Monthly Archives: July 2022

Patreon keeps bugging me

Every time I log into Patreon they keep putting up this notification that I need to start my own Patreon page so you guys can pay for things to write about, like buying parts and raw materials for making things to write about. So, what do y’all think about it? Yay or Nay? There used to be an add poll option for the Composer, but I don’t see it now, so leave a comment yay or nay, yes or no?


My body failed me, again

The idea was when I went to bed I would get up way early (1400) and return the pants I bought for Mrs. the Poet that were too big for her since the cuffs ended up about mid-arch of her foot instead of mid-ankle of her leg and also did not have a drawstring waist. When the alarm went off I remember picking up the phone to turn off the alarm, and nothing after that until Wheel of Fortune woke me again about 1830. I had some dreams where I was all sweaty for some reason that made sense in the dream but that I don’t remember now. I think that was when the AC shut down because it couldn’t handle the load and I was sweaty in real life and it transferred over to my dreams because that’s what dreams do.

So now the plan is to make the return early tomorrow and stay up all day so I can reset my body to diurnal from nocturnal. That’s the hope, anyway.

Another thing I’m having a problem with is I can’t use the bathroom until my diuretics kickstart my kidneys. I have been on diuretics since the start of the Obama administration or maybe before the end of the W Bush administration. It has been a long time anyway, and apparently my kidneys won’t work without them. My current medication of choice is HCTZ which is short for a word I don’t know how to spell and neither do most doctors and pharmacists hence the initialization. But when I got up today I didn’t have anything in my bladder to discharge until a few minutes after I took my morning drugs with my breakfast pizza of spinach and mushrooms in a white sauce. For my wife it was dinner, for me it was breakfast.

Anywho I took the med at the beginning of the meal after only getting a slight amount of fluid when I got up after more than 8 hours in bed, then about a half-hour later I had a full bladder to discharge. Like I just wrote it’s like my kidneys were waiting for the HCTZ to turn them on. Later I supercharged that by drinking a beer. Then urine was definitely flowed.

This was a hectic weekend

From Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon Mrs. the Poet was in hospital with kidney failure. She had the kidney problems because she let herself get dehydrated from diarrhea. And we still don’t know why she had the diarrhea in the first place except it was something she ate, or a combination of somethings most likely.

The problem with a combination of somethings is we will never know what set her off in the first place because we eat a variety of foods and try not to eat the same thing every week. We have pizza pretty often but this started a month ago as I was telling you about having to wash the poop off her a few times when she didn’t get to a toilet fast enough. Well there were a bunch more times she did get to a toilet and didn’t tell me about it, and then when I found out how long it had been going on I was trying to get fluids down her but she didn’t like anything I gave her and if she didn’t like it she didn’t drink it. So… dehydrated.

And I spent most of the weekend in a quiet state of panic because after I got her to the hospital when her doctor called Friday morning and said her labs came back awful from her visit I made her go to on Monday of last week, well we didn’t know if they would be able to get her rehydrated. Fortunately hey put a large bore IV in her and put fluids in her as fast as was safe for her veins. Actually we went a little too fast at first and leaked the first IV they put in. They also gave her IV drugs for the nausea and diarrhea so that she could take fluids by mouth and got both under control by Saturday night. By then she was eating regular food instead of the Jello she got Friday night to get some calories in her that didn’t upset her stomach.

But she’s home now and everything is (mostly) under control. We are trying foods in limited amounts that we know are “safe” until we hit something that triggers her tummy again, but so far Grilled chicken sandwiches don’t set her tummy off, fingers crossed.

Other than that things have been hunky-dory, I was awake 29 hours Thursday-Friday after getting the phone call at 0820 Friday morning when I was waiting for the massage parlor to open and take care of my neck that has been on the fritz. When I took my night meds I crashed hard and slept for over 12 hours and didn’t wake up. Well it has been a long night again and I’m hitting the sack now.

Still thinking (it’s safe, no need to seek shelter)

I’ve been thinking of how I could build this intake manifold with the tools and materials I have access to here at Casa de El Poeta without having to purchase anything beyond the cloth and resin and molding materials like peel ply and mold release. I’m not coming up with much.

Part of the problem is making the molds for the runners that need to be used 8 times to build each manifold, probably more because some of the early parts probably won’t unmold without damage to either the part or the mold. One thing I have been thinking about is using 4 molds per runner and building the runner in 2 parts and then using the tape that will make the runners strong enough to support the plenums, throttle bodies, and the fuel rail and injectors, to also glue the halves together. I don’t have to be concerned about the surface finish of anything because the peel ply will give a textured finish as long as the molds aren’t too bad.

And as I was “rubber ducking” this into the blog post, I came up with a solution for building the outer mold for the runner by using the inner mold as a plug and using the sanding and polishing process on the inside surface of the outer mold to get the clearance between the inside and outside for the material to go. This will also ensure a high degree of compression in the composite. How to rubber duck a problem. If I had the vacuum pump that most composite molding systems use to remove air from the mold and part to use atmospheric pressure to force resin into the part and force excess resin out of the part I would not need the inner part of the mold, but by using an inner and outer mold I can get much higher pressure on the composite to distribute and squeeze out the resin to a much higher degree. Basically I can clamp the two parts of the mold together at much higher pressures than the roughly 15 psi I can get with a “perfect” vacuum. This is part of the “forged carbon” process that uses bits of carbon tow and chopped fiber much like the “chopper gun” method of making fiberglass parts, but with much less resin in the part.

I have been searching the web and the consensus seems to be that just about any resin that resists gas will work because of the limited exposure from the spray of fuel from the injector compared to the 24/7 soaking of fuel tanks. Basically any of the hard-curing gas tank liners will work for this application, but I will have to paint the finished part with a UV-resistant coating to sunscreen the resins and prevent UV degradation. I see this as a minimally problematic solution. Basically I will have to paint the manifold white after curing, instead of leaving the part natural. I won’t have the “cool” factor of a natural CF part finish, but the part will remain strong for a longer period of time, talking decades of use, compared to a couple of years without the sunscreen coating.

I’m still thinking about how to make the plenum, and whether to mold in the injector bungs or glue in aluminum bungs after molding the plenum. Molding has the potential to reduce the weight by a few ounces, but gluing the bungs has a higher degree of precision fit. Not to mention that molding the bungs requires a high degree of precision of the inner mold that I probably won’t get with what I have to work with. And I’m getting hungry and I need to make food to consume so I have to be away from the computer while I cook the food. It’s not so hot that I’m going to cook. It’s only 103°F and human flesh starts cooking at 145°.

Finally got Mrs. the Poet to go to the doctor

Since I haven’t been keeping you in the loop, Mrs. the Poet has been sick. Like not real sick, just kinda poopy and listless, and borderline dehydrated but even water tastes yucky. Well they don’t think she’s gonna die and her symptoms don’t come close to COVID, so that’s been ruled out. She has a mild fever, and I’m still as healthy as a horse, so at most she has some kind of allergy with maybe an opportunistic infection on top of that so the prescribed anti-nausea, anti-diarrheal, and something for the infection they aren’t sure she has but are pretty sure she might have. Like I said her whole diagnosis pivots on the point that I sleep with her and kiss her and I’m not showing any sign of her illness. I eat just about anything with no stomach problems even though I can barely chew because I don’t have many teeth. So whatever she has is presumed to not be communicable. So if she improves enough to travel she’s not going to be a plague rat spreading disease, either. Personally, I think she has allergies because her nose is also running and some of it is post-nasal drip down the back of her throat. This is probably the source of her digestive woes.

I finally got something to use to function test the lights I got, and I’m Not Happy with the results. The turn signal lights work as expected, low until the high is activated so I’ll just leave the low on all the time as DRL and connect the high to the turn signals. The headlights are a bigger problem, half don’t work at all and the other ones only have high beams. And the warrantee has expired on the headlights. So I’m at an impasse for my lights right now, and also I’m not 100% on those test leads working all the time or that I have the polarity right on the power supply output.

Late addendum: Mrs. the Poet has had 2 servings of applesauce since noon and everything is still where it’s supposed to be, no unfortunate discharges.

My part of the game was so easy

Basically I had to role play asking orc and troll gangs who are predisposed to help me because I killed all their previous leaders by myself, for disturbing my peace and harshing my mellow, if they would back up my Shadowrunners taking down a gang leader playing cop in south Dallas. My negotiation rolls were 5 and 6 hits on my social limit of 3, with me only needing to hit my social limit to make the roll with a dice pool of 21. I was pretty much guaranteed to make the roll, but I wanted to role play anyway, because That’s What The Game Is About.

I’m tracking the packages I’m supposed to be getting from the jungle site tomorrow, and they must be in a local warehouse because none of them have shipped yet and they are supposed to be in my hands by 2200 tomorrow. I’m getting filters for Mrs. the Poet’s vacuum cleaner, the power supply for testing the lights, and the test leads for connecting the lights to the power supply. And I clicked on each one and the test leads are coming via USPS and have already shipped, but the other two haven’t shipped yet. And as I was composing this another package with a delivery date on the 25th through the 29th shipped from Ontario CA US, unlike the headlight buckets and backing brackets that shipped from Ontario CA in the Great White North. The one from Cali is my throttle bodies for the manifold I dreamed about.

I’m still eating those single-serving frozen dinners because Mrs. the Poet’s tummy is upset and she can’t eat regular food yet. Tonight was meatloaf and mashed potatoes, which TBH was on the bland side for meatloaf with almost tasteless gravy and barely there garlic mashed ‘taters. There was a hint of garlic in the potatoes, but not a very strong hint. Processed frozen foods just really don’t have much flavor unless they’re pizza, because it’s really hard to ruin pizza unless you use non-pizza toppings. I’m also having the last of the Waterloo sparkling water we bought last month when they were BOGO free, and all they had was mixed berry.

One other thing coming up is Mrs. the Poet’s rescheduled trip to NY in September instead of July will leave me alone on the 21st anniversary of getting killed and my 64th birthday the former more important than the latter by an enormous margin. Not everybody has the option of celebrating the day they were murdered, and I don’t want to celebrate my Deathday by myself. But this was the schedule we moved her trip to when she got too sick to take the trip and the dates didn’t ring any bells until the next week, which is this week. I guess I can muddle through with my friends and without Mrs. the Poet.

And this is long enough for now and time to put this post to bed.

I’m getting almost excited

I’m not bouncing up and down, but I’m almost that excited that I’m about to get the parts and materials I need to build the front fenders for the Sprint-T. It has been a long time since I have been able to get something done on the car, and now that I can it’s almost more than I can stand. The only thing I don’t have is the mold to make the clear headlight fairings, but I can’t make that until the front part of the fender is built. So, I’m going to build the fender first, PTEG vacuum-molded headlight fairing later.

I have been having strange dreams about building a composite intake manifold from a 3d-printed mold and carbon fiber composite materials. It was quite detailed with the printed molds of the inside of the ports of the manifold getting assembled from 3 pieces that were separated to be removed from inside the part after curing, and the bleed ply was used both to get the part off of the mold and to get an “as cast” surface finish to energize the boundary layer of flow inside the manifold. Anywho the printed mold was in 3 pieces with a large center of the port being removed so the outside mold parts could be peeled away from the inside of the port, with tons of mold release applied to the center part to make it eas(ier) to remove. The manifold was a cross-ram configuration with the injectors in the plenums aimed at the opening to the ports opposite the plenum from the injectors, and the runners getting attached to the plenums and the face that bolts to the head by lengths of CF tape and the same resin used for the runners and plenums. The dreams even included the size of the throttle bodies used on the plenums, 78mm so as to flow the same or more than a single plenum manifold with the 105mm throttle body many manufacturers offer. And I looked it up and the actual equivalent throttle body for running 2 in place of a single 105mm is 75mm which is a factory Ford part for a 4.6L 2V pickup truck engine. Which means this is a relatively cheap part compared to the 105mm for a single plenum manifold. The actual number was 74.24mm to be exactly equal but 75 is close enough for government work and hot rodding. Anywho, the 75mm throttle body is $50 each plus tax on the jungle site. Anybody feels like sending one or both would get their name in the blog and my deepest gratitude. The 105mm at Holley was $699 to $715 depending on finish and machining, so two of the 75mm throttle bodies is both better for performance and cost. And nevermind because I just bought them. I got paid for a gig I did a couple of months ago but never got paid for until today. Or at least I was never told about it until today with the deposit and balance with today’s date on it.

And while I was describing the literal dream manifold, I was using spare processor cycles in my brain to come up with a way to support the front of the fender and also mount the headlight fairing/cover, cut a piece of aluminum sheet to the profile of the front fender and weld a strip of aluminum to the edge and drill and tap the strip so that screws could hold the headlight cover between the fender material and the headlight cover. This would mean the headlight cover would need periodic replacement as the screw holes fatigued but the material would be scratched and UV deteriorated by then and would have to be replaced for the headlights to work as intended. The holes in the strip could be Riv-Nutted instead of threaded for a more durable threaded hole with a lighter strip of aluminum. I would need to get these parts done at a shop because I don’t have the equipment to weld aluminum in my garage. I might make them out of light gauge steel that I can weld, or I could use a hammerform to make them out of annealed aluminum without welding. This is a process I have done in the past with the equipment I have at hand. I need to use a lot of hand work to get the edge of the hammerform right, but I have the tools to make it, plus the tools to anneal and beat the aluminum to shape.

And I have rambled on enough for today, time to put this post to bed.

Progress is being made, of a kind

Bits and pieces are coming together to build the lights and fenders for the Sprint-T, in the form of a turn-signal/marker light that can be mounted over or under the headlights on the backing bracket for the buckets that hold and aim the headlights. It’s not much, just a strip of amber LEDs in a weatherproof housing with a 3 wire hookup, ground, high, and low light output to cover all the functions the light has to perform.

How I hook the lights up depends on how the low and high outputs function. If high power overrides low power inputs then I will drive around with the low power and ignition switch on the same inputs, but the other way around, low power overriding the high power input I have DRL and I connect the turn signals to the low power to make them blink at low power and cause the DRL to flash. It all depends on how the light reacts to inputs. And to know that I had to buy a power supply and test leads. My old 12V power supply burned out about a decade ago when I was building high-output bike lights and taillights, and apparently my test leads went with it in the trash. The new power supply is big enough to test all my 12V lights, just not at the same time.

I bought other 12V power supplies/battery chargers between when my previous one burned out and now, but they only function/supply power when there is a 12v SLA battery connected to the outputs unlike the previous versions I bought. And I no longer have any 12V SLA batteries I can plug into the circuit, if I did I wouldn’t need to buy another power supply. Fortunately this power supply is built to support large chains of LED lights, or higher power LED spotlights or landscape lights. It will power one of the headlights, but not all 4 of them at one time. The 5A limit will only handle one headlight. But I just need to test one light at a time.

I’m old

And I’ve been old for a very long time. Back when I was just 18 I could buy beer without getting carded, because I looked that old. I started getting unrequested senior citizen discounts when I was just 37 as in people just gave me the discount without even asking if I was old enough, they just assumed. That’s what depression can do to you. It ages you like nothing else but drugs can.

Speaking of drugs, game was cancelled today because of too few or the wrong kinds of drugs. The DM did not get his brain drugs on time and ran out leaving him unable to cope with game today, another player was on allergy meds that interfered with her narcolepsy drugs leaving her in a daze (and confused) and not functioning on an adult level. That left us a little short for game. So I watched the race from Atlanta today, which was pretty good even if Chase Elliott won instead of Cory Lajoie. Cory is another 2nd generation driver like Chase, only his dad was a Busch series driver, and is now a manufacturer of safety equipment used in almost every Cup car, the carbon composite containment seat. Cory’s dad Randy also makes seats from other materials for other series and other kinds of race cars than stock cars (The Joie Of Seating). For those who don’t remember that far back Chase’s dad is Bill Elliott, the driver of the fastest Cup car to qualify (212.809 MPH), and multiple winner of Most Popular Driver until he made them take his name off the ballot in 2002. Oh and Chase has already won a Cup championship (2020) with super team Hendrick Motorsports, while Lajoie has been driving for perpetually under-funded teams since his Xfinity series races. Anywho, the race was a barn-burner, I just wanted a different driver to win it.

And it’s getting late and I’m fading, time to put the post and me both to bed.

I got a new part for the Sprint-T yesterday

I bought an assembly from the jungle store, that was intended for semi-trucks that holds 2 4 x 6 headlights. It’s a bit wide for the Sprint-T, but I can trim it down to fit better. It was serendipity that I found this as I was just looking for the headlight buckets to fit the lights I already purchased, expecting to have to fabricate the backing plate and the adjusting screws and springs, now all I have to do is assign wire colors to the headlight pins to connect the existing harness to the rest of the car because this is buckets, adjusting screws and springs and backing plate all together in one inexpensive assembly. That and make the structure to mount these assemblies to the fenders. Also I won’t need to make a waterproof structure to protect the wiring because the bracket already is a waterproof structure that I just have to seal against water from the tire inside the fender.

The assemblies have the three-wire headlight harness but the wires aren’t pinned to the included sockets, so I’ll have to decide which color wire goes to which headlight pin. I have black, red and green wires to assign, the black is easy, that’s ground. The red and green are less easy as I want to make this repairable but any klutz with a pair of wire pliers and a soldering iron who knows the automotive color code. And from what I can find there is no universal color code for headlights beyond making the ground wire black the rest of the wires are of any and all colors and some with white or black stripes. So future mechanic trying to repair a broken Sprint-T the low beam positive is red, the high beam is green.

Now as I was saying the big bracket that holds all this mess is a heavy injection molding about 15.5″ wide by 6.5″ tall with all the wiring inside the bracket, while the usual street tires I’m going to be running are a bit more than 10″ wide (255/60R15), meaning there’s going to be some excess width either to the outside or inside of the tire, or split to either side. Actually I was going to trim this mess so that the fender sides just clear the adjusting pivots on either side of the headlights, and the top was just clear of any adjustment screws. That makes it “only” 14.5″ wide by 6.25″ tall. It’s important to make this as small as possible to minimize frontal area of the tire fairings. The other consideration is the bottom of the headlights has to be 24″ from the ground at rest to pass inspection in Texas. If this was an airplane I would make the fenders only as tall and wide as needed to cover the tires because there would be nothing else to take into consideration, but on a car they’re an ideal place to mount the headlights because they’re both the widest and most far forward places on the car. So I have to make the top of the fenders tall enough to make the bottom of the headlights 24″ high, where if I was mounting the headlights anyplace else I would just have to make the fenders so that the tire would just kiss the inside of the top at extreme jounce travel.

The problem is there isn’t anyplace else to mount 4 headlights and still make them far enough apart to pass inspection in Texas. If I mount them in the only other logical place on the front of the car they would be practically a solid light bar on the front of the car 31″ wide across the nose, because that is how wide the nose of the car has to be to clear the tires at full lock and cover the radiator. In the fenders they have enough separation to make 2 distinct lights and also make it possible to determine how far away the car is at night to allow pedestrians to estimate speed and distance before trying to cross the road in front of the car. Headlight mounting width was a problem with the first Baja Bug conversions, because some states didn’t approve of the 2 lights in the nose that were even closer than the early Jeeps. I’m not sure about if Texas was one of those states, but a Google search says it was as it requires headlights “on either side” of the motor vehicle. (TXVC547.302) And after measuring the bracket and doing some quick arithmetic of the wheel travel and diameter I can say the bottom of the headlight will definitely be above 24″ from the ground at static ride height if I make the top of the tire just kiss the inside top of the fender with the headlights mounted as high as possible in the fender and the ride height at rest of 6″, or 3″ at full bump travel. Woo! Still legal at minimum frontal area!