Category Archives: Shop Tools

Pelouze Scale: Inside an Antique

The Pelouze scale I use for quick weights (as used here)has stopped zeroing out. Something appears to be sticking in it’s rack and pinion assembly. So I’m pulling it’s tabs and taking a look inside!

This scale’s at least 50 years old. And with a bit of lubrication I’m hoping to have it around for another 50 years.

Interestingly, aside from the polymer rack and pinion driving the front dial the scale seems little changed from the original patented in 1898. Earlier examples are on display at the Made in Chicago museum and website.

Construction of the Pelouze scale chassis consists of stamped steel with slot and tab construction. In addition there’s a metal dial, steel pins and hinges, a spring… And that’s about it.

So there’s a look back at a little piece of history. Next up I’ve got a pile of (more) cheap filament from EBay (that I used as a test weight). These rolls promise to be within 2% of tolerance and we’ll see how they stack up!

Old Hydronic Furnace to New DIY Metal Melter

Re-use is a common theme. And metal is one of the easiest things you can possibly re-use. But to re-use it you first need a metal melter to melt down the old metal before casting, forging, hammering, milling, or whatever process you’ll use to turn it into something new.

And that’s why I need a melting furnace. Fortuitously I happen to have a furnace that’s being scrapped. So I’ve decided to attempt to turn an old hydronic furnace into a new DIY metal melter.

The product could be one-offs cast from metal, billets for machining, or even some stock for the lathe. And I realize how cost-impractical that last one is. But still think it might be fun to attempt!

Now I’m entirely unsure if this undertaking will work. And aside from building a propane powered aluminum metal melter in a 5 gallon bucket one time I’ve got little experience creating metalworking equipment.

But I’m familiar with the safety concerns of a fired system. And I don’t believe there’ll be an issue with the equipment itself aside from suitability for purpose.

I intend to do a full series on building out the furnace over the next few months. Since we’ll be going into spring by the time the parts are acquired and everything’s cleaned up the timing should work.

Box Fan Filter Variable Speed Fan Build

Building your own box fan filter is a great way to reduce the amount of dust in your workspace. And you can build it for just about the cost of the fan and a suitable filter.

I’m taking that one step further and adding in variable speed motor control inline with the box fan filter itself. For the cost of an additional triac to chop the voltage to the motor I’ll be able to trim the fan speed up or down depending on the amount of noise and airflow I’d like.

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