured the strongest spot was where the casters were mounted so I decided to measure and sandwich a plate between the wheels and the bottom of the box.

 This is one of the 9" x 21" x 1/4" plates that I sandwiched between the box and casters. Nobody will ever see it except in this pic so I just used the plasma cutter to make the 16 total holes in the two plates. Believe it or not all the bolts fit without having to adjust any of the holes.

 Now that I had a sturdy place to attach a mount it was time to see how close the factory mounting holes in the running board lined up with my new plate. As it turned out I would be able to use a 3" wide by 1/2" thick scrap of steel to make the bracket that runs from my plate directly to the mounting hole under the step.

 I did have to make a bend in the mounting strap to match the angled underside of the step and except for a good smack on one of them with a sledge hammer, they turned out just right on the first try. The two holes in the bracket match the factory bolt holes under the running board.

I was liking the way this project was turning out but there was a lot of bullshit involved. I had to jack up the tool box, mock things up, let it down, measure, jack it up, remove clamped pieces then go back to the welding booth. Lather, rinse, repeat. A lot of monkeying around.

 I had been thinking about this running board step ever since I started thinking about the height of the cabinet. Actually my first vision included a nerf bar and bumper rail that protected the bottom of the side locker too. I can always add locker protection later but I really like the way this step turned out. It doesn't even flex when I bounce on it and has been weight tested with two dudes on it. I'm sure it would tip the box before it broke.

 The side benefit of this step is a footrest for when I'm sitting in front of the laptop that resides in the hutch. A few people mentioned that they thought a permanent step would get in the way. I payed attention in the weeks preceding this build and the only time I ever get my feet and body even close to where the step would be is when I'm locking and unlocking the box. Never during the work day.

 So here it is.

 And another shot showing off those leds. Based on the shadow the step is casting you can imagine how well they actually light up the open drawers.

 Thats a wrap on the tool box running board, or is it? That black plastic step material mimics the four door cab of a chevy and isn't symmetrical. I know the whole ensemble is pieced together and may look a little ratty but the potential is there to replace those plastic inserts with something of my own design. I'll keep you posted.


Sunday, January 5, 2020

Slide Out Parts Rack

 Below is the description of the storage case rack I built for my tool cabinet. If that doesn't sound interesting then go ahead and scroll down to the video link. I know, right. A written post AND a video. How spoiled are you?

 This project is a continuation of the 3rd level tool cabinet build that has been the focus of this blog for quite a while now. I had a bunch of these storage boxes that I bought from Harbor Freight and they seem durable enough that building a rack for them is justified. They had been taking up valuable real estate in my side locker and I felt they would be better in the cabinet. The trays could then be stored flat rather than on their ends like in the locker.

 The above pic is the trays I want to build a rack for. If you squint just right you can see that there is no floor under these trays. This is to allow access into the top of the 26" box directly below it. Putting a cabinet above that box meant the lid would no longer open and I didn't want to completely abandon the space.

 The other thing you'll eventually notice is that the trays won't be oriented this way after the rack is done. I was just testing what configuration of big and small trays fit in this space.

 The above pic is how the day started out with just the slide rails in place. Below I'm fastening slide rails to pieces of wood that will be the side of the sliding rack. Thanks to uncle Tommy for the big ass jar of screws.

 More of the rack being built. I'm no carpenter so this thing just got screwed together the best I could using another big ass jar of screws from uncle Tommy.

 If you would have asked me to draw a sketch at the start of this project, this box would not have looked anything like that sketch. I really gave very little thought to placement of slides or the size of the trays except to leave enough room for the mini fridge.

 Those angle iron tray holders were originally gonna be 1/4" panels dado cut into the sides. Again, the carpenter in me got pushed to the side by the guy that would rather deal in steel, although I must have watched just enough of Bob Vila to cut that notch in the front to serve as a pull handle.

 So there it is. The rack slides out allowing easy access the the trays and also exposing the void in the floor for gaining access to the top of the 26" box. Yes I could have just stacked these things in the cabinet but they fit better in this space being sideways.

 I hate waiting for paint to dry and its still wet in this pic. Thats why I only have one tray in it for the pic but I've since loaded it down with heavy trays and the rack works well. So to sum it up I feel good about the way this turned out. It meets the goals I set and it also offers some other possibilities like hanging clip boards on the side next to the fridge or using the space created under the rack. I'm thinking magnetic rails on the bottom of the rack for holding tools or maybe something else. I'll keep you posted.


Wednesday, January 1, 2020

New Year Resolution

 Last night I wrote this post about how I was gonna be less of a dick head this year and try to improve my interactions with others. It went on and on in detail about how I would accomplish that goal. Lets be honest here, I made that same resolution back in 2017 and according to coworkers it lasted about fifteen minutes. Maybe this time if I try really hard and people aren't doing stupid shit all around me, I can be less of a dick head for the whole month of January.

 If you follow this blog then you know I've started to post videos on Sundays. One of my daughters caught on to that and decided a good Christmas gift would be a wireless mic. If you've seen (or heard) those videos then you know she was right. I like to pic up the camera and shoot free hand video and there is a lot of noise created by doing that. Also the volume of my voice changes a lot when speaking to the camera vs speaking from behind the camera. I'm not trying to win any awards here with my film making abilities but I do know how hard it is to suffer through a piss poor video no matter how interested I am in the subject matter. Here is the setup.

 What I have is a GoPro mounted in an aluminum case. That case has a compartment under it for the special adapter GoPro makes you buy to connect an outside audio source to the camera. I can then plug the wireless mic into that adapter. The phone on the tripod is an old one that I kept as a spare. It has the GoPro app on it and allows me to see what the camera sees or even control the camera. Really it just allows me to center the frame. In some of the videos I've noticed things were a bit wonky so this helps with setup and will show me if I'm about to step out of the shot. As far as controlling the GoPro, it has voice commands for that and works great when you remember the commands. I should have saved the video where I'm yelling at the camera telling it to stop filming.
 Maybe today I can get over to the shop and test this rig out and get you a video for Sunday. I wish everyone a happy new year and hope you can stick to your resolutions better than I have in the past.