Slip Ringing The Night Away

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Some time ago I had to quote an electronics project for a client (I can’t remember what it was) and it needed to rotate 360 degrees. I probably found something on the web or designed something myself that would handle the electrical connections at the axis, but it was a great deal of expense or trouble. So what do I find while surfing over at Adafruit? Just the thing – a miniature 12-conductor slip ring. Fantastic.

Handrail Codes

Handrail Codes

A lot of my time these days is spent drawing stairs and handrails for my clients, and I always am looking for reference materials on railing heights, baluster spacing, and things like that. Up until now, I’ve had trouble finding reliable, easy to read resource for this information (reading the NYC Building Code is NOT easy btw). Today while looking for metal railing details at the wagner metal I lucked out and found a link to a great reference PDF at the Wagner Metal website.

Reference Poster

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I got tired of searching for the right tables online every time I needed them, so I put together this poster a little while ago based upon individual tables I gathered. It still needs a few tweaks (not sure I need the density of Cobalt on there…) but it covers the basics pretty well. Feel free to download & enjoy.

Fastener Conversion

I have to find a machine screw that fits into a threaded hole. 8-32 fits but does not thread correctly, so its probably a metric thread. Searching the web, I snagged this table from the Elgin fastener website. So it looks like I’ll have to get a M4 x .07 screw. Putting the table on my blog is a good way of knowing where I can find it!

Tools You Have To Have: Headlamp

The headlamp is a hands-down contender for the best thing to have in your toolbag. I’ve seen fancy ones on spelunkers and other intrepid folks who mess around in dark places (urban explorers coolest of all). I’ve also seen theater techs and circus folk with them as they do their business, but I very rarely see them on the construction site. I think this is a shame because having a steady bright light is an incredible thing when you are coping a crown molding or installing cabinets. And if you are an electrician or plumber, then the advantages should be obvious.

If you can, go to any hardware or sporting goods store and slap down $15 for a half decent LED model. Try to find one with a rugged case so it doesn’t get wasted in your toolbag. The more LEDs on them the better – my new Energizer model has 5 LEDs but 3 are okay too. Generally they take 3 AAA batteries which will last you a month or so with regular use.

Tools you have to have: Japanese Saw

It’s good, nay, neccessary to have the right tool for the job. If you have to do lots of different things it is therefore good to have the right tool for lots of different jobs. All the more so if you want to keep your toolkit small & light. In New York it is expensive and inefficient to go to the job site every day with a truck full of tools. Generally you load in all your relevant tools and materials with a crew and then take public transportation most of the other days. Often though you may have a small job where you need just a small bag of hand tools and a drill set.

Even if you don’t think you’ll need to cut any wood, you never know. Or you know you will but just don’t want to lug a saw with you. So The Japanese Pullsaw is a great thing to have in the bag. As opposed to standard American handsaws, Japanese saws cut on the pull stroke. This means that the blade can be incredibly thin, since they do not need the stiffness required for a push cut. Also, the blades easily are removable from the handle which makes for very easy storage in even a small tool bag.

There are many varieties of Japanese hand saws, but the two most common are the zuki and the Ryôba:

Dozuki Saw: A backsaw that is useful for precise cuts because of its stiffening rib on the back. Great to have in the shop to do all those hand-cut dovetails. Disadvantage is the depth of cuts are limited.

Ryoba Saw: A double-sided saw with a cross-cutting blade on one side & ripping blade on the other. This is my preference. The cross-cutting blade is incredibly sharp and can cut through a 2×4 in just a few strokes. Add it to a miter box & you have an easy way to cut a few small trim pieces if you don’t want the fuss & dust of a chop-saw.

Speed up slow Firefox

firefox

Firefox was getting sluggish doing just the simplest of things and that’s just unneccessarily annoying. So I found these instructions on Hack A Day:

1.Type “about:config” into the address bar and hit return. Scroll down and look for the following entries:

network.http.pipelining network.http.proxy.pipelining network.http.pipelining.maxrequests

Normally the browser will make one request to a web page at a time. When you enable pipelining it will make several at once, which really speeds up page loading.

2. Alter the entries as follows:

Set “network.http.pipelining” to “true”

Set “network.http.proxy.pipelining” to “true”

Set “network.http.pipelining.maxrequests” to some number like 30. This means it will make 30 requests at once.

3. Lastly right-click anywhere and select New-> Integer. Name it “nglayout.initialpaint.delay” and set its value to “0”.  This value is the amount of time the browser waits before it acts on information it receives.

You should be happier now!