Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Multicoloured Sugru

Sugru is an air curing rubber that bonds to metals, plastics and wood. I'm a big fan as it's good for making and repairing.
It does bond to a wide range of materials and it has some flexibility once cured but the big thing that sets it apart from other adhesives is that it's designed to be seen or at least be on display.
The basic colours for Sugru are Red, Blue, Yellow, White and Black. However by mixing these you can produce a wide range of colours and many of the users have achieved very successful colour matches.

The other big difference about Sugru is the company's engagement with the end users. They actively encourage people to write about their projects and fixes and to help each other out on their forums. There are literally hundreds of photos of fixes and creations on the website. Sugru showcases good examples from the community and writes articles on the users such as Olympic archers and explorers. Sugru even provide a Fixers Manifesto, obviously with a pen incase that also needs fixing!

Sugru has one minor drawback for me which is a shelf life of approximately one year, which can be extended by keeping the packets in the fridge. Their chemistry team have been working on this and the life span is continually being improved.
The other recent enhancement is a range of new colours. The latest colours to be added are Pink, Brown, Orange, Green and Silver. I was sent a packet of brown which could be useful around the house but I plan to use it for gaskets on a Stirling Engine project which I hope to build next year.

The other nice thing about their latest delivery was that even the packet has a use, in that it can be used as a project planner.

I also noticed that the company brand FormFormForm was more obviously displayed on the packaging and pondered if this might mean a wider product range in the future?

Monday, 8 December 2014

Model Engineering and Maker Faire

Last year the regular Model Engineer Exhibition at Sandown Park Racecourse added an extra room and a totally different kind of exhibit, that's repeated again this year with the "Makers Area" at the Model Engineer Exhibition. They promise to have a large area with 3D Scanning/Printing/Craft/Coding/Electronics and Just Add Sharks will be showing of their laser cutters.

There will of course still be the usual model, locomotives, tools and traction engines on display and in competition. Also a wide variety of machine and hand tools and materials on sale from the various vendors. The fabulous SMEE will be giving talks and demonstrations.

When / Where?

This will take place on 12th-14th December in Esher, Surrey (25min outside London)


Pictures from last years makers gallery!

Friday, 21 November 2014

The metalwork of Marseille

Marseille is a city rich in history, it is also a city rich in metal.

Ironwork is prolific around the streets from the grand balcoynied boulevards to the smallest of passageways, metal is everywhere.

On the lower floors iron is used for security on doors and windows but the designs are still very elegant and varied.

There is a consistent theme to the municipal metal with the same design being used to separate pedestrians from cars and for bicycle racks.

The decorative metal is also put to a more controversial use to stop homeless people from sleeping in door ways.

There is good use of metal in the modern buildings.

This combination is part of a school.

I spotted a fantastic metalworking shop nestled in the narrow streets near to Place de Lenche. The owner was in the back grinding some metal.

Atilier Metal makes lamps and furniture from recycled parts. I recommend visiting before dropping into one of the many bars and restaurants around the square.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Winter Flowers

It's nice to have some flowers around the house at Christmas but real flowers typically die off before the holiday season is over. So how about some flowers that never die, don't need watering and look great both inside or outside.

Designer Makers Victoria Govan and Richard Warner from Ironvein in Welshpool use a combination of traditional blacksmith techniques and state of the art laser and plasma cutting to create these unique sculptures.

The flower sculptures are available in a wide range of sizes and designs.

About their organiform garden sculptures Richard said:

“We like to create beautiful pieces that don’t need any maintenance and can instantly transform an area of garden with architectural elegance.

Plus most of the pieces can easily be moved around the garden as the season progresses and the natural flowering ebbs and flows, and they look great with foliage and as supports.”

For more details and the find out about their new spiral Christmas decorations visit the Ironvein website.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Marseille Maritime Movers

Those who follow me on twitter will know that I'm a big fan of specialist equipment such the tugs and bagage handling mobile conveyors that you find at the airport. I'm also a big fan of cranes and when I was younger I was lucky enough to have been given a Meccano Crane set.

The old port in Marseille has been converted to marina and hence for me is an ideal location as it has the best of both these aspects in the form of specialist cranes.

Here's a few of different types I spotted whilst wandering around, several of them are actually floating cranes mounted on barges.

I've not researched the cranes in any detail but I did google "SCM" so this little hydraulic crane is from South China Marine.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

It's hard in London

Life in London is tough, especially if you are a shower. Due to some unique geology, all of London is a hard water area. This means that we have minerals dissolved in the water which it makes it taste nice but it's not good for your plumbing. Over time kettles, boilers and valves all start to get furred up with limescale. If you left a drip long enough you could have a stalactite hanging from your pipe.

And so it was with our shower, the levers started to get stiff and it was difficult to turn off. After finding the manual on the net, I read that the thermostatic cartridge is designed to be taken out and descaled. The manufacturer recommends every three years and the shower was installed four years ago.

After shutting off the water, taking the shower apart was fairly straight forward. Even so I took notes of the steps which were vague in the manual. The job involved some circlip pliers (purchased from the cornershop), a cross head screw driver, a replacement O-Ring from our local plumbers shop, and some silicon grease which we got from the garage shop after the plumbers shop did not have any. The O-Ring was to replace one that looked a bit frayed. Also I needed a 30mm spanner to unscrew the cartridge.

My wrench did not go that wide and I did not really want to buy a new one just for this job so I set about making a spanner.

I found a suitable piece of 3mm x 30mm mild steel. Using a square and ruler I marked 3 parallel lines spaced at 15mm apart. Then using a protractor I drew a line at 30 degree joining up with the middle line. Flipping the protractor I then joined them with another 30 degree line.

It was then a case of carefully sawing on the inside of the lines and filing down to form a half hexagon.

I did make sure the nut was to hand when doing this to ensure a snug fit. Then with the help of a few taps of the hammer I loosed the cartridge enough to unscrew it.

Be warned if you are doing this as there is a big spring in the back and you don't want to loose any parts as it flush open showering pieces everywhere. Luckily I had an exploded diagram of the shower so I knew what order to put the bits back in. Even if you do have one of these it might be worth photographing each step to see how things fit together.

After a soak in vinegar and a quick spray of grease the shower was put back together. The last step was to ensure the temperature stop is in the right place and to turn the supply back on.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Repairing a kitchen cupboard

A few years back we had a new kitchen installed, it's proved reliable with the exception of a high cupboard with a lift up door. The screws holding the door to the hinge started dropping out. Because the doors are made from faced chipboard I knew it wasn't just a case of putting bigger screws in place.

I quizzed my Twitter followers to see their recommendations. Thanks to Alfred Chow, Tony Durham and Andy Weeds for their ideas. Several people suggested drilling out the holes and plugging them. @jbwelduk suggested an epoxy putty and @supafixuk had a powder and fixer product they recommended. When I checked my supplies I realised I already had an epoxy putty product from when I was fixing shelves in the bathroom.

I removed the door and it was clear why the screws had dropped out, the clipboard had blown out.

I picked a drill larger than the damaged area and drilled each screw hole larger.

The waste was removed and the holes cleaned before fitting with the putty.

Once it was dry I sanded it flat and used a bradawl to make some pilot holes.

The hinges were fitted and hopefully this will be a solid long term repair.

Workshop Practice Series