Thursday, May 31, 2007

Navy X-Ray Facility

How can it be? One minute, you have never heard of Pittsburg, California. Then, moments later, a relocation seems so logical that you start Googling to find the nearest Trader Joe's (11 miles SW in Concord).

So, why is it so compelling? Well, try to ignore, for a moment, if possible, the title 'X-Ray Exposure Room' because that in itself should sway the most cynical buyer of wayward cast concrete buildings. I have spent, I am not kidding, an hour looking at the plans. I can assure that it is worth at least five minutes of serious consideration.

First, there is the scale. The walls are 37' feet high. You could park a 3-story townhouse inside. The space is so ample that you could store your 2-story fire station in itand when you come across a porcelain pre-fab steel gas station for sale, you will not hesitate for a moment as you picture it neatly stacked on the firehouse. The opportunities for lofts, catwalks, mezzanines, roosts, crow's nests and widow's walks are dizzying.

Then, there is the quality of construction. Like me, you probably bemoan having inadequate wall thickness for serious radiological experiments. True, the walls of Navy X-Ray Facility are only 2 1/2' thick for the final 20 feet, but the fifteen foot base is an impressive 4' thick! Every morning, I would wake up, put on my hearing protectors and shoot my .300 Weatherby at the opposite wall. Check out those concrete notched, stacked wall modules. Corps of Engineers takes no guff!

Ok, sharp -yed Hooptyriders are sure to note the center concrete pad and wonder what would require such a deep footing. Rail car! I am not 1000% sure, but it appears that you would bring in a rail car and offload to the transfer car seen to the right. It looks like a rail car that comes to rest against the wood bumper but the car appears to be perpendicular to the door. And where does the transfer car transfer to? Clearly, a site visit is required.

Auction opening bid: $150,000 Link
Architectural Elevations Link

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Porcelain Urinal Sign

Only a municipality would devote the resources to creating porcelain signs that exhort the savages employed therein to exercise a modicum of self-control. Great typeface, superior craftsmanship and a message that stands the test of time.

Let's say you wanted a custom porcelain sign to enforce bathroom manners or, other, less urgent messages. How would you get one made? Is it even possible anymore? Like water slide decals, can you get them made at any cost? And, yes, I know about the water slide decal paper for computer printers, but I am inquiring about the real deal.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Eccentric Clamp

During yesterday's garage sales, I came across this ingenious clamp that works on friction, angles and leverage. Like a pipe clamp, the sliding arm adjusts to almost snug. Then a quick flip of the eccentric lever exerts the extra 3/8" of motion required to secure that which desires to be steadfast.
Pat. Feb. 8 87 - I suspect this clamp was
not patented in 1987.

Join me in celebrating Feb. 8 as Eccentric Clamp Day.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The $29 Chair One Hour Challenge

Asking $40, offered $20, settled at $29.

Trying to avoid projects, I set a one hour deadline for complete refurbishment per the Mister Jalopy 4-step Miracle Process.

Improvement is so startlingly quick, that I like to mask off a section to be dramatically revealed at project end to show the remarkable transformation.

Four Miracle Steps later! Wowee!
Well, 72 minutes. Not awful. I thought I was going to be able to extract the broken arm rest screw with a pair of Vice-Grips and a sunny attitude. Sharp-sighted Hooptyriders will note the tap handle, screw extractor, drill chuck and bit which means the errant screw was drilled and extracted. That added time. But! The 72 minutes did include making a shot of espresso! Sometimes, on a project like this, I will leave a section untouched just to remind myself of where I have come from, where I have been and where I can go in 72 minutes. Not in this case. I spent another 5 minutes 4-Step Miracle Processing this final section.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mister Jalopy's Urban Guerrilla Movie House

Before the roof was finished, I must admit the Urban Guerrilla looked pretty ho-hum.

It seems most Hooptyrides posts start with a statement about how busy I have been as way of explanation to justify the dearth of posts on my entertaining internet presence. Add to that the insult that I upgraded, then irretrievably broke Jalopy Junktown and I am bad blogger without defense. And I have been busy - up to my ass-kettle in tea-kettles. So to speak.

To answer the inevitable question, the roof took about 6 hours with a lunch break.
The over-built, under-engineered Movie House base is TIG welded.

Oh, how I miss the drive-in movie theaters that dotted the San Fernando Valley. Sure, there are still drive-in theaters in Los Angeles if you define Los Angeles in the broadest of terms as extending from San Diego to the Antelope Valley. So, I am bringing the drive-in to Maker Faire. I will be at the Make booth on Saturday and Sunday to tell it like it is and show off my blister from too much tin snipping. Plus, I am giving the Deep Sea Suburb talk at the Main Stage.

A Schwinn Town and Country adult tricycle with a Lumenlab-style projector on the back. Inside the wooden box is a stripped 15" PC LCD monitor and replacing the meager florescent backlight is an awesome 400w lamp that is bright like welding. Add a reflector, a couple of fresnals lens and a homemade focusing triplet lens and you are ready to bring the party to the people. Easy as that? Well, not really. I made more missteps than a fox trotter with two left feet. But, I learned a ton along the way and the results will be in Make Volume 11.

Under the roof, curious peekers will find a Mac laptop with a RocketFM transmitter for radio broadcasting the movie audio to the 80's era cassette boombox on the handle bars. Oh, it works like a champ! Does the projector work without AC power? No. It is already heavy like a battleship straining those original, cracked Schwinn tires and I can't imagine how many deep cycle marine batteries would be needed for a 400W lamp. While riding, I assure you, it is plenty satisfying to listen to the awesome cassette power boombox.

The preferred acid test image of the superb Lumenlab DIY Forums. That is an
untouched, un-photoshopped 7 foot diagonal non-HDTV screen shot.
The screen is a sheet of $12 melamine from Home Depot.
Nikon D70, auto settings, no flash.

Without the help of Lumenlab and the collected history of the forums, this project would never have happened. If you can't wait for the Make article, go poke around. BUT, as with all forums filled with experts, PLEASE read the FAQs, the builder guide, the Wiki and search the forums before you start asking if you can use a laptop screen (unless you are Bunnie, you can't) or automobile headlights (you could, but shouldn't.)