Before we get started, a short personal woo-woo from a dream early this morning. Very clear message that the “future” would be in a product (or company?) called HLiON. Haven’t had any time to focus on it, but it seems (in my dream, anyway) to work on some symbiotic chemistry between the hydrogen fuel cell cycle and a new HLiON battery. So keep an eye out for that.
Million Dollar Product Idea
One other idea – curiously ShopTalk related, too – was the idea for “switch chuck” power tools.
Funny story to how this idea popped in: I was looking for a smoother-feeling rotary encoder for my uBitx (pronounced micro bit ex) HF transceiver I put together a couple of weeks back.
Ordered a new 12 pulse per turn, no indent unit from Bournes (via DigitKey). The encoder has a switch in it. You put the tuning knob on it when assembled. Then to access the software menus, you press in the knob. There’s a detent and when held, up comes the menu.
Next thing you know, while I was waiting for my Sunday pot of Kona blend to come down, pondering process flow in the shop, here comes one of the problems: Why not take that “push in switch” idea and apply it to shop-sized electric screwdrivers?
Thing is, when you’re ripping through a project (serious ham gear, for example) wouldn’t it be cool to have a “fat Sharpie” sized rechargeable 1/4 inch bit screwdriver you could just press into the screw (especially easy with Phillips heads) and turn the machine on that way, instead pulling a trigger or rocking a switch?
Even better, since I’ve now put the idea out in the public domain, it should become standard on lots of small power screwdrivers in the future. Even an adjustment for “press-on” sensitivity. Moderately light touch for 0000 up to 0 Phillips, a little harder for #1 and #2…and so forth.
Send in Ure Prototypes (you do remember I’m a tool slut, right?) Or, if they are out there already, where and how much??
Process Mapping the Shop
Still haven’t figured out my “process map” for the shop, yet.
OK, so all wood working is what? Four basic operations: Measure, Cut, Join, Finish.
So, setting up a woodworking shop, you would have wood storage (and lately, a Brinks guard for that) at one end. Next to that would be the layout table. Then the cutting tools. Followed by the Assembly table where the joining (gluing, nailing & screwing (‘cept the other kind, lol) takes place. And out the side to the spray booth for finishing. Got it?
Where things get ugly and why I have a project cart is because my dream shop involves several media: The metal shop is a cluster: The wood shop is a sprawl, and now the 3D printer farm and next-door CNC is a mess.
Last. but not least, is the electrical and electronics bays.
Metal shop is part outside (under that lean-to I wrote up a month or three back). Metal projects that are big (*welding on tractor, for example) are outside. The plasma cutter and oxy-acetylene rigs, stick, and wire welders are all “wheel out”.
And even the lathe (600 pounds, or so) isn’t compatible with the woodworking area (nor is the mini vertical mill) because both throw off sparks which around wood chips and sawdust, doesn’t seem like an especially smart idea.
Also contemplating how to keep the 3D printing machines clean with the chip-making CNC machine next door on the bench. This was all supposed to be so easy…
Speaking of Wood Prices!
Chris Tyreman – when he’s not busy revolutionizing translation of the Bible from base languages using Self-Defining Hebrew, keeps his family fed and comfy by doing some amazing construction work. Buy, rehab and upgrade, then sell. No secret sauce there (except most people are either too lazy or not sufficiently skilled to pull it off…
Getting to a point here: One of his buildings he purchased had a bunch of maple shelving in it. Want to see a blow-ure socks off video showing what a craftsman can do with old scrap shelving?
Even if you don’t have time for the full 17:48 video, a non-brainer idea is there for the “borrowing.” Pick up a “Lazy Susan” and use it as a rotating spray table in your paint booth (or area). Consider it stolen.
Ure Does SMD/T
Several electronics projects have been sitting idle here because I don’t have SMT soldering skills. That “surface mount technology.”
See, in the old days (think 1963 when I got my first Weller soldering gun) life was easy. Components were pretty good-sized. Even the tube sockets had reasonable holes a careful tech (not me) could weave four wires into. My limit was 3 with any regularity.
Now – after the 5 or 6 eye surgeries – I had considered SMD work off the table. But I just “can’t let it go.” Gotta learn SMD soldering.
I already have a 7-inch LCD microscope – which is great. This week I tossed in an order for a wireless (USB whizzy) magnifier. For about $36 at Amazon try a Wireless Digital Microscope Handheld USB HD Inspection Camera 50x-1000x Magnification with Stand Compatible with iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Android, Mac, Windows Computer.
Second part of SMD work is understanding that soldering is done with hot air. (Yeah, I produce a lot of that…) Problem is I already have a good ceramic tip variable heat unit. So, upgrade to a hot air AND conventional unit. Not a cheap thing ($105) YIHUA 862BD+ SMD/T ESD Safe 2 in 1 Soldering Iron Hot Air Rework Station °F /°C with Multiple Functions.
Toss in some SMT practice kits like the (under $8) Gikfun DIY SMD SMT Welding Practice Soldering Skill Training Board Ek7028 and some solder paste (under $16) Chip Quik Solder Paste Sn42/Bi57.6/Ag0.4 No-Clean Lead-Free Low Temperature Melts 138C 281F, and I should be in business.
Then head over to Youtube for a couple of hours of learning. Something like:
While the one above is a 42 minute example, you can get the idea in 6-minutes at this one:
The key thing is getting the right amount of solder paste on the board. The paste will pull back from the open areas between traces when heated. Which is why solder-masking of boards is important. SMD/T is not exactly great for the home CNC geek (which I’m planning to become).
So the plan ( as projects map) is to hog out conventional component CNC and then mount sub assemblies that are SMD’s and wire to the through-hole board.
All this so I can repair my Yaesu FT-920 ham transceiver? Well, uh…yeah!
Looking Outside the Box (LOOB) a frequent contributor to STS columns (you’ll remember his cardboard furniture/bar for a college student?). Well he’s back with another great design/build.
This time with an “indirect swamp cooler.”
Shops get hot in the summer because most are uninsulated. If you’re lucky and the building department strict, your garage will be plaster boarded and “fire taped.” If not? Heat will come in like mad. Half a dozen cans of spray-in foam and a temperature sensing exhaust fan is a start.
What LOOB seems to be outlining is a swamp cooler approach that will cool down pop cans for a heat exchanger. Let me show you some of his notes because he’s always open to a better, cheaper, faster (gai-zin) way. I mean, who isn’t?
Here was his first iteration:
“Ok this is a roughed drawing of what I’m thinking.
3 six inch by twenty six evaporative cells. Three wicks the first one has 2.5 inch by six inch tubes ( beer cans 16 ounce) the tubes are offset with an inch to two inch separation.. three wicks filled with bio balls… (Like left over Hydroton clay balls from hydroponic projects – G) the top handle also acts as a spray wand with quick connects yo the main line. The main line goes down to a UV sterilization cell ( the one I used in my aquaponics) down to the pump which draws through a sediment filter. A six inch reservoir beneath the system.
The fan is hooked up similar to the Dyson bladeless fan air is allowed to flow around the unit.
The cooling cells are pull out for cleaning …
I’m still out on the radiator just past the dust filter and not sure if there should be a duct to increase air flow.
The cells are cut from pegboard style aluminum sheeting along with the tube mounting holes. ( yup the price just went over a hundred) I need someone with a CNC laser.. I’m going to use a planter and a water bottle for the bladeless fan..
On top of the cells is the indirect fan drawing air through the cells…intake and out take depending on your furnace setup.
May be a bit hard to read…and what kind of citizen reporter are you, if you can’t read upside down?
OK. 24-hours later, the design evolved more:
“Ok .. design change it’s still basically the same. The change is size and access. Do either ducting can be added to utilize household air or outside air. The cooling cells are the same . The addition of the air cooler radiator on the side where the vortex action of the bladeless fan and using a standard furnace fan and a top fan to draw air through the wet cells expelling the cool wet air to the outside. Instead of 5ft square it is down to 3 foot square. With a side access panel for the pump. The water sediment filter will be mounted on the outside for easy access. “
I’m still pondering the problem. Over on Youtube there are some very good examples of how this “2-cycle” cooling system works. The basic concept is not dissimilar from a regular “swamp cooler” except you route the cooled water through a heat exchanger to keep the moisture contained.
There are many places in the country where a regular swamp cooler is fine. Because when you’re in a bone dry hot climate (Phoenix/Tucson for instance) the added moisture isn’t too bad.
But, here in East Texas, while swamp cooling works (OK, not great) the downside is that the last thing you need with a starting point of 60% relative humidity is more moisture in the air. Rusts tools more quickly.
Whole point here? Take a look at what LOOB is up to, think of all those beer cans you have accumulated – and ask yourself “Hmm , Self: With some tin snips, some 18 to 22 gauge sheet aluminum, a glue gun with 500 sticks of glue and some plumbing supplies, what could I cobble up?”
No telling around here, but that’s what ShopTalk Sunday is all about.
Product of the Week
Hats off to my 68-year pal the Major for turning me on to the Speedy Sharp Carbide Knife Sharpener – (2) PACK- (Orange) 2020 New Version. $23 at the Zon and they work great.
I have a Lansky, which is good, too. But this one is part of my “regular carry” pile. Which is a whole-other topic for another morning.
Get off your ass and go make something. Or…write when you get rich,