Tuesday, November 21, 2017

"Step by step" cabin

Added on a nice porch to the cabin and it looks great. Nice touch. Gable ends will be covered with vertical boards from another salvaged building Lynn saved.

For the porch posts Lynn used logs salvaged from an old family farm barn. The rafters came with the original cabin logs. The roof boards were cut from some trees off the farm. Going to be able to enjoy a nice cup of coffee from this porch.

Now for the "step by step"
To get into the loft Lynn wanted stairs and not a ladder. Right off the bat I said no problem. (One of the three biggest lies. 1. The check is in the mail. 2. I'm from the government and am here to help you. 3. No problem, this will only take a minute.) As the cabin developed I could see more clearly what I was up against. A door and window on one wall. A window on another wall. And the floor joists in the loft. As I played this out in my mind and several sketches my brain was racked. I knew I would need a landing and the total rise for the stairs and each run. I decided to make a cardboard pattern and this showed me some of the details and finer points of the construction I had to consider.

After a good nights sleep I decided it was time to cut wood! Lynn's husband Steve had some since 2x12's that he saved from a trailer he redecked and they were perfect. I layed out the first stringer as though the stairs had no landing using the two runs. Then layed out where I would need to cut them off. Using the two pieces I had patterns and cut the mating pairs of stringers.

It took a couple of hours but they fit well and cleared the windows and door.  Building the box frame to support the landing took the most time and then locating the vertical post that was need to support the loft floor joist that had to be cut off was another head scratcher.

Here you can see the post where it supports the floor joist end. Floor boards for the loft will come next.

And there you have it "step by step". Progress continues with a bit more work to do (floor, ceiling, windows, gable ends, chinking and trim inside and out). I would say that cutting steps like these were a challenge and I learned a lot. Stairs in the next cabin will be "no problem"!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Kid Wind wind tunnel plans

This post will provide the plans, instructions and materials list for building a 4 fan wind tunnel with a 48" opening similar to the type used to test student built wind generators in the Kid Wind Challenge competition.

Here you can see the finished product. This photo will be used several times in these instruction and will be helpful if referred to to study details and answer questions that will come up during construction. Note the large paper clips on the 1/2" EMT tubing at the opening. Note the 1" square blocks on the ends of the 1 1/2" PVC pipe arms that the 8mil clear plastic is wrapped around. Lastly notice the two large hand clamps in the upper left of the photo holding the plastic sheet where it joins together.

Here is the drawing. If you are a go-gitter like me and like a challenge than this is all you will need and go to it. If you have questions or need a few more details read on...

Here the materials list - Menards, Ace Hardware and Northern Tool were my sources for them.
- 1 -  3/4" handy panel 2' x 8' that will be ripped in half and cut to make the arcs in corners.
- 50 - 2" pocket screws
- 1 -  2x4 - 10' long
- 2 - 1x4 - 10' long
- 2 - 1 1/2" PVC pipe 10' long
- 4 - 3" long 1/4" bolts
- 2 - 1/2" EMT pipe 10' long
- 1 - Zinc die cast EMT Compression Connector (this will be used to cut threads in PVC pipe)
- 8 - 1/2" EMT set screw connectors
- 1 - 24" long 1/2" ready bolt
- 2 - 1/2" washers
- 2 - 1/2" nuts
- 2 - 8" small lawn mower wheels
- 12 - 1" small binder clips
- 12 - 1//4" by 1" fender washers to mount small binder clips
- 9 - Large binder clips
- 18 feet of 48" wide 8 mil clear plastic sheet
- 1 - 4 plug power strip with on/off switch
- 4 - Item Number 47051 Description  RTN 22" Tilt Cooler $99 each. Northern Tool

Tools list -
Skill saw
Roto zip with cutting burr
1/4 - 20 thread tap
Tap drill for 1/4 - 20 tap
7/16" nut driver
Assorted drill bits
3/8" hand drill
3/4" Forstner drill bit
Drill press
Screw gun
Socket to fit EMT compression connector
1  3/4 hole saw to make bushing to fit inside 1 1/2 PVC for 1/2" ready rod wheel axle
Pocket screw cutter and screws
Band saw or saber saw


Remember what you are building? Lets get started.

Well that was easy. If you got this far you know what I am going to talk about in the next few photos. If not then read on...

First you will want to rip the 2' wide 3/4" plywood into two 12" strips. Then cut twelve 12" squares (that should leave you a 4' long piece for the storage rack later). You are going to want to make a compass that will draw two 11 3/4" arcs on each 12" square piece you cut. These will be the fillers to go around the fans.


Then you will want to look at the print and cut the 2x4 and 1x4's the correct lengths. Using pocket screws assemble the 2x4's to make one half of the center cross like in the photo below.

You can attach the four plywood pieces (with pocket screws) as shown above and check the fit of one of your fans to see how you did. Note: these fans come with two plastic  pieces for the tilt and lock mechanism. I removed them and it is a chore. You could leave them on and just place them in the corners at a diagonal if you want.

So moving right along. You have finished the other half of the cross and corner pieces. Now study the  next photo and we will discuss the top and bottom pieces.

In this photo you can see that the outside corners have two pieces of plywood. Also understand that these corner pieces are ONLY attached to the top and bottom 1x4 pieces (NOT THE SIDE PIECES). They ARE NOT attached to any 2x4 piece. Later when the fans are put into the openings. Then you will screw them into the side 1x4's to secure them. Do not worry about attaching them to the 2x4's.  Note: You will have to make a small notch in the four pieces of plywood at the center cross to allow the power of each fan to be routed through. You are looking at the back side of the wind tunnel and the power strip should be mounted right in the center cross area. Also for stability while building it is good to place the 2' piece of PVC for the axle in the lower hole.

OK so now you are ready to make the arms that will hold the 8 mil plastic to form the wind tunnel opening.

So if you are looking at the finished tunnel above and can see this is a photo of the arrangement of the  1/2" EMT conduit and wood spacer block at each outboard corner. First cut your 1 1/2" PVC into four 46 1/2" long pieces. This will be short enough to allow you to wrap the 48" wide 8 mil plastic around the EMT and back of the fan box for a tight seal. Using your 3/4" forester bit drill two holes at 90 degrees to each other centered about 1" down from the end. The corner block will come later. Also  the hole in the EMT will have to be drilled so the set screw can be screwed into it and lock the frame together.

If you have a 3/4" pipe tap then you can skip this and just thread the holes you drilled and screw in the 1/2" EMT set screw connectors. If not then we have to make a tool for this. Using your Dremel tool and cutting burr cut into the threads of your compression connector like this.

I enlarged this so you can see the cut angle on the left side. This is VERY important as the point of this cut will do the cutting of the PVC to make the threads you need for the EMT set screw connector.

Using a socket and ratchet you can now screw in the "tap" you made and cut the threads. You can see the top one is already done. Note: the set screw in these connectors will need to be removed and a 1/4 - 20 tap run through them so the set screw goes all the way through and seats to the bottom of the head.

Do this 8 times and you are ready to proceed on.

To install the plastic sheet I would suggest laying the unit on the fans as shown and then attach the plastic sheet and secure it with the 2" binder clips over the 1/2" EMT conduit.

This part is tricky. You are going to secure the PVC pipe to the main fan frame. You are going to drill a #7 or 13/64" drill through the 1x4 side piece and through the PVC. Then enlarge the hole through the 1x4 and first side of the PVC to 5/16. CAUTION - Do not drill through the second side of the PVC this will be threaded with the 1/4 - 20 tap to hold the 3' load bolt. Number each PVC pipe and corner hole it goes through so they can be reassembled again and again.


If you got this far you should be able to figure the rest out. I will try to describe the final steps though. After you have cut and drilled the 1/2" EMT conduit you can install them and make the frame. I would tip the tunnel back so it is laying on the fans. Then I would start wrapping the 8 mil plastic around the PVC arms. Use some of the large binder clips to hold it to the EMT tubing. If you have put on the 1" square corner blocks the plastic will stay straight. To secure the plastic I stapled one end to a wooded stick then wrapped the finish end over that stick added another stick and clamped the two of them together with two hand clamps as seen in the photo above.

 On the back I used the fender washers to attach the small binder clips. the plastic can be clipped and held by them on the back side.

A small rack can be built on the back side and all the parts for this wind tunnel can be stored when it is taken apart. Using some of the left over 1x4 and the leftover piece of 3/4 plywood you can see how the storage box is formed. NOTE: The 3/4" plywood is screwed into the ends and MUST BE REMOVED when the wind tunnel is being used so it does not block the air flow. The small side pieces do not need to be removed.

The wheels allow for easy transport and storage. Use a left over piece of 1 1/2" PVC cut to 20". Use your 1 3/4" hole saw to cut two plugs of 2x4 material and drill 1/2" holes through them. When placed in the ends of the PVC pipe they will serve as bushings to support the 1/2" 2 foot long ready bolt axle. It is a good idea to drill and thread the PVC pipe to secure it in place to the fan frame like the PVC arms. I also bought a 4 foot piece of 2" PVC and two caps to store the rolled up 8mil plastic in. You can see the end just sticking out of the storage box in the photo. This should do it!

Just one more thing. It would be a good idea to add a caster wheel to the end and that way you will not have to hold up the unit when you are moving it from place to place.

Build it like this. It is removable and uses the same hole as the PVC arm. Good luck.

If you have any questions just let me know and I will happy to help a fellow Kid Wind'er out.