Category Archives: #Steel

Project Industrial pipe shelf – Upgrade, Level UP!

Puny shelf … I will destroy you!
Remember that old industrial pipe shelf project from a while back … I combines a few 3/4″ pipe fittings and some pine wood planks into a 4 layer shelf (all for about $170 … download the CAD model here). Well, this shelf started getting a little crowded over the last few months. My wife asked how easy it would be to add another layer … Well my wonderful Jelly-Jube as long as you don’t mind me making some noise …

A pre-cut 12″ x 36″ Pine Wood … About $60 later …
When I first made this shelf, I had some incredible difficulty placing the pipes in the wood. There’s actually a great picture of me (mostly my behind) trying to insert these little pipe nipples … oh the agony … and the noises I made. That was actually Jenn’s first comment … “hey, I didn’t hear you struggle … did you use a tool this time?” … “ya honey, this tool … with 2x thumbs!”
Ya well, this time i learnt. I’m using my vise grip to just press them into the too-tight-holes … I could have made the holes oversized … I really wanted to … but something in me said, “no”. I have to make it just like the other ones. Well, that was dumb. Next time make them oversized.

Removing the top of the old shelf was quite easy. Especially with the help on my favorite hammer: the Dead On Annihilator. This thing is a beast of a hammer and I try to use in in as many projects as I can. Just feeling its destructive power in my hands makes me want to DESTROY. ok, calm down, I’m building, not destroying …

Now I have a super tall shelf. Not only does it have more room for things like books, and pictures, and portal guns … but it also towers over my 5′-X” wife … he he he (oh and if you like the little boxes advent calendar, check it out here)

Bye for now
-DropBOB Designs!

Closed loop drop-BOB: the only cold drip coffee maker you can count on!

So I’ve completed my design. I’ve converted my 3d printable files to STL files and have sent them off to the printer: fingers crossed that everything comes back nice … you never know with these types of “compact” housings… Plus this is my first functional 3d print … Everything else I’ve done in the past was not as critical.

With this initial beta release, I can control my coffee maker from anywhere. I can check the progress of how it is doing. and I can adjust the flavor profile depending on how many drops per minute (DPM) & grind type I use. And I can know that it is always exactly where I want it because it’s a closed loop system with constant feedback.


  •  real-time drip-rate monitoring
  •  drip rate selection using micro servo
  •  fully functional wifi-enabled controller (hackable arduino) files shared on Github … 
  •  LiPO 850mAh battery for anywhere brewing
  •  5VDC battery charger (micro-USB same as your phone)
  •  fully customizable monitoring display (it’s your phone) Server & app run by Blynk
  •  use any of your favorite glasses or mugs.
  •  industrial pipe design
  • (planned feature) ETA
  • (planned feature) battery monitor

Emergency Home Repairs – Leaky sink – Upgrade time!

So I woke up this morning to a leaking sink! It was the slow leak kind that just leaks back onto itself and then slides quietly down your pipes to your downstairs neighbor’s ceiling … Ya, not fun. At least we noticed it before the neighbor did. This is the neighbor that doesn’t like me because I walk too loud …

So first thing I did was run to try to shut off the water supply from the valves under the sink … little did I know these valves have never been touched since the house was installed. So I found out the hard way that these valves, although rarely used, need to work very well in case of emergency.

After some failed attempts at trying to stop the slow leak, Jenn contacted our building manager to find out where the main water shutoff to the building was. Turns out there is one that cuts off the water to 4 apartments located on the second floor in the ceiling behind a drop panel. This is a good thing for home-owners to know.

I didn’t end up cutting off water to the other neighbors. Instead, I cycled the valves a few times and just used a little more force (note later that this backfires, please read on).

So I googled how to take apart a Moen faucet, and after popping out the logo with a knife, the rest was pretty simple. It wasn’t long for me to see exactly what the problem was:

The main body of the faucet has been rusted completely. I was able to crack most of the body off just with my fingers. This used to be cast iron. The original leak must have started long ago, slowly eating away at the metal.

So pretty much all faucets are attached the same way. Turn off both under sink valves (make sure they are really turned off). Then, unhook them with some wrenches (most probably 5/8″) mine had a 5/8″ to 7/8″ adapter, so I needed both.

Once the lines are close to getting loose, use a rag to loosen the rest by hand (the rag will absorb the residual water in the line). Oh and put a rag on the ground to capture the fallout.

Now you need to disconnect the handheld loop. This may be different depending on the type of sink.

Once all the hoses are disconnected, you have to unscrew the nut and plate under the sink holding the whole thing in place (Note that when you buy a new faucet, they sometimes include a tool to make this a lot simpler … without it, you could be spending hours trying to unscrew this thing).

Now that everything is unscrewed, you can carefully pull out the whole assembly like a brain connector from the matrix.

Note that, if there is water damage (or possible damage). Its a good idea to keep the old parts, for insurance purposes. The adjuster for the claim may want to see it.

Now go shopping for a new faucet. We got this one: the Pfister  Indira F-529-7NDS stainless steel finish, from Home depot. The beauty of the design is really what sold me on it. It really is like a work of art for the kitchen. It feels almost too nice for my laminate counter … I need to upgrade to marble now.

So I thought this next part would be easy… And although I was super impressed with the design of this faucet, I was not prepared for the issues I faced after the installation (nothing to do with the faucet at all).
So, I paid great care to install this thing very carefully. I take great pride in my work, and I did so especially on such a work of art. It was very easy to install and the concept was the same as my old one … but with upgraded parts. It was nice.
Problem was evident after I turned the faucet on … The hot water had ridiculously low pressure … but the cold water was fine … I checked the washroom hot water … that was fine … so It can’t be the building main. I disconnected the hot water from under the sink. then turned on the cold water … oh shit. Water flowing out of the hot water inlet and onto the floor … so I put it in a pot … Why is it back-flowing? Is that normal? Is that the problem? so I switched the cold & the hot (backwards)… now the hot works and the cold does not … Ok, it seems the problem is between the hoses and the valve … 
So I unplug everything … take apart the hard work I spent putting the new faucet in … and google how to take apart faucet … That didn’t help.
Turns out everything I needed was in the “maintenance manual”. 
So I took apart the whole new faucet … completely.
I peer into the shutoff valves under the sink (closed, but with a flashlight) … and I see black pieces of “stuff” just loose … Wtf. What is that? is it from the old faucet … nope, is soft black plastic … ah, shit, its from the gasket … remember how the valve didn’t work well in the first place … well, the rubber gasket was falling apart … so this thing, broke apart, flowed through the new faucet and clogged the main valve body (cartridge valve as they call it).
How the hell do I get to the cartridge valve?
So it turns out its actually pretty simple. It’s under the handle. using a few tools (Allen key, vice grip, screw drive) you can open up the access to where the water gets mixed and routed to the tap. This is exactly where the clog was… Good design Pfister!
The 2 top holes are the water intake (hot & cold). There was lots of gunk in there. So I had the bright idea to ask Jenn to help me. I would plug in the water supply with these holes wide open. So I needed Jenn to hold it so that it sprayed into the sink and not all over the house.
He, he … so I turned on the hot water and full blast the water was coming out of this tiny hole at like a million miles per hour … Jenn could not control the gushing and spraying … More than she could handle! so it kinda went all over the house anyway. Oh and on her UGGs … and my back … ya, I promised her new UGGs for a while now … good thing I haven’t bought her new ones yet!
This is the gasket pieces that clogged my new faucet! Now that I’ve installed it twice and taken the whole thing apart and put it back together I’m sure I could do it in my sleep! Seriously, the next time exactly this scenario happens. I’ll be prepared. This is really the first time I adventure into plumbing … I kinda like it.
Next time, maybe new bathroom sink faucets … Jenn’s faucet feels really shitty and mine is missing a drain cover … Maybe I’ll save up some money for both of these to match.
And, PSA for anyone reading up to this point. You should check to make sure your shut-off valves actually work before you need them … like now. go check them now please. You may need a few cycles to get the calcium build up cleared away.

(1st Weekend) – Progress on Bobby’s Halloween costume. Seriously, what is this thing!!

So … can you tell now what I’m working on? … Maybe you need to get back in touch with your inner 90’s-kid-playing-playstation-2 … I used to play this game with my brothers in the dark basement at night … It’s always stuck with me since.

photocredit: Wikipedia page
photocredit: TOM PARKER (Character artist) This guy is good!

This year, I’m going for an actual horror movie character. If you haven’t seen the “Silent Hill” movies or played the games, don’t sweat it. The game was fun (as I remember it), the movies were ok. I liked it because I played the games. The character’s name is “Pyramid head” … dunno why …

So, I started with the best part. The head:

To begin with, I purchased a sheet of 1/4″ thick plywood at the “Depot”. You’ll need at least 2 sheets of 24″ x 48″ (that’s what I got). This stuff is ridiculously useful so feel free to splurge.

Now the tricky part. How the donkey do I get the right shapes? I’ve looked online and found nothing decent! a few simple attempts but nothing that will give me a decent looking shape. So I decided to take matters into my own hands. Design it myself on CAD and keep it flexible enough to mold it into the exact shape I want using the images online as a guide. Simple right?

We’ll yes, maybe for me. But I think it would be nice for me to share my work so that you don’t have to waste your time doing the same thing if you wanted to attempt this. Here’s My Solidworks 3D CAD model uploaded to GrabCAD. Feel free to download it.

Here are the simple shapes you’ll need if you don’t want to mess around with the CAD stuff:

Now, here’s something useful I’ve used on many projects. Remember how my worktable is made of full on 2×4’s. I used another piece of lumber and I drill it right into the table for extra support. I love this table.

After you draw the shapes you want on the wood, the Best tool for this Job is a tiny little saw that could! This Dremel Max is really the perfect tool for this job. I bought it from Home Depot for under $100 CAD.

Hard to see here, but I actually modified the guide a little to make the cuts even more flush! This tool advertised flush cuts! But I wanted super flush cuts! so I trimmed back the plastic guides to make that work.
And I also wanted to point out one of my new favorite tools … a digital angle ruler. accurate up to 0.1-degree. Couldn’t have done these shapes without it. Got this one from Canadian tire.
Here’s what you get after all the cuts.

Now that you have the wood cut, It’s time to attach them together. To do that, I use a flat wood joining plate Using my self made bending Jig (2 angle iron’s drilled together) placed in my vice.

And then I use my angle tool again to eye-ball the bend. I get the angles from the CAD file I built. But If you don’t want to get into the file to get the angles, here they are: 5x 71.5deg, 6x 122.1deg, 4x 134.2deg, & 3x 163.6deg (going from front to back … I’m sure you can figure out which ones).

Here’s a few up close pics of the build.

Oh, I almost forgot. I picked up 2x boxes of 100x #6 x 1/2″ long flat socket head particle board screws. I’m running low … you should probably get 300x at least.

Next step, Make it fit well, make it look good, add the mesh & foam. I’m happy with progress so far. And this thing is sturdy as a horse!

Project Side Table / Bomb Shelter — COMPLETE!

So I’m proud to announce (And I’m sure Jenn is also happy to hear this) Project side table is finally complete. Full Spec’s include: 52x Grade 5 1/2″ bolts w/ washers & nuts, 6x 4″ long structural wood screws, 20x conspicuous socket head cap screws, 1x door handle, 4x Concealed Spring Hinges, 1x 2″x4″ base, 1x entire elevator crate, 4x structural heat treated high carbon steel plates shaped and forged to suit (read I made lots of noise), 5x pieces of 4″x6″ construction site dunnage, 2x pieces 3/4″ plywood shelves, 4x heavy duty slide guides for shelving, 1 can of water based chestnut stain.

Its been 25 days … My last post was April 1st … I didn’t want my next post to be anything other that the project completion! 
After taking the entire project apart for the first time, I realized how many parts there really were. The sanding and cleaning of the wood was the loudest part during this phase. It included one small argument and an angry neighbor, but overall we made it through.

Paint texture looked good for a water base. I managed to string a line across my room to hand the freshly painted pieces. I used piano wire strung between 2x 2″x4″ wood pieces. We use this piano wire a lot in the elevator industry to make sure rails are installed accurately.
Here’s a little pride and joy that I took during this project. You may recall almost a year ago, I built this great work table. Well, It came in super handy. Because it’s entirely built out of 2″x4″ wood, I used it to hold my side table top (4″x6″ wood) into perfect shape while I glue it together. Using those 4-inch long structural wood screws just makes this process a cinch. Screw to the table, use a few pieces of left over wood, tighten and let dry. I Love this work desk!

Once all the wood had been stained, I managed to assembly it into its major components.
Here’s one mistake I made. Actually one of a few. But that’s the fun of doing these projects. Glue the shelf in final resting place … not in it’s pulled out state. Because the front & back will not be glued parallel this way. And your pull out shelves won’t close.
And this PL 8x glue is just a monster of a glue. I had to destroy some of the wood to re-glue it later.

Overall, a great learning experience. This table will withstand nuclear warfare! And It works great to hold your various games and other living room paraphernalia.

Thank’s Jenn for tolerating the noise and providing your input on some of the design. Project Success!

Side Table Project – 75% complete

Finally starting to look like something. I’ve got it on a carpet dolly, so its a little higher than normal, but you can finally tell (& use) it is a side table now.

I attached the 3rd wall. This time, I actually put some force into the bending. so it turned out a little different. No more cracking of the steel, But I had to fillet the wood so that the bend radius in the steel could be accommodated.

I then drilled out all the holes needed for the heavy duty 1/2″ bolts.

Then I used 6″ long “torks” wood screws to attach the base on. This worked very well.

Then came the fun part. Cutting my 4″x6″ wood to fit the top perfectly well. I love how strong and heavy duty this thing will be. It is designed to last at least 1000 years.

Historians will uncover this in thousands of years and finally have proof that intelligent life did in fact exist in the 21st century.

Flop Back to: Side Table Project – progress update

So I’ve been flip flopping between my side table project and my cold drip coffee make project. Today, I gave a big push to work on my side tables. It’s family day, so what better way to spend it locked up in my tool room making loud noises and grinding steel!

drilled using cobalt coated steel bits – using 4 gradual steps up to a 1/2″ hole

So I finally assembled the second side of the table. Made the holes as I did for the first one, and inserted my 1/2″ cap-screws with washers and nuts. All torqued to 90-ft-lbs … you know for our seismic zone requirements.

using the table itself as a 90-degree assembly jig

Notice that the 90-degree 1/4″ thick bent steel was made by cutting the plate directly in the center while leaving 2″ on each end. Now since even that was too hard to bend with my prybar, I used one hand to grind the steel remaining away slowly, while the other hand pushed hard on the prybar to gradually bend the steel.

The steel cracked a little, but kept enough strength to function as an angle. later I will tack weld this piece to prevent separation.

You can see up close the connection made with the bent steel … will definitely need to weld that.

It’s slowly starting to take shape as a side table.

Getting there … slowly but surely. One hole at a time.

Couch Side Tables – Project Resurected

So the infamous side table project has finally resurfaced. I’ve placed a hold on all other projects until I complete at least one side table.

On a side note, my project room is finally clean! I’ve purchased myself a MASSIVE tool chest. You can read up about it on Jenn’s Blog post. She helped me put it together, and although her lifting skills left some to be desired, her thinking skills did not left us down. I decided let her figure out how we should lift the massive thing into place. She came up with using the couch as a support, and it did the trick!

Its built like a tank, and it basically have a lifetime guarantee with costco. So I’m happy.

I also got myself some large storage bins for all my electronics and other miscellaneous consumables like fabrics and wood pieces.

Now, I can work on these damn side tables without having to look for tools or trip over things.

First step, cut the unnecessarily thick piece of metal that will hold the walls together. Use a grinder, mind the noise. Sparks are mostly harmless. I love those sparks.

Next, mark the location of unnecessarily large holes that will hold the unnecessarily large bolts.

Oh, and when you run out of cutting fluid, you can always just use olive oil. It helps keep the drill bits from overheating … plus it smells like you’re cooking.

Now you’ve got yourself one side of a side table … Tomorrow, maybe (super-bowl day) I might cut the remaining steel.

Stay-cation Day 2

So now that we’re back from our family Christmas in San Francisco, I’ve decided to use my last week of vacation staying at home, relaxing and taking care of myself.

Its been pretty busy though, as the first thing I did was give myself a list of goals/tasks to complete before the week ends:

– Run 10k everyday (or so)
– Make Jenn’s Christmas/New-Years card
– Renew passport
– Think (and make up your mind) about signing up for school
– Confirm wedding venue with down-payment
– Clean house/kiwi/shower
– Design a cold drip coffee maker
– Work on couch side tables

I know this might seem daunting at first, but I think I can do it all. So far I’ve run 5k Monday, 10k Tuesday, made Jenn’s card, Cleaned House & kiwi.

And since Jenn loves receiving cards, I always make it a point to make her a special card for Christmas. Something that you can’t just go buy in stores (I think at some point I may run out of ideas though). If you recall, last Christmas I made Jenn a pop-up card in the shape of a most-awesome-christmas-card-ever.

This year though, I think I outdid myself:

I played around with this RAW camera capture from my OnePlus One … Not bad I think.

I bound 2 pieces of 0.25″ thick heat treated steel with a 3/4″ thick plywood piece. The plywood was then cut. on the inside to form a small maze. The catch here is that there is a small piece of wood, with a message, in this maze. But you have to complete the maze without being able to see it.

I kept it pretty simple, as I don’t want to over complicate it and make it impossible.

Hope you like it Jenn!

Merry Christmas & New Year 2014/15