D Nikolls

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since Feb 18, 2015
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Victoria BC
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Recent posts by D Nikolls

A cement tabletop could be DIYed in any shape, much cheaper than cutting stone. It could be made as thick as you think your floor will support.. much of it could probably be filled with larger stones to save cost and environmental footprint, since it is not very structural..

Or large tiles or pavers or even metal as a tabletop on a bin full of sand.. much easier to move.. no risk of leaks.. I think key here would be having somewhat decent thermal transfer from the tabletop in direct sun, to the rest of the mass..

One could get fancy and put some hollow tubes through this to speed thermal transfer..
10 months ago
This sounds like a very useful idea! I will certainly be experimenting with it. And the sides of my brush hog are just about shot from rock impacts anyhow... A brush hog seems a slow way to cut compared to a dedicated hay mower twice as wide... but as a way to cut a field that would ruin a hay mower, it sounds great. And the brush hog also cuts heavier stuff.. and can often be found used much cheaper than even a small hay mower..

I've got a 5ft brush hog on a 50HP tractor. It is a pretty good match: there are times I could be running a 6-7ft at a comfortable speed, but there are also times I'm moving at a dead crawl with the throttle pegged, to cut thick reed canary grass.

Jim Fry wrote:Look up "bush hog mower" or "rotary mower". There are many widths, wide and narrower. With a small tractor you'd probably want a 5'. They come either with three-point hitch or pto driven pull behind, with two, height adjustable, wheels. You can often find them used. ~~Then the trick is to take off the bolted on, or if necessary cut off, the (passenger side) right side, side plate. With the side off, the hay is cut and trapped under the mower just long enough to crimp the long stems of grass, and throw it out the side. The grass/hay doesn't get cut into smaller pieces. The crimping helps the hay to dry faster.

Let the hay dry a day or two, then use pitch forks to pick it up. At times I have loaded the hay into a manure spreader, or a hay wagon, for transport to barn. When you can afford it, later on, get a hay rake. Side delivery rakes tend to be numerous where horses used to be used. They work fine for small operations. And with smaller tractors. Some side delivery rakes have a lever to switch it over to ted with. That means the tines rotate backwards so that when you rake with it, it turns the hay over so it dries faster, without raking it into windrows.

Make sure your hay is dry before putting it in a more tightly sealed space, or it can mold or even self-combust. Check around any older farms for older equipment they might have that they don't use any more. Also, you might want to volunteer at any hay making farms so you can learn some about what to do.

~~~I used a bush hog for years before I finally moved up to a hay bine. I made tens of thousands of bales. And sold many of them to happy customers. The rest I fed to my cattle.

1 year ago

James Alun wrote:

On overrun brakes vs electric brakes. Are electric brakes just on or off? The overrun brakes will apply more braking force the harder the towing vehicle is braking.

Nope, electric brakes require the tow vehicle to have a brake controller; this modulates the braking force based on the brake pedal position, simplying by varying the voltage applied to the brakes. There is an adjustment wheel or slider so that you can adjust this, very important. The correct setting for my dump trailer empty, will be grossly inadequate with ~5 tons in it... but running it at the fully loaded setting while empty, would see the trailer brakes locking up and tires skidding every time I so much as touch the brake pedal..

Oddly enough this controller has been an aftermarket thing in every truck/van I have ever owned, but not expensive or difficult as long as the vehicle already has the wiring and 7-pin trailer connector to support it.

One really nice aspect of electric brakes is that the controller will have a button to allow manual application of the trailer brakes alone. In a situation where the trailer is getting out of control and weaving side to side behind you, you may be able to recover by applying a bit of trailer braking, or by maxing out the trailer brakes in combination with more moderate braking from the tow vehicle.  I am confident this saved my life on one occasion, coming down a steep hill with a very heavy load..

With that experience still a vivid memory after some years, I would never use overtaking brakes unless the trailer and load was very moderately sized relative to the tow vehicle..
1 year ago

James Alun wrote:

I'd agree that brakes are a good idea. I'm much more used to overrun brakes, for this size, are ebrakes standard on this size trailer?

Most of the utility sized trailers I have seen lack brakes.. but effectively the same 3500lb axles are under ziĺlions of RV trailers and those pretty well all have electric brakes...
1 year ago
That's a nice little trailer, and vehicle collection!

Does it have mounting flanges for brakes on the axle? Trailer brakes are a glorious thing, when you suddenly need them!

I would guess it probly has a 3500 or 4500lb axle; I'm basing this on what look, from an angle, to be 5 lug wheels. In my experience all of the modern style 7k trailer axles I have seen have been 8 lug..

5000lb axles have been generally 6 lug.

3500lb and 4500 axles have all been 5 lug; 3500 are far more common, seems like most heavier applications go to 5k axles rather than 4500s..
1 year ago
A rainscreen is exactly what I would use.. but this does complicate the assembly. And it implies that the metal is not the whole of the wall..

Starting from the outside, in my climate, you might have, for example:

Steel siding
Rainscreen (just battens to create an air gap. Vented to the outside top and bottom.
(Air barrier to prevent windwashing ext insul?)
(Optional external insulation?)
Air barrier
Air barrier/Vapour retarder/Interior wall

In practice, for farm buildings, that is not happening.

For a shed roof, steel over underlayment over plywood is fine for me. Occasionally a drip or two inside if there is snow on the roof and things suddenly get warm.. but night and day vs steel on purlins..

Sprayfoam directly onto steel is popular inside seacans.. gross but it works.

*IF* your foam is closed cell and you seal all the gaps well, it should work ok. No air on the steel, no condensation..
1 year ago
So, more electrically advanced folks.. is it clearly advantageous to go from DC power to 3-phase AC for this application?

Big DC motors are around. Like the one proposed as the first step in this conversion to 3-phase..

One usual downside of DC is the wire size needed. But this could perhaps be kept to a pretty short run.. just over half the length of the mill worth of travel, if the power comes to the midpoint.. plus however much distance from the batteries as absolutely required...

Is the leviathan a 48v system? I have no idea whether it would make more sense to try and run the mill at 48v, or convert to 180v or some other common industrial voltage point...

PS; is there some discussion elsewhere of why the lab really wants swing blade vs bandsaw?
1 year ago

William Bronson wrote:Yes, the idea is to make a mini travel trailers, not a live in.
Most of the small boats I see are aluminum or fiberglass hulled, maybe they are not as light as I think?

The fibreglass ones are usually not very light.. aluminum can be really light but less likely to be free..

A canopy for a pickup will usually be built lighter, and be a pretty optimal width. Old ugly ones are free reasonably often.. I find one every couple years on average.

Be prepared to reseal all windows, maybe a bit of fibreglass repair, and the doors are often F'ed, but probably you would be building a better door anyhow..
2 years ago
Around here the salvage will cover payment if you don't mind the risk of some uninsured amateur doing the work, and the wood is mostly still good.

Professionals charge..

It seems to me that the big risks involve collapse. So, you might consider pulling the building over, prior to letting amateur hour begin.. if you are comfortable doing that.

I've done several small buildings as an amateur, it's fun and sometimes even worthwhile.. but I am pretty careful, and some people are not.
2 years ago