Category Archives: Department of DIY

Things in the kitchen that only I use

I mentioned the crock pot and how I was the only person using the slow cooker yesterday. Well there are some other things in the kitchen that I’m the only one using them.

One thing I’m the only person using is the rice cooker. I think that might be because I bought it a while back with money I made with M-points, back when they were still a thing, and that gives you an idea of how many M-points I got, that first I could pay for a rice cooker and second that the rice cooker was high enough quality to last this long. Or it could be that Mrs. the Poet really doesn’t like to use the rice cooker/vegetable steamer for some reason unknown to mankind.

Now this is an odd one, but I’m the only person using the Keurig, for anything. I use it for many things that don’t include making coffee, like teas, soups, and other hot drinks. I can use it to get 2 cups of decent tea out of a teabag, and every once in a while we actually buy the K-cups and I make coffee with it. But that is rare, mostly because we (I) drink a lot of coffee and making it one cup at a time in the Keurig is Ex$pen$ive and for the most part not as good as making drip coffee by the pot. I drink coffee from a mug that holds almost a quart, Mrs. the Poet has an 8 oz. cup once a day. So unless it’s coffee that someone has given us, or a nearly free buy at the local grocery, we don’t use the Keurig to make coffee.

So we have 3 kitchen appliances that Mrs. the Poet doesn’t use but I do. Make of this what you will.

I did a delicious experiment today

The experiment was making stew in a crock pot slow cooker.  I already knew making stew in the slow cooker was possible, the experiment was would it taste good? The best receipes are simple so I assembled stew meat, potatoes, carrots, and half a large onion and added enough cold water to cover, then added salt and pepper to what I hope was to taste. I turned the cooker to high until a slow simmer was attained, then to low, and as the sun was rising and the local school kids left for school, I went to bed.

There was a great deal of activity in the house today, so my sleep was non-contiguous. That’s a fancy way of saying it took me a long time to get enough sleep. Hence the need to be in the bed almost 12 hours to get enough sleep to not feel like I had been punched in the face. That’s the easiest way to tell if I had enough sleep, if my face hurts I need to get back in bed.

But enough about me, you need to know about the stew. The stew was …acceptible… but by no means outstanding. I needed to use more salt and pepper, and some herbs would have helped. But as I understand it there are several variations on the concept of “stew”, and “just salt and pepper” is one of those concepts. There are other concepts that shuffle the veggies that accompany the meat, different meats, as well as different ratios of the various veggies. This particular combo used pork, a couple of medium-sized spuds and a couple of handfulls of baby cut carrots and that half onion, with about a half teaspoon of black pepper and a full tablespoon of salt. I was concerned that I had too much salt and pepper, but as it turned out I needed more salt and pepper.

On the one hand it’s a good thing that I can make stew with the crock pot, especially since Mrs. the Poet melted the stove down by putting it on self-clean for 3 hours. On the other hand, Mrs. the Poet does not like the crock pot, so it’s mine and I’m the only one who uses it, so I’m doing a lot more cooking around the house. I don’t want to be the main cook because that takes a lot of the enjoyment out of cooking. It’s fun to cook when you want to cook and there’s something you want to make. It’s much less fun to cook when you don’t want to cook and you don’t know what you’re going to cook. That’s the situation much too often at Casa de El Poeta. On really bad days there is also the problem of inventorying what is still edible before deciding what to cook. And this highlights the difference between when I cook and when Mrs. the Poet cooks,  when I cook it’s because I want to, when Mrs. the Poet cooks it’s because she has to. If this experiment is successful there will be more days where I want to cook than Mrs. the Poet has to.

I haven’t been well lately

My sleep schedule is still borked, and I’m still getting muscle “not feel goods” and a bunch of other things. I mean nothing really hurts, just a whole bunch of things that don’t work anywhere close to “right”, and it really annoys me. I’m supposed to be able to do almost anything to my body and still have it work right, and this recent bout of “not working within design tolerances” is just really pissing me off.

On things that are not my body, I think I might have the mount for the steering box nailed down so it won’t flex under load and cause steering to be imprecise. I mean it’s probably overkill by several magnitudes, but I’m pretty sure I have enough bracing so that it won’t move when I make rapid changes in direction. Moving the box in front of the axle made a big difference, because now I have structure above the mount I can tie into and prevent side to side flex in the mount. There’s not even a possibility of other movement, because first of all there are no forces in those directions to speak of, and second because for all the other forces there are already massive trusses in place just because that was the easiest way to build the mount.

On the steering arm, still waiting to purchase cutting tools large enough to handle the 1/4″ thick stock needed for the forces involved, because basically I’m looking at buying everything I already have all over again, but bigger/heavier. I’ll need a new drill press, new saws, bigger drills, the whole shooting match. This means about a thousand dollars in tools, maybe a little less if I buy used. But looking at Harbor Freight, getting a drill press big enough to handle drilling the holes for the 5/8″ heim joints is the big $$ item. The cheapest press is this one. And it barely fills the bill.

I think maybe I can use my angle grinder and metal cutting wheel for rough cuts and the grinding wheel for the fine shaping, but it will be slow work and there will be many chances at messing up the part because of how thick the stock is. For cutting thicker stock they have a bandsaw that will do the work, faster than a cutoff wheel but still pretty slow. I’m going to have to think about the bandsaw, but the drill press is probably a must just because my other drills are not up to handling the size of the drill bits needed for the job. The biggest bit my hand drills will handle is 3/8″ and the drill for the 5/8″ threaded hole is 9/16″ while the non-threaded hole is the full 5/8″. I don’t know what the chuck capacity is of my current drill press, but the piece is pretty much worn out from building bicycles. If I try to drill too fast through even just thick wood the chuck falls out of the press. It worked fine for a long time, but it’s just worn out now.

And I guess I have run out of things to write about, other than because of the weather change it is now in the 60’s F inside my office. My thermometer/clock says it’s 67°F in here and my fingers are not as nimble on the keyboard as they are during the summer when even with the AC on it stays 76° in the house and my hands and fingers all work perfectly without hesitation🤣. That’s a joke, nothing on me works perfectly or without hesitation. Everything is out of whack to some degree, but most of me works best between 75 and 78°F. Above that and I start sweating, too much below that and things start getting stiff, and then they get painful. And we are at the upper boundary of stiff and painful today.

Well I’m going to call this the end of the post, you should go have a nice day or something.😉

 

No game this week, again

Family tragedy struck one of the players in our group as her father-in-law died a few days before game. Also, I have been beset by allergies that have really upset my sleep cycle as my sleep aid is just a double-strength allergy pill, minus the buffers. So, instead of putting me to sleep, it just clears up my nose and eyes for the night until it wears off. I was awake after 0700 this morning even though I put myself to bed by 0500.

I ended up sleeping through most of the race today, but I did manage to tune in for the last 20 or so laps, watching Kevin Harvick chase Joey Logano and almost catch him until Joey used dirty air or lapped cars to slow him down to keep Harvick from passing. It was a master class on how to defend a lead in a Cup race. I’m not a fan of Logano, but I do give credit where credit is due, and Joey drove his butt off keeping Harvick at bay.

No progress has been made in the Sprint-T redesign. I have all the major pieces in place, and until I can get some raw stock, which is really hard to come by these days because of the one-two punch of tariffs and COVID19, I really can’t build anything. Even in the case that I was able to find the raw stock, the combination of the stock thickness and having tools sized for bicycle building and not hot rods leaves me with stock with the dimensions laid out but no way to cut and drill to the sizes needed and make the part. It is frustrating to have drills that won’t handle drill bits over 3/8″ when the smallest hole is just under 1/2″ and the big hole is 9/16″ to allow for the thread depth of the bolts and the tap that cuts the thread so those bolts can screw into the part. It’s a combination of lack of power in the motors and the chucks just not being physically big enough to hold the larger drill bits. And for my cutting tools the 1/4″ thickness is pushing the limits of the equipment because when I bought the tools years ago when I was building bicycles 3mm (1/8″) steel or 5mm aluminum was the heaviest stock I was going to ever cut. Building hot rods wasn’t even on my mind. Let’s just say I was in a bit of a state over cars since someone tried to kill me with one, actually several someones tried several times with varying degrees of success, but nobody actually killed me thank [$DEITY]. So for most of this century since the wreck, I have had varying degrees of antipathy about cars.

OK, let me take inventory of tools, parts and raw stock that I need to complete the Sprint-T. I need something that can make square or mitered cuts in stock at least 1/4″ thick in mild or chrome-moly steel. I need a drill press that can handle 3/4″ holes in the 1/4″ steels, and up to 1/2″ thick in aluminum. I need a welder that will weld over 1/4″ thick steel, and that will weld aluminum. I mean I can use oxy-hydrogen to weld aluminum now, but that is a very tricky technique for someone with cataracts to work with, and I’m not sure that it didn’t contribute to giving me cataracts in the first place. Anyway, after the tools I need lots of raw stock, DOM or chrome-moly seamless tubing in 1.5″ diameter and 0.120″ (7 sticks) and 0.060″ (5 sticks) wall thickness, some 1.25″ diameter DOM and 0.120″ (2 sticks) wall for making the tie rod, drag link, panhard rod, and the torque arm. Also needed is a metric buttload of hardware to connect things that have to be able to move in relation to other things, in various sizes from 3/4″ fine thread (pretty big) to 4-40 (tee-niny).

It’s getting late, so I’m wishing you a good night and pleasant dreams.

Something new happened

Well, I had something new pop up yesterday morning. I had been doing a lot of stuff at the computer the last couple of days, which means a lot of time sitting behind the desk with the rocking chair. Well yesterday and this morning I had a new kind of pain to deal with as the usual swelling in my feet went away. I want to say it was excruciating but really it was just annoying, and something I haven’t learned how to block via meditation. It’s a sharp, stabbing pain in my toes and the soles of my feet, and as I said it’s not bad, but since I can’t block it, it really gets on my nerves.

Speaking of nerves, my hypothesis is this is nerve pain because the pain pills I have for joint and muscle pain don’t even touch this pain. In fact this morning it didn’t even start until after I took the pills. And I borrowed one of Mrs. the Poet’s opiate pain pills she got after her surgery (the first one out of the bottle, I taught her my meditation pain management methods) and it did “nothing”.

Pain has been the word of the day at Casa de El Poeta, as I try to figure this one out. Nerve pain is especially vexing. My normal methods of dealing with pain are to meditate, and visualize the pain as a gate or fence with a gate, that was keeping me from living my life, then open the gate and walk through it, but nerve pain didn’t work that way. It didn’t 19 years ago and it doesn’t now. Back right after the wreck I was prescribed Neurontin for the nerve pain which was a recent use of the drug which was normally used to suppress seizures, which was something else that happened to me after the wreck. So since I had already had seizures the night of the wreck, and I had nerve pain because my lower leg had been basically turned into hamburger by the impact and everything was a mess and there was massive nerve damage the assessment was that I was having something like a seizure where all the nerve damage was, especially since I didn’t have pain while they were trying to prevent any seizures in the hospital. They had me on more than one anti-seizure med at first, then just one and just before I was discharged it was none.

But after I got home I started getting horrible pains in the area of the “hamburger” that had been my calf muscles, and also in my foot and toes. And to go with that I had bad stuff going on with my foot, with sensations not being felt where the stimulus was applied. Touching a toe would feel like something on the sole and vice-versa, although the exchanges were never one-to-one. When touching a toe felt like the bottom of my foot, touching that spot felt like a toe, but not the same toe that touching made feel like that spot on the bottom of my foot. Eventually I got the wiring sorted out by getting my foot rubbed by my care attendant and by Mrs. the Poet. I could see where I was getting rubbed, and I could tell my brain that in spite of what it felt like that was what was going on.

And so now we have the nerves acting up again, on both legs this time. This makes me think that I’m having age-related issues instead of more stuff to do with the wreck. Which is good, in a relative way. It’s not good because it hurts and pain is ungood, but it’s similar to what people who have never been killed by getting hit with a truck go through every day, kind of good. For me that makes it the “not bad” kind of good. Sure it’s uncomfortable, but it’s the normal kind of uncomfortable that old people sometimes go through every day, which makes it a “good-ish” thing.

And I’m feeling self-conscious about talking about pain to the point that the only reason I’m hitting publish is otherwise I have wasted all this time typing out what is going on, and I would have to come up with something else to publish.

Swimming as hard as I can but not getting anywhere

One of the things I do is compare and contrast, it’s how I got my stage name when I was a spoken word poet, which became my pen name when I was first starting out as a blogger, and now is just my name. Well now I’m feeling like that place in Wonderland where as the Red Queen put it “You have to run as fast as you can just to stay put.” Or I’m in an infinity pool set on high and it won’t adjust to my speed.

And I have this tremendous urge to write, but nothing to write about except this complaint about wanting/needing to write and no topics present themselves for me to expound upon. I have been looking for things on the internets to write about and coming up empty, except for politics, which I don’t want to write about here for obvious reasons. I mean I have had personal experience with bad police work, but my complaining here about a grievance that is nearly twenty years old or even the most recent is more than 5 years old.

Actually that is a good stepping off point for this rant, stolen bicycles and their non-reaction from the police. I have had 3 bicycles stolen from me and had slight response (they tried to give me someone else’s stolen bike they recovered) to zero response (refused to take a report) to negative response when I attempted to recover my bike from the pawnshop it was fenced to. It took months after people in my bike club saw my bike in a pawn shop before I could take possession of the remains that were damaged even further by the cop trying to stuff the bike into the trunk of the cruiser.

And even more annoying was the “detective” who tried to tell me they didn’t look for the truck that hit me doing about 60 MPH (100 km/hr) because there was no proof it was damaged in the impact with my body that threw me over 100 feet (30 m). Now everybody knows hitting anything weighing as much as I did at the time of the wreck (about 225 pounds (100kg)) at that speed is going to crumple sheetmetal beyond simple repairs (no, that won’t “buff out”), but there was no attempt to find the weapon vehicle at local bodyshops.

So, yeah, I’m on the “defund the Police!” side of the debate. My experience was when I was a victim they did almost nothing to either catch the perp or recover my property, and when I found my stolen property on my own I had to wait months to get it back because someone else might have a valid claim to it (?!).

And I’m stymied on working on the steering arm because my tools won’t work with the stock I have. I need to get bigger drills to handle the drill bits I need to use to make the threaded holes I need to make the part, and I need something like the drill press, but hand-turned, to make the threads straight so the bolt doesn’t get bound up in boogered threads.

Oh yeah, while looking for topics I found this article on German beer types. A Beginner’s Guide to German Beer Styles 

 

Did the Acetobacter exist prior to human alcohol-making activity?

I sometimes get sidetracked by questions like I put in the headline, partially because I have ADD since I was little, and something that might be related to that, I have an insatiable curiosity about, well EVERYTHING!

Now usually a trip to the library or a quick Google search answers my curiosity, because we humans have answered most of the easy questions. But in this case, the answer is not-so-easy. Acetobacter have been found in the wild, but are they wild or just escaped from humans? My google-fu says probably wild and evolved because yeasts sometimes ferment flower nectars into alcohols and wherever there’s a food source there will be something evolved to eat it. So the conclusion is Acetobacter predates human evolution, and was not the result of leaving beer uncovered in Sumeria after brewing.

Also there are very many varieties of Acetobacter in the wild, which also suggests that vinegar is not the result of humans leaving their wine and beer uncovered. So far the evidence we have is that beer and wine pre-date writing by about 1K years, as pottery shards have been found with residue from beer and wine that predate the earliest known writings. And there have been Acetobacter around long before that, meaning there has been malt vinegar around millennia before there were fish and chips to put it on.

So, this is how my mind works.

OK getting down to brass tacks on this steering business

First, an etymology of the phrase “Getting down to Brass Tacks” because I know it and I think it will add to the conversation about the steering. The origin of the phrase relates to custom saddles for horses and cowboys, and literally refers to the size and number of the brass tacks used to secure the final seating surface to the frame of the saddle. This was important because too few or too small of tacks would cause the saddle to fall apart, and because the polished brass tacks were a decorative touch and too many was considered to be low-class, or <i>nouveau-riche</i>. And that should be in italics but I have to switch back and forth between editors so fvque it.

Anyway, this part of the design is very detail-oriented, in that the same parts from different suppliers will require different fitting because while they might be the same internally (spline count and/or shaft diameters) outside they are very different. Like about a quarter-inch different in outside diameter between basically the same U-joints from different manufacturers means some will clear the inside of the bellypan without relief dimples and some will require about an eighth of an inch or so relief dimple to not foul the U-joints when the steering wheel is turned. So I have to do a lot of catalog and website browsing to find the outside diameter of the various U-joints, so I can pick the ones that won’t require extra work on the bellypan.

Actually there is only one place where the outside size of the U-joints is at all important, the place where the steering shaft goes under the radiator, between the frame rails, and above the inside of the bellypan. The current plan is running a 3/4″ shaft under the radiator in the 1 1/2″ gap caused by the radiator having to sit on top if the bottom frame rails, and tucking that shaft up as close to the radiator as possible. I can get bearings that can be mounted so the shaft just barely clears the bottom of the radiator mount, meaning the U-joints have 1.125″ radius clearance without having to dimple the bellypan. Most of the U-joints I’m looking at will clear that with no problem, but there are some that don’t and I have to make sure I don’t get those. So I have to mark the ones that I know will fit and then cross them against other considerations, like how strong they are, and how much flex they have. Price is also a consideration, but there isn’t much leeway there. They pretty much cost what they cost, and there isn’t much difference between suppliers.

Anywho I have also figured out what to do with some of the leftover heavy angle stock: the panhard rod (or track bar, the two are interchangeable) needs a sturdy mount on both ends, and the quarter-inch thick stock will be perfect for that, being practically inflexible for the size needed for that bracket, no deflection at all as short as they are. And because right angles and flat surfaces, it’s practically self-jigging.

And I don’t know if I mentioned it explicitly before but because of the thickness required to prevent flex in the steering arm, the part is thick enough to be threaded for secure connection to the rest of the car. No extra nuts required, but I will use a safety nut on the bolt through the heim joint at the end of the drag link, because that bolt will be hanging down and could fall out of it wasn’t safetied somehow, which could cause a total loss of steering control. I don’t think saying that would be bad is any overstatement. The safety nut in this application would be equal to a double nut safety, as the threaded steering arm would function as the first nut.

And I’m getting a notification from my computer that my OS wants a shutdown to update, I’m starting to glaze over and try to faceplant into my keyboard because trying to think about something on-topic to write about. So this looks like a good time and place to stop writing this and publish and reboot.

This post is going to be heavy on the technical stuff

I hope this works, again, but here goes nothing.

I’m writing this to the beat of Frankie Goes To Hollywood “Two Tribes (Carnage Mix)” on my YTM player while I sort out how to commit acts of authorship, on the very technical subject of how to make threaded holes in the steering arm, so that the various things that need to be attached to the steering arm and vice-versa can be attached via threaded fasteners. To do this I consulted the Oracle Google who directed me to the Wizard Wikipedia

who has knowledge in all things arcane. And that last little bit was either appended to the link text, or placed in a separate paragraph below. Apparently the bugs are not properly exorcised from the editor.

Anywho, the plan is to tap threaded holes in the steering arm to accept the bolts that hold the caliper bracket to the other side of the spindle, and the bolt that goes through the heim joint on the drag link that acts as a tie rod end and put a nut on the bolt to lock the assembly together and prevent accidental disassembly while in use. That means drilling three holes of odd size, with the two holes for the bolts to the spindle being the same size and the hole for the heim joint being much larger. Since the caliper bracket uses 1/2″fine thread bolts I use the appropriate drill to make the final hole after drilling pilot holes because my drill press slips if I take too big a bite from quarter-inch thick stock. I have no idea how I’m going to drill the hole for the heim joint, because the biggest drill I can chuck in the drill press is several sizes smaller than the drill I need to use for a 5/8″ fine thread bolt. And before anyone can make a comment, the drill press was a gift, I was building bicycles at the time, and the press was sized for the materials and thicknesses I was working with at the time it was given to me many years ago. Also I think I wore that sucker plumb out back when I was building bicycles.

But, yeah, that’s the gist of it. I need to make 3 holes of certain sizes, perfectly perpendicular to the piece, and then thread them (also perfectly perpendicular to the piece), and the holes are on different planes of the piece.

Still thinking about improvements

Yep, mind still churning about the Sprint-T. This time I’m thinking about how to mount the steering box.

There are two orientations the box can take and still turn the front tires in the correct direction as commanded by the steering wheel: the kit orientation was pitman arm pointed forward controlling a steering arm pointed back, or the OE orientation of the pitman arm pointed back controlling steering arms pointed forward. The problem I’m trying to solve is making room for the engine and radiator and also sneaking the steering shaft from the steering wheel to the box around the radiator without hanging out in the breeze.

Aero is not critical but it is important for freeway fuel economy. I mean there is going to be a lot of junk hanging in the breeze simply because T-Bucket, but that’s still not an impediment to decent but not fantastic aero. For examples of decent aero and exposed wheels see https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS809US809&sxsrf=ALeKk02olFWp4zhsrQs1tNKIuVFdAMTU0A:1602022917053&source=univ&tbm=isch&q=images+lakester+racers&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiP3JG3gKHsAhUEKawKHdSNBDoQjJkEegQIChAB&biw=1517&bih=694 “lakester racers” that are required to have exposed wheels. The old belly tank racers are a good example of that.

Anyway, I have been thinking about it and there is a 1½” gap under the radiator because it sits on top of the frame that would be good to sneak the steering shaft through without hanging out in the breeze. The closest to a problem would be clearance for the U-joints to turn that close to the bellypan. And something to block the air from going under the radiator, but that would be a great place to mount the bearing that guides the steering shaft under the radiator. I really need to find out how big are those U-joints that connect to the steering shaft. I may need to make a relief bump in the pan for the U-joints to swing, but if I need one it wouldn’t be very big.

The other problem is properly bracing the top of the box to prevent it from rotating in reaction to the forces from the pitman arm hanging off the bottom of the box. Side to side is easy, just weld the mount to the top of the frame rail. Boom, you’re done! The other is a bit more tricky, because there has to be something to brace against to do the top part of the mount. On the kit the mount welds to the side of the frame rail, so the twisting moment from the force through the pitman arm is close to zero and is resisted easily by the sheer mass of the frame rail and the extremely short arm the force has to act through. It’s basically all sideways against the rail for the kit mount. Now there is another frame rail to run a brace from on the same side of the frame, plus its mirror on the other side of the frame for slightly better angle on the force. Which brings us to the actual point of the post, the reason why I mentioned the OE orientation of the steering box: I’m thinking of attaching the steering box mount to the front bulkhead with the drag link under the steering shaft and ahead of the axle.

If I move the box in front of the axle, then I could brace the top of the box against the front bulkhead at whatever place is convenient to mount the brace. The bottom of the mounting bracket still mounts to the frame extension that also acts as the mount for the panhard rod. As a point of fact, that was the original reason for the frame extension in the first place, someplace to mount the frame end of the panhard rod so the panhard rod could be the same length and parallel to the drag link for no bump steer. And now it looks like I only need to make a slight adjustment to the front of this extension to mount the steering box, because there are braces from the bulkhead in two directions to locate the front and triangulate it in two dimensions, and the vertical one can be used as the actual place to weld the mount.

So these are the pros and cons of moving the steering box in front of the axle:
Pros: simplifies the top mount of the box, lighter, gets the drag link completely away from interfering with any suspension links.
Cons: puts weight in front of the axle, increases to moment resisting changes in direction, susceptible to damage when hitting curbs while parking.

And that last one is only mentioned because it is a slight possibility, not because it’s likely to happen, and a curved skid plate in front of the box will prevent even the slight possibility from coming true. Or it might not even be a possibility because of how high the box has to be mounted for the drag link to be level, especially if I don’t drop the drag link at the steering arm on the spindle. I think mounting the drag link to the top of the pitman arm and the bottom of the steering arm will give enough offset to prevent binding. This will raise the bottom of the box to about 9-9½:” above ground with the street tires. Considering the frame is about 6″ above ground with the street tires that would be a very tall and vertical curb to hit the steering box. It would have to be a really tall and narrow parking bumper that didn’t block either front tire, a freak of parking bumpers.

And I still haven’t gotten this editor down pat, because I have no idea how to insert text to a link and not leave the URL all over the page, so I’m going to quit fighting it and publish the post.