Plasteel

[Plasteel is almost here.][] It’s a laser-printed material: as in a laser targets precise points within a drop of liquid and hardens those point. When the structure is complete, the remaining liquid is washed away. Right now, structures are measured in micrometers and millimeters.

[Plasteel is almost here.]: http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/02/new-laser-printed-material-is-lighter-than-water-as-strong-as-steel/

[Lego Antikythera Mechanism](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLPVCJjTNgk). Each set of gears perform once calculation and then pass on their “result” to the next set of gears. The result is that over 2000 years ago the Greeks had an astronomical clock for calculating the positions of celestial bodies at any given moment in time.

Torque and Horsepower

I understand horsepower as an abstraction — as something James Watt guesstimated two hundred years ago in order to sell steam engines to mine owners — but what it means in terms of comparing a 90 HP outboard motor to a 90 HP engine in a tractor escapes me. The two engines don’t seem the same to me: the outboard engine is smaller and, it seems to me, is not capable of the same amount of work. I need to ask someone like Gerard Olinger about this. Until then, I have done several searches in hopes of getting a decent answer to my question. This [article][] offers me the most insight.

[article]: http://www.4x4abc.com/jeep101/torque.html

The Rise of the Garage

As I noted previously in observing Chris Anderson’s recent cover article for Wired magazine, the garage as shop is on the rise:

> We wanted to keep that garage-atmosphere of creativity that we cherished as students. School is one of only places where one can freely experiment, discover and even fail with little consequence. When you’re out in the real world, you have to make a living and it becomes that much harder to work on projects that are truly meaningful to you. In an academic environment full of creative freedom, students are often able to experiment to their hearts’ content. Because of that, you see games that are being crafted from the heart and for a desire to push boundaries as opposed to what a marketing venn-diagram dictates. It offers a chance to play with other things besides Robots and Ninjas. Publishers are jumping at this opportunity for new IP. I think this is a trend that will only continue. (Paul Bellezza, cofounder of developer The Odd Gentleman, talking to Andrew Webster of _Ars Technica_. [Link](http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2010/02/the-misadventures-of-pb-winterbottom.ars)).

How to Move Furniture with a Car Jack

With these preternatural, because they seem so premature, hints of autumn hitting us, it turned my mind to the fact that there are a variety of house projects in need of, hmm, *completion*. Almost all of them involve simply painting and affixing wood molding. In the case of the bathroom, both floor and ceiling need some molding, as does the top of the tub enclosure. The kitchen needs toe kicks beneath the cabinets and new crown molding where we installed the new window.

All of this because the promise of cool weather means I won’t mind spending a weekend painting and sawing wood trim on the carport. And painting. And sawing.

As my mind lingered on wood trim and I sat, as I am now, in the study, I realized that the book cases I built for Yung could use some attention. They are functional, but not finished. They could use some layering of finished millwork to dress them up a bit. To do that and to make everything work right, I needed to slip an additional piece of one by eight between the current side of the book case and the frame of the door that leads to the living room:

It’s not readily apparent, but the house is just out of plumb enough that the seven foot fall from the top of the frame to the bottom results in a narrowing of the gap between the book case and the door frame by about a quarter of an inch or so. When I first installed the cases, I was very focused on their being plumb. Only later, after they were already loaded with books did I realize that simply matching the extant, and sufficiently, plumb line of the door frame was the better idea. I had largely overlooked the discrepancy both because I didn’t feel like unloading the shelves in order to hammer on the bottom of the cases to shift them a quarter of an inch and because really, no one ever noticed. (I hate admitting that I actually used that as a reason.)

But now I, as I considered finishing out the cases, not only did I have a practical reason for setting things if not straight then parallel but it was a detail that kept nagging at me each time I passed through the door. But I was stuck with the reluctance of not wanting to unload 54 feet of shelving (2-foot shelves x 27 shelves).

I thought about a hammer. The standard hammers in my tool bag were simply too small. I would make a lot of noise and not get much movement.

So I thought about a bigger hammer: I could borrow a sledge from Gerard or someone else. But would I have enough room to swing it in the span of the 32-inch doorway?

*Hmmm.*

I decided to try a low-tech approach. I sat on the floor, put my back against the wall, and pushed with my feet against the book cases.

*Nah ah.*

But something about the idea of pushing like that stuck in my head and as I walked away to consider my next option, it dawned on me: use one of the jacks from our cars and let the efficient, and relatively easy, transfer of power achieved by the turning of a screw do the work.

But would it work?

How I Moved the Book Cases

What you see in the photo is the jack from my truck. 2 x 8s at each end spread the pressure out so that I don’t leave a mark on any surface. A 2 x 4 completes the span and two miscellaneous pieces of 2 x materials keep the jack and the 2 x 4 aligned. And, yes, I did realize that the two by four my jump up from the pressure, which is why I stood on it while I turned the jack. The result?

Success!

Success!