Sunday, April 25, 2021

DIY Mulcher for a Lawn Tractor


A simple mulcher for the mower

Since I was in a getting ready for spring frame of mind, I figured that I should tackle a bit of a pet peeve of mine when it comes to yard work. 

Anytime you see a picture of someone's lawn, whether it be in a magazine spread or a TV show, you will always be greeted with images of pristine fields of green, every blade of grass in its place.

Sadly the reality (or at least my reality) is quite different. In my particular case, my home sits on a rural property that has its sewage situation handled by a septic system that has a weeping bed that expands out into my front lawn. This creates pockets of nutrient and moisture-rich areas on my lawn, meaning that while in some areas I have a lawn that grows at a normal rate, I also have areas where the grass grows like proverbial weeds. 

The issue with this comes when it's time to mow the lawn. While I have no issues cutting the "normal" part of the lawn, when I go over the turbo-charged part, I end up with large clumps of grass, making my front yard looking more like a hayfield than a lawn. 

It just doesn't look good, and it bugs me to see winrows of grass instead of a pristine, freshly cut lawn. 

Other than hiring out a couple of sheep to spend the summer on my front lawn (the neighbors would look at me funny), I wanted to find a solution for this. 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Taking a Wee Break From the Shop

My trusty ICOM IC-718

This weekend I took a bit of a break from the shop to say hello to some folks that I hadn't spoken to for a little while. 

In most cases, I have never met these people in person, and they live literally hundreds if not thousands of miles away from me, and to be honest, I need to do a lookup to see what their actual names are since  I only really know them by the government issued code name that has been given to them. Likewise, they only really know me by my own special code name - which happens to be VA3ATW, and in certain circles that is the name, I go by.  

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Time for an Upgrade - Moving from a 3018 to a 3018-PROVer CNC router


Sainsmart 3018 PROVer

A couple of years ago I bought myself a pretty cheap CNC router off of Amazon, mainly just to experiment and learn how to use one in my woodworking projects. 

The router that I had bought was a very cheap one based on the very common 3018 router platform, which uses an Arduino as its brain and uses the GCODE language as its instruction set. It was a very basic router and I could tell that it was certainly made on the cheap since a lot of the plastic parts, particularly the spindle motor mount was made from a 3D printer - so it wasn't necessarily made to precise tolerances. But for a learning machine, I figured it would be a good one to start with, 

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Repairing a Lawn Tractor Muffler - A Tale of Baling Wire and Bubble Gum

My muffler is broken!

When springtime comes a not so young man's thoughts turn to lawn care. 

And so this weekend I hauled my old lawn tractor out from its winter hibernation.  After giving the battery a quick charge and adding some fresh gas to the tank, I started the old girl up for the first time this year. 

I've had this tractor for about 10 years and it always provided faithful service in keeping the grass around the house nice and trimmed. 

So I was a bit bummed out when, after starting the engine I was greeted with a metallic clang and a really loud noise coming from the engine,. 

Hopping off the tractor, I immediately found the cause. On the ground, in front of the tractor, I found a large metal box - more commonly referred to as a muffler.