Category: Projects

Workshop – Walls

Workshop – Walls

The inside walls of the workshop are just studwork covering the weather shield, this doesnt offer any insulation and more significantly doesn’t provide a particularly good surface for shelves, cupboards etc. So it was only a matter of time before they would need work.

Original Wall

My initial idea had been to install insulation in the cavity before putting boards over the top, looking at Celotex 50mm boards they come out at £25 for an 2400 x 1200 sheet. It looks like the right stuff and would certainly keep the workshop warmer in winter and cooler in summer but needing at least 12 sheets it would add £300 to the cost. The need to start making use of the workshop for other projects (more posts to follow) has pushed up the urgency to get something done.

I used OSB3 boards that were left over from another project, the boards are 18mm, which is thicker than I would have planned but as I already had them it seemed easiest to use them, plus at the moment its cheaper to buy 18mm boards than 9mm. Finally the 18mm boards will hopefully offer some insulation benefits lost by not installing the Celotex.

New Wall
Once the boards were up it was time to start tidying and getting some of the furniture into place.  Draws finally turned round so they can be opened, and new tops cut for the workbench.

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Now I just need to finish the other walls and find places to put all the loose tools.

Workshop Restoration

Workshop Restoration

Our new house has a detached wooden double garage at the end of the garden, as well as the attached single brick garage. This wasnt the only thing I liked about the house but it did go a long way.

Well it wasnt in the best of states when we moved in, the roof leaks and the felt needs replacing, the gutter is held on by cable ties and although the floor is carpeted its a patchwork of offcuts and old rugs on top of a layer of cardboard so that will come up to see the damage below. Ohh and it needs completely repainting!

I have so many things to do the workshop will need to be a versatile space with options for woodworking, metalworking, engineering and electronics so the configuration of workbenches and storage will take some thinking about but I will try to update along the way.

Arduino Camera Remote

Arduino Camera Remote

I’ve had Sony compact system and DSLR for a few years now and they have all featured Infrared remote receivers, I used the DSLRBot and NEXRemote apps for the iPhone to control them. This works well, someone else put the work in to develop the app and the best part is they are free, however if you want a timelapse or long exposure not only do you set up £1000 of camera for the shot you need £500 of iPhone sat next to it.

A couple of years ago I prototyped (basic breadboard) a simple button controlled remote to fire the shutter using the Arduino and an IR LED. This worked but seemed overkill compared to a £2.99 ebay remote. I’ve finally got round to pulling together various other projects, online tutorials and library’s for a full featured menu controlled (multi-camera? coming soon Ed. Probably not!) IR remote with shutter, delayed, timelapse and long exposure modes.

The Arduino is quite capable of performing these functions, the problem has been my time commitment to write the code, inparticular relating to the LCD display and menu function (wow thats overly complex) but hopefully this year I will get back to it and maybe even get it completed and assembled in a useful package.

Anvil

Anvil

It’s just over 12 months since I spent a day as a blacksmith thanks to a
Christmas experience day gift. I loved the day, taking scrap and off cuts of steel and turning it into a new creation.
Today I moved a step closer to setting up my own forge, I bought an anvil!Anvil

It was an eBay purchase, I believe a bargain at £75, about 12″ tall and 24″ long. It’s currently very rusty and has clearly been stored outside and has some damage to the plate including 2 large chips taken out of each side and a noticeable concave shape to the top but otherwise looks OK and is certainly good enough for my current plans and ability. Damaged Edge
I’ve cleaned the dirt and made an initial attempt at the cleaning the rust with a wire brush and will give it another go soon to get it cleaned up properly. Looking online various sites have information on restoring them and Practical Machinist has a lengthy forum thread discussing the pros and cons.
So far I haven’t decided whether I will restore it fully or simply clean and paint it but I’ll be back with more updates.

Brushed Clean

Handrail Clothing Display

Handrail Clothing Display

We needed some clothing rails that could be flat packed for transport and assembled quickly on site for shows and exhibitions. Having used the tubeclamp handrail parts for the trailer top this seemed an ideal solution.
I’ve used the 1″ tubes again, they are strong enough for our purposes without adding unnecessarily to the weight and using a single vertical pole offers the “spinal” support while again keeping the weight down.
The base uses a four way cross to connect the legs to the spine and elbow joints at the end of each leg to raise them off the ground. I used 12″ long tubes for the legs, these seemed to offer enough support without causing a trip hazard. IMG_0773.JPG

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The arms are a mix of 12″ and 18″ long tubes with a T piece joint on the ends to connect them to the spine. The 18″ tubes can be placed at the bottom with the 12″ above allowing the lower clothes to be pulled forward for better display.

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To finish the tops of the displays I used wall mount brackets and slices of tree trunk we salvaged after the winter storms. These provided an aesthetic finish and gave us a place to keep promo cards.

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Filling in the frame

Filling in the frame

Once the frame was built then came the task of filling the gaps, the tubeclamp used for the frame is designed to be filled with wire mesh to prevent small children falling through the railings. This would be an easy solution but would be slow to remove if using the frame as a display stand. My favoured solution was 4 panels for the sides and another for the top. These could then be fitted and removed quickly as required.
The final design evolved as we built each panel, the panels themselves are made from 25x25mm steel angle making the outer frame and 1″ mesh to fill the middle. The side panels sit on the support arms for the tubeclamp but this left the ends with no support at the bottom. To support the ends we welded a short length (3″ or so) of the angle the the bottom edge of the side frames, the ends will then sit on these. This has 2 benefits, it gives support to the ends but also locks the sides in place when the ends are on giving some extra security. The panels are held in place with anti-luse fittings and the top with hasp & staples.

Building the Hightop Frame

Building the Hightop Frame

 

So to the main topic of the post, to increase the volume of storage in the trailer I wanted to fit a high top, something along the lines of this model.

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The first challenge though was the frame, I wanted flexibility to fit the frame when needed and remove it when not, to change the height, shape or design as required. I spent too many hours considering the design for this, the main limitation being my manufacturing skills and resources. The professional versions tend to use box section bent and crimped at the end to slot together, this I’m afraid was beyond me. The next option was welding smaller box section as inserts onto the larger lengths so that they would slot inside each other, this was more achievable but as I didn’t have access to a welder at the time was ruled out. The final option was a’system of poles and junction fittings, these can be easily assembled with limited “manufacturing” on my part.

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Several versions were considered with the plastic tube connectors a close runner but in the end I opted for the Tube clamp system. These are often used for handrails and barriers so are mass produced and supplied by many manufacturers so priced competitively and readily available.

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The final design used 2 supports for each vertical pole with a base plate (132) and a wall mount bracket (143), the top was then attached with the 3way 90degree (128) on each corner. This gave a frame a solid frame that would take a canvas cover but for security I wanted a wire mesh frame, but the details of that will have to wait until next time…

Trailer project plan

Trailer project plan

Following on from buying the trailer I had to begin the task of upgrading and modifying it to make it both more suitable for the jobs we had planned but also to make it easier to quickly hitch and go. My main issues with the current design were,

  • No Lights – this meant a light board, not a problem in itself but the lack of attachment points combined to mean a questionable chain of cable ties and having to remove and reattach whenever the tailgate is used.
  • No Jockey Wheel or rear supports – again no great problem for a small trailer but when loading while not attached to the car it did tip sharply if something was placed onto the back before being slid further in. For the minimal cost these were an obvious addition.20130528-225001 20130528-224921
  • No high top cover / cage – from a storage point of view a high top more than doubles the volume of the trailer and from a security view mesh sides at least act as a deterrent to thieves.

I’ll probably write something about the lights and the high top but I think the jockey wheel is self explanatory.

eMac Cat Bed

eMac Cat Bed

This one was based on an article I saw on Engadget about a cat bed designed by Samuel Cox made from an old eMac and integrated with an Arduino unit allowing it to tweet each time the cat used it.

A quick search on eBay and I found a stack of suitable units for as little as 99p and thanks to travelling with work I was able to arrange a pick up to suit. 20130526-220256
The disassembly proved a little more challenging than expected, having assembled and disassembled PCs in the past I must say that the Mac is far more complicated than and the CRT screen proved particularly challenging as I wanted to remove the case and front from the mountings without damaging them.
20130526-222247 Once the case and front ring were separated it became clear that if I used the metal frame to screw them together it would be at best uncomfortable and at worst dangerous for the cats so the metal was taken out and the case glued back together.
The final task was to stick some soft fur cloth to the inside to make it comfortable and insulated and encourage the cats to use it.

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Arduino

Arduino

Today I bought an Arduino starter kit, it’s a simple electronics kit that not only includes the Arduino board itself, effectively a small computer that can be programmed using a simple programming language, but also a selection of components, a breadboard for wiring the circuits and a book of simple projects to get you started.

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The Arduino is designed to make prototyping quick and simple for hobby designers and engineers. It’s open source so is being constantly developed and updated and now features a variety of versions from the smallest and simplest designs for small objects or even clothing applications through to large complex boards with many inputs and outputs and even a complete robot.

I’m keen to get back to electronics engineering, if only as a hobby so decided that this was a good place to start. I’ll be updating the blog with a few of my projects as I go along, although as I try to remember my anodes from my cathodes and inputs from outputs it may be more flashing LEDs and buzzers than autonomous vehicles or another Asimo.