Saturday, October 17, 2015

Update - October 2015

I have really been busy as of late... adding all sorts of new CNC skills, making changes, etc. I also migrated a lot of my CNC stuff to my main web page. This way, I can put all the CNC related stuff into one repository that people can find a bit easier.

Take a look: http://askjerry.info/ Hopefully, I'll have more interesting stuff here soon... it all depends on how busy I get at work.

I seriously doubt anyone is reading this... I mean... I think I got my last comment like 2 years ago. Oh well... it's a place to put down my thoughts I guess. Even if I'm the only one reading it.

Jerry

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Home Sweet Home - Installed the HOME switches and tested them.

I am really excited about today's post. I've had the milling machine since about 2001 or so... and this is the first time I have completely retrofit it with a full set of automatic homing switches. I got some magnetic sensors which are impervious to dust, moisture, noise, and all the other "stuff" that usually would interfere with being highly accurate.

I can now tell the machine to find "HOME" and it will automatically move to the proper locations... not only that... but it has an amazing accuracy of about 1/75,000 inch or so.

That's 0.00075 inch or about 0,01905 mm give or take... a piece of paper is 0.003 inch. (0,0762mm)

I was hoping to get it within 1/1000 of an inch... so I'm very happy with this!!!


Video - Home Sweet Home - January 6th, 2015

Be sure to leave a comment!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

CNC Stuff

I've been doing a few things since getting my CNC mill running again. A month or so ago my friend Mitch was saying that he had a gear on his scooter that he needed to get off. The problem was that it was seized up pretty tightly with no real way to hold the gear without damage while he broke the nut loose.

We took a bunch of photographs and such, made a bunch of measurements via email... and I cut a part. It was a horrible failure. So... when I had the chance, I went to his place and took more measurements, tracings, and pictures... then made a new part. I honestly totally forgot about it until I saw this post for this video...


So it worked... yeay!

I need to come up with a project so I can teach Mitch some machining... just because I think it would be fun to do.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Eve needs emergency gallbladder surgery

Last Monday we got up like any other day, and Eve said her tummy was really hurting badly.

She asked me to run to the HEB (local grocery) to get her some things to make her feel better. When I go back she didn't look so good... and she said she needed to go to the hospital. I figured she probably had something bad to eat, she thought she had an ulcer.

It didn't take long for them to realize that she had a huge gallstone and that her gallbladder was damaged beyond repair... it needed to come out.


The surgery went very well... but she was still having some issues... they ran some tests and determined that she had another stone which had fallen into the duct between her liver and lower digestive tract... she needed a second surgery to get that out.

To cheer her up, I made a little video for her...


The second surgery went very well... and within a couple of days she was able to come home. We were home about 1/2 hour and she decided she wanted to go grocery shopping... so off we went.


We are both glad things went well... she is still recovering, but she is already feeling much better.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mill - First big project (In a long while.)

My friend Wolf came over last night... he wants to build a CNC machine from scratch. He wants to be able to cut foam with a hot wire... all under CNC control. He drew up the first couple of parts... one of which is a plate about 10x11 (254x279mm) inches made from 1/4 inch (6mm) aluminum.

 
The part as laid out in Aspire Software

When we laid it all out, we took into consideration the mill's maximum 11.5 inch movement in then Y-Axis... but we didn't account for the overall size of the sheet. So when we tried to move to the area for the outside cut, it would hit the mill. We had to make all the drill holes, then the inside cut.

For the outside, we had to cut the bottom, move the head forward, then cut the top. We learned to be more careful in laying out the parts... but we managed to get it all done in one evening.

Here it is on the milling machine... I have the inner-hole cutting file shown on the control computer. It worked flawlessly and finished the part nicely.

Wolf and the finished part.

We have several more to make... so we are feeling pretty good about the project so far!



Sunday, July 13, 2014

It's Alive! - After 6 years, the mill is back online.

It has been an eternity since I left St Louis to start my new life here in Texas. My milling machine was carefully packed in grease and sat for about 6 years in my old garage before I had the space and resources to get it down here to Kyle Texas.

I've been bringing the machine back slowly... doing it right.

When I first made the conversion to CNC back in 2001, I pieced it together as best I could... but there were a lot of things I wanted to do differently. This time... I took my time and worked out how to do each part properly. I want the machine to be capable of more than it was, I want it safer, accurate, and smarter. Right now it's better than it ever was... but I still need to add automatic home position, and error checking.

In the past, if a driver failed, I had to quickly hit the emergency stop, and figure out how to reset everything.  When I finish the new electronics, it will automatically stop and save it's position so I can make repairs and take off right where it stopped. (or one command line before that.)

But for now... I was making several weights for the iGlide when I noticed some were drilled improperly... instead of throwing them out... this was the perfect opportunity to test out the mill on some solid steel.

How did it do?

Take a look and see!


I think it's running very nicely.

Keep checking in... I'll be giving a tour of the workshop and showing all our additions and tools.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Milling machine Progress #2 - Getting the machine back online.

I bought a Dell Optiplex computer for $99 and wired up an interface for the milling machine. I also got the parts that I ordered in the last update... so real progress is being made.



Once I get the final axis wired up... I should be able to mill some parts. That could happen as early as tomorrow if I am up to it. Been working quite a bit lately... I may just want to take some time off to chill out. Guess I'll have to see how I feel in the morning.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Milling update #1A - Minor progress.

Just a minor milling machine update... I connected the PC and got the spindle (main 3HP motor) to come on/off under computer control. I also got the wet/dry coolant relay working under computer control. I'm running LinuxCNC:  http://www.linuxcnc.org/

I connected up the X-axis and started running tests on it... it was behaving badly... moving fine in one direction, failing in the other. Running okay at moderate speed but failing and stalling at low speed. I decided to try another driver so I pulled one off the A-axis. This time as soon as I touched the shaft it went nuts. (Actually a good thing.) It told me that there was a loose mechanical connection. 


I tightened the screw and it worked flawlessly... but I noticed the encoder flexing badly. I needed a shaft coupler...  they allow the shaft to flex slightly without changing rotational movement.

I looked at McMaster Carr and found one... $22 each... then decided to look on Amazon. found a better one... $6.35 each. I ordered 4 of them... but they will take 17 to 22 days to get here. 

(I can wait... don't want to... but it will be worth it.)

 
I also ordered 4 magnetic switches at about $7.50 each. These won't care if they get grease or oil on them... and will detect metallic objects up to 11mm (0.4 inch) away. I'll have to come up with some kind of mount... should keep me busy until the shaft couplers get here.

 I'll set them up as homing switches. It will allow me to have the milling machine automatically detect the end of travel and not allow someone to run the machine farther than it is designed to go. It hasn't had that feature before... but Eve's mill does... so now I'll have it too.
How many guys have to compete with their wife to have the better CNC machine??? 
Crazy huh?

 Next update should have more video... stay tuned!


Saturday, June 7, 2014

June 6th - Mill Progress #1 - Testing 3-Phase Power

Wolf came over today and helped me connect up the 3-phase power converter. Not only does this beast need 220 volts... twice what is normally found in an American household... but instead of one power line... one phase... and a ground line... this monster takes THREE power lines.

The converter makes the other two and feeds all three to the mill for power... 3 horse power in this case.

How did it go???


I think it went well!

Next up... set-up a computer and wire up the electronics.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Getting the Shop Ready - Making Changes

This weekend while Eve has been at work, I've been in the shop all day moving things around to make the place more usable. Even though there is now a massive milling machine in the heart of the garage... I was able to make more room for use to walk around and use the tools.


This is a view looking back at the rear wall. I have been doing some insulating so there is still some stuff on the floor by the Laguna mill. You can walk in the back door, have access to all the tools on the table, reach the supply shelves, and walk to the mill, grinder, lathe... and newest addition... refrigerator. 

I still have several boxes of stuff to go through... and likely I'll be selling/giving away more stuff. I need to turn this into a workspace where we can start making things for the Etsy page, craft fairs, etc. I also want to get to where my friends can come over and work on projects with me.

This is the view when you walk into the back door... nice wide isles... and you can actually reach everything. Still a bit cluttered... but I'm going to take a rest... see a movie,  and work on it during the week.

I'll add more when I make better progress. Looks like I may need to work on the air conditioner as the lightning strike seems to have taken it out as well as the Laser Engraver mother board. It also seems to have taken out the LED night nights and controller.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The mill has been successfully moved!

It's been five years in the making... but the milling machine is finally moved from St Louis to Kyle, TX. I'm really happy about that. I still have a great deal of work to do putting the electronics back together and getting it all calibrated. But overall... very happy and excited. It was an epic trip... we had delays, engine problems, and more delays... but all said and done... it's home.


I'll post more when I get the electronics up and the new computer loaded and calibrated. I'm hopeful to have some really cool projects in the near future. A special thanks to my friend Riley for all the help, putting up with me, and for doing a great job. I also want to thank Mitch Bergsma for loaning me a second GoPro camera to do the time-lapse videos... that really made the video great.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Moving the Mill - 3500 pounds, 890 miles - The big haul

It's moving day... we are pulling the mill from the spot it has been since 2002 and moving it 890 miles from Overland, MO to Kyle, TX.

Driving from IL to MO with the new trailer... nice view.

We needed to buy a new trailer because U-Haul won't allow the larger ones to go cross-country. Eve was very helpful in finding a great deal... I owe her a lot for that. So, $830 later... a new trailer.

The main body of the mill... the rest is in the truck.

The trailer is rated for 2,900 pounds (1315 Kg) but the whole mill and electronics weigh 3,500 pounds (1587 Kg) so we had to tear down the mill into "smaller" parts. Size is relative...  the motor alone is a "holy crap this is heavy" part... but compared to the "block-o-iron" that is the mill body... it's lightweight.

Seriously... did I just call a 75 pound (35 Kg) motor lightweight??

A 1989 truck pulling a 1987 milling machine... old school, epic, and awesome.

So the adventure begins... I'm in the hotel waiting for Riley to wake up... seems he needs more than 4 hours of sleep. (The slacker.... kidding!) But here was the mood last night when we finished loading up...



Hopefully we can get everything there in one piece... the trailer is 98% of it's rated weight. But they told me that it actually has a 3500 pound rating... but if they specify anything over 2900, it has to have it's own brakes. The trailer is fully refurbished... new bearings, wheels, etc. So... the adventure begins.  (It's the VERY LAST thing I had left in Missouri... whoo!)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Traveling Man - Lots of stuff going on...

I'm going to Virginia tomorrow... was supposed to go home, but I got a last-minute repair job call.

I know my boss is wondering why I groan a bit when I have to go from a programming job to a repair job... but I have my reasons.  When I program, I need a second monitor... so I have one suitcase with a monitor and my ever-present GoPro just in case I see neat stuff to video... and one suitcase with a week's worth of clothing and such.

When I go on a repair job, I don't need the second monitor... but I do need test equipment, spare parts, stuff like that... and my usual suitcase for clothing and such.

So what happens when I have to do both jobs on the same trip? 

I become Mr. Pack Mule.


Yes... each one of them is just under 50 pounds. MY original laptop is having issues... so I have it and my new one... plus the one for the test equipment... yup... three laptops. Gotta pull each one out and put it into a bin at security... that's gonna look like a small parade of trays with my shoes, phone, etc. I plan to get there early.

The Mill - The saga continues...

I tried to get the milling machine shipped next week... I raised the price, had an interested party, then all I needed to do was click "BOOK" and it would have been locked in. Before making it final, I asked if he could do the pickup between the 19th and 22nd because I would be in Missouri... He said he was broke down right now, and could I put the mill on a palette so he could pick it up tomorrow.


REALLY??? 
Just put it on a palette...

Well... IF I owned a forklift and could put it on a palette... I could put it on a trailer and take it myself. (Which is what I will have to do now.)  I never heard back from him again...

I just got a BID REJECTED message and that was it.

So... Plan-B.

I'll get some TX friends, buy an engine hoist... and do it myself. I think I see a YouTube video in the works. Yeah... pretty sure. More on this adventure later... I'm taking some friends to dinner to discuss when I get back.

Ya gotta plan ahead when you are going to move 3,200 pounds (1450 Kg) of equipment.

Whoo!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A reflection of 2013 - posted a bit late.

I started writing this around November of 2013, but I never clicked the "Publish" button so it sat here until today, May 4th. Now I suppose it is a bit of reflection as as much as my thoughts for that time as it is still relevant; and I thought it should be included as part of my ramblings.

 In June I turned 53, and on my birthday, June 12th, my aunt Sandy Clark... my lifelong mentor, guide, and friend suddenly had a fatal heart attack and was gone. It reminded me that life is a temporary thing, a gift that we only experience for a relatively short time in the eternity of existence.

 I met a new friend around that time, someone who would become a big influence to me. He is a fellow YouTube videographer... and to put that into perspective, where I had 200 subscribers he had almost 80,000. His name is Mitch Bergsma, and this is his YouTube channel.

 He is very active whereas I found myself doing less and less. He motivates me, and I guess I inspire him when we build and create. It is an odd mix...he is 20 years my junior... but somehow it works. 

An example is when we went to Jacobs Well in Wimberly, TX. It's a very deep hole... 30 feet at the main column with a cave at the bottom. I would not have imagined myself free diving to the bottom... and yet I did.


I think we all need someone in our lives that does that... pushes our limits a bit more, drives us to be better in life.

I have found this drive and energy in Eve... we fight constantly... but in the wake of our arguments it forces each of us to look at things with a better perspective... and in the end, that which does not kill us makes us stronger.

I love her... honestly I do... and I'm hopeful that through it all we both become better people from the experience. So far, my life has been evolving each passing year... generally not as smoothly as I would like... but always for the better as we move through the years.

Milling machine... getting ready to ship. May 2014

Hello folks... is anyone really out there?

Lots has happened since my last post... I got married again... 3rd times the charm right?


Another big event is that I am now in a position to get my milling machine down from St Louis. As fate would have it... I needed to go to St Louis for work... so while here I prepped the huge machine for shipping.

Before Prep Work

 After Pulling the motor and prepping.

The machine weighs about 3,200 pounds (1450 Kg)... yes folks... that's 1.5 tons of fun. The garage door is 81 inches tall (2.05 Meters)... with the 5HP motor and Z-axis mounted... 95 inches (2.4 meters) it was NOT going to fit through the garage door. Taking them off just got it down to size.

78 1/2 inches tall. (About 2 meters)

Nothing about this machine is small... here is the power supply for the machine... it has a 220 VAC to 70 VDC system. I had it running from 115 VAC and was getting about 30 VDC for the motor drives... but on the reinstall, I'm going to go for FULL POWER and even higher speed. (Scary stuff.)

Power Supply

It took three of us to get the motor unmounted and on the floor safely... it weighs at least 60 pounds (27Kg) by its self, the biggest issue was getting the belt off the V-belt tension unit and lifting the motor off the mounting plate. (See below)

 Motor Mounting Plate

To do it, you have to stand on top of the mill, put a steel bar through some chain rings, then lift the motor while a second person uses a screwdriver to work the belt of the pulley. Then you and a partner have to lift it off and balance it on the head of the mill. The other person shifts position to the front of the mill, and you heft this motor up and over... handing it down to the two people on the ground to receive it. (Like I said... nothing on this machine is easy.)

Motor (Left) and Z-Axis (Right)

Afterward I decided to lay the Z-Axis on the bed and wrap with packing plastic to keep it from getting beat up. I wrapped the motor as well as possible too to protect the spring plate and pulley assembly too. 

All prepped and ready to go. Motor in foreground wrapped in plastic.

I manually turned the screws and cranks... still feels fine... everything still moves smoothly. I guess my packing EVERYTHING in a thick coat of grease worked well. Once I get it shipped home, I'll have to strip everything on the mill down, and while doing that, I'll rewire it and install new limit switches and other safety features. It's gonna be a HUGE project... so if you like machines... stay tuned.

 Hummm... I should do a video... or two.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Laguna Day - Eve Gets a New CNC Machine

Today was a big day here as we got a major shipment. Eve has heard me talking about CNC machines for quite awhile... and once she saw that they could be used for wood it didn't take long for her to realize that if she had one it would speed up the production of things she could make.


This machine has a water cooled spindle... that means it can run for hours without ever overheating. Getting it into the shop was a big deal... it was about 425 pounds (193 Kg) so I had to pull a favor from my buddy Wolf to get it in here.


Wolf also helped me get the shelves up for the controller and water cooling system as well as get it onto the table I built. We were able to get it completely set up and begin testing... very soon we should have video of it in action too. For now... here is Eve showing off her new machine.



The shop is really getting to a high level of completion... soon I'll be able to have friends over for classes and build sessions.


Stay tuned for more!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sitting in St Louis - 2013

Hard to believe it's 2013 already, and February at that. I'm assigned here in the St Louis area to do some programming for the local Police/Fire, etc. I've been here a week with one more to go. It was a good thing... as I wanted to get to my storage unit and see if there were any small items I could bring back, and perhaps get rid of a few things that I know I'll never use again. Looking at the little 10x15 foot space, it's hard to believe how much is still in there... some things were expensive, but purchased for another life that is no longer a part of me. I wish I could give someone local a key and have them sell some of the things... but everyone here has a life of their own. I'll do what I can... some will end up back in Texas, and I'll have to deal with it there... some will just end up in the dumpster. Friday is a meeting with the robot group again... I'll cram as much electronic stuff as I can into the car and let them pick through it... whatever is left will get tossed.

I got to visit with family and friends, even attend one of the ROBOMO robotics meetings which are now held at the Science Center near downtown. It was great to see the guys again... some of whom did not know that I was in town... I did a presentation just like old times, that was nice. Unfortunately, being at the Science Center... when the meeting was over everyone just went home. When we held the meeting at the library, afterward we would all go to the Chinese Buffet down the street for lunch and have a great time laughing and telling stories. I miss that. I will say that now in Texas I have that again... slightly different... we meet in the evening, so several of us (I all us the Rat Pack) will meet for dinner first... then hit the meeting. So I still get the comradery that I need.

I taught myself a new but familiar programming language... BASIC-4-Android. And to date I have created 3 applications and published two if them. One is a simple link that allows people to jump to my YouTube page... if anyone actually downloads it I'll be surprised... more of a test to see IF I could do it or not. The other may actually be useful to some people... it's DEAFCOM, written to help someone speak to deaf people. It listens to what you say, then converts it to simple text. I still need to figure out how the deaf person could easily communicate back... typing is a pain... and they usually can't speak... so I have a riddle to solve.

So... it's Sunday... it snowed last night and it's cold outside. I was going to hit the storage unit again and go through more stuff... but it's too damned cold and I just don't feel like it right now. I think instead I'll do some laundry and work on some video that I want to produce. I also am designing a new camera jib crane... so I have stuff to occupy my mind for the rest of the day... and it is kind of nice to just have a quiet day to myself.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

GoPro Hero 3 Black

Well this was an awesome Christmas... Eve went all out for me this year and got me a GoPro Hero 3 camera. If you don't know what that is... really? Are you serious? Then you need to go to http://gopro.com and check it out. This thing is freaking AWESOME!


Not only did she get the camera... but also some premium accessories too... the battery backpack (and extra housing backs) allows me to take extended videos... even underwater. The LCD backpack let's me use it like a conventional camera with an instant view of what I captured... also with an underwater housing. This camera is so advanced that it has WiFi... this means that it has a remote control... I can put it outside of the car and control it from inside. If that wasn't kool enough... I can even control it with my Sprint HTC phone... including a video preview mode so I can see what the camera sees. How awesome is that?

This thing is TINY too...
2.31 inches (58.6 mm)
Take a look as compared to my other cameras...
Canon A590IS   -   GoPro Hero 3   -   Canon SX130
I have no excuses now... I need to make some killer videos! And as fate would have it... I may get my chance very soon. I have to do some mountain survey work... no roads... we have to go up by helecopter. So stay tuned folks... it could get interesting quick!

I'll do an update when the video is up... I can hardly wait. And yes folks... if we get a day above 70F (21C) then I'm going to the river to try this out under my favorite waterfalls! (I would have gone Christmas day... but I was in Houston with my family.)

There are a couple more items I want to get... the GoPole 24" so I can shoot from a distance... and a web-helmet mount because Mitch Bergsma highly recommends it and shows what it can be used for in his YouTube channel. (He has some great GoPro tips if you are interested.)

That's all for now!
Jerry

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Astrology Convention 2012 - New Orleans



It has been a crazy time of the year between the end of April and mid-June. Work has been extremely busy lately, we have a major client with a very high workload. Right in the middle of this I had planned to take a vacation of sorts. Eve does artwork that is astrology based, and this year there was a very large convention in New Orleans which occurs only every 3 to 4 years. The potential to make money was very large.

I say potential because we made a rather large investment in equipment, new laptop, travel expenses, art supplies, booking the convention center, etc. (Even the $3 tip every time you wanted the car... several times a day got old quick.)

We left Texas with high hopes of making a substantial profit... but so far... not so much.  The Chinese were very interested in her stuff and talked about reselling her work in China... if so, that could be just what we needed... so we wait.

New Orleans Trip

But hey... it's New Orleans... I used to live there... and Eve had never been there... so I just had to show her the sights and sounds of the city from Bourbon Street to the Audubon Zoo. Her daughter Jenny came down to visit so we all went out in the evenings and had a great time. Rather than tell you about it... let me share a video!







This video was co-produced by Eve, she picked out the music and took many of the pictures used in the ending. (Watch the whole thing... I think you will like it!)

 My Daughter and Grandkids

I got to visit my daughter Rebecca, her husband Jody, and my three grand-kids... with another on the way. I made a short video... but I was mostly playing catch and chasing the boys around... so i didn't take a lot of video... just a peek at the new house. (They were moving so Grandpaw Jerry helped with the washer and dryer... and chasing kids.)








Thanks for visiting!
Jerry

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Eve's Been Busy

Eve has been very busy lately in her garden and around the house. She has been planting and landscaping  more than I have ever seen her or anyone I've known. She added a new workshop so that she could work on her sandblasting and her hypertufa. If you haven't heard of hypertufa, it is a mixture of Portland cement, pearlite, and peat moss. This makes something as hard as cement with only 1/3 the weight which is great for making things like this flowerpot.



She is really wanting to sell her new creations in the local craft fairs.  I'll put more of the craft stuff up later as she gets it ready... right now we are gearing up for a huge astrology convention in New Orleans so the other crafts have to wait. But let me show you around the house and garden a little bit.


Click the image above to see a HUGE version of it... over 3 MEG supersize.

This is the way the front of the house looks now. It was just dry dirt with a few sprigs of grass here and there only a few months ago. Eve doesn't like grass and doesn't like to mow... so she has vowed to transform the whole front lawn into a wonderland. And I believe that she has really accomplished it nicely. The biggest change has to be the back yard however.

It started off with just a few trees and a simple path to the garage. Over the last month or so she has totally transformed it. If your computer supports the Apple Quicktime plugin, you can take a complete 360 degree tour of what it looked like when her daughter Natilie was down last month here: CLICK ME

I just finished another complete 360 degree tour in even higher resolution so you can zoom in and really take a look around, here is the link for that page: CLICK ME


Here you can see Eve tending to her vines which should start to flower nicely in a couple of months. She has the garden planted so that there are flowers all year long. I do not recall a single day when there was not at least one plant blooming. She puts several hours per day into the care of the garden, and I really appreciate it and all the work she does.


The whole yard is a real wonderland... now we just have to see how it all handles the Texas heat and the drought. So far this year has been much better than last year... but things can change quickly here in Texas so we will watch and wait.

Thanks for joining us, I hope you will visit again on the next update too!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Valentines Day 2012

Usually most of us guys scramble to get our ladies something at the last minute. It isn't something we mean to do... it just happens. This year I did something a bit differently.

Right after Christmas I picked up some chocolate and put it in my closet, a week later I picked up a teddy bear. Every week i got some little thing and added it to my secret stash for Valentine's Day. The Monday before I had it planned... I usually go downtown for one of my clubs, so i would stop and get the balloons... then on the way back I would get the roses from our local store that is open until 1:00 am.

I got in just around midnight, and Eve was winding down for the evening. I decided not to wait until daylight but to surprise her right after Midnight... which was technically Valentine's Day.

I tied balloons to the stairway, set out all the goodies, and got everything ready. Then I called upstairs and said, "Honey can you come down here and help me with something?"

She was like... "Waaat... it's midnight!" I said, "Just for a minute!" She started out the bedroom and actually made it about half way down the stairs before she realized what I did. I managed to surprise her... something not too easy to do.

I took these pictures in the morning...




Now Mother's Day is on the horizon... guess it's time to start over again.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January 25th, 2012 - Working on my Office

Today is a bit slow so I am working on my office. I got tired of tripping over boxes, not finding anything, and not getting anything finished. After thinking about it for awhile I decided to go to IKEA and spend some money I didn't have. I didn't go too crazy... but I got a new wall organizer, new shelving, and while I was at it, a new chair since I do spend about 10 hours a day there. (I mostly work from home now.)

I'm still going through the 40 year collection of electronics "stuff" and will be bringing much of it to the robotics or hackerspace meetings to give away.

Meanwhile... down in Eve's office the cats have found their new favorite place to be for the winter... in front of Eve's space heater. They lay there almost all day long now. Tough life huh?


Not much else to report just yet... should have more interesting stuff very soon as I work some more on the PUMA robot arm and attempt to make it capable of running G-Code... the stuff automated machines use to cut metal and mill 3D shapes. If that works well... things will get very exciting. And from the initial testing... it's looking quite good.




See you all again very soon... one more note...

Remember the plumber incident? Well... I went outside and noticed water running down the outside wall... it was still leaking a tiny bit. Had to call them back, open up the wall a bit more, and do another repair. At least it was under warranty.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

January - Plumbers

What's the difference between a bank-robber and a plumber?

I don't know either.

So Eve was telling me that the hose was dripping... fine, I fixed it. She said the faucet on the side of the house was dripping. Okay, no big deal... unscrew it and install a new one $4.95 and ten minutes.

So I get the water shutoff key, turn off the water, and put a pipe wrench on the pipe, I put an adjustable wrench on the faucet and start to turn it... about 1/8 turn and I hear SNAP. Damn it.

They used CPVC in the exterior wall.

Sure enough... turn on the water and it's a fountain out of the wall. Well damn. (Luckily most of the water went outside.) Okay... I'm thinking, cut a hole in the inside wall about 6x6 inches, cut the pipe, do it right, then cover it with an access panel. But decided to call a plumber for an estimate. He was going to be awhile... so I leave Eve at the house and go to Subway with my friend Wolf... figured when I get back the plumber should be there and we will see if he knows another way around it. If so, I'll have him do it...otherwise my friend Wolf and I would just do it.

I get back, he has ALREADY STARTED WORKING because Eve told him to "go ahead" and get started. So I get back and he hands me a clipboard... $375 for this, $120 for that, $50 for this... $500.00 to replace 4 INCHES of pipe in the wall.

Not only that... but he cuts a 16x6 hole in the wall... which really gets me upset, because I had measured EXACTLY where the faucet wa,s and put a thumbtack in the wall to mark it. I was going to cut a 2x2 inch exploratory hole... then check the situation. So yeah... the cover plates at Lowes are 6x9 or 14x14... and now I can't use either. So I have to fabricate something or patch the wall which never looks right. :-(

The pipe fitting was designed to screw to a 2x4 running horizontally in the wall... it provides all the support for the faucet. No... the folks who installed it put the 2x4 toward the outside of the house, drilled a hole through it, and stuck the pipe in from behind. So the two dinky screws are biting into 1/8 inch of wood... no support at all. (And the reason for the failure.)

I step in and attempt to suggest a new mounting method to make sure that it doesn't happen again... but Eve says I should let the guy "do it right". I tell him that I have a complete wood shop... that if he needs a bracket cut just give me the measurement and I'll do it. So he tells me a measurement and I make the cut. I ask him if he wants some screws to secure it, and if he wants me to pre-drill the holes so the piece doesn't split.

No... he has it under control... Eve tells me to go do my workout and that I shouldn't stress over it. Yeah... I'm paying $500 for $20 worth of parts for a $5 faucet replacement. So much for getting the new shelves for my office... or the new CNC equipment I was going to build... put them off until summer now I guess. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr!

So you can see the job he did... $500. Nice huh? Thankfully Eve got tired of watching him split the lumber with the deck screws he was using and handed him a drill and told him to drill pilot holes or it would be even worse than it is.

Bank Robbers / Plumbers... same damned thing.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Eve's Oasis #7 - The New House

So we are pretty much moved into the new place and Eve wanted to show off her new garden. I started to take some video shorts to make a new "Eve's Oasis" video for her series, but she said that I cut too much out... and that she wanted to let people see how we interact.

So... I shot about an hour's worth of video... and selected the best 1/2 hour or so to share. It covers the old place, lunch after the move, and a detailed tour by Eve of her new gardens.


Eve's Oasis #7



Here is a 360 Degree view of the back yard with the trees planted.

CLICK HERE ... you will need to have Quicktime installed.


Don't forget to leave us your comments below so we can make your visits even better.

Enjoy,
Jerry

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Me in the movies???

In the movies...

So today I was Tyler Stapleton... and you might ask... "Who the hell is Tyler Stapleton?" They are filing a movie here in Austin by Andrew Bujalski called "Computer Chess" and on a whim I sent in a picture and offered to be an extra since I know my way around "vintage" computers... I actually owned about 3/4 of the machines they had there... I'm such a geek.

Here are some background references...

http://www.unitedstatesartists.org/project/computer_chess

http://www.computerchessmovie.com/


Anyway... the movie is set in 1979 or 1980... they have wardrobe there... it's all set up... show up and they dress you right? So I throw on a pair of blue jeans, a comfortable shirt, and my favorite black shoes and drive on down for the filming. I arrive and they say that I need to go to wardrobe... I walk in and they look at me, hand me a pair of oversize glasses and say "Your wardrobe is perfect."

My wardrobe?

Damn... I gotta get some new clothing!

They tell me to go two rooms down to get my hair done... my hair is a mess... as usual... so I find my way to the the hair dresser, she looks at me and says, "Oh that's perfect! Head to the waiting area."

Really?

Perfect?

I guess I need to update my haircut too. :-o

There I was all decked out in my "wardrobe" with my "80's hair cut"... ready for shooting. They handed me a name badge and suddenly I was "Kent Stapelton"... one of the electronic maintenance geeks. (Wanna take a wild guess what I do for my real life job? Yeah... Systems Technologist... aka... electronic geek.)

Art imitates life sometimes I guess.

We were at the hotel set from 8:00 in the morning until we finished shooting about 10:30 in the evening. Really, that was a long day... I didn't think I could have any modern devices so I left my phone in the car and my laptop at home... ugg.

They must have liked me... I go back for another day of shooting in the morning, and this time I'm bringing stuff to do between shooting. I met some very interesting people... and I have already been asked about another upcoming film... so if it doesn't interfere with work I may do that too. Who knows... perhaps I'll pick up a real paying gig.

If I get the chance to share any images or other information I'll keep you posted... so now my daughter Rebecca Rutherford won't be the only one in the movies. (Cheesy grin.)

In other news...

Hurricane Irene is pounding the Eastern seashore including the area where my sister Helen and brother Vincent live. Vincent is fairly inland... but Helen's house is only about 3 blocks from the beach... so I am concerned how her home will do against the storm which is due to worsen in the next few hours.

That's all for now... I'll add more as events unfold.

UPDATE: Got a text message from Helen... they are all okay.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Our Big News... The New House!





Well folks here is the story...


Eve sent me an email which simply said, "I love this one." The email had a link to a house for sale... we had figured that it would take us about 5 years to save enough to be able to move into a new house. (We were currently renting a house.) So I was a bit surprised... but I told Eve that we should go look at it... if for no other reason than to get an idea of cost, interest rates, etc.

Eve called up to see about it, and they said that we needed to be pre-approved for the loan... I guess to keep people from wasting their time. We filled out the paperwork just to see where we were... and within a day or so they wrote back that we were approved. That was very encouraging so we set up a date to view the place.

Eve was totally in love with the place... at first I wasn't sure... but I warmed up to it once I started to look around... and the garage would make a very nice workshop... so that was a real plus. (It is slightly larger than my old garage in St Louis.) We put in a bid and it went very well... we needed about $7,000 (4,875 Euro) as a down payment. That was going to be a bit tough to come up with... but we figured that we could do it somehow. Then the lender looked closer at the paperwork... asked us a few questions... and told us that the property was in a RURAL area. Well that really surprised me... there is a swimming pool only 1/2 block away... and a golf course at the end of the road... RURAL area?

Apparently... the old lines on the map had not been changed for decades... because of that little line... we were eligible for some sort of government program... so we could get it for ZERO down payment. (Wow! I know!)

We couldn't pass that offer up... so we went through the loan process... it's official now... we go to closing on Friday, July 29 and start to move on Saturday, July 30. Life is seldom boring around us... so just to make things interesting... I got an email the next day that said that I have classes for work... and needed to fly in on Sunday, July 31st for the week. We have to turn in the keys the following weekend... so it is going to be very busy here on Saturday!!!

Eve and I are packing things now... Saturday we will cram as much as we can into a truck and start bringing as many large things as we can to the new place. We really are fairly lucky... it is only 1.3 miles (2.1 km) away. We will need to get all the big stuff over there Saturday the 30th so that Eve can move everything else while I'm away for work. (She is really going to be tired by next week!)

Once we start moving there will be pictures and videos I am sure. We are putting out the HELP! request to all our friends for next weekend (July 30/31)... it's a tight schedule... but I think we can do it with some help.


Here is some info on the new place...

Subdivision : Plum Creek, Kyle, Texas 78640
County : Hays
Price : $160,000 USD 111,400 Euro
Size : 1892 SqFt 175.7 Sq Meters
Year Built : 2000
Lot Size : 0.177 Acres 716.3 Sq Meters
Stories : 2
Bedrooms : 4
Full Bathrooms : 2
Half Bathrooms : 1
Garage : 2 Car, 20 x 22 Ft 6 x 6.7 meters












































As soon as we get moved in and have the chance... we will post pictures and video with details on the move. We are very excited about this... so wish us luck, or even better... if you can help with the move we would really appreciate it!

The house came with all the appliances... washer, dryer, stove, refrigerator, etc.. so we don't have to move any of that. (Yeay!)