30 May 2009

Removing a broken stud

This doesn't look like much, but to me it's a work of art. You see life is not all fun and games. Sometimes you have to fix the mundane tools we take for granted every day.

The truck has had a broken exhaust stud since before I bought it in 1995. Until recently the resulting exhaust leak would seal up within a few seconds after starting. However last year the gasket blew out. I've dreaded this job knowing that a steel bolt in an Aluminium head has probably corroded itself together over the last 14 years. Also the job is easy to screw up, turning the head into 30 lbs of scrap Aluminium.

Removing a broken stud requires drilling a hole down the middle of the stud then inserting a bolt extractor and unscrewing the broken part. The rub is the hole in the stud has to be drilled straight into the stud and not veer off into the softer Aluminium of the head. Also the break tends to put a peak in the center of the stud, which pushes the drill off to the side. The installation in the vehicle prevents getting the drill near the hole which will allow the drill bit to wander, again off the stud and into the soft head.

The trick is to use a drill guide. This keeps the drill bit centered on the stud. I didn't have one but was able to make one from a section of 1/2" steel rod. The end was ground into a cone to fit the hole. It worked perfectly. I held the guide on the hole with my fingers and used a long shank drill to start the hole.

Once the top of the stud had nice Vee started, A counter clockwise cutter was supposed to dig into the face and twist out the stud. In this case it was cutting nicely but not digging in. A couple taps of a hammer set it into the stud and next thing you know it was out on the floor!

update: Looking back at this article reveals a glaring omission. Considering the time the steel broken stud has been the Aluminium head (>14 years), dissimilar metal corrosion is always a problem. A penetrating oil can ease the removal. I sprayed it liberally with Kroil. I don't know how much it helped, but would guess it's in the 10-40% range. BTW, the one can I have will probably last lifetime.

Dang.. If their offer of 2 cans for $12 including shipping is legit (I don't know why it wouldn't be, but I didn't read the fine print), that's a screaming deal. My one can with shipping was nearly $20. Give the other to your favorite son or a friend!

(Standard disclaimer applies, I have no commercial interest in Kroil nor Kano labs, I'm just a satisfied customer. I bought my can, they didn't pay nor solicit this mention. A penetrating oil won't do the work for you, but it will make the work easier.)

24 May 2009

NRA Annual Meeting Wrap Up

The upside to having the convention local is that you don't have to travel much nor spend the $$$ on a hotel room. The downside is that you don't have a nearby base of operations so you can't just pop back to the room to relax and refresh for an hour. Total travel time to and from the event was right about an hour each direction. This travel delay played into my missing the Friday evening blogger event and yet another chance to meet other bloggers. Spending Friday walking the show floor with friends, plus the hour commute home, I was done... Same goes for the morning events. I'm not a morning person. Add in an hour travel time and that's not a recipe for getting there early. (This is not a scheduling complaint)

I did get to meet Kevin, Kevin, Thirdpower, Mike, Cowboy Blob, Chris & Melody Byrne, GreatSatanInc, and probably a couple others bloggers that slip my mind at the moment.

Probably the most frequent question on the floor was something along the lines of "Ok, When is this ammo squeeze going to blow over?" I asked it a bunch myself and heard it asked several more times. The straightest answer came from the Hornady folks:
"April 2010. That's what we're hearing!"
And went on to elaborate about the 12 new machines they have on the line and the whole factory running 24/7. Still my observations match Mr Completely's. If everyone is cranking out at top speed, why isn't any much of it showing up in the stores?

The prohibition on concealed carry in restaurants that sell alcohol is a real embarrassment to this state. I understand the need for the parking lot bill, but personally this should be a higher priority. It has passed the legislature in recent years but Governor Jane-O (Now your head of Homeland InSecurity) vetoed it. Our new Governor is likely to sign such a bill, but she has a multibillion dollar budget headache courtesy of said Jane-O to solve first. Unfortunately she's been taking her budget solving queues from the Governator next door. Hopefully the CA election results this week will adjust her bearings.

The HSPrecision booth was empty every time I walked by. Props to Atomic Nerds for asking the tough question.

I tried to get into the Carrying Concealed seminar, but arrived to find it was Standing Room Only, and even that was running out fast.

Thanks to Bitter & Sebastian for coordinating the Blog Bash. I am simply going to have to make GBR IV.

20 May 2009

NRA Annual Meeting Gun Pr0n

Barrett Rifles M82A1 .50 cal semiautomatic

The FN-SCAR is real hit with the Halo crowd which the SCSon enjoys (probably a bit too much). The chance to touch & hold a real one made his day. It also gave him a good perspective on how big and how heavy it is, something you just can't get from playing a video game.

The Springfield Armory "Fully loaded M1A" was surprisingly heavy.

Magnum Research showed their full line of big bore handguns.

Including this BFR S&W .500 revolver.

Larry Parker Showed off some fine engraving. I personally wouldn't spend any coin on this because it doesn't make it shoot any better. But I do respect (and admire) the skill and attention to detail that it takes to create this level of detail. Apparently Mr. Parker doesn't have a website so no linkylove.

19 May 2009

Too close to home!

Exurban League notes a home invasion near his home base. Just heard the story on the radio of a Kidnapping at a nearby WalMart. I'll second what Kevin said! That's waaaaaay too close to home!
The victim was packing items into her car at the Wal-Mart on 1175 S. Arizona Ave. when the suspect attacked the woman from behind at knife point.

Fortunately she was able to escape, but this could have ended much worse. The SCQueen happened to hear this story and exclaimed "Yet another reason to do the WalMart Walk".

Yep, that's my wife! (I chose wisely!)

18 May 2009

PC problems

PC problems have kept me from posting my Final NRA Annual Meeting missive. The system powers off randomly at intervals of 1 minute to 3 hours. It may stem from an attempt to install a dual boot system with Linux on a dying hard drive. And I don't know enough about Linux to remove the attempt (my bad).

Tonight I'm running on Ubuntu 8.10 which allows me to access the hard drive. I've ordered a new 500GB hard drive to re-install windows. $60 is cheap compared to losing the data on the other hard drive. Stand by... hopefully tomorrow.

BTW, Encountering this problem, I guessed the problem was most likely a MoBo problem, perhaps a processor problem (and ordered replacement versions). But it's been running flawlessly now several hours on Ubuntu 8.10. So I'm now thinking the root cause is either a virus or something software related. Either way I'll probably have a parallel Linux system up and running by the end of the week. I would really like to get to a comfort point with Linux that I can give Redmond the middle finger salute!

17 May 2009

NRA Annual Meeting - rubbing elbows

The 'Nuge signing books:

NRA News host Cam Edwards:

Wayne LaPierre signed the SCSon's badge holder:

Leaving convention center, we were shocked by the parking rates quoted and happy to be riding the train. Another member chimed in with another price higher than the first. Looked over to see it was Rob Leatham! I grabbed the camera to get a picture. The SCQueen asked why and I explained "This is Rob Leatham. His wife taught you to shoot! (Kippi was one of the Babes with Bullets instructors.) I think the facial expression explains the rest. IIRC, the answer was something along the lines of "Kippi is wonderful. I love her"

We also met David Hardy (Arms and the Law) at the banquet reception. Dave Kopel walked by but seemed to be on a mission.

NRA Annual Meeting - Airgun range

The SandCastle crew headed to the airgun range Saturday AM. For the most part* it was well setup with the option of paper and steel targets. The combination of a targets is perfect. The reaction of the steel targets is more fun than punching holes in paper, but the paper documents the accuracy (or lack there of).

The SCSon spent a ticket on each. The SCQueen and I both tried the Crosman. Well I thought it was a Crosman, but the model we shot does not appear on their website.

An interesting trend was noted while observing the firing line. In the 15 or 20 minutes we were there, two kids walked away wearing the safety glasses provided by the organizers. (No, I didn't see the glasses walk out the door. Rather the missing glasses were noted when the next shooter arrived.) In both cases, the kids came back and returned the glasses within a few minutes. Obviously it was not an intentional act and only noted some time after leaving the range. Now the glasses are not very valuable/desirable items, but I can think of several kids here in the neighborhood that wouldn't make the effort to return the items. At best they'd drop them in the nearest garbage can and keep on going. The kids here were obviously well schooled in doing the right thing and made the effort to return the glasses to the shooting position. Good on ya!

*"for the most part" because I really wanted to try the Gamo, but the RO supervising was more interested in talking to his friend than taking my ticket.

14 May 2009

Dick Heller

Dick Heller dropped by the ILA Meet & Greet tonight. He was very modest about his contribution to the case. Then he asked the SCSon to work the next 50 years to protect our gun rights!

(For the benefit of those readers who are scratching their head saying "Dick Who?": Dick Heller took his case against Washington D.C.'s gun ban to the US Supreme Court (and won). It's the most important Second Amendment case to come to the court and affirmed that the 2A is an individual right, not a collective right.)

For more info, see here, and here.

11 May 2009

Tech bleg

I'm trying to resurrect an old eMachine (T1105) for running linux and serving up LiveATC.

I believe the processor is dead. It starts and displays the eMachines logo, but never gets to the bios boot up. Also I found the processor fan had a weak connection and may not have been working. Anyway, I'm looking for a Celeron SL5XT, though other Celerons may work as well.

There are a number available on eBay for around $10 including shipping, but I thought I'd try here first. Does anyone have such a beast? Lets make a deal!

10 May 2009

Dress Cool!

Are you coming to Phoenix this week for the NRA Convention?

Forecast as of Sunday evening:
Forecast as of Monday evening looks a little better:
Forecast as of Tuesday evening: Friday and Saturday will be beautiful. Sunday is gonna be warm... might as well come on down to central Phoenix and let someone else pay for the air conditioning. Oh, and one more thing: a Margarita on an outdoor patio with friends will really hit the spot about 9PM. Trust me on this.
(Clipped from intellicast). Click here for current forecast.

Dress code: A hat, preferable one that covers shades the ears and loose fitting, breatheable clothing.

Shade and lots of water! There won't be a cloud in the sky and the air is hot and dry. Dehydration will set in before you realize it. Next thing you know you're feeling light headed and wondering why. (Should you start feeling light headed, get inside someplace cool and start drinking water). Shade and a water bottle will be your best friends this weekend!

Update: This is significantly above the 30 year average of 93-94F (source Weather.com)

05 May 2009

Dang! I went to the wrong high school

Returning home from the range over the weekend, Cousin John wanted to stop by the CAF (Commerative Air Force) museum at Mesa Falcon Field. Sentimental Journey normally lives here but was up the hill in Prescott for an airshow that particular weekend. John was disappointed.

They were setting up for a prom so we only had about 10 minutes to get a quick look inside the hangar. Yes, a high school PROM in one of the coolest hangars in the country! My HS prom was at some stuffy hotel and had none of this nice scenery! Boy did I choose poorly!

Entering the venue they'd first have to walk past this pair of 3" deck guns out front:
Then the entry to the hangar would stroll past this P-51:
And once inside the hangar, several more warbirds were strategically located such as this A-26:
There was also an F4-Phantom and a MiG-21 in the back of the hangar.

If anyone has a few spare hours at the 2ABB (hah!), the museum is in the SW corner of Mesa's Falcon Field (Map here). From the NRA convention, head north and get on the I-10 east bound. Continue straight onto the loop 202 (I-10 will turn south). Take the Greenfield exit and turn south (right). The museum is 2 miles south. The parking lot entrance is on the left hand side, just prior to McKellips road. Total distance is about 22 miles. A car is probably required. The light rail will get you about half way there, not sure about public busses from there.

03 May 2009

Good Timing

The SCQueen's favoritest cousin John was in town for business and scheduled the homebound leg to allow a weekend with this side of the family. I needed to hit the range to make my entry to this month's ePostal contest (hosted by the Conservative UAW Guy). Cousin John was only too happy to come along.

I took a number of pictures trying to capture the action. This shot happened to capture the dirt splash on the berm just right of the target frame, and the ejected cartridge a foot or so above the gun (look in the lower left leg of the 'X'). Given the delay of digital cameras and trying to guess when John would break the shot, this was lucky timing.

It's also a reminder that I need to learn how to better use the camera (A Sony DSC-H9). This was taken using the basic shooting mode. It also has modes for sport shooting that prefocuses, shortening the shutter delay (and probably speeding up the "shutter" speed). This would have been a better choice. It also has modes for shutter speed priority. I really need to learn to use these modes.