Monday, January 16, 2017

Other things

I don't just work on my computer, I do things in the real world too, though they may be less interesting to those reading this blog.  We'll see.  Lately, I've been working on wrapping up a few projects in the basement and generally cleaning and organizing the mess/chaos/disaster zone that presently exists down there.  I now have enough room around the exercise bike that I don't feel claustrophobic when I sit down on it.  Yay!

One of the projects I wrapped up is fabricating replacement wheel tubs for my decrepit but vintage Airstream trailer.  To give a sense of perspective, it predates the start of the Eisenhower administration by years.  When I got it, I knew it was fixer upper, but I didn't quite realize how much so until I began working on it.  One of the first things I discovered is that the curbside (i.e. right) wheel tub was missing, with a few wooden boards crudely assembled as a substitute.  Then I discovered the other one was bent and corroded in places.  So I needed replacements.  There were also some aluminum floor joists that were mangled at some point prior to my acquiring it.  Those needed fixing/replacing as well.

Now, I have no real training in, and little practical experience with, metal working.  Still, I managed to cobbled together a homemade metal bending brake from plans I found on the internet.  (Go internet!)  Alas, I would have had to special order the steel angle the plans called for, so I made do.

Homemade metal bending brake

It worked, but alas there was good reason for using slightly larger angle iron than I did.  And because the hings and handles attached in the same area, there wasn't really room for two bolts to connect the handle with the working mechanism.

It is not supposed to be bent quite like that.
It did work well enough for me to fabricate the pieces I needed, though, which should get installed into the trailer once the whether is better.  The work isn't as polished as I'd like (though being aluminum, it is quite shiny), but it should be functional enough.

Wheel tub for a vintage Airstream trailer

Tip of an aluminum floor joist for a vintage Airstream trailer

And now that I've fabricated this stuff, I can put the bending brake off to the side, put the completed pieces off to the side, put away the folding table and the boards on sawhorses that had been taking up so much space.  Next up in the basement will be stowing the remainder of the tools, and leftover aluminum . . . someplace.  This will also free up room to store a few other items that are currently in need of homes, so I can put yet more things back in the places they belong.

I did write a tiny bit more of The Forbidden Valley today, but it may be a few more days before there's another snippet.  I also tried to use one of the plate tectonics maps that was output in conjunction with the digital globe I created back in September.  Alas, the map looks too stretched horizontally when mapped onto a globe.  I'm going to need to go back and enhance the plate tectonics simulator to support rectangular maps in the near term, after all.  Darn.  I was hoping to have that completely finished in the next couple days.  Oh, well.

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