House of Hacks

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!