Sunday, May 26, 2013

KnifeCatching 1304 Morton St. Again and Again and Again....

Read This:The following review is just my opinion and only my opinion I am not a professional house appraiser or inspector and I am not a structural engineer. The opinions expressed in this review are based on my own inspection of the property, the publicly available facts from aggregator sites such as Redfin and Zillow and the online permit database for the city of Alameda. I am not responsible for incorrect or missing data that appears in these sources. In fact, its probably best that you just ignore everything you read here as the lunatic ravings of an unbalanced mind.

It's baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!!!!! again, and again, and again and again....

KnifeCatching 1304 Morton St. Revisited.

My initial review of 1304 Morton St. can be found here.
Then my re-review can be seen here.

Up for review today is 1304 Morton St. which has the official specs of being a 4-0 of 2064sq ft on a nice sized 5513 sq ft lot built in 1895 on sale for.....wait for it.......$979k!!!!!

No I'm not actually going to review this house again....according to the records nothing has changed on the place. They increased the price by almost $100k and now its pending after only being on the market for 7 days!!!

Yay Crazy Alameda Bubble!
One important point from the earlier review.
Still Has Unpermitted Work Issues:
So yes, it appears that someone narc'd on the homeowner for the unpermitted work in what was the basement... (wasn't me honest). Luckily the HO was already talking to the city about getting the work permitted so they dodged the whole code enforcement super expensive bullet but the work still has to be 'normalized'.

A quick check of the building dept records is encouraging. The owner got planning approval to officially convert the house back to a single family and got the planning okay for the work already done in the basement area.

The records show that the HO has entered into the amnesty program and paid the fees to start that. What that gets you is an inspection by a building inspector who will tell you what needs to be done to legalize the space.

As far as I can tell this has not officially happened yet. The permit is not finaled. I hope whomever the soon to be new owner is gets this taken care of as part of escrow or else they are buying a lot of liability for $979k.

If the permit issues are taken care of and the house actually sells for anywhere near this market I'd have to say this represents a 'deal'
Ya, I know, you never thought you'd hear that coming from me.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

We're Going To Be In The Movies!!!!

A location scout stopped by the house this week and said he thought our house would be perfect for some exterior shots for a movie he was scouting for Marvel Studios!

He said that they were looking for a big, scary, dilapidated Victorian with a front yard and that our house was just perfect!!!
Talk about a back handed complement right? So funny.

Any who, he drove some executives around later and they stopped at our place and said our house was their first pick!
Except filming was not going to start for another year.....and where we planning on fixing up the exterior of the house in that time???

So, there you have it, our new excuse, 'We can't fix up the outside of the house, its for a movie!'


Friday, May 17, 2013

Spider Project Part 3

Okay after a slight break from working on this project to attend to other things I've finally gotten back to it.

I realized that I had a design flaw in the cam mechanism that had to be remedied or this thing would never work like I wanted it to.

The Problem

The cams where wiping down the follower arms which was causing some of them to get stuck.
They also were getting caught on the edge of the caps I was using as followers.
This was causing it to take too much effort to turn the crank and was causing a very uneven motion.

The Solution

I put 90 degree angles on the ends of the follower arms.
This did two things: 1. Kept the cams from contacting the arms and 2. got rid of the lip that the cams
were getting stuck on.

See How Nice It Works
It is also much easier to turn the cam by hand now.

The Whole Enchilada
In this video, the back end (ahem) of the spider is facing the camera.
The movement is a bit squirrelly with the drill but looks better when done by hand.
If you really want to track the legs movement play the video on slow.
I'm personally leaning towards the idea that the jointed-muscled legs are more trouble than they are worth.
I do like the motion, how the legs reach out as they come down.

Another thing that I realize is that the 'return springs' are not optional. Even with this newer more efficient drive train I feel it still takes too much muscle to turn the crank without them and they keep the followers from falling off the cam.

The Plan
Start converting this prototype into a 'real mechanism'.
I will replace the wood structure with a light weight minimalist metal frame.
I'm going to have to farm out the fabrication of the cams. I think that using UHMW plastic for them is a great idea. I need them to be perfect and a CNC mill can whip them out in like 5 sec.
I haven't decided if I can just use the followers as is or if I need to redo them also.
It seems like the PVC wiping on UHMW plastic should last forever.
The grey PVC pre-bends riding on a threaded rod I'm not so sure about.
Using the 1/2" PVC for the legs doesn't seem like a problem for me.

Okay, anybody have any ideas?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Spider Project Part 2

Spiders, Spiders my dreams and underwear.....

Okay, lots of fumbling around in the dark about how to make a cool lightweight spider.
I've searched the interwebs to no appears that this particular project has not been attempted in this particular way....bummer...

Pictures of the cam and leg mechanism.

Close up of the cams

 The springs are there to help take the weight of the legs off of the cam. They are set so that when the legs are at their lowest they are just barely negatively buoyant.

In the above shots you can see my plywood cams, my cam followers, and my roller bearings! Or, 1/2" grey PVC pre-bends and end caps.
One of the problems in this prototype is that the plywood kinda catches on the edges of the end caps.
The final design will have to have a smooth transition.
That and because the cams are mounted on threaded rod they keep creeping forward when I'm testing.

Yep, plywood, pvc, zipties, threaded rod, nuts and washers. How professional!

Here's a little close up shot of the cams actuating the legs.
Remember, this is just a prototype version 1.0. If you can see anything that I could do to improve the action please let me know.

And finally the whole thing moving.
Doesn't look to bad right? I think that there is a pretty good amount of movement in the legs. One thing that keeps happening is that the cams all try to 'self align' which makes it really, really hard to turn the crank. I set them up with the two outside cams at 90 deg from each other and the two inside cams 45 deg of off them. In the above video the legs are rigid. I'm thinking that the spider would look a lot better is the legs maybe moved about. I decided to try to hinge the top 90 deg fitting and see if I could get some added movement.

Enter The Hasp
This is super kludgy. This hasp is not a long term solution.

Some bungee cord muscle
And when the leg is in its lowest position the bungee pulls the lower half of the leg up a bit. Not a whole lot of movement.
The right angle is how the leg would look if it was rigid. I don't  know if this much movement is worth the hassle. Leg Moving.
Wha da y'all think?

Questions Can anyone see any improvement that can be made? Is the leg movement worth it? How in the heck am I going to go from this and into the real deal? This will be powered with a windshield wiper motor. I still have to figure out how to connect it to what ever shaft the cams will be attached to. What should I make the final cams out of?