Saturday, May 20, 2017

All around good bedside matters

Another very short update.
We've been finishing up work around the bed...under it, behind it, and at the sides of it.

For starters, we added some equipment mounting at the end, and figured out how the storage underneath will go.
We've packed a pretty full toolbox (the silver case), outside rocking chairs and ottomans, leveling blocks, an axe, a bow saw, a crowbar, fire extinguisher, hoses, rope and the awning crank.
Still lots of room down there.

Next we added touch operated dimming reading lamps at the headboard.

And a master switch for them above the closet.

Then power points for tablets, phone, and currently imaginary 12V things.
These pics are of the driver side ports. Passenger side is similar.
Main difference is that the driver side also has a master power switch for  both sides. The USB adapter has an unreasonably bright blue LED that draws about 20mA. No reason to have the ports live if we're not charging anything.
Added some carpet to make things cushy,
 and these bits are done.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Stepping up our game

I've mentioned before that my spousal unit is somewhat disabled. This meant she had some real trouble getting in and out of Annie without dragging out some step-stools.
So we decided to install an AMP Research Powerstep. It automatically opens and closes with the doors.
It works great! She can now enter and leave Annie all on her own!

I won't describe the installation, because the step is specific to the Transit, and comes with excellent instructions. But I did take some proof of concept pictures.
The step is almost invisible when closed:

But you can see it fine when opened:

Then she experimented with entering and leaving:

It even gets the aesthetic committee's seal of approval!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Kitchen cabinet outside door

Yet another quickie entry.
We built the kitchen Cabinet to have some storage access from outside Annie. For storage of stuff like Kya's (empty) water bowl.

I installed a shelf and the outside door. The shelf can be removed if desired.
The outside door latches with push-to-open magnetic latches. It seems to hold over bumpy roads.

Trimmed the whole thing with some cushy weatherstripping. In case this cruel world starts throwing slings and arrows at it.

Some pics:



Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Headboard, now with boards

I finished off the headboards by painting the rails and adding bead-board boards, which make the headboard look less like a jail's bar's jail bars bars. and much more like a beadboarded headboard.
Not much to add except a few pictures.
Drilled holes in the top board to clear the upper magnets.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A tail of one headboard, part one

Or more accurately, a tall tale of a headboard at Annie's tail.

But before you get bored , let me head off any misconceptions that this is a tale about a tail. Or holes we bored in our head while bored. Or a bored matriarch boar, or a Boer Revolt boorish military  leader. Or beet soup.

This tale is tall only because Annie is a tall Transit, and needs a tall headboard at her tail, because where the head of the bed is.

We have a fixed bed at Annie's rear. It's made up from 2+2/3 Harbor Freight 3-section motorcycle ramps. The plan is that our heads will be at the back end, because that will make it easier to scoot on and off the bed. We won't be sleeping crosswise.

There is space between the bed head and the rear doors. A headboard will serve two purposes:
1. If we're sitting up in bed, we need a headrest.
2. The back side of the headboard can be used to hang some tools, like jumper cables.

However, if the headboard is fixed in place, it will be hard to make the bed, or change and tuck in fresh sheets. From past experience, we know that it's a pain to do that while sitting in the bed.

So I decided to make a swinging board. No, I do not mean a raunchy web site.
We had an extra complete motorcycle ramp, so I decided to use that for the board. It would have to fold down to be able to reach the bed, and be nice and rigid when erect. To repeat, I am not talking about a raunchy website here.

The ramp is made up of three hinged sections. It is a bit wider than the rear door opening, but cutting off the top of the rail and one rung  makes the bottom two fit pretty neatly.

Off with their rungs!

Since the door tapers in toward the roof, that section needed to be a bit shorter.
So I removed the rung by drilling out the pop rivets, cut the topmost rail a bit shorter, and drilled and pop riveted the rung in its new home.
I had hinges left from the ramps I used building the bed frame, so so I attached the headboard assembly using those hinges.


The next question was how to keep the sections from folding when the whole thing is extended.
I had several answers. The first few ideas didn't work.

First off was barrel bolts:
Way too much leverage torquing the latches.

While we're looking at that pic, note the bolts I have screwed into Annie's frame. The idea is that the headboard would be sandwiched between the upper and lower bolts. The lower ones fit into a pre-threaded 8mm bolt hole. The uppers fit into an untapped bolt hole. It's clear that this hole was not just a stamping hole in the sheet metal, but was designed to hold a bolt. I tapped 'em at 1/4-20.

The next idea was to stick the headboard to the bolt using industrial strength Velcro.

The Velcro idea sorta worked, but it wasn't a very strong grab. Too easy to lose it's grip.

SO, I moved on to magnets.
First couple of tries didn't do well either, but I finally arrived at this.

A steel angle bracket is attached to the middle panel and engages the lower magnet.

Similarly, a scrap piece of sheet steel is screwed to the top panel, and engages the top magnet.

The headboard closing sequence looks like this, mainly because I took the pictures while closing the headboard.





The top of the top section just misses the top of the closed door, but would likely hit on a bumpy road. So I added a bit of cush.

Next step (part 2) will an attempt to make the inner side look more pleasing to the aesthetics committee.
Here is a preview:

If the aesthetics committee does not approve, I will need to start raising bail.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Since Donald has a kitchen cabinet, so will Annie

Donald's kitchen cabinet may have Jared, Ivanka and a few billionaires, but Annie's will have a sink, a 2 burner hob, a counter, and bigly storage. Much more practical, and hopefully lower vacation costs.
Not only that, but if we wanted to know how many beans we're cooking, we can spread them out on the counter and count them in a fiscally responsible manner.

The cabinet is built as a modified frameless design,
There will be A 22" wide section with four drawers under the hob, and open storage under the sink. More storage with shelves to the left of the drawers.
Sort of like this, but more wood like:
The overall size of the cabinet is 56"x20". The height with the counter is 35.5".

We'll be making shaker style doors and drawer fronts. But that shaker job will be done a bit down the line. Once I set up a jig for that work, I'll want to do the doors for the overhead compartments at the same time.

Just as Donald depends on his base for support, Annie's cabinet needs a base.

Since this is a frame-less design, I decided to build an alternative front frame. Donald is teaching us that consistency is highly over-rated.


Then added the main walls

 Next we get started on the bean counting/cooking tool.
It is a 60"x25"x1.5" maple butcher-block from Grizzly. Handy to have the Grizzly headquarters store only 45min away.

Cut it down to size and measured for the sink and cooking hob.

And started cutting.

The sink hole was pretty simple, but the hob has a much narrower lip and also is designed for a thinner countertop. It has hold-down tabs underneath that are good for a 1" thick counter. So I used a Forstner bit to get the thickness right.

Then I sanded the whole thing and routed the edges with a 1/8" roundover bit.
The chair of the aesthetics committee, who also serves as the paint-shop foreperson, took over and applied many coats of polyacrylic. The counter is now as smooth and polished as Donald's head was before the assumed hair plugs.

Next up is the drawer glides.
We are using side-mount push-to-open glides. Hopefully, these will be adequate as latches when we go over bumpy forest roads. We shall see.

Then dragged the whole thing out to Annie.

Then started making drawers.

I added a 1" acrylic rod as a pull bar. It runs through the counter and the base of the shelving space, and rests on the sliding door's entry step. Since the whole counter/cabinet assembly is bolted to the floor, Annies side wall, and the bed frame, it a pretty solid mounting platform for the bar.

Finalized installing the hob, its gas line, the sink and plumbing.

Aside from the doors, shelves, and the drawer fronts we're done.

Next, we'll build a headboard for the bed at the back door.
But before that, I may need to spend a month or two cleaning up the shop.