Sunday, July 18, 2021

Project Basket Case - Engine Removal on the Garden Tractor

Out with the old engine

 Last week I dragged home an old garden tractor that I had picked up at an auction for around 100 dollars. 

In some respects, this old tractor was a bit like Charlie Brown's Christmas tree. It certainly didn't look very good, but if you looked at it hard enough, you could see something that could really be something special, perhaps all it really needed was just a little bit of love. 

One thing that it did need for sure was some engine work. The tractor had a vertical twin-cylinder Briggs and Stratton engine on board that seemed to turn pretty easily and showed some signs of compression when I turned the engine over by hand at the auction.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Project Basket Case - Trying to Resurrect an Old Garden Tractor

 

1980's Turf Trac 18 hp garden tractor

Well, it started off as a desire to grow some pumpkins.  

With all of the pandemic issues that are swirling around, it has been taking its toll on the local community events that usually occur around my local area. 

One significant event (at least to me) is the local agricultural fair that is usually held this time of year. For obvious reasons, the fair is canceled this year, but to at least keep the spirit of the fair alive, the local agricultural society decided to hold a series of virtual events. 

One of those events was a competition to grow the largest pumpkin. That was something that definitely intrigued me, so I signed up, collected a few pumpkin seeds, and started growing my large pumpkin.

While it's fun to grow large gourds, the vines do take up a great deal of space in the garden. This requires a lot of tilling around the plants to keep the weeds at bay. Cultivating by hand is a bit of a chore and to be frank, I don't consider it one of my favorite things to do. 

Due to the larger than normal space that I needed to keep tilled, I figured that making some sort of tow behind a cultivator that I could pull with a small tractor would be a nice project while I was waiting for the plants to grow.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Making a Super Simple Planer Knife Sharpener

 

A simple way to sharpen planer knives

Last week, I talked about my neverending frustration in keeping the blades on my surface planer nice and sharp, which was creating a situation where my favorite tool was quickly becoming my most hated tool. 

After searching in vain for an off-the-shelf sharpener, I quickly came to the realization that I needed to make my own tool if I ever wanted to sharpen my knives.  Thankfully, I found out online that many people had the same issue that I had, and I was able to find many tutorials on how to build a jig that should make sharpening knives quick and easy. 

I found that everyone had their own special approach to building their jigs, all with varying degrees of complexity. Most jigs were designed so that they would be able to handle a variety of different-sized planer knives, so often they had built-in locking features that locked the knives in place as you sharpened them. 

In my own particular case, I am always going to use the same size knife in my planer, so I didn't really need to have a jig that needed to accommodate different blade types, which meant that my jig should be fairly simple to build.  

Sunday, June 20, 2021

The Bane of My Existance

 

Stupid dull planer knives

Well perhaps that's a bit too strong, but I do have a bit of a love-hate relationship with my planer. 

I love how quickly and easily it levels out wooden boards to make them nicely flat and perfect, saving me many hours of sanding. That is until the knives on my planer start getting dull. 

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Wrapping up the Tweeting Weather Station - 3D Printing a Stevenson Screen

Stevenson Screen for my Tweeting Weather Station

 Now that I had all the pieces of the weather station now all put together and tweeting out the weather conditions inside of my home, it was pretty neat to see in action, but alas, not very useful. In order for the station to be truly useful, I really needed to have the sensors outside of the house.

The issue with anything electronic is that they don't really take exposure to the outside elements very well, however having them sealed inside a box won't provide any accurate readings. The solution is to have the sensors housed in some sort of container that will permit the entry of the outside air in order to get the most accurate temperature and humidity readings, but prevent nasty stuff like rain and snow from getting inside.