Sunday, November 10, 2019

Searching for Gliders with the Open Glider Network

Many gliders in the air

It all started with a rather mysterious message on my answering machine.

When I came home from work a few weeks ago, I noticed the little red light on my answering machine was blinking, indicating that a new message had arrived.

The message was from a gentleman from Ottawa wondering if I was the person that was running a FlightAware receiving station, and if so, would I be interested in helping to track some gliders for an upcoming international soaring competition that would be occurring in my area soon.

Intrigued, I phoned back and after a nice long conversation, I got a quick education on a system that the glider community has been using in Europe for several years and they were very keen on getting firmly established in North America and were wanting to have it in place for the competition,

The underlying goal of this system is safety - in Europe, flying gliders is quite popular which has created situations where several gliders can occupy the same airspace, creating an increased potential of mid-air collisions.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Table Saw Stand from Pallets

A stand fit for my new table saw

As I may have mentioned in previous posts, things have been going under a bit of a transformation in the shop. 

This summer marked a move to some better (albeit still "small") shop space. As part of this move, I decided to treat myself to an upgrade to my old table saw. 

In my past couple of posts, I've discovered and have been experimenting a little with that outcast of the shipping world, the lowly pallet. 

Since I was impressed on how well my new workbench had turned out. I wanted to continue my experience of using pallets to further improve conditions in the new shop space. 

My new table saw is classed as a compact table saw which is meant for use at construction sites. While a very capable saw, in order for it to be used properly, it really needs to be set securely on a stand or a tabletop. 

When I looked at what a store-bought stand would cost, I realized that I was looking at least a couple of hundred dollars for a custom stand for the saw. 

Since I had a few leftover pallets from my workbench project sitting in the corner of the shop, something told me that I could probably build something similar for a lot less money. 

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Building a Workbench out of Pallets

A nice workbench made from pallets

In my last post, I had talked about the veritable treasure trove that I found when I came across a sign pointing the way to some free wood pallets.

After doing a couple of more hunting and gathering trips for pallets, I finally lucked upon some pallets that were 8 to 10 feet long courtesy of a local fencing business.

Once I got the pallets home and disassembled, I ended up with a good supply of 8 and 10 foot 2X4 boards which were used as the stingers for the pallets.

8 to 10 foot stringers

Earlier this summer, I moved my shop to a slightly larger space (don't worry, it's still a small workshop so I won't be changing the site's name any time soon). Because of this move, I now had the opportunity to finally have a proper workbench and allow me to retire the old Black and Decker Workmate that had served me faithfully for many years.

Since I was fairly keen to try a project with recycled pallets, I figured that a basic workbench would be the perfect first project.

My criteria for the workbench was pretty simple. It needed to be large and strong enough to hold any large pieces that I may be working on. It also needed to be at a height that would allow me to work without too much strain on my back.

I determined that a workbench with 4 feet by 5 feet working area set at a height of 3 feet would be the best fit for me.

From there I drew up some quick plans.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Long Live the Lowly Pallet

A plethora of pallets!

As you may know, I am a bit of a sucker when it comes to looking for cheap ways of getting wood for my projects. 

Previously, I mentioned that I had great success in scoring some very nice wood pieces from scouring the "firewood" bins of a few local furniture craftsmen in my area, however, the wood that I tended to get was a little on the small size - great for small projects, but not so much if I wanted to build something that had a bit of size to it. 

A couple of weeks ago I was running some errands when I came across a large sign that had a magic word on it -  Free! 

It certainly got my attention

The free item in question were pallets.

Intrigued, I pulled over and saw a mother-lode of pallets.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

The New Toy - DeWalt DW745 Compact Saw

My new toy - ready to be opened

Every once in awhile Christmas arrives in the shop when a large box suddenly shows up with the promise of something exciting within.

For a long time, I had my eye on a DeWalt compact table saw to replace the old Black and Decker table saw that was starting to get a little tired after many years of faithful service.

What really drew me to this particular Dewalt saw was that the rip fence was integrated into a geared rail system that had a measurement indicator that showed the distance between the blade and the rip fence.

Basically what this meant was that I could accurately set my rip fence with just a twist of a knob versus manually sliding the rip fence and measuring the distance between the blade and the fence with a tape measure.

The fence system that this saw used also guaranteed that the rip fence would be parallel to the blade, something that I always had a bit of an issue with table saws that had to be manual slid into place.

Since I don't have a very large budget for tools, I had to rely on asking for Home Depot gift cards as birthday and Christmas presents. After a few years, and a lot of patience (not to mention a lot of gift cards), I finally had enough accumulated to claim my new toy.