My Sky Color

A forty something Dad, Husband, Engineer guy living in Western Oregon. Reflections on all things in life. A few technical things and whatever else comes along.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

To Till the Earth

My Dad picked up a Craftsman rear tine rototiller when he bought a farm in Hermiston, OR in the mid 1990's. Through the years we have used it back and forth for whatever needed tilling. Once in Tualatin I was working in the backyard and hit a big buried rock. The tiller lost that battle. A couple gears lost a tooth in the fight. I dove into fixing it due to the cost of an equivalent replacement machine.

I learned about cost efficient designs. To get at the gears the machine had to be completely torn apart. The frame/gear box were two stamped pieces of 11 gauge. Almost every bolt had to be removed to get at the gears. At that time the parts to fix it were not too much money and it had many good years after the repair. One strange feature was the lubrication of the gear train was like cosmoline, non serviceable.

Recently Dad went to use the tiller and it wouldn't shift gears. He looked up getting parts for it and found out that many of them have been discontinued. He offered the engine to junior for a go-kart. The Mrs., however, had other ideas and wanted me to see if I could fix it. So once again every bolt had to come out.

The failure was due to the lube system. Over time the goo had migrated down in the gear box and condensation had gathered at the top of the box. You guessed it, the shifting mechanism shaft is at the top. The sliding mechanism seized on the shaft and the shaft is all cancerous with rust. Of course these parts are on the discontinued list.

The boss has had some veggie gardens and wants to expand the square footage this year. Recently I had spotted a real rototiller sitting in a field near our house. I thought, "what the heck I'll see if he wants to sell." The owner had been given two of them and put it there as a yard ornament.

Now I am the proud owner of a late 1940's Graham-Paige B1-6 rototiller. This is a real rototiller. This company actually trademarked the name, Rototiller. This machine was built like a real machine. All gears, cast iron housings, levers for all functions, a magneto and a two-stroke engine. Yup that is right a two stroke engine. If you are interested here are a couple links to sites that have info about this machine.

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I'm Kinda Proud of That Thing

A couple years ago a friend stopped by because he was headed across the state and the load he had on his trailer was way too heavy. He had bought some industrial surplus items. He had 5 of these jib cranes on and they probably weighed about 1 ton each and several other hefty pieces. So he needed to lose some weight. We helped him unload 3 of the cranes.

After a few months it became obvious that we were the proud owners of three 30 foot jib cranes. Without a big piece of equipment there was no way I was going to move these things. They sat next to the driveway adding to the classy nature of the farm. After two years I started getting hints that they needed to go.

So one day when I was feeling ambitious I drug the cutting torch down the driveway and proceeded to cut them up. They are made of 10 inch I-beam with an 8 inch channel welded on top, plus some ears and guy supports out of 1/2 by 3 flat bar. I cut the beam part up into 8 and 10 foot pieces so they could be moved. They still weighed about 3oo pounds each. Now moving these posed a problem...

Recently I scrapped out a rototiller that we couldn't get parts to repair. I took some scrap metal from the jibs, the wheels and tires from the tiller and a trailer hitch to create the heavy object skidding device (HOSD).

The hardest part of using them is lifting the one end up and having junior back up while holding it. We moved three of them to the shop for alterations into some serious fence posts. We then skidded those to their perspective resting places. Last Saturday we moved all of the other pieces to a less visible storage spot. Boy those 10 foot pieces are heavy!


Thursday, April 15, 2010

One Too Many

I came to the realization yesterday that I have too many projects. I found myself acting like a labrador in a meat market. If I could focus on any one thing, some level of satisfaction could be achieved. Here's how the list looks right now:

- Reload ammo for - 300 Whisper Super and Sub sonic, 223 for varmints and the on going 44 mag.
- Repair free high quality lawn mower to replace 15 year old one that I keep tacked together.
- Diagnose and repair "new" 1940's model roto tiller.
- Complete wiring in the shop.
- Build reloading room in the shop.
- Clean all of the non-shop items out of the shop.
- Move all my stuff from the garage to the shop.
- Build 300+ feet of fence along the west side of the property to keep the neighbor from having goat barbeque.
- Mount antlers for youngest from last season and for Mrs. from season 10 years ago.
- Complete running water and power to the barn that was started 3 years ago.
- Finish getting rid of scrap from job cranes that sat next to the driveway for 2 years.
- Complete inspection signoff on the shop project.
- Do tree removal jobs for 3 different people not counting my brother.
- Be a good dad and husband.

There are more, I know there is but I'm to distracted to remember.

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