Friday, April 19, 2013

Inspiration 7

BMW R100/7 cafe racer
I like the crash bars, headlight mount and mirror.

Cafe racer Moto Guzzi
Nice seat.  Looks good and can take a passenger.

I am considering this color scheme.  BMW M colors.

Cool BMW, with my wheels.

Honda CB550F
Very cool bike.  I'm intriged by the exhaust and lower fairing.

This is a neat looking bike.  I really like the rear brake and shifter setup, and for some reason, I really like the headlight switch on the headlight.

BMW R75 custom motorcycle
Very unique BMW.  Has similar shifter/brake to the previous bike.
And I just found the shifter/brake:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Introducing the An-D Lifter

We needed some sort of solution for moving and storing our hot tub cover while we were using the tub, so I decided to copy a product I knew worked.  My parents have had something called the E-Z Lifter on their hot tub since they got it, and it is an incredibly simple and effective tool for handling the spa cover.  Unfortunately, I believe it is also overpriced.  Prices range from $120 to $190, for what is essentially an rectangle made of light aluminum tubing.

It was clear this product could be easily copied, so I went to Home Depot and got all the necessary supplies to build a version of my own for less than $40.  The cost could be as low as $20 if you already have PVC cement and some spare rope to use.

The result is a perfectly usable tool for a fraction of the cost of the original, with twice the style.  Or not.

Original E-Z Lifter:
E-Z Lifter closedE-Z Lifter

New and improved An-D Lifter:
Here's the play-by-play:
I had to start by fixing/reinforcing the hot tub cover.  It is the most worn part of the tub, but only really at the seam.  I got a five inch wide roll of awning repair tape and went for it.  The result seems good so far.  We'll see how long it lasts.

Now I could get started on the lifter.  It started with creating a mounting point for the support rope.  I went with a 2x4 block.

I even got fancy and centered the hole with a high tech method, known as an X.

Four inch blocks, one of which I shaved down a bit.

Some light finishing work with the rasp and sandpaper.

Eye screw test fit.

After painting and realizing I forgot to countersink.  Another coat finished them up.

Mounting done.  Stainless steel, of course.

The first test.  It works!

I decided to add a small table to actually support the weight of the cover when it's raised.  This should extend the life of the cover and my repair job.  We found the table on the street, and its height is just about perfect, after I shortened and evened out the legs.  With the table, the support ropes aren't even needed.

The only (surprisingly minor) injury from the project.  The table got away from me while maneuvering it for trimming.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Step Up

We got a set of steps for the hot tub to make ingress and egress more convenient.  They are from and are pretty sturdy, considering they are made of fairly light plastic.  In hindsight, I'm not sure why I didn't just build some steps from wood, but at the time I didn't feel like it.

Best of all, it has storage.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

IT'S ALIVE...again...for now

The hot tub time machine is back in commission.  Hopefully it will stay that way for a while.

My boss did a great job of replacing the relay and adding wires as additional current flow paths.  Instead of buying the replacement board for $130, I got to use $550 of his time.  The actual cost to us was $4 for the relay and this:
Thank you Ken!

Re-installing the board was fun.  The connectors for the power wires are a pain.
Genius at work.  Notice the safety glasses being used effectively.

Genius on the verge of electrocution.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Master Bath Switcharoo

As you may recall, we had two toilet paper holders in the master bath.  We removed the second one above the toilet long ago, and left the one next to the toilet.  Unfortunately, it has been wobbly since we got the house, so it was time to replace it with the other one that was in there.

We also moved the hand towel rack.  It was randomly located about four feet to the right of where it is now, in a spot that was convenient for nothing.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hot Tub Wiring

Here's a snazzy video featuring a sexy narrator describing the electrical hookup for the hot tub.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Line Dry: Redux

Because we like doing everything twice, we moved the clothes line.  Actually, we did it because the hot tub made the old location unacceptable.  Good thing we didn't set it in concrete like the instructions called for.
We kaizened the installation by placing a chunk of concrete at the bottom of the hole.  This should allow some drainage and prevent dirt from intruding from the bottom.

We also made a very big improvement to the clothesline itself, which has been a long time coming.  The main upright pole is actually two pieces.  Out of the box, the two pieces don't connect in any way; they just slip together.  When moving the apparatus, this is annoying because the bottom section always tries to run away.  One little stainless steel screw solved everything.  It is really nice when a three-minute project relieves immeasurable frustration.