It Is What It Is:

I threw a couple of coats of paint on it to make it more weatherproof.

Time to close it in. I would have preferred more plywood but it’s still so expensive so I settled for some 3/16″ Chalkboard/Whiteboard at less than a quarter of the cost., and I wont have to paint that part of it.

3 sides done and it’s time for the big reveal!

In Anthem we had 8′ tall cinder block walls enclosing the back yard so the beat up old coffee table I had my vertical smoker on was no big deal.

With half of Sun City passing by on the fifth green I figured I’d better up my game a little. Now I can keep it under the eaves and out of the weather when not in use but can easily wheel it out next to the grill when it’s time to do some smoking.

The front panel is held on with velcro for now. We’ll see if that lasts. If not I have another idea that I like better anyway. I’d just have to pick some 3/8″ dowel rod and knobs. I’m also going to work on the way the smoker is attached to the cart. I just tacked it down with some scrap wood for now.

Cruze – Third Eye

The bolt, on the passenger side, holding the third brake light broke and it is no longer water proof. I saw it pooping up on the one side months ago but did not realize it would start leaking. I found out after running the car through a car wash a couple of weeks ago and seeing water drip from the top of the rear window.

I really didn’t want to work on this in this heat but I couldn’t find anyone to do it for less than $350.

I ordered the light from GM parts ($60) but the nuts didn’t come with it so I picked up some 8mm Keep nuts from the local Ace. It took half the day to make enough room in the garage to get the car in.

I had to tap out two of the bolts but it only took about an hour to complete the job.

I have to say, I think this is a really poor design. The bolts are embedded in the underside of the plastic fixture. Two had popped out before I even started this repair and one when I tried to take the nut off from inside. I didn’t have to tap this one though. A pair of vice grips, some gentle persuasion on the first few threads and I was able to spin that nut off rather quicklyremove that mount, Only one of the four mounting bolts came out as it was supposed to.

While researching the problem I read that the nuts needed to be torqued to no more than 8 N⋅m (Newton-metre). I had to buy a new torque wrench. I didn’t have one that would go that low accurately. I found this one, free delivery in 5 days:

It turns out that the light fixture I just replaced was also a replaced a few years due to a recall. Unfortunately it also turns out that when the recall was done they didn’t use a torque wrench for the repair so most of those recall repairs failed as well.

I better not have to have to do this again.


So I had finished filling and sanding the four sides of the new frame and started to put it together.

Every one of the corners was cut incorrectly. All were off about a degree and a half.

Turns out the tab that marks the vertical angle on my chop saw was bent and I hadn’t noticed. Not sure how it happened but it’s fixed now.

The Stinger Wet/Dry Vac

I really don’t remember what prompted me to buy this little vacuum. It was pretty inexpensive. Maybe I had a store credit I needed to use before it expired? Maybe I was thinking I would use it for dust recovery on my orbital sander? It had been sitting in its box for years.

Who knows, but it was small and powerful enough, to use on my mini CNC machine so I dusted it off and got to work.

It was $30 at Home Depot and came with a few essential accessories:

The Stinger 2.5 Gal. wet/dry vac is a compact and portable vac for wet and dry applications. Expect the suction to be just what you need for your home, garage and renovation cleanups. Included vacuum attachments allow you take on a wide variety of surfaces and applications that would be harder to clean with the hose alone. Uses replacement vacuum filter bag VF2000.

  • 1.75 peak HP, 4.0 Amp motor for any home, garage or renovation mess
  • Easily converts into a blower to help clear work areas of debris
  • Included bag filter traps dust and debris
  • Dent-resistant plastic tank provides durability for care-free maneuverability
  • 10 ft. power cord provides an extensive reach
  • 4 ft. hose with car nozzle and utility nozzle help you tackle a variety of cleaning jobs
  • Peak horsepower represents a level at or below the maximum horsepower output of an electric motor tested in a laboratory using a dynamometer
  • Gallons indicated reflect drum volume, not necessarily collection capacity, actual capacity dependent upon type of debris collected, condition of filter and other factors

The biggest issue I had with this thing was that it was loud. Really loud.

I have pretty severe Tinnitus. It was caused by standing next to roaring chain saws from approximately the age of 5 to 14. Followed by decades of working in restaurant kitchens.

If you go here and play Tinnitus sounds 3 and 6 simultaneously at about 42dB you will hear what I do, non-stop, 24-7. Sometimes it’s seems louder, on rare events I’ll hardly notice it.

The worst part about it is that the quieter the environment around me is, the louder it sounds in my head. I know it sounds counter-intuitive but I cannot go to sleep without something to drown out the noise in my ears. Unfortunately and as much as I’d like to, for various reasons I cannot use music. So for the last few decades I use a TV. Fortunately most TV’s now have a sleep timer so it doesn’t have to run all night. I can set it to shut off after 90 minutes or so.

Anyway, getting back to the vacuum. I needed the machine to serve as dust collection and a blower to keep the bits cool on my CNC machine. For efficiency’s sake it had to be fairly close to the CNC machine. Which meant it would be close to me when operating the CNC. The CNC was already loud enough the combination of the two was beyond deafening.

The Stinger Vac alone is 93-95dB, pretty loud for such a small vacuum.

I really don’t need to damage my hearing any more than I already have so I decided to build some sound reduction for it.

My first attempt was less than stellar, dropping the noise level only a little over 10 dB.

The add on baffle I built for it made it much more bearable with an over-all drop of 30dB.

Router Insert Update

Oddly, since I have been able to work from home I have gotten very little done in the shop. I did manage to round over the edges of the handle for the router lift mechanism though.

Sharpening Jig/Station

I had to use my adjustable height bench for my work at home desk so I bought a Workmate 225 as a temporary substitute for a workbench.

I made my first jig for it last Saturday, sharpening jig that holds down my diamond plate at one end, and a glued on strop on the other end.

Vacuum Upgrade (part 2), The Baffling

I use a vacuum to keep my CNC bits cool and clear of sawdust in addition to vacuuming up the dust. The vacuum I use is a little shop vac that is really loud and as I explained in the previous Vacuum Upgrade post the exhaust was too powerful. I just wasn’t getting enough negative airflow for the suction at the back of the hood.

I hoped to solve both problems with a sound baffle that I could mount to the top of the vacuum housing. I decided to add a 2 inch baffle to the lid of the vacuum enclosure.

Some weather stripping and caulk sealed up some air leaks and a couple of coats of paint finish the project.

I took some measurements along the way with a decibel meter app proving this project was worth the time and effort put into it.

The shop vac outside of the enclosure was particularly loud even for a shop vac at 93-95dB.
With the enclosure but before the baffle it was 80-83dB.
With the enclosure and the new baffle it dropped to 63-65db.

I consider this 30dB drop a major success!

Note: I realized long after creating this post that I never discussed the vacuum I was using.
Well here is a separate post about it.

Vacuum Upgrade – CNC

I finally got around to stage two of the vacuum system for the CNC machine.

First I built an articulating arm for the vac exhaust. I used nothing but scrap wood. Well, except for the knobs and bolts of course.

Unfortunately the exhaust is a bit too powerful, the suction doesn’t quite keep up and some dust is being blown back out the front.

I had been thinking about building a baffle for the vacuum’s exhaust anyway with the hope that it would cut the noise level more. Perhaps it will also cut the exhaust speed enough to create a negative airflow from the front to the back.

Well, maybe next weekend.