Saturday, February 2, 2019

Building The Three Phaser

Here is a plan for a very small single to three phase converter. The plan was published in a 1966 Popular Mechanics issue, The author claims it works and there was a retail kit available to build it. I have never built it, so I can't vouch for it, but it is the easiest and smallest converter I have ever seen. I have many more modern plans that are larger and much more complicated constructions.

The author claims it will run 1 to 3 hp, 3 phase, Y wound motors, off single phase mains. This is one I would like to try some time, just to see if it works.

Build Your Own Unimat Style Lathe

Many people are familiar with the small hobby class Unimat style lathe. Before the cheap imports got into the game they were the most affordable small hobby lathe on the market, they were European made by Emco and there were many accessories available including a milling head. The bed and cross slide ways were made of steel shafting and therefor this was a very small lathe to remain ridged.

Here is a plan also built by a European, Guenter Kallies, which is similar to the Unimat, but with larger dimensions. All measurements are metric and there are no castings used. Instructions are relatively clear and include material lists. If you want to avoid the castings in the Gingery plans, this may be an option.

To download the 32 page pdf  click Build Your Own Lathe 3 MB.

The Emco - Unimat Model "SL"

Friday, February 1, 2019

Building A Classic Cabinet Makers Workbench

I can't remember where I found this pdf. Steve the builder has not updated his site since 2004, the free for distribution plan was posted in 2006 and is not on his site. This much time later, I am at a loss as to where it was posted.

This is a beautifully done workbench in the classic cabinet makers style. Remember Tage Frid's bench in FW # 4, same style, except this one is larger. Very nice. Steve names 2 other magazines and a book, where he got his ideas from. Included with the build document are fully measured drawings for the prospective builder. At 103 pages Steve leaves little to the imagination. If you like this style, it doesn't get much better than this.

To download this great workbench plan click Building A Cabinet Makers Workbench 4.2 MB - pdf.

Building A Roubo Bench

So a while back I posted a series of workbench plans. There seems to have been lots of interest, so here are a couple of more.

The first is another Roubo style bench. This one is built by Nick Myers and was posted on the now defunct site. As before Nick, if you object to reposting, message me and it will be removed. Nick built a beautiful and very heavy bench from a neighbor's downed Red Oak tree. He cut it up himself with a chainsaw mill and let it dry for quite a few years. It made for challenging material but in the end Nick produced a very inspiring workbench.

To download a 2.2 MB pdf of Nick's bench build click Building A Roubo Bench.

After building the Roubo bench, Nick decided he wanted a Moxon vise, common to Holtzapffel style benches. As you recall I incorporated both types into my bench, works if you have access to both sides of the bench. If you do lots of hand tool work on the ends of boards, such as dovetail work on drawer construction, the Moxon is the way to go. Nicks Moxon is portable and easily clamped to the surface of the workbench.

To download the 600 KB pdf of Nicks Moxon build click Building A Low Cost Moxon Vise.


So for something different today we will start off with a little historical article to get your blood flowing. So browsing Ben Thompson's site " the other day, I found an entry on Portugal's "first and greatest hero". As mentioned in a previous post Ben Thompson does not shy away from colorful language and is not too concerned about being politically correct, so be warned.

So when the Romans finally defeated Hannibal and the Huns and wiped Carthage off the map, they set there eyes on the Iberian peninsula (Portugal and Spain). Their legions landed on the Spanish coast and they quickly started to consume the peninsula. When they approached what is today modern Portugal, they came up against a people known as the Lusitani living in the highlands of central Portugal and western Spain. For a decade they did not get any further, and on one occasion were pushed right back to the coast, where they landed.

If not for the act of three Judases (but of course, it would be a different planet, with a different evolutionary record, if there was no Judas) they may never have taken it. Thats a strong statement to make. I make it on the basis that towards the end, the Romans had to enforce conscription to continue to send legions to fight the Lusitanians and their leader Viriathus, who had a habit of destroying whole legions and never lost a fight. Viriathus is credited as the originator of modern guerilla warfare, 10 to 1 odds was standard fare. Here's his story.

Expand to max. for a quick fun read. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Fine Woodworking # 1

So like me, most have probably a number of favorite woodworking magazines. With the advent of computers and the WWW, how we consume this kind of information has changed, some magazines have not survived, others have made the switch to online quite well. At my age, I guess I would be classed as "old school" and a paper copy is still my preferred media. I have close to complete collections of "Fine Woodworking", "Wood", "Canadian Workshop", and the "Woodsmith" and "Shop Notes" magazines. Less complete collections of many others.

Metalworking home shop magazines are less abundant. My collection of "Model Engineers Workshop" is close to complete, less so is my collection of "Model Engineer" and "The Home Shop Machinist".

Older magazines like PM, PS and others covered a wide variety of subject matter, such as woodworking, metalworking, electronics and other diy home shop subjects. Seldom were they devoted to one discipline. Britain had a few exceptions such as "Woodworker" which like "Model Engineer" has been around forever.

With the advent of the 70's the North American market changed "Fine Woodworking" was one of the first, with a focus on high end woodworking. Over the next few decades they were followed by many more, covering many specific interests such as turning, carving, home shops, etc.

In the early days tool and machine manufacturers published much of this kind of instructive material, "Delta" comes to mind. With the growth of the magazine industry this activity pretty much stopped, and manufacturers started promoting their wares in the expanding magazine industry instead.

So hopefully I am not boring you here. I thought some here might be interested in seeing the first copy of "Fine Woodworking" published back in 1975. It is not rare on the internet, I have come across it a few times. If you have not found it yet, here is a nice clean copy for your enjoyment.

To download click Fine Woodworking # 1. 2.8 MB - pdf

The article "The Renwick Multiples" featured a number of examples of some of the modern work being done around the country. There must have been alot of interest in a featured high end library step because in the next issue, FW # 2, the editors ran an article on it's construction.

The step, made of laminated Oak and Rosewood, sold for $450. Mr Edward Livingston, the builder, says it took 40 hours of work to complete. When you subtract the cost of materials and workshop and equipment overhead, he probably made around $8 an hour, not much for such a beautiful piece, even by 1975 standards.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Fine-Tune Your Bandsaw

If you have a workshop you probably have a bandsaw, (if you don't, sell your table saw and buy a bandsaw, ha, ha, I'm joking). I have read arguments that puts the bandsaw ahead of all other machines when equipping a workshop and depending on the type of work you do, some of the most accurate cuts required are made on the bandsaw, in addition if you have a steady free hand it gets much more use than the table saw, mine does.

Keeping your bandsaw well tuned up will insure trouble free cutting and longer blade and guide life. Here is one of the better articles on tuning up your bandsaw that I have found. The article was in the 1997 May/June Fine Woodworking magazine and is well worth a read.

Interior Warmer Hack

So that killer cold continues, and taking a break from feeding my wood stove and reading, I figured I could do a couple of posts. Off and on for the last two weeks or so we have been breaking low temp. records that have stood for 100 years ( if my name was "Trump" I'd be saying "see no global warming" lol). A couple of mornings ago the temp. hit -46 and -52 with the wind chill. For the first time, my truck wouldn't start. I plugged the block heater in and set up my hacked interior warmer under the engine. It started within an hour.

I have never been crazy about interior warmers, back in 1981 I got an interior warmer from my dad, I don't know how long he had had it. It needed a mounting bracket and it spent most of its time in storage. 12 years ago I came across it and decided to mount it in a portable and adjustable stand. It has come in quite handy over the years. It comes in handy as a small space heater in the outdoor equipment shed, which is insulated, and the adjustable heater allows me to direct the heat where I want it, I often use it to warm up my yard tractor on these very cold days, and as it happens it fits nicely under my truck engine as well.

Here is the heater mounted in a stand of my own design and construction.

The heater tilt is adjustable, here in it's middle range. After many years of use it could use a new cord and some paint touch ups but otherwise good for another 40 years.

Here it is tilted up for use in warming things like engine oil pans.

Here is the stand I built with the heater removed. I had a large piece of light and shallow U channel. After careful measurements, I marked it out and cut it on my import metal bandsaw. I then drilled two 1/4" heater mounting holes, 4, 5/16" holes for the rubber feet, and two 3/8' holes for the adjustment locking knob. Next I did the bending and a paint job. That was it, ready to mount the heater. 

Sunday, January 27, 2019

12" Thickness Sander

Planers and drum sanders are expensive, if the work you do does not justify such an expense, a homebuilt drum sander might be the answer. There are lots of plans around the web for drum sanders, some are very advanced with powered feed beds and planer type thickness adjustments, most are much simpler but often need some finesse for a better look.

"WOOD" magazine published a plan back in the 80's that fits both of these characteristics. It is relatively simple to construct and looks great. It will handle a 12" width but this can be easily increased. For purchases you will need a motor, two pillow block bearings, a shaft, and a switch. Yes, thats it, except for the wood and fasteners of course, The listed sources may still be available.

Say "Thank you WOOD magazine" and enjoy.

Two Toy Electric Motors

So here are a couple of interesting projects for the novice home hobbyist. Both projects come from the "Junior Mechanics Handbook", which I have previously posted from.

The projects, two toy electric motors, are not ment to do practical work. They are interesting projects that teach and look great working as display units. Construction is not too difficult and will provide lots of enjoyment to the novice, learning electrical theory and  construction methods. Don't forget to expand to max. before saving, for best resolution.