DIY Workshop Dust Collector: In Dust We Don’t Trust.

I wasn’t pleased with the commercial options I saw for dust collection. Anything with some modicum of function was too expensive ($300+network piping), or too big (4″ piping + large vacuum motor, prudent enough but take up a lot of space) or both.

Problem:

I built a bed recently and I was ankle deep in dust. I wear a respirator, but still, it was pretty over the top and I’m still blowing sawdust out of crevices. I want to create a compact, economical dust collection system using as many traditional vacuum/shopvac parts as possible.

This was just the beginning.

Environment:

A one-car garage with the following devices that I want to have dust collected from:

  • A jobsite (read: portable) table saw with a 2.5″ vacuum output at the foot of the blade (bottom) and a 1.5″ output on the blade guard (top)
  • A miter saw with a 1.75″ vacuum output on the swingarm
  • A full-size drill press (no output)
  • various power tools with 1.5″ outputs
Table saw with the optional top attachment attached to the portable Shopvac.

Goals:

  • 2.5″ collection system will service all my dust emitters. (4″ is common, and larger than I can imagine needing.)
  • A vacuum system powerful enough that will not put dust back into the air (i.e. a shopvac without a bag/filter.)
  • A cyclonic collection system to reduce the frequent filling and changing of filter bags.
  • Salvage and reuse anything possible to make the system viable.

Solution:

That’s about a quarter of a 5 gallon Home depot bucket in a full 5 gallon home depot bucket. The vacuum is wall mounted behind it with nearly everything removed.

A few things didn’t seem prudent/possible to salvage, starting with the network piping/hoses:

  • Powertec had the best deal on hose – transparent so you can see if it’s working and if there is a clog: POWERTEC 70144 2-1/2-Inch x 20-Feet Flexible PVC Dust Collection Hose, Clear Color. The table saw gets directly connected to this tubing.
  • And on piping for the network – also transparent – very cool to watch the bits of DIY fly through: POWERTEC 70213 Dust Collection Network, 2-1/2-Inch
  • I was able to get a few 6-foot-ish lengths of 1.5″ hose (very typical vacuum cleaner hose) from the local thrift store for a few bucks to use as hookups for the miter saw.
  • I ended up getting a 2.5″ to 1.5″ adapter from Powertec as well: POWERTEC 70138 2-1/2-Inch to 1-1/2-Inch Reducer
  • And some of their hose clamps – I discovered these are nice, but any clamps will do: POWERTEC 70223 Keyed Right Hand Bridge Hose Clamp (5 Pack), 2-1/2″
  • I had some PVC piping and matching junctions, an old radiator hose, and a few other cylindrical objects and fittings laying around that I used as needed – i.e. the radiator hose happened to be a perfect way to join two 1.5″ plastic nozzles. The PVC junctions (1.5″ I think?) I was able to use as a reducer.
  • I tacked it up all over and put blast gates where I thought it made sense.
The vacuum is located off-camera right and the system ends with one final blast gate off-camera left.

Vacuum Motor:

  • I tried a leaf blower with a vacuum function that was rated at 14 amps, but the performance was not as good as I expected. Some have reported this works well, but this was not my experience. Also I would have had to engineer a way to keep dust from traveling through the catch bag; it was designed with leaves in mind, not fine shop dust particles.
  • I thought about getting a Harbor Freight Shopvac, as some have found them to be of suitable sucking power, but I had one more card up my sleeve before resorting to that.
  • I had an old 12 amp dirt devil vacuum cleaner that had been retired from the household recently due to the rollers having some broken parts preventing them from transitioning to carpet. I also had several bags for it. It seems to make better power than the leaf blower and was designed to keep fine dust in the bag – it’s meant to be used in your house after all. I removed the chassis, the roller motor, pretty much anything I could get the screws out of. I reclaimed the tubing and tools too to absorb into the system. I hung it with a screw in the corner along with the….

Cyclonic Collection Bucket:

The Dust Deputy is way overpriced. Actually, I don’t know if it’s overpriced – that’s a judgment – I know they’re making a big profit given the materials needed. A beautiful, effective, expensive, fancy, bucket is what it is. It’s also very tall. The concept of this is great though, what’s better is J. Phil Thein’s Cyclone Collection Lid design – known as a Thein Baffle (Credit J. Phil.)

  • I adapted the Thein Baffle concept to two 5 gallon Home Depot buckets reclaimed from brewing and put it right in front of the vacuum. It’s doing a great job – and this is what allows us to use a vacuum with such a low capacity (and a low resistance to sharp solid objects entering it’s delicate bag that is designed for pulling dust from your carpet!)

The Drill Press (and other items without a vacuum port:)

  • I built a little stand which the 1.5″ tubing end can be placed into and aimed at your work piece. This can be used with the auxiliary Shopvac too as it is also 1.5″ output in case you want to also run the dust collection system separately.


 

Result:

Success! The Thein baffle bucket is collecting 90% of the matter, keeping the vacuum bag fairly empty. Time will tell if the 12 amp vacuum motor is enough. I think I will get a Harbor Freight Shopvac or something similar if it doesn’t do the job in the long run. The only thing I needed to buy for this project that I didn’t already have was the network piping / hoses.

Total Cost: Approximately $120 with hose/adapters/everything.

More Photos:

To Do:

  • Remote switch for vacuum motor (or a load-based switch to automatically power it on!)
  • More power vacuum? With better fine dust filtering?

Salvaging the the Dell XPS 13 9350 Touchpad

UPDATE: I found my solution lacking in that the right-click tap event from TwoFingerScroll doesn’t always work for all apps (some games – Darkest Dungeon – for example.) See my preferred fix in italics below.

Problem:

  1. Two-finger scrolling in Google Chrome is nigh-unusable with Dell’s most recently provided driver. Scrolling works fine in Firefox, IE, Explorer, etc. (as of 16-MAR-2017, the 19.0.27.6 driver)
  2. tap-to-click doesn’t work with two finger tap for right-click.

Environment:

Windows 7 x64 (x86 likely the same)

CAUTION: This is going to install some drivers that are not supported for your platform and modify your registry. You do so at your own risk. Also I suggest you have a USB mouse handy to use in case your trackpad stops working during the driver swapping and your windows keyboard navigation skills are 100%.


My new preferred fix:

Use this driver – Synaptics 16.3.7.0 from Dell.

Configure it how you like. two finger tap-to-click is missing from the configuration utility, however, two it works native on this driver with the following registry changes:


HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Synaptics\SynTP\TouchPadPS2
2FingerTapAction 2


Having Trouble?

  • Try searching the registry for other instances of 2FingerTapAction and changing them to 2
  • The entry(ies) for MultiFingerTapFlags may need to be changed to 3 if it isn’t already – mine was already set. (credit Amit Toor)

The Old Fix:

You want either:

the ASUS driver

Or

the Synaptics Generic Driver

And TwoFingerScroll (credit awahlig) – I find the physical buttons on this trackpad unbearable, so I use touch tapping only, and two-finger touch tapping is not in either of the above drivers (but it is in Dell’s – they did that at least)

I prefer the Synaptics Generic because I installed it second and didn’t notice and significant differences and it is a newer driver. You may need to disable driver signing.

This is quick and dirty, so forgive the lack of exhaustive research, but it worked, and I’m very pleased so I want to share it with the world:

  • Download the ASUS driver or the Synaptics Generic Driver (same as above)
  • Uninstall any Dell Touchpad Software and/or Synaptics Software in Add/Remove Programs; restart
  • Unzip the file you downloaded. Setup.exe will not work because it won’t detect your hardware.
  • Go into WinWDF/x64/ and run all the .exe applications there. Some won’t run, some will give you no feedback (yikes) but ultimately I think this is installing the control panel extensions; restart
  • Go to the device manager, and manually install drivers located in WinWDF/x64/ (you’ll need to choose “Let me pick, then ‘have disk’ “)

  • You’ll now have this in your mouse control panel, and two-finger scrolling will be majestic in Chrome again:
  • [BONUS] Add back two-finger tapping for right click with TwoFingerScroll (Oddly enough, we won’t be using the two-finger scroll option, I personally find the latest Synaptics implementation not as configurable, but more responsive.)

[DOUBLE BONUS] you may find these registry keys helpful for speeding up the pointer if its too slow. These ones below are double what I had previously (100 and 40 respectively), much better in my case.


[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Synaptics\SynTP\TouchPadPS2]
"PointerMotionSpeed"=dword:00000200
"CursorSpeed"=dword:00000080


Having Trouble?

  • Try doing both ASUS followed by Synaptics
  • Try running the Synaptics  Setup.exe after following all the steps, it should let you run it now that you’ve forced an install.
  • Try using TwoFingerScroll’s scroll implementation instead of all of this – just note it takes control of all two finger gestures (two finger tap-to-click for example)

The Foreigner – MacOS Sierra 10.12.2 on an Alienware 13 R3 (2016)

This is a great Hackintosh candidate if you’re dual-booting and making good use of the GTX 1060 in Windows. It’s a true quad-core with good build quality and very portable. We’ll be installing Sierra 10.12.2 using Clover bootloader. All modifications documented here are done at your own risk – I am not responsible for any damage to your hardware.

Fully portable audio production rig

Specifications:

Alienware 13 3rd Generation Laptop
Intel i7-6700HQ 2.6Ghz Quad-Core Processor
Intel HD 530 / Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Dual Graphics (Optimus switching)
32GB RAM (2x16GB 2133Mhz DDR4 upgraded from OEM 1x8GB 2133Mhz DDR4)
13 x 10.6 x 0.87 inches 5.4lbs.
13.3-inch, 2560 x 1440 OLED touch panel

What Works:

  • M.2 NVMe Storage (256GB Toshiba OEM / 512GB Intel p600)
  • USB-C / USB 3.1
  • Intel HD 530 Graphics (Metal Support) @ QHD 2550×1440
  • Second QHD 2550×1440 Monitor (HDMI connection in DisplayPort Alternate mode on rear ThunderBolt3 Port with USB-C to USB-A/HDMI/USB-C breakout adapter)
  • Keyboard and TouchPad with Multi-touch and Gestures
  • Gigabit Ethernet (Killer e2400)
  • WiFi (BCM94352Z)2.4 / 5.0 / BT4LE (BT4LE not tested yet, but shows compatible)
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 powered down in DSDT with _OFF patch
  • Audio ALC298 ID-13
  • i7-6700HQ Power/Throttling/SpeedStep
  • 32GB RAM (2x16GB 2133mhz DDR4)

Not Working:

  • Touchscreen (detected as USB HID Synaptics Touch Digitizer V04 (0x06cb:0x16f9, but not working and Ink prefpane is present.)
  • Brightness adjustment (this may be because of differences in the brightness adjustment implementation in ACPI for OLED screens)
  • Sleep (inconsistent, not needed for my purposes)
  • Sometimes the system doesn’t boot and gives an error allocating pages or it slows to a stop while booting. This was happening frequently during the build and less frequently once everything was setup.

How To:

What is not included in this how to:

BCM94352Z – The stock Killer 1435 WiFi is not supported in MacOS, configuring a BCM94352Z in its place is well documented elsewhere.

Get your Software:

My Configuration Files (config.plist etc)

MacOS Sierra

Clover EFI bootloader
RehabMan’s Fake PCI ID
RehabMan’s FakeSMC
RehabMan’s ACPI Battery Manager
RehabMan’s HackrNVME
HFSplus.efi
Kext Utility
Clover Configurator (Vibrant)
EMlyDinEsH’s Apple PS2 Smart Touch Pad
vit9696’s AppleALC
Mieze’s AtherosE2200

Make the Installer (You need a working Mac to do these steps):

    1. Download Sierra in the App Store (10.12.2 as of 1-JAN-2017)
    2. Format USB drive (16GB or more) with GUID as HFS journaled, name it ‘sierra’
    3. make your USB in Terminal:
    4. sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/sierra --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sierra.app --nointeraction
    5. Download Clover EFI bootloader and do a customized install to your newly created USB (see screenshot) – under drivers install only EmuVariableUefi-64:
    6. Your EFI partition from the USB will be mounted already. Replace or add the following files. BOLD files are included in a link on this post.
      • /EFI/CLOVER/config.plist (use config_install.plist and rename to config.plist once copied into EFI)
      • /EFI/CLOVER/drivers64UEFI/HFSPlus.efi
      • /EFI/CLOVER/drivers64UEFI/OsxAptioFix2Drv-free2000.efi
      • /EFI/CLOVER/kexts/Other/FakeSMC.kext
      • /EFI/CLOVER/kexts/Other/ApplePS2SmartTouchPad.kext

Copy the Clover installer and all the files you’ve downloaded to a new folder in the root of “Install macOS Sierra” for post-installation

  • Eject the EFI volume and the install volume and move over the Alienware

 

Installing MacOS Sierra on the Alienware 13 R3:

  1. Plug in your USB, Boot the system, and press F2 to get into the BIOS (version 1.0.1 as 2-JAN-2017) and make the following changes:
    • Directed I/O VT-d [DISABLED]
    • Secure Boot [DISABLED]
  2. Exit saving changes, the system will reboot, press F12 to get to the boot menu. Select the USB device. Clover will load, choose the install OSX option.
  3. Install OSX normally. You’ll want to go the Disk Utility and make sure your NVMe drive shows up. Format it in Disk Utility as GPT / HFS Journaled. When the system reboots as part of the normal install process, you’ll need to press F12 again to boot from the USB installer, this time, there will be a new option in Clover for your installation, boot to that.
  4. When completing the setup, say no to any options to ‘sign in’ and select ‘I don’t connect to the internet’ when asked, we’ll fix this later.
  5. Once you reach the desktop post-install, install Clover on your new installation and copy these files to the EFI partition, again, BOLD files you will need to source yourself due to possible licensing issues:
    • /EFI/CLOVER/config.plist (use the actual config.plist now)
    • /EFI/CLOVER/drivers64UEFI/HFSPlus.efi
    • /EFI/CLOVER/drivers64UEFI/OsxAptioFix2Drv-free2000.efi
    • /EFI/CLOVER/kexts/Other/FakeSMC.kext
    • /EFI/CLOVER/ACPI/patched/*.aml (copy all .aml files here)
  6. Delete all the numbered folders in /EFI/CLOVER/kexts/ (10.12 etc.) and leave only the ‘Other’ folder.
  7. Install Kext Utility, run it, and right-click it to keep it in the dock.
  8. Install Clover Configurator
  9. Generate HackrNVMeFamily-10_12_2.kext by following RehabMan’s instructions (no spoof).

S/L/E Kext Installation:

**DO NOT REBOOT** Until all of these steps are followed:

  1. Select all of the following kexts and drag them onto Kext Utility in the dock. This will install them to /System/Library/Extensions (S/L/E). I’ve found Clover injection isn’t working 100% for me, so I’ve resorted to installing them in SLE:
    • ACPIBatteryManager.kext
    • ApplePS2SmartTouchPad.kext
    • AppleALC.kext
    • FakePCIID.kext
    • AtherosE2200Ethernet.kext
    • HackrNVMeFamily-10_12_2.kext
  2. Remove IONVMeFamily.kext from S/L/E and save it for the future.
  3. Open /EFI/CLOVER/config.plist (either with a plist editor, Xcode, or Clover Configurator) and disable all Piker’s IONVMeFamily Patches, they’re done by HackrNVMe now
  4. Quit and relaunch Kext Utility to clear caches, then reboot. Done.

Special Notes:

  • OsxAptioFix2Drv-free2000.efi is a special compilation of OsxAptioFix2Drv.efi that frees up some memory before booting/fixing. I found it increased the reliability of the boot, but I’m not 100% sure it’s actually doing anything to help.
  • This machine doesn’t have usable native NVRAM support. If your NVRAM emulation doesn’t work, try replacing /private/etc/rc.shutdown.d/80.save_nvram_plist.local with my version (mine simply writes nvram.plist to the EFI volume no matter what.) Delete your old nvram.plist if it’s already present.
  • Sometimes I have to unplug/replug my HDMI monitor connection on startup.
  • ACPI Patches include Skylake LPC, ssdtprgen.sh, OSI cleanup, Nvidia PowerOff, and some general syntax cleanup.
  • If you update, things should be OK, but the system may remove kexts in S/L/E and may REPLACE IONVMeFamily.kext which needs to be kept out of S/L/E

 

Welcome to Macintosh.

How To Change Your Motorcycle Oil – Anyone can do it!

Changing your own motorcycle oil is a great first step into vehicle maintenance. Doing it yourself can save you money and make sure the job is done right.
I don’t change my car’s oil, it’s not practical in an urban setting when you can get it done so easily and cheaply by a professional. Motorcycles are a more personal ownership experience than a car I’ve found – and more expensive to have changed professionally!
Directed, edited, written – and with original music – by Spencer Balliet
Staring Daniel Landberg in his pilot jumpsuit debut.

RageQuit by RageCade – Home Made Arcade Cabinet

I loved going to the arcade as a child. Five dollars from my mother amounted to what seemed like a mountain of quarters. The Boardwalk Arcade (still there? still there.) in my hometown was the place most typical.

So I built a home arcade

 

It’s inspired by a few designs on the internet but it’s more an original design. If someone really wants the plans I’ll take some exact measurements on request.

The goal of the project was to create a semi-portable arcade machine capable of playing most arcade games and cartridge based systems (Nintendo / Sega / Etc). While it would be a PC under the hood running windows, I wanted the OS to be as invisible to the user as possible with navigation and game selection done entirely through the arcade controls. I wanted it to look classy and not too out of place in a nice bar so I decided to stain it dark oak.
Materials used:
  • Raw Materials
    • About 4′ x 4′ of Plywood
    • Flooring Plywood (very thin 1/8″ plywood generally used for underfloors)
    • Clear Lucite Acrylic Sheet
    • 1″ Aluminum Angle Stock
    • 2″ Gold Wood Screws
    • Zip Ties
    • Pipe Hanger Strap (Plumber’s Tape)
  • Controls
    • 16x Sanwa Style 30mm Arcade Buttons
    • 2x 8-way Joysticks
    • 1x Generic SPST Switch
    • 4x Xbox 360 Wired USB Controllers
  • Tools
    • Jig Saw, Circular Saw, Standard Saw and Miter Box
    • 3″ Hole Saw, 30mm hole saw, 28mm hole saw
    • Miscellaneous Hand Tools
  • Brain
    • Shuttle mini-ITX Donor PC
    • Dell Optiplex Power Supply
    • Core2 Duo Processor
    • 4GB RAM
    • 120GB SD
    • 80mm Fan and Grill
    • ATI HD5450 Low Profile Graphics Card
    • WiFi USB Dongle
  • Software
    • Windows 7 x64
    • Hyperspin 1.3
    • Xpadder
  • Aesthetics
    • USB bus-powered speakers with 1/8″ input
    • USB bus-powered LED strip
    • Color Laser Printer
    • Stain with Polyurethane
I started by standing at the bar and seeing what felt right height-wise. I did some quick math on the height of the motherboard components (notably the video card and Processor Heatsink) and drew up some basic plans and got to cutting.

First I stained and poly’d all the wood so it would be well protected and easy to work with.
This took forever.

I chopped up the PC with an angle grinder, it was a Shuttle Mini-PC from some years ago. I saved the front of it, cut it apart, and mounted it on the back so there would be USB, power, reset and headphone jacks.
Just a jumble right now.
Rear Panel with power, reset, headphones and a few USB cords hanging out.

Bolted it to bottom of the Arcade, I used a power supply from an old Dell Optiplex I had laying around because it fit better (the photo above shows the old power supply, below is the better fitting Dell one).
See the dell power supply and HD mounted on the right side.

For the controls, I used a template based on the Sega Layout shown by slagcoin – minus 2 of the buttons on the far right. I put two extra buttons on the front for either start/select or to emulate inserting a coin and 1P / 2P start buttons.

Slagcoin was a great resource – these printable controller templates are just one of the great things they do.

To cut it, I taped the template on the wood and cut ~2mm deep with the 30mm hole saw. I then cut the rest of the way with the 28mm hole saw. This created a nice countersink for the button surround to sit in perfectly snugly.

The arcade buttons are relatively simple momentary SPST switches. They get a bit more complicated because each one has an LED that requires 2 more wires. The Joysticks are also simple banks of 4 SPST switches with diagonals signaled by being a combination of two directions.

Yep.
OK getting better. See the white SPST switches in a pile on the right and the LEDs just above them.

They get wired up via header pins to a USB controller device that is seen by Windows as two 10 button gamepads. Getting all this to fit with the motherboard below was a bit of a stretch – or a crunch as you can see in some of the photos.
I added in a generic SPST red button to exit games that mounted on the LCD panel holder. it’s out of the way and discreet. It’s only purpose is to exit games and submenus.

What’s another hole in this thing?
Do. Not. Press.
I used a single very long wood screw (4.5″ I think) to secure the video card. I shaved the stress reliefs off the cables to make sure they would fit with the back on.

This video card is solid.
The monitor is a Dell 1705FP 17″ LCD Monitor I picked up off Craigslist from a nice gentleman for five bucks. It has a Digital DVI input which allows me to not worry about adjusting it. I discovered it would automatically turn on when power and/or display signal was applied, which was a win as I don’t want the user to ever have to do anything to turn it on other than push the power button.

Very low profile when the bezel is stripped – it was surprisingly well suited 
Nearly flush mounted

I removed all the bezels around the monitor leaving the bare panel. I mounted it on the underflooring plywood by tracing it’s outline and cutting it out, then mounting some small pieces of scrap wood to hold it in place. I wired the power cable into the PC power supply to have one source of electricity for the unit.

How the monitor is held in.
The marquee is backlit by an LED strip that picked up on eBay for a few bucks. The LED strip is USB powered so it easily turns on and off with the arcade. The marquee border is 1″ aluminum angle stock from Home Depot, it was very cheap and it looks good and was easy to drill/cut. The marquee itself is acrylic sheeting from home depot sandwiching a logo just printed on a laser printer and cut to fit. I designed the logo in Photoshop.

This is the rear, the LED strip is center and held by zip ties
The speakers required some searching – it’s one of the few things I couldn’t source from spares lying around. I found speakers that are powered by a USB port (again, on and off with the arcade). They have a standard 1/8″ input which made it easy – Earise AL-101 is the model – they were on sale on Amazon. I mounted them behind the marquee and turned up the treble on the EQ in Windows to compensate them being behind the acrylic marquee. This worked surprisingly well to compensate.
Speakers held snugly in place with pipe strapping wrapped in black tape

I found the PC was overheating so I took a 3″ hole saw to the side and mounted up a standard case fan with a nice looking chrome grill. This fan pulls air in, which then the processor fan blows over the heatsink, followed by the power supply that has an exhaust fan. This creates a good crossbreeze inside the arcade and eliminated any issues with overheating.

Again, what’s another hole going to do?

I found that a permanent marker masked a lot of knicks and imperfections in the stain and edges – I would swipe the marker followed by a wet paper towel to blend it in quite effectively.

Here are some more photos of the build!

Software:

Windows 7 x64 seemed the clear choice for operating system. XP is missing a few features and doesn’t perform as well and Windows 8 has compatibility issues with some emulator software and doesn’t always like some resolutions and hacks that older emulators use to work properly.

Hyperspin is a front-end for that handles launching the correct software to play the selected game. It also handles showing artwork and videos of each game/system you have. Configuring Hyperspin is a massive undertaking and has a steep learning curve. I recommend you start with their forums and get involved with their community if your heart is in it. It’s very rewarding because nothing compares to it in terms of hiding the fact that it’s running on a PC.

Xpadder maps gamepad buttons/movements to keyboard keys. this allows me to standardize keys across different emulators and allows me to easily control systems – with this virtual keyboard – that don’t support gamepads. It also allows me to double up controls so I can plug Xbox 360 controllers in and have them work as P1 and P2 (along with P3 and P4 with more controllers!)

IKEA Bed Headboard becomes an itty bitty stand – Recycling and IKEA hacking

I needed a stand for a wine chiller. Wine fridge? Wine cooler? Bartles and Jaymes?

Complete shot first:

It’s on the left. Under the wine device.

I had this extra bed headboard (and tailboard? is that a thing?). It’s from IKEA. It’s made of wood. I hate throwing good wood away. I’ll burn/crush/destroy and otherwise exact lament upon particle board furniture all day long but in its original native tree form I have an affinity with it; I want to see it live anew; this respect is akin to a steak versus chicken nuggets.

Enter bedframe/headboard/tailboard/woods:

BedWoods

I cut it down so the legs were all equal and gave them a staining.

Cutting / Staining

I then cut the thin back board and linked them together with some dowels and wood glue to give it some rigidity and to get it to the right size.

Still Staining

I used some spare wood I had lying around as a topper for it and snapped up a segment of 1×2 (these not shown) to the back as a brace.

Voila: recycled.

Thrift Store Table – Refinish – Upgrade

Final shot first:


But, how?

What an unusual table!
What, an unusual table?

Have you ever seen a table like this? What was it for? A game? A ritual? I purchased it for the heavily discounted rate of $15 from Out of the Closet in Atwater Village a week or so ago. It was in bad shape:

  • One loose leg
  • It didn’t stand straight
  • Appeared to have been dropped down several flights of stairs
    • heavy gouging and missing hardware
  • What was the leather thing? a lamp? a roulette wheel? a drum?
  • Now that I see the photos I promise it looked worse in person
So many mysteries, no answers, only solutions. I planned to refinish it, put something in the giant hole, and replace my albeit without issue (but too large) current coffee table.
SAND SAND SAND. I sanded the imperfections and all of the finish off. I removed some hardware but not all.
Enter: this stuff. I like this stuff. Good for impatient people. It’s got polyurethane and stain all in one. I slap it on, wait for it to dry, steel wool it, rinse and repeat. The drawers got a lighter color stain, but otherwise the same treatment.

In Progress.

My teammate provided a bowl that seemed as though it was made for the giant circular hole,

Here it is all finished in the living room. It freed up a lot of space in the room and is a fun and unique piece to have around!

Accessorized!

Clearly where the keyboard goes.

Dem Drawers.

Bowl Shot.

Look at that deep dish.
More stuff to come.

Spring and Strut Replacement – Koni/AGX/Hypercoils – 1993 NX2000

A Treatise on Building and Installing Custom Suspension:

It’s not easy.

Goal:

Install fully new suspension encompassing new springs and struts which lower the car approximately one-inch from its stock ride height. Do this without compromising safety and performance while maintaining daily driveability.

Equipment:

  • 2x Koni Yellow B15 Sentra front adjustable strut inserts
  • 2x KYB AGX rear adjustable gas struts
  • 4x Hyperco Hypercoil Generation 2 lowering springs
  • Reuse stock front strut housings
  • Reuse all top hats and mounting bushings etc.
  • 2x bicycle headset spacers

Overview:

  1. Remove front struts and springs and disassemble
  2. Cut housings, drill out bottoms, and remove “blood n’ guts” to insert the Koni struts
  3. Modify Koni strut bottoms to clear CV boots, insert and reassemble with new springs
  4. Rear is the same as the front, only the rear struts are a direct replacement
Photos:
Look at those tight coils (old vs. new)

Front bumpstop (cut 50%), boot and top hat.

Stock front SensaTracs

This is easy compared to getting the compressor tool in between the rings on the Hypercoils. BTW the pressure the springs are under in this maneuver is astronomical.

Exceptionally manly moment about to ensue.

So pretty. Not their prescribed purpose – these are for a 2000 Sentra really.

The contents of two Monroe SensaTrac struts. Don’t breathe this.

Slicin’ / Dicin’

This is the rear assembled (these were WAY easier than hollowing out the fronts)

The two rears assembled
Caveats:
My axle fell apart during this and had to be replaced. That is not typical. The upside of this is a shimmy on the highway appears to have departed with the bad axle. The strut spindle (center) in the front did not bolt to the stock top hats as expected, there was approximately 1.5-2.5cm of space that needed to be filled. I used approximately 9qty. 1/2″ interior diameter washers to fill this gap. Getting the Konis into the housings was quite a battle – my fronts were not original though and were Monroe Sensatracs. I cut the stock bumpstops by about 50% and reused those and the boots on both ends of the car.
Impressions:
Hard to see from this angle, but the drop is very minimal which is good. Can’t be scraping around LA.
Performance is excellent. I’ve ridden on Ground Control coilovers with AGXes in the past on a Nissan NX2000 and this is WORLDS better than that. I’ve also had Tein SS coilovers on a P11 Infiniti G20 which was bone jarring compared to this. So far, this setup is excellent.

The $50 Automotive Paintjob

This is my experience with the famous $50 automotive paintjob. Total cost here was about $50, maybe $65 with the addition of the cheap Harbor Freight buffer I bought. Equipment list:

  • Quart of Rustoleum gloss white paint
  • Odorless mineral spirits
  • Cheap foam brushes galore
  • 600, 1000, 1500 and 2000 grit (wet) sand paper
  • Rattle Spray Can of Rustoleum gray primer
  • Harbor Freight palm orbiting buffer

Outlined here:

http://www.rickwrench.com/index79master.htm?http://www.rickwrench.com/50dollarpaint.html

And starting at day one (600 grit sand prep)…

Sanded, then masked off for Primer

Rustoleum Automotive Rattle-Can Primer Gray. Could have called it done right here if this was a Camaro.

Coverage = Bad, the paint is thinned with mineral spirits nearly 50/50

This is like 6 coats in, wet sanding with 1000 grit every 2 coats.

8 or so coats

Roundabouts 10 coats

With the license plate back in place and the bottom of the bumper refastened.
Wet sanded with 2000 grit, then buffed with the buffer and some wax/polish/compound.
Thoughts gleaned from the experience:
  • The Rickwrench site above is pretty much right on. I would recommend getting as good of a primer as you can underneath it all, preferably the color you’re painting it as the coverage is terrible.
  • I bought a buffer from Harbor Freight which did a lot for the sheen, but this job is definitely in “good enough” territory. It’s nothing special.
  • It feels durable but we’ll see what it does with the test of time. Looks great though, especially at 4 feet away