Sunday, April 29, 2012

Zip Ties to the Rescue

 I disassembled the drain on the bathroom sink today. It was long past time to clean out the years of accumulated nasty grime. The sink has been draining slowly for many months, and in the last few weeks the situation has become untenable.

Getting things apart was not an issue, and once I had removed the sticky tangles of hair and wiped out some of the foulest smelling sludge I ever care to come in contact with, I was ready to put everything back together. That's when I found the problem.

The plastic nut on the drain pipe was split.This is the nut that compresses the rubber seals between the plastic drain pipe and the ceramic sink bowl. Without a good tight seal, no doubt we would end up with puddles under the sink, and there's no way the cracked nut would be able tot do the job.

I considered going back to the hardware store. (I had already been their earlier this morning to get metric hex keys, and some hacksaw blades for the MendelMax project.) No doubt they would have the part I needed, although likely I would have to buy the whole assembly.

Now they say laziness is the mother of all invention, and my laziness was not the least bit interested in driving back across town. Fortunately, I always have an assortment of zip ties on hand, and in a fit of indolent genius I found the answer.

One hefty zip tie later and I could tighten the plastic nut down securely without the crack opening up and skipping down the threads.

I doubt the fix will last forever, but I can't pass up the chance to brag about such a nasty hack.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Good News from Amazon

Amazon came through with some good news that will complete my hardware.

We have good news!  We're able to get this part of your order to you faster than we originally promised:

  "Starrett Tool Steel 01 Drill Rod, Precision Ground and Polished Finish, Annealed Temper, ASTM A681, Metric, 8 mm OD, 36" Length"
   Previous estimated arrival date: May 25, 2012 - June 01, 2012
   New estimated arrival date: May 02, 2012
The bearings arrived Friday.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Assembly in Progress

All the parts that's fit to print.
Parts are here, my desk is clean, ish, it's time to get started building! I will be posting all my build pictures on picasaweb if you want to see more.

My post from yesterday has links to all the hardware I got from Amazon, everything arrived today, save the smooth rods and bearings. This gives me enough parts to start building, and just putting a few pieces together gives that nice feeling of accomplishment.

I ended up taking a drill to these parts in order to get better access for the driver. If you're using hex key screws, this wouldn't be an issue.

With the wider pan head on the fillips screws, it helps to be able to apply direct axial pressure on them. The hole is a tight fit, and some persuasion is necessary to get the screw seated down in there.

After a some discussion in the #MendelMax channel on Freenode, it seems I should have gone with McMaster for my hardware, they have the selection of hex key head screws that Amazon is lacking, and generally better prices for fasteners.

This is as far as I'm going to take it tonight. Was good to get started, but it's getting late, and work is a cruel mistress if you stay up all night playing with new toys. Hopefully tomorrow evening I can get the whole frame assembled.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I've started down the road to building a RepRap MendelMax. I ordered the printed parts and frame members from LulzBot last week, they arrived on Thursday. Monday I ordered a (x3) mess of hardware from (x2) Amazon because the local hardware store only (x2) sells metric one piece at a time. The majority of it will arrive tomorrow, but the bearings and smooth rod will be a bit longer.

That should give me enough parts to start building tomorrow, assuming I can clean off a space on my desk.