Block heater cord

In order to start after -30C nights most cars around here have block heaters. Usually the plugs hang out from a radiator slot or just from under the hood. So in that-30C you have to hold the male end and hold the female end while wrangling a -30C stiff cable, while wearing mittens if you have any sense. I wanted the cord to be a bit tidier on the car, and make it so that plugging in is a one-handed thing that can be done more easily with mitts on. So, I took an existing plug and build a Casing for electrical cord plug to mount on a flat surfacenew body for it. I have done 3d modelling before, but this was my first exposure to Autodesk’s Fusion 360. It is the nicest 3d modelling software I have used so far – very easy transition from other tools I have used and it just works. I feel like a total sell-out to use it instead of an open source product like FreeCAD, but it’s like I tried crack, there is no going back.
A friend 3d printed the model for me, we installed it on Friday. The temperature was only -11C and sunny, but with a bit of wind. It was not optimal for playing with small parts and bare hands, but we got it done. For now the setup works, but it will be interesting to see how well the body and the silicon glue pad I used to hold it on will hold up. Generally gluing things in -11C is not a good idea, but this pad did better than I expected.  New blog heater plug on my car

Tape Gun Masking Tape Dispenser

wall mounted tape gun with masking tape

I use masking tape a lot to label stuff, tack stuff in place mark a spot when measuring. And of course for masking.

Finding the start of the roll is a nuisance.
So, I put some in a tape gun and mounted it upside down so it’s a dispenser when stored.
I was not sure at first how well this would work since the tape is mounted sticky side up. I have had this up for more than 6 months now, and sometimes the tape isn’t used in weeks. I am pleasantry surprised how well it still works after that.

Rowing Umpire Kit

umpire kitI have been working with Sandi Kirby on a table-top training kit for rowing umpires. We came up with a mat that represents a race course, and a set of boats, course markers and other kit that can be moved around the course to facilitate the discussion of various training scenarios.

We are releasing the design into the public domain so others can make their own. Your local sign shop should be able to print the mat, and a laser cutting service like Ponoko could cut the parts for you.

If you are going to make one of these, drop us a note in the comments, it would be neat to hear if someone finds this useful.

Files are:
– the mat:  course
– the accessories: acrylic