Posts Tagged With: DIY

ScrapHappy December 2022: Power to the Pine Tree*

Come into the (bright green) Light

Come into the (bright green) Light

Back in the mists of time, well August, I converted our old fibre optic Christmas tree from a heat-generating, electricity-guzzling halogen lightbulb to a cool, electron-sipping LED, primarily to stop The Snail of Happiness shop from becoming The Snail of Toastedness, but also to save the planet (and money on our electricity bills). In the ScrapHappy post, I mentioned that I would need to find a power supply to run it since the original one, like the UK’s recent prime ministers, was unsuited to the role**.

I decided that it was easiest to find an old unused mains supply and adapt it in some way. What I needed was something that produced about 5 volts, not particularly currenty (or curranty for that matter), that is, I didn’t need many milliamps, and could then just be adapted with a new bit on the end to plug into the tree (I was betting that I wouldn’t have a supply with the correct plug on it).

I found the perfect supply – 5 volts, a few hundred milliamps. It was an old charger for a mobile ‘phone that had long since been put on a shelf waiting for me to do something creative with it***. I tested it to make sure it did what it said on the tin, well, moulded plastic casing. Hmm… it did not! It produced an LED-sizzling 8.6 volts, meaning I felt pleased I had at least tested it before attaching it to the tree.

Annoyingly, it was the only supply I could find that was vaguely what I wanted, so I made the decision to use it and attach a thing called a voltage regulator that I would build out of bits that you have lying around (well, bits I have lying around). And guess what?

Back in August 2021, I posted about taking apart some old electronics boards which happen to have a rather useful chip on them that is a simple voltage regulator – you just add a few other components et voilà! Your supply is perfect for your LED tree. And so to work…

A scrappy plug-thingy

A scrappy plug-thingy

A scrappy voltage regulator

A scrappy voltage regulator

As you can see, it required four other electronicky bits. The casing I used was from the lights I converted to candles (see here for the gory details). Could I find the correct sized plug? Well, no, but then I came across one that had arrived in an order about five years ago that, at the time, had been surplus to requirements. See? Keeping stuff for years for no apparent reason DOES prove useful… sometimes.

Circuitry just about fits in the box

Circuitry just about fits in the box

The new bit velcroed to the old bit

The new bit velcroed to the old bit

At last, The Snail of Happiness shop now has a colour-changing, cool-running tree in its window!

Spot the tree!

Spot the tree!

HAPPY SOLSTICE EVERYONE!

oOo

* Well, a fibre optic fake pine tree anyway.

** Ooh, political satire.

*** Like that’s going to happen anytime soon.

Categories: recycling, ScrapHappy, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , , | 22 Comments

ScrapHappy July 2022: Water way to go – bin and gone (to the shop)

Aw! A little baby dalek...

Aw! A little baby dalek…

So, my reader will remember that, last month, I built a water butt stand (read here for the gory details) and mentioned in passing that the old water butt was in need of a retirement plan. And here is that plan – it will be a new compost bin at The Snail of happiness shop!

Having removed the bottom (now the top, just soooo confusing) of the butt, I decided to add one of those plastic handles you find on boxes with computers or air fryers in, to make it easier to open.

A lid? We can handle it...

A lid? We can handle it…

I decided to attach hinges (made from cable ties found by the side of various roads) and fashion a “lid-holding-down” device (Patent Pending) from a piece of the old greenhouse, and using the broken tap on the water butt. This is what happens when I am left unsupervised.

For once, I am not unhinged...

For once, I am not unhinged…

Lid-holding device installed

Lid-holding device installed

Lid-holding device in the "not holding the lid" position...

Lid-holding device in the “not holding the lid” position…

Hello! I raise my hat to you in welcome...

Hello! I raise my hat to you in welcome…

Now it is ready to be transported to the shop, to begin its new life composting stuff!

oOo

Categories: recycling, ScrapHappy, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , | 18 Comments

ScrapHappy June 2022: Stand, by Me

 

Remains of the Day, er, water butt stand

Remains of the Day, er, water butt stand

As promised/threatened*, I have finally built a new water butt stand using yet more of the wood recovered from The Snail of Happiness shop. The old stand was built from a pallet and enhanced** with newer wood over a few years, but that familiar cry of “woodlice ate my butt stand!” rang out once more across Chez Snail causing consternation and a call to the police by the neighbours.

Worst. Table. Ever

Worst. Table. Ever

I built the stand in three parts in the stock room/teaching space in the shop, then disassembled it to carry it home. Despite having no real clue what I was doing, I was able to take the stand apart and remove it from the shop, put it in the car and relocate it in its new home. Time will tell if it is as strong as it needs to be – it could certainly handle yours truly sitting on it looking slightly aloof (which adds a kilo or two).

Once back at Chez Snail, I used yacht varnish (on the off chance that the stand turned into a yacht) to protect the wood from the Welsh elements (which are, broadly speaking, dragons, rain, seaweed-in-bread and close harmony singing).

Me: Ha! It's so good, it can support me! Also me: Please stay up, please stay up, please stay up...

Me: Ha! It’s so good, it can support me! Also me: Please stay up, please stay up, please stay up…

 

Self-assembly water butt stand

Self-assembly water butt stand

Varnishing Trick

Varnishing Trick

New stand in place

New stand in place

We will be buying a new recycled water butt as I think the old one is probably cracked (I know that feeling!) but never fear, it will be transported to the shop to be used as another compost bin!

Borg assimilated my water butt!

Borg assimilated my water butt!

oOo

* Delete as deemed wildly appropriate

** Shored up

 

Many other people contribute to Kate and Gun’s wonderful ScrapHappy every month – check out what they have been up to too!

 

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, 
Jill, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule, Gwen,
Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera,
Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Carol,
Preeti, Debbierose, Nóilin, Viv and Edi

 
 

Categories: recycling, ScrapHappy, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , , | 17 Comments

Mend It Monday: Achieving Speedweaving

Holey sock, Batman!

Holey sock, Batman!

I know that I don’t treat my socks well, they have a hard life and then go to pieces or, like Cobbler Bob*, end up with a hole in their sole. The Snail tried out one of the new-fangled** Speedweve devices a while ago (see here for the gory details) and it worked very well.

With another inevitable hole or two appearing in one of my socks, it was time to see if the idea that “any fool can use it” was true.

Enter one fool…

The Snail showed me the ropes, well, the yarn and the hooks.

The Snail showed me the ropes, well, the yarn and the hooks.

Now it was my turn... gulp...

Now it was my turn… gulp…

First hole woven closed

First hole woven closed

So, now it was time to go it alone… tea was definitely required…

So, now it was time to go it alone… tea was definitely required…

Here we go, no help (The Snail had fled the building), no safety net...

Here we go, no help (The Snail had fled the building), no safety net…

All done!

Both holes mended and there was no swearing! IS this a DIY first?

Both holes mended and there was no swearing! IS this a DIY first?

So, yes, a Speedweve IS so easy, a fool can use it.

Did I just darn my first sock ever? Yes, I did!

Am I ridiculously pleased with myself for having done it? Yes. Yes, I am.

oOo

* Comedian Adam Buxton did a Lego reconstruction (and the voices) of David Bowie planning his next character after Ziggy Stardust. It’s here and it’s brilliant.

** Actually old-fangled.

Categories: repair, Sewing | Tags: , , | 16 Comments

Mend it Monday: Bog Standard

Unhinged

Unhinged

This is a short Mend it Monday about a toilet so there will be no sniggering at the back…*

A day or two ago, one of the hinges on the toilet seat broke. I believe that this is the toilet seat that the house was built with (well, I think they used the usual gamut of tools to actually build the house but you know what I mean), making it 30 years old. Although I can’t complain, I will, because it meant some DIY for me.

I wasn’t about to replace the whole seat, or toilet, or indeed house, so looked for toilet seat hinges online. Someone asked the perfectly sage question: “Are they a standard size?” The answer? “Yes, probably, unless there’re not, in which case no, not at all.”

Terrific.

Finding a set of hinges that looked like they might fit, I took the plunge (not something I would normally do in relation to a toilet, but there we are) and ordered them. A day later, I was ready for a mend that really should be straightforward, right?

This new seat is rubbish, it seems to be missing something.... actually, it is an old shelf to ensure I end up with the same number of screwdrivers as I started with

This new seat is rubbish, it seems to be missing something…. actually, it is an old shelf to ensure I end up with the same number of screwdrivers as I started with

Undo eight screws. Well, seven unscrewed. The eighth no longer seemed to have a screwhead that conformed to the normal laws of screwdrivers, or indeed physics in general. Eventually, after ten minutes of potty-mouthed poetry, I ended up prising the thing out, leaving the hole the screw used to occupy a bit larger.

There's always one

There’s always one

Now remove the two bolts that hold the hinges onto the toilet itself. Ah, well, there’s only one as the other became brittle and shattered about six months ago. I could not find a sensible way of obtaining another bolt of the same size (without buying a whole set of hinges) and so improvised: I used sugru (pink, no less!) to hold the fixing on. Now, I had to gouge away at the self-same sugru to remove it. It felt like the god of toilet hinge bolts was laughing hard at me.

Finally, after all that, I could attach new hinges. Guess what?

THEY FITTED.

Ooh! Shiny new hinges!

Ooh! Shiny new hinges!

The screw going into the enlarged hole went in at an angle but seems to be holding OK.

I’ve even ended up with a replacement bolt thing in case one of the replacements shatters (in about 30 years’ time).

You could say I’m flus… but you’re not going to.

Even the Ducktor seems happy with the leftovers (well, there's always something with DIY, isn't there?)

Even the Ducktor seems happy with the leftovers (well, there’s always something with DIY, isn’t there?)

oOo

* Yeah, there will be, I just know it. It’ll be me.

Categories: repair, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , | 11 Comments

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