Some of you may have seen on facebook that I have been building a workbench from mostly stuff that would otherwise get thrown away.
It started out as 3.6m long pallets that work needed to get rid of. So I took a couple to disassemble into more useful parts. I've used the planking from the top and bottom and made sure that I took out all of the nails. I then glued the faces of each of these together until I had a big enough block of timber. I then cut this in half so the bench would be a sensible size for my workspace.
The ends are not quite even because there were some chunks out of the ends of some planks. I put all of these at one end so I could cut off the worst of it all at once.

It looks a lot worse in this picture than in person. But I planed down the biggest misalignments and glue runs on what would become the top.
Then it was time to get ready for the glue up. To make sure that I didn't glue the bench to the sawhorses I put some pallet wrap around them.
Doing a dry fit to make sure there wouldn't be any gaps one everything was pulled up.
You can just see some light through here. This needed to get fixed.
To fix it I found the high spot and just took a little material off with the plane until it was pretty even on the straightedge.
Here we are, gluing in process. I put some pallet wrap around the joint as well to stop drips landing on the ground and on my straps.
Unfortunately I did have a little split open up during gluing. I think this was because I tightened the straps differently which meant that the one at this end would have been slightly slacker. I'm not worried about this as I can either chop out a section and inset a new piece, or more easily I can make an appropriate wedge and glue that in there.
Because I didn't plane down or level off the bottom side of the table at all I needed to cut rebates through the high points for the cross bars of the frame I am using. To mark them I used a chisel.
And this is the hammer I have been using with the chisel. Yes it is just a random hunk of wood. And yes there are characteristics it has that I would like to be different. But it works surprisingly well, is not heavy enough to be tiring and I don't need to worry about breaking or wearing it out as I can very easily find another just as good.
I cut down along the marked lines with a saw to about the depth of the lowest plank. Then I chopped out the middle with the chisel. It probably would have been easier if I'd made the trench a bit wider so  it was the same width as the chisel. That would have made it much easier to get a nice clean even trench. As it was, it wasn't too bad.
 And there you have it. There is still some work to be done in making it nice and flat and even. But at this point I need a workbench and this is now flat enough for me to start using it.

I even have it covered in stuff already.

Cheers,
Rex Write comment (0 Comments)
Yesterday I continued on with the work I discovered I need to do on the Land Rover the other day. Namely to remove the front axle so I can get easily to all sides of the hub assemblies and the diff because they seem to have managed to fill with water and grit.
This jack has been doing quite a bit of work since I bought this land rover. It is just the one that came with my ute for replacing the occasional flat. Whereas for a while now it has been lifting up the land rover almost regularly to pretty close to the limits of the jack.
Hmmm. There seems to be a problem here. Unfortunately the wheels had to come off to be able to fit under the bullbar.
That will fit a bit better.
Now I found another problem. This whole assembly is way yonder too heavy for me to pick up and put the wheels back on. So I just dragged it until it would be in a spot where I can pull it apart without it getting in the way.
This process has made me want to remove everything and do a complete restoration rather than just a quick get back on the road. This rod (Not sure what it's called. Ties the hubs together so they turn at the same time.) has ball joints at each end. This is what they look like:
There is no more rubber boots at either end and both of them are stiff and don't really move very well at all. These will both need to be replaced and I will need to check the other ball joints as well. Also when I detached the prop shaft from the diff I discovered that the bolts were surprisingly loose.
These are issues that would get fixed with normal maintenance on any car but from the previous use I was told about. There would have been between practically none and actually none.

One grotty hub with the axle still in. I figured that I would clean everything up a bit so it's a little nicer while I'm pulling this all apart.
It's a bit hard to tell in the pictures, but just a few minutes with the pressure washer and the bulk of the grot and oil have been washed off. As it was starting to get pretty warm and I had been hit with a fair bit of spray from cleaning this up and needed a shower. I decided to call it a day. So a heavy coat of WD-40 and this is ready for me to finish pulling apart and cleaning properly.

I'm tossing up while I have everything apart getting some proper chassis paint and cleaning everything with a wire wheel and painting it properly.

Cheers,
Rex Write comment (0 Comments)
In a stark contrast to yesterday when I spent the day inside in the air conditioning, I decided to go down to the Zig Zag Railway today and sweat a bit. Or a lot. More like a lot.

We decided to replace a couple more sleepers along middle road that have become damaged. This contraption is a sleeper puller that makes this job much easier. All you need to do is pull some levers and it will pull out the old sleeper. Then line up the new one and push it home with the power of hydraulics.

The way this machine has been built is quite simple. A petrol fueled hydraulic power pack that is just connected on the the valving. This meant that during construction an off the shelf part could be used. Eliminating the complicated and fiddly design and set up of petrol motor, hydraulic pump & reservoirs and cooling for each.

Unfortunately there seems to be a problem with the fuel pump. Once we had pretty much finished the first sleeper we started having fuel starvation issues. With the motor stumbling then picking itself back up again. Eventually it died and we finished off that sleeper by hand. We were able to get it started again by getting the fuel filter filled. However that only lased a few minutes before we had to fill it again. Eventually we did get both sleepers changed and are now in place ready for baseplates & spikes.

Heading back down for lunch. He seems to be pretty keen for it!

Cheers,
Rex Write comment (0 Comments)
Yesterday to try and keep out of the heat I stayed inside and tried to get some work done on the CNC Mill. I have tested all of the steppers and everything looks good there. However the Pololu stepper drivers I have only have a fairly small heatsink on them. I am not exceeding the rating that is recommended with the supplied heatsink, but I am at the limit of what can be done there. So with that in mind, I would like a bit more headroom.

When LMC built this control box they quite kindly left a fan shaped cutout for me. Unfortunately the fan that was originally in there ran from the 110V mains this was set up for. So I plan to use one of the PC fans that I have sitting around here instead.
This fan is close enough to a good fit in the cutout that it will work fine. However, upon testing I found that it would not spin. The cogging effect was increased though. Then I looked at the small print. It is a brushless DC motor. I do not know much about these, but it seems they need a varying DC waveform rather than pure DC.

So where in here can I get a varying DC waveform from? One of the PWM outputs from the BeBoPr Beaglebone cape of course. The plan was to get machinekit running and then set up a user controlled variable to adjust the PWM duty cycle until I found the sweet spot. Then set it u so that whenever the machine is turned on in Machinekit then the fan would start.

That was a good plan. Except for the fact that because I haven't done anything with this for months and months. I couldn't get machinekit to run at all. Then I tried a new, clean image to make sure that there wasn't a setting causing the problem. However then I ran into a problem with my HDMI to VGA adapter. Apparently the Beaglebone Black doesn't supply enough current over the HDMI port to run a passive adapter. So I either have to hook this up to the TV in the loungeroom, buy an active adapter or I can mod the passive adapter. I actually have all the parts I need to be able to regulate the 12V down to 5V needed and wire up the regulator. So I might end up doing that.

So keep an eye out for either a fan installation, or modding a passive HDMI to VGA adapter.

Cheers,
Rex



Actually I just remembered that I have a fan in one of my servers that is run from a molex connector for the disk drives. That means it runs from 5 or 12V DC and can be made to work here. Seeing as I am not using the servers anymore I might just re-purpose it for this.

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