Thursday, May 3, 2018

A New Build is coming soon

Since moving into a condo this February, I've really been dreading not having fresh vegetables right outside. I did manage to bring one of my containers, but there is very little space in the little "front yard". Not to mention, it being northfacing, it receives minimal sunlight. There's other problems too, such as some local pests. I've caught frogs chomping on my Chard and seedlings, and aphids have colonized the Kale plants I have inside it.

I've got plans in the works to accommodate this itch, and I won't even need to move. An update is coming soon!

Monday, April 30, 2018

2018 Vineyard Acquisitions

Another successful picnic day and I've added three new members to the vineyard family this year.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Yet another Garden & Vineyard relocation

I moved again, and with it, the vineyard had to be relocated too. Unfortunately, at my new place, I do not have a yard, so I cannot keep the vines with me. Luckily, a friend of mine offered to take in the vines under his wing for the time being.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Kölsch Brew Day and Recipe

Recently moved, I had been dying to make a new brew. My buddy kept talking to me about trying to do a lager, it being as difficult as it is with temperature control. With it being as cold as it is outside, overnight garage temperatures would actually be perfect for cold aging any beer. He decided to grab grain to make a Kölsch, as that would be a perfect style for the given season. So I hopped in and picked up some grain and yeast to do a Kölsch of my own.....

Friday, March 9, 2018

Free Washers!

I know I've been talking a lot of trash on my first bench grinder (for what a piece of trash it was, honestly, no roller bearings!).  However, history has shown that this blog has been very productive in utilizing every part of that broken grinder for the greater good.  For example, using bits of the housing for bicycle fender and basket brackets, melting the aluminum housing, and prior to that, using it as a sketch pad.  And to top it all off, I'm even still using the original grinding wheel on my new bench grinder, so I'd say that was $3 well spent, right?
After all this time, I'd never gotten around to the rotor.  I recently learned in my casting class that the aluminum part of motor rotors are actually diecasted directly onto the shaft and steel laminations forming a permanent bond (which would explain why they're so difficult to remove!) I wanted to remove the rotor, so I decided I'd try to turn it all the way down on the lathe.
Picture from the bench grinder fan post
What I didn't realize was that the steel laminations were actually round disks which extended radially outward like fan blades, with the aluminum (the non ferromagnetic material) cast in between to fill the remaining space.  I had been under the impression that they were just strips of steel embedded on the outside of the aluminum.  The good news for me: after turning through a good 1/4" of the aluminum/steel mix, I arrived at the bottom of the assembly, which looked like a bunch of serrated washers stacked together.  They separated with ease once there was no more aluminum holding them together.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Wooden Plant Pot

Do you know what time it is?  It's Wooden February!!!!!!!
*Wooden February is a trademark of MJTV
Today on Scrap Attack, we transform a tall shipping crate into a plant pot for transplanting the grapefruit tree that was in much need of more root space.  I'd found this on the side of the street on trash day, and had been using it as a furniture article since.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Kitchen Knife Handle

A while back I found this kitchen knife in the street that was missing a handle.  It seemed in good condition, so I decided to fashion a new handle.  I used this handle I was given from a broken brass hammer.
First, I had to open up the holes in the knife to accommodate the copper rivets I wanted to use.  I had considered using bolts or pop rivets, but I wanted this thing to look luxurious.  Here I used a carbide end mill to open up the oval shaped hole.  The carbide was necessary since the knife was hardened, and my high speed steel end mill didn't cut.
The round holes were nearly the size I needed, so I tried drilling them out.  It worked with minor success, though dulling my drill in the process.
Next drilling corresponding holes in the handle after cutting it to length.  The handle was held with a rag in the vise since the sides weren't parallel.
Then with a bigger drill, countersinking the holes so the rivets would sit flush with the handle.
Slicing the handle in half with a hacksaw.  I figured this would cut straighter than the wood saw.  The blade was the coarse tooth one I use for cutting aluminum.
Then with the belt sander, cleaning up the handle halves: smoothing the saw cut, and modifying the contours to better match the blade.  It was here I realized just how dirty the original hammer handle was.  Notice how much darker it looks in the beginning than the end.
Copper rivets cut from some scrap wire, then deburred on the belt sander.
Then, very carefully, hammering the rivets through the knife and handle.  The challenge here was to make it tight enough without cracking the wood.  Making sure to hammer them straight up and down helped a lot.
Close up of the finished handle.  Fancy!  This is actually one of the best cutting knives I have now.  A very worthwhile repair.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Bicycle Stem Repair 3

Previously on Scrap Attack:
We built this stem upgrade which cracked after 9 months of use
Building the stem upgrade
Then, repaired it with a second tube
Repairing stem upgrade the first time
And now:

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Foundry: Melting a Honda Engine Head (Video)

One day I was riding by and found some junk on the side of the road including various parts of a Honda 4 cylinder engine.  I decided to take them since I had my new upgraded bike basket which easily fit it all, and why would I pass up the single largest piece of scrap aluminum I'd ever found on the side of the road? (alright, maybe I'm not counting the time I found a car wheel next to the dumpster)
Instead of trying to disassemble all the valves and springs on the engine head and trying to cut it up into crucible sized chunks, I decided I'd just melt it directly in the furnace and let the molten aluminum drip out the bottom into some metal trays lined with sand.  What better way to kick off the foundry season then with some scrap downsizing? Here's the video of the melt in real time:

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Rye Stout #4 Bottling

I bottled the latest Rye Stout in 2 different lots, one of them on Nov 29, and the other on Dec 2. The final gravity and ABV respectively were 1.013 and 5.7%. Altogether I was able to bottle a little over 50 12 oz bottles from this batch.

Monday, January 1, 2018

L.A. Eco Village Tour

As it comes time to think about where I want to live after college, one option that was introduced to me was the concept of an intentional community.  This sounded very appealing since it would involve living among people who share similar ideals to myself.  Additionally, it would solve the problem of finding a place to house my metalworking equipment, and also give the opportunity to share my skills.
I was invited to tour the Eco Village in Los Angeles as part of the Food Justice Club at my school.  This particular community occupies a block in west L.A. with several buildings and plans to expand.
I arrived with expectations of seeing something like the hippie communes in the '60s.  This was nothing like that, but rather a well established organization with a powerful presence in the city.  While my descriptions fail to catch all the details, it's basically a collection of apartments bought out and organized into a community living arrangement with emphasis on environmental sustainability and cooperation.  Tenants pay rent and can be involved in various committees to manage the different areas in the organization.  They have community dinners and events, and host tours to the public monthly for a small donation.  I figured I'd get my money's worth and make a blog post out of it!
Let's check out the place: Here's the front of the main building.