How to Mount a TV to the Wall, Step by Step

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May 16, 2018

Do you want to get your TV off of a stand on onto the wall like the cool kids? Good news! It’s easy to do and makes a big aesthetic difference.

DIY Ocean Desk – A Standing Desk with Personality

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Apr 6, 2018

Because I spend so much time at my desk, I wanted to create a unique and beautiful desktop that I could place atop a motorized base. I started researching and discovered these gorgeous desk by a French designer in the Caribbean. He uses local stone, some serious machinery and a boat-load of epoxy. There’s a catch, however – his tables sell for anywhere from $12,000 – $60,000 each! A bit out of my budget, but I still love his work and wanted to try something that was original using wood.

How to Add an Electrical Outlet for a Wall Mounted TV

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Apr 5, 2018

After we wall-mounted our new TV, the first thing we had to deal with was all of the ugly wires hanging down. In a related article, I show how to hide your TV wires for just $10. In fact, I later came out with another article and video showing how to do this by using a kit that hides your A/V wires and your electrical wiring as well, if you’re interested in doing this with a kit.

How to Fix the Hook Timing on a Sewing Machine

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Apr 4, 2018
How to Fix the Hook Timing on a Sewing Machine

 

When my wife’s sewing machine was broken I decided to call a sewing machine repair shop but they told me it was going to be $90 just to take a look at it. I’m a cheapskate so I decided to do a little internet research to try to figure out how to fix it myself and, fortunately, as you’ll see below, this was just a fix that required some adjustments – no parts or anything like that.

3D Printing: 13 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was Getting Started

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Jan 17, 2018
13 Things I Wish I Knew About 3D Printing When I First Started

Several years ago I read a book called Makers, by Chris Anderson and he talked about how, in the future, we could all have 3D printers of our own and our homes would be like little manufacturing factories. Today, we’re seeing that happen around the world. It’s pretty incredible. A couple of years ago I got my first 3D Printer and it cost me about $650 and could print just about anything I wanted up to 150mm squared. I was pretty stoked but it was a real labor of love. Things broke, prints got messed up and I spent more time trying to get a successful print than I did actually making cool stuff.

How to Build a Treeless Tree house – Part 1 – Footings and Deck

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Nov 18, 2017
Treehouse Clubhouse in the backyard DIY

Once upon a time, we had small children who loved having picnics in the front yard, dressing up like frogs, and playing on a good ol’ swing set.

How to Fix Your Car’s A/C in 5 Minutes

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Aug 17, 2017
how-to-fix-your-cars-ac-in-5-minutes
It’s August. It’s been averaging 102 degrees Fahrenheit where I live. Not having some good air conditioning in your vehicle can be pretty rough. When my A/C stopped working on the left side of my car, I knew it was time to recharge it. Recharging your A/C is a really easy process and only takes five or ten minutes. Here’s how it’s done.

1. Turn Your A/C on High for 3-4 Minutes

Put your A/C on all the way cold, recirculating and the highest setting. Let it run for 3-4 minutes at least before proceeding to the next step. This ensures that your system will be attempting to draw the refrigerant through the pipes, which is what we want.

2. Locate Your Low Pressure Service Port

Every vehicle that has air conditioning should also have a high and a low pressure a/c service port. They’re typically aluminum tubes, one thicker and one thinner. They also have removable caps on them labeled with an ‘H’ and an ‘L’ respectively. Locate the low pressure service port and remove the cap. It should either thread off or just pop off. Be sure to put it somewhere safe.

3. Use the A/C Gauge to Determine Your Current Pressure

The refrigerant you purchased should have come with a pressure gauge. The adapter on the end is identical to that of an air compressor hose. Pull up the collet and attach the adapter to the low pressure port. You should get a reading on your gauge. If you’re pretty much out of refrigerant, or very low, you’ll likely get a reading between 0 and 15 PSI. That means it’s definitely time for a recharge. If, however, your reading is in the blue zone (typically above 30 PSI) you might not need refrigerant and may have a different issue altogether. Be aware that over filling your refrigerant can be harmful to your system and may cause the same lack of cold air as an under-pressured system.

4. Shake it up!

Once you’ve determined that you need more refrigerant, start shaking the can. Its contents need to be well agitated to mix up the settled contents. Keep shaking throughout the next steps as well.

5. Fill It to the Appropriate Level

Check the included chart to determine what PSI you need to be at, which is determined by the outside/surrounding temperature. If you’re in a room temperature garage, for example (70 deg. F), then you’ll need your low pressure to be at 35-40 PSI. If it’s 100 degrees out, you’ll need to be up at 50-55 PSI. Keep moving the can horizontally and vertically as you squeeze the trigger to pressurize the system. Be sure to stop from time to time to check the pressure level so as to not over-fill it.

refrigerant pressure temperature chart

Refrigerant Air Conditioner Pressure to Temperature Chart

That’s it! You should have functioning A/C again – woohoo! If you’ve been without it on a scorching hot day and then get it fixed, you know what a joyous occasion this can be. In this case, I was working on my Dad’s old truck and he actually has never had A/C in it since he bought it a couple of years ago so you can imagine how pleased he was to feel the ice-cold air blowing out of the vents. Summers are suddenly much more bearable!

A Few Tips

  • The symptoms for low refrigerant pressure are varied and can include:
    • Warm Air coming out of the vents when the A/C is on
    • Cool air but not as cold as it should be
    • A/C only working on one side of the vehicle or certain vents
    • Pressing the A/C button doesn’t seem to have any impact on the air temperature
  • If there’s a bit of refrigerant still left in the can, you cannot remove the nozzle and use the can again. You must use it all in one shot, or at least without disconnecting the hose, or else the remainder of the refrigerant will leak out.
  • The hose and gauge of the refrigerant can be reused. The hose and gauge seen in this video is the one I bought for my car and then used on my Dad’s car, so he just has to buy the bottle, not the bottle, hose and gauge.

Happy recharging!

Ready to watch the video to see it in action? Check it out.

https://youtu.be/C_IhGe0Kip8

$23 DIY Planter Box

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Jun 15, 2017
$23 DIY Planter Box

This year for Mother’s Day, I told NilsyNils that I wanted a couple of planter boxes for our front walk area. I think they add a lot of charm and dimension to any area, and had pinned quite a few pictures of ones I liked. Nils and I looked at a lot of different tutorials, and naturally, he decided they were all crap and designed a new one. We spent a Saturday in the garage building these cute boxes and bonding via power tools. This is an inexpensive yet outdoor-ready planter box that can hold about 3 full bags of potting soil and has about 3 square feet of surface area.

Each box consists of 9 cedar fence pickets and one 2 x 4. You’ll also need 1 1/4″ screws, 3″ screws, an optional brad nailer, and 18 gauge brads.

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD THE PLANS

Planter-Box-Plans

 

Check out the full video at https://youtu.be/WUnFAgj_7ps

DIY Outdoor Projector Screen

by , on
May 8, 2017
DIY Outdoor Projector Screen

The projector screen we’re going to be building is made of PVC and will hold steady in windy areas like where we live. It provides a great picture and is perfect for outdoor movie nights with family and friends.

 

For this project I used a good quality screen material that I purchased from Amazon. This is Carl’s Blackout Cloth, which you can pick up for about $35. Links are in the description. While you can use a bed sheet or other material, this cloth is designed for projector screens. There is a finished side and a back – you can hear the difference. Lie the screen on your carpet, scratchy side up, and folder over each side about 3-4 inches (8-10cm). To make the pockets for the PVC you can either use StitchWitchery, which is an adhesive strip for fabric, or just sew it. I tried both and the Stitch Witchery stuff, while a great option if you don’t have access to a sewing machine, is kind of a pain. It requires you to lay it down between the fabric, put a towel under it so as not to melt your carpet, put a damp cloth over it and then iron each side for about ten seconds each, all the way along the length of it. I tried this for one side and it took a while so I headed over to the sewing machine and sewed the other three sides. Both held up equally well but the sewing machine was much faster. You don’t need to be an expert tailor or seamstress – this is what I call “functional sewing” – it just needs to get the job done.

 

When you’re done with each side, cut a square in each of the four corners so that you can push the PVC pipes through. When you’re done, you should have a screen that is approximately 16:9 ratio – it should look roughly like this.

 

Next I did a bit of man sweeping in the garage to keep my screen from getting too dirty, then laid it out and started getting my measurements. Be sure to take multiple measurements in case your sides aren’t perfectly straight.

 

For my screen, the measurements were 102” wide by 58” high. I’m using 1 ½” PVC for this bhild. Take your width measurement and start by subtracting 2” to accommodate for the 1” depth of the elbows. For the top and bottom rails, I’m going to break it into two sections so that the kit is more portable. You’ll lose about a ¼” because of the coupling, so you’ll need to subtract that as well. Lastly, divide the result by 2. You’ll need four pieces (two for the top and two for the bottom). The sides are much simpler – just subtract 2” from the height and you’re all set. You should end up with four identically sized pieces (for the top and bottom rails), and 2 slightly longer identical sized pieces for the sides.

 

You’ve got several options for cutting the PVC. The first is to use a PVC Pipe Cutter. These are pretty inexpensive (links are in the description) and super easy to use. They’re also the cleanest option. If you have a hacksaw, you can use that too, but it’s a lot of work and a lot of mess, plus you’ll have to sand every cut because it leaves them pretty rough. If you have access to a mitre saw, that’s definitely the easiest and quickest way to go. That’s what I chose to use for this project.

 

Once you’ve got your six pieces cut, lay them out for a quick test fit to make sure everything lines up and then try to fit them into the screen and see how it goes. If it’s too big, that’s ok. We want to cut the pipes down until they barely fit. That’s what keeps the tension on the screen and stretches it tight to get rid of the wrinkles and creases. Keep adjusting until you get it to fit nice and tight.

 

Once that’s squared away (see what I did there?) you can make the cuts for the legs and feet. The stand is just two feet and a leg for each side. I made my feet about 18” each and then the legs were 2 feet but feel free to adjust as needed. Put these together with one tee and two end caps each, then attach them to the screen to stand it up. Tadah! The screen is almost done!

 

Now if you want to add some tie downs for windy conditions, one way to do that is to drill a hole into each side of the vertical poles about half way up. Drill through the outside of the PVC and then slightly into the other side, but not through. You can then drive a 3” screw into each side. These act as the connector for the tie downs. Drive some stakes into the ground (or you can just use some heavy objects, like your kids) and then use paracord to tie the screen to the stakes (or the kids). Be sure to have a helper if you’re setting the screen up in very windy conditions, like you see here. You can then use a lighter to melt the ends of the paracord to prevent fraying.

 

With that, you’re all done. Exxxxcept for that you’re not. I thought I was finished but then I noticed the horizontal folds. I came up with a solution for this that works pretty well. I created a stretcher bar to fit between the top and bottom poles. I had to make a small cut in the sleeves and then I put a 3” screw in the top and bottom of a pole and spaced them just far enough apart that they stretched the two apart. With the stretcher bar in place, the wrinkles were mostly gone, and the one that was left didn’t show up when the screen was in use.

 

NOW, it’s done – and back yard movie night is on. Oh – and check out that tiny projector in the corner!

 

DIY Outdoor Projector Screen

DIY Outdoor Projector Screen

An Organized Garage in 4 Steps, plus Overhead Storage Review

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May 4, 2017
Organize Your Garage in 4 Simple Steps

Everybody’s garage gets messy – especially if you do any work out there. We’re going to look at four ways to get and keep your garage organized.

Check Fleximounts overhead storage rack at: https://goo.gl/hQhuwx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 1: Get Shelves or Cabinets

Buy some used cabinets from Craigslist or other local used good sites and mount them to your walls and/or floors. You can use a label maker to keep things organized and take full advantage of the wall space in your garage. There are tons of great shelving solutions available too.

Step 2: Put It On Wheels

I like to add caster wheels to all of my larger machinery so that I can wheel it out when in use and stash it away when I’m done. This has helped me to create somewhat of a mobile workshop that I can tidy up after a project so we can still park in the garage.

Step 3: Garage Hooks FTW!

Garage hooks are seriously great. You can hang just about anything you’d store in a garage: bikes, tools, yard equipment, saws, toys, sleds, heaters, ropes, cables… you get the gist. Just be sure to drive them into a stud, not just bare drywall.

Step 4: Leverage the Overhead Space!

This is the big one. Almost everyone has storage space up on or near the ceiling. I used Fleximounts Overhead Storage racks to add tons of usable space to my garage. It’s a great way to keep things out of the way and free up valuable floor and wall space. I also built a set of simple wall mounted shelves out of 2x4s and plywood for putting up against the upper walls.

 

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