Well-rested, we are fit to tackle the day with the persistently long To-Do list. Still, one of my items on the list got done Saturday and it only took about 20-minutes. A Paint Can Shaker.
Patience is not Mr. Ure’s strong suit. Like most on this prison planet, while we’re all milling around for the exit-call, there’s no point in wasting time (or energy) on things that prevent the adventure from continuing.
Shaking paint cans for small projects is one such delay. Most spray cans that have been sitting a while call for 1-3 minutes of “shake vigorously.” At 72, if there’s something to “shake vigorously” I assure you it is not a paint can.
Sure, you can Buy an electric paint can shaker. Take one like the Amazon offering of a Astro Pneumatic Tool AIR Operated Paint Shaker (AST-4550) for $154-and change – looked interesting. Thing is, that requires firing off an air compressor to run it. Hoses… Electric units are up in the $450 range. And the small once? We can make those ourselves being capable home-handy-bastards, and such.
After a quick surf of Youtube to get ideas, I decided on a simple “bar/squeeze-clamp” shaker. All I would need would be a battery powered small Sawz-All type unit for power, a squeeze clamp, and some time patiently grinding (with an N100 mask on since silicosis is not our friend…).
Down at the far-end of the Irwin 12 inch clamp there’s a steel rivet. As you grind down the far end, you can pop out the remains of this rivet and you’ll have a nice hole.
Clamp in hand, you grab your 6-inch calipers and a good zip-saw (or saber saw with a locking shank and step to the grinder…
Plan on spending 20-minutes, or so, of grinding and measuring to take the bar stock end of the clamp and grind it into something approaching the look of that saw tang.
You’ll want to grind carefully, too, since going “hard and fast” generates sparks and lots of heat. There happened to be a spray can of “Electronic Circuit Cooler” which gets used at the lathe and milling machine, on occasion, but a cup of dowsing water works OK, too.
The thickness of the bar stock was over 3 mm and what I was after was 1.7 MM, or so. A fair bit of grinding.
Took a Sharpie and shaded in the cut-out to leave the pointy tang, too.
After 20-minutes of grinding, I was there.
A few touches with a bastard file and it was “close-enough for shop use.”
All that was left was to stick a spray can of paint into the squeeze clamp and take it outside under the lean-too and let ‘er rip:
Sadly, Mr. Photography had forgotten to slow down the exposure – but as shown the can is going back-and-forth at an insane speed. A minute in the shake and this bad boy was ready for use:
I tested it on cans up to the 1-quart size and it is just great. And the bonus is that at the expense of the clamp being an inch and a bit shorter than normal, the clamp is still useable for its original purpose.
This is an ideal “quickie” project. One that will build an even hand at the grinder and which will save time manually shaking cans in the future. Plus, once thoroughly shaken the paint comes out more consistently leading to a better finish on subsequent projects.
What’s not to like? If you don’t have a grinder? You might be able to do the grinding with a Dremel. Or, if you want to pretend you’re planning a prison break, you could sit in your living room chair with a catch rag and file it all down by hand, like you would with one-off gun parts.
Possibly the best $209 ham radio ever built?
The later than planned arrival of HFSignal’s newest spin on their uBitx 6.1 transceiver open source project didn’t leave me time assemble and write a column this morning.
But, refreshingly, there’s a Youtube video here Building the v6.1 Micro BITX from India (#251) – YouTube:
There were some minor differences in packing as my unit came in. Board was in its own box. The order information is over here.
A Perfect Prepping Radio?
This gets to be an interesting discussion. Because during normal/peacetime you need a general class license to operate this radio over the legal portions of its band coverage. There are places (and modes) though where a Technician class ham can use the radio. Like Morse code?
The receiver lacks just four things to make it the “deal of a lifetime.”
- The radio is a 3-30 MHz rig. That means no operation on 160 meters. Not a big deal, since 160 meter (just above the AM broadcast band) is fraught with high noise most of the time. Good winter DX (distance) sometimes. But the lower the frequency, the longer a full-sized antenna becomes. And how many people can string up 250-feet of wire roughly in a line and well elevated? It also doesn’t cover the six meter ham band where more Code-Free Tech privileges exist.
- The rig is sensitive to SWR (standing wave ratio, indicating a mis-matched antenna). It would be great for someone to come out with a small automatic antenna tuner. I have a kit – they can be found on eBay for around $60 but the documentation is nearly non-existent.
- The radio doesn’t have an AM receive mode to speak of. Fine for low-power digital (FT-8) and single sideband (voice) and Morse. BUT if life ever returns to the shortwave bands (when the internet goes down) it would be grand if there were ways to hear AM stations. If the receiver was good down as low as the bottom of the AM broadcast band, that would be a huge bonus.
- Last – and we will get into this down the road a bit – there’s the matter of not having a nice audio-derived AGC system. On a radio like this, the weak stations will sound weak and the strong stations very strong. On a high-end (read Icom, Yaesu, Kenwood from the Japanese, Elecraft, Ten-Tec, and DZ Kits) all the signals come out of the speaker with similar apparent volume. Mainly what changes is the signal-to-noise if you listen to the “quiet spaces between words.”
By the way, I am looking at some day building a DZ Kits Sienna because I have a distinct preference for analog sounding radios.
Off to spend an hour on assembling a new time sink!
Write when you get rich,