Monday, February 25, 2013

Speaker Magnet Tool Holder, A True Story...

It's difficult to remain creative during Idaho winters. Check that, creativity isn't the problem. It's productivity. In January I think we had only three days with temperatures exceeding freezing, and we had a solid week where the low was below zero. February has brought plenty of snow and one day that hit 58. But a beautiful day in February usually gets the assignment of taking down Christmas lights. Maybe I'll get around to that in March. The point is, it's been dang-ol' cold, I don't want to work outside, and my heaters aren't very effective in the shop. So I haven't made much, which is why there haven't been any new posts in some time. That, and the honeymoon, bowl games, keeping the Sabbath holy, playoff games, Christmas shopping, Christmas parties, winter beers are my favorite, I'm lazy... etc.

But have no fear, every dearth is superseded by cornucopia. And my food horn is overflowin'!
Except in this case.

 When constructing The Greatest Cat Condo Ever Built I saved the speaker that was in the sub woofer. I wasn't sure what to do with it at the time, but I knew I'd come up with something. As Einstein said "Necessity is the mother of all invention." And necessity presented itself in the form of a pile of tools that I couldn't seem to create a proper home for. I tried storing my pliers, nippers, strippers, pincers, smashers, gnashers, etc. in the lid of the 105mm artillery shell shipping tube from the Cat Condo, but they frequently fell out or in, or made it difficult to get smaller tools out of it, so the tools usually ended up piled up in my very limited bench space.
 One day I was searching Google for uses for old speaker magnets when I came across an article suggesting using them to get at screws or small tools that have fallen behind/under your work bench.

"Hmmm..." I thought. "Steel tools stick to magnets. I have a magnet. I have steel tools. If the Rams win out they could still get the final seed in the playoffs. If a train leaves Punxsutawney, PA traveling 60 mph and another leaves Albuquerque, NM traveling 45 mph how many trains are there? No sir, nuts and gum do not go together. What was I thinking about? Focus... focus... focus... Doot doot doodle doodle doot doot de-dah... Steel wool? I have a magnet? That's weird, I haven't eaten corn since Thanksgiving. Wait a minute... I have a magnet!" It took the idea a few minutes, but eventually it got through the first four or five layers, then -  Blamo! Or whatever it was Einstein said when he had a great idea.

I decided to hang it from the ceiling using the worn out front axle from my mountain bike. The magnet peeled off of the speaker easily enough with just a putty knife. And that's when things got pear shaped. I attempted to epoxy a washer with a hole big enough for the axle but smaller than the axle cup to the back of the magnet, which sounds easy enough. Then physics got involved. I thought since I just needed a little epoxy I'd mix it in something small. Like a beer cap. And what are beer caps made of? Wanna guess what happens when you place a steel beer cap full of epoxy a couple inches from a 6" magnet?  Yup. Butter side down, if you will.

I briefly panicked because my epoxy had just been spilled by what looked remarkably like witchcraft. I attempted to peel the beer cap off the magnet (which was as difficult as pulling a steel beer cap full of epoxy off of a powerful magnet) and in my moment of panic, foolishly placed it in the exact same spot, just a few inches away. Rinse aaaaaand repeat. Now, have you ever tried putting a metal washer on the center of a magnet? I don't know what kinda mumbo jumbo physics are involved, but something ain't right about it. It will not go where you want it to and it's covered in epoxy. As are both my hands, the magnet, and the work bench. The washer kept flipping over every time I tried to take my hand off of it. It slid left, right, north, south, everywhere but the center. Imagine trying to put a cat covered in corn syrup into a bucket full of water and you'll get the picture.  And since no decent clamp is made of plastic... Just try putting a steel clamp on a large magnet with only one hand while holding an epoxy covered washer in the center of said large magnet with the other hand which now has large chunks of paper towel adhered to it. Of course, the magnet was scooted around enough that it was mere inches from the frickin' beer cap full of epoxy, again.

Eventually, I wove the correct combination of curse words to summon a warlock, or align the planets, or funnel the power of a child's love, and I got that S.O.B. in place. I was fortunately wise enough to put a piece of wax paper between the washer and the clamp, and just sanded that off with a piece of emery cloth.
I drilled a hole slightly smaller than the other axle cup in the roof truss, epoxied said axle cup, and pounded it into the hole with a hammer and let it dry. Then I simply screwed the axle into the cup in the roof truss, slid the magnet onto the axle, and screwed the other cup in place. Like I said "Blamo!"