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.