Thursday, 17 January 2019

The Drill and the Carpenter

I can (almost) feel sorry for Theresa May.  In attempting to appease everyone she has pleased no one!   If it wasn't for the ‘Back Stop’ then she might just have got her deal over the line.

My feeling is another party in government wouldn’t be able to negotiate a “better” deal.  Moreover I suspect the EU bureaucracy is (and always has been) manipulating for a second referendum.  It’s a well proven strategy.

On to more important things (for me).  I’ve cut out the plywood upper floor for the trailer using the Makita plunge saw and rails.  Last time I did this there was some bad “tear out” on one side of the cut.  This time I’ve tried to overcome that problem by running a line of masking tape down the off side of the pencil line.  The idea is the masking tape will eliminate the tear out (chipping of the cut edge).

The edge is masked

The cut has been made

The idea was a failure!

Fortunately I’m getting slightly smarter and ensured the “clean” edge was on the piece of plywood I wanted to use.
The next step was to mark out my hole matrix using the Paft guide tool.

A combination of the tool and Pythagoras enabled me to drill a matrix of 3mm holes at 100mm spacing. These holes will eventually be enlarged to 8mm.  however I first needed to turn the board over and rebate the underside of the holes.  This minimizes the splintering of the under surface when the larger holes are drill from the top side.

All the small cut outs were then done.  The ply sheet should be a snug fit, but first I have to enlarge the holes to 8mm.  I plan to do this will my plunge router.  But I don’t have an 8mm V groove bit.  Ebay China have them for $1.67 with free delivery.  However delivery won’t be until the end of February.  There is an Australian supplier, $44 plus postage.  Guess I’ll be waiting!

The last two days have seen regular 40 minute interruptions as I run out into the heat to spray water on the shed concrete slab.

As you probably know, heat builds up in concrete when it’s setting (curing).  If you don’t control the heat the concrete shrinks and cracks.  It’s been very hot the last couple of days which means I’ve needed to regularly water it.  actually I’d better go out now and wet it………..   I’m back.  Phew… it’s hot out there and forecast to be even hotter this weekend.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

The Heatwave Continues

Whilst we are forecast to have a relatively cool day with the temperature around the high 20’s or low 30’s the other mainland States are not going to fair as well with 40C being the norm.  I do feel for one small town in South Australia where the mercury is predicted to reach 50C.

Yesterday it was a case of working on the trailer for short periods with long intervals cooling down under the air conditioner drinking beer (one has to rehydrate).  The air-con is certainly worth it’s money and we’re also very pleased it runs on free solar electricity.

The lower compartment of the trailer is almost complete.  I need to make a wiring connection for the fridge and do something about the gap behind the kitchen [B].

trailers lower

The storage box with the side opening door has fitted behind the fridge [C] and the original two storage boxes I made for the August outback trip fit snugly alongside [A].  Both these boxes are 400mm cubes which leave me a 400 cube void behind the kitchen (red arrow).

I’m thinking this might be an ideal location for the gas bottle which is currently attached to the outside of the trailer.  This is a land to which people were transported for stealing a loaf of bread so an unsecured gas bottle would be fair game. Smile

The problem is the maximum height is 400mm and the gas bottle exceeds that.  Then I realised the box slid on rails which means there is a 30-40mm gap underneath them.  I could cut a circular hole in the base of the planned box lowering the height of the bottle inside the box.  But it’s just too hot to go out and do any measuring.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

The Slide and the Wall

I’m attempting to get a little more frequent with the blog posts.  This hasn’t been helped by the weather as the long hot days mean I’m usually only able willing to spend an hour in the morning and late afternoon outside.

The drawer slide is almost completed.  A piece of carpet has been glued over the plywood at the front where the fridge will sit.  The back half will remain bare as it will form the base of a locker I’ve built.

IMG_3186 As you can see in the above photo the drawer doesn’t fully extend out of the trailer.   Access to the planned rear locker obviously won’t be available from the front of the drawer because the fridge will obstruct it.  Neither is there access from the top as there will be a plywood ‘floor’ between the upper and lower half of the existing compartment.  I’ve therefore made the locker with side access.

This next photo shows the side of the locker which will face towards the inside of the compartment. 


And this is what it looks like in the open position.  No floor as it will be glued and screwed to the plywood drawer slide.  I think it probably needs an upper drawer.


Now about the wall.  Jan noticed this next photo on Farcebook.  Smile


Many years ago I was single and living in barracks.  One of my room mates was missing his right foot which had been blown off by an anti-personnel mine whilst in Vietnam.  The irony was the mine had been made in the USA. 

One Australian Army Commander decided to deny the enemy freedom of movement by laying a large and long minefield.  In doing so he breached one of the key principles of constructing an obstacle.  Any obstacle must be under continuously observation!  This minefield was so big and long there were insufficient troops to watch it.  Consequentially the obstacle just became a large warehouse for the enemy to collect mines.  Which they then used to kill and maim Australian and New Zealand soldiers.

The Israelis have also constructed a barrier between the Egyptian Sinai and the Gaza Strip.  Despite continually watching it they haven’t been able to prevent the Palestinians from constructing multiple tunnels under the obstacle.

I repeat.   A barrier has to be continually observed.   The USA-Mexico border is 3145km.  Assuming you need on average a watch tower every 500m which means it would take approximately 75,000 people to watch the wall 24/7.  That’s just the number of static observers; additional mobile patrols would be required.

I don’t doubt this has been explained to President Trump.  However he continues to persist; despite the fact the wall would be hugely expensive and not very effective.  But then this isn’t about a wall.  It’s about keeping a campaign promise…..


Friday, 11 January 2019

But I have been busy

It’s a week since the last blog post.  But I assure you I’ve been busy.  There was some spare space behind the trailer freezer and I decided to utilize it for storage.  This necessitated the manufacture and installation of a partition.  What seemed like a relatively simple task eventually occupied two days as it turned out to be much more complicated than I’d anticipated.  Mostly this was caused by the need to thread the nuts onto the small machine screws.  My eyesight isn’t what it once was and I kept dropping them.  At one point I almost gave up, but then stubbornness set in.  


If the freezer is to work efficiently then it does require a surrounding air gap.  I’ve tested the temperature inside the steel compartment when the freezer isn’t running and discovered it reached 37C.  The freezer will struggle at that temperature so I started thinking about ‘forced airflow.  The compartment has an air filter on either side.


Inside of filter


Outside shroud over filter

Hunting around in the garage I found an old 12V computer fan.  I then made a mounting block from scrap plywood.  The mounting block and fan will fit over the internal side of one of the filters and be connected to the freezer 12V power supply.  It will blow air out of the freezer compartment and (hopefully) suck air in through the opposite filter.


Inside the lower half of the main trailer compartment I’ve completed the trial fit of the 2400mm long heavy duty drawer slides.


The 12V fridge will fit on the near end of the slide with a small storage cabinet behind.  Everything has been made.  I’m just completing the trial fit .  My major issue its once again the small machine screws and nuts.  However it should be completed by the end of next week.  There will be one outstanding issue; the 12V wiring to the fridge.  The cables will need to move backwards and forwards with the fridge, but not foul.

The solar panels have been charging the trailer battery.  Well to be truthful the battery is probably fully charged with the panels only adding between 0.1 – 0.4 Amps (float charge).

I’ve also dug the trenches and installed the underfloor shed pipework in preparation for the laying of the concrete slab.  I had the area nicely level and flat, then Molly decided it was a great place to play and DIG.


The orange pipe is for the power to the bench saw whilst the white is a 100mm sewer pipe.  NO, I’m not installing a toilet in the middle of the shed floor!  It’s for the sawdust extraction system I intend to make and install.

I should probably describe the problems I’ve had with the Raspberry Pi, but that can wait.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

The indicative cost

With nothing better to do I decided to analyse the electricity bill

During the previous billing period we purchased 1052kWh of electricity.  For the current period we purchased 356kWh; a reduction of 66%. 

Our latest electricity bill was $4.65. However that includes some credit for a small amount of solar power we sold back to the utility company during the previous period.  If I deduct that from the current bill then our bill would have been $12.62.

In summary, we purchased 356kWh and sold 2062kWh.  The purchase price from the utility company is 25.752 cents kWh and the price they buy our solar is 7.135 cents kWh.  So we sold them $145.22 and purchased $91.68.  However they also charged us a connection fee of 92.3175 cents daily ($53.54) and GST (VAT) of 10% on the total.  The connection fee was the amount that moved us from credit to debit.

If I use the previous period consumption as a baseline (1052kWh) it would mean we have a daily average of 23.55kWh of surplus electricity.  This is sufficient to supply a 15kW battery which would enable us to be self-sufficient. 

However as you can see from the above figures our major electrical cost is the connection fee.  Current government regulations prevent a home owner from disconnecting from the electrical network.  So even if a battery was a financially viable option (it currently isn’t) we wouldn’t spend the money (approx $10,000) to save $12.62 every two months.  A battery will only be a viable option when they become cheaper AND the government allows home owners to disconnect from the network.  I don’t see the latter happening!