Silly bike upgrade

Ugly but it works


Bike fenders

Up cycled license plates are a perfectly reasonable piece of metal to re-purpose.

Rain Barrels

Some notes on making rain barrels. First: I decided that the most likely way for a self-installed bib to fail would be to drill and install it myself. The barrels I got lacked lids, so I couldn’t reach into them to hold a backing nut in place. Bellingham doesn’t have a place that stocks bung caps, so I ordered them on line. I got the brass fittings at hardware sales. I decided to go with a ball valve. Simple, quick to get maximum flow.

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So the top of the barrels are now the rounded bottoms. I drilled a four-inch hole in there, pretty close to the middle. This is because the elbows on the downspout go out to about six-inches.

The overflows are a pair of 1.5″ holes with 1.5in-1.25in threaded iron transitions. I used a linoleum knife to carve the holes wider. Do not use a spade bit, use a 1″ hole saw.

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The barrels are white now because I primed them. I’ll paint them soon. I wanted to put some screen into the inlet to try and keep leaf and moss garbage out of it. I’m also going to screen off the overflows, but I suspect that normal window screen is not going to keep mosquitoes out.

There is not a good way to put screen inside the four inch downspout transition, so I decided to cut the bottom out of some small deli tubs which happened to be about 4 inches wide. there is a pretty tight fit between the transition and these ad hoc screen brackets. The trick to getting the screen to fit in is to cut triangular gaps out of the sides of the screen squares.

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Replacing a loud fan in my home ZFS NAS

The blue-LED fan I have in my ZFS on Linux NAS is a bit louder than the other fans that I’ve been hoping for. I am going to replace it with a 600rpm fan.



You will notice that I have drilled extra ventilation into the top case panel.



Notice the clear-plastic fan. It is held in with zip ties.


Zip tied those SAS cables to tidy them up.


See the 140mm low profile fan on the cpu? Pretty quiet. 120mm 600 rpm exit fan.


Let’s snip some zippies!




Getting the fan power connected is always a chore. My fingers are almost too big.




Fan is now attached and power cables are managed well enough.


Trim it up.


Plenty of inlet.



Now I put it up on it’s shelf and get it plugged in.


and there’s a power switch at the farthest point back there.


Alright. Powered up and out of the way.


DIY Spirograph


I saw this in a maker book and I must say that the editing of the book was deplorable. It was edited for brevity and not for guidance. This will need a complete rebuild to actually work.

DIY Travel Mug Lid

DIY Travel Mug Lid

How did I make this lid?

I lose lids off of travel mugs frequently. The great shame of travel mugs is the cheap caps that just fly off, into traffic, when biking. For a while I had been using lids from other disposable coffee cups. But then I found a lid to an empty peanut butter jar. So, pop quiz: how did I make this bad boy by spending no money on it?

Standing Workstation 2012

I’ve been computing at a standing workstation since 2010, and since then I haven’t had my lower back bother me for a while. When beginning my new job at Candela Technologies, I got a new workstation and decided to build…eh…over-build an adjustable multi-monitor standing workstation. Turns out it looks a lot like a mining frame from the 19th century. Wish I had some brass parts, then it would be Steampunk.

I really did want to do the triple-portrait mode for my monitors, but while I’m sure I could have gotten some magic done with Xrandr, I did need to get to work, and the ATI driver would not correctly generate something that Java, XFCE, Gnome or Unity would display properly on. I took this into account when building the swing-arms, so I use it landscape mode.




Towing a Wire Hand Cart?

I really like the idea of the Burley Travoy, which is a much refined version of the concept of pulling something like a (Whitmore) wire utility cart–the kinda cart that “grandmas” do their shopping with.

Well…i’m not a grandma, and I don’t ride a fasionable bike, either. So, when packing a pile of canvas sacks around a farmers market, as they fill up, I really want to put them in a stroller because the do get heavy, and commuting back to the bike stand after every visit to a booth is something of a time waster. This is a good opportunity for such a wire cart. I suspect the price of a wire cart is much lower than a Travoy.

Possible cons to towing one of these wire utility carts is bouncing and rattling. The wheels on these carts are so bitty I don’t see how you could safely tow them at a speed over about 10mph. I wonder if it would be possible to put some 12in kids wheels on such a cart and extend the front legs with some tin cans.

The only other bit of engineering is coming up with a hitch. For a short bike (not a long tail), a horizontal pipe mounted to the seat-post…something like this I’ve seen advertised as a kid’s wagon, or golf bag caddy towing hitch. I bet about 20in long segment of 2in dia of PVC would be a good starting point.

Is this crazy? Let me know how many wheels I’m re-inventing.

Quick thot on handlebar bags: a trash can

I was reading Ken Kifer’s article on building your own panniers, and he had a good suggestion on a DIY front pack: the bottom half of a small office waste bin. You can get kits to adapt handlebar brackets to baskets, you would apply one of them. The benefits include it being rigid, being brightly colored, and waterproof. The challenge is that you need to improvise a lid, and you probably wouldn’t get the benefit of a map window on top. However, cutting up a clear 2L soda bottle might give you a map window, come to think of it.

But what would make a clever lid? Huh–the rotating flap of a kitchen waste bin of course [forehead+palm=thwap!]