Monday, February 25, 2013

Building A Benchtop Buffer/Polisher

Building an 8" Benchtop Buffer.

Difficulty Level (Easy, Medium, Hard, Insane):

After I completed the Collapsible Sand Blasting Cabinet, I realized I would need a buffer to take all the sandblasted parts from my 1949 Ducati Cucciolo to a nice and bright shine in preparation for chrome plating. The ones you can buy at Harbour Freight are only 3/4 hp and the shaft is not sticking out as far so you're always limited by the bench on which it sits or you'd have to get a stand for it so I decided I'd build one from scratch with a more powerful 1hp motor.

I had purchased about 15 different motors on kijiji a while back for $75 bucks because I needed one particular one for another project so I still had most of the other ones lying around. Among them was my prized 1hp motor which in itself would sell for close to $60 bucks and I decided to make good use of it and incorporate it into my buffer project.

To go on a bunny-trail, almost 10 years ago, shortly after Melanie and I had gotten married I took her to Switzerland to show her where I grew up and in visiting my cousin she showed me an ingenious contraption that allows you to store your kitchen-aid mixer in a cabinet under the counter top and pull it out with hardly any effort when needed. I figured I could incorporate this into my buffer so I could hide it away under the bench when I'm not using it.

I had taken some pictures back in 2004 but none of them really showed me the mechanism so I called my uncle Ruedi who was incredible enough to go over to my cousin's place, take tons of pictures and send them to me via email. He even took measurements and jotted it all down so I could try to duplicate (or at least understand) the mechanism.

Once I started building my mechanism though I realized that I wouldn't have enough room to make it pull out just like the kitchen-aid mixer but I took the concept and adapted it to make it work for me. Needless to say it turned out awesome and it certainly wouldn't have been that easy without my uncle's help. So here's a great THANK YOU UNCLE RUEDI for that!

To actually start the implementation of this project, I had to get some parts first: pulleys, a shaft and a base to fasten the motor on. I soon realized that step pulleys were really hard to find so I decided to try to cast one with my Home Foundry but realized that it was probably not going to work out well without a working lathe (which is a project that's currently on hold, for now anyways). Once I decided not to spend any more time on casting a step pulley I settled for some "out of the box" ones from princess auto (love that store!).

After I had finished building it I actually ended up using it right away for a secret project for the youth department at our church. I'll be posting that project once the secret has been unveiled this Wednesday night. Stay tuned...


My cousin's kitchen-aid mixer on the retractable shelf
The shelf retracted back into the cupboard
The shelf from below when it's out of the cupboard
My uncle Ruedi's measurements. Totally complete! He's awesome!

AutoCAD drawing of the mechanism to make sure it will work
I pulled the pulley off my drill press to try to make a copy in plastic resin that I could then use to make the mold to pour it in aluminum
First, I had to fill in the cut-out in the back of the pulley
Using some alginate I had purchased from Sial Pottery in Quebec I filled in the cavity
After 10 minutes it had solidified enough to cut with a sharp knife

Then I used the pulley and some more alginate to pour a negative of the bottom half of the pulley
This is the negative imprint of half of the pulley

I added the part I had made when filling in the back of the pulley to give me a mold for the bottom half of the pulley
Now I filled the cavity with quick setting polyurethane plastic that I had also purchased at Sial
After about 10 minutes the plastic had solidified enough to pull it out, but I decided not to go any further because it didn't turn out as nicely as I had wanted it to. Maybe I'll try it again later
The base of the buffer was made with a piece of 1-1/4" by 1-1/4" square steel tubing I had picked up when we went junking last spring
After I had cut out angles, bent, welded and ground it back down
After the part was sand blasted using my collapsible sand blasting cabinet
Dry-fitting the bearings I had picked up at Princess Auto
One of many 1/4" steel brackets I had picked up when they were doing renos at my work place was perfect for the job
I cut it half way through, then bent it in the vice
Then to strengthen it I welded along the corner
Once the brackets were welded to the base I sand blasted it all
Dry-fitting the motor on the base
Nathaniel came and helped me out. He actually cut an 8" piece of 1/4" steel with my help. I was so proud of him and he had a lot of fun doing it
Starting on the support mechanism for the base that will swing under the work bench. This was taken from an old treadmill I had disassembled and kept the metal from. The other part was made into a ball mill as seen about half way down on my Home Foundry post
The entire mechanism welded and sand blasted. This is how it will be when it's being used
This is how the mechanism will sit under the bench when storing it
Hanging the parts to dry after I painted them
Installing the mechanism under the welding bench
I had to fabricate some arbors because I just couldn't find any. I used some 1/4" plexi glass I had picked up at a garage sale for two bucks about 3 years ago
I had bought a two foot piece of 1" round steel at Tri-Province but had to get the ends turned down to 5/8" to fit the buffing wheels. I had found TRC Hydraulics, a machine shop in Dieppe when I built the splash park in my Concrete Driveway and they were so awesome that they actually did it for free!
I installed an on/off switch in the metal box (I had saved the switch from one of my old tools that died)
Almost done
Using some of the left over diamond shaped iron mesh from the blasting cabinet project as a guard over the v-belt and pulleys

After painting the guard
Another angle
This is the left pedal off the Cucciolo all rusted and cruddy
After blasting it
And after using the buffer to polish it, ready for chrome plating


Drill bits
Angle grinder
Mig welder
Sand blaster
Drill press
Tap & die set
Bi-metal hole saw bits
Paint gun

1hp motor
8' of 1-1/4" by 1-1/4" square steel tubing
Nuts, bolts & washers
Two 1/4" steel brackets to mount bearings
Two feet of 1" solid round steel for shaft
14" of 8" by 1/4" steel plate for motor mount
One 4" pulley with a 5/8"arbor
One 3" pulley with a 1" arbor
2 inches of 3/16" keystock for pulley on motor
2 inches 1/4" keystock for pulley on shaft
Four feet of 1" by 1" square steel tubing for lifting mechanism
Two 1" bearings for shaft
Plexi glass for mounting buffing wheels
Cord for motor
Steel mesh for v-belt & pulley guard

Motor - free
Square steel tubing - free
Nuts, bolts & washers - free
Steel brackets - free
Shaft - $7.54
Steel plate - free
4" pulley - $14.68
3" pulley with a 1" arbor - $12
V-belt - $5
Keystock - $5
Bearings for shaft - $15.80
Plexi glass - free
Cord for motor - free
Steel mesh- free
Total: $60.02

Estimated 30-35 hrs

$939.98 (there's one on sale on ebay for $1000 and it's actually not as solid as mine)

I like the shine on the one part I did so far

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Fixing, then breaking, then fixing my computer again

Fix the darn rattling noise my computer was making

Difficulty Level (Easy, Medium, Hard, Insane):

When I came downstairs this morning the computer fan was making a rattling noise. It has happened before but usually went away if I kicked it a couple of times (softly that is). However, today it was not going to stop so I had to fix it.

After I unplugged everything and set it on my desk I found out that it was the power supply fan. I had a spare fan kicking around from one of my old computers so I figured it would be easy enough to just replace it. After cutting and splicing it I went to test it out. EXCEPT, I accidentally shorted the power supply to the computer case. STUPID!!! Everything stopped working after that. I was getting ready to just go buy a new power supply when I thought: "Gosh, there MUST be a fuse on that board somewhere". After looking for it for a minute I did find it, except for it was not meant to be replaced as it was soldered right to the board.

I figured if I can find a fuse on the old power supply, de-solder it and re-solder it to the new power supply it should do the trick. Off I went with the soldering gun, took the fuse out of the old power supply and soldered it back into the new one. Put it all back together after a preliminary test and voila! Good as new.

The new fan patched together
The fried fuse
The power supply out of the box
Here's the fuse I replaced (white cylinder)
Take that!
Installed back in the box
Soldering iron
Side cutters





I'm typing this blog on the computer so something is working. The fan makes a bit of a funny noise (speeding up/down) and I just had a blue screen of death but I'm not sure if that's related. I'll have to wait and see...

Friday, February 15, 2013

Sandblasting Cabinet

To build a sandblasting cabinet that can be folded back into a work bench for storage

Difficulty Level (Easy, Medium, Hard, Insane):

Melanie finally booted me out of the house and told me to go have some fun in the shop so I decided that I was going to start the huge restoration project of my 1949 Ducati Cucciolo. I took it out, put it on the bench and envisioned taking it apart when I realized that as soon as I started, I'd have to be able to blast the parts. So I decided that I better build that blasting cabinet I've been putting off for over a year now (I bought a sand blaster in November 2011 when we were down in the states but I never really had the chance to use it because of the mess it would have created).

Whereas sandblasting cabinets are easy to find and are fairly reasonable, I'd have to get one large enough to do my tires and fenders so it would cost at least $400 bucks at princess auto. Whereas the price would be somewhat justifiable, I would have just absolutely no place to store it for the rest of the 364 days I wouldn't use it in the year so I figured if I could custom build one that collapses back into my workbench I could have the cake and eat it too.


After I had unscrewed the 3/4" sheet of OSB which was/is my bench surfase
Cutting the 2x8 boards
After I built the collection box underneath
The vacuum hose that will eliminate the dust
I had to weld the 8" strips of iron mesh to form a 30" x 36" wide base
Supporting the base with some 1"x1"x1/8" angle iron
Using my ramset tool I shot some anchors into the frame of the work bench to hold the vertical piece of the cabinet
I had to drill and tap the support brackets so I could screw down the hinges for the sides
The sides are folded down, the back (and rear half of the top) are folded up
After installing a 24" fluorescent light
I had to do some math to calculate the front, the angle and the front half of the top so they'd add up to 30" so that when I fold it all down it would be the same as the depth of the work bench
After the hinges were installed and the basic frame was put up
Cutting out the area for the looking port and for where the arms go in
I re-inserted the part I cut out at the front and cut two holes for the arms
I stapled the sand blasting gloves to a larger piece that will go in the front while the cabinet is assembled
It's coming together. The gloves are in.
Finished! Now, on to trying it out on something
A dull, old, rusty ax I had lying around
After it was blasted. This only took about 2 or 3 minutes and two cups of blasting media
A couple of minutes of sanding it with an orbital sander and it's as good as new


Table saw
Air nailer
Hole saw
Cordless drill
Drill bits
Angle grinder
Bench top grinder
Drill press
Tap & die set
Mig welder
Ramset tool
Jig saw

One sheet of 3/4" OSB
Two 6ft. piano hinges
One piece of 3/8" plexi glass, 12" x 24"
One pair of sandblasting gloves
18" of 3/16" steel rod
Diamond shaped steel mesh (8" by 12ft.)
9 ft of 1"x1"x1/8" angle iron
1/2 sheet of 5/8" plywood
Ramset nails
One 24" fluorescent lamp

OSB: Free, had some left over
Piano hinges: $14 at the home depot
Plexi glass: free, had some from a yard sale
Gloves: $12 at princess auto
Steel rod: free, had some in my metal bin
Steel mesh: $7 at tri-province
Angle iron: free, had some in my metal bin
Plywood: free, had some left over
Screws: $4 at the home depot
Ramset nails: free, had some left over
Lamp: $12 at the home depot
TOTAL: $49.00



Love it. Now I can finally start restoring my cucciolo!