Posts Tagged ‘homemade’

Kitchen cabinets

Last winter I finished the kitchen cabinets. We wanted pretty clean lines so I made doors that are at the same level with the frame (doors don’t cover the frame). It also means that the frame is one block! In modern cabinets the frames are modules which have to be covered with the doors (doors go in front of the frame). We also wanted to stay away from fancy panel doors so I made these pretty simple ones.  The top cabinet doors have windows with sandblasted pattern on them.

The sink cabinet doors have fancy ventilation holes in them. They are carved straight to the veneer. There’s a similar style ventilation thing above the refrigerator, too.

All drawers are dovetailed (lohenpyrstöliitos in Finnish).

There’s big drawers with grills on the bottom for kettles and stuff. There’s a water liner behind and under the whole cabinet and a floor drain so if you put wet kettles in those drawers the water drops on the liner and down the drain. Of course we always have drying cabinets for other dishes on top of the sinks here in Finland, too, and this cabinet is no exception.

Here in Finland we also have always chopping boards built into the cabinets. There are two of them: the one above is for wet stuff (vegetables) and lower is for dry stuff (bread). There’s a detachable grill on the lower chopping board (a place to hide bread crumbs!).

See that dishwasher: it’s 40 years old! My parents bought it in 1970 and it still works like a dream! They used to make things last…


Yet another “silent” computer project

There are probably thousands of computer case related stories out there and here’s another one, because I feel like writing and nothing better worth of reporting came to my mind.

My previous computer (which I still have on my table, on the other side of the monitor :) ), was loud as hell. It was put together in the era of computing (early years of this millennium) when only number crushing power was important and noise levels could be insanely high. The main noise sources were the processor fan (the processor is an originally 1.7 GHz Athlon overclocked to 1.9 GHz) and the cheap power source. I still use that computer to burn my CDs and DVDs, because I have my… Oh yes, I haven’t mentioned about that either: I made an accounting program and I sell it: So I have my tools and sources to make those accounting program CDs on that computer. I also use it as a file backup device (some of my old IDE drives are on that computer). And If I’ll ever do some network programming, I need it for that, too.

Like so many others I got fed up with the WWWWWWWOOOOSHHHH. So the next thing I wanted was a completely silent computer. Bought expensive parts. The mother board (Asus M2N-SLI Deluxe) and graphics card (cheap Geforce 6200 card) are passively cooled. A 500W power source (Antec Phantom) is passively cooled when it’s cool enough (the fan wakes up sometimes, but I’ve got it on the lowest temperature setting). I also bought a generously sized copper processor cooler (SilverStone) with three heat pipes. The manufacturer stated that it could be also used as passive cooler. The processor is AMD 64bit X2 (double core).

But when the parts arrived I noticed that I had bough a cooler which is not compatible with the processor slot of my mother board. Damn. I had to make an adapter. But there was no way I could have the cooler in it’s most favourable orientation for passive cooling, which is so that the air could travel vertically through the slots between the cooling fins. Well, maybe I could have, but it would have been hard. I thought that there’s no guarantee anyway whether the cooling could be completely passive, so it wasn’t worth the trouble. Besides the cooler would have been too close to the power source. So, I pointed the fins towards the back wall of the case. This way I could put a case fan to cool the processor if the passive cooling wouldn’t work.

Here are the adapters:

The adapters

They are the aluminium parts between the motherboard and cooler. The picture should be self-explanatory.

Ok. I was ready to measure the temperatures. First, just to make sure, the processor wouldn’t cook, I pointed a table fan towards the cooler. Then I installed the operating system (Windows Server 2003). I had a bit of trouble finding a suitable software to do temperature measuments. Motherboard Monitor didn’t work on Windows Server 2003, but Speedfan did. I downloaded CPU Burn-in to stress test the CPU. I ran two of those to get full 100% of the both processor cores. But things didn’t work out. The temperatures went too high. I reached 70C when I wasn’t paying attention at some point! Luckily the processor didn’t suffer. So I needed a fan. I searched the web and ordered Noctua’s 120 mm NF-S12-1200. This is as quiet as they come.

I dry tested the fan without attaching it to the case, but instead to the processor cooler (some tape and a paper clip was needed). Much of the air went by the cooler, because the fan is huge. I measured the temperatures and the result was: 56-59C, the mean being about 58 degrees Celsius. Still quite high.

Then I mounted the fan to the back wall of the case:

 The fan at the back

Perfect fit :) I cut a fan size hole in the back. I didn’t settle for drilling a few small holes for air intake, because I didn’t want anything to block the air or cause turbulence (and noise) near the fan blades. I have to be a little bit carefull when I’m doing something behind the computer in order not to stick anything to the fan, but you don’t really have do something behind the machine so often, so it’s not a problem.

Then I made guides to channel air to the cooler as effectively as possible:

Air guides

Air guides from beneath

Some sheet metal, rivets and tape was needed for this stage. I measured the temperatures again: 52-54C, the mean 53C. This was with the fan at 70% speed of the maximum which is 1200 RPM and both processor cores at full 100%, of course. At this speed the fan is almost completely silent even when the side panel of the case is open. Actually the side panels have been open for about two months now. I never finish up anything :(

Problems: the hiss of the hard drive is now bothering me. Also the fan of the power source wakes up sometimes. I’ve decided that I need sound insulation on the walls of the case. That’s up in the programme next.


UPDATE 19.03.2007:

 I finally finished the computer. I bought some sound insulation material from a hardware store and insulated the side walls and bottom of the case with it. When I closed up the case (up till now the side walls had been open), the temperature of the processor rose. I had to put the fan to 100% speed which of course is a big louder. However, thanks to the sound insulation the overall noise is a bit lower. It would be sweet though if I could still keep the fan at 70%… It’s a pity that the motherboard doesn’t have automatic speed adjustment for the fan. I’ve already been looking at water cooling systems. Oh, dear… when is it going to end?


Home-made table saw

I was going to post this when my table saw is completely finished, but it seems like it’s going to take a while, still (the usual story). So here it is.

As the title says, I made a table saw. I bought a 3kW electric motor from a junk yard for 50 euros (I looked around and this one was the cheapest. I thought it was expensive, but these junk yard people seem to be price-conscious). This was to drive my saw, of course.

I wanted to make the saw belt-driven. There’s an axle on top of the motor which has opposite screw threads on each end (Machining these cost me 40 euros! The 40cm long and 30mm thick axle steel bar cost 17 euros.), so I can put some other tool to the other end. The motor is driving the axle with a belt and is hanging from axle by the belt so there’s always tension on the belt. The motor is 700rpm, so I needed a big belt wheel on the axle of the motor. Those cost sky-high new, so I ended up making both belt wheels myself of thick veneer. I sawed pretty rough circle shapes of the veneer first. I attached pairs of these circle shapes together with bolts and nuts. To the other piece I bored diagonal holes on equally spaced spots from the surface of the wheel to the centre hole and put bolts through the holes and nuts on the centre hole side. I was thus able to tighten the wheel against the axle. See the pictures below, the explanation is fuzzy.

Then I attached the axle by the bearings (about 7-8 euros each) to a plank and clamped an electric drill with a piece of water hose and water hose clamps to the other end of the axle. I attached the drill to the plank with some nails (which were hammered to the plank and bent around the drill) and Jesus tape (btw it’s called Jesus tape, because it can do miracles). I was now able to spin the axle and turn the veneer wheels I had attached to the axle with chisels. Oh yeah, and I also put those veneer wheels to each end of the axle, so that I could clamp tools against them with big M30 nuts. So I also turned those side surfaces as even as I could. I couldn’t get those surfaces perfect because veneer is a hard but also a bit springy and I had trouble holding the chisel still while turning. I will put some fiberglass cement on those surfaces later and get them perfect (I think fiberglass cement is easier to machine but hard enough to stand the pressure of the clamped tools). Now I had the axle ready with the belt wheel, tool holders and bearings on it.

Then I made the belt wheel to the motor with a similar technique, but instead of using a drill to spin the wheel I put the wheel on the motor’s axle and powered the motor. Then I made the table. The structure is basically made of 5x15cm planks. I had found a nice table top from a kinder garden repairs site so I hinged that on the table so that it could be lifted nicely. The tool axle is screwed to a bed which is hinged from the other end to the table and can be lifted and lowered with a threaded bar from the other end. The motor is lying on a bed, similarly hinged to the table from the other end and is hanging by the belt from the axle above. I put a “side table” on the other side of the table, under the other end of the tool axle.

Things still to do:

-Switch! Heh heh! :)

-Blade guards! Muhahaah!! :D This is one dangerous machine!

-All kinds of guides. At the moment I’ve just clamped temporary guides to the table when I’ve had to do something. It’s pretty clumsy.

-At the moment the table has just one threaded bar to lift and lower the saw blade, but it doesn’t hold it down. When just sawing, this is not a problem because the motor is very heavy and holds the blade axle down effectively. But I noticed that I need two more bars to hold the tool axle still if I put a highly eccentric tool on the axle (yes, I have done that – see below – and I am not crazy… at least I think so).

The saw:
img_0518-500.jpg You can see the side table and the other end of the tool axle here. The end of the tool axle is covered with a temporary guard(paint can).

The insides:
img_0505-500.jpg The table top is lifted. You can see the axle and the bed on which the axle is lying.

The Blade lifting mechanism:
img_0519-500.jpg Here’s the threaded bar which lifts the tool axle bed. I’m going to put a handle for easy spinning on that bar some day and also two more clamping bars in those holes you can see there… some day.

A closer look on the insides:
img_0511-500.jpg At each end there are the tool holders. You can clamp tools against those holders with nuts. Next to them are the bearings. In the middle is the belt wheel. The motor is hanging by the belt from that.

The motor’s belt wheel:
img_0516-500.jpg Ok, here’s some damage. The blade got stuck one time and a bolt holding the wheel on the axle was bent. But… It held. And at least if the system breaks down some day, it’s probably this wheel that’s going to come loose. Better than the saw blade, right? :)

DIY tool:
img_0515-500.jpg Here comes THE dangerous part :) I needed a tool to cut a couple of hundred decorational bevellings. So I made the tool myself. It’s made of 5mm thick iron plate and the parts are shaped with an angle grinder. Of course it became highly eccentric and made the tool axle bed and the table itself shake terribly. At this point I was glad that I made a heavy table. A lighter table would have become a traveller. I tried to tie down the tool axle bed with a rope but it wore off (it was thick rope with multiple turns). I finally hammered the bed down with nails. It was pretty scary device though, I tell you. The fact that I had no switch made it even more exciting. The shaking loosed the nut holding tool in place and I had to tighten it time to time. The problem was that the cable was plugged on the other side of the presumptional trajectory of the loosened tool parts… I put a plywood sheet on the way of the trajectory and made my way to the cable in the protection of that every time I heard scary noises coming of the saw.

The finished product:
img_0523-500.jpg In the end it paid off. Making of the tool, tuning the system and making the bevellings took about a day and a half, but still it was a lot easier than making all those bevellings by hand.

And painted:

img_1198-500.jpg Quite nice.

Was it worth it? I don’t know yet, because the saw is not ready yet :) I have big plans for the saw. I’m going to make lots of wonderful things with it. It took about 3 weekends to make the saw to this point and a lot of planning and hunting down the parts (the motor, mainly). The parts came to cost about 400 euros, so the saw was not cheap. But on the other hand I’m fantasizing that when I’ll present people all the wonderful things I will make with it some day, it’ll raise some eyebrows when I’ll tell them that I also made the tool to make them. How do you put a price on status?