ShopTalkSunday: Home Project Management, Ham Plans

No report on my whiz-bang installation of tile in the kitchen this weekend.  Because other events overwhelmed “The Plan.”

That’s OK, though.  Gives me a chance to talk about Project Planning.  Which is a seriously important aspect of Life in the Shop.

Steps  and Pitfalls

Given that most Home Shop Projects involve usually four operations (measure, cut, join, and finish) you’d think it would all be simple.

It’s not.  Because there are “unwritten and unspoken” other steps which can get you seriously off plan.  Here are some I ran into this week:

  • Tool acquisition:  If you have watched enough project videos on Youtube (and usually only one or two are needed), you’ll have a good idea of what tools would be ideal for any job.  Getting them takes time.  Like waiting on a 1/8th-inch sawtooth tile mud-smearing device (trowel).  Could the project roll with a 1/4-inch?  Yes.  But we have the luxury of time and I’ve had enough experiences where the “almost right tool” turned out impacting the finished project.  Almost-right results.
  • Material acquisition:  We are waiting on one more sack of grout to get the right color mixed up.  It will be here this coming week.  Could we have used a bright grout?  (White)  Yes, but that didn’t pass muster with the Art Department.  Similarly, said department wasn’t happy with gray grout.  Clock runs.
  • Competing Projects in Completion Phase:  Oh…moving 387 GB of George’s digital life onto a new computer?  Then working out why the 55-inch UHD monitor in the office doesn’t want to lock on the HDMI signal from the new Dell?  Blew-up the schedule.
  • Weather and Prep:  Since the “I” part of “we” weren’t ready to fully and decisively engage the project, the weather window moves on us to next weekend.  Rain is expected Tuesday through Friday.  Since I’ll be using the wet tile saw on the BBQ deck, playing with plugged-in power tools with potentially wet feet and precip just didn’t pass the OSHA check.
  • Previous Project Cleanup:  Being seriously ADHD I tend to have multiple projects going at the same time. Too many. As a result, I end up with tons of cardboard boxes to recycle in the shop. Saturday afternoon. Gone. Three choices here:  Burn barrel, burn pile on the lower 16-acres, OR slice and fold for use shipping out radios which I’m repairing for sale on eBay.  Some will be used for the floor covering while tiling.

There’s one more to think about.

Plans with Cut Lists, Solid Design

When you do something rough – like a deck – it’s easy enough to “ad lib” your way through it. Get something engineered if you can.

Pappy’s guidance on this kind of thing was easy:  “Build it so it will still stand and work even without fastenings.

This was a little “firehouse wisdom” because you never want the design to depend on a single fastener.  That’s one of the problems in aircraft design, too.  Those “single points of failure” are commonly called “Jesus Bolts.”  Because when they let loose, you’ll soon be with…  Elevator hinge on fixed wing and the prayer nut that holds the rotors on rotary-winged naturally-falling machines.

You want plans with cut lists for many jobs.  Cut lists are a serious short-cut. A good plan has the cut list included.  All you do?  Cut and assemble.  The planning cuts yourself can be mind-numbing if you’re trying to save wood. Pre-done cut lists? Fast.

Carts Full

There are two carts full of project boxes in the shop – and a shelf full of electronic projects all neatly teed-up and ready for focus.  But more than anything over the past six-months, I’ve been trying to focus on one project at a time.  With some measure of success.

Paint Prices Taking Off

Chris Tyreman passed word to us from the wilds of Saskatchewan this week that the local Sherwin & Bill paint store manager was telling his friend Michelle that “The supply line’s broken…get paint while you can…”

Judging by the lines of ships waiting to be offloaded out West, we will probably hold-off on our Christmas purchases this year until January or February.  By then, Taiwan should be off the table, shipping resumed somewhat, and real deals on consumer electronics returning.  Maybe.

New Tools & Preps

My consigliere – off hiking this weekend somewhere in upper Michigan if I was paying attention – recommended we pick up a Sawyer water filtration system as a backup out here.  Sawyer Products SP2160 Dual Bladder One-Gallon Gravity Water Filtration System w/Dual-Threaded Mini Filter was the pick.  Sure we have a few LifeStraws, but the Sawyer claims a 100,000 gallon service life which seemed like a deal.

Here’s a tool that won’t bust your budget.  It’s under $12 at the ZonKelly Surgical Scissors 6 1/4 inches Angled.  The specific use is for a radio restoration where I need to get some laced-up wiring apart. In where fat-man fingers don’t fit.  But you’ll find plenty of uses for them, as long as you keep them hidden from your spouse’s sight…

Parts Collecting for Ham Gear

Ham Radio parts are coming in, too.  Since the winter plan is a make-over of the main radio positions, I wanted to get a switching lash-up so I could pick from four possible ham radios at each without plugging and unplugging everything in the world.

I think the answer is this:  a couple of Panlong 4-Way AV Switch RCA Switcher 4 in 1 Out Composite Video L/R Audio Selector Box for DVD STB Game Consoles.  One for each of two operating positions.

Since each operating position will have only one antenna tuner and one linear amplifier, but four possible radio units, the solution was to switch everything with one knob.

None of the manufacturers (like MFJ) has what I really want.  Everything in an “Antenna Switch Plus.”  But this way, only two switches to throw.

The three colors will keep things somewhat reasonable: Red will be push-to-talk, Yellow will be ALC (automatic loading control of the amplifiers), and white will switch around the DSP speaker system.

Each operating position will have an Icom 761, an external DSP unit, linear amp and the antenna tuner.  One position will have the Hallicrafters version of the S-Line, a Drake 2-B w/Q and GSB 100 exciter, plus an AM station consisting of an RME 6900 and Viking II.

The main position will sport the Heathkit SB line with scope, another 761, TS-590 plus my Icom M700 for 60 meters (and maybe CPU for ALE at some point).  I don’t expect to have the SB line up very long.  This is one of those “get it done to say been there, done that…” and then move on.

Design Opportunity?

All the stacked up projects have are kept me off the 3D printer farm for a while.  But I’ve been keeping an eye on  the $1,100 Creality CR-30 3D Printer 3DPrintMill Infinite Z Belt Printer Continuous Belt CoreXY Motion Upgraded 32-bit Silent Board Dual Gear Metal Extruder.  11-hundred smackers.

See, these printers which are slowly getting into the market have a very special aspect to them: An infinite Z-axis.

And that got me to thinking:  You know what a printer like this would need?  Know how a table saw is a lot more fun to use with a ball-bearing outfeed table?

Well, I was thinking:  A really clever person could design a printable outfeed table for this kind of printer!  Use the standard skateboard bearings and make it adjustable.

See, without even buying one, I can already see how if you print something several feet long, at some point the outflow weight will try to lever the print off the print bed.  The solution, therefore, would be a kind of “mini outfeed table.”

Not going to get rich with the idea, but hey!  Isn’t the idea to have fun?  Be a hell of a fine design project.

Which I figure you’ll get to and done by the time I save up enough scratch for the “new and improved” version of printers….

Off to the thinset mud merchant.

Write when you get rich,

36 thoughts on “ShopTalkSunday: Home Project Management, Ham Plans”

  1. George

    You need to add a new category to your “Home Project Management” ensemble.

    I call it Project Bumping.

    I was ready to pick up where I left off on project number one this weekend when She Who Must Be Obeyed said “I want another safety grab bar in the bath room”.

    I said Yes Dear and bumped project one to project two status. My mental Gantt chart then blew a fuse!

    I spent Saturday doing a mental design and making measurements for the new grab bar plus a run to Lowe’s for the materials.

    I’L spent Sunday prepping the grab bar installation site and finding where the 2 x 4’s are in the wall.

    This situation happens all the time at my house! Right now I have seven project in the pipeline with number seven being the most interesting. It seems the Universe doesn’t want me to get to it.

    Have a productive Sunday George.

    • “I call it Project Bumping.”

      I carry a note pad Mike…the little spiral pocket pad and a pencil.. I’ve carried one for years.. call it the hit list. List the projects according to their importance.. if one comes along that is more important.. it goes directly to the top..
      When she who needs to be answered inquires about a project.. out comes the list to show her where it stands..

    • You are lucky that your ‘bump list’ is short enough to count yet! Everywhere I look I have ‘bumped boxes’ of projects to do. All of them awaiting that rare final tool… a “round-tuit”.

  2. what a good night… the kids came over to tell me the cow was going in.. and to have a backyard fire.. the two little ones wanted to do karaoke so they were up singing.. the older grandkids and us were circled around the fire pit having a good time.. Now in our household there will be no wall flowers.. a dance is just that.. you go laugh have fun and dance a dance or two.. everyone was having a great time.. smores and cold drinks.. a nice cool evening.. and a warm fire and two little kids singing their little hearts out.. when all of a sudden.. the youngest yells.. why are you all being flowers.. get up and dance.. so everyone danced a few dances it was fun..
    I did come up with the plan to make a fermentation chamber.. so I will start gathering the materials for that.. easy build.. will get a lot of use out of it..

  3. An online friend of mine recommended getting every thing you needed from China a few years ago. Took Ure good advice back then. Shelves at my “large national chain big box store” are looking pretty bare. I can make a list if you want and we can compare-not sure how local the shortages are. Got one of those cheap Baofeng dual band fm walkies given to me. Programmed in some channels manually, but have not had time to do any “sand baggin’ “. Still thinking about one of your “super ants” that I could hook up to it. Not sure if I could get the local repeater that way.
    Got a Boss Ve2 harmony “stomp box”. Was jammin’ Brandy by Looking glass. I snuck in the harmonizer and did the backup vocals. The lead singer complimented “everyone” on their great harmonies!
    Re: lunchmoney-Looking for a few good divided stocks
    Good luck on the tile job.
    Your busy-ness is an inpiration to us all!

  4. O/T – This light is a great value for growing supplemental greens for the rice and canned tuna. It doesn’t use high-end LEDs but for under $110…. fresh winter food.

    UPDAYDAY UD-4000HPS Full Spectrum LED Grow Light Plant Grow Lamp Dimmable Timer for Indoor Plants Greenhouse Bloom Veg

    20% off coupon.
    Also use code F3TX7268.

  5. So with four radios at two separate operating stations, are you setting up a multi-operator contesting station, or what? I didn’t know Elaine was an avid DX contester.

  6. every excuse to sugar coat the depression and make it taste good . i have zero sugar . only sugar in beer

  7. Speaking of broken supply lines I ordered a bunch of new windows for the house back in August. When I asked when they’d be in I was told “10 weeks”. Well 10 weeks has almost come and gone so I thought I’d better call for an update and, uh oh, looks like they’ll be looking at December before they arrive. The windows are built in Dallas but all the raw materials are sitting in some container ship off the Left coast and we’re all getting very familiarized with how THAT story is going.

    And, hey Maj, sorry to possibly break up your weekend of repose but here’s something else to keep you up at night –
    Illegal Immigrant Trafficker Warns Americans: “We’re Leaving from Tapachula – We Are Ready for War” (VIDEO)

    Better start brushing up on you ES-PAN-YOLE because they’re giving us veite dias to get our welcome mats out because “papeles or no paples nos venimos”. (I’ve got to find my Spanish Character Map) Thank God Wal-Mart started stocking buckshot again. Watch the video and see what the Traitor-in-Chief and his minions have in store for us. Fits right in line with Clif’s timeline for October.

    • “…see what the Traitor-in-Chief and his minions have in store for us.”

      ‘Impeach Mayorkas’: DHS chief cancels border wall contract during crisis, GOP calls him out

      The Department of Homeland Security announced Friday it will be cancelling border wall contracts in the Laredo and Rio Grande Valley sectors of the southern border.

      What I’m really fearful for, is that Joe’s handlers will federalize the NG units along the border, then pull both them, and the DHS and CBP assets, thus allowing a foreign army to invade the United States, unopposed. The sad thing is I consider this a non-zero possibility. Please keep your powder dry…

      • Impeach Mayorkas?? Such civility in the face of total disregard to their oaths of office and our Constitution in general will get you no where. The only thing we have to hope for at this point is the military finding the right point to jerk Dementia Joe out of his Pretendency along with the others on the Hill who are actively taking our country down.

  8. George, talk about inflation! $80 for a lb of Alaskan King Crab. In Alaska. I told the waitress. That is more expensive than my last wedding! shit you can buy a good truck for that much in Idaho and they will throw in a few kids and a free dog!

    She laughed so hard she farted.

    • No, they didn’t. But nice to see they used it. Sad it was foist a joke. i’d love to see my son ( or some other nonpartisan firefighter emt) run an antibody test on Joe. Nickel bet on whether his “jabs” are all real?

  9. Trump Blasts Gen. Milley at Save America Rally for Abandoning Military Equipment in Afghanistan

    “When Milley told me that, I said, ‘What are you a nut job? Are you stupid?’ That was one of the many times I realized he was stupid,” Trump said of the general.

    “I said, ‘Now wait a minute,’ especially being in the construction business – “You mean we have a 50 million dollar plane, all it needs is a tank of gas and a pilot,” Trump stated. “We could have flown over 200 pilots, taken everything out, but we didn’t have to worry because the Taliban listened to me.”

    Trump laid the responsibility of the abandoned military equipment at the feet of Milley, suggesting the general gave Biden the same advice that Milley gave him.

  10. Illegal Immigrant Trafficker Warns Americans: “We’re Leaving from Tapachula – We Are Ready for War”

    Over 400,000 illegal migrants are expected to enter the US this month. These unvaccinated and untested illegals will be shipped across the United States.

    One activist leader Irineo Mujica who is leading the next caravan into the US says, “We are ready for War” as 80,000 migrants wait to move to the north.

    The US under Joe Biden is a country on a death count. The Democrats are destroying this country. It’s a war and America is losing.

  11. AG Garland’s son-in-law’s company issues ‘resource’ claiming Trump supporters are White supremacists
    Garland promised not to ‘politicize’ DOJ but his memo, which some say targets parents opposed to critical race theory in schools, is drawing fire

    An education company co-founded by Attorney General Merrick Garland’s son-in-law issued a “resource” for teachers this year that claims supporters of former President Donald Trump are White supremacists.

    The “education company” Panorama Education, is the current principal source of CRT-based primary and high-school textbooks and materials. Xan Tanner, Garland’s son in-law, stands to make millions if Panorama’s materials get accepted by school boards.

  12. 87 Rescued From ‘Near-Whiteout’ Conditions During Utah Ultramarathon
    The runners were participating in a 50-mile race when they were caught in 12 to 18 inches of snow in the Wasatch Mountain range north of Salt Lake City.
    Kelcey McClung Stowell said she had been told to prepare for some rain and perhaps a “tiny dusting of snow” in the higher elevations

    Guess what’s just around the corner…?

      • I can’t wait for the new season.. I have to admit that is one show I love to watch.. the same with Oak Island LOL…
        last season they were talking about the water samples showed a great deal of silver in it.. that reminded me of us harvesting silver at the photo lab.. phew could be interesting season.. I told the wife.. I want to go there for a vacation LOL LOL LOL… beautiful and intriguing…

  13. US lifts sanctions on several Russians

    The United States has lifted sanctions on several Russian officials ahead of Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland’s trip to Moscow, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said on 10 October. Maria Zakharova confirmed that Nuland had been barred from entering Russia in a tit-for-tat move after Washington slapped Russian officials with entry bans. Nuland is expected to come to Moscow on Monday to meet with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and other dignitaries.

    The Frontier Post is an English language newspaper based in Islamabad, and with field offices in Afghanistan. I don’t know anything about it yet, but figured I’d give it a shot, since it’s beastly hard getting stuff out of the Eastern Sandbox right now…

    Gee, Trump sanctioned these Russians, Biden lifted the sanctions… Who’da thunk…?

    Please notice the content. Vichy has historically gone to places which enter into a war with somebody else, within about 10 months. I strongly suspect Mr. Putin is not happy with Mr. Biden, for freeing Vichy from the cave in which Mr. Trump shackled her, and then promoting her to an Under SecState. Putin is smarter than our entire lot of fools…

    • Vichy and the neocons must have consulting contracts with the Death Industries. Biden’s a fool and warmonger to boot. But that IS what mandating dick-taters do…

      • A lot of the NeoCons do. I’ve honestly never been able to figure out Nuland’s motivation. In her own way she is as destructive as George Soros. She really IS an actual Russian expert. She speaks both Russian and Ukrainian fluently and without an accent. Common opinion (from her “hot mic” “Vladivostok” moment) is she hates Russia. I don’t think so — I believe she sees Russia as a tool for her to use. I can’t figure out “how,” and as I hinted above, also can’t figure out “why.” She’s got 5 wars under her belt, from Georgia to Ukraine, and I’m not kidding about that 10 month thing.

        George Soros was easy to figure. Soros believes Hitler was right and the German flavor of fascism is the best possible system of government, but that Adolf simply got carried away with his Jew obsession. Soros is willing to do absolutely anything, including employing communists and Muslim fanatics, to establish a worldwide Reich.

        I have no frickin’ idea what Victoria Nuland believes.

        All I can do is note the results of her actions…

  14. Booyyah boyyah jimmy !!!! Hava Crook nagila hava crook nagila !!! And gurus !!! Yum yum yum trough trough trough !!!! Nah fool nothing big just little bit for you . Plenty for hafra boy . Miseltof !!!

  15. George Ure: “But that IS what mandating dick-taters do…”

    True story: Couple of years ago a guy came to the bar’s Halloween party in Sandy, OR wearing a costume of just a potato sewn onto his pant’s crotch. No one could figure out what his costume was. LOL

  16. It’s a little late, but here’s the tiling scoop from looking over a pro’s shoulder.
    1 Shows up one day with a tape measure and an electric cutoff tool, (kinda like a hand sized router) with a 2-3″ blade. Cuts cement tile backer board, fixes the substrate and lays out the area then glues down all the whole pieces and goes on a week long bender.
    2 Shows up with his cutoff tool and a coarse sharpening stone, plants his butt on the floor and cuts all the edge pieces freehand to fit and grinds the cut edges smooth with the stone. Glue down and, take the rest of the day off and go on a week long bender.
    3 Shows up with the most elaborate setup yet: a variety of buckets, grout mix, trowels and squeegees, sponges and everything else in his tool kit. That was close to a full day. Dropped off the bill and went on another bender. It looked like the tile had been there a hundred years, perfectly preserved.
    I always thought of working in the construction business as a wicked mistress, when it’s good, it’s all you need, when it’s bad, lord have mercy.

    There is the bar set for you, that’s the job flow, benders optional.

    • OTFLMAO… sounds like a plumber I knew except this guy did his job..
      I hired a plumber.. to plumb my house.. he would walk in.. say.. yup shes looking more like a house every day then walk out.. where you going.. gotta get parts..
      I ended up finishing it.. three years later.. he came in are you ready for me to finish this job.. are you serious I have been living in the house for three years now.. He did come one time then left.. and three months later ask if his guy left his glasses there.. huh.. sure enough he had left them out by the gas meter LOL LOL took three months to discover his glasses were gone..
      the problem is with plumbers is they want the big jobs.. tell the kids to get a license then sell service contracts.. they’ll be rich in no time..

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