Christmas

The other day we had a Christmas dinner mostly like every previous years.

I’m not very much into receiving physical gifts but sometimes a little thing with a lot of thought can change everything. Long ago a couple of friends collaborated on an anthology of poems and the last weekend it arrived after a convoluted trip from Uruguay.

The result of their hard work is called “¡Dale Hermano! 20 Poetas del Río de La Plata”.

After the traditional toast I drove my grandma home and then went to say hi to a couple of friends.

The night was unusually quiet. After wandering without a clear intention for a while I parked at Parque San Martín and started to read.

The poems did not have the author with them but while reading I could imagine some of my friends reciting those and, upon looking at the index, I was most of the times correct in my guesses.

Thanks Mar and Pachi for such a great night.

¡Dale Hermano! 20 Poetas del Río de La Plata

Tiling

(this has nothing to do with a window manager)

During the last couple of days I was mostly dumb because of the heat. But the nightly breeze gave me a bit of life.

So I started to tile the new bathroom.

I helped many times with this kind of endeavors but this is the first that I’m completely on my own.

The initial bucket of paste yielded around 7 tiles, most of it ended on the floor. But when I finally got the hang of how to use the trowel I managed to put 16 tiles with little waste.

Bathroom tiling

Carancho.

This morning I went out to run some errands and on my way back I crossed along Parque Saavedra to enjoy the smell and freshness of a rainy morning.

Hopping among the bushes I spotted a big bird (at least compared with what can be usually seen in this part of the city).

Here they go by the name of Caranchos, a term that encompasses many former members of the Polyborus genus, mostly Caracara plancus.

This one let me follow its routine from a very close distance for quite a bit of time.

Chavannes

After a long hiatus one of the best funk bands from La Plata, Chavannes, is back!

I missed their return last year but this one I managed to catch them as a birthday gift for myself.

The sound and crowd were great. The food too.

While walking to the car I spotted a cat on the street. I whistled and without hesitation she came to me:

Grandpa’s 504: new hydraulics

Even before taking apart the clutch cylinders I knew I needed (and wanted) to change them for new parts. And today they arrived from the mail. But with a small twist:

Peugeot 504 wrong style of brake and clutch cylinders

Fortunately the seller agreed to exchange them, so I repackaged the wrong parts (because the hoses and the other pump were the right ones) and dropped the box at the mail.

I’m amazed that even with that hiccup it was cheaper to order them from a parts store at the other corner of the province than buying locally.

Just for kicks I wanted to see what’s inside the brake master cylinder but it was really really stuck.

First I enlarged the recess on the piston a bit and used a half inch tap to try and grab it. It turned slightly but then the threads snapped.

My curiosity called for extreme measures and I conjured the power of the air to aid me.

Rummaging through the jar of pipe fittings I found a combination that allowed me to connect the cylinder to the pistol I use to pump the tires.

I gently increased the pressure until the innards flew across the table. This was sketchy and unsafe as fuck. Think of a potato cannon but throwing a chunk of metal.

Peugeot 504: using compressed air to remove brake cylinder piston

The pistons were more or less acceptable save for rubber and dirt deposits. But some of the seals almost disintegrated when touched.

Peugeot 504: master brake cylinder pistons

Grandpa’s 504: hydraulic clutch cylinder

Surprisingly the master cylinder for the clutch was in very good condition, not scraped nor corroded and the seals looked fine. The piston came out with a light tap.

However in the slave things were quite different. Using lots of penetrating oil and a vise as a makeshift press I was able to move the piston but it refused to come out completely on its own.

So I decided to pump it out using old engine oil and the working master cylinder. I clamped it to the drill press and slowly filled it with 15W40.

Getting rid of all the air bubbles took a longer time than I expected.

Peugeot 504 hydraulic clutch: pumping master cylinder with engine oil

Finally, the slave piston was released. The seal was ok-ish but both the piston and the inner walls had pitting and scratches.

I hung everything upside down and loosened the purging screws to collect the oil. I thought it was a lot more than this but it’s about a small coffee cup.

Peugeot 504 hydraulic clutch: all the oil in the system

Weekend worklog

This weekend was a bit slow.

A couple of days ago I started to learn FreeCAD, mostly for its FEM analysis mode and to build a couple of construction plans.

I made another part of the cable trays for our comms closet. Initially I wanted to use FreeCAD for that but at the end it was faster to do a bit of trig and sketch the cuts on paper. It’s held in place with a couple of rivets. I also added a layer of pvc to shield the cables from the metal edges. Fits like a glove.

Cable tray bend

I also started to build a steel support for one of the walls. We made a big opening for cables and I’m a bit uneasy about the lack of support.

Fun with a plasma cutter follows:

Continue reading

Glass door

These doors were waiting a long time to be installed. Now this looks a bit more professional than before, except that on the opposite side there’s a chunk of wall missing and a lot of dust on the new hole to feed another cable tray.

Sunday worklog

Today I started to build the rope guides for the lightning fixture. I have some nice ground rods from a textile machine that are perfect for this.

Rope guide with rollers

On the evening I went to Futura and cleaned up a bit the stage, moving most of it to one place:

The Museum Corner at Futura

Then I started to install real cable trays instead of our improvised version with halves of water pipes. I need to cut a small section with a special bend to accommodate the opening on the wall.

Cable trays

I emptied most of the rack cabinet and installed the patchbay I built earlier. I had to drill and tap another set of holes as the power outlet interfered with the movement.

I also finished that small table:

Lamp fixture: done

At least for now. The next step will be adding another support for the roof frame and rollers to guide the ropes around it to unblock the light path should we want to project from there.

Today I hanged the lower frame and then attached the cable trays with a set of bespoke clamps and self tapping screws.