Saturday, December 8, 2018

Sides for a Flatbed Trailer: Building a bulk material hauler

It's been at least a year since I've posted about an "old trailer" build - so, of course, it's time for another one!  Last time I worked with an old trailer, I built myself a trash trailer for hauling trash to the dump.  It works wonderfully - but it's not very useful for hauling stuff to the property.  In 2019, I expect to need to haul many yards of gravel, probably some compost, and an awful lot of long material that won't fit easily in my truck.  All of this most easily done with an open top trailer - the gravel and compost can be loaded with a bucket loader, assuming they can reach over the sides.  But, you also can't just put a pile of gravel on a flatbed trailer and expect it to stay in place.

I have access to an older flatbed trailer (that could use some new tires) that would be perfect - if it had sides.  It used to have a set of sides, but they haven't been around in years, so if I want to use it for all my hauling needs, I need to build new sides.  Which, of course, I did!

What goes into building trailer sides that should last a long time?  Well, an awful lot of urethane, really.  And since the slots aren't quite right for 2x4s, fun with a small table saw, some hand saws, and more urethane.  Keep reading for the details!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Senior Citizen Political Junkmail: The Social Security Roll Call

For reasons well beyond my understanding (that likely relate to Algorithms), I find myself on the receiving end of quite a bit of conservative political junk mail.  It's your bog standard "Trump is amazing, the Lib-ruhls are trying to ruin the country, give us money so we can stop them!" stuff.  But that's not all I get.

For even less comprehensible reasons, I receive junk mail (and spam phone calls) aimed at conservative seniors - your AARP, Social Security receiving, Medicare-covered folks.  And this stuff?  This stuff is just baffling.  I've decided to start documenting the worst of it, because if you haven't seen this stuff, it's just evilly manipulative and silly.

Your parents probably get mail like this.  Let's dive in and inspect it in detail.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Property Progress #3

It's time for another Property Progress post - covering most of the stuff I've gotten done as we head into winter.  So far, no snow, but the clouds and rain have most definitely hit hard, and are forecast to continue.  The generator is fueled, the tractor is ready to go for the snow, the snowblower is ready, and I'm set to hunker down and ride out the winter with plenty of design work for next year's projects.

And, as happens regularly, we've added birdhouses to our post-of-bird-houses.  The lowest one came from a silent auction at the school our church meets at.  This post is one of those "totally unplanned things that's happened and become cool" - we hadn't ripped the post down because it was out of the way, we wanted to put a few birdhouses, and the post seemed a good spot.  It turns out that, with the bushes behind it, it's a very good spot, and the local birds love it.  So we've added more houses.  Eventually, it'll be birdhouses all the way up!

What else have I done?  Keep reading to find out!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Church Planting Tech: Rugged Audio/Lighting Cables for Just Over $1/ft

Two weeks ago, I talked about a bunch of "ways that didn't work" for building high quality, rugged audio cable.  This week, I cover the other side: How to build your own high quality rugged audio/lighting cable, for about the same cost as the cheap stuff from China!

I've set out to solve quite a few problems here, mostly based on real world experience with repairing broken cables from a 3 year old church plant.  Plus, as is typical for me, far too much reading on cables, and a moderately decent understanding of AC waveforms.  It wasn't my strong suit in college, but I know enough to understand what I'm reading.

Given that, I've created what I think is a really, really good XLR/DMX cable.  It's based around a high quality, US manufactured cable, with additional strength, good connections, and built in "Tourizing" for additional strength.

Cost on a 25' cable for all this?  $30.

Interested?  Keep reading!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Open discussion post!

Or, more accurately, "I have been getting exceptionally good at cooking pancakes on Saturday mornings, but that requires being up at 5AM and it's quite late now."

Feel free to suggest future post ideas in the comments, or discuss... oh, anything more or less in the category of things this blog discusses.  Or simply Kerbal Space Program.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Cable Building: Technical Experiments and Failures

Or, "Things that didn't work."  I've been working for a while to build some really, really nice audio cables that meet spec as DMX cables as well.  Why?  Personal challenge, and to replace some of the older audio cables my church uses.  I've gone through and "tourized" a bunch of XLR cables to make them more rugged, but for not that much more than a pre-built cable, if you've got a soldering iron, you can build yourself something properly nice - with, at least on paper, far better audio performance in the bargain!

This road has not been smooth.  I like to document my failures as well as my successes, both because they're interesting, and because, hopefully, someone can learn something from them and avoid going down the same false paths I have.  If you want to watch a video of a beautiful build process, go watch The Art of Making a Nixie Tube.  If you want to find out how not to build some high performance XLR cables, stick around here!

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Cleaning up a TV Install: In-Wall Cable Kits, Wall Mounted NUCs!

If you're a regular reader, you've probably been wondering a bit about the last two weeks of posts.  I've gone on, in depth, about a passive NUC case, and about speaker stands.  Obviously, this has been building to something - and, the something is a rather significantly cleaned up TV install in the living room, with a hidden computer behind the TV!  *confetti pops*

Not all my projects are based around weird electronics out in my office.  Some are for the house, and aren't really for any reason other than to make the house look better.  And, in this case, to reduce the visual impact of the TV after having improved the system quite significantly.  Without cables, the TV doesn't attract as much attention when back against the wall, and we value that greatly.

The cables are hidden.  The TV computer is wall mounted (and absolutely invisible unless you're up against the wall looking for it).  And everything looks good.  What's involved in cleaning things up like this?  Read on and find out!