Category Archives: Department of DIY

Mrs. the Poet is recovering and other stuff

Mrs. the Poet is a really good patient except for her complaining about things I physically can’t do, like scrubbing the floors. One of the cats has been having tummy problems and there are little dribbles of poo all over their bathroom that needs to be cleaned up somehow. I know how I can do it but I have to get Mrs. the Poet to tell me which rag she wants me to throw away after I use it to scrub up all the poo off the floor. The other thing that held me back was I needed something I could use to spray cleaning solution on the floor on a stream, all our current spray bottles are set up to only put out a mist rather than a stream. I picked up one yesterday that has a stream setting so I can target individual spots instead of spreading a light mist of cleaner over the whole floor.

On other things I have been getting stuff like canned soups and canned pastas that I can heat up and have enough to feed two people. There has been a lot of those put on the market lately, so Mrs. the Poet won’t starve too much. I’m having a hard time getting her to eat because of what the general anaesthsia did to her sense of taste, nothing tastes right to her, even raw fruits and vegetables “taste weird”. When oranges don’t taste like oranges, what can you do to improve her nutrition? And the case of meal-replacement shakes our daughter bought are even worse, because they didn’t taste “right” to begin with, and add the messed up tasting to that and you wind up with Mrs. the Poet hacking and gagging trying to drink her protein. Not good.

In really funny news I bought a part for the Sprint-T with a warning that trying to eat it could give me cancer. There is some kind of a law in CA that requires everything that contains cancer-causing chemicals to carry a warning either in the package or on the item that consuming it might cause cancer, so I had this tiny sticker on my steering wheel mount warning me not to eat it. It’s polished aluminum billet that clicks onto a steel shaft adapter, how the hell am I going to take a bite out of either part?

And because of the COVID19 outbreak there is no racing on any channel except reruns from last year. I’m so in need of my racing fix after the end of racing from last season. I mean sure there were a few NASCAR races in February and early March, but now there’s literally nothing when we should be having NASCAR, F1, and Indycar at the same time or one after the other. But the people I feel really sorry for are all the ones who are heavily invested both emotionally and monetarily in the NCAA basketball tournament that was cancelled. Races can be rescheduled, that can’t be.

This is shaping up to be another disaster

Game night is looking to be another disaster thanks to the medical non-care system.

The GM has been without meds since Tuesday because his insurance provider hasn’t approved his refill, so unless he gets his meds today he’s not going to be in condition to manage the game tonight. Fun, but that’s America these days, good medical care for those rich enough to afford it, and crap for middle class and below. And what makes it worse is we can see what we are missing out on because we have TV shows and movies that show rich people getting medical care, while we make do with OTC shit and herbal medicine that isn’t outlawed, or even that is but not heavily enforced. Seriously folks, this is stupid and needs to get fixed. M4A doesn’t come anywhere near what we need, the best we can say about it is “It’s better than what we have” which is basically nothing.

And we just got the notification while I was composing the above paragraph that the GM’s meds didn’t get approved either at all or in time to be effective for the game tonight. So our hostess doesn’t get to show off her mad cooking skillz, I don’t get to get out of the house and interact with other people, Mrs. the Poet doesn’t get a night off from cooking (she got one yesterday because I bought dinner), and our GM also doesn’t get to show off the devious plot he has set up for us to fail against. All because the US healthcare system basically sucks donkey dicks.

So the headline is wrong because in the time it took to compose this post what had been future tense became past tense. It’s not a potential disaster it is a disaster that exists. Game is officially ruined by not taking place, unlike last week when we lost a player to bad infrastructure.

All those words and I forgot to say what I came to say

Since this is a follow-on post I won’t use much space this time. What I originally came to say was that while I was trying to figure out how to build the Mini Sprint-T I figured out how to build a better frame for the 1:1 Sprint-T. Anyway, what I had decided for the Mini was front and rear hoops that went all the way down to the belly pan and had the frame rails glued to the front and back of the verticals of the hoops, instead of continuous frame rails and the hoops on top of the rails. What evolved from that was a lower rail with 0.120″ wall inside the roll cage area and 0.060″ wall in front and back of the cage so that in front or rear collisions the lower rails would collapse first and send large objects attached to the frame under the driver compartment and not into the driver or passenger.

So, when I build the frame I bend up the hoops and leave the legs 1.5″ longer (scale) than I would with the legs on top of the frame, and glue the lower rail between the legs. On the real 1:1 car that part would be the 0.120″ wall. Also the top rail would be one continuous piece from the front bulkhead to the rear bulkhead, which means I will need to figure out how far to bend it where it comes past the front and rear hoops. On the 1:1 car it will be 0.120″ wall and the biggest length of tubing on the car and run the full length of the frame and require careful gusseting where it passes the front and rear hoops. That’s also true on the Mini Sprint-T, but the mechanics are completely different because of the scale.

And since this is just what I should have posted yesterday instead of rambling, this is a good place to end.

Can’t stop thinking

And one of my favorite subjects is how to make the Sprint-T lighter and safer, which was not caused by seeing Ryan Newman’s Daytona crash. Actually it was brought on by wanting to make the frame fail in such a way that the engine didn’t try to join me in the driver’s compartment in a frontal collision. Second consideration was using as much 0.060″ wall tubing as possible. I say “as possible” because while some of the 0.120″ wall tubing is required by safety rules, some of it is required because of the stress risers created by the 0.120″ wall tubing.

And once again I wish I could show you what I see in my mind, when I’m thinking about the Sprint-T. The rest of the time I don’t want you to see what’s in my mind, that’s like being on the wrong side of the eyewall of a hurricane full of garbage. But seriously, I wish I could show and not tell about the frame for the Sprint-T.

OK basically The Rules require the hoops and diagonals and upper parts of the roll cage to be 0.120″ wall, but to balance things out so the cage holds together that means the bottom frame rail has to be 0.120″ as well at least between the rear and the front hoops. The fun(?) part is deciding how far back the 0.120″ wall has to go, at least to the rear hoop but behind that do I want 0.120″ all the way to the rear bulkhead/bumper, or do I want that to be a crumple zone up to the rear hoop? Going back to The Rules at least one of the diagonals must be a single length of 0.120″ wall tubing the same diameter as the hoops (1.5″), but do I want/need more than one diagonal, and if I want/need to have two diagonals do both of them need to be 0.120″ or can the lower stressed one be 0.060″? Add into the mix that I can also have a rear hoop and a left and right hoop, and run a diagonal from the front crossbar to the rear corners of the left and right hoops and get a much stiffer but slightly heavier frame.

But we were approaching the point of diminishing returns for frame stiffness given the suspension design of “stick” axles front and rear. I mean the main point of torsionally stiff frames is to keep the front and rear wheels at the best camber angles and also to balance the roll rates so the weight transfer between the front and rear outside tires can be tuned for desired handling behaviour. Well stick axles don’t change camber angles unless the inside tire is lifted out of the plane parallel to the ground which likewise limits the weight transfer ratio between the outside tires. And that one didn’t come out completely right, as the inside wheels can also go over a bump and remain in contact with the ground and not be lifted by trying to transfer more weight than exists on the inside tire by either excessive roll angles or by roll centers that are too high and transferring weight without compressing or extending the springs. This is the mechanism that allows changing the handling by raising and lowering the roll center on one end. The closer the roll center is to a line running through the center of gravity of the car the less control the springs and anti-roll bar exert over the weight transfer and also the less the car will roll over on the suspension in a turn. Get the roll center higher than the center of gravity and the car will try to roll opposite the cornering force and pick up the inside tire. This is why standard kit T-buckets are no good for autocross and Solo Racing because they have such high rear roll centers to compensate for the “normal” size difference between the front and rear tires on the street.

Anyway, back to the frame. Running left, right, and rear hoops will give me four uprights on the rear so lots of crush resistance where the majority of the driver sits, which is good. But also less tie-in at the top of the rear hoop which is ungood (not actually bad becauuuse there are other ways to tie-in and brace the top of the rear hoop). And running left, rear, and right hoops means an extra hoop of 0.120″ wall plus the crossover bar over the front of the cockpit and the verticals under the crossover and the diagonals from the verticals to the rear hoop have to be 0.120″ where front and rear is just the two hoops plus the crossover bars between the two hoops and whatever gussets they get attached with and the diagonals that are a single piece of tubing between the hoops. Like I said, compromises and where weight can be saved.

Also, while I’m trying to do this for the 1:1 car I’m also trying to figure out how to build the 1:25 Mini Sprint-T, which is where this mess got started because of the upper rail running from the front bulkhead spring mount to the front hoop.

Productive game session

I got to blow a lot of shit and people up for the greater good. The group is trying to disrupt gang operations in the lawless zone formerly known as Arlington TX. The initial targets are drug distribution houses and warehouses near what used to be Six Flags. Some of the drugs are legal drugs diverted to the black market and still have shrinkwrapped seals with the pharmaceutical company names on them, those we take and sell back to legitimate vendors for medicinal purposes, some are herbs that have medicinal uses but need to be checked by a professional for strength and purity and we have a connection for that, and some are just for fun but have serious side effects like when you die you come back as a movie-type zombie. Those we destroy.

And The Old Man, the character I play that’s based on what I would be in Shadowrun, has zero inhibitions against killing drug runners. As in dropping multiple frag grenades into a room of gang members and doing damage between overkill and chunky salsa (damage levels in Shadowrun, overkill is damage in a single shot or impact between 2 and 3 multiples of body, chunky salsa is between 3 and 4 multiples of body, red mist is 5 or more multiples of body) and hitting a single NPC gang member with red mist, dropping a frag grenade between his feet that would blow up on impact. The Old Man likes drugs even less than Yr Fthfl Svnt author, and this is just a taste of how his character keeps the peace between the gangs near his home and enforces the DMZ.

The canon is that since my character can’t stay dead and even if I get redmisted I come back together, when I get killed I come back and kill you in front of your homies and tell them to act nice and not get on my bad side. Even with a charisma stat of 1 that makes an impression on people, trolls, and orcs. Less so on elves, but anything less than a dragon respects my reputation, even if I’m a mythical character to some people in the Shadowrun universe. I let a lot of stuff get by near my house, but drugs are my flashpoint. Also in canon is every time I die I get a little bit more insane, and I have died many times in and out of game. So I’m not quite Joker level yet, but Thanos is a pussycat in comparison.

Anyway, we finished the first house and had blown the front door of the second house when fatigue and muscle pain overtook a couple of players after 6 hours of fighting the technology that almost allows us to play in spite of being in several locations as much as 400 miles apart (but all still in TX, this is a big state) so we will finish this Run before we lose a player for 3 months for his annual side gig as a rogue for Scarborough Faire. End score for me was 4 dead drug runners ranging from overkill to redmist, and one other for the rest of the party, but in fairness everyone else set the targets up and all I did was knock them down.

Roof is fixed and I lost almost all the money I got this month to overdraft fees

Long story short, I didn’t get to the bank in time to transfer the money to my account to catch the checks I had already written. Annoying thing: even though I had the money in the account before the transaction from my transit app processed as proven by the deposit receipt I still got dinged for an overdraft fee. By my account I had 2 overdrafts, 1 before I transferred the money to my checking account and another one after. I transferred $140 yesterday and had $60.14 in the account after the transfer. When I did the transfer from the firewalled account today I had $13.64 before the transfer. Overdraft fees are $35, and I spent $10 on a donation to Make A Wish yesterday. The only thing I don’t know was how much I was in the red before the overdraft charges kicked in because it depends on which check was processed last. If it was one check then I was about $45 in the hole. The math says it could only be the one check because the checks were all large amounts and there’s no way to get an overdraft twice out of those checks. So I feel comfortable with my numbers. And my numbers tell me that in spite of the transfer processing before the bus pass did, showing a balance of $60.14, my bank charged an overdraft on the $1.50 bus pass. And that is against the law, which requires financial institutions to process transactions in the order they are received, and I have hardcopy evidence that they didn’t.

Ever have someone you trust do you wrong? Then you know what is going through my mind right now.

I’m staying up all night and day again

As I begin composing this post I just passed 24 hours since I got out of bed, and I have about 9 hours more to go. Why do I do this at over 60 years old? I have a doctor’s appointment that requires I leave the house to catch a bus about 2/3 of the way through my normal sleep cycle. I normally hit the sack about 0400-0500 and get up 7-8 hours later. Well I have a 1130 appointment, and I have to leave the house at 0915 to make sure I catch the bus. As you can imagine getting up in time to leave at 0915 along with eating and showering when you just got to bed at 0500 is sub-optimal to say the least. I mean I’m still fuzzy around the edges of my mind when I get a full 8 hours of shuteye. So you can imagine how functional I would be after less than 3 hours of sleep, because it takes some time to get to sleep after I get to bed. Mrs. the Poet has commented that my tossing and turning has kept her awake for more than an hour after I get in the bed. And I’m actually less sub-optimal after being awake over 24 hours without sleep than I am on only about 2-3 hours of sleep no matter how long I was awake before.

“Less sub-optimal” does not mean anything approaching good, mind you. let’s say it’s the difference between walking into a wall and breaking my glasses, and not walking into a wall and stumbling over the pattern in the floor. And yes I have tripped on the pattern of the vinyl floor when I was tired enough. And I’m well past the point of Tired Enough, the text on the composition page is swimming as I type it…😝 And I’m desperately trying to remain conscious while I do this. I can’t afford to buy another computer to replace this one. And I already faceplanted into the keyboard more than once, but not today. So I’m trying to stay awake and not break my laptop today.

I’ll post how the doctor visit went on Friday if I can manage.

I’m not dead again yet

And that is one convoluted headline that wraps up my life in a sentence. I’m just reading and doing stuff, practicing making exhaust tips and things. I haven’t made any real good tips yet because I keep collapsing the tubing against the bending post, because the differences between soft enough to bend and soft enough to collapse are this much (holding fingers almost touching) and I haven’t got the touch down yet. I need to get the spatial relationship between the heat source and the bending post better, but ATM I have zero idea what that should be. What I’m looking for is close enough to get the soft tube to the bending post while it’s still soft and so I don’t have to let it get too saggy and stretch it out and make it too small. There are literally thousands of ways to screw this up and I’m finding most of them.

Mrs. the Poet wants me to be in bed at the same time she is, and so do I. It’s getting close to the time she gets up, so I’m putting this to bed now and me shortly after.

A little late, but here it is

Sorry to take so long but I finally got a decent picture saved someplace I can use to post it to the blog.
See that teardrop opening?
There’s a wrinkle that doesn’t show well in the picture because of the angle, but is glaringly obvious IRL. So this part is Just Practice while I perfect my technique. Also I have been looking at pictures in catalogs and online of turnouts that used this method and they have egg-shaped openings, not teardrops. That means I have to work on my technique even more to get the opening right every time.

Since I spent so much time trying to get a good picture today after trying to get a good turnout yesterday I’m up past my bedtime and I really need to be awake when the stormdoor installation team shows up in the morning, I’m putting this to bed and then myself. Hasta la Friday. Which I know is ungrammatical Spanglish, but anyway, Mañana

I spent hours practicing

Last night I did the bender again and started trying to do the “sliced tangent to the inner radius” exhaust tip. Now while I was building my tool and practicing bending the raw stock I was listening to YT Music on my phone, which ran the battery down so I couldn’t take pictures after I was done. But I promise pictures for tomorrow after the phone gets charged.

The tricky part is the heating of the raw stock to make it soft enough to bend without causing the tube to collapse. I ruined many bends because I overheated the tube and collapsed it. I also discovered that heating the stainless steel bolt I’m using as a bending post doesn’t work for tubing at all, unlike solid rod. If the post is warm enough to soften the plastic, the wall of the tube next to the post collapses before the outer radius starts to bend. In retrospect I should have expected that, but I was thinking in metalworker mode not plastic model builder mode. The way to go for the plastic tube is to spin the tube on its long axis with the intended bend area in the heat source (butane torch flame) until it gets soft but not floppy, then put it in the bender and make the bend. This has to be done extremely fast because the temperature spread between floppy and rigid is very small and soft enough to bend and too cold to bend smoothly is even smaller.

Anyway I discovered another reason for using the sliced bend exhaust tip, it leaves a delightful teardrop shaped opening besides directing exhaust away from the car, similar, shorter, but not exactly like when the reverse technique is used for side-exit exhaust. But I wasn’t expecting this shape from the inside bend, I was expecting a more oval shape opening. Maybe when I get a better quality bend the shape of the opening will be more oval than this attempt. But better quality requires more practice and there is a limit on how much raw stock I can waste on practice. I really need to reserve one stick of tailpipe material for the final build so I have enough length. But I will get a picture of the pretty practice tailpipe for tomorrow’s post