Friday, May 19, 2017

New Top Jaws for the Black & Decker Workmate 79-001 Type 2 (WM625)

So who's the guy in the Lotus Elan next to the Workmate? That is Ron Hickman, the designer of both the Lotus and the Workmate! You can read more about the history of the workmate here if you are curious.

The Black & Decker Workmate is a portable workbench/vice that has been sold in the millions around the world. If you are interested in these and do a bit of research, you find out the early ones are considered by many to be the best, as they have a pair of cast aluminum H frames that could be folded under the top to allow the workmate to be stored flat. Later models went to steel parts that were somewhat less sturdy, and certainly less cosmetically appealing.

In the USA, one of the more desirable models is the "79-001 Type 2". This model seems to be nearly the same as the WM625 version sold in the UK. (I've been told that the UK WM625 had an additional hole in each top jaw piece and that some of them lacked the "batten" on the bottom of each jaw that doubled the depth of the clamping surfaces.)

The "Bay Area Galoots" have done a type study of the various versions available in the USA.

And here is an early review from Popular Mechanics (Aug 1975):

Here is a picture of the one I purchased recently:

A common thing is to make a plywood top with a 2x4 screwed to the bottom. The 2x4 can be clamped in the Workmate jaws to be particularly sturdy. 

The top isn't in horrible condition for being 40 years old, but I'm considering making a new one.

So I took some time and sketched out the dimensions of the top. I thought these might save others some time, so here they are. Both halves of the top are the same.

Dimensions of the top and hole placements:

Detail of the edge bevels:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Stopping the Liftmaster 888LM MyQ Control Panel's Warning Beep

So I have this cool garage door opener, a Liftmaster 8500 with a MyQ 828LM Internet gateway, that can be controlled remotely over the Internet.
But it the 888LM MyQ Control Panel makes a horrendous warning beep when you close the door via Internet app:


It is just like a fire alarm! Really loud. I guess the idea is that if you are not home and you close the door remotely, they want to warn anyone nearby the door is going to close. So it blasts this warning beep for a full 10 seconds before closing and then continues to beep until the door is closed. I did it once at night and I was concerned I would wake the neighbors! (Note the beep doesn't happen if you use the regular garage door remote or the wall botton.)
Personally, I figure the other safeties that are built into the garage door (like the photo eyes) are enough protection. So I decided to find a way to disable the beeping. A bit of googling and I found many people complaining about the problem and I must thank Philbin Adamsworthy for the inspiration for this project.

On my door the warning beep comes from the wall mounted button, the 888LM, that operates the door from inside the garage:

There is a screw under the flip up button, I removed that and then you have to slide up the unit to remove it from a second screw that is hidden underneath:

There are wires attached to the back that need to be removed to to take the LM888 off of the wall:

There is a thin black cardboard insulating back on the unit, that is held in place by two posts on the back of the unit.

I lifted the cardboard from the bottom and then carefully pried the cardboard free from those posts with a small screwdriver:

Even after you remove the two screws for the wires, the circuit board is held in place at four points along the side of the plastic housing. I used a large screwdriver to lever the housing away from the circuit board at each of the four points and popped it free:

Next I lifted the top of the circuit board and carefully wiggled it free and slid it toward the top and up to remove it:

Flipping the circuit board over you can see the buttons that fit carefully into the cover. Note there are rubber buttons and a guide that can fall out of the housing. I was careful to note their original positions.

Here is the delicate part. I used a small screwdriver to carefully lever the top off of the speaker housing. If you put the screwdriver too far under the housing you will damage the speaker's internal board; the screwdriver needs to just barely go under the edge.

Underneath are two fine wires to the speaker. I snipped those.

And then I removed the speaker and discarded it!

When installing the board back into the housing I was careful the sensor fit into the plastic guide properly. This guide does come out of the housing, so you do want it positioned correctly:

The circuit board slides back into the housing and snaps back in. I was careful the LEDs and buttons lined up.

And then I replaced the cardboard, pushing it down over the two posts to attach it. And I replaced the screws, leaving them loose enough to reinstall the wires on the wall. Note the screws are marked for the wires, Red and White.

And that was that. I put it back up on the wall and the annoying warning beep was gone!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Garage Attic Retracting Stairway

We just finished building our garage. Probably the most interesting feature is the attic stairway.
Most people with attics have used those weak and narrow pull down folding or telescoping stairways. They are narrow and steep and not very strong. I wanted to be able to easily use the attic storage area so I wanted a really good stairway.

It is important to understand that attics need to be designed properly to support the weight. From the beginning of the garage design this stairway has been planned for. I discussed it with the truss engineer and we made sure to design for the truss spacing, the weight and the point loads. Additionally, the whole system has been designed to account for the various loads and weights on all of the components.

I did lots of drawing to design and build the stairway and components but this one sketch illustrates the basic function:

And here is a video of the stairway in action!

The counterweight:

The pivot:

The cane bolt:

The pulley system:

The stair to cable attachment:

My thanks to Jorge Tafoya of Tafoya Construction in San Diego for his help with this project. I couldn't have done it without him:

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Pirelli Cinturato for my 1966 Alfa Romeo GTV

The original tires on my 1966 Alfa Romeo Giulia GT Veloce were sized 155 x 15 on relatively narrow steel wheels. When I restored my GTV, I made certain "period style" modifications. One modification I chose was that I put on aluminum Alfaholics GTA 14" wheels with 6" width. (Note that the original wheels on the GTA were magnesium and were this same size: 6.00 J x 14. The original tires on the GTA were Pirelli Cinturato 165 HR 14 or Dunlop 165 HR 14-SP. These had a diameter of about 624mm or 24.6 inches.

Originally (about 10 years ago) I installed Bridgestone Potenza RE950 195/65HR14 tires (OD=24.0” tread width=6.2” sect width: 7.8 “ on 6”). The early GTV's like mine have lower rear wheel arches, and it is a tight fit to put tires like that on. But the Potenza's had a very good performance reputation and I enjoyed them.
However, after 10 years the Potenza's were old rubber and due for replacement.
And there has been a development...
The original Pirelli Cinturato CA67 165 x 14 tires are available again!

The Cinturato is a particularly cool tire, as it was the first radial tire made and was fitted to all sorts of cool and exotic cars in addition to the Alfa.
The Cinturato design (first called the Cinturata)

So, for me the choice was obvious, I had to have the Cinturato.
I ended up ordering them from Longstone Tire in the UK. Strangely, they were cheaper to buy from the UK and have them delivered to California than to buy them locally. And they arrived in about a week; Amazing. The ones I purchased appear to have been manufactured in the 33rd week of 2016, just 10 weeks ago, so they are very fresh.
The Pirelli Cinturato CA67 165HR14 tires are H rated and are specified to have a diameter of  627mm and a section width of 165mm.

Here are a couple pictures of the mounted tires.

As you can see, while they are obviously narrower than many tires, they definitely are not "too" narrow. And I think they look great under the wheel arches with the Alfaholics fast road suspension height. I also really appreciate the subtle sidewall graphics compared to modern tires.

As far as performance goes... well I always laugh at people who give reviews of their brand new tires versus their old worn out tires. And I haven't pushed the performance envelope of these at all yet. But I will say, these tires are significantly easier to turn at low speeds (as one might expect because they are significantly narrower).  The car might be wandering slightly more at highway speeds (like 80 mph), but if it exists, it is a subtle difference. Ride comfort is a least as good as the the old Potenzas.
See you on the road!

And the best advertisement for a tire EVER:

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Nail Hound

The Nail Hound
CORVA sticker has nothing to do with the Nail Hound, it is just a great organization, and the sticker looked good on the device.

I first saw one of these about 6 months ago, one of my contractors brought it to a job at my house. The contractor's guys were really sloppy and scattered nails everywhere. They used this thing to pick up.
The Nail Hound is a giant magnet on a handle. The actual magnet (magnets?) are inside the aluminum box on the bottom. When you pull the T handle the magnet inside is pulled away from the bottom of the bottom of the box and the attached items are released.

Short demonstration of the tool picking up debris.

And here is a video of a pickup and how the items can be released easily.

I had bought a smaller "magnet on a stick" gizmo, and since it would only pick up items directly under the small magnet, it just wasn't big enough to "sweep" an area with. 

Apparently, these Nail Hounds are sold at the local roofing supply company and they are not cheap. But I have some more construction happening and I just had to have one to help clean up. I also think it will come in really handy for picking up dropped bits in the garage.

I have seen versions of this with wheels, but for my use they are not as versatile. I like that I can easily swing this just where I need it, and get it in around plants and things. There are also other similar devices on Amazon (search for: Load Release Nail Sweep), but I had seen this brand in action and I found it locally.

In case someone is interested, here is the company and model information:

Obviously, this tool is a giant magnet, so it is important to keep it away from your wallet (credit cards) and you computer and anything else it might affect adversely!