Saturday, November 11, 2006

Suggestion box

I am on what's called a 'sensing team' at work.

Basically it is a group of employees who determine, via employee input, what problems there are in the workplace, come up with some solutions, and present them to management. Kind of a 'power in numbers' thing.

Anyways, I volunteered to make a suggestion box which we will place in the breakroom so employees can anonymously submit items to us. We are an IT shop, so we thought it would be cool to make the suggestion box resemble a computer.

First, I raped the front off an old pc I had lying around. Then I spliced a 9 volt battery into the power switch. Then I spliced the three LEDs from the front into that. Well, that was a bad idea, as I burned all 3 LEDs up in about 5 minutes. Hey, I'm a computer guy, not an electrical engineer.

Anyway, so I took 3 christmas lights, cut off the LEDs and spliced the lights in. That worked good. Hopefully they won't burn out too soon.

Well, this entry isn't really about what I'm making, but more about the tools....

You can see in the last picture, that I'm using a square to make sure the back and side are, well, square. As I sat here looking at it, I began to wonder....

How do I know the square is actually square?

Well, I guess I could use a protractor or some shit, but then how do I know the protractor is correct....

Then I started thinking of things we use all the time that require some sort of 'calibration' if you will, and how do we really know they are correct.....

A tape measure.... how do you REALLY know how big an inch is? You can check the tape measure against something I'm sure to see if its correct, but how do you THAT something is correct?

Is there some special, master tape measure that our government holds deep in the bowels of Fort Knox that is the final, say all, be all on what the actual size of an inch is? I mean how do we really know?

If the master template for an inch got changed by some evil doer? Just a minute alteration, every year or so, then our lives as we know it would be fucked. I mean think about it. If it were manipulated just a .001 of an inch each year, this would mean in a thousand years, one inch would really be two inches..... our whole existance would crumble... the earth would get out of tilt and a giant meteor would crash through your moms house, and watch Brady Bunch reruns for the next millenium.

Ok, so maybe that last part wouldn't happen, but its something to think about....

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Hawaii Trip

I just returned from a 10 day stay in Hawaii.

My sister was getting married, and flew us all out for her wedding. The wedding was cool, her new husband is cool, and except for one small incident, I think everyone had a great time.

There are only 2 things I hate about going to Hawaii:

1) Having to leave
2) The longass plane ride! My god, that flight sucks!

Anyways, all of the locals talk about living "aloha". To them, it's a way of life.

I won't bore you with pages of vacation pictures, but I will post a few that I think capture the essence of "Aloha".

This is at a place called Shark's Cove. I'm not sure why they call it Shark's Cove... I didn't see one shark!

The next one is from Ko'Olina Beach I beleive. This was a pretty cool beach. Theres like 4 lagoons you can snorkle in there.

I beleive the next on is at the North Shore. This is a good surfing spot I guess. Lots of surfers, and Volkswagen Vans there. I'm sure you know it is on the North side of the island!

This was taken at some little public beach access my sister took us to. I don't know the name of it, or where it was at, but it was a cool beach. The water was nice, and there were two small islands about a half mile or so off the shore. It was awesome!

I beleive this last one was at Hunama Bay. Hunama is my favorite place to go. You can snorkle all over the reef, and there are tons of fish. We see a shitload of fish there, and hawaiin fish are so colorful. We also saw some eels, and a sea turtle. That place is the bomb!

Well enough vacation pics, I'm sure you're all bored to death.

Wrap up: Hawaii rocks!

Monday, July 03, 2006

DIY Poker Table Part IV : Poker Table Takes Manhattan

Ok, to start off with, let me show you the table as it sits:

After much thought - I decide the drink holders need to go in. I would hate to have to whoop someones ass because they knocked a drink over, so to keep people from getting whooped, I opted for the holders...

First, I needed a pattern. The hole for the holders is supposed to be 3 3/4". Well I tried a few different things, then I found a roll of tape that was close:

So I traced the tape on a test piece of wood. I didn't want to fuck up the table and cut the wrong sized hole. After tracing on the test wood, I cut it out with the jigsaw.

Checked the cupholder and it fit well!

So the circle I cut out became my pattern.

I went around the table and marked where each holder would go. A lot of the things I've read, had all this math to determine where the cupholders go. Fuck that! I eyeballed it.

I went around the table and marked all the spots. And then cut.

I again, used a drill to drill holdes on the throw-away piece (the circle) and then insert the jigsaw to cut the hole.

After drilling a hold big enough to fit the blade of the saw, I then proceeded to cut:

After cutting the hole, pop in the cup holder!

So go ahead and install all the cupholders!

Now all this sawing creates a lot of sawdust.... You can either clean it all by hand, or do like me and break out the leaf blower! Works fucking awesome!

Now lets put the bumper on, and check it out...

Ahhhh yeaahhhhh!

Ok, time to mount the rail to the base. If I was smart, I would have put some Tee-Bolts in the rail, but apparently Im a jackass. So what's left to do?

Spread out a blanket:

Place the rail face down on the blanket:

Now take the table and fit onto the upside down rail.

Then take some 1 1/4" screws and drill them in near the edge of the rail. I used about 18 screws.

While the table's upside down, go ahead and tighten up the bolts that hold the playing field to the base:

Now the table is one piece.

Heres the final product:

Im still debating on what type of legs to mount it on....

We were getting anxious, so we played some GO FISH and some SLAP JACK:

More to come!

Friday, June 30, 2006

DIY Poker Table Part C


Today I bought some lacquer (how the hell do you spell that?) and will be putting it on the racetrack, and wrapping the bumper, and mounting everything.

First, I applied a coat of lacquer to the racetrack, so that it could dry whilest I work on the railing...

Ok, everything I read said to use 1 inch foam for the bumper. Have you ever bought 1 inch foam? Gas is cheaper!!!!! So I opted for the cheaper method of batting. I figured I'd double it up and be golden.....

I spread it out, doubled it up, and laid the rail on it. Then I trimmed it to about 2 inches on either side...

Then I started stapling. I was pulling it taunt, but not tight. I didnt want it to be too thin. Be sure to cut triangles on the inside turns, so you dont get wrinkles.

Ok, I finished, and flipped the rail over, and pshaw! The batting was a bad call! I may as well have just wrapped the wood in vinyl. Then it hit me! The automotive headliner! I only used a small bit for the playing field. I should have plenty for the bumper....

Well, like a dumbass, when I was cutting out the headliner for the playing field, I din't think I'd need it, so I didnt center it up or anything, I just threw it on and cut. Might I suggest, if you want to use the excess headliner for the bumper, to center up the playing field when cutting the material for it.

So I was fucked and didnt have enough to do the far end. I did what I could, and then used the scraps to piece together that end.

Then I stapled those down, and got them as lined up as I could.

The padding for the bumper is done!

The next step is the vinyl! Now remember, I've also been going out and re-lacquering the racetrack as it dries! (And smoking, and grabbing beers of course!)

Take the vinyl and spread it out face down. Place the newly padded rail on top of it. (Pad down - duh!)

Start on the outside, and go around, stapling and pulling tight as go! You dont want any wrinkles in the vinyl!

When you finish, you'll have a table! Don't try to sit anything on it though... I doubt it would hold much!

Ok, now take a razor knife, and cut the inside like so:

Now just go around and staple your little ass off! Be sure to pull the material tight, so you have no wrinkles! Also, trim off all the excess so it sits better on the table. I had to go back and trim better because it didnt sit right.

*** TIP ***

Heres a hot tip!

If you own an electric staple gun, USE IT!

If you don't, BUY ONE!

If you own one, but can't find it, BUY A NEW ONE!!!

I have one, but couldn't fnid it, so I used a manual hand staple gun....

The result was:

Nice looking table, and three popped blisters!

So unless you love the everlasting pain of blisters, make sure you have an electric stapler.

Ok, now with the bumper complete, and the 5 coats of lacquer dry, lets put it together and bask in it's holyness!! (or is it holiness?)

GODDAMN! I'm gonna change my name to Johnny Fucking Carpenter!

Ok, now we need to mount the racetrack to the base.

Again, I used Tee Nuts.

Out of humility and to keep from boring you with a story, just know that I only had 2 Tee nuts left of the 8 I bought, so I only put one at each end. But I'm going to get more. I think 10 around the table would be perfect!

Just be sure to put them close enough to the edge, that they are covered up by the bumper.

Now, the table bolted together, with a little character:

All that's left are the legs, and the cupholders. After sitting at the table for a bit, I'm having second thoughts on the cupholders. I'm guessing they will help prevent spills, but it looks good the way it is. I think I'll survey the other guys I play with and see what they think.

Well, my next post will be about mounting the legs, and possibly the cupholders. But as far as the tabletop goes, it's done!

Time for a Mickeys!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

DIY Poker Table Part Deux

Ok... So now I'm ready to finish this thing....

Time to finish cutting the rail!

Batterys are charged and everything's a go!

The rail was pretty slender, and I was having a hard time keeping it up while I cut, so I used the corner pieces I cut off yesterday to prop them up around the table while I cut!

Ok! So the rail is cut!

But I've been thinking all day about how the sides of the table are going to show and be bare.... so I do some more online reading.....

Apparently, I should have trimmed 1.5 inches off the sandboard to use as a base for the rail, and then trimmed the base as well.

Well, I didnt do this, so I'm thinking 'I'll just wrap the whole fucking edge of the table in vinyl, and be done with it....'

Then when I get home, I'm like 'nah! I got to do this shit right!!'

So, how do you take an oval, and measure 1.5 inches all the way around it?

I know your answer Lee and Jay: A Router!

Well I don't have one..... so it's ghetto time!

What does a broke mofoco do when he needs to measure 1.5 inches around an oval?

First he gets himself a 1.25 inch piece of 1 x 1

Then, he finds a nice small piece of plywood, and uses his nail gun to attach the two....

Then he grabs the one tool no man should be without.....


And tapes a pencil to the end. Then butts the plywood up against the racetrack, and runs it around the edge.....

Ahhhh yeah......

Worked like a goddamn champ!

Now to cut it off. Again, the racetrack will be visable, so I drilled a hole on the the side I was cutting off, to fit my jigsaw in.... This will be covered with vinyl so hopefully it won't be noticable. (I'll let you know when I'm done!)

So I cut out the 1.5 inches!!

I also find that this is sagging bad, and no matter how i place the sawhorses, i'm scared it's gonna break....

Metal ruler and square to the rescue!!

Be sure to mark the ends again! I soon figure out why this is important! :)

Ok! After you trim the 1.5 inches off the racetrack, guess what!!??!!

You also have to trim it off the base! Easiest thing, lay the new sized racetrack on the base and trace! DO EET!

Ok, being that this is the base, I didn't really worry about nice cuts, and jammed the jigsaw through the cuts. A bad cut on this board can't be detrimental i'm thinking.... So rather than waste my time trying to hold up the 1.5 inches, I cut it off when possible....

I just ran to the edge when thigs got hairy, and said fuck it... it's all garbage anyway....

Heres the board after it's been cut...

Ok, now that i have the 1.5 inch cut from the racetrack, I think I'm good to go! Take some wood glue and glue that shit together!


I glued the wrong goddamn sides together! I EVEN MARKED THE FUCKING THINGS!!!!

Oh well, rip em apart and take a rag and wipe off the glue!!

Then, glue them right:

I put paint cans and shit on them, cause I aint got no clamps... Actually I got two.... WOW!

Here is what the rail should look like, with the 1.5 inch piece glued to it:

Thats upside down. It should fit snug around the racetrack now... and the base, which should be the same size as the racetrack....

GODDAMN! I should read more before jumping headfirst into shit! Oh well... It all worked out!

So now, lets put the base down.... put the racetrack on top, put the playing field in place, and put on the rail..... lets see how it all goes together....

Snug as a motherfucking bug in a motherfucking rug!!

Damn, I can just see it now! SWEET!

Ok, back on track... next step...

We need to take Tee Bolts and mount them in the playing field, so we can mount IT to the base!!!

I get 5/16 x 3/8 tee bolts... no sweat....

First thing is to start a 7/8 hole with a paddle bit, and then finish it up with a 3/8 bit all the way through the playing field, and the base.....

I did 8 around the field... 1 on each end, and 3 down each side!

After the holes are drilled, take the Tee bolt, and put it in.

Doesn't fit? Imagine that!

This is my favorite part......

If it doesn't fit, FORCE IT!

Bang it in with a hammer!!!!

Nice fit!

OK, do that all the way around the playing field....

Now we get to start putting on material!!!

I used headliner foam for the playing field... I got it at JoAnn Fabrics...

Take it, and spread it out....

Then take some spray adhesive, and spray it all over the top of the playing field piece of wood (which in my case is the center of the sandboard)

I sprayed this shit on liberally.... I did like 2 coats... I didnt know how strong it was, so I figured I'd go balls to the wall.....

Spray it on, then flip the board over onto the foam!

After you flip the board, either clamp it, or load it with some weight....

While you're waiting for the glue to dry, read the instructions....

There is no better time to read the instructions for something until AFTER you've used it!!

"Note:Not recommended for bondng automotive headliners or expanded polystyrene foam."

Holy shit! What the fuck!

Oh well, too late now.....

Trim the excess off while it dries...

Well, after about 45 miuntes, it seems to be dry, so I check it out...

Seems good.... even though it IS automotive headliner....

Let's check out the playing field with the racetrack on....

OMG! I think I just creamed myself! That looks so SWEET! Im seriously thinking about just leaving it "AS IS" because cards slide superfast across the headliner foam...

But then I gain sense, and realize.... It needs to be covered!

I enlist the help of my son, and we get'er'done!

First, lay out the material, then lay the wood on top, foam side down!

Then grab your stapler.....

Have one person pull the fabric VERY TIGHT, while you staple.....

Joey did the pulling.... I did the stapling!!

After you staple all the way around the playing field, you need to trim the exscess... I trimmed down to about an inch within the staples....

Once, it's trimmed.... there should only be a little bit of material beyond the staples. We dont want to have the table not fit becuase of outside influences!!!

Ater Joey and I put the fabric on the playing field, I couldnt wait to see the rest of the world.....


I was debating what to do with the racetrack...

My buddy Lee suggested Poly..... He ws right... it looks sweet!!! I do need some glossy ass lacquer or somthing, but it looks sweet!

You know we cant go without checking all the pieces out:

Joey's ready to play...

this table is gonna be SWEEET!!!!!!