Ubiquitous Dishwasher Tablets and their uses

Worth a mention but not engineering (sorry….).

We are still in France so engineering activity is minimal other than time on Fusion 360 which sadly included creating a layout plan for a small tiling job we had to do. (Must recommend this to Autodesk ….).

Some years ago we installed a Jacuzzi spa. This contains two large filter cartridges. These need regular cleaning. You can buy the branded proprietary cleaning agent either as a powder or a spray on fluid. Both work well but are expensive. The powder is used as an overnight soak. The problem with cleaning spa filters is if the cleaner is the wrong compound you cannot get rid of the soap content and the spa becomes a huge bubble bath when you turn the pumps on. There is a similar problem if you rinse your swimming costume afterwards in the shower. The soap residue in the material leads to spa froth when you next use the spa. You can of course go ‘au nature’ but that’s another story.

After some research we found a source of bio dishwasher tablets. Four of these dissolved in a large container will clean the spa filters overnight. The tablets do not appear to damage the filter material fibres and rinse well to not leave a contaminating soapy content. Needless to say they are much cheaper than the proprietary cleaning chemicals.

This got me thinking. How many other such filters are there in the house which could also benefit from a clean and reuse rather than dump and replace ? A vacuum cleaner is another which depending on the model could contain three or four filters. Cooker extracts are a possible target although many now have a stainless steel filter which can be cleaned in the dishwasher. HEPA filters in 3D printer enclosures ? (not tried this)

Finally, same theme, it’s Saturday night and you have had maybe a nice steak or fish cooked in your griddle pan. It’s late and you want to crash out and clean up in the morning. You know how horrible that pan is going to be to clean tomorrow but bed calls. Just part crumble a dishwasher tablet into the pan and add some hot water. Tomorrow morning you will be able to just wipe it clean.

These tips brought to you by Woody’s Workshop, a Yorkshire born engineer always looking for a lazy, low cost way to solve a problem. (Smiley face)

Don’t worry I’m just going stir crazy and need to get back home and into the workshop.

BTW – Did you see that Clough42 got the YT 100k subscribers award. Well deserved. Congratulations James.

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One Hundred Subscribers

I didn’t see that coming and fibre in France

When I installed Gravitec it was more out of curiosity than anything else. Did people read any of my waffle or was it just a freaky high bounce rate ?

While this number is just a drop in the ocean on YouTube sites it’s nice to know that people still read things and for some weird reason must enjoy my Yorkshire sense of humour and my engineering inquisitiveness.

If you are one of the Hundred – thank you !

Other things …. we are currently in France (hence the lack of posts). We had an offer we couldn’t refuse from our service provider SFR to swap out our ADSL copper based connection for a fibre-to-house replacement. The ADSL dribbled along at around 9Mbps which was more than enough for Fusion 360 to connect and for Netflix to keep us entertained in the evenings.

The house sits around 60m from the roadside telecom pit and is connected via an underground duct. I fully expected the duct to be blocked but the engineers successfully used the ADSL copper to pull the fibre through.

Not quite so simple in the house.

The external duct rises in the utility room and then branches via internal buried ducts to various telephone points around the house. The copper was solidly stuck in the one duct we needed so a Plan B was needed. After 3 hours of drilling holes in walls, floors and pipework trunking we finally got the fibre upstairs into the office.

The fibre is clocking a fairly symmetrical 800Mbps according to Okla which is staggering. Fusion is a bit quicker to load and general web activity seems a bit quicker but not 10 times quicker. Downloads are pretty quick though. If we had a house full of teenagers we would probably appreciate the increased bandwidth but we are long past that scenario – well that is until the grandchildren get online…….

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Some French Connections and Contemplations

Apologies that it has been quiet on the blog.   We took a couple of weeks down in France.   This coincided with some very hot temperatures (>40C) both in France and at home in the UK.   We had a number of outside jobs to catch up on down there and the only way to get these done was to get up very very early and do what we could before getting back inside to shelter from the sun.

The jobs and the temperature aside it was a good visit with some excellent community meals and celebrations.   We also met and compared notes with a UK couple who also own a second home in the village.

The French are very formal about saying hello, shaking hands etc and do get offended if you don’t indulge, something that Brits abroad don’t always understand.   I saw this on a blog site which sums it up in an amusing way.

The other reality incident was a close model engineering friend contacted me to say he had had a heart attack but was thankfully recovering in hospital.   Having just notched up my 70th birthday it was a sobering thought.

The other news during our stay in France was John Saunders posted about the loss of his dog Judd who often featured in John’s YouTube posts.   John was clearly quite emotional and I fondly remember Judd from my week long training course at NYC CNC.

Anyway back in the workshop today and trying to remember where I got to on various projects.   I’ve also got a few catch up blog related requests for Fusion files and further help with some of my post content.   It’s only when someone looks at your text with fresh eyes and comments that you realise how badly you described something … Please be patient as I respond to these messages.

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France visit and more jobs stacking up

Sheep Defences and Stainless Steel in Stainless Steel nightmare

We’ve just had 3 weeks in France and so I have been low profile in the workshop.   Lots of jobs to do out there and we had 30C temperatures most days.   This can be a bit draining, particularly after an extended lunch and glass or two of red.

Two main jobs done which are interesting to report on.

First of all we regularly get invaded by sheep who in bad weather prefer to use our terrace as a sheltering location.  Sheep in France or at least our part of France do not seem to regard a fence or hedge as a barrier.   If the grass is greener on the other side they are on their way.   The owner of the sheep does not seem to care too deeply about this migration.  Compare this to my farming upbringing in Yorkshire where we were liable for damages if our stock wandered loose onto a road and caused mayhem.

Back to the plot.   The terrace has three entrances and our neighbour had helpfully taken the step of placing wooden pallets across these.  This worked in stopping the wandering beasts but did not look too pretty.   After the previous trip I measured up the entrance apertures and on return to the UK TIG welded some angle iron based barrier gates.   These are held in place by some ‘drop in’ brackets.   The TIG welding did not bare a close inspection but it created functional barriers.   The mounting brackets were CNC milled on the Tormach 440.  Image below.

For the first time ever I used some cold applied galvanising paint by Rust Oleum to coat the finished steelwork.   This would coat easily if the metal was degreased thoroughly.   I applied two coats and left it to harden.   It smells and is very heady so application in fresh air is essential.   Now I can’t exactly correlate this but I had a serious trouser clip session after using the stuff.  Could be me.  I certainly did not have a dodgy curry I can blame it on.   Beware and mask up just in case.

The second major problem to be solved was that we have a three panel glass balustrade on the balcony where two of the panels had slipped.

As you can see above, the glass is gripped in some stainless steel rubber padded brackets which are clamped by eight M8 stainless countersunk socket head screws per panel.   Due to high temperatures two of the glass panels had slowly slipped in the brackets and come to rest on the balcony tiles.  I just managed to get some expired credit cards under them.

You know what is coming next … stainless steel screws in a stainless steel body is a recipe for a bonding to take place between the two.   After some serious attempts to free these screws I was left with three out of eight in one panel and one out of eight in the second panel refusing to budge.   Added to the nightmare was my resulting own goal of total gouging of the hex holes in the heads of the unmoving screws.

The local Brico (aka DIY emporium) had some Cobalt twist drill at a reasonable price and a screw extractor set.   I drilled down the centre of each bolt with a 5.5mm drill bit until I broke through the far end of the screw.    Next step was to very carefully play a blow torch on the head of the screw (while protecting the glass) and once very hot, squirted it with freezer spray and then followed this with penetrating oil.   I then left the screws to sulk for a couple of days.

Result.  After hammering the screw extractor in place and applying some stiff force, the offending four remaining screws came out.  It was interesting that the torque on the screw would not do anything until it reached a certain point and then click it would rotate free as if to say ‘what’s your problem’.

Having loosened the screws we than had to somehow lift the two very heavy sheets of glass.   This was done with strapping tape loops at each end of the sheet and a lever rod onto the top of the adjacent post or wall.  As I lever lifted, my wife shuffled larger and larger blocks of wood under the glass until we got the panels back to the correct height.

I then fitted new shorter M8 screws into the brackets with everything smothered in DC4 silicon grease.   We left the panels sat on the wooden blocks and with the screws just tight enough to hold the glass vertical but not clamped hard.

The brackets as fitted are a bit like chocolate fireguards when the weight of glass is considered.   I am currently looking at some additional supports that will sit under the glass (to replace our less than aesthetic wooden blocks) so the weight is supported by these and not just the original edge clamping brackets.

So not quite as restful a trip as we had planned but two problems solved.

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Internet in France finally solved using SFR

As a regular reader of my blog you may recollect my frustrations last year trying to get reconnected to the internet in our house in France.   This followed failures by Orange and Free to deliver on promises.

We called in at a SFR boutique on Wednesday afternoon and somewhat apprehensively signed up with them on a new contract.   

On Friday evening we were told our line had been activated and that our router would be ready for collection on Saturday morning.   By midday on Saturday we were back on line.  Our previous router delivered around 9MB/s download and the new router is peaking around 15MB/s across the same infrastructure.  Full connectivity is now restored to all our devices in France and back into the UK.

To say we are pleased is an understatement.

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