Sunday, 22 June 2014

Wooden casters / wheels...

A while ago I made a rotating table for my bench sander (which you can read about here) it's come in very handy,however recently I've had need for another rotating platform but I didn't have any little wheels,well not enough anyway,so I figured how hard could it be to make some?

It turns out it's not that hard at all,and they work just as well as the ones I bought last time round.

Here's a bought wheel / caster -

Cheap enough,but I couldn't be bothered to go out and get more.

And here's what I made - 

Almost the same.

You can see how they are made,basically each wheel has two triangle shaped sides,then there's a small dowel that runs through the whole thing and works like an axle,then there's the wheel,this I made using a small diameter hole saw.

Here's a more detailed view of the casters - 

Simple,but effective.

And that's about it,once I had made four of these little casters I then constructed the rotating table in exactly the same way as I did for my bench sander (see link at the start of this post) there are a couple of things to consider with these wooden casters,firstly they aren't quite as strong as the plastic ones and secondly because they aren't as strong they will wear out quickly and may break,although they won't really be getting that much of a work out the way I'm using them.

Here they are on the small rotating table I made them for - 

There's a fair gap,makes things a little less stable but not too bad.

Although these work well enough for what I want I'm not that happy with the gap there is between to two bits of wood,and about five minutes after I'd made this little platform I realised I could have made this in a better way,which is usually the case,I often look at things I've made and think why did you do it like that when this way would have been better?

I figured that instead of making these little casters I could just incorporate the wheels into one of the bits of wood,as an example in the picture above I could have fixed the wheels into the piece of wood the motor is fixed to,this would then reduce the height of the whole thing,in this case by nearly an inch.

Here's a quick drawing of what I'm getting at - 

Click on the picture for a larger view.

To fit the wheels into the wood isn't difficult,and as far as I can tell is no more work than making the casters,I made one quickly to show how you can make something similar.

Here it is - 

Works just as well.

To make it I took a scrap bit of plywood and made it square,then I marked a circle onto it,by drawing diagonal lines to find the centre,then I measured and marked lines at halfway both vertical and horizontal, then on the halfway marks I measured out a rectangle.

Like so - 

Onto drilling and cutting.

The rectangles will be where the wheels go,these obviously need to be cut out,so I started by drilling holes in each rectangle to make things easier,then I cut them out.

Like so - 

I wasn't being too careful,as you can tell.

Next I marked out where I was going to drill holes for the axles to go,I used vertical and horizontal marks I'd made as guides,then I made a small hole to locate the drill bit into,you want to be as close to dead centre as is possible,otherwise the wheels will end up at slightly different heights.

Like so - 

Add caption

I used a drill bit about the same size as the dowel I used to make the axles (8mm) and using my post drill I drilled out the holes,if you make something like this then a post drill is handy as you want to get the holes as straight as possible,otherwise the wheels will sit at odd angles and not spin very well.

Drilling - 

A bit off from where I wanted,but it should be okay.

The wheels I made the same way as with the casters,and as it turns out the drill bit on the hole saw was also 8mm so it worked out well for fitting the dowel through the wheels.

Onto assembly - 

Almost done.

To fit it all together I just pushed a bit of dowel through the hole in the wooden plate,then through the wheel and finally into the last hole,then I just cut the dowel off,to make sure the dowel doesn't work it's way out I drilled a small hole through the wooden plate and into the dowel,then I used a small piece of wood as a peg.

Hole for the peg - 

I just tapped a small peg into this hole.

Here's a view of the edge of it,you can see where the dowel goes - 

All done.

And that's that,what it is I guess is a very simple wooden bearing,but it's easy to make and as the next picture shows it would reduce the height quite a lot.

Height difference is about half an inch or so - 

I may have to adapt this.

I plan on making some more of these wooden bearings,no idea what I'll use them for,but it was fun making them,although I do have some ideas for wind powered models for the garden and these may come in handy for that.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Allotment update...

It's been almost two months since the last allotment update and a fair bit has been going on,and not just at the plot either,things are progressing at home.

This year we seem to be ahead by about a week or so,mainly due to the mild winter,which has allowed us to get things planted a bit earlier and the weather for the most part hasn't been too bad,bit more sun might be in order though.

This was the plot when I got there the other day -

Very green.

Not all of it is weeds,I hadn't done anything to the plot since the last visit and expected a bit of weeding,which didn't take long. It's been easier to keep on top of things as the years go by,what took a few hours two years ago now only takes an hour and as long as we keep on top of things it'll remain easy to deal with.

My main focus this visit was the top section of the plot as I had plans to plant our squash plants,so I had to do a bit of clearing first.

The top section before clearing - 

Spuds are doing well.

 Top section after clearing - 

Looks better now.

It won't be long before one lot of the spuds gets dug up,the rest will stay in the ground for a while yet,once the one lot of spuds are harvested I will plant out our corn plants and anything else we happen to have.

Squash plants in - 

I ran out of room and had to plant some elsewhere.

More squash plants - 

I crammed them in where I could.

Once that was done I also decided to sort out the entrance to the plot,as it turns out the gate I made a while ago has been damaged,so I'll have to fix that on the next visit,but I did get a slab put in to make more of a step which should help the gate open and close better.

Slab in place,just need to fix the gate - 

Not perfect,but the gate opens better now.

Here's the plot once I'd finished - 

All done for now.

And that was it for the plot,next time I visit it'll be more weeding and most likely harvesting our first lot of spuds,and any thing else that happens to be ready,we've got things like beetroot and spinach on the go.

The things we grow at home are doing well,the corn plants are looking good,they'll go into the plot once the spuds are harvested,the asparagus plants we've grown from seeds are growing well,although it'll be a while before they are ready for harvesting.

Corn plants - 

Nearly ready for planting.
Baby asparagus plants - 

They look like ferns at the moment.

The tomato plants have survived the rain we've had (it's been very wet) 

They seem to be okay,they need some sun now.

Our plum tree is covered in plums this year - 

I've had to prop some branches up because of the weight of plums.

By all accounts it will be a good year for fruit,we've apples and pears growing along with loads of logan berries,currants and raspberries,both in the garden and on the raspberry plants we have at the allotment,and we should also get a good crop of grapes from the grape vine I have in the greenhouse,this year it has the most bunches it's ever had.

Baby grapes - 

One of many bunches growing.

And last but not least this year we're trying to see if we can grow some mini pumpkins vertically,which should be fun,and we've also got cucumbers and lemon cucumbers growing,along with some spaghetti squashes,so fingers crossed it will be a good year for crops.

Here's our cucumbers and spaghetti squashes in tubs near our back door - 

Cucumbers grew well here last year.

Stay tuned for the next update,and thanks for reading.