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155CommentsSouth of LondonJoined November 5th, 2014
Love to tinker with automation, wireless, sensors, energy monitoring. Believe future in living will be in heavily insulated dwellings with smart use of monitoring and control. Life is never dull. Retired scientist/engineer, keen cyclist.

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  • Phil_S commented on RyeFlight42's instructable Cardboard Spinning PT-17 Stearman4 months ago
    Cardboard Spinning PT-17 Stearman

    Funny enough, I was just contemplating something like this myself.I have a Banggood balsa Piper J£ Cub (lovely model, thoroughly recommend), which is too fragile to use outside other than very still conditions. So why not hang it from the ceiling?Many Battles of Britain were fought with Airfix squadrons hanging from the ceiling!

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  • Moving Things (and Lasers!) Using Printed Circuit Boards

    Slightly off track, but just looking at a defunct HDD read/write head which has a nice drive coil, a substantial, accurate bearing. Wondering what that might be used for to draw or etch?

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  • Phil_S commented on lonesoulsurfer's instructable Resistor Organizer and Storage5 months ago
    Resistor Organizer and Storage

    Test tubes with white screw caps make life a lot easier, but have been harder to find of late. Labelling cap and body essential.Smaller versions sometimes called micro-centrifuge tubes are good for very small stuff like small outline SMD chips.TicTac containers useful too as are 40 x 100 mm "money" manilla envelopes.Whole projects go into things like plastic tubs (coleslaw/houmous type) or fruit (grapes) carriers.If you have to use the plug type closure on test tubes, plastic screw covers in white plastic fit the plugs a treat and give you something to write on.And that's before devising a system to locate everything. All my stuff goes into a very large Excel database. The hard bit is getting the suppliers part numbers etc. in. Farnell are the best for this with orders availab...

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    Test tubes with white screw caps make life a lot easier, but have been harder to find of late. Labelling cap and body essential.Smaller versions sometimes called micro-centrifuge tubes are good for very small stuff like small outline SMD chips.TicTac containers useful too as are 40 x 100 mm "money" manilla envelopes.Whole projects go into things like plastic tubs (coleslaw/houmous type) or fruit (grapes) carriers.If you have to use the plug type closure on test tubes, plastic screw covers in white plastic fit the plugs a treat and give you something to write on.And that's before devising a system to locate everything. All my stuff goes into a very large Excel database. The hard bit is getting the suppliers part numbers etc. in. Farnell are the best for this with orders available in CSV form

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  • Phil_S commented on DIY KING 00's instructable DIY Bladeless Fan From Scratch5 months ago
    DIY Bladeless Fan From Scratch

    @lorenkinzelYou seem to miss the point of these articles - the clue is in the name.It's not just showcasing someone's project, it's instructing as well. Suggesting that holding a plastic pipe in one hand and controlling a circular saw in the other is bad practice. You say you have been using power tools for 41 years and still have your fingers. That does not mean that what you are arguing for is safe. Fortunately, I worked in a large, potentially dangerous, industry. Pipe-cutting was just one of the routine jobs. What my company did to safeguard themselves and workers was to run courses on safe practices. If I had gone on a course where pipe-cutting was done as shown here, someone would have been shown the door. Don't dismiss "it only takes once". Many folk die or get horribly...

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    @lorenkinzelYou seem to miss the point of these articles - the clue is in the name.It's not just showcasing someone's project, it's instructing as well. Suggesting that holding a plastic pipe in one hand and controlling a circular saw in the other is bad practice. You say you have been using power tools for 41 years and still have your fingers. That does not mean that what you are arguing for is safe. Fortunately, I worked in a large, potentially dangerous, industry. Pipe-cutting was just one of the routine jobs. What my company did to safeguard themselves and workers was to run courses on safe practices. If I had gone on a course where pipe-cutting was done as shown here, someone would have been shown the door. Don't dismiss "it only takes once". Many folk die or get horribly injured by the "just once". Many of the readers of these articles are young, inexperienced kids. There is no harm in pointing out the dangers.

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  • Phil_S commented on DIY KING 00's instructable DIY Bladeless Fan From Scratch5 months ago
    DIY Bladeless Fan From Scratch

    AgreeLooks horribly dangerous.For starters, the pipe looks like ducting grade, not the stronger soil pipe (drainage) grade, so flimsy to start with.The teeth spacing on a circular saw blade as shown is greater than the thickness of the material, so with the RPM as well, a snatch is going to happen sooner or later.A much safer way is either use a fine tooth picture framing saw and guide. Failing that, mark the cut line with tape and use a 32-tpi hacksaw blade.

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  • Phil_S commented on KCRoberts's instructable DigiLevel - a Digital Level With Two Axes5 months ago
    DigiLevel - a Digital Level With Two Axes

    Nice project. I've fitted a number of kitchens now, working alone.This can mean that you are trying to fit a cabinet to level it and trying to watch a spirit level at the same time.I invested in an electronic level that emits a continuous tone once you have the surface level in one axis. This of course is just one axis so you have to repeat for another axis or even a third. Before someone suggests it, I do use a crosshair laser level as well for initial setting up.You could add some features like longer bars to span greater distances or get better accuracy or add a laser to get a visual line to work with.The only time I have had to set up something using a bullseye level (circular bubble) was an expensive vinyl record turntable. Plenty of applications though.

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  • Phil_S commented on Nikus's instructable Brushless Motor Thrust Stand6 months ago
    Brushless Motor Thrust Stand

    Looks like fun, but nicely done. Beats starting a big old diesel engine in a bench vice. Fingers out of the way before the engine fires. The brushless motors have transformed all aspects of aero-modelling. I love to see these drones operating - huge future potential

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  • 3D Printed Mantel Style Auto Correcting Clock With Chimes and Daylight Savings Time

    A rewarding end product for a lot of hard work.My take on time and devices that indicate it, is that it needs to be accurate or it's not worth having. OK, so what do a few minutes either way matter? a lot.I can tolerate plus or minus a second for most practical purposes. I'm working along similar lines but letting an RTC and Arduino do the time keeping with an occasional (6-hourly?) update from GPS. This is the master clock that sends out synchronising data to slaves like boiler (heating) prorammers and other just plain time pieces. Over the centuries, clocks have always been decorative as well as functional. Yours is a modern take on that principal. Well done.

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  • Phil_S commented on Bitter Blade Co's instructable Restoring a Mini Ball Peen Hammer6 months ago
    Restoring a Mini Ball Peen Hammer

    I have many inherited tools from my father. Most are better quality than modern throw-away tools.Good tools never wear out. You have them for a while then pass them on. Cast steel chisels so hard they would last hundreds of years. A ball pein hammer is a proper engineer's hammer and deserves to be looked after. Don't buy new ones, use ones with a bit of history.

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  • Phil_S commented on stuarthayden10's instructable Replace a Cat5e Connector6 months ago
    Replace a Cat5e Connector

    As @jimkyser says, watch out for the different standards. Equipment like network switches are tolerant of either standard, but it's best to stick to one or the other.I've made up plenty of RJ45 plugs and sockets and the only thing I could offer as advice is to use plugs that come with separate cable core carriers. All you do is feed the cores through the carrier and it keeps everything in place when you offer the cable up to the empty plug. They also make easy work of trimming the cores to the right length. As a quality control measure, have a look through the transparent plug to make sure you can see the copper core as well as the core insulation butted right up to end of the plug. I have had dodgy batches of cable where the core diameters are different - you soon find out if some core...

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    As @jimkyser says, watch out for the different standards. Equipment like network switches are tolerant of either standard, but it's best to stick to one or the other.I've made up plenty of RJ45 plugs and sockets and the only thing I could offer as advice is to use plugs that come with separate cable core carriers. All you do is feed the cores through the carrier and it keeps everything in place when you offer the cable up to the empty plug. They also make easy work of trimming the cores to the right length. As a quality control measure, have a look through the transparent plug to make sure you can see the copper core as well as the core insulation butted right up to end of the plug. I have had dodgy batches of cable where the core diameters are different - you soon find out if some cores go in easier than others. Lastly, invest in a good crimper. Manufacturers like AMP own tooling is frighteningly expensive, but a decent ratchet crimper can be had for a fraction of the cost grom the usual sources

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  • Clear Sink Clog - FAST, NO BUCKETS, NO CHEMICALS

    You're absolutely right. I spent most of my working life working with waste of one sort or another. I did some time on landfill sites then moved onto waste water- the polite name for sewage. Every bit of the waste water treatment process has it's own charactaristic pong or odour. Sink traps are just part of it. Fresh sewage has a soapy smell - if it goes septic or ferments, you get hydrogen sulphide and chemicals called mercaptans or thiols. Sludge on fields can be smelt a mile off. I cycle a lot and every time a waste transfer lorry goes by, you get exactly the same niff. A lot of it is down to organics called fatty acids. Acetic acid is the best known, but butyric acid smells like stinky socks or off milk. There are loads of these odour compounds. Even though the mix of trash etc. dif...

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    You're absolutely right. I spent most of my working life working with waste of one sort or another. I did some time on landfill sites then moved onto waste water- the polite name for sewage. Every bit of the waste water treatment process has it's own charactaristic pong or odour. Sink traps are just part of it. Fresh sewage has a soapy smell - if it goes septic or ferments, you get hydrogen sulphide and chemicals called mercaptans or thiols. Sludge on fields can be smelt a mile off. I cycle a lot and every time a waste transfer lorry goes by, you get exactly the same niff. A lot of it is down to organics called fatty acids. Acetic acid is the best known, but butyric acid smells like stinky socks or off milk. There are loads of these odour compounds. Even though the mix of trash etc. differs, the overall production of odours remains the same for each. Like the perfume business, it's called the signature or the nose. Once niffed, never forgotten.Cheers

    Plenty of things to catch out the unwary with traps.An experienced plumber friend of mine hates these "pop-up" wastes. Even when new, getting all the adjustments right so the stopper rises enough and falls enough to seal is a pain.What interests me is why they all smell the same. The crud is a mixture of oil and grease from us or the washing up, plus all the skin cells, food waste etc.It sits there in the trap doing it's job of sealing the kitchen or washroom from the outside gully or sewer then starts to ferment. The oxygen goes and the mixture goes anaerobic which is why the white pipe goes black. Add to the mix scale from hard water. Personally, I find the easiest way is to remove the trap, take it apart and give it a good scrub with warm detetergent. A piece of foam on th...

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    Plenty of things to catch out the unwary with traps.An experienced plumber friend of mine hates these "pop-up" wastes. Even when new, getting all the adjustments right so the stopper rises enough and falls enough to seal is a pain.What interests me is why they all smell the same. The crud is a mixture of oil and grease from us or the washing up, plus all the skin cells, food waste etc.It sits there in the trap doing it's job of sealing the kitchen or washroom from the outside gully or sewer then starts to ferment. The oxygen goes and the mixture goes anaerobic which is why the white pipe goes black. Add to the mix scale from hard water. Personally, I find the easiest way is to remove the trap, take it apart and give it a good scrub with warm detetergent. A piece of foam on the end of a coathanger wire goes round the bendy bits. Take good note of all the washers, rubber and plastic rings before you forget which way round they go - for information, the backing nut goes onto the waste pipe first, then the plastic backing ring, then the usually conical rubber washer, sharp end into the fitting. Forget chemicals - you need a strong alkali like caustic soda for the grease and acid for the scale, not for amateur use. You can put off the inevitable blockages by now and again getting a bucket of rainwater (soft water), close the stopper and fill the sink to the top. Let the whole lot go. Also helps with all those hidden sections of pipe. As for bleach dissolving hair, if it works at all, it would take a month of Sundays.

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  • Phil_S commented on evertjloo's instructable LooVille ModelRailroad6 months ago
    LooVille ModelRailroad

    Nicely done. One of my hobbies too. Enjoy it.

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  • Phil_S commented on Junophor's instructable UV-Fluorescence Steampunk Lamp7 months ago
    UV-Fluorescence Steampunk Lamp

    Nice collection of brassware.For a wider range of colours, have a look at some of the dyes used to trace drains - greens, yellows and orange. Some based on fluorescein, all water soluble.

    Tried ebay? If not RS or Farnell or even a cheap bank note forgery detection lamp. Just avoid the dangerous UV-C types

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  • Phil_S commented on Bverysharp's instructable Automatic Screw Sorter7 months ago
    Automatic Screw Sorter

    Diameter next. Then material - brass, mild steel, stainless etc.My solution is an 8-cm bar of 25-mm aluminium, drilled from M2 to M8 and hacksawed marks along the edge at 5-mm intervals. Find a sunny place to sit and while away a couple of hours.Personally, I don't bother with old slotted screws and for woodscrews, I just use the metric recessed head ones now. The bit of aluminium does machine screws as well.Heath Robinson would be proud.

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  • Etch a Circuit Board With Kitchen Supplies

    Unfortunately, the "bad lads" or urban bomb-makers, have made many of these ingredients hard to get. Any sniff off hydrogen peroxide and acetone are likely to arouse the attention of MI5. Some devastating terrorist incidents have had seemingly harmless beginnings in someone buying up large quantities of peroxide from hairdressers then go on to create lethal weapons.It's a great shame that innocent pursuits like PCB etching could get dragged into into an early morning knock on the door.

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  • Phil_S commented on Nematic!'s instructable How to Solder SMD !7 months ago
    How to Solder SMD !

    Have just replaced an Arduino Nano 32-pin TQFP. I don't have hot air reworking gear.The hardest part is to remove the old chip. I use a soldering iron and solder wick to pull as much solder off as possible. Keep the iron tip on the braid and drag it along the line of pins on each side.Put the iron tip on the leg of the pin where it enters the plastic. Slide a scalpel blade under the leg. If the chip has "gone", just bend the leg up. Repeat until there are half a dozen legs free. Slide the scalpel blade under the body of the chip and gently ease it up while running the iron along the legs. The trick is to avoid lifting the pads and tracks as well.When the chip if off, clean up the pads with solder braid.User a tacky flux like Chip Qwik SMD 291 on all the pads and seat the new c...

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    Have just replaced an Arduino Nano 32-pin TQFP. I don't have hot air reworking gear.The hardest part is to remove the old chip. I use a soldering iron and solder wick to pull as much solder off as possible. Keep the iron tip on the braid and drag it along the line of pins on each side.Put the iron tip on the leg of the pin where it enters the plastic. Slide a scalpel blade under the leg. If the chip has "gone", just bend the leg up. Repeat until there are half a dozen legs free. Slide the scalpel blade under the body of the chip and gently ease it up while running the iron along the legs. The trick is to avoid lifting the pads and tracks as well.When the chip if off, clean up the pads with solder braid.User a tacky flux like Chip Qwik SMD 291 on all the pads and seat the new chip in place. Use the scalpel to hold the chip in place and solder one leg using a very fine multicore solder and a good quality fine iron tip. Heat the leg first and apply the solder - good lighting and a good magnifier helps a lot. Repeat this for the remaining legs. Check for bridging solder and either dab it with the iron or use braid. Use Nick Gammons excellent "Arduino sketches" to check the chip and burn the bootloader.

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  • Phil_S commented on Ajaxjones's instructable WW2 Radio Broadcast Time Machine7 months ago
    WW2 Radio Broadcast Time Machine

    Dulci radios were well known in the UK certainly during the 50's.I still have one of their crystal sets that came from the long disappeared Gamages of Holborn.Going through their Christmas catalogue was a real treat.Nice to see the set "reborn"

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  • How to make a mini milling machine- manual or CNC!

    HelloNicely done and impressive construction and design.Does demonstrate though just how many other resources and skills are required.I want to do something like this eventually to do PCB's by laying down an inked etch resist and drilling afterwards. I used professionally a Versatronics robot arm to do the same with excellent results. The software was EasyPC with a Gerber output. If using micro solid tungsten carbide drill bits, the stability of the drill holder is paramount unless you have deep pockets. I like the idea of separating drill motor and solid-looking mandrel - any attempt to do anything less is going to result in writing off very expensive bits.

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  • It's Possible to Use the Angle Grinder As a Chainsaw

    The basic angle grinder concept (right angle gearbox) and body finds its way into woodcarving tools like Arbortec and into biscuit jointers.Even when unmodified, angle grinders can bite back, as can wood carvers and biscuit jointers. There's a lot of torque at the spindle. The old spindle moulders were often described as the most dangerous tools in the workshop, but for my money there's not much to choose between any of them. As I found out recently, even a wrench on a stiff nut can cause torn muscles. You never stop learning, but don't end up in Accident and Emergency.

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  • Phil_S commented on Elias Stratakos's instructable Wall Tool Holders2 years ago
    Wall Tool Holders

    Impressively tidy way to do things.Some days I have a job to find the workshop, let alone the tools.Certain tools, like small screwdrivers, disappear like pens and pencils, or the one Allen key that fits the hole saws. It's why I end up with three of everything and still can't find one when I need it. The problem is that at the end of a long day, tools get left where they are and next morning, the hunt begins.I'm guessing, without reading all the way through, that this is a small scale engineering/repair/model-making set-up. I also do a bit of electronics stuff, but there the problem is how to store thousands of very small components. For those, I use TicTac cartons, plastic test tubes or manilla money envelopes. A computer database is essential.

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  • Phil_S commented on deba168's instructable Make 4 Useful Things From 9V Dead Battery2 years ago
    Make 4 Useful Things From 9V Dead Battery

    More birds get killed htting the wires.They must have some capacitance. If only they knew what a stunt they are pulling. When the linesmen are working on live overheads, the protective gear is impressive. On the "millies" thing, frequency is also important. Humans can survive quite high amperages if the frequency is high enough. DC is the killer causing spasm. I've just had a nerve conduction test involving many thousands of volts. One of the most painful procedures I have ever had and won't volunteer for that again.

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  • Phil_S commented on deba168's instructable Make 4 Useful Things From 9V Dead Battery2 years ago
    Make 4 Useful Things From 9V Dead Battery

    Not to be recommended, but as an industrial electrical person, I have more than used up my nine lives. The fact that I am here now is down to good fortune and thick layers of dry skin. More than once I have had hold of a UK 240-V wire and felt nothing, but the bang when it touched neutral or earth tells otherwise. The golden rule if you want to try this insane method is one hand only and wear some thick rubber-soled shoes. Also avoid cheap power supplies with floating outputs. A 12-V DC PSU can put out 120-V relative to earth - using a metal-cased laptop on bare legs can give you a bit of an unwelcome tingle. An implanted cardiac device makes me much more wary now.

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  • D.I.Y Ultra Quiet Shop compressor from a refrigerator motor (compressor)

    Commercially, similar compressors based on fridge components were produced by a Danish company and distributed from Scotland, now very like the Werther Sil-Air units. Initially, the attraction in industrial use was the low noise, but the reliability was poor and very rapidly, these units were replaced by conventional oil-free piston types, cheaper and more robust. The need to top up oil reservoirs and oil in the final air just added to the problems. I'm not sure why they failed so rapidly, maybe once removed from the closed loop fridge environment, moisture etc., just wiped them out. I couldn't recommend them for anything other than occasional use.

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  • Phil_S commented on taifur's instructable Self-Powered Automatic Water Tap2 years ago
    Self-Powered Automatic Water Tap

    I would ditch that advice.Your lady wholesaler sold you plumber's hemp.I don't know where you hale from, but hemp has been banned for years. The problem with hemp, often used with a paste sealant, is that it harbours bacteria and is not used on drinking water supplies. A better solution is to use a gas grade PTFE tape (thicker grade) or a potable water approved sealant paste. At a pinch, dental floss does the same job as the hemp. Loctite used to do an approved version of hemp (looked like dental floss).If you have used hemp on drinking water supplies, my advice (water engineer) is to get rid of it ASAP

    Is this perpetual motion? There has to be a catch.The energy comes from the moving water which in turn comes from water stored in a reservoir that has been filled by pumps operated by the water supply company. Nothing is free, so you pay on your water bill.Some sums are needed here to see just how much energy can be extracted from ?? litres water moving past a generator (low efficiency), charging and timing circuit (medium efficiency).Full marks for effort and ingenuity, but an AA cell might be cheaper in the long run.

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  • Phil_S commented on MircoSlepko's instructable Raptor 5: a Fully Iron CNC DIY2 years ago
    Raptor 5: a Fully Iron CNC DIY

    Huge effort.You could machine a house with that. Made to measure windows and doors.If there was a Nobel Prize for homemade CNC machines, you would be in with a good chance.Well done

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