Tuesday, May 26, 2015

On the Bench- Dismantling a Thermoelectric Coleman Cooler
Scott Symmes10:52 AM

Found a PowerChill 40 Quart Thermoelectric Coleman Cooler at the city recycle centre (junk yard). It's a fairly large, insulated cooler that has a 80 watt Peltier Cooling Module.  The cooler would be connected to a vehicles battery through the 12 volt DC power plug. As you drive to your favorite campsite and it keeps food cool while in transport.
Unfortunately for me, a scraper that was looking for copper had cut the 8 foot long cord, fuse and male power port. Went online for a replacement cord and found out it requires 12 Volts DC at 8 amps to run properly. I'm sure I could rig up and power cord from all my spare cords and DC parts.
But before I do that, I wanted to check out how the unit actually works and maybe build something similar to use in the Frost King Ice Box refrigerator. We currently use the ice box to store beverages and vegetables. The fan on the back, running via solar panel, during the day would do a good job. 



Exterior of the fan housing. Notice the cut cord at the bottom right.


















Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How to Make Swedish Candle for Roasting Marshmellows
Scott Symmes8:49 AM

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Big Splurge: Snowmobile Dollies
Scott Symmes10:28 AM

Monday, February 16, 2015

On the Bench- The Valentines Day Closet Project
Scott Symmes10:13 AM

For the last couple of months, my spouse wanted the downstairs closet cleaned out, painted and new organizers. The painting was finished the day before Superbowl and the shelves/organizers on Valentines Day. It was a chance to work on an organizer project and, best of all, it made my spouse happy again with our 30 year old house. 

The material used for the shelves was called Melamine.  Similar to a type of countertop, it is thermally fused, resin saturated paper finish over a particle board core. Had mixed feelings working with melamine. Prefer to use real wood, which is structurally stronger, but the two faces of Melamine are already finished. I went out and purchased (6) 12" x 97"  and (2) 16" x 97" shelving. It's a tad more money than a 4' x 8' sheet of Melamine, but the facing edge is already been banded with a white trip. 

Started the new shelves for the closet on Saturday. Some of the work could be completed outside. We were having a mild February, it made it easier to do the cuts outside. The units were assembled and joined at the bottom by a swing up bench. Since there was an access door under the stairs the seat had to swing up. The overhead shelf and hanger rod is still left to install.

For this project, I needed a tool to hold the shelves in place while the wood dried. Rented a Paslode Cordless Finishing Brad Nailer from Home Depot. It worked awesome! No worries with a hose or loud compressor. Only setback was the fuel cell ran out. Originally, the plan was to put in a few brads for just tacking boards until the glue dried. The employee at HD was really helpful, he threw in a couple of used fuel cells and sticks of 16 gauge brads. Unfortunately, the fuel cells all ran out around 9pm and the store was closed. Did what I could with glue and clamps and came back the next day and bought a new fuel cell. All in all, about $40.00 for the rental and parts, but it made the project so much easier. 


Hopefully in the next few days, should get the rest of the parts in-place and finishing touches completed.
I love to make things and try out new tools. 

Plus, my spouse is happy with the process. It's a Valentines Day win, win!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

On the Bench- Building a Bigger Plywood Battery Box
Scott Symmes11:41 AM


Project for January, 2015

With my birthday coming up, I wanted to work on a project of my choice. In this case, it was a bigger battery box made from plywood. This project has been lingering in the background for 6 months.
The box would hold up to ten 6 volt deep cycle batteries. The batteries are an important component of an off grid power system. The primary use is to store the power generated from the solar panels and wind turbines. An inverter is then hooked up to the batteries and it converts the battery electricity (DC) to regular household electricity (AC).

Batteries are expensive and should be looked after.
They can range from $90 - $240 each. Three years ago, I purchased (4) 6 volt Exide batteries for $98.00 each (on sale). In the Spring of 2014, managed to pick up another four, used, 6 volt US batteries (brand) off craigslist for $40.00 a piece.

If the batteries have a clean, ventilated, safe, dry place to sit, they will last many years. With my experience, it's best to take care of them as long as I can. Don't let the charge get below 60% and check the levels of acid. I felt a little bad, that I had left the batteries just sitting under the cabin and not being tended. Batteries will slowly lose their charge over time and die a horrible death.

Back to the box... for the last couple of outings to the cabin, the plan was to get started on the box. I had even pre-cut all the plywood, but it just sat in pieces, waiting to be assembled. The winter chill made it hard working outside using the cordless tools.


The other day when I was driving to work, I thought, why not work on it during my lunch hour and get it knocked off. So, a few days before an outing to the cabin, sat down at the kitchen table and sketched out some rough plans.
Next, I went to the computer and figured out how the get the best use of a piece of plywood and made a cutting guide. It helps if you have all the information from the battery manufacturer. Using this as a guide, designed a plywood box that measures 24 inches wide by 48 inches long by 15 inches tall.  I purchased a 4' x 8' sheet of 3/4" thick Oak plywood. It was a damaged on one side and got it for $10.00. Sweet! That saved me at least $50.00.

With the sweet tablesaw at work, I ripped all the plywood up and started to assemble the box. Used 1-5/8" screws and Gorilla Wood Glue for all the joints. Got 80% of the box finished on my lunch break. Came back after work and put in another 20 minutes. Took the box home and applied 2 coats of Kilz Odorless Primer on the inside and Varathane America Walnut Wood stain on the outside. It came out pretty sharp.

Next, was a stand for the battery box to sit on. I personally hate bending over to work on stuff, it eventually hurts my back. I came up with a stand made for 2" x 4" and 4" x 4' posts for legs. The legs will be notched to fit directly under the 2 x 4 frame. I might add a 2" x 6" to tie in the legs with the frame for some added support.
Below is some of the videos of making the boxes.
video

video