Sunday, February 27, 2011
2 - 4" x 6"x 48" - front legs = $4 - (Plus, I got to make some nice wheel chocks with the extra.)
1 - 48" x 45" particle board - top and shelf = $4
1 - 3' x 7' laminate - cover the top = $4
5 - 2" x 4" x 96" - back legs and supports = $10
Lumber Total ~$22
3/8" Machine bolts in 3 different lengths, lock washers, fender washers, and nuts = $22
3/8" Spade bit - $3.50
Final total ~$48
I chose the machine bolts instead of lag bolts because they can easily be adjusted, removed, and reinstalled without compromising the wood. Since I'll have to move again and weather and age will change the wood I thought this was a good idea.
First, I learned that cordless drills are a pain. It took several days to assemble because I could only drill a few of the holes before the drill died and I had to wait a day to recharge. Second, I learned that a drill press, in addition to being electric and circumventing the recharge problem, would have been a benefit because the holes would have been straight and my bench might have been square. Oh well, it'll work even if it's not perfect.
Here's a quick picture before adding the top melamine and a shelf above (notice the extended 2x4's in the back). I was too lazy to move everything out of the way, but the general idea is there. Now on to the head gasket project. See isn't this way more fun than paying someone else to do the automotive work.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
This project started Monday night when I got home from the hospital. Michelle told me the kids had pulled all the keys off of my laptop. The kids were very sorry and Michelle had taken at least 2 hours trying to put the keys back on. Of course, many of them were broken and irreparable. After getting over the initial shock and anger, I found a new keyboard online for $36 after shipping and after reading the factory manual figured out it would be an easy replacement process.
First I removed the 6 screws which secured the switch cover (red arrows).
Then I pried off the switch cover, which reminded me how much I hate plastic things that snap together. If I don't break something trying to unsnap it, I always feel like I'm going to. Thankfully, I didn't break anything important this time.
Next I removed the keyboard cover. Again prying carefully just waiting for some vital plastic part to snap off.
The green arrow marks the ribbon cable that I removed, though in hindsight I could have avoided a lot of headache by just leaving the cable attached and the keyboard cover flipped up as it is in the picture. My fingers were too fat for the skinny short cable and I ended up using my needle driver to push the cable back into the slot.
Removing the keyboard's physical connection is as simple as removing the screws marked by red arrows plus 2 screws on the back of the laptop. After those screws are removed the top of the keyboard lifts up and the bottoms tabs just slide out of their grooves.
The final step is removing the ribbon cable which attaches the keyboard to the motherboard electrically. This should have been simple as the service manual states, "Release the zero insertion force (ZIF) connector to which the keyboard cable is attached and disconnect the keyboard cable from the system board," but I had to pry whole socket apart. Again I'm glad I didn't break some vital little plastic nubbin.
The lower arrow is the socket into which the keyboard ribbon connector slides and the upper arrow is the ZIF attachment that secures the cable in the socket. As it turns out I could have just flipped up the ZIF with my fingernail to release the old keyboard ribbon (the black piece pivots over the pins and upper half of the white piece) put the new ribbon in and pushed the ZIF back down, but of course I had to pop it off completely, lose it under the table, locate it, and figure out how it is supposed to work. Naturally that doubled the time for the keyboard replacement and caused much anxiety and frustration.
As they say in the service manuals, "Installation is the reverse of removal."
Luckily this project turned out perfectly and this keyboard (You should've seen it before Michelle spent 2 hours with the keys.) got replaced by a shiny new one with fully functioning keys.
Monday, February 7, 2011
While Ty's family was still here for Thanksgiving, we went to a Christmas tree farm and cut down a tree. It was a ton of fun! We got to wander around and choose our favorite tree, then the man who owned the lot cut it down for us (kinda wished we could have done it ourselves). He threw it in his truck and took it down to shake out the pine needles and stuff. Coleman laughs about "the shakey" (and so do his uncles) even a couple months later. :)
Cole, Brookie and Tyler getting ready to bring the tree in.