Friday, May 8, 2015

Cool, he is back

R. Lee Ermey is back with Gunnytime on the outdoor channel. I just stumbled on it. I miss mail call. Looks like some more watermelons  are going to die. He always puts on a great show.

I have the WHOLE weekend off. Both days. Awesome. And, the next two weekends should be a minimum of a two day, if not three day weekends. One for a birthday, the other, a holiday. No gun shows that I am aware of this weekend, so I hope to play around in the garage and on the yard most of the weekend. Put most of my tools back in order last weekend, and got the lathe mounted securely to the bench. Have a few projects to peck at. Suppose to rain some over the weekend, but hopefully it will not be all day.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Very productive day

Only a one day weekend. Work is picking up again now that the weather is nice. Perfect weather. Finished picking up the last of the branches and raking up the last of the debris. Got the weedwhacker back up and going. Yard actually looks great.

After yard work was completed, I got to play in the garage for a bit. Made a special t-nut for one of the machine accessories for work. I never have time while at work for fixing some minor things. Got to play a little on my mill. I finished making the DRO (digital read out) box for the mill and lathe, and got it all installed and tuned in. It is a vast improvement. Easy to see the display as well.

                                                         Originally, with no digitals.

                              Here, I installed scales and the individual readout displays that came with it.

Here is the finished product. I used the same scales, but built a DRO box from plans on the web. It was an easy build, and very cheap. The microcontroller (it uses the texas instruments Launchpad, which is only ten bucks), a Bluetooth module ($5 on ebay), and a few micro usb plugs were all that was needed. The hardest part was downloading the software off of the Texas Instruments website to use to flash the chip. Not the most user friendly download I have done. Once built, the box can transmit the scale info to any android tablet or phone running the display app. Cool part is, it also has bolt circle, cutter offset, and bolt pattern display. If you have a 5 bolt circle you want to drill, and it has a 3 inch arc, you input that info and it displays a list of x and y coordinates for each hole location.  Very cool and cheap tool. I bought the tablet for really cheap on e-bay. It is a Samsung tablet 2, so it is quite dated, but does the job. I plan on putting scales on the lathe. I have them already, just need to install. Cool part is, I can unplug the box from mill and plug the lathe into it. I will slide tablet off mill and slide into the stand I build for the lathe as well, so it will cost nothing. The guy that made the app and designed the DRO did an awesome job. The app allows you to save settings for multiple machines, so I can tune the lathe to a different setting in app and choose which setting when I am choosing machine. Rather ingenious. I do love the net. You can find anything on it.  The web site is  .

After getting lathe lined out, I will be adding tachometers to both machines. The box I made is set up for it already. Just need to make a pc board and put together. Have most of the components I need from radio shack before they shut down. Pick at it a little at a time.

Got everything finished up and then went for a ride in the Vette for a bit. Perfect weather. Have to enjoy it before it becomes the inferno it does in the summer time. Back to work tomorrow. Bah humbug.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Great day off

Started out going to the flea market. It was pretty decent size as the weather was perfect. Nothing interested me enough to buy, but it was still a fun walk through. Saw a lot of antiques. Unfortunately with my age, a lot of the antiques were toys I played with as a kid. Kind of cool walk down memory lane.

After the flea market, I headed to Lowes. Didn't even get out of the truck. The lot was FULL.... Not worth it. I will hit it up during the week when it is empty. Left there to see what Best Buy had going. Found a dishwasher that meets the need at a decent price. Cut out of there and saw a car show going on in the lot. It was just starting. I went home and got the Vette out and returned. There was a 1969 red Corvette convertible in immaculate condition. A Cuda, Challenger, Charger, Nova and many many more classics. My phone battery (my camera) was too low to get any pics. There were no classic mustangs, unless you want to count the 74 mustang II, which I don't. Kind of surprised me a bit.

After the car show, I played around in the garage for a bit. I turned the backing plate down for the new chuck. Drilled and tapped the hole for the clamp to retain the plate. Trued up the front and mounted the chuck. Huge difference. Went from a four inch to a six inch chuck. It will actually be usable now.

                        I mounted plate backwards and turned diameter down to match that of the lathe and put in mill and drilled and tapped hole for clamp. Clamp keeps the plate from unscrewing when doing left hand threads.

Mounted plate and cut diameter to fit snugly in back counterbore of chuck so it runs perfectly true. Trued up face where chuck bolts up and the OD of plate and chamfered all sharp corners.
Here is the new chuck mounted and ready. The one on the bed is the original chuck. I will hang on to it. I can reinstall if I get rid of the lathe down the line. Doesn't eat anything.
Enough fun for one day. Picked up a pizza and chilled out for the night. Back to work tomorrow.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Good choice

Volunteered to work today. Rain, tornado warnings, high winds, good call. Heard about the military show down town on the radio at work. Hit that after work. Lucked out and went in to work early, so I got out in time to see the show. Picked up a few odds and ends. It's always an interesting show. Lots of unusual items. They had an ambulance used in Vietnam on display, and for sale. The military jeep they had was really cool. The collectors have a variety of items for sale, and a bunch of stuff on display.

Tomorrow is suppose to be back to sunny and nice. Hitting up the flea market/antique show in the morning. Then, I want to finish mounting a bigger chuck on my lathe and work on mounting DRO. Need to wash the siding as well. Cut down a few dead trees along house, exposing moldy siding. Yard is starting to look great.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Gorgeous day, and I am off.

Actually got a Saturday off, and it was a beautiful day. Started off with a nice long cruise in the Vette. Went over to a collector car dealer. He was showing a C2 vette in stock. Unfortunately, it was a 1973. Worst of all worlds. Still had the steel bumpers on the back, but had the plastic bumper up front, complete with three cracks all the way through. Worst one was right down the middle. It had the automatic, as the government standards did away with stick on the vette for a few years. It was a convertible, which was a big plus. Had it been a 72, she would have been awesome. He had a few classic cars on hand. A GTO clone, a 64 tempest convertible, a 73 cougar convertible, 70 buick skylark convertible, and two old time VW convertibles. My dad had a bug, and a van. Still can't figure out how any of us kids rode in the back seat of the bug. Been many, many years. He also had an old Bronco in great shape.

After cruising about, I tried out my new lawn edger. It is awesome. I was using an electric edger before. Cords were a real pain as I live on the corner and have a massive amount of sidewalk to edge. New edger, four cycle gas powered. It is awesome. I can do in fifteen minutes what was a couple hours before. The electric was slow going and being light weight, it was harder to get any depth on the cut. Added bonus, the new one has a curb adjustment. Didn't even notice it when I bought it. It is a four wheel unit, The two front wheels favor the center. The back right hand one pivots down at about four different height settings to match curb height. It also has an adjustment so you can go 45 degrees in either direction. I plan on doing that when the ground dries out a bit more. Going straight down was a little mucky, more rain on the way for tomorrow. Once the ground is fairly dry, I will angle cut it. to give it a trimmer look.

 After cleaning everything up, it was play time in the garage for a while. Got the lathe cleaned up. I also installed a couple of replacement parts. I got a new threading chart for it as the old one was completely illegible. Cleaned up the mill and got the vise back on it. Came up with a new floor plan to get a bit more room. I am going to try putting the mill up on the bench so I can put the powder coat oven where it resides now. I want to install the new display on the mill and start mounting the scales on the lathe tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


I ordered a cheapo phone charger off ebay for a tablet I picked up cheap. It has free shipping and says it should arrive no later than 4/12. Cool. I ordered it. Saturday came along and I checked. It was still in Florida. In three days time, it had traveled from one part of Florida to another part of Florida. Monday rolls around, I check, somehow, the post office figured that to get package from Florida to southern Indiana, it needed to go to Michigan. Some weird never before heard of town in Michigan. I checked again today, it is now in Detroit Michigan. I am not in a hurry as I have a charger that will somewhat work, but, I am just mystified at how they can sometimes get the shipping so utterly screwy on a package. Curious to see if it makes the west coast by tomorrow:)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Lazy day.......

Didn't go to the shoot. Didn't do any more yard work. Did go cruising all the local twisty country back roads in the Vette most of the day. It was an awesome day. Top off, sun shining, seventy degrees. Perfect. I forget how well she hugs the road. Have to keep eyes peeled for deer at all times though. I played in the garage the rest of the day. Bought some micrometers really cheap last year. They were a bit crusty. I sprayed them with PB blaster last year and just let them soak. I was able to salvage all of them. A couple of them were completely locked up. They cleaned up very well. Wouldn't do for work, but, good enough for home. I need to take them to work so I can use the standards to adjust them. One inch micrometer up to six inch for sixty bucks. Three of them are Starretts, the other three were Slocumb. Never heard of the later, but the price was good. Had a bonus two inch craftsman mic in the mix.

Weather is suppose to go back to soggier than usual, so the Vette goes back on the rack for about a week. Got the plates in the mail and they are now installed on all the vehicles. Not ready to go back to work. Time off was fun but short.