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.

Door handle

We have a discrete, and new, metal door but the inner handle is one that was in the house since the 1950’s.

On the outside there’s just a simple knob but it’s not linked to the lock. The handle works as intended but if we are not careful when pulling we end up with it on our hands.

I made a simple plate and kept the rod in place with an M4 screw threaded through it.

Looks like it came with the door:

Door handle

Assorted clamps

The last two days I finished the welds on those clamps,  built some to hold the other end of the ropes and four sturdier to screw to the roof trusses. All the screws are paired with either a nylock or two nuts locked to each other.

I painted the pieces for the bottom frame with black enamel and the ones for the roof with white to match the rest of the room. I know they’ll rust in some weeks but I left the blued surface exposed. I never tire of looking at them.

Side table iron legs

We had a nice wood slab from the kitchen remodelation and wanted to make a small table with it.

I did a quick sketch and started to build the base. I goofed a bit when cutting the intersections but it ended up fine and level on the first time anyways.

Sometimes I flunk on the easiest of the welds and others, I make a perfect one in a very hard spot. I did this one on a single pass with a bent rod and even had slag peel:

Ceiling lamp fixture: now on steel

For the last couple of weeks I worked on building a steel version of that fixture in order to hang some cable trays and a couple of other things.

After a bit of measuring I prepared all the cuts. For the sides that aren’t at a square angle I left a bit of extra material to fold over the corner. The clamps for the trays will be made with cutouts from square tubing to have a consistent size and some flat stock. I spent quite a bit of time on this phase but I’m pleased with the outcome.

For this welds I tried as much as possible to either manipulate the rod with my left hand only and sometimes with the right, but I still need a lot of practice with that. Some were awful, but others like this one are quite passable:

Lamp fixture: corner bracket, weld detail

A quick test fit and everything fell into the right place. I love it when a plan comes together.

Lamp fixture: trial fitting

Grandpa’s 504: The beginnings

During the last week I began to clean and dismantle the engine of that Peugeot 504 using whatever spare time I had.

I started by removing the battery plate, water and vacuum reservoirs and the hoses connecting them. I took a couple of detailed pictures so I don’t forget how to put it back together later.

I spent a while trying to figure out how to remove the radiator, it’s bolted to the car frame and there’s a plastic cover around the fan blades that doesn’t let it move up. The most obvious way seemed to remove the front grill and the body panel behind it but in order to do that I would have to tear apart the original glue and make a couple of cuts. I kept looking and feeling around until I discovered that the air guide is only held by two nuts on the top and locking pins on the bottom.

After removing them, it glided freely upwards and then to the back. With nothing else holding it, the radiator also came out.

That freed up some space in the engine bay. I moved on to the belts. This is a very good time to take note of how everything is installed.

Then I moved onto the hoses. Some were hard and brittle and others felt like new. But all were filled with rusty mud.

The water pump was no better, the impeller stayed inside the block.

The radiator has a lovely copper corrosion growth. After draining it I poured hot water on one side and let it flow, touching along the fins to see if there were clogs. Except for a small hand sized area on the bottom everything seemed fine.

Grandpa’s 504: hydraulics

This happened in between the last installment in the series.

Both the brakes and clutch didn’t work (besides not having fluid, the cylinders were stuck) so I set up to dismantle them.

After some contortions I managed to free the mechanism. A couple of hard lines broke around the fittings and part of the servo assist snapped while I was pulling.

The air filter in this unit is an oil bath one and was perfectly full. After draining it I used lots of gasoline, kitchen cleaner and boiling water to remove every trace of grim and oil. But now the filth migrated to the sink.

I also removed the valve cover to take a peek inside. It looks surprisingly clean and neat for a car of this age. The gasket was torn apart, that may explain the amount of oil on the block.

Peugeot 504: valve train

First run in 20 years.

Today I bought a used battery and decided to crank this old Peugeot 504 to see if the engine was seized or other problems lurked.

It’s been sitting there since 1998 but the diesel in the tank did not smell funny so I used the little pump on the filter until it became hard. On the last strokes I heard a subtle noise and there was a tiny leak on the line.

When connecting the battery there was a small spark and the position lights turned on. I let the glow plugs do their job and tried to crank.

Nothing, just a small click of a relay inside the dash. After a couple of times it turned with some effort but refused to start.

I let the battery rest for a moment and tried again. This time it roared as I pressed the accelerator, puffed some smoke and then idled calmly. I can hardly believe it awoke from a two decade slumber just like that.

Now I have to fix the water circuit (the hoses are dry and crumbling) and the clutch so I can move it around with a bit of ease.

Pouring a concrete floor

That shed I was cleaning needed one thing really bad, a decent floor. It was already made of concrete but with the years it broke down, revealing the soil and gravel underneath. And also wasn’t level.

So for the last couple of weeks we (my dad and I) worked together and made a new one. The next step is adding some tiles on top of that.

Backyard archaeology

While preparing the existing floor for the new pouring I discovered remnants of the old building.

In its latest years (circa 1970-1980) it was used in a wine bottling operation as a storage room and later my grandad started to build a small studio for my uncle (but that project was cancelled due to things better not to speak of).

Before that, around the 30’s and 40’s, the whole house was a ceramic tile factory. Giant ovens to fire the clay, castings and all that.

As I started to dig the trench for the new waste plumbing I found what looked like the walls of a chamber or well of sorts. The top was made of reinforced concrete and had all the appearance of being a lid.

I tried to break and lift it with very little success. On the other extreme of the room there’s a hole that seemed to be a small opening made on purpose. I dug with my hand but only got sand, gravel and fragments of old tiles.

I gave up as whatever I removed from the floor had to get back and then some more to make a proper base layer for the next one. But I plan on digging further later on.

The early bird gets the worm.

And a giant grinder.

Today I woke up early and instead of staying in bed reading until it’s a more convenient hour to start the normal daily activities I grabbed some fruit, a thermos and started to walk.

Just a block from home I spot a very old industrial grinder with a flexible coupling on the sidewalk. It’s quite heavy.
I continued to stroll around the city and saw the sunrise amid a gentle mist.

By the time I returned my brother was already awake and he lend me a hand to pick it up.

Surprisingly, it only took a couple of beats with a hammer and a wooden block to remove the coupling from the motor housing. The motor, a big and old three phase one, has all its wires crumpled and turns freely, albeit with a loud noise of broken bearing. On the other hand the shaft at the stone rides smooth, just like new.

Bicycle pulling a car.

This happened today:

That’s a 1981 Peugeot 504 (diesel) that belonged to my grandfather. After his death about 20 years ago it’s been sitting first on the original garage and lately inside this shed that we are fixing up.

The tires have an inner tube as it was usual on that era and that’s an advantage, I doubt that any contemporary tubeless would still be sealed after spending so long being flat.

I had a bit of space to speed up while pushing and the front wheels went by with relative ease. However, there’s a small step and I couldn’t make it go further with the initial momentum alone.

I lifted the car with a jack and made a small ramp out of bricks and a slab of wood. I carefully released the jack and the car slowly moved on its own. The underside looks quite good for a machine of that vintage.

Against all odds

A bit more than a week ago one of our cats, Juli, went missing.
From time to time she enters some sort of freak mode and starts to make frenetic moves. At first we thought she landed on some of the neighbors but she always managed to find a way back home and this was not the case.

We put posters around the block but as time went by her chances of being alive were really slim. She’s quite old, with poor eyesight and hearing.

By this point I had already lost hope of finding her again but late at night we got a phone call. Someone on the bus stop recognized in her picture a cat his aunt rescued a while ago. Turns out she ran away and was hit by a truck on Avenida Circunvalación. They took her home and to the vet, her hip was badly hurt.

She’s at home now, has a bit of trouble to eat (we also feed her with a syringe and a special liquid for recovery) and move but overall feels way better than what we expected given the misshapen.