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sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets

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(no subject) [Apr. 17th, 2014|09:50 pm]
We went out walking after dinner tonight. As I was wandering across a playground in nearly complete darkness I managed to trip over a piece of equipment and totally twist my right ankle, and about three minutes later repeated it with a poorly-placed step halfway onto a curb. Now I'm sitting around with my foot up, waiting for it to stop hurting. Sheesh. It better not get in the way of tomorrow's 100km ride.
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(no subject) [Apr. 16th, 2014|09:19 pm]
I am feeling particularly mentally incompetent today. manintheboat asked me to make a pseudo-enchilada thing, with raviolis, black beans, some cheese on top while she walked the dog after a particularly long and hard day at work... and that's exactly what I made. I didn't remember, y'know, enchilada sauce. The stuff that makes enchiladas. Thankfully she got home early and managed to save it, but it's stuff like this that makes me dread even trying to take a calculus test. It's entirely possible I have risen to my level of incompetence.

Today I installed windows on a machine, set up a test network so I could set up a network license server, installed simulator software that needs the license server, wrote some code to ensure that the compiler in the simulator actually compiles, did some pcb circuit design, did some pcb layout, did some soldering, signed up for a labview "programming" course, ordered parts, and did a bunch of statistics for setting production tolerances on a part.

Maybe if I were more focussed I'd do a better job.
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(no subject) [Apr. 15th, 2014|09:57 pm]
Exhausted. Lots of stuff going on, lots of people over, no time to get major projects done.

If I have a table:
-- in other words, arbitrary data, that I want to index by row and column, and store the whole works in a microcontroller, what's a good way to build A: a data structure and B: a search mechanism for this?

To make it more interesting, a..d and z..w are values, with somewhat wide spacing, and what I actually want to do is interpolate between them, to calculate the number that is proportionally located within the look-up table. So I don't even have (a,z) as a reference, I have (a+m, z+n) to use to try to index into this.

It looks to me like: build a two dimensional array, that replicates my little table. Search the first row and first column using a binary search to find the two rows and columns between which my value lies, then interpolate (probably find the interpolated values in two adjacent (rows,columns) and then interpolate between those two.)
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(no subject) [Apr. 13th, 2014|12:37 am]
I've been building a lot of stuff.
Tachometer (right) and fan controller (left) for various projects. The fan controller senses temp and controls the speed of the electric fan on the Spitfire. The green thing sticking out from the left-hand side is a wireless card so that it can in theory report temperature and any hardware errors to a controller, and if I ever get around to writing the code, it'll also allow me to tune the PID to match the car. I don't know how to model a car's thermal characteristics, so I have to tune it installed in the car. That means wires and awkwardness, or at least it did.

The tachometer is a repeat of the one I have on the milling machine. It'll go on the lathe, although this one will likely to go ilcylic, who has a more immediate need for it.

I finally got the oil pan back on the Spitfire. This involved lifting the engine way up, machining a bunch of wooden dowels that screwed into the holes where the oil pan retaining bolts go, threading them in, and using them to hold up the two long gaskets on either side of the engine while I maneuvered the oil pan up over them. Then I pulled them out and replaced them with bolts one by one. What a pain.

But while I was in there I replaced the ugly alternator mount.

And I cut a nice new bushing for the shift lever. There used to be a nylon bushing but it had long since vanished. This brass bushing is a sliding fit into the shift lever, with the pivot bolt a sliding fit into it. It improves the shifter feel by an order of magnitude. I also found an e-clip to snap onto the pivot bolt end, to replace the twist-tie that had been keeping the whole works in place previously.

The water temp gauge was attached via a bit of roughly ground and then threaded pipe. It was so ugly. I cut a new one out of aluminum just to make sure everything fit, after a significantly more complicated quest than I'd expected, trying to figure out what the threads on either end were. It didn't take me long to conclude that they weren't metric, but figuring out which particular Imperial measurement they were was frustrating. One's a 9/16-18 threads per inch, and the other is a 3/8-18 pipe taper. Original on right, replacement on left.

And right now I'm making the final adapter out of brass, because it'll resist corrosion better and all the water temp hardware is brass.
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(no subject) [Apr. 9th, 2014|08:47 pm]
Today I came this > < close to causing a traffic accident. I just wasn't thinking. There's a high-speed road with two lanes each direction. I join this on a regular basis, via a right turn into a merge lane, allowing me to accelerate and merge with traffic.
So that's what I did.
What I didn't consider, or more to the point LOOK FOR was that there was an accident to the immediate left of the intersection and they were detouring everyone into the far right lane, where my merge lane was.
It didn't even occur to me that there might be traffic, lots of traffic, going through the merge lane. So I came to a stop (beside another car) and pulled out, right in front of someone who was going pretty fast.
Ugh. Dumb situation. I'm glad he was fast on the brakes. I would like to apologize but he was pretty mad so I wasn't going to try to do so there.
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(no subject) [Apr. 8th, 2014|08:26 pm]
I sent vintage radar parts to artkouros today. What was funny was that I somehow randomly chose a box that was large enough to fit a giant old 1944 CRT, and when I went to the post office it was exactly the size of the parcel container. Like, it slid in, touching on ends and on top, and I had to push on the top a little bit to get the door to close and dump it into the package bin. There were several other people standing in line and they were all "whoop that's not going to fit, oh, oh, oh HEY WOO HOO!" and cheering all around.
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(no subject) [Apr. 8th, 2014|12:12 am]
Okay, I think flickr must just be confused. The last three days, it claims that something like 4000 people a day are looking at my stupid pictures of broken cars and pcb's, which is more than an order of magnitude more than the last, oh, ... ever. There's probably a moth in the intertubes.
I'll post pictures tomorrow but I've made significant progress on getting the Spitfire back to operational status, some of which count more as aesthetic than purely operational improvements. I also made scads of progress on a bunch of other small projects around the house and in the workshop. It's nice to be getting more projects finished than started.
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(no subject) [Apr. 5th, 2014|09:30 pm]
Yesterday, about 2700 people looked at the pictures I uploaded to flickr from the first friday artwalk. Of those, about 2650 of the people are listed on flickr as coming from unknown sites. I admit a lot of curiosity about this, about the context in which they were presented. That's the problem about being given more information: it just leads to more questions.
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(no subject) [Apr. 5th, 2014|09:12 pm]
I made pancakes this morning. Or to be more precise, I mixed up the dry ingredients, the milk and butter, melted the butter, and then went to get an egg to put in the liquid ingredients.
But two heaping tablespoons of applesauce, a bunch more flour, and some extra butter on the skillet, and it worked out fine. They were somewhat different consistency and tended to go dark on the outside before the inside was completely done, so I should've run them at a slightly lower heat, but they worked okay.

Battling the Spitfire restoration. The oil pan is on. I hope the seal is good. One of the two front bolts, the ones that go into the timing cover, tightened and then loosened, so I suspect one of the cracks is in the threaded section. I tightened it as best I could. It's on the list of things to replace. After that went on, I dropped the engine down on the newly fabricated engine mounts, on 8mm stacks of belleville washers (between the bolt head and the bottom of the engine mount, the engine mount and the engine, and again on the top, so it has plenty of latitude for motion but is under a fair bit of compressive force as well.) Then, water pump back on, new thermostat installed, remounted valve cover, starter, a couple other little bits like that. Huge chunk of progress, although man the list of things that should be replaced is not small.

I'm trying to figure out how the water circulation system should go. There's a water pump on the block, with an outlet. There's the thermostat on the front end of the head, with a hose attachment. There's a hose attachment on the back of the head. Radiator has two openings, of course, and there's an interior radiator with two openings. This would be easy if the engine only had two hose fittings. The previous incarnation had big floppy vacuum tubes draped all over the engine, running water hither and yon.

Lily desperately needed a bath. manintheboat had some shampoo and conditioner she didn't like, so that's what Lily got. It's way easier to get her to a reasonable state of cleanliness using conditioner than using single-pass kids' shampoo.

manintheboat made bison/sweetpea/peanut in a kumquat/sambal olek/soy/honey sauce.

I thought the sauce, in process, looked particularly amazing.

Our kumquat tree is almost done for the year, but not quite.
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(no subject) [Apr. 4th, 2014|09:40 pm]
We hit ye old First Friday artwalk. There were lots of awesome things but I'm going to present the diet version.

1. Why am I not making stuff like this?

2. Where would we put Ganesha-Cthulhu?
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