Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pounding and moving rocks.

So the stuff in my previous update was actually from yesterday. I just didn't post it until today. Here is the stuff I did today in the backyard.

Here is the landing cleared of rocks. There were just loose rocks mostly, so I just had to move them. A lot of them will be used for making the steps between here and the upper area.

Here you can see where I moved the rocks from the landing to. Also up there above is where I'll be placing the first solar panels. It's hard to see, but the edge of my property and the top of the hill are right at the top of this picture. I'll be building a wooden frame to put the panels onto that will have them up about 3-4 feet off the ground. That will make it so they will have clear sky all around them to get the most hours of sun hitting them.

Sorry for this crappy picture. This is where I had to do a lot of pounding on the rocks to get them loose. If you look at the pictures in the previous update you can see what this used to look like. Again, most of these now loose rocks will be used to make the steps that will be going here.

I was able to climb up to the upper area, and this is a view looking down from there. You can kind of see the two semi flat areas where I have cleared and pounded rocks. This also gives a sense of how steep the slope is. There is still about 10 more feet going up behind me.

This is taken from the same spot as the previous picture. Looking at the back of my house. This is still looking down a little. If I look straight out I am about eye level with the very top part of my that skylight on my roof (two story house + about 3 feet for that skylight).

I couldn't get a decent picture from here of where the solar panels will go, but I'll get one another time when it's daytime.

Clearing the way for my planned solar project.

So this is the view from my back door looking at the steps that go up the hill that is about 2/3rds of my backyard. Click the image to zoom in and see the notes on there.

Here is a closeup of those steps. As you can see I need to clear a bunch of bushes and tree branches out of the way of the steps.
The view from the top step you can see in the previous picture. As you can see it is all broken and mostly a pile of rocks. There is a small landing under those rocks and a section of wall made out of rock and concrete.
And this is a view of where I want to make the steps go to. There are actuall a couple of steps up there that haven't completely fallen apart, but I can't get to them yet.

So I got to clearing the branches. It took a couple of hours. Some of them were filled with sharp spikey things I got poked a few times.

Okay, so here is the view up the steps after I cleared the branches and stuff.
Theres the pile of rocks I need to dig up.

And here's more rock I have to dig up. You can also see the few more steps up there that I want to get to.


I'm using this 14 guage aluminum electric fence wire. It's more sturdy than I was expecting. I got it from amazon for $50 bucks delivered.
Here is a shot of my tools and what I've gotten done after a couple hours. I wind the wire up into coils using the drill. I get abour 8 inches of tightly wound coil that I stretch out to about a foot and a half before I cut it with the snipper things. Then I use those other two pliers to bend them into rings and fit them together into a 4 in 1 european chainmail pattern. I have 1/4, 5/16, and 3/8 inch drillbits. Currently I am using the 5/16 size, and I like the size it ends up being. I'll probably make some bracers or cuffs using the 1/4 size (it'll make it heavier).

Here's a close-up of the piece so far.

I'll post an update each week with my progress.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

So I changed things again...

The previous setup I had here was kind of dark and depressing. So I changed it to be happier.

I've finally figured out what I can post here that I think I will keep me posting more regularly. Its going to be status updates on all the various projects I am working on around the house and whatever.

Here's the list of projects I have going right now (not in order):

  1. Make a chainmail vest. Jaimie inspired me to do this. I am making it the same way he is, except I am using a little bigger rings.
  2. Fix the steps going up the hillside in my backyard. The stairs go about half way up now before it gets to the part where it's all destroyed and stuff. Near the top is a nice clear area that I can setup some solar panels.
  3. Fix the drywall damage in one of my spare bedrooms, and paint it too. I have to put in a new 4ft x 5ft section of the ceiling, and repair some of the joint tape stuff.
  4. Clean out all the crap in garage that is blocking the way to my workbench. This will help with all the other projects since I will have my workbench and also room to saw and drill and stuff.
  5. Work on my robot kits that I got from Parallax. I am using several different sensors to get the Stingray robot driving around my house avoiding bumping into things and doing crude mapping (I'm going to use XBee modules to communicate data back to a computer.) I also have a bigger robot in the works using the Parallax wooden platform base and various Parallax parts. It's sort of a kit, but I'll have to do my own wiring and also figure out how to mount some of the parts myself.
  6. I have one of these: PSB and I am going to program it to be a programmable universal remote control for my tv, consoles, and stuff. Kind of like one of those fancy Logitech Harmony remotes.
  7. Go through all the stuff in this book: Make: Electronics
Later tonight I'll post an update on the chainmail vest, and tomorrow night I'll post an update on the steps in the backyard.  Hopefully I can keep this up. I think it'll help me get things done more.