Classic House

Watching an old episode of “House” and came across the following quote.  Seemed too good not to share!  From the episode “Clueless”, Season 2.

 

[Wilson is flipping through House’s TiVo selections]

Dr. James Wilson: Now, why do you have a season pass to The New Yankee Workshop?

Dr. Gregory House: It’s a complete moron working with power tools, how much more suspenseful can you get?

 

Ah, the good old days, when there was still some woodworking content on the pay-TV channels.  Seems to have taken a bit of hiatus.

Speaking of having taken a hiatus, things have been a bit quiet around here as well. Short story is simply – I needed a bit of a break.  Getting to the end of the year is always a real push, and last year was certainly no exception, and when it all piles on, the website gets squeezed for time and mental space.

After the typical chaos of Christmas, the family headed to Echuca-Moama for a week, which has been a chance to recharge the batteries somewhat.  43C days are not always the most relaxing, but the time out was good.

Been out in the shed this afternoon, blowing out some figurative, and literal cobwebs.  A combination of getting the tools working, and the grey tool between the ears.

I was making some test pieces for the next “The Shed” magazine article that I will be working on over the next 3 days. It involves a particularly long tambour door in a rather different way (as in, it is definitely not a door, nor is it designed to slide!)

And time for a reflection on the past year in the new shed.  Yes, it is 12 months ago today that construction of the current shed was finally completed!

 

Reality Woodworking TV!

A new reality TV show in the States takes a group of cabinetmakers, and pits them against one another designing & making furniture.

Check out the press release, and the teaser videos



Photographic Improvements

Been having some down time over the Christmas break, both of the deliberate, and of the forced varieties. (Got rather sick after finishing work-guess the body decided I could afford to succumb once the stress of work appeared to have eased up. Stupid body!)

Other than a bit of mental space, family time, and time to knock over a couple of Lego builds, I’ve also been familiarising myself with a new camera.

2014 has seen a significant improvement in my setup for audio, video and stills.

I’ve added a Canon HFG30 video camera to the lineup, some Rode mics, a motorised slider for timelapse, and most recently (thanks Santa!) a new camera body and lens.

While photos for the blog don’t require the most sophisticated cameras (screen resolution is still very low for web-based images), I have a regular gig for a couple of magazines as well, and they do need decent res images. Not to mention that I have been resorting to using the iPhone for a number of blog images, and while pretty amazing for a camera based around a phone, it is still a very small lens, and tiny chip!

I had a very long debate about what route to go with the camera. I have been using Minolta for almost 30 years (although that sadly became Konica-Minolta, and the Sony in the last 10 or so), so have a lot of lenses, etc for that mount. It was very tempting to bite the bullet and head down the Canon or Nikon routes, but a combination of nostalgia, still having a lot of Minolta glass (and flash), and some really interesting points of difference between Sony and the other brands finally kept me with the same mount.

My first (semi-serious) camera (not counting an Exacta that I still have, which was the very first brand of 35mm SLR)

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was a Minolta 7000. That was the world’s first body-integrated AF camera.

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A few years later, I added what is still my favourite camera, the Minolta 9000. Titanium body, with both manual and motorised film advance, spot metering, and a bunch of other features, I loved this camera.

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I used to run both the 7000 and 9000, with B&W in the 7000, and Fuji Velvia slide film in the 9000. I’d still be running both these cameras, except (sadly), the digital photographic age dawned. I stayed away for quite a while, but when Minolta (then Konica-Minolta) came out with their digital SLR, the impressive 6MP 7D, I was tempted to the darkside.

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Unlike film cameras, digital cameras have a definite lifespan, and while my 7000 and 9000 are still working fine, the 7D died a few years later. This was replaced with a camera that I really suffered, the Sony A55. (Minolta had departed the photographic scene by that point, and had sold everything over to Sony, including the A mount). It was the end of the Minolta/Sony SLR, as in this case, the mirror is fixed, and there is no optical viewfinder with pentaprism head, so no longer a reflex. Instead the mirror is semi-transparent, and it is known as an SLT, or single-lens translucent. One advantage of this is the high frame rates now possible, with the A55 able to run up to 10fps.

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While functional, the lack of control, and overall quality of the images has been a source of frustration, so with it also reaching end-of-life (prematurely), the latest body has been added to my collection.

The Sony A77 Mk ii.

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I’m loving this camera. There is so much control over it, it is taking a bit of a learning curve, but with 24MP SLT, 12FPS, vertical grip, etc etc, it is proving a fun camera to use.

While the body was not cheap, the real splurge has been the new lens.

A Carl Zeiss 24-70 f2.8

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This is a drool-worthy lens. Over 900g (twice the weight of the lens it is replacing), 77mm front end, a constant f2.8, and Zeiss glass.

First trials indicate this is an impressive combination of camera and lens. We will have it in the workshop soon enough, and although it probably won’t improve the online offerings much, it should make a difference to the printed articles, and allow me to easily get sharp images once again.

Production quantities of Centipede Sawhorses

Centipede Tool are in full retail production mode. Given how much these units expand, I wonder just how much square meterage would be able to be covered just by what is in this image?!

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I’m keen to see these available down under. If they were here, how many would consider getting one?

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Doing the rounds

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I’m Back, Baby

Quoting a certain Bender Bending Rodríguez.

The Christmas break has finally arrived, so finding just a little time to breathe, including seeing the inside of the shed!

After giving a very quick cleanup (not much more than opening the doors, and using compressed air as a broom), started working through a few quick, but long outstanding jobs.

Starting with the Nova DVR lathe.

For a long time, I’ve been finding it doesn’t always start on its own, and needs to be given a bit of a spin before turning it on, or giving the blank a little slap afterwards to get it underway.  I had the opportunity to catch up with the Director of Teknatool at the last Melbourne Wood Show.  Among other topics of conversation, I mentioned this (relatively minor) issue.  He suggested it is probably no more than a bit of dust impacting on a sensor, but I hadn’t had a chance to now to find out.

Quick blow out with the air compressor, then tried the lathe out at various start speeds, from 500RPM right up to 3000RPM.  No hint of an issue at any speed – problem solved.

Next, time to do some maintenance on the 3D printer. It hasn’t been running for a few weeks as I simply haven’t had time to look at it.

The main problem I was having that I could tell, was the filament (being somewhat hydrophilic) had absorbed too much moisture, and was spluttering a lot while it printed.

Took one roll of filament and placed it in an airtight container, along with a packet of DampRid, and a hygometer.

The hyrometer is a bit flash for the job, but I really liked the look of this one from Carbatec

BA984It is a combination of both a hygrometer and thermometer.  Beautiful piece, German engineering.

The container (and contents) started at 55% humidity.  After a few days with the DampRid, the moisture content in the container had dropped to 12% at 25C.

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Seemed a good start.  Next, I needed to change out the nozzle.  I had played with a 0.2mm nozzle for a while, but wanted to change back to the 0.4mm one.  Unfortunately, one had damaged thread, and the other was completely glued to the other printer head with leaked plastic (that head needs a complete rebuild to remove the faulty (leaking) component, and a damaged heater).

Only problem is, removing a nozzle is easy, if you can heat it to normal operating temp (200C).  With the heater not working (yet also glued in with leaked plastic) there was a bit of a difficulty.  I briefly tried a soldering iron, but there was no way that was going to achieve the temperature needed overall.  So next option – LPG burner.

Being careful with the flame, I was able to get the nozzle up to temp, and it unscrewed easily.  Continuing with the flame for a bit longer, I cooked off the nozzle, getting rid of plastic on the threads and inside the nozzle as well.  The nozzle on the printer was easy – a working heater and thermister makes it very straightforward to remove one, and replace with the other.

A quick print of a mini robot proved everything was working, so I dropped a 5 hour job onto the printer as a bit of sink or swim.

It swam.

I still have some new components coming for the printer – more on that later.

Finally, I took a quick factitious photo of the cameras, mics and CNC router bits all ready to be used with the YAS Engineering CNC mill when it arrives.  Checking with YAS Engineering, and the CNC is only one simple component away from being delivered.  Just one electrical connector to go, and the unit will be ready.

Photo 22-12-2014 15 21 09Can’t wait!

Killing a blade softly

As mentioned recently, I had an opportunity to demonstrate the SawStop Industrial (5HP) to a group from the Instrumentation & Technology Development Facility (Monash Instrumentation Facility), and the Faculty of Science, both from Monash University.

The following video was taken and edited by Steve Morton, from the Scientific Imaging Service within the Faculty of Science, Monash University.  Used with permission.

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