22 November 2011

Trouble!

I've run into some electrical trouble. Still trying to figure out if it's the stator, regulator, or battery. I'm undecided still. The battery was reading just 11 volts. But there are some other flags I'm chasing down still.

Oh, and riding in a significant downpour caused a short somewhere. It goes away when the scooter drys out. Might have been the trigger for my electrical problem.

Stator open circuit resistance: 3 ohms.
Stator open circuit voltage: 30 - 70 VACrms. Sure is fun to use an oscilloscope and see the waveform!

07 November 2011

HID headlights complete

 I finally got the HID headlights completely installed. I'm pretty happy with the results. The install was easy, and forced me to repair the broken adjustment mechanism on the reflector housing. I included a comparison between 25W and 35W. Doesnt look like much in the photo, but in person I like the 35W better. It's a bit brighter and a bit clearer color.
both on low beam
 I added an extra switch for accent lighting. It goes through the key, but is not dependent on the engine running.
Overall rating of the entire project, from stator conversion to wiring in HID projectors: 3 out of 5 for difficulty. 4 out of 5 for cool factor. 5 out of 5 for safety improvement. 2 out of 5 for cost.
Cost was high to be honest. $65 for each HID projector kit, $45 for the rectifier/regulator, $20 for LED lights. Total about $200. But if life were just about cost, I'd be riding a bicycle.


23 October 2011

A Comparison

Someone was curious about a side by side comparison, so took a few shots. I also ordered the Trailtech 150W full wave rectifier/regulator module. I'm now going to say it's a must when changing to full DC. Easy to wire in and reliable. Even appears to have an adjustable output voltage. Without further adieu, the pics:
Stock dual headlights on high beam at 6 feet

LED dual headlights at 6 feet in stock reflector
25W HID and 55W halogen modules

side by side compare at 15 feet. Halogen is a module


one HID low

one HID high

18 October 2011

going HID

I decided that I want some good lights to drive with this winter. I know I'll be riding in the dark, and the stock lights were poor. The LED headlights I added later looked great in the day but didn't light up the road well at night. So I decided I want projector High Intensity Discharge lights. Someone on Scootdawg posted a link to an Asian place that makes combo projector lens and HID bulb plus balast and wiring harness. I've read that just sticking an HID into a reflector not designed for it gives a poor light pattern. Besides, the projectors look cool and are priced right.
  After making my scooter all DC, I got the one HID I ordered installed. Putting the projector in was very easy. The hard part was figuring out where to put the harness and ballast. I looked at several locations, but found a good spot that would work when I add the second light. Some double sided tape and several zip-ties later I had it all mounted and wired in. I had planned ahead and many months ago when I had all the plastic off I added a pair of heavy wires directly from the battery to the front area, with its own fuse. I just had to hook the ballast into those wires, then cut and splice the existing headlight switch into their control harness.

 The control harness has a relay or two inside it. This means the headlight switch is not switching high current, just enough to throw the relay. Very convenient! I'm not going to worry about going back from my modification. I decided long ago that when I mod a vehicle it's way too much work and worry to try to keep it reversible. Why would I reverse it anyway, when I sell it? Who wants to buy a modified-then-unmodified vehicle? I tend to keep things till they fall apart and die. So just cut and splice, make it look nice.
I have not yet installed a switch for the green angle eye. I think I'll add a little switch that is enabled when the key is "ON". The switch will turn on the angel eyes and eventually the ground effect lighting. Headlight is always on when engine is running, high beam on/off via the stock switch. Effects optional with the key.

11 October 2011

Converting to full DC

I recently converted my scooter to full DC power. Here are some photos and instructions. First remove the flywheel. The Y shaped tool I made didnt work out for me so I used a hefty bar instead. Worked well enough. Note the position of everything so you can put it back later.

Remove the stator from the engine and pull the wire harness out of the tangled mess. I was following the KTM instructions. They didn't fit exactly what I was seeing on my stator. I have a green ground wire on the LEFT side of the CDI coil. They show it on the RIGHT side with no green wire.
I un-soldered the green wire and associated coil wire, as well as the yellow wire and its center-tap coil wire pair. Then, just as the instructions say, add an extension wire to the ground coil wire. I ended up putting the green ground back on the lug. Ultimately it could probably be removed entirely, but more ground connections wont hurt.
Next I soldered the two coil center tap wires together and put heat shrink on the joint. I reused the solder lug to attach the extension wire to the yellow wire. The lug just makes it easier since it holds it in place and keeps it from shorting to anything.
I didnt add any windings to the poles because mine all seemed uniformly wound, unlike the KTM instructions. Overall their instructions were very helpful, but if I didn't know what I was looking at I would have been lost with my stator being just a little different.

 The big deviation begins here. I am having a hard time convincing myself that I need to spend $50 for a $10 part. I pulled a good sized bridge rectifier from my salvaged junk collection. This device has 4 diodes in it that convert 2 phase (or 1 phase) AC into DC. I cut and spliced this into the wire harness from the coil, so that after the connector it would be all DC. This came back to bit me just a bit later on.
Directly on the output of the rectifier, not attached to the rest of the system I was reading 28VDC. I hooked this 28V directly into the battery and the stock regulator. Now the stock regulator is keeping the entire system voltage stable at about 14VDC, even with two 55W headlights on. I'm a little bit worried about the stock regulator and my rectifier getting hot. Today I checked them after my commute and the regulator was cool, but the rectifier was warm. I might add a heat sink to it.
The part that bit me: I had previously installed a relay to switch everything except the auto choke and starter on and off. This relay coil was driven by a small diode + capacitor circuit so it could take AC directly from the stator. This would behave the same was as stock. Relay off when engine not running, relay on when engine running.
You can see the added yellow-red connector-white addition here. This runs up to the relay to make it turn with AC on when the engine runs. Almost perfect! It turns on with the first crank instead of when idling, but it works and I can adjust that turn on delay later. The other option is to add a switch to turn on/off all the lights.
I did run into another problem. Somehow with all my re-wiring I left the auto-choke connected to battery 12V somewhere. The first night after I did this conversion my battery died. it took a bit of head scratching but disconnecting that auto-choke removed the drain and everything is good again. I just need to re-wire the choke into the relay side of the 12V. Or remove it and put in a manual choke.. which seems like a better option.

Next up: installing 1 of 2 HID projector bulbs! I could only afford 1 at the time ok?! I'll get the other next month.





04 October 2011

LED lights

I decided to switch my scooter to full DC power. I ordered LED lights for everything. I haven't done the stator conversion yet, but the turn signals are already DC, so I've swapped those bulbs out for LED. I'm satisfied! they are as bright or brighter than the little amber 3W stock bulbs. For signals I used these from ebay. I didn't even have to change my flasher relay.
I also got dash lights, and brake lights. I'll install them after the system is full DC. As well as install a pair of 25W HID projectors. I've decided on green as my accent color, since yellow, red, and blue are illegal here and white is kinda boring.

24 August 2011

Got a new muffler

the old muffler was just getting bad. After my hack job to the stock exhaust it was just falling apart. I was afraid I would hurt the engine with it. So I bought a new muffler from ebay aka Midwest Motorsports. I got their performance exhaust. It's a Chinese glass pack and is similar to but not identical to the picture on ebay and on their webiste. Oh well, close enough!



First off I had to cut off the mounting tabs that were on the header. They didnt fit with my bolt patterns. The next step was to bend the header to fit my scooter better. After trying with all my might to bend it in my little 4" vice, I resorted to the age old method of a large hammer. Actually I used a rubber mallet and wood block. That bent it a little bit but it's thick and stronger than I am. In the end I heated the inside of the joint to cherry red with a propane torch and bent it. NOW it will fit and not hit other parts!
Then I had to make a bracket to support the muffler. To make it as simple as possible I took the mounting tube from the old muffler and a bit from the bracket cut off the new header and made a nifty support. A little paint and it's good to go.

The sound is no longer like a wet fart. The tone went much lower, especially at idle/low RPMs. I think it's a little louder than before. I was kinda hoping for the muffler with the optional plug but that's not what they sent. I havent changed the main jet yet since it was already bumped up from a 108 to a 110. I'll probably up the idle jet as starting is a little troublesome. Overall I'm happy so far, I might still try to make it a touch quieter with some kind of restriction.

13 June 2011

Hitting the Brakes

I dont remember if I complained about the front brake before. It would pulse or surge when applied. I re-surfaced the rotor and it helped for a little bit, but it returned. I found a new front rotor for about $30 so I ordered it. Safe stopping is important. I got it changed, but then the sticking master cylinder issue was exaggerated. Pulling the brake lever would begin to engage the pads but then the lever would stick. I'd have to pull harder to get through the sticky part and it would apply too much brake. I considered a whole new master cylinder unit for $40. I thought I should at least look at it first to see if it was something simple.
I pulled apart the top of my scooter and pulled the master unit off. One circlip and the entire brake was apart. Very simple device! A plunger with two cup seals and a spring go inside a cylinder. I could see the spot on the inside of the cylinder where the plunger was rubbing. My guess is the screw on the handle had dug a divot in the end of the plunger. Pulling the handle would then force the plunger to one side of the cylinder and make it rub on the wall. Over time it wore the cylinder and plunger.
I made up a hone and cleaned up the cylinder smooth again. I lightly touched up the end of the plunger. Clean everything really well and re-assemble. I made sure to turn the plunger so the screw would not line up with the divot again, and put a little grease between them. Put it all back together again. It took me A bit over an hour. Now the front brake is smooth and firm. I didn't realize what I had been missing out on!
I'm sure I'll need to replace the plunger, and now I know what size I'll need. Ride safely!

29 May 2011

Secret garage remote

 It recently came up in the Scootdawg forum about adding a garage door remote to your scooter. I've finally taken some pics and here is my mod.

I considered many locations for the remote such as the dashboard, knee shield, or under the fuel door. My scooter has this particular little access panel under the seat. I dont know why it's there it's not terribly useful for anything.

It seemed like the perfect place. I ended up deciding to use bolts to secure the remote. This way it wont break off or whatever later. A bit of aluminum scrap made the retaining bracket and a pair of used bolts hold it tight. To transfer the button to the outside I cut a flap, somewhat visible in the top photo. I had to add a tiny bit to the inside of the flap to get in far enough to press the remote button.

Other than the screws it's not really noticeable. I was worried that being so low and close to the engine would drown out the signal. It has a farther range than my wife's car. I can locate the button by feel by feeling for the bolt heads. After 7 months of use, it's an awesome mod!

New headlights

Back when I was playing with the electrical system trying to go DC, I ended up blowing out both low beams. I have been riding with high beam on since then. No biggie since even the high beam sucked. I found an ebay deal to get two LED H4 bulbs for $10 shipped. I could not pass up that kind of deal! Within a couple weeks I had my parts.

Stock high beam pattern
 I had to cut off the stock adapters which made a bayonet type bulb fit into an H4 socket. I didnt have the right kind of connector for the H4, so I ended up using bolts and eye connections to get the wires attached.

LED low beam pattern
I think I also burned out either the low or high setting on the LED bulbs trying to figure out where the ground goes. They only turn on in the low position. I did nothing to modify the electrical system. The LEDs are running on the AC voltage provided. I think they may get a bit brighter if I put in a full bridge rectifier. Not sure, but they may have some circuitry to maintain constant power inside them. They don't change intensity with varying RPM like the bulbs would.

I'm mostly impressed with the color change from yellow to white. I think there is more light output from the LEDs, but not as well controlled as the stock bulbs. So far I'm pleased with the change, though I haven't ridden it much yet.

20 April 2011

Electric Lawn Mower

A few years ago I went in with my brother to buy a corded electric push mower. It was awesome to use! In fact, I helped cut a neighbors weed filled yard one time with it. Another guy had his gasser there. He kept bogging down and I kept churning it out.

Anyway, the mower has been largely unused for about a year. I needed it this spring to collect the clippings (I normally mulch, except the first few cuttings to put in the garden spaces). It's the only mower I have that will bag. I got it back from my brother and went out to mow. The blade looked like he used it to attack zombies. Stone zombies. I had to totally re-grind the blade. No biggie, it's now 3 seasons old and can use a good sharpening and balance.
I put it back and powered on the mower. It started howling like a banshee! It was louder than a gas mower and shook all over the place. I finished my small front yard and decided to overhaul the poor thing. After pulling the cover off it was obvious that rain had gotten in. There is a design flaw in the mower in that where the motor mounts is in a well in the deck. So water can collect and pool against the motor! And there is no drain hole either! The bottom half inch of the motor casing had a lot of corrosion.
I coaxed it apart and found both bearings were kinda rusty and in bad shape. it's a permanent magnet brushed motor, so it's very easy to repair. I tried using a gear puller to get the main bearing off, and the outer race crumbled into pieces! I've ordered a couple new bearings as well as spares. I went with the sealed type instead of the shielded to help fight off water.
Easiest mower overhaul ever? Replace two bearings and polish the commutator is all an electric mower needs to make it like new. No loss of power, no carburetor, no transporting gasoline. I still love using electric.

12 April 2011

Put it back!

I've been fiddling with the carburetor jets for a couple weeks and not getting my scooter to run smoothly. I then read on ScootDawg about intake tube diameter and length to setup pressure waves and how often they run better with the stock air box. I have been disappointed at the increased noise with LESS performance. so I put the stock air box back on. I removed the inner snorkel and outer snorkel to give it a little more free flow. It's quieter, and is running happily with no skipping on the 115 jet (stock was 105). No big loss, I paid about $15 for the high-flow air filter and pre-filter.
I also changed out 3 of the 6 rollers to 11g (stock is 12.8), losing about 6g. Haven't noticed any difference there yet. I'll give it a few days, tweak the carb a bit, then try some other weights and/or the torque spring.

28 March 2011

Free-flow air filter

 I finally got the extra upgrade items for my scooter. Instead of throwing them all on at once, I decided to do one at a time and note performance changes. So first order is to change out the air box for this foam filter. I got the extra pre-filter because I ride in all weather and I'm worried about junk getting through. When I got the filter I was surprised at how thick the foam is! Inside is a spring to help hold it's shape. They advertised it as fitting even with the support frame, but it was a wiggle snug fit into mine. I got the 42mm because they said it was for the 150cc, but it was kinda loose and I wonder if the 38mm would have fit better. Either way it's on there now!

 I love the cleaner look of the left side without the air box there. That was one of my largest goals with the change out. with the new filter, engine noise is louder at more than 30% throttle. But with my exhaust opened up it's not terribly noticeable. Now I'm trying to re-adjust the carburetor to match the new air flow. I upped the main jet to a 115 from a 105. I think the 115 should be enough as I'm working it away from too rich at the moment.
This pic shows where the old air box was, and how much space it took up . Just over the wheel you can see the new filter. I have a little concern about water with this new filter. I noticed after getting home in a rain storm that there was a little moisture on the end of the filter. I may have to move it up higher or build a little wall to help shield it from spray.

Next mod will be either variator weights or driven pulley spring. I have the parts, just waiting to get the carb tuned in and a nice day to run tests.

22 March 2011

Budgeting

Summary: We went from paycheck-to-paycheck living to savings without changing income or big lifestyle changes.

I've been so happy with my new financial methods, I couldn't help but post something about it. We used to live, paycheck to paycheck. Always saying we can't afford this or that, waiting for the next bill. I kept thinking some day I'll make more money and I wont have to worry anymore. Well, waiting for money to roll in makes you old.
  I decided to make a budget. A complete picture of every cent that comes in and goes out. Instead of starting with an idealized visualization of what I wanted to be spending, I pulled my spending history for the last year. Since I rarely use cash my bank had pretty much all our spending history. I calculated all the little bills including monthly, bi-monthly, semi-annually, and annually then averaged them down to cost per month.

A blank copy of my spreadsheet is here, if you want to follow along: Budget Spreadsheet

Next I separated each into a category: Living expenses such as mortgage, water, power, etc; Savings expenses such as savings account, emergency savings, etc; Other expenses like donations, date night, etc; and finally Flexible expenses like fuel and food. These are what made sense to me. I see food and fuel as behavior costs that can be controlled.

Lastly I added a section to track income. Since we only have one normal income source, it was fairly easy to enter. I just entered all the info from my pay stub. then I added a column showing what percentage of my take-home pay each line was getting. Having just this data in from of my face really underlines where my money was going, and what I could do to change it.

After categorizing all the normal expenses we had, I found we actually had money left over every month. However I could not explain where it was being spent. It just disappeared somewhere. So I categorized it into something useful! Before my budget we had very little savings. I started an emergency savings account. It was only getting $50/month, but it was more than zero. I did the same thing with a short term savings account for a new TV. I actually opened new accounts for these because if I left it all in the one main checking account we would end up spending it. Out of sight out of mind!

  In the end we ended up with 4 checking accounts and 3 savings accounts at 3 different banks. Our main bank has the incoming+fixed spending checking account (no card access), the flexible checking account (debit card access), 2 savings accounts (emergency and short term), as well as my personal checking account. A credit union has my wife's personal checking account, and Smarty Pig has a savings account. For me, all this made sense to keep things separated. It could all be at one bank, it just worked out this way for us.

I setup automatic transfers and bill pay to distribute the money from each paycheck to the accounts and payees that need money. All expenses are averaged over the year so there are no surprise expenses (like HOA dues or car registration). The savings accounts are not card accessible, but still easy to get money out if we need it. I even get a personal budget to have fun with.

Most things are affordable, in small increments. The as-seen-on-TV way is to put it on credit. Have the item now, pay slowly over time. It works. Only you have to pay interest on it. If your future self can no longer afford it you're stuck. Reverse the process. pay yourself that low installment each month into your own savings account until you can buy said item. If something comes up before you buy it, you still have all your money. If something comes up after you buy it, you can walk away. That is freedom.

If you know where your money is going, you can control it! I can afford it now. It might take a little time, but no more consumer debit for us. Next up, remodeling and paying down our house. My budget gets adjusted every so often to reflect our changing lives. no big deal. But after a while you'll notice your savings account getting larger.

13 March 2011

Confusing electrical system

I'm still trying to figure out how to convert to a full DC system. I dug into my scooter the other day to see what I could see. My stator has one of it's 3 wires grounded to the frame. The white wire puts out about 24VAC, the yellow wire puts out about 26VAC. Measuring between yellow and white I get 2VAC. I made the guess that they are not wired as pictured in many diagrams as series coils grounded at one end. I'm thinking they are two series coils 90 degrees out of phase with the center tap grounded. I'd need to hook up my scope to really get it figured out though.

It also seems my regulator does not have the internal circuits which are often posted on the net. When I measure diode and resistance, I don't get the expected results. However I know it is regulating both white and yellow voltages, so it's not broken.

I tried bypassing the internal rectifier and used my own bridge on the white wire and ground, plugged that right into the battery with the regulator for voltage control. That let the battery maintain current into it! However as soon as I put the running lights on the DC side the battery was losing current (amp meter on the battery). So I switched and had the yellow wire on the rectifier instead of the white. Exact same result. So I thought that both of them together should provide enough power to run everything. They have enough to run it as AC and DC, they should be able to do it. Despite several attempts at various rectifier configurations I could not get any more power from both than I could from just one.

I've given up for now. I dont really want to spend the money (like $60) to upgrade to an 11 pole stator. I could rewind this one into a 3 phase, then I'd just need a 7 wire rectifier/regulator. But again that's going to cost $$. If I could just figure out my stator configuration I should be able to come up with a rectifier for it and use the stock regulator to keep the battery level.

10 March 2011

not such a hot idea after all

well, I intended to make a post about converting my running lights to DC. I took pictures and everything! anyway, I did it. But turns out it doesnt work like that:

So, a few posts ago I said I made a change to the wiring to make the running lights operate on DC. Well, yesterday I notice I couldnt get the scooter to turn over, not enough battery oomph. Turns out the charging system couldnt keep up with the lights on DC. Somehow I need to change the wring with the regulator/rectifier to get more power through to DC. For now I reverted it back to factory configuration. It still has all my mods, but I just jumpered a couple wires to put AC back to the lights. In my experimenting last night I forgot to re-attach the regulator before I started the engine and blew out one of my headlights. OOPS!

I'll figure it out eventually! I like a challenge.

05 March 2011

hacking the muffler


My stock muffler had a rattle at certain RPMs, and it was annoying. Also, going for a higher flow should make it run a little better. Looking online, I found performance mufflers for as little as $150, and up to $300.The single most expensive upgrade item! I could get a stock muffler for $60, but just to get rid of rattle? I found some other people who had modified their stock muffler to make it much more flow-through, but they had a different stock muffler than me.
 Today I had an opportunity to spend a few hours in the garage tinkering, so I unbolted my muffler and whipped out my hacksaw to see what I could see. After carefully cutting all the way around, I was surprised to find more junk inside than I expected.
 This is the loose part that made it rattle I think. It's a little passage tube that just fell. There was a lot of crud inside the end here. Well, I want to open it up to get more flow, so time to rip out that end baffle!
 Getting it out was fun, it was welded in two spots. A quick cut with my dremmel and some smashing and vice-grip work gets it out. There is a wire mesh holding a fibrous mat against the shell. It's not very thick, so maybe it's sound deader or thermal insulation? I dont know, but I ripped it out! The mesh was breaking down in a few spots, so it could have contributed to the rattle.
 The pile of some of the junk I pulled out. Most of the wire mesh went straight to the garbage can. It would be my luck that the fibers are asbestos and now I'm going to die from it. In the end I got it all out.
 To get the mesh and fibers out I needed to smash up the final baffle. It's all good though, it gives more open flow! It appears that the exhaust comes from the header into this tuned (?) pipe that has a U in the end. I thought about cutting it open with my dremmel, but decided not to. I'm not interested in a loud sounding muffler, just better flowing.
 I used my 24V DC home made arc welder to weld the little tube that previously was inside to the cap as a new tip. I then re-attached the end cap to the muffler. It's not a very pretty job, but it works. I'm not terribly good at welding, and the metal is rather cheap. I blew through several times but managed to fill all but one of the larger holes. Not a bit deal since I want more air flow anyway right?

Finally I took a little video to capture the new sound. To me it sounds like the 250cc motorcycles we used when taking the Idaho STAR course. A bit louder than before, and I can feel much more air coming out the tip. I took it for a short ride and believe I get smoother acceleration with slightly more pull. I really need to re-jet the carb to get more fuel, then lighter weights in the variator for more power. Next month!

26 February 2011

Scooter

 I've been driving my scooter every day that the roads are dry, even below freezing. I've enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. I've got the tinkering bug with it now too. It's fun because the parts, even performance parts, are much cheaper than for a car. I spend $35 and got a performance CDI and coil set. You see pictured here the old CDI (Capacitive Discharge Ignition) and the orange slightly larger performance replacement.They advertise that it has a slight spark advance and can run to a higher RPM. I am mostly interested in the advance and newer parts. I can keep the old one as a backup.
 The performance coil is of course orange next to the stock coil. It's advertised to have a higher voltage output for better spark. I didn't measure so I can only take their word for it. It came with a cap but I had not yet assembled it.
 I had read several places that the stock Chinese valve stems degrade and eventually leak either slowly or suddenly. I decided mine were far enough into the risky zone that I'd replace them now. Though this one is cracked and splitting when I pull on it, it does not leak yet. It might have lasted quite a while longer. But for $3 why not have new ones?
 Removing the old stem finished the split and it fell apart. Now I kinda wish I had gotten angled stems, but the store I was at only had straight. I had picked up the shortest they had, and it's not a big problem. Just would have been slightly more convenient with an angled stem.
 Since I was taking every thing apart and had some of the cowling off I decided to check the valve clearance. The engine manual I have (not for my scooter, but good for the engine) specified 0.08 - 0.12 mm. These valves had much less than that. I didn't measure where they were, but it was less than 0.078mm. I adjusted them out to about 0.10mm. For as many miles as my scooter has I was expecting a possible oil leak. But I have found none, other than the stripped gear box oil plug. But I fixed that with a little RTV gasket goop.
 I'm rather interested in replacing the stock headlights with HID lights. For $40, it's a nice upgrade that adds safety and cool factor. The stock lights barely light up the road at night. For reference I took some pictures of the stock bulb and holder so I can figure out which HID bulb I'll need to get. The stock setup leaves the left light on low while running, both lights on low when the headlight switch is on, and both high and low activate when the "passing" switch is pressed. So normal driving is 25W, headlights on is 50W, and passing is 100W. With the HIDs, I'll get two 35W bulbs with inverters.
I'll have to re-wire a little bit, but I'll end up with one 35W light on all the time, and both for headlights on or passing at 70W. I'll also have to setup a DC bypass as the stock system runs the headlights on AC direct from the alternator. I'd like to eventually change to LED signal lights as well, but that's a low priority.

Media Cabinet

Since we got a new TV, and I'm not a fan of a monolithic entertainment center we needed a place to store our DVDs and games. I took the old entertainment center we had (picked up for free from beside a dumpster many years ago), and cut it apart into just the shelving portion. Since DVDs aren't very deep I then cut it in half lengthwise. Originally we intended to build two shelf units from it. Unfortunately the style we wanted would not allow us to reuse the existing doors. I only needed to buy materials for paint, doors, and a backing. After reinforcing the bottom, attaching the backing, and adding shelf blocks I had something!

 The shelves came from the original shelves, just cut in half to fit. All the prep work took a long time. Lots of sanding and gluing, then wood filler. I kinda wanted a smooth surface like a veneer, but in the end we were happy with a little wood grain. I ended up cannibalizing the second set of shelves to make this one set. So we'll not get a double set. Of course the one set doesn't fit all our media, so Jen wants me to see if I have enough material to build a double wide. I haven't looked into that yet, and kinda don't want to. I'd rather rip what we have to our media server and put the originals into a long-term storage out of sight. I dont know, we'll see what works out!
 Looking to reduce the amount of wood grain showing I spread putty along the front third of the shelves. It helped some, but the grain is still somewhat visible. We decided that the end result would be black, so here the shelves are primed with black. I thought I'd need a quart of primer for just trouble spots and half a gallon of paint. I was way off! I've primed everything with a third of the quart left. After painting everything but the door I might have used nearly a quart of the finish paint. I'll certainly have black paint left over. I wonder what we'll put it on.

I ended up with two or three coats of primer, then two coats of paint (three in high wear areas). It really looks pretty nice. It will be nicer with the doors on the face! I'm still working on those. Two are primed, but still need lots of putty and sanding. The third door was kinda warped, so I'm trying to flatten it out. I'll get some pictures when I'm all done.

01 January 2011

Bunk bed is done!

Finished the bunk bed today! We were thinking of painting it white, or even just a white wash. But after a test paint we decided to leave it raw wood. Sophia was so very excited to get it in her room, but was pretty worried when we started moving her stuff out to make room. We got it rebuilt in her room, despite Sophias disdain for the drill. She's now so very excited to sleep in the top bunk! It didnt take her too long to figure out how to climb up and down. I guess it just takes a little motivation huh? Jen even laid down up there and was jealous because she always wanted a bunk bed as a kid. More pics in the album.
 My poor hands are all beat up now. Blisters, cuts, and bruises. But it's a nice bed! We put her kitchen set and toy box under the bed since we dont have another mattress there yet. Not bad for $120 and 6 days of work I guess.