Saturday, June 21, 2008

MAME locks and late Christmas gift

The locks on the MAME cabinet were actually simpler to do than I thought. In order to see how much the lock bars needed to be modified I removed the entire coin door area. This allowed me to see from behind rather than looking at a closed door. The amount of bend needed was so small that just a few whacks with a hammer were all that was necessary. Same for the cabinet back. I removed the two mating parts and was able to see how much bend was needed...again, just a small bit. It took longer to remove and replace the parts then it did to do the bending. Now all of the locks are installed and working. Because there are 3 locks and individual keys, I put labels next to each lock, using the numbers engraved on the keys. The locks did not have an engraved number.

So now I need a final control panel and the MAME system will be complete.

On a different project, I had run out of time before Christmas, so I gave "IOUs", rather than handmade gifts, to 3 nephews. Not going to say what these are, but I have now completed the construction and staining. I will be going to Atlanta next week, so I am focusing on finishing the one for Cheryl and Scott's son Daniel. I can hand deliver that one. It has 2 coats of finish now and needs one more (tomorrow). Then I can add the hardware (fairly simple). Then hand deliver on Thursday. Will take pictures and post them after they are all done and delivered.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

MAME coin door and slots

Today I took a little break from woodworking and spent a little more time on my arcade system (aka "MAME").

A while back I had disassembled the coin door. This was once a real working system and vandals had tried to kick in the door to steal the coins or tokens. I wanted to hammer out the dents and make it look more respectable, which I did. The trouble was that I had long forgotten how to put the coin slot mechanisms back together again.

I contacted the man that I bought the cabinet from and went for a visit. During my visit I brought back the old monitor and a transformer. Both worked, but I didn't need them, and since he is in "the biz" I figured that he could use them as spare parts. In return I asked if one of his people could reassemble my coin door. None of his workers were there, so he gave me another coin door from a different cabinet. I used that as a pattern to reassemble my own.

Next up was to do some wiring. The coin slots have lights, to show you where the coins go. I had done some research and found that I could run these off a 12V source. When I got the PC I also got a Y-type splitter for internal drive components. I modified this and installed it in the PC, then ran my new wire out the back. I had to extend the coin door light wires, but that wasn't a problem When done I turned it on. Only 1 light came on, but I knew that it was wired ok. I pulled the bulb and found a broken filament. This bulb is commonly used in automotive trailer marker lights. So I went to Wal-Mart and bought a package of 2. Plugged one in and it worked, but the brightness was not the same as the original. Since it was a pack of 2 I changed out the original and they both glow the same now.

Finally, I did some more extension wiring and made another little Y adapter so that I could activate the coin door switches. When you put in a coin it rolls past a switch and that is wired to the computer to add "credit" to a game. If you look at my previous pictures you can see a green button on the console. That button was and still is wired to add credit. For now I hooked up the coin slots in parallel, so that credit could be added with a coin or a push of the green button. When I powered it up I started up Donkey Kong, and then inserted a coin. It was so pleasing to see it add credit. I tested both slots and they both work. Fantastic.

The green button still works, but it is temporary until the entire system is complete. When I build and install the permanent control panel the machine and keyboard will all be locked up. Then the only way to add credit will be with coins (ok, and with a black button that I will hide on top of the cabinet).

Here is how it looks with the coin slots illuminated:

Note that the locks are still not done. Those will be next. I wanted new locks but for some reason, store bought locks fit the holes right, but the locking bars do not engage their slots correctly. That will require a little lock bar bending (heat + anvil).

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tequila Sunrise pen

Recently at a group dinner I brought some of the recent pens I made. I gave one to one of the ladies who had a birthday in January. Another one of these lady friends had a birthday in March and said "How come I don't get a pen?" teasingly. I said I didn't know about her birthday and that I would make her one.

This lady likes to wear bright colors. She even buys reading glasses with unique, colorful frames. At the woodworking store I found a pen blank that was made as a glue up of many thin strips of colorful dyed wood. The manufacturer calls this particular blank "Tequila Sunrise."

I had trouble with a "blow out" while doing a trimming task, and it ruined one end of one of the barrels. I tried to fix it with the blown out wood chips and Super Glue. But it blew out again, even worse. So I bought another pen blank and had more success.

Here is the Tequila Sunrise pen. I took two where I rotated the pen 90 degrees. These I cropped and merged into one picture.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Boat bookcase complete

And now the conclusion.

I milled up some red oak strips to cover the front edge of the shelves. I made them a little long and rounded over the front edges, then stained them. Laid them in place, marked the ends, cut to size and nailed in place. In the picture only the two closest to the stern are done.

Then the rope edging. Cut to length and "whipped" the ends, then nailed in place.

That completed construction. I still would like to do some faux weathering, but it's good enough for now, so I moved it in place. For the picture I wanted to include the chest of drawers and the bamboo floor lamp with it's simulated crate base. Had to pull way back so you don't get a good idea of the size. The boat is almost 6 feet tall and at it's widest it is just under 3 feet. It's heavy and rock solid, but not too heavy...I was able to bring it upstairs by myself.

One more project to mark off of the unfinished list!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The rope chair/A-frame "thingy"

Thought some of you might like to see this. Taking a little detour while the paint dries on the boat/bookcase.

Back in April I made this device for my son's "Tropical Room". The rope chair was given to me by someone I dated a few times. But it needed something to hang from. Using a bunch of 2x4s, that I took apart from other things that once were used for garage storage, I made a frame. The frame had to be wider than the top bar of the rope swing, and only come out from the wall about 3 feet.

First, I made a giant carpenter's square using 2 of the 8 foot 2x4s and making marks at 3 and 4 feet. When these marks were 5 feet apart...

I attached a diagonal brace and some more blocking to make it secure. Now it was ready to use.

Under this I laid one of my diagonal legs for marking. I put pieces of tape on the "square" to aid in the layout. Since I wanted it to have no more than a 3 foot span, the bottom piece of tape is 1.5 feet from the edge of the square. At the top of the picture you can see a small piece of 2x4 clamped in place to simulate the top beam.

I traced around the simulated top beam and the bottom of the leg...

...and cut out one leg. Then I used that leg to trace onto the 3 others and cut them all out. Here is a rough layout of one side of the frame.

And here is how the tops of the legs come together for the beam, which will be 2 pieces of 2x4 screwed together.

In this picture I simulated the beam and the floor.

Then I added a small angled block at the top and a brace in about the middle to make it an "A". The middle brace is drilled from underneath and bolted on. Makes for a smooth look when standing up.

Then I made the beam (just 2 pieces of 2x4 screwed together and cut to length)and put everything in place held with clamps.

After bolting the beam in place I set the rope swing in for a test run. It worked fine but at this point the entire frame had some side to side wobble.

I needed diagonal braces. For fun I wanted to use metal, copper in fact, but that was just too darn expensive. I got 1/2 inch galvanized electrical conduit instead. A 10 foot piece was about 2 bucks, as I recall. This I cut into 4 equal pieces and temporarily clamped them in place to get a visually appealing angle that did not interfere with the swing rotation.

For permanent fastening I first added temporary wood bracing to keep things plumb and level.

Then I went to work on the metal. Using a hand sledge and piece of 2x4 as an anvil I flattened the ends of each piece. I set thse in place and made marks, then bent them in a vice (using the sledge. Then drilled for screws.

In this pic you see:
Left - One diagonal brace before work done.
Right - One brace, flattened, bent, and drilled
Center - Test of faux painting. I wanted them to look rusty so I spray painted with rust colored primer paint, but not full coverage.

When all the pieces were fitted I removed the temporary bracing and painted each. Here is the unit with all the construction completed.

At this point I want to faux paint the wood to make it look weathered. My sister Cheryl did this for the small chest of drawers in the Tropical Room. I want to do the same thing, so that they will go together.

Here is that chest of drawers, which simulates a packing crate.

That's all for now!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Boat bookcase 6

Continuing on...

I decided to decorate the top edge (which will really be the front edge) with 3/4 inch rope, rather than solid wood. This edge is curved and it would be too much trouble to make solid wood edging for it. But in order to attach the rope I needed a 3/4 inch edge, so I glued a thin strip of 1/4 inch plywood to the edge. Here you see a short pice of rope set on the edge, as a test.

At the bow I made a sort of boomerang shaped piece, to add more boat-like detailing. To do this I glued up 3 pieces of 1/4 inch plywood into a rectangular plank (I didn't have any 3/4 inch big enough), laid it in place and traced it with a pencil. Then cut it on the bandsaw, glued and nailed it on, then sanded to exact size. Two things you can see in this picture is how the rope will come "up to" this boomerang piece, and that the plywood shelves will need solid wood edging equal to the thickness of the boomerang.

And I got busy painting. First, 3.5 hours of applying primer/sealer to the entire boat. Then I started on the outer hull with blue, at the suggestion of Cheryl, 15 months ago. I had only about a half can of spray paint and applied a few thin coats on each side. You can still see white through it, BUT I am intending to make it look weathered, so this should be sufficient. Next will be to start painting the interior...plain white. And I will mill up some solid wood for the plywood edges.