Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Flaunting My Wealth II

I've written about this before -- way back in February of 2011. As I said at that time --

"Now and then, I like to tackle some little job that really needn't be done -- the less it needs doing, the better. I figure that if I have the time and resources to do something really needless, I must be relatively wealthy. If I were truly dirt poor, I'd have to spend all my available time and resources on things that must be done."

That urge is upon me again, only this time it's motivated by a ghastly sense of futility; retirement is not agreeing with me all that well. I figure that a good way to combat feelings of futility may be to succumb to them, and do something that really is futile. So, here goes.

I came across something in a book that should fill the bill. It's a gardener's tool, a 'seed row compactor'. I'm not a gardener, so it's of no use to me whatsoever. My wife is a gardener, but she doesn't do the sort of gardening that would call for a seed row compactor, so it's of no use whatsoever to her, either. That pretty much covers the needlessness/uselessness bases around here, so I may as well get on with it and make myself a seed row compactor.

The book that the project is in is titled "Build It Better Yourself", by the editors of "Organic Farming and Gardening". The publisher is Rodale Press of Emmaus, PA, USA. Here are the best scans of the article that I was able to do.

(Right click on the images and 'Open Link in New Tab'. You'll be able to magnify the text so it's readable.)
The instructions are mostly hogwash, as is much of how-to 'literature'. The dimensions for the handle don't seem quite right, and the 1/2" diameter axle strikes me as oversize. Also, having a wheel's bore bear on a threaded axle is a bad practice; it makes for a scant bearing surface that will wear the wheel's bore quickly.

The width and diameter of the wheel seem agreeable enough, though, so I'll go with them.

- - -

I'll have to thickness plane some 2" x 6" nominal stock to get that 1 1/8" wheel thickness. I could make the wheel by way of a faceplate turning on the lathe, but I think I can do it more easily with a circle cutter on the drill press. Here goes.

- - -

And here we are with the thicknessed wheel blank material mounted on the drill press table, with the circle cutter part way through its job.

Note the c-clamps. Such work must be absolutely, positively clamped securely in place.

And here's the wheel blank free of its material.

That circle was cut in two stages -- halfway through from one side, and then the rest of the way through from the other side.

Note the ridge on the blank's perimeter. My alignment wasn't quite perfect when I flipped the blank for the finishing cut. Also, my drill press' table isn't quite perfectly perpendicular to the quill's axis. The result is that flaw in the wheel blank's perimeter.

What I'll do now is bore out the wheel blank's centre hole to 3/8" diameter, then mount it on a threaded rod mandrel on the wood lathe. I can dress away that ridge on the perimeter, and chamfer the wheel's edges slightly. Here's a view of that setup.

That turned out reasonably well. Here's the finished wheel with the 3/8" x 3" bolt I'll be using for an axle.

That bolt has sufficient unthreaded length that the wheel's bore will have a smooth surface to bear on. I bored out the 3/8" hole through the wheel to 25/64", so there'd be sufficient clearance for the wheel to be free-turning.

On to laying out and cutting the handle from 3/4" stock.

- - -

And here's the completed seed row compactor.

I added a 3/8" fender washer at either side of the wheel to provide an axial bearing surface. I also cut down the length of the 3" long axle bolt by about 3/16", to make it only as long as needed.


Following is a sketch with sufficient information on it for reproduction of the compactor's handle from 3/4" stock.

Bill of Materials
  • Qty 1: 3/4" thick x 2 1/4" x 9 3/8" blank for the handle.
  • Qty 1: 1 1/8" thick blank sufficient to produce a 4 1/2" diameter wheel.
  • Qty 1: 3/8"-16 x 3" bolt.
  • Qty 2: 3/8" fender washer.
  • Qty 1: 3/8"-16 nyloc hex nut.
- - -

So there we are. I'm now the owner of a pretty nice seed row compactor that I don't need and have no use for. I'll bet Bill Gates doesn't have one.

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