Saturday, December 27, 2014

Weighty Issues

I expected thee holidays to be disastrous to my weight loss program. In a way, it was. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I picked up eight pounds. Yow!! Since then, there have been three Christmas meals. With a bit of effort, my net gain is right at four pounds. Not bad. I can loose that in a week, or so. We have one more meal to deal with, the New Years feeding frenzy at my sister-in-laws house. As long as I can avoid the sweets and carbs, I should be OK. I've come to not beat myself up when I fall off of the wagon. Just get back with the program and the weight will fall off. I've yet to hit the magical 199 pound goal. Missed it by one pound, a month ago. Since I am returning to a normal eating routine, I expect to hit the mark in a month

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Open Sesame

I needed a few stocking stuffer gifts for some friends. I happened to get an email, from one of the woodworking sites that I subscribe to, this morning with some plans for these bottle openers. Cool, I thought, I'll whip out a few of them. About 3 hours of cutting, boring and staining and we have five openers. I used some walnut that I had, laying around in the shop. There is a rare earth magnet, just under the round plug on the underside, that catches the cap so it doesn't fall on the floor. A washer, screwed to the underside slides under the cap and pries it off. Works like a charm. Turned out pretty good, I think

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Gearing Up

During one of my dumpster diving forays at work, some time ago, I happened across this ancient 42 inch slip roll. I grabbed it and tossed it into the back of my truck, very pleased with my find. Upon further examination, I discovered why it was tossed. One of the gears was missing that operates the rollers. I stuck it in the shop and figured, I'll fix it someday. Someday arrived. I could have taken the easy way out and ordered a gear from Boston Gear or Browning, but that's no fun. Realizing that all the gears are the same, I took one of them and cut a blank on my lathe the same diameter. I have accumulated a few involute gear cutters, but I did not have one in the correct pitch. I took a piece of HSS tool stock and ground it to the shape of the tooth. I was able to get it close, but it is not perfect. If it was a gear for a transmission it would howl like a banshee, but for a hand cranked machine, it's good enough. I clamped the cutter in my fly cutter and mounted it on the mill spindle. I have a large dividing head, but I had never used it, so some self educating was in order. It turns out to be pretty basic math. No algebra or trig, just simple fractions. I put the blank on a mandrel and put it between centers on the dividing head. My math told me that each cut is three revolutions of the dividing head crank plus three holes on a 39 hole plate. So off I go. Thirteen cuts later, I have a new gear. The teeth are a bit wonky because of my poorly ground cutter, but when I assembled the roller, everything works as intended. Some will say that an aluminum gear is about as good as one made from clay but as often and as hard as I will use the machine, it will last forever. While I was at it, I sandblasted all the small parts. I also chucked up the rollers in the lathe and sanded off all the rust. I reassembled it and put on a few coats of hammertone paint. Should be good to go for another 70 or 80 years. Now, I just need a spot to put it. The sucker weighs a ton. A 48 inch slip roll sells new for around 15 hundred bucks. This one cost me the price of the fuel to get it home. I had to go home that day anyway, so it was a wash.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Counting Carbs

In my effort to shed some weight, I've found that carbohydrates are my enemy. The other carbs, that bedevil me, are the ones that supply fuel to internal combustion engines. They are black magic. I understand the basic principle, but the finer nuances escape me. The Quadrajet, on my bike, has been a problem since day one. It used to flood when hot and restarts were difficult. I epoxied the plugs that tend to leak on these units and it seemed to work. It still never really ran right, so I sent it to a well known carb guy here in SoCal. It was much better, but I always thought it wasn't quite what it should be. A few years ago, I pulled it off and took it to an even more well known dyno tuner and he went through it again. Still, it wasn't what I had hoped for. It stinks when it idles and adjusting the idle mixture screws had no effect. I could turn them all the way in and nothing happened. I had the tank off the other day and while playing around, I noticed the primary throttle shaft was very loose in the carb body. Some Google searching told me that this is common in older, high mileage carbs. I ordered a st of repair bushings from Ninja Fuel Systems. They were 10 bucks. After getting the carb off and stripped down, it was necessary to drill out the holes in the carb body. A reamer is recommended, but I used a 3/8 drill and my drill press. Once the holes were enlarged, I tapped the bushings in with a brass hammer. When I tried to reinstall the shaft, it was too snug and wouldn't turn smoothly. I needed a 5/16 reamer, but I don't have one. I remembered an old trick. Take a length of 5/16 CRS or drill rod, if you have it. File one end at an angle about twice the diameter down the length of it and about 2/3 the diameter at the end. File as flat and as smooth as you can. The flat then can be honed on a stone. This will give you a pretty good, down and dirty reamer. I used it to align ream both bushings. The shaft fits very nice, now. The tiny 3-48 screws that hold the butterfly plates on need to be replaced. They are a one time use item. I had to order them from Fastenall. 8 bucks for 6 lousy screws. Oh well, at least I found them. They're not exactly easy to find.