What A Busy March

What A Busy March
Photo by Patrick Bald / Unsplash

It has been a month of very busy activity, and it has mostly been my fault! Not helping is that the current airplane work is tedious so I don't feel motivated to go work on it very often (not that I have much free time at the moment anyway). Enough rambling; let us talk airplanes and then I can chat about everything else I've been doing.

The plans have me fabricating parts just by separating things and then cleaning them up. Don't be fooled, this takes a lot more work to cut and clean than these pages let on.

First, as always, I mark out the cuts I am going to make. Since these are just to stiffen the rudder it isn't super important that they are perfect.

Beautiful, marvelous, a work of art. What a cut. It sure is one of the cuts of all time.

The real magic comes in the finishing work. Spending the time to deburr the metal, sand, buff, etc. In the end you get some really nice edges though. They are far less likely to scratch other parts (and 100% less likely to cut you). I just put on some music and kind of zone out for a while. It is kind of meditative, in a way.

Then before you know it, you have a ton of metal pieces that are all smooth. It took me quite a few sessions but watching twitch streams while working helped. I just accept that the work won't be fast and I want to make sure I do it right. It is my airplane, afterall! I want to be proud of the quality!

Next step is match drilling the ribs. That was simple enough and I cleaned up the metal edges too. That is all I've gotten done on the plane since last time. It was still like 12 hours of work though (or more, I don't track it). Progress is still progress though! Just don't stop or you may not start again.

That isn't all I've been up to though. Let's take a little journey through what has been taking up my time lately...

Network Upgrade

I'm a nerd

My home network was just a combo wireless router stuffed in my office. This made for some poor connection areas in my house in the garage and workshop. So while I was considering getting a mesh network I also wanted to reduce overall congestion on my wifi from all the devices. Then I thought to myself, I sure would like to firewall parts of the network off (IoT devices, mostly) because I don't really trust them that much. Well... one thing led to another and then...

I bought $900 in networking supplies to setup my own cabinet and run ethernet cables. I guess I had to spend my tax return on something and this is useful.

Mounting the rack to the wall was easy since I had some exposed studs. Then I slapped the switch, patch panel, and power supply on it. Easy part done, then I went to run wire to my office.

I found where I wanted to run the cable in (mostly limited by air returns and vents in the wall where I wanted to put it originally). The box on the left is too hard to access because the previous people were actually insane or something. Regardless, I grabbed my drywall saw and cut the hole. Then I went into my basement to drill up into the wall and run wire.

I did it. I made a hole. My mother would be proud.

You love to see it, wires! It was easier than I had anticipated to get them where I wanted them. I bought a spool of 1000' of CAT6 cable and just pulled the wire to where I wanted it.

If you were curious how I then make it look nice, I got an old work box that just secures to the drywall. Easy!

The keystone jacks were easy enough to wire up with my punchdown tool. Then I slapped them on a plate and that is the office all done! Now the trick is to make it work.

So I started punching the cables to the patch panel. Not hard work, just tedious (seems to be a trend lately). I just continued on until I had the runs patched in.

I got some short CAT6a cables to go from the panel to the switch itself. Nice and simple. It was finally time to test that things, you know, worked at all.

Not the prettiest way to check, but functional. The results were good, mostly. My network speed wasn't great. I had a network tester though, and I checked my cables with that. It turns out one of my wires wasn't punched down all the way. Fixing that made everything smooth and nice.

At this point, I wanted to get my pihole server setup as well as some old computers I wanted to use as servers too. Also generally just wanted to clean up the panel and setup my mesh network. Easy thing first, let's do the mesh network.

These tp-link deco things are very nice. I can recommend them. I just patched them into the switch and set them up throughout my house. The third one is wifi only but it still works well for making my signal nice. Eventually I'll get cable to my second floor but that is for another day.

I grabbed an old computer I had and installed ubuntu server on it. Then I put that in the basement and patched that into the network. I put docker on it and installed Portainer to manage my docker stuff. Long story short, I now have a little home lab to experiment with.

and there it sits, just doing its thing. Lucky for my I'm a software engineer so this was one of the easier parts of the whole thing.

This is the current state of my panel. I got a shelf to put the router and modem on. Eventually I will probably get blank plates and tidy up the cables but for now it is in my basement and I don't care that much. As I get motivation I'll get more and more of my house networked.


It is always doing something to get in the way

My second car finally gave up right as the weather was getting nice enough to use it. It is a shame as it was a fun manual convertible but I just don't have the time or energy to keep fixing it. I'll let this picture of my son convey my feelings about it.

Kids are funny.

Anyway, we also had this fun happen.

Dang, that is a lot of snow. My snowblower also doesn't work at the moment. But I decided no better time than to fix it (and get cold gasoline on my gloves). I fixed it enough to make it work, and that's all I needed out of it.

When the weather gets warm enough I'll give it a proper fixing... maybe. Or maybe I'll just get an electric one.

Then the weather got nice for Easter!

My son absolutely loves going outside (didn't get that from me). I have the week off work and we've been enjoying our weather in the 70s after being stuck inside all winter hating it.

Then yesterday I got home and went into my workshop to do some airplane stuff and wouldn't you know it:

My water heater decided that water should be free range and not kept in the tank. Lucky me that I've learned over the years to keep most everything off the floor unless you are willing for it to get wet. So the damage itself it pretty minimal.

but it still took a few hours of moving wet things and mopping. It also looks like I'm going to be out $3000 to get a new water heater so that is fun too. Anyway, I hope things are going well for everyone out there!

May your water heater always hold water.