House of Hacks

Friday, September 13, 2019

Lights For Sewing Room - Get a Massive Improvement


Description

Wondering about installing lights for sewing room? Is your craft room lighting in need of an upgrade? In this episode of House of Hacks, Harley shows how to upgrade sewing room lights for a massive improvement. Adding several LED lights in room improved the overall usefulness of the sewing space and for craft work.

Check out Diane's channel Delightful Light: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqeC5EK8VMuFCK5t268H4eA/videos

Here at House of Hacks we do tutorials, project overviews, tool reviews and more related to making things around the home and shop. Generally this involves wood and metal working, electronics, photography and other similar things. If this sounds interesting to you, you may subscribe here.

If you’re interested in learning more about the House of Hacks' values, here’s a playlist for you.

And here’s the most recent video.

For a written transcript, go to How to start a muscle car that has been sitting - 1965 Buick Skylark - Part II

Music under Creative Commons License By Attribution 3.0 by Kevin MacLeod at http://incompetech.com.
Intro/Exit: "Hot Swing"
Incidental: "Mining by Moonlight," "Motivator," "Rocket," "Chipper"

Transcript

Coming soon...

Friday, August 23, 2019

How to start a muscle car that has been sitting - 1965 Buick Skylark - Part II


Description

Wondering about the challenges of starting a car that's been mothballed for a while? In this episode of House of Hacks, Harley continues the saga of getting a 1965 Buick Skylark Convertible started.

Part 1 of this series
Making a vacuum cleaner

Here at House of Hacks we do tutorials, project overviews, tool reviews and more related to making things around the home and shop. Generally this involves wood and metal working, electronics, photography and other similar things. If this sounds interesting to you, you may subscribe here.

If you’re interested in learning more about the House of Hacks' values, here’s a playlist for you.

And here’s the most recent video.

For a written transcript, go to How to start a muscle car that has been sitting - 1965 Buick Skylark - Part II

Music under Creative Commons License By Attribution 3.0 by Kevin MacLeod at http://incompetech.com.
Intro/Exit: "Hot Swing"
Incidental: “Iron Bacon", “Prelude and Action", “Fast Talkin", “Zap Beat”, “Pump", “Happy Alley”, "Chipper", “Rocket Power", "Decisions"

Transcript

Hi! Harley here.

In the last video on trying to get this car started, I got the oil changed, I siphoned out the fuel and as I was working under the hood, I realized I should probably change the coolant.

I put a little pressure on the radiator hoses and could tell that the wires inside them had corroded and I didn't really want that floating around inside the car.

It was probably a good thing that I did. I pulled off the radiator hoses and found that the coolant inside had kind of gelled up a little bit and I'd never seen that before.

But because of that, I want to really kind of do a power flush of the system and try to get all that gunk out of there.

So, what I'm going to do today, my primary task is to try to find some fittings that I can attach a garden hose to both sides of the radiator system to be able to flush out both the radiator and the block.

I want to be able to connect garden hoses to both sides: one going in, one going out, for drainage purposes.

We'll see if that helps.

Once I've got new coolant in it, then I need to put new fuel in it, get the battery going and then I think we'll be ready to try to start this baby up.

Hopefully, we'll get all that done today, but I'm not going to make any guarantees.

Let's get started.

[music]

The trip to Lowe's was a success. I found a 1-1/2" flex pipe to slip joint adapter that fits perfectly into the radiator hose.

Put a hose clamp on that and that'll work just fine.

And then going into this adapter, I've got a bushing that slips in there for the 1-1/2" side and the other side there's a 3/4" slip connector.

And then I've got two hose adapters, one male, one female, and they've got a slip 3/4" connector on that side.

And so then I'll just take a little bit of 3/4" pipe and put right there in the middle like so and I'll be able to run water in one side, through the radiator hose and then on the other end it'll go into the radiator hose and come out the garden hose outside the garage to be able to flush out both the radiator and the block.

[music]

OK. I've got everything hooked up with the water and I have one minor leak in one of the solder connections that I made in my plumbing.

No leaks around the radiator hoses or the thermostat housing or the engine block or anything like that.

Water's coming through fine. I have it on high speed on the water, full blast, and I'm getting full flow at the other end.

So that is really good news.

One of my biggest concerns with this when I found the gelled up coolant was that there'd be a solid block somewhere in the radiator or in the engine block and it would inhibit the flow.

There might still be a block somewhere, but I don't really know how to check that without just completely dismantling the engine.

So, we're good to go now, I think.

I am going to reverse connections on the hose to put reverse flow through the engine to just kind of help knock loose any blockages that might be in there.

And then the next step will be to do the same procedure on the radiator and then connect up the whole radiator and put coolant in it.

[music]

So now, this is going to be the first time in I don't know how long, over a decade, that I've put key in the ignition with a battery in it and tried to start it up.

Let's see what happens.

OK. That is great!

I wasn't sure if this engine was going to be seized from sitting so long or what, but obviously it's turning over just fine.

So, now I'm going to just put some starter fluid in it and give it a couple more tries. See what happens.

[starting attempts]

We could hear it try to start but the belt started sqeeking and I checked the belt and that pulley is really, really, really hot on the water pump.

So I think the water pump is actually frozen up even though the engine is turning over.

So, I'm going to have to do some checking on the accessories on the front end of the engine before I really try to start it.

[Heavy sigh] If there's not one thing, there's another.

[music]

The internet in general and Amazon in particular are great innovations.

Back in the mid-80s when I was working on these cars on a regular basis, getting parts for them was always kind of hit-or-miss proposition.

You never knew if when you went to the auto parts store if they're going to have what you needed or if they were out of stock or if they even could get them at all.

Sometimes you had to go to the junk yard to find parts and hope that they in decent enough shape that you could use them.

I got a new water pump for this thing on Amazon for less than $20 delivered to my door within a week and a half of ordering it.

That's just amazing to me. It's mind blowing.

And I had a choice of many different brands to choose from all under $20.

And in addition to this, I could go to eBay and get new, original stock parts, genuine GM parts, originally manufacture, exact replacement, matching numbers, everything, for $80.

Again, trying to find something like that back in the day would have been a real challenge.

So, the internet is an incredible resource for working on these old vehicles.

That said, I did get the new water pump and started working on this. When I took off the old one, I did have one bolt head break. Fortunately, it broke just underneath the head and I was able to get some Vise-Grips on there after putting some penetrating oil on the screw and was able to pull the screw out without any problems whatsoever.

Fortunately, none of the other bolts had any problems coming out whatsoever. That was kind of a concern that something would break off and if something broke off on this then it makes it a much larger project.

So, I got the old one off and got the new one and started getting ready to put it on. I started scraping off the old junk that was on the mating surface so I could get a good surface for the gasket to seal to.

And in the process I found a hole on the back side of the water pump assembly.

The way these Buick blocks are designed, is you have the block and you have the timing gears that mount to the front of that. And then there's a casting that mounts over the top of that that the bottom of the crankshaft comes through and that assembly also contains the back side of the water pump.

So, it's a fairly thick casting. It's several inches thick that acts as both a timing chain cover and also the mounting for the front of the water pump and then also acts as the back of the water pump.

There's a common failure with these where the back side will wear through. I believe my Dad had a failure of this mode back in the 70s when he was driving one of these cars and had exactly the same thing.

He had a water leak. Changed the water pump and still had the leak and further investigation found that it was actually coming through the casting itself, not the water pump assembly directly.

So, it seems to be a fairly common failure on these, in this design.

Again, I went to the internet and did some searching and did actually find this assembly. I can get it, depending on where I get it from, it's between $110 and $250. Again from many different manufacturers.

So, that's a good thing. The bad thing is it's got a seal for the crank assembly and it's more disassembly of the front end of the engine that I just really don't want to go through.

Particularly for what I'm doing with the car at this point. I just need to move it around the property. I'm not planning on driving it. It's not going to be a daily driver. It's not even going to be registered for the road or insured. So, I really don't want to put that much effort into it at this point in time.

So, to do a much simpler, faster, cheaper, patch job, I'm going to use JB Weld.

I've never used JB Weld on a engine patch like this. I've have talked to people who have done this successfully without any problems so I'm going to give this a shot.

Hopefully it will work.

JB Weld does come in a couple different formulations. This is the original formulation. They also had a quick setting formulation that has a shorter working time and sets up sooner.

But in looking at the specifications for it, the quick set has a lower tensile strength and also lower maximum temperature that it's designed to work in.

So, the original has twice the temperature range that it's going to be working on and so because this is on the engine around the coolant, it's not going to get super hot like the inside of the engine on the block, but it is high enough that the quick setting stuff was kind of on the edge of where I felt comfortable using it. So, I did get the original formulation.

So, now I'll do some more cleaning out. I'll put some of this on that hole to patch the hole and then I'll also use some gasket...

Once the JB Weld is setup, I'll put some gasket material on the inside, just in an effort to make sure it seals properly and then I'll go ahead and put the new water pump on.

[music]

The other day, I got the patch on the timing cover. I don't think it's a perfect solution, but it's good enough for what I need to get done right now.

There's always, in working on projects, there's always a balance between practicality and perfection. In this particular case, I need to get it running, so I can move it around the yard and get it out of the garage to be able to work on the other project.

So, it doesn't need to be perfect for this application.

This car needs a lot of work on it before it's considered road worthy in my opinion. And this is kind of the least of the issues. So, this is good enough for now.

I think it's actually good enough, I'm not going to bother putting any silicone sealant inside here. I think that'd just be overkill and so now I think I'm ready to put the new water pump on.

I've got the new water pump, bright, shiny and ready to go.

It came with a gasket.

I got some red, high temperature silicone sealer and some new bolts.

The procedure on this will be to put some of the silicone sealer along the edge where the gasket goes. Then the gasket will go on top of that and then another thin layer of sealant on top of the gasket.

Then this will go onto the timing cover. There are two pins in there that will help locate it. And then I'll put one bolt through to hold it in place and then it'll just be a matter of installing the rest of the bolts.

When that's all done, it needs to sit for 24 hours to let the sealant set up and cure.

Then I'll be ready to put coolant and try firing this baby up again.

[music]

New day. It's been enough time for the silicone to set up and today's task is to replace the lower radiator hose, refill the coolant, attach the battery and we'll give this another try.

Hopefully it'll work today.

[music]

I don't know why I thought that this was going to be an easy project. Nothing ever goes according to plan.

I started putting the coolant in and heard a drip that was more than what was accounted for my the little bit of spillage that I had when I started to pouring things in.

I started looking around and found a fairly major leak somewhere around the upper radiator hose where it goes into the block.

I'm hoping it's just the thermostat housing because that's an easy fix. If it's not the thermostat housing, then the only other place it could be leaking from would be the intake manifold and that changes the project to a whole new level, which I don't know that I really want to get into.

So, I do have another block that I think has a thermostat housing on it. I'll take that off. Hopefully it's serviceable enough to patch this one and get this thing back going.

I got the thermostat housing off the extra, spare block and it's in serviceable shape.

It has a little bit of corrosion on it, but just surface stuff. Nothing really that would make it a problem.

I'll take it downstairs into the basement and put it on the wire wheel and kind of clean it up a little bit. Get it so it's serviceable on this other car.

Hopefully I can get the old thermostat housing off without breaking any bolts. I did have one bolt on this one break in the old block. I don't care at this point.

And then I'll hopefully get this one installed on the car I'm trying to get running.

[music]

Here's the old one. You can see right in there, there's a hole.

That's on the bottom side of the engine where I couldn't see under there. Actually it was filled with corrosion that only became obvious once I got it off and started cleaning it.

As I was cleaning it, another huge chunk fell off. You can see it right there.

Now if we look at this and compare it to the new one, or the one that's not in as bad a shape, you can see what that looks like.

And if we look at the bottom side, you can see how it's all corroded and eaten away on the old one...

...and how the new one looks a lot better.

Fortunately, it's not the intake manifold that's the problem. Yay!

[music]

OK, that's really encouraging!

Putting the starter fluid in there, it did try to start and stumble along and ran for a second or so.

So that's telling me it's got spark. The engine is probably basically is fine.

I do need to find out why it's not getting any fuel though.

I took the fuel line off the carburetor and it's completely dry.

So, it's not getting up from the fuel pump up to the carburetor.

My guess is it's probably just taking awhile to pull the fuel out of the tank through the line the length of the car through the fuel pump and up.

So, I'm going to put a vacuum on the line going into the fuel pump to kind of pull the fuel up from the tank.

Prime the pump so to speak.

And then we'll see what happens.

I made this real simple setup to try to pull the fuel out of the tank and get most of the air out so the fuel pump isn't trying to pull a bunch of air through the carburetor as I'm cranking the engine over.

Hopefully that'll help the car start easier.

It's just a trash salsa container that I put a couple holes in and epoxied in a couple fittings.

One fitting is a barbed fitting that will go to the fuel line coming from the tank and the other, I have a compression fitting with a little bit of this hard tubing that the inside diameter of this is the same as the outside diameter of this other hard tubing that's going into the vacuum pump.

And I'll just push this in here. I suspect I'll probably have enough seal in here just through friction that I won't need any additional clamping on it.

If I do, I'll just put a hose clamp on it.

I got this great little air pump from some people that didn't want it any more and they were just going to throw it away and I gladly took it off their hands.

It has this flexible tubing that's connected to the vacuum side.

It also has a output side that's pressurized if you need air pressure instead of air vacuum.

And there's nothing wrong with it. It is a low volume, little diaphragm pump.

It's pretty quiet though so I think it'll work perfect for this type of application.

OK. As you can see, we have the fuel pump right here and we've got the vacuum chamber down there that will receive the gas.

We've got the vacuum line here and the line coming from the tank there.

Now all we need to do is apply power. Let's see what happens.

It looks like it's working.

[music]

And we got some gas out. Hopefully that's enough to get the air out of the line and fuel up the carburetor.

[music]

Well, it's obviously trying. It's just not getting any gas. Obviously. It runs for brief, a second or two, when I put fuel directly into the carburetor and it tries to go for not quite as long when I use starter fluid.

So, I'm getting spark. I'm getting air. It's just not getting any fuel, enough to keep the engine running from the pump or through the carburetor, or something.

So, now I need to kind of do some diagnostics on that. [shakes head]

Off screen: It's not going to catch fire is it.

On screen: Nope. At least I hope not.

Off screen: You got a fire extinguisher handy?

On screen: Yep.

OK.

[cranking]

OK. That's good.

Well, I had my wife turn the engine over while I was holding the end of the fuel line that goes into the carburetor and nothing was coming out of it.

So that really points the finger to the fuel pump. We have fuel coming to the fuel pump because I used the vacuum to pull it up. I replaced the fuel line and the fuel filter from between the fuel pump and the carburetor so we know that's all good.

So the fuel pump is really the only thing left in the system that could possibly have anything wrong with it.

So the next step is to replace that. That'll be in a future video.

For now, YouTube has some videos down below of things that it thinks that you'd be interested in and my latest video that I've released.

And up here in this playlist, somewhere over there, there's other car related videos if you're interested in those.

Until next time, go make something.

Perfection's not required.

Fun is!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Does a miter saw zero-clearance insert make a difference?


Description

Does a miter saw zero clearance insert help with tear-out? In this episode of House of Hacks, Harley shows how to make a miter saw zero clearance insert and then demonstrates the results, showing before and after cuts.

Here at House of Hacks we do tutorials, project overviews, tool reviews and more related to making things around the home and shop. Generally this involves wood and metal working, electronics, photography and other similar things. If this sounds interesting to you, you may subscribe here.

If you’re interested in learning more about the House of Hacks' values, here’s a playlist for you.

And here’s the most recent video.

For a written transcript, go to Does a miter saw zero-clearance insert make a difference?

Music under Creative Commons License By Attribution 3.0 by Kevin MacLeod at http://incompetech.com.
Intro/Exit: "Hot Swing"
Incidental: "MTA"

Transcript

Are you getting tear out from your miter saw cuts?

There's two theories as to why this is.

One says it's a dull blade.

The other says it's because you're no using a zero clearance insert, like me.

I've got the original OEM insert.

Today I want to try to test out that theory and create a zero clearance insert and see how well it works.

Zero clearance inserts are an easy afternoon project.

It's really just a piece of wood, cut to the right shape and thickness.

Put in the saw and a kerf cut in it with the blade that's going to be used in the saw.

This means that there's zero excess space around the kerf for things to fall into and in theory it helps support the wood so there's less tear out.

Because it's an easy afternoon project, I want to test this theory.

I've got a piece of old wood flooring from a previous project that I want to use to create a zero clearance insert for my miter saw.

But first, if we're just meeting, I'm Harley and this is the House of Hacks where I make stuff out of wood, metal and other similar material.

I'm going to be using a bandsaw to cut this to rough thickness and then a planer to get it to the exact thickness.

I'll also use the bandsaw to cut it to shape.

But if you don't have a bandsaw or a thickness planer, you can use hand tools: planes, files, sandpaper and a hand saw is really all you need to create one.

So, don't let not having certain tools stop you from doing a project.

Figure out a way using what you have to make due and get the project done.

Before starting this project, make sure the saw is unplugged.

First we need to remove the old insert. This will be used as a pattern for the new one to get the right thickness and the right shape.

It's held in by six screws. The last two screws are back here behind the fence and they're easiest to get to if the table is rotated to 45 [degrees] to reveal one screw and then the other 45 [degrees] to reveal the other screw.

And once the screws are removed, it just slides straight out.

Now that I have the plate out, I'm going to put it flush with the wood and make a mark for the thickness and then I'll put it on top and mark the outline.

OK. I have the bandsaw setup with the fence so that I'll get a cut a little bit thicker than I'll need and then I'll sneak up on the exact thickness with the thickness planer.

OK, again, this doesn't quite fit because I cut it oversized intentionally so I could sneak up onto a perfect fit using the sander..

OK, let's give this a test fit. It's looking really good actually.

Wow. I'm really pleased with that. There's no discernible movement in that whatsoever.

It's a really nice test fit.

I was wondering about putting the screws back in it and as tight as it is, I don't think I'm going to bother.

I'm going to see how well it works as it is.

It's time now to put a kerf in it and then do a test cut.

So, did it make a difference?

Let's take a close look and find out.

So, this is an interesting result.

Here's the original OEM insert with the old blade.

And here's the zero clearance insert.

To me, there's no real discernible difference. The look pretty much exactly the same.

Now, just for test purposes, I put a brand new blade on and used the original OEM insert and it is much, much cleaner.

So that tells me that the blade makes a much bigger difference than the zero clearance insert does.

Lesson learned: always have a sharp blade if you care about tear out.

I'll see you over here in these videos that YouTube thinks you'll enjoy.

And until next time...

Go make something.

Perfection's not required.

Fun is!

Friday, July 26, 2019

How To Make A Window Garden Box


Description

Interested in starting plants indoors? In this episode of House of Hacks, Harley shows how to make a window garden box. His wife setup a plant nursery in their window that needed a way to reflect light back onto the plants to help the plants grow straight. Harley attaches a white shade to reflect light back into the plants.

Here's a playlist of other gardening related videos.

Here at House of Hacks we do tutorials, project overviews, tool reviews and more related to making things around the home and shop. Generally this involves wood and metal working, electronics, photography and other similar things. If this sounds interesting to you, you may subscribe here.

If you’re interested in learning more about the House of Hacks' values, here’s a playlist for you.

And here’s the most recent video.

For a written transcript, go to How To Make A Window Garden Box

Music under Creative Commons License By Attribution 3.0 by Kevin MacLeod at http://incompetech.com.
Intro/Exit: "Hot Swing"
Incidental: "Rocket Power"

Transcript

Want to know how to make an indoor plant nursery?

Today at the House of Hacks, we're going to be talking about that.

My wife had this space in front of the window where she wanted to make a nursery for her plants.

So we got her some shelves.

These are chrome plated, kind of utility shelves that have wheels on them so she can move them around to make for easy maintenance, clean-up, that sort of thing.

Then we got her these trays.

These trays have two parts to them. One part has holes in the bottom that you put the soil in and the seeds.

And the second part is solid where you put the water in.

When you put this tray in here, the water soaks up from the bottom and waters the seeds, kind of through capillary action.

And in a couple weeks time, you get this.

The problem with this though is these plants are all leaning towards the window.

They get the sun from one side and there's not enough light coming in from the other direction.

So to solve that problem, we picked up this.

It's a outdoor roller shade and it just goes up and down and the idea is we'll mount it on shelves here and we can roll it down and it should reflect light back in from the opposite side.

We'll see how this works out.

The problem is that it's designed to mount on wood and the shelves are metal.

So, I'm going to have to make a mounting bracket for this to mount it.

And then we'll see how it works.

Welcome to the House of Hacks. If we're just meeting, I'm Harley and I make stuff. Usually it's out of wood or metal.

Today we're going to be talking about making garden materials for inside and we're going to be using a combination of these metal shelves and some wood.

OK, here's the plan.

The shade is just as long as the shelves are and so I can't put anything on top of the shelves and still have the brackets hold this on because it's just too long.

So, I'm going to use this longer piece of plywood and cut it down so the brackets will fit on here like so, and that'll hold everything together.

And then in order to hold this onto the shelves, I've got these two pieces of wood that I'll attach one on each side but close enough in where they'll both fit on the shelves.

And then I'll sandwich the shelf between these long pieces of wood holding this on and these two shorter pieces of wood in the middle just to clamp everything in place.

That's the plan. Let's see how it works.

I have the wood cut to length. I have the holes marked.

The brackets go right on there.

I've got these self-tapping utility screws that are short enough that they won't go through the wood.

And we'll just use the drill to put them in those locations.

And now I've got some longer self-tapping screws that I'll use to mount these two pieces of wood together.

Well, that's installed.

We'll see how well it works long term for helping the plants grow straighter.

Over here I'll see you in another gardening video.

And when making things remember...

Perfection's not required. Fun is!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Kaleidoscope Photography - an easy abstract photography project


Description

Wondering about how to do Kaleidoscope Photography? In this episode of House of Hacks, Harley shows how to make a kaleidoscope add-on for your camera to make unusual abstract photos.

Originally invented by Sir David Brewster when experimenting with light, kaleidoscope comes from three Greek words. "Kalos" meaning beautiful, "eidos" meaning shape and "skopion" meaning to observe. So literally, "to observe beautiful shapes.” There’s a great video talking about some philosophical ideas related to the kaleidoscope: Veronica Soare: We are kaleidoscopes

Here's another video featuring abstract photography: burning bulb filament.

Here at House of Hacks we do tutorials, project overviews, tool reviews and more related to making things around the home and shop. Generally this involves wood and metal working, electronics, photography and other similar things. If this sounds interesting to you, you may subscribe here.

If you’re interested in learning more about the House of Hacks' values, here’s a playlist for you.

And here’s the most recent video.

For a written transcript, go to Kaleidoscope Photography - an easy abstract photography project

Music under Creative Commons License By Attribution 3.0 by Kevin MacLeod at http://incompetech.com.
Intro/Exit: "Hot Swing"
Incidental: "Welcome to the Show" and "Riptide"

Transcript

Interested in abstract images? Both stills and moving?

Today we're going to be doing this at the House of Hacks.

In today's project, I'm going to show you how to make this. It's a DIY kaleidoscope attachment for your camera.

It's basically a mounting plate that your camera bolts to and a triangular mirror assembly that can be rotated around if you want.

You just shoot through it and take a picture of whatever you want and whatever you're making becomes a kaleidoscope image.

This is easily made from inexpensive materials, most of this was actually just scrap that I had lying around from previous projects.

The only thing I really had to buy was a couple unions at the hardware store.

I think that was it.

Everything else I had on hand.

For this build, we only need a few materials.

I've got a base that's 3/8" thick plywood, 3 inches wide and 18 inches long. The dimensions aren't super critical.

I've got a 2x4 that I'll be using to make some brackets out of.

Two unions, ABS, 3 inches in diameter.

And a piece of 12 inch square mirror.

A couple tools that we need:

Some hot glue.

Some tape.

Glass cutter.

And a little bit of hardware.

I've got a t-nut, that's 1/4-20 and a bolt that's 1/4-20 that's long enough to go through the plywood and into the camera and a couple washers to make it so it snugs down tight.

I think that's everything we need. Let's start making this.

Welcome! If we're just meeting, I'm Harley and this is the House of Hacks where I make stuff, usually out of wood and metal.

Today it happens to also include mirrors, tape and a little bit of hot glue.

This is the base that, off camera, I drilled two holes in. One is a little bit larger than a 1/4" where the bolt will go through from the bottom and hold the camera in place.

The other is up here closer to about a third of the way up that has a 1/4-20 t-nut in it and this'll be for tripod mounting.

The dimensions of this piece are 3/8" thick plywood. It's 3" wide and 18" long.

The dimensions aren't super critical just as long as you have a good base to mount the camera to and it's long enough for the mirrors that we're going to be cutting.

OK. I've got the gloves on because I want to be safe.

We want three strips of mirror out of here that are 1 and 3/4" wide each and so I'm going to make a mark on where I want that cut.

And I'll lay a straight edge down on those marks. I've got the glass cutter.

We need to give ourselves a little bit of extra room to compensate for the thickness of the glass cutter.

We just press down firmly and we want to just do a single pass.

And then we'll see if this breaks. And I do have my safety glasses on.

And that didn't work too well. I don't think I was pressing down quite hard enough.

Generally, you don't want to try to do two cuts. You want to score it in the first pass. I'll give this another try.

That looks better. I should be able to just... snap it like so.

And we didn't get as good a cut as I would have liked.

If you notice, this edge didn't get cut very well. We'll try again.

And you should hear a creaking sound.

That's much better!

OK. So now we have our three pieces of glass.

And now I'm going to take a piece of tape and tape this into a triangle.

That's just a temporary thing to hold it while we glue it.

Now that we have the mirror in a triangle formation, temporarily held in place by the tape, I'm going to just use the glue gun and run a bead along each of the seams.

And this will be what really holds it in place for good.

We just want to take out time and run a very generous bead along each of the edges.

Hot glue is one of those things that I don't think is really given enough credit in the workshop.

It is a really handy material to work with when holding things together either temporarily or even permanently on projects.

It would be nice if it set up a little bit faster.

One of the cool things about this project is it doesn't have to be perfect. There's a lot of leeway for kind of imperfections that really won't show up in the final product.

This is definitely one of those cases where we're looking for utility over beauty.

OK. I'm going to let that sit for a couple minutes and let that really setup well.

The hot glue has setup and I took the temporary tape off and finished up the seams with some more hot glue there in the middle where the tape was.

And so now we don't really have any sharp edges on this glass. The corners are a little bit sharp but we don't have any cut edges exposed like we did before so we don't really need the gloves.

The next step is to wrap this whole thing in tape. That will do a couple things.

It will make it light tight along the edges so we don't have any light leakage.

It will also, if anything should happen to this and it should break, then it'll help contain the mess and won't get glass all over the place.

I've got some duct tape, so let's start wrapping this up.

Now I'll take the utility knife and just cut the edges here.

I think we have everything now ready to assemble.

The unions I have have a little tab on them from the manufacturing process and I want to put those on the outside of this assembly so I want to make sure I know where those are relative to the mounting brackets.

So, those just slide inside the mounting brackets like so, so now that'll help hold everything together so this part doesn't slide in and out as much.

And now, if everything is setup right, this should just kind of have a pretty snug fit inside these unions. And it's looking really good.

The tape gives it a good snug fit and if it's a little loose, you can just wrap a little tape around this and it'll hold it nice and tight.

So we've got one side in and now the other side should just kind of go in the same way.

And now we're ready to glue this down.

Now when I cut this, I did put one of these edges thinner. So I want to make sure that's on the bottom.

And then when this gets glued in, it'll be just like that.

We're ready to mount this.

I've got the camera bolted to the base plate so that I know exactly where I want to mount this.

So this will mount in front of the lens and I want to make sure that I have enough room for the lens to move in and out but I don't want it so much that I have a lot of light leakage around it.

I made sure I have the thin part of my wood down here and so I think that's pretty much where I want to put it is right about there.

I'll just turn this over and run a bead of hot glue along this edge.

Now I'll turn it over and I have a little bit of set time where I can get things lined up just right.

I want to try to get it as centered as I can and get it going as straight as I can with the camera going along the axis of the mirrors.

It's just a matter of letting the glue set now.

Assembly is complete. Let's go make some images.

I'll see you in this video where I show you how to make some other abstract images using light bulbs.

But in the mean time, let's go make some images.

Remember, perfection's not required.

Fun is!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Silverado Tailgate Won't Open - How to fix broken tailgate latch without tools


Description

Have a situation where a Silverado tailgate won't open? In today's House of Hacks episode, Harley shows how easy it is to fix a Chevrolet pickup tailgate latch that won't unlock. This is a simple job that can be done in minutes, without tools.

Silverado Tailgate Handle Rod Retainer Clips (Affiliate link)

Here at House of Hacks we do tutorials, project overviews, tool reviews and more related to making things around the home and shop. Generally this involves wood and metal working, electronics, photography and other similar things. If this sounds interesting to you, you may subscribe here.

If you’re interested in learning more about the House of Hacks' values, here’s a playlist for you.

And here’s the most recent video.

For a written transcript, go to Silverado Tailgate Won't Open - How to fix broken tailgate latch without tools

Music under Creative Commons License By Attribution 3.0 by Kevin MacLeod at http://incompetech.com.
Intro/Exit: "Hot Swing"

Transcript

Uh, oh! This isn't good.

I had this happen the other day... I went to open the tailgate and it wouldn't open.

So, let's tear into this and see what's going on.

The bezel doesn't have any screws on it at all and there's nothing on the back that would control the bezel, so I think it's just a press fit.

And... yep... sure enough... it just kind of snaps into place.

So, I pulled on the top and the bottom just lifted out.

And... yep... there's a rod in here that's not unlatching properly and has a little plastic piece on it. So, I think that's probably what's broken.

Welcome to the House of Hacks.

If we're just meeting, I'm Harley and I make stuff, usually out of wood or metal.

But today, I'm fixing stuff. Specifically the tailgate for a 2005 Silverado.

OK. So we can see this is floating free and it's broken off from this hole where it's supposed to be going in.

To take this off, all I'm going to do is rotate this down and then it just slides off the back of the rod.

And here's a good one. And you can see that piece that's broken off.

Now to put this back in, this needs to spring. It won't work if we put the rod on first.

We need to put this in the hole and clip it in first... like that.

And then slide the rod into it.

And then the clip comes up like so.

And we should be done.

That works well.

Now we just need to put the bezel back on. The bottom slides into place in a couple holes and the top snaps into place.

Cool! That works.

That's all in all, about five minutes worth of work once I knew what I needed to get done.

I was able to pick up a lifetime supply of these clips. There were five red ones which go on the left and five green ones which go on the right and these were less than $7.

So now, if this ever fails again in the future, I have plenty on hand. I'll leave a link to those down below in the description.

Over here on this side, YouTube has some videos that it thinks you'd enjoy. You can go check those out.

And until next time, go make something.

Perfection's not required. Fun is!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Workshop Safety Gear - Don't lose your faculties


Description

Do you want to live life without sound or sight or 10 fingers? Protect them! In this episode of House of Hacks, Harley presents basic workshop safety gear and some rules that everyone should follow to stay safe while making things. Topics include safety glasses and other eye protection, hearing protection and other lesser thought about items.

16 quick safety tips

Shop Hacks on dust collection and air filtration

Here at House of Hacks we do tutorials, project overviews, tool reviews and more related to making things around the home and shop. Generally this involves wood and metal working, electronics, photography and other similar things. If this sounds interesting to you, you may subscribe here.

If you’re interested in learning more about the House of Hacks' values, here’s a playlist for you.

And here’s the most recent video.

For a written transcript, go to Workshop Safety Gear - Don't lose your faculties

Music under Creative Commons License By Attribution 3.0 by Kevin MacLeod at http://incompetech.com.
Intro/Exit: "Hot Swing"

Transcript

[Norm Abram's voice] But before we use any power tools, let's talk about shop safety.

Be sure read, understand and follow all the safety rules that come with your power tools.

Knowing how to use your power tools properly will greatly reduce the risk of personal injury.

And remember this, there is no more important safety rule than to wear these, safety glasses.

I'm sure many of us remember Norm's sound advice from back in the day.

While an important start, workshop safety gear goes far beyond just safety glasses and we're starting right now.

Welcome to the House of Hacks.

If we're just meeting, I'm Harley and I make stuff out of wood, metal and sometimes other materials.

And sometimes I talk about other issues, such as today, for National Safety Month, I want to talk a little bit about shop safety.

To start, I want to acknowledge that if you watch some of my videos, I wouldn't be surprised if you found violations of some of what I talk about today.

In the home shop, ultimately, you're the only one responsible for your own safety and you have to make the judgement call about what to do and how to do it.

In my opinion, the two most important pieces of safety gear are eye protection and ear protection.

Anytime a power tool is used, or a hand tool with high forces, such as a hammer or a press, eye protection is critical.

Since I wear both glasses and contacts, I have solutions for both.

But even if you don't wear corrective lenses, it's a good idea to have both on hand in case you have visitors that stop by and need some.

And, while they're better than nothing, prescription glasses are not safety glasses.

In addition to safety glasses, for some operations, particularly if flying particles are involved, like using the lathe or a grinder, I like to have a face shield.

This provides additional protection for the eyes as well as some level of protection for the rest of the face.

After the eyes are covered, the next most important thing is ear protection.

This is something that for some reason doesn't seem to get as much attention, but in my opinion should.

This is something that I kind of got upset at Norm for, for not mentioning it more often in his show.

Our eyes are super sensitive and we know immediately when we get something in them, but hearing damage is much more insidious.

It tends to happen without us being aware of it and it's cumulative over time.

Many small instances of too much noise add up until it's significant.

Since we adapt as it worsens, we don't notice it until it causes problems in our interactions with other people, and by then it's too late.

So in addition to safety glasses, another must is either ear muffs that go over the ear or ear plugs that go in the ear.

I have and use both.

Ear muffs I use for shorter operations where I only need them for a limited time.

They're easier to put on and take off but they are more bulky and hot.

If I need hearing protection for an extended period of time, I personally prefer ear plugs.

They're a little harder to put in but they're more comfortable, they're not as bulky and they're not as hot.

I get a box of 200 disposable pair for about $20 a box and I use them not only in the workshop but also in the yard for yard work and when riding the motorcycle.

Another piece of safety gear that's not talked about as much as the first two is breathing protection.

Primarily involving wood working, like hearing damage, dust is one of those insidious things that causes damage over time.

I've heard reports of people that have gone without breathing protection for years and have no visible problems until one day they develop an allergy to either wood or wood dust that makes doing their hobby or profession either undoable or very uncomfortable.

One way of protecting your breathing is with filters and masks.

This can be anything as simple as a dust mask to a respirator or even something battery powered that provides positive pressure ventilation.

Examples of the last one, while expensive, also sometimes have built in eye protection and hearing protection.

In addition to dust, respirators should also be used with chemicals, but be sure that the filter you're using is appropriate for the chemical that you need to filter.

And also, dust respirators may not filter out chemicals and vice versa.

Another form of breathing protection is with really good dust collection.

Tony over at Shop Hacks has this down to a science and a really optimized system.

His shop air while he's running his table saw has a lower particulate count than the outside air.

Another unrecognized hazard, and something I'm become more aware of, is jewelry.

Anything loose can get caught in equipment, particularly things that rotate, and something that would have been a simple brush with the equipment becomes a serious injury.

Since I wear my wedding band all the time, I rarely think about taking it off when I come into the shop.

And this is something I've been thinking about: I need to do more proactively.

I've also thought about the option of getting a silicone ring and wearing it most of the time and only wear the gold band for dressy occasions.

Shop dress code is another item that's not talked about too much but is a safety gear concern too.

Briefly, a couple items...

Wear cotton. It's less flammable than synthetic material and not as prone to melt into your skin if something hot hits it.

Wear close-toed shoes or boots. Again, hot flying metal or falling off-cuts aren't going to penetrate leather. Never wear sandals or flip-flops.

Nothing loose. Always short sleeves. Make sure everything fits well and no ties.

I'd love to hear in the comments what you consider essential safety gear. Did I miss anything critical?

I'll see you in this video where I talk about 16 safety tips in two minutes.

And after watching that video, when making things remember...

Perfection's not required. Fun is!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Universal Mobile Base For Table Saw and other tools - Portamate PM-1100


Description

Imagine, what would shop life be like if you could easily move any tool around? In this episode of the House of Hacks, Harley opens, assembles and installs a universal mobile base for table saw. Used in this video is a Bora Portamate PM-1100 kit that is a DIY mobile base for power tools.

Portamate PM-1100 (Amazon affiliate link)

Here at House of Hacks we do tutorials, project overviews, tool reviews and more related to making things around the home and shop. Generally this involves wood and metal working, electronics, photography and other similar things. If this sounds interesting to you, you may subscribe here.

If you’re interested in learning more about the House of Hacks' values, here’s a playlist for you.

And here’s the most recent video.

For a written transcript, go to Universal Mobile Base For Table Saw and other tools - Portamate PM-1100

Music under Creative Commons License By Attribution 3.0 by Kevin MacLeod at http://incompetech.com.
Intro/Exit: "Hot Swing"
Incidental: "Riptide"

Transcript

Imagine, what would it be like if you could move your larger tools around the workshop?

How would a universal mobile base for your table saw or other tools change your workflow?

Would you have more flexibility for storage?

Would your shop be more space efficient?

Would your tools be easier to use for different sizes of materials?

Today at the House of Hacks we’re going to be looking at how to do this.

About 18 months ago, I went to my Dad’s to pick up some tools that had been my Granddad's. When I got back, I did a video of what I brought back with me and I'll leave a link up here in the cards.

Recently, I made another trip to pick up a few more things that had been left behind. Most notably was a larger table saw that had been my Granddad's and he'd built a base for it.

It's going to be a great upgrade to my current small one but it's much larger and won't fit in the workshop the way it's currently organized.

So I looked at what I needed and what I had and changed my approach to my shop's organization.

Previously, all my large tools were set and ready to use in fixed locations. This had the advantage of being quick to setup.

But it has two disadvantages. One is it takes more floor space because you have to dedicate room around the tool in order to work.

And two, you have less flexibility in your material handling in and out of the equipment.

In addition to the tools taking up floor space, I also had two 6' snap together utility shelves that contained various supplies and small bench tools.

I decided to change to a mobile layout where most of the large tools are on movable bases.

This will allow them to be stored closer together for more compact and efficient use of floor space and it'll give more flexibility for material handling.

This more efficient use of floor space will allow me to get the larger table saw in the workshop.

It does come at a cost though of more setup time.

To accomplish this, I did two things.

First, I split the two 6' shelf units into four 3' shelf units and then hung them from the ceiling.

This allows better space utilization closer to the ceiling and it frees up a lot of floor space.

Second, I converted a number of tools with fixed bases to have mobile bases.

This conversion is the topic of today's video.

But first, welcome to the House of Hacks.

If we're just meeting, I'm Harley and I make stuff out of wood, metal and sometimes other materials. And sometimes I talk about other workshop related topics.

Today, I'm going to be showing the assembly and use of the Portamate PM-1100 universal base kit.

On my previous trip to Dad's, I picked up a large saw with a base that Granddad had made.

I didn't have a permanent location for it, so for expedience, I picked up a mobile base with metal rails.

These metal rails have holes in them in fixed locations for adjustability, but because the holes are in fixed locations, you don't have infinite adjustability.

And so it didn't exactly quite fit the base that I already had. It ended up being about an inch larger than it really needed to be on both the width and length.

I looked around and found the Portamate PM-1100.

This is a hardware kit that has wheels and all the hardware to mount them to a piece of wood.

The piece of wood doesn't come with the kit. You'd make it whatever size you want.

So this allows me to have a base that's exactly the right size for the bases that I already have.

I'll leave an Amazon affiliate link in the description below.

With this design, there's two corners that are designed for the back of the equipment that only roll in one direction.

And there's two corners that are designed for the front with castors that allow you to change direction as you're rolling it around.

The castors are also designed with levers on them so they're up when you're using the tool and it won't roll around and you can push them down, the wheels drop down, lifts the tool off the ground and you can move it.

You supply a piece of wood to connect them at the desired size.

Plywood is usually best for strength purposes.

When I originally bought them, I was planning on just attaching them to the preexisting bases without using any plywood.

However, when I actually got them and tried putting them on, I realized there were toe kicks on the bases that interfered with the hardware raising and lowering mechanism.

So in order to put them where that would work, there wasn't enough material left to attach them to so I ended up going with the plywood anyway.

I cut some plywood left over from previous projects to the desired size, added the hardware to it and attached those assemblies to the bases.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Let's take a look at what's in the box and how to assemble them.

In the box are two bright orange pieces that are the levers for the cam activation and two plates to mount the castors to.

There are also four corner pieces and wheels.

Two corner pieces are designed for the rear wheels and two are for the front wheels.

There are also four flat plates that are designed to sandwich plywood between them and the corner pieces to provide extra support.

And all the needed screws, nuts and bushings are in a little baggie.

The rear wheel assembly is straightforward.

Using the appropriate bolt, put it through the axel hole from the inside of the base.

Place a bushing on it, the wheel, another bushing and then a nyloc nut on the outside.

Putting the second bushing on is a bit tricky due to the limited space but holding the wheel flat keeps gravity from working against you.

The front wheel assembly has a few more parts.

First put in the foot rest.

This is what will rest on the floor when the wheel is in the up position, keeping the tool from moving around.

It just screws into pre-threaded holes in the corner piece and is secured with a jam nut once the height is set as desired.

Then put a carriage bolt through the top square hole.

Put a bushing on the bolt followed by the orange piece, flat side up, followed by another bushing and pushed through the other side of the support.

A split lock washer goes on followed by a standard nut.

Put another carriage bolt through the other square hole and then the grey plate.

Note that the plate comes pre-lubricated with some grease.

Be sure to put the grease side towards the orange plate and don’t get it on you.

Push the screw through the assembly followed by another split lock washer and nut.

Finally, the castor can be put through the grey plate and secured with its nut.

This nut has a flanged surface that acts as a lock nut and goes toward the plate.

Next measure your tool base to determine how big you need to make your plywood and cut it to size.

The hardware is designed to work with either 1/2” or 3/4” plywood and comes with different length screws for each application.

Depending on the thickness you use, you’ll have screws left over intended for the other thickness.

With the plywood cut to the correct size, place the wheel assemblies on each corner and mark the hole positions.

Then drill the holes.

I used a drill press but you could use a hand held drill.

Just be sure to get them as straight as you can since there’s another metal piece that needs to match up on the other side.

There is some room for play, so it doesn’t have to have super tight tolerances.

But the closer you can get it, the easier it’ll be to get everything lined up.

Once all the holes are made, it’s time to attach the corner assemblies.

Put the corner piece with the wheel in place, put a flat triangle piece on top with the countersink side up and attach them with the appropriate screws.

Note that the bottom piece has a pre-tapped hole so no nuts are required for this operation.

Get all the screws started first, then make sure the corner assembly is tight to the wood before tightening the screws down.

Repeat this process for all four corners and the base is ready to attach to your tool.

How this is done will vary, depending on your tool.

In my case, I just used grabber screws to attach from the bottom of the plywood up into the bottom of the tool’s case.

My Granddad used 2x4 construction for the base’s frame, so there was plenty of wood to attach to.

You’ll have to figure out the best means of attaching this for your situation and provide your own hardware.

Once it’s attached, all that’s left to do is adjust the rubber feet on the front.

You want to adjust them so they support the weight of the equipment when the wheels are in the up position but are lifted off the ground when the wheels are in the down position.

Once in the desired position, tighten the jam nut so they will stay in place.

And, they’re ready to use.

I’ll see you in this playlist of other shop organization ideas.

And when making things, remember…

Perfection's not required. Fun is!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Installing a Fire Extinguisher - Fire Safety in the Shop


Description

June is National Safety Month. In this episode of House of Hacks, Harley shows how to install fire extinguisher to help increase fire safety in the shop. In addition to fire extinguisher installation, he'll take a look at the classes of fire extinguishers and see how well some old extinguishers work even though they expired years ago.

Four pack of fire extinguishers (Amazon affiliate)

References:
Wikipedia page discussing fire classes.
Describes how the different classes of extinguishers work.
Contains the PASS acronym.

Here at House of Hacks we do tutorials, project overviews, tool reviews and more related to making things around the home and shop. Generally this involves wood and metal working, electronics, photography and other similar things. If this sounds interesting to you, you may subscribe here.

If you’re interested in learning more about the House of Hacks' values, here’s a playlist for you.

And here’s the most recent video.

For a written transcript, go to Install Fire Extinguisher - Fire Safety in the Shop

Music under Creative Commons License By Attribution 3.0 by Kevin MacLeod at http://incompetech.com.
Intro/Exit: "Hot Swing"

Transcript

Fire extinguishers are a great thing to have around both the home and workshop.

Today at the House of Hacks I'm going to see how well these old fire extinguishers still work and install some new ones.

In the process I'll also talk about the different types of fire extinguishers that exist and what I choose to replace my old ones.

Welcome to the House of Hacks!

If we're just meeting, I'm Harley and I make things out of wood, metal and other materials. I also talk about other workshop related topics.

Since June is National Safety Month, today I'm going to talk about fire safety in the workshop.

I have these old fire extinguishers that I've had for a number of years that tend to float between the workshop, the garage and the utility room depending on where I'm working.

But they have a few problems.

First, fire extinguishers are only good for so long. The contents in them have a tendency to compress over time and make them less effective. These fire extinguishers are over twenty years old so they're long past their expiration date.

Secondly, they're really small. Even in their prime when they were brand new, they wouldn't have put out much of a fire.

And finally, they're not rechargeable. This means that, since they're expired, they just have to be thrown away.

To remedy these issues, I got a four pack deal of these new fire extinguishers off Amazon. I'll leave a link below in the description if case you're interested.

These are 1) new, 2) rechargeable and 3) much larger.

By getting a four pack, I'm able to place them strategically around the property in places where fires are most likely to occur.

As DIY projects go, installation is pretty simple.

One thing of note though, the Amazon description says they come with wall hangers.

This isn't quite true. They have a loop on the extinguisher to hang them from but no actual wall hardware.

So I went down to the home improvement store and picked up a pack of simple hangers to hang them from.

Here in the shop, I'm going to put it here on the wall with other personal protection gear.

One right here easily accessible from the stairs, next to the furnace in the utility room.

One here in the utility room that's immediately adjacent to both the kitchen and the garage behind me.

And conveniently, there's a stud located right in the middle of the wall.

And here in the garden shed, I was thinking of putting one right here next to the door.

Here in the shed we have fuel and oil and grass clippings and hot engines.

Seems like a really bad combination and a great place for a fire extinguisher.

There are 5 classes of fire that extinguishers might be designed for.

Class A fires are normal combustibles. Things like trash, wood, paper, and plastic.

Class B fires are where the fuel is flammable liquids or gas. Around the workshop, petroleum based products are the common combustable.

Class C fires are where electrical components are the source of ignition. Things around the workshop include sparking motors, transformers and extension cords.

Class D fires where a combustible metal is actually burning. Examples of these types of metals are things like magnesium, titanium, and aluminum. The latter being what would most commonly be found in the workshop.

And the last class is K where combustion is in the kitchen from a liquids used in cooking. Fats, greases and oils are the typical examples. This is actually a special case of class B that was created for the special and unique properties of kitchen fires in the commercial environment.

The new fire extinguishers are designed for classes A, B and C since these are the most common combustables that are going to be found around the home. I figure we're not going to need anything specialized for the kitchen since we're not in a commercial environment where we have the large quantities and specialized equipment that that class was designed for.

Let's head outside and see how the old fire extinguishers work.

OK, we're out here in this controlled environment: the fire pit.

The fire's starting to go and we're going to test out these old fire extinguishers.

I've never actually used a fire extinguisher, so I've don't have any personal experience with it but there is a handy acronym that's used to describe how you're supposed to use them and it's PASS.

P is Pull the pin.

A is Aim at the base of the fire extinguisher.

S is Squeeze the handle.

And the other S is Sweep across the base of the fire.

The idea is you want to aim at the fuel that's providing the fire, not the flames themselves.

So let's let this get going a bit better and we'll give it a try.

Well, the smaller wood seems to be going really well. I don't know if the big wood is actually going to catch fire. It's large enough, it's kind of getting charred but I don't know that it's actually going to combust itself.

So, let's give this little small guy a try.

So, I pull the pin. It's got a little lever here on this particular one.

And the idea is we aim at the base of the fire and squeeze the handle here and sweep across.

So here goes nothing.

Well, there you can see. Even though that 20 year old fire extinguisher worked fine on this little, tiny small fire of course.

It's still a little bit warm. It didn't cool it down, but it did extinguish it and I can still hear the wood kind of popping a little bit, but it does seem to work.

Like I said, that was for a small fire. It was... so like on a kitchen, it'd probably work fine. You saw that it only lasted for a couple seconds, so I don't think it would have done a real good job for anything of any significant size.

At this point, I'm not going to use the other one because I'm guessing it's probably still fairly decent shape and I'll end up putting it somewhere just as a backup.

I’ll see you in the playlist that's on the screen right now of tips and tricks for the workshop.

When making things, remember...

Perfection's not required. Fun is!

Friday, May 24, 2019

How To Make Gardening Tools At Home: Handheld Dibber


Description

Interested in how to make gardening tools at home? Need a seedling planter for your garden? Want to make a simple DIY project for your gardening enthusiast? In this episode in the House of Hacks series' on DIY gardening tools, Harley shows how to make a handheld dibber, also known as a dibbler. Springtime is upon us and making homemade gardening tools can be an easy workshop project for either yourself or a loved one. The dibber is an especially easy-to-make DIY tool to help plant seeds and seedlings that requires minimal tools and time and is particularly suited for kids and beginners. These simple tools make great gifts for the gardener in your life.

Previous video gardening tool video: How to make a long dibber

Inspired by this Charles Dowding video and this blog article.

Here at House of Hacks we do tutorials, project overviews, tool reviews and more related to making things around the home and shop. Generally this involves wood and metal working, electronics, photography and other similar things. If this sounds interesting to you, you may subscribe here.

If you’re interested in learning more about the House of Hacks' values, here’s a playlist for you.

And here’s the most recent video.

For a written transcript, go to How To Make Gardening Tools at Home: Handheld dibber

Music under Creative Commons License By Attribution 3.0 by Kevin MacLeod at http://incompetech.com.
Intro/Exit: "Hot Swing"
Incidental: "Chipper"

Transcript

Are you looking for an easy to use gardening tool to plant seedlings?

Do you need a simple to make gift idea for the gardener in your life?

In today's episode of how to make gardening tools at home, we're going to make this handheld dibber.

With spring in full bloom, DIY gardening tools are a popular project for either your own use or to give as gift ideas.

In an earlier House of Hacks episode, I showed you how to make a long dibber out of a rake handle.

A long dibber is useful when planting seeds and seedlings in large beds at ground level.

This handheld dibber is useful in smaller areas, such as raised beds.

Before making the long dibber, I cut off about 12 inches from the end of the handle in order to make this smaller handheld dibber.

Conceptually the idea is the same.

We're going to be putting a rounded point on the end to make holes in the soil for seeds and seedlings but we're going to be adding a few extra features to this one.

In this project I'm going to use a lathe, just to show a different way of doing the same thing, but if you don't have access to a lathe, you could do the same thing as I showed before with a sanding station, or by hand with sandpaper, files or a rasp.

Today, I'll also be connecting two round objects to each other at 90 degree angles.

Stick around to see how I do that.

Welcome! If we're just meeting, I'm Harley and this is the House of Hacks where we make stuff out of wood, metal, electronics and other similar materials in order to inspire you on your creative journey.

For this project, to start, I'm going to cut off about 4 inches from the end of this wood.

I'll set it aside and use it later on this project.

Then I chuck the remainder in the lathe and start cutting it down.

The idea is to reform the end from the slight taper to more of a point with a rounded end.

Once I have it to the shape I want, I'll use the marks on the tool rest to inscribe a couple lines an inch apart.

These allow the user to gauge the depth of the hole they're making.

The last lathe operation is a bit of sanding to make everything smooth.

Remember that 4 inch cut-off from earlier?

That's going to be a handle for this piece.

I used the sanding station to put a slight chamfer on each end.

So now that I've taken the dibber out of the lathe, the next operation is to attach the handle.

Originally, I was going to use a hole saw and put a radius on this end for this to sit down inside.

But I don't have a hole saw the right size for this radius and so the next idea I came up with was to use a Forstner bit to put a flat on here and a dowel to join these two together like so.

Overall I think this is going to be a much easier operation.

All that's left is a bit of oil to protect the wood.

It's ready for use.

I'll see you over here in this video where I show you how to make the longer version of this tool for use standing up.

And when making things, remember...

Perfection's not required.

Fun is!

Friday, May 10, 2019

How To Find A Lost Digital Camera - Unique color codes (Part 4)


Description

Ever lost a camera or other photo gear? Looking for ideas for how to find lost camera (digital)? This is the fourth in a series where Harley shows ideas that can help a lost camera find its way back home. These travel tips and hacks can help someone who has found a lost camera return it to you.

Buy online (Affiliate links):

Here at House of Hacks we do tutorials, project overviews, tool reviews and more related to making things around the home and shop. Generally this involves wood and metal working, electronics, photography and other similar things. If this sounds interesting to you, you may subscribe here.

If you’re interested in learning more about the House of Hacks' values, here’s a playlist for you.

And here’s the most recent video.

For a written transcript, go to How To Find A Lost Digital Camera - Unique color codes (Part 4)

Music under Creative Commons License By Attribution 3.0 by Kevin MacLeod at http://incompetech.com.
Intro/Exit: "Hot Swing"

Transcript

Ever lost camera gear before?

Looking for ideas for how to recover camera gear if it's been lost?

Today at the House of Hacks, I'm going to show you a strategy to help your lost camera gear find its way home.

I belong to a local photography Facebook group where sometimes somebody will find photography gear that was accidentally left at popular shooting locations.

Generally, a post goes out to alert people that gear has been found and who to contact to retrieve it.

Many times the gear can be reunited with its owner.

Inspired by these posts, this is the fourth in a series of ideas to help your gear find its way home if it gets lost.

The other videos in the series can be found in this playlist.

The previous ideas help if your gear is found by a random stranger.

Today's idea helps your gear stand out from the rest, that may be very similar, when you're in a group.

Hi! If we're just meeting, welcome!

I'm Harley and this is the House of Hacks where we do things related to the workshop like metal, wood and electronics projects and other things of that nature.

Today we're talking about photography gear.

When you're with a group of photographers, many times people have either the same or very similar gear and if things get jumbled up, sometimes it's hard to figure out who's is who's.

To help in this situation, select a three or four color combination and get paint or tape in these colors.

Multi-packs of electrical tape and model paint kits are great sources to get multiple colors of each.

Electrical tape can be found at home improvement stores and model paint kits can be found at craft stores.

Or, they're both available on Amazon. I'll leave affiliate links to searches for multiple products of each down below.

Using tape or paint, depending on the equipment and your preference, put your color code on all your equipment.

This makes it easy to identify your equipment when it's combined with the same equipment from other photographers.

If you have friends that do the same thing, be sure to coordinate with them so you don't use the same or similar color combinations.

I'd love to hear in the comments below if you have any strategies for identifying your equipment.

And remember, it's a good idea to have a multi-pronged approach and identify your equipment in multiple ways.

I'll see you in one of these videos that YouTube thinks you'll enjoy.

And when making things, remember...

Perfection's not required.

Fun is!

Friday, April 26, 2019

How To Make Gardening Tools At Home: Long Dibber


Description

Interested in how to make gardening tools at home? Need a seedling planter for your garden? Want to make a simple DIY project for your gardening enthusiast? In this episode in the House of Hacks series' on DIY gardening tools, Harley shows how to make a long dibber, also known as a dibbler.

Springtime is upon us and making homemade gardening tools can be an easy workshop project for either yourself or a loved one. The dibber is an especially easy-to-make DIY tool to help plant seeds and seedlings that requires minimal tools and time and is particularly suited for kids and beginners. These simple tools make great gifts for the gardener in your life.

Inspired by this Charles Dowding video and his website.

Here at House of Hacks we do tutorials, project overviews, tool reviews and more related to making things around the home and shop. Generally this involves wood and metal working, electronics, photography and other similar things. If this sounds interesting to you, you may subscribe here.

If you’re interested in learning more about the House of Hacks' values, here’s a playlist for you.

And here’s the most recent video.

For a written transcript, go to How To Make Gardening Tools At Home: Long Dibber

Music under Creative Commons License By Attribution 3.0 by Kevin MacLeod at http://incompetech.com.
Intro/Exit: "Hot Swing"
Incidental: "The Whip"

Transcript

Need a dibber to plant seedlings in your garden?

Want to make a simple DIY for your gardening enthusiast?

With spring coming upon us, we're going to make a long dibber out of this rake handle.

The dibber is an ancient tool that's been around since Roman times. It's also called a dibbler, with an L in it and it's used to plant seeds and seedlings.

It's a simple tool to make and we're just going to be using a belt sander primarily, after sawing off a piece of this wood for another project.

Hi and Welcome! If we're just meeting, I'm Harley and this is the House of Hacks where we use our God-given creative skills, talents and interests to make things here in the shop out of materials like metal, electronics, photography and in this case, wood.

In a future episode, I'm going to make another gardening tool out of this cut off that I just took from the longer rake handle.

If you're interested in something like that, hit the Subscribe button and then hit the bell notification icon and YouTube will let you know next time that video is released.

I've got the rake handle here with the end cut off for a future project and I'm just going to mark about a hand width's circle all the way around this piece to give me a guide line to work from.

And now I'm going to use the belt sander to just grind down to the line and make a rounded point on the end.

This was about 10 minutes worth of grinding on the belt sander here and I'm going to put a coat of oil on it to kind of seal it and that can be reapplied each year as needed to kind of keep the toxicity down rather than trying to use Varathane or some other synthetic material like that.

Well that's a simple tool that should be useful for years to come.

I've got some veggies to plant and while I do that, YouTube has some videos over here that it thinks you'll enjoy.

And remember when making things...

Perfection's not required.

Fun is!

Friday, April 12, 2019

How To Find Lost Camera (Digital) - Use pet tags (Part 3)


Description

Ever lost a camera or other photo gear? Looking for ideas for how to find lost camera (digital)? This is the third in a series where Harley shows ideas that can help a lost camera find its way back home. These travel tips and hacks can help someone who has found a lost camera return it to you.

Engraved pet tags on Amazon (Affiliate link)

Other videos in this series.

Here at House of Hacks we do tutorials, project overviews, tool reviews and more related to making things around the home and shop. Generally this involves wood and metal working, electronics, photography and other similar things. If this sounds interesting to you, you may subscribe here.

If you’re interested in learning more about the House of Hacks' values, here’s a playlist for you.

And here’s the most recent video.

For a written transcript, go to How to Subtract In Binary Using 2'S Complement

Music under Creative Commons License By Attribution 3.0 by Kevin MacLeod at http://incompetech.com.
Intro/Exit: "Hot Swing"

Transcript

Have you ever lost your camera gear?

Are you looking for ideas about how to recover your camera gear if it ever does get lost?

Today at the House of Hacks, I'm going to show you a strategy to help your camera gear find its way home if it gets lost.

I belong to a local photography Facebook group and occasionally people in that group will find camera gear that was left at popular shooting locations. Generally what happens is the person that finds the gear will post where it was found and who to contact to get the gear back. And many times the owner is a member of the group, sees the post and is able to get their equipment back.

Inspired by these posts this is the third in a series of ideas to help you get your camera gear back if it ever gets lost. The other ideas can be found in the videos in this playlist.

Hi! If we're just meeting, welcome I'm Harley and this is the House of Hacks where we talk about workshop related items. Things made out of wood metal electronics and other things of that nature.

Today we're talking about photography gear.

The previous two tips were a bit on the technical side and required knowledge of the finder to go look for the information and they only worked for your camera and memory cards.

Today's tip is less technical and more obvious for the finder.

And it's this: go get pet tags for your gear.

You can go down to your local pet store and they have engraving machines where you can have anything engraved on little tags. You can then put these tags on your camera gear. At a minimum you probably want one for your camera and your bag but you can get one for any gear that you want to put it on. However you can't put much information on them. Just your name, phone number and maybe an email address.

Another place to get them is on Amazon they have a bunch of different vendors with a bunch of different styles. I'll leave an affiliate link below to a search query showing those different options.

I'd love to hear in the comments below if you have any strategies you use for identifying your equipment.

And remember it's a great idea to use a multi-pronged approach to identifying your gear. For example this way, while it helps for a lot of your gear, doesn't work for memory cards.

I'll see you in one of these videos that YouTube thinks you'll enjoy.

And when making things, remember, perfection's not required. Fun is!

Saturday, April 6, 2019

How Computers Work: Binary And Data


Description

In the Bits of Binary twos-complement video, Christopher Mast asked "what do you do about the fact that all the binary numbers you're listing in the negative are assigned to trigger special characters and foreign letters?" That's a great question and today at the House of Hacks, Harley will talk about how computers work binary and data.

References:

Here at House of Hacks we do tutorials, project overviews, tool reviews and more related to making things around the home and shop. Generally this involves wood and metal working, electronics, photography and other similar things. If this sounds interesting to you, you may subscribe here.

If you’re interested in learning more about the House of Hacks' values, here’s a playlist for you.

And here’s the most recent video.

For a written transcript, go to How Computers Work: Binary And Data

Music under Creative Commons License By Attribution 3.0 by Kevin MacLeod at http://incompetech.com.
Intro/Exit: "Hot Swing"

Transcript

In the comments on the recent video about subtraction using twos complement, Christopher Mast asked a great question:

"what do you do about the fact that all the binary numbers you're listing in the negative are assigned to trigger special characters and foreign letters?"

This is a great question!

I gave a brief answer but wasn’t terribly satisfied with it.

So in this video, I’m going to dive a bit on how computers use numbers to represent all the different types of data that they work with.

By the way, Christopher has a great channel called “Legion of Weirdos” where he covers topics for your party time conversation so you don’t have to talk about your day job. Check it out.

At their core, computers just work with binary numbers.

As we saw in the Bits of Binary series, we went from 0 to 255 with 8 bits and that's all zeros to all ones with only 8 zeros or ones.

As computers got newer and more bits were added, each time they doubled the number of bits, from 8 in the old computers to 16 on some newer ones and they can count all the way up to 65535.

Adding more bits to 32 bit, again doubling, it can count all the way to 4 billion.

And with 64 bits it can count all the way to 16 billion billion, or an exabyte.

But in the end, they're all just positive integer numbers from zero to all ones, depending on how many ones there are.

So, how does the computer deal with characters?

Or negative numbers?

Floating point numbers?

Or any kind of data for that matter?

This is the topic for this video.

But first, if we’re just meeting, I’m Harley and this is the House of Hacks where we use our God-given skills, interests and talents to make things in the workshop out of things like wood, metal and electronics.

Part of making new things is understanding how old things work and so that’s why we’re looking at computers so we can have better understanding for future projects.

The most basic answer to Christopher’s question is: everything in a computer is just a positive number and we use those positive integers in different ways, with different mappings, depending on context.

Let’s get into some examples.

As we've discussed, computers only deal with binary numbers, in this case 8 bits, from 0 to 255, all zeros to all ones.

When a programmer wants to use numbers in this range, they just define the memory as unsigned and when they do that, the computer will treat 0 as 0, 1 as 1, all the way up to all 1s as 255.

When a programmer needs negative numbers, then they define the memory as being signed, and when they do that, the computer will treat all binary numbers that start with 0 as positive integers from 0 to 127 and it will treat all numbers starting with 1 as negative numbers from -1 to -128.

And as long as the programmer maintains this context of treating these numbers as signed then everything works out just fine.

Now, let’s look at characters.

In the early days of computers, there were a number of different ways of treating characters inside the computer.

At the end of the day, the one that ultimately won out is something called ASCII.

And it breaks down the numbers into groups of 32.

0 to 31 are what are called control characters and these were used in the early mechanical input devices to physically control the input. Things like moving the carriage to the beginning of the line and ringing a bell for the operator notification. Things of this nature. They start out with 0 as null and continue down to 31 for special characters.

The next group of 32 was for special characters and numbers. It started with space being defined to 32, exclamation point, quote, hashtag, the numbers were in the middle here, and at the end at 63 was a question mark.

The next group of 32 were the capital letters. It started with an "at" sign at 64, capital A was 65, capital B was 66, capital C was 67 and so forth down to 95 which was the underscore character.

And the final group of 32 were the lowercase characters. It started with a back accent character, "a," "b," "c" being defined as 97, 98 and 99, continuing on down to 127 which was treated as a delete character.

Now to get to Christopher’s point, the extended character set came in later and it defined numbers from 128 to 255, which happens to correspond to the negative numbers that we saw in the twos-complement video.

These characters are things like an "a" with an umlaut over it or "u" with an umlaut over it for foreign languages and special line drawing things on CRT screens.

The way the computer differentiates between whether it should treat it as these special extended ASCII characters or a negative number is basically just the context of what the computer programmer has told that memory should be treated as.

Whether it should be treated as a signed number, in which case they're negative numbers, or whether it should be treated as a character in which case they're part of the extended ASCII sequence.

So it's really just the context that defines how these numbers are being defined and mapped, and how they're ultimately being used.

And any kind of data in your computer really is treated the same way.

Floating points are just ultimately numbers that have special meaning assigned to them when they're told that the context is floating point numbers.

And any other data is the same way.

For example, this video that you're watching, the audio and the video that you're seeing are just numbers inside your computer that are being displayed on your screen and output through your audio devices.

If this sounds confusing, occasionally it is, but generally it’s not too bad. Context is a real good indicator of what's going on.

And it’s not completely without precedence. Consider spoken language.

Here's a combination of letters in English that has two meanings, the same spelling and different pronunciations.

It could be "minute" meaning a unit of time or "minute" meaning a small amount.

And here's another combination of symbols. The same three letters.

But if you're in English it means one thing.

If you're speaking Spanish it means something else.

And if you're in trig and math, it means yet a third thing.

Same symbols, different meanings, different contexts.

Thanks again Christopher for the great question and don’t forget to check out his channel up here in the cards.

Also up there in the cards is a link to the Bits of Binary playlist if you're interested in a deeper dive into binary number systems and over here are some videos that YouTube thinks you'll be interested in.

I'll see you there and in the mean time, remember when making things...

Perfection's not required. Fun is!