Sunday, September 29, 2019

Busy Weekend

Besides going up to Harriman Crossing, Wyoming with my friend Well Seasoned Fool to see UP 4014 on Friday, I've been bouncing around doing a bunch of other things.

I uploaded the video I took to YouTube, but can't figure out how to embed it her!


Just do a YouTube search for "UP 4014 Big Boy At Harriman Crossing", and all five I posted should turn up. (Just fixed the above link. It now takes you to all five videos)...

Hmm...let's see if this works....

On Sunday from 1600 to 1700 MDST I'll be operating the 30 Meter Digital Mode station at the special event for the 100th year of WWV operation.

I also loaned the group putting it on a couple of 35 Amp Astron power supplies with the cables and RigRunner DC distribution panels to help them out a bit.

I'll take my camera and get there extra early for my shift so I can get the idea where things are, and who's who.

And ordered some spare and maintenance parts for the RC car. I'm also going to mount my GoPro to it, and drive it around the neighborhood. Should be a hoot!

Have a blessed Sunday!

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Big Vise Built From Scratch

I know Phil will go bonkers over this when he sees it.

The guy made this from scratch in his "shop". And what a shop it is.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Oh, Lordy.....Another New Hobby..... a moment of weakness when I was at the local Hobby Shop, I bought an ARRMA "Senton" 4x4, Ready-to-Run, Radio Controlled model.

Hey, it's for the grandson, don't cha know?

Anywhoo....Back in the mid 1980's, during "Act II" of my life, I was hugely involved in R/C models. Even exercised my American right to run a small business supplying a few items to the local hobby shops. Barely broke even, had Tons 'O Fun, and met some cool people.

Fast Forward about 30 years.....

As I was digging things out down in the basement, I came across my little Kyosho "Mini-Z" R/C car. We used to "race" these on the ship during our transit back to Home Port, and we had a ball. The Company bought the cars (Radio Shack "X-Mods" cars), the track, and a truckload of AA batteries. I wanted my own car, asked if this one would be acceptable, and the "Sanctioning Body" approved.

So I ordered up some new tires, and was playing with it one day when The Little Guy was here, and he just loved it. I bought a couple of "RC Stunt Cars" at Harbor Freight for $7 each, but you can't really drive them; they're only good for doing spins, wheelies, and crashing in to stuff.

Naturally, that just won't do for TLG. I want him to learn how to control one of these, and to do that, you need something controllable.

And since he's a beginner (ya think?), that means learning how to drive one in wide-open spaces, like the cul de sac we live on, along with all eight front yards that line the sides of the street.

And that means 4-wheel drive, and something larger than a 1/12th or 1/10th scale car.

So we got this:

It's a 1/8th scale model (they claim 1/10th scale...HAH!), about 22" long and 12" wide.

The motor in this brute looks like it escaped from my Makita cordless drill:

It's a "550 Motor", indicating a standard "can" size. 540 motors are used in some models, and the 380 motor is about "slot car" sized, so this is a YUUUGE motor compared to what I've used in the past.

It's well laid out, and seems pretty well built.

It has hypoid-drive differentials for the front and rear axles (Just Like Dad's Car!), but NO center differential. Instead, the gearbox powers the driveshaft between the two differentials through a "slipper clutch", which is really there to protect the motor from the shocks that happen after a jump, when the wheels are spinning full power, unloaded, and then slam back into the ground. It's a clever, inexpensive way to protect the driveline. This would be a no-no for pavement racing because the front and rear axles turn at the same speed, but running in grass and dirt there's plenty of wheel slip so that it doesn't matter.

The only weak point according to the guys that have had these for a while is the steering servo, which fails under heavy use.

The orange box on the left is the servo, and the orange box on the right is the electronic speed control.

A direct replacement is $22 at the hobby shop, while the upgraded servo is $35.

HOWEVER....judicious shopping can find even better quality servos (stronger gears, ball bearings, more torque) for around $20. Since they pretty much all use the same connectors, and are the same size, installing a bigger, beefier, better-built servo is a no-brainer for $20.

And even though you can get a lot of Hot Rod parts for these, I'm not planning on buying any. When something breaks, I'll replace it with a better part, if available, but otherwise I'm just gonna leave it stock. I'm not going to compete with it, just have fun with TLG blasting around the front and back yards.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Tear The House Apart Day.....And Now Put It All Back.....

Well, we tore it apart last night in preparation for today.

Having the downstairs carpet cleaned today, along with the tile and grout in the entryway, kitchen, and sun room.

So I'm going to be busy, and might be offline for a while while they're doing the sun room, aka the Radio Room.

We've been here almost two years now, and since we'll be hosting Christmas this year, my Sweet Little Wife wants to get some of this 'heavy lifting' stuff out of the way.

Be back later.....

Well, that was fairly painless. Nice young guy from ChemDry, all by himself, did three rooms of carpet, two stairways, and ALL the tile and grout in about 5 hours.

So now I have a couple of fans set up as exhaust fans, and the windows on the opposite side open, and we have a nice flow of air through the downstairs.

It looks great!

The tile looks amazing, and the two spots where the glaze had chipped came out the same shade as the tile, something we didn't expect. So, I got out the "Tile Repair Kit", and brushed in some of the "glaze" from the kit where the tile was damaged. Hopefully this will seal it well enough that it doesn't discolor again.

The nap of the carpet bounced back nicely, but it'll get flattened out again in the traffic areas. My wife says this isn't Real Good Carpet, but considering the people who put it in were planning on having 4 or 5 college kids living here, they probably figured it'd get trashed, so why spend big bucks on top-of-the-line carpet.

It most likely came from Home Depot, like all the new appliances, vanities, light fixtures, plumbing, etc.

Not much odor, except when he was doing the grout. My highly calibrated sense of smell indicates it was some kind of glycol or alcohol, perhaps butyl cellosolve product. It dissipated quickly, and now with the fans running, the odor is almost gone.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Supra "Timing Cover #3" Refurb OOOOPS! Annnnnd Homemade BREAD!

I saw this coming last night when I started applying the first color coat to the "DOHC" lettering.

The wrinkle finish on the cover came out pretty well:

BUT (always one of them hanging around somewhere...) I noticed the paint wasn't brushing out very nicely, and it struck me that I didn't take the paint off the letters, and the very rough surface was making the painted letters look a bit weird, like the paint had crazed:

So now I'll have to carefully scrape the paint off the letters, leaving them with a flat surface so the gloss paint flows out and looks good. This wasn't a problem with the cam cover lettering as I'd block sanding the paint off the ribs and lettering, giving me a flat surface to brush the paint on to.

Oh, well, live and learn, and DON'T get in a hurry!

And with the weather cooling off (gonna have lows in the low 40's this week), thoughts turn to firing up the oven, and making some bread. There's little that beats the smell of fresh baking bread on a cool day. I used to "help" my Mom bake bread all the time when I was little (I was the "Punch Down" guy!), along with "helping" her make rolls, biscuits, cookies, and many other home-baked goodies. I used to be a pretty good cook, with a few specialty items like chili, spaghetti sauce, and of course burgers and steaks.

So now I'm on the hunt for good bread recipes. I bought some yeast, and it's in the fridge, and we have everything else I need to make "basic bread", but I'm thinking of maybe trying some rye bread, or a 'peasant bread' made with a coarser flour.

So I'm off to the InterWebz to see what I can find for bread recipes.

I'm sure there's thousands of them out there.....

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Supra "Timing Cover #3" Refurbishment

When we last saw our intrepid hero, he was praising his Sweet Little Wife (hmmm...might start an acronym page like the guys at the Chant) for letting him clean parts in the kitchen sink.....

Today's episode takes us deeper into the refurbishment of "Timing Cover #3" on my '85 Supra.

After the cover dried, I started doing the final cleaning of it to get it ready for paint. It's going to be 85* and sunny this weekend, which is perfect weather for wrinkle painting stuff. It was pretty clean after the bath I gave it last night, but still had some crud in a few of the recessed areas, and in places around the edges where my scrub brush didn't reach, so I cleaned all those areas using my Secret Sauce, Spray-Bottle Version (Windex with ammonia-D and about 30% denatured alcohol), and some other solvent for the greasy bits that were hiding.

In the process of cleaning it, I noticed a bunch of unsightly 'casting flash' from when it was injection-molded 30-odd years ago. Besides leaving sharp edges that can slice your hands when working on it, it's ugly, and has to go. I got out my trusty X-Acto knife with a new blade, and trimmed/scraped the flash off, then followed that with some 600 grit sandpaper on the edges to smooth them out nicely.

Yes, indeed you do detect some Mission Creep setting in, as usual with all my projects. This one doesn't have much, though.....

So after taking care of all the rough edges, and smoothly blending them in, I noticed that the plastic had retained much of it's gloss (hey, it's clean!), and since that's a Bad Thing when it comes to paint adhesion, I scuffed it up with some 600 grit that was already in the sanding block. Then I dusted it off, wiped it down with some brake cleaner, and set it aside while I did some other things.

Then I noticed (man, I'm really observant these days...) that it wasn't "flat", and had some low spots. Even though the wrinkle paint is quite thick, and easily fills in things like sanding scratches, it ain't that thick, and the low areas would likely show up after the paint cures.

So I block sanded the entire thing.

Is it 100% "flat" now? No, but then it's not going to Pebble Beach, either. Which is actually moot, because they'd take points off for it not being 100% OEM.

That aside, it's plenty flat, almost all the gloss is gone, and I'm just waiting for the weather to heat up to paint it. I'll bust any remaining gloss with a Scotch-Brite pad, wipe it down, and shoot the wrinkle paint on Saturday.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

God Bless My Sweet Little Wife

For letting me do Guy Things, like clean parts in the kitchen sink:

No, I didn't drag an oily, greasy front cover in from the garage!

I cleaned as much of the road grime and oil deposits off of it as I could out in the garage. Since this is a plastic part, it has to be really clean or the paint won't bond properly to it. Warm water and dish soap are excellent at getting off any remaining oils, and it fits in the kitchen sink nicely.

I'll check it again after it dries overnight, and spot clean any remaining deposits with brake cleaner, which doesn't leave any residue. We'll be getting a few days of nice, warm, sunny weather, so I'll get it wrinkle painted and baked out.

And the wiper arms are finished!

Time to reassemble them, bag them, and put them on the shelf until needed, after the windshield replacement.

And after carefully inspecting the second coat of color under a strong light, I find I have a few 'light spots' where the paint looks "shadowed", so they need another coat.

Just about have the NLE software I'm using to edit the Rist Canyon video figured out after trying a few versions. I did all my "work" using Adobe Premiere Pro, and these are all laid out differently, and function a bit differently than I'm used to. The same thing happened when I switched between Photoshop and GIMP.

I'm too lazy to drag out and set up the audio/video editing PC I have down in the basement, so time to get used to using Linux software again.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

2019 Rist Canyon Mountain Festival

Our DIL was running a bit late from an appointment, so we didn't meet up with them until 1100. They live at the junction of Hwy 287 and Rist Canyon Road, so once we got to their place we were already about half-way there.

And yes, I had a camera with me!

I took my GoPro, as I want to get to learn how to use it and set it up for what I consider to be "Good Video". I'd already set the power button in "One Button" mode, which means it starts recording as soon as you power it on, and set the video to 1080p, 60Hz frame rate. I might cut that back to a 30Hz frame rate to save on storage a bit.

Unfortunately, I used the default Field-Of-View, which is "Wide", and while that's great for panoramic shots, the people look faaaar away in the video, and there's a bit of "Fisheye Lens" distortion at the edges of the frames. I just set it to "Medium", and I'll shoot some video in both settings tomorrow to see how it compares. the video off the camera and on this PC, and installed some FOSS software for video editing, and I'm currently editing the video "for publication" here on the InterWebz.

The weather was gorgeous, partly sunny and around 75*, with nice breezes coming down the canyon. And really dry at 7200', where the RCVFD Fire Station is located.

We had hay rides, got to watch a K9 demonstration with the Larimer County Sheriffs guys, and The Little Guy got to sit in a Life Flight helicopter, go to the petting zoo, and look at FIRE TRUCKS!

We got to meet (and thank) the Firefighters, EMT's, and Paramedics, as well as the Larimer County Sheriff's Deputies. The Colorado State Forestry people were there, and I brought home some hand-outs on the management practices here, which are very different from those in Kalifornia!

Lots of local vendors for food and artsy stuff, and live music. The "Dunk The Firefighter" tank was doing a good business, as were the vendors.

And we brought home these two little guys:

The picture of the little Trash Panda didn't come out very well, and it's not evident he's almost free-standing in a hollowed out aspen log.

The cool thing about the bear cub is if I'm having a Bad Day In The Radio Room, I can flip his sign over:

So we had another great time at a local community event, gave some minor support to a worthy organization directly and via the vendors.

And I'll try and get some video up on Sunday. I really want to learn how to use the camera before the next time I get to see UP 4014, the Big Boy!

Friday, September 6, 2019

Cam Cover Progress

Now that the clear on the cam covers has cured for a couple of weeks, with several multi-hour sessions in full sunlight, I put the first coat of color on the lettering.

It's been 20-odd years or so since I did any detail work like this, but as I spent many, many years building model cars and airplanes, the brush strokes and such came back after some practice on a scrap of aluminum.

I have to give it another coat after this coat cures and shrinks a bit, then I'll let the enamel color cure for a while, mask off the rest of the cover, and give the lettering a few light coats of high-temp clear to seal it on there.

Got the GoPro out, the batteries charged, and set it up for "One Button" recording. I upgraded the firmware in it a day or so before I made the attempt to record Big Boy 4014 go by, but didn't think to check if a firmware upgrade set everything back to the defaults (it does, and I should have known better), so when I used like I had before, it didn't record.


So I'll have at least one camera with me tomorrow for the Rist Canyon Mountain Festival!

More on that tomorrow.....

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Battleship Iowa Amateur Radio Association Gets A New Flag

Actually, it's our first flag, and the members donated the funds.

Yay guys! Even though I'm 1100 miles away, I still take part by helping electronically when I can.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Summer's End.....Neighborhood Update.....

Well, all the neighborhood kiddies are back in school, and CSU had the first football game of the year.

Yeah, they lost. 52 to 31. I was listening to it a bit on the radio, and at 3 or 4 minutes into the 3rd quarter when it was 31-28 in favor of the other team, and the Rams QB had a receiver *WIDE OPEN*, and overthrew the ball by about 10 yards.....

I figured they'd never recover, and was right.

Oh well....I'm not a big sports fan, but it would be nice to see the 'hometown team' win one.

I'm a Cubs fan, so losing games is no big thing to me.....

And the community pool has now closed for the year. It's a nice pool, clean, well-maintained, and a good place for all the young families here to take their kids.

There were two house for sale about a block from here, and they both sold relatively fast for here, i.e., less than 30 days on the market. Nice places, well-kept, and "properly priced" for sale.  I noticed a U-Haul truck and trailer there unloading things the other day, so I figured it was the new owners. Looked like a young couple, which is typical for here as the original owners of a lot of houses here are selling and down-sizing.

WELL.....They had a party the other night, and by 2145 it was obvious that nobody over there was feeling any pain.

By 2200 they were getting louder, and around 2215 I was starting to wonder about a non-emergency number for the local PD.

About 2220 I stepped out the back door to take a gander at what was going on as it was starting to get LOUD, and low and behold......Red and Blue Flashing Lights! The PD was there, and it took about 15 minutes for things to shut down, and all the people leave. No idea if they were waiting around the corner to hand out DUI tickets for those leaving.

And it's our second day of "record breaking" temperatures. It hit and held 100* for a couple of hours today, and as of 1630 it's down to 94*. The humidity was down around 8%, but it's coming up a bit as things cool off. Supposed to be a mild cold front moving through Tuesday night, which should break this current round of unseasonably warm weather.

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