Mar 23, 2014

my first computer

Hello world!

It's spring break, which means I finally have the free time to put together my first desktop computer! I got most of the parts from reuse (all but the power supply and the case), and the case came from nmccoy. Thanks!

    Motherboard - HP Pavilion Elite e9105z
    Processor - AMD Phenom II x4 945 3.0 GHz
    PSU - Corsair CX 600
    GPU - Nvidia GeForce GTX 280
    2 x 500 GB hard disks, 8 GB RAM, optical drive

I had to move everything from the original case to a larger one just to accommodate this ginormous
 (but pretty sweet!) graphics card. It occupies the entire length of the box! It also necessitated me buying a power supply - its minimum requirement was 550 W. I can't wait to run Solidworks on it and see if it was worth it.

Currently dualbooting Windows 8.1 and Ubuntu 13.10

... More pics to come

Mar 17, 2014

finishing the glass desk!

    Finally, I have desk space! Here's a preview pic with a bunch of stuff piled on top.
Approximately two weeks after my last blog post, I had a free weekend to make mortises and tenons. The large, sketchy table saw was still out of commission, but luckily there was a smaller saw available. It even cut straight (well, almost)!

    I decided to fasten my legs using through mortise and tenon joints because I wanted to minimize using screws. First, Putz closet only had leftover, stripped screws when I planned this desk. Second, I am moving rooms at the end of the semester and I wanted something that could easily disassemble without damaging the wood. (And, of course, I wanted to try making these joints for the first time)

    I constructed a simple jig by screwing a piece of plywood into 4x4 scrap. That jig was clamped onto the protractor in the runners to compensate for a few degrees misalignment, and the table legs were clamped upright to the jig fence. In retrospect, I should have looked for a pipe clamp instead of using my quick clamps for this, since the quick clamp had some trouble holding the legs upright. But for the most part this method worked fine. 

    I made my mortises 0.5" wide in wood 1.5" wide, to satisfy the rule of thirds. I didn't have a dado blade, so I made one initial pass on each side to outline the mortise, then made several passes between them to remove the inner material. Normally the procedure is to start from the center and end with outline passes, but pine is soft and I didn't want to risk chipping off one of the sides.    

    Tenons were much simpler. I set my jig such that the fence was at the final cutting width, lowered the saw blade to 0.5", then passed table legs through until all the material was removed.

    Dry fit! I ended up making my mortises too short, so the tenons stuck out. A couple runs through the table saw solved that problem. The joints were just loose enough to fit together by hand, but friction held during my walk upstairs.

    I spent some time beveling the edges with a chisel and making the joints flush. After that, it was time for assembly.

    The 6' cross beam ended up being attached with screws. I eventually want to attach another cross piece below it to help minimize horizontal flexing, but there were none long enough in the basement.

    I attached the table to the cross pieces with countersunk screws, and drilled holes to accommodate bolts for the veneer. If I find more veneered plywood I like better, it will be a simple matter to swap out this one.

    I finished a project! Below are a closer look at one of the joints and a view of my renovated room.