A day in the life..

Fog, Insulation, and Aquaponics

First weekday of summer vacation.  Sure looks the part, don’t it?  45 degrees F and 100% humidity.  At least our skin stays soft.

Foggy First Monday

Hauled this trailer plus flatbed load of insulation home yesterday.  Unloaded the OSB faced insulation last night to keep it snug and dry.  None too soon I’d say.  We’ll be putting the EPS inside today to prevent solar degradation.  Enjoy the article.?..

Insulation to Install

Purchased these two Rubbermaid tanks a while back and finally got them home.  They will be the foundation of an aquaponics system I’m planning here.

Aquaponics Tanks

Lots of little starts to set out soon.  Not quite sure what went wrong but the starts from January are huge and these guys from March never really took off.  I think the soil was a bit too cool, maybe a little summer weather will help.

Very Small Starts

Marly hates this stuff.  The rhizomes spread all over and can get quite sharp as they pierce the soil.

Quack Grass

Scrapped out an old GM door this weekend and this is the spoils.  It will be going on Ebay soon, hopefully to someone who will be able to use it.

Old GM Door Hardware

School’s out!

School’s out (Thursday), Project ’52’s on it’s way home.  Not complete by any means but a steering column, cooling piping, brake plumbing, and driveshaft will have us up and running.

1952 MeadowBrook Going Home 2

Period 1 loaded and strapped it down.  23 minutes bell to bell with instruction.  Not bad.  One student ran the winch and another helped steer (no column, remember).  Yes, only two students left this late in the game.

1952 MeadowBrook Going Home 1

Last load (Friday) is the van full of metal.  I think I’ll wait to load, it’s been raining since 4:45 this morning.  Just thankful we got the ’52 unloaded last night on dry ground and packed away in the garage.

Low Rider
Let’s wait to load

What a mess, High School Shop

Part of lab cleanup is getting rid of scrap that’s collected over the school year.  Here we tried tearing the copper out of an old condenser laying around.  What a bunch of work for such little return.  Slicing the aluminum and pulling the tubing takes quite a bit of time and loads of strength.

Condenser Tear Down

Stripping copper also leaves a heck of a mess.  No more for me.  Watch the video in the photo below at 40 seconds and watch a super fast way!

Condenser Tear Down Mess
Schmitty the Model

Remember those car ads from the 60’s and 70’s with ladies draped across automobiles?  No, I don’t either.  Anyway, Schmitty trying hard to recreate!

Trailer Deck Enjoyment

Toy trailer put to good use.  Ahhh.

Last Days, High School Shop

Tomorrow is the last day of school for the students so we’re trying to get the lab into shape to begin fall semester.  The toolboards are getting arranged, floors and walls being scrubbed, scrap being removed, and projects coming to completion.

Lab Organization

This is the miscellaneous tool board, meaning it’s a catchall for the extra or non-specific tools and safety gear.  This is the neatest I’ve seen this are since August!

Van Full

Here’s most of the scrap going to the recycling.  That’s an ’05 Chrysler minivan.  Try fitting your family in there now!

413 Engine Stand

One of the last projects get the second 413 portable.  One of the Juniors whipped this little cart together.  Nice, quick work, done in less than three periods.  If you’d like to build your own, I’ve linked the pic to a little more universal style of cart.

Prepping to Sell

Students have been cleaning, organizing, and preparing the lab for fall classes which doesn’t make for very interesting photography.  Having no High School Shop material to share helps me refocus on Home School Shop and our Permaculture endeavors.  This summer our intentions are to increase sales of the collectible goodies (I use “collectible” loosely) we’ve accumulated over the years and also improve the properties for food production.  Here are a few examples of items we list on sites such as Craigslist, Facebook, the local radio station, and others around the area.

Solar Thermal Panels

These panels are from a solar hot water system which I picked up a few years back.  They’re getting rather hard to find if you’re looking for the glass front model.  These units are made from extruded aluminum and have copper absorbers.  This particular Solar King manufacturer is defunct, but another has taken the name and is based in Phoenix.

Solar King Waco TX


Montgomery Ward Generator

This little generator has been acquired and has only 8 operating hours on it.  Sat in the window of a guy’s shop for decades until he finally decided to part with it.  I’m searching for a carburetor to the the Briggs and Stratton engine back online so we can test this unit.

Generator Hour Meter Hobbs

Pressure Washer Problems, Home School Shop

So my pressure washer hasn’t quite operated correctly since the day I bought it.  When the previous owner said he “rebuilt the pump” I should’ve known what the scumbag was up to and walked away.  Oh well, my problem now so it’s time to fix.  Here are a few photos of the 4SF40GS1 Cat Pump after tear down, at least the parts that need replacing.

Cat Pump 1

Honestly, my first thought was just to replace the pump.  The Honda engine runs great so a new pump seemed feasible.  $765.  Ouch.  Long story short: $207 worth of seals is much cheaper.  The wear items (not the seals obviously) are all in good condition (below) and directions are readily available so I’ll clean and reassemble once the parts arrive.

Cat Pump 2

This brass housing is $300 plus and the rubber inside it runs quite expensive as well.  I’ll need to do some research to prevent damage of the housing during seal removal.  I will post operations as I complete the rebuild.

Cat Pump 3

Skidsteer done, Homeschool Shop

If you’ve ever had your hands down deep inside one of these

Clark 310
Clark 310 Left Front

you’ll understand how accomplished I feel.

Moved to Front Yard



Rotisserie in Use, High School Shop

Seniors are done so it’s a good thing underclassmen were completing Project Rotisserie.  Students loaded the unit today and tested its operation.  Repositioning of the swing mounts is demonstrated below.  The bolt is removed, the arm swung one way or the other, then locked into place.  An electric or mechanical crank on the end of this unit would be very handy as the body of a vehicle can become unwieldy when over-centered, note for improvement!

Rotisserie, End Pivot Lock

The swing arm locked into place.  This arm completes a 360 rotation allowing vehicles to be worked on upside down.  The telescoping tubing allows for a customized fit.

Rotisserie, End Pivot

Here the box is ready to be mounted to test the rotisserie.  It is from a 1965 D200 and is easily moved around by the three of us.  Note the swing arms are canted away from us.  They were leveled out and lowered so we didn’t have to lift the box as high.

Rotisserie, Box Ready

The telescoping tubing was left loose until body mount bolts were installed.  Once tight, the tubing was clamped into place.  This eliminated the trial and error of locating the mounting feet to the body.

Rotisserie, Body Mount 3
Rotisserie, Body Mount 2
Rotisserie, Body Mount 1

All mounted up and ready to go.  The box can now be rotated allowing access underneath while seated or standing to work.

Rotisserie, Box on 1

Yes, it even travels fine.  I didn’t learn how to load and secure a trailer during any class in high school but it’s an important skill to have.  Just look at some of the loads traveling down the roads today and you’ll see why.  The students received a lesson in trailer preparation, winch operation, and proper load securing.  Notice both front and rear axles have fore and aft tie downs.  The rotisserie ends are not a solid unit and the extra tie downs prevent either section from separating during transport.

Rotisserie, Box on 2

Yes, it was the first thing folks saw when attending the art show.  Lots of looks and slow drive by’s.  Two sophomores and a junior completed this build.  People were impressed with the size, scope, and engineering involved.  Good job gentlemen!

Rotisserie, Box on 3