Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Slapped in the face by a wet kipper!

Yes folks, the wet kipper of reality just slapped me in the face. As I worked today, I discovered that the inlet thread on the barrels is the same size as the vent cap. I further discovered that it is the same thread as the average garden hose. What a fool I have been! I could have connected the shower directly to some garden hose, let it dangle to make the U bend (or S bend), put a T adaptor on the vent hole with the hose going into that. A separate piece of hose raised a bit would act as a vent and an overflow. At the bottom of the barrel, rather than having the inlet/outlet going into plastic piping, I could just have an ordinary faucet. I could have saved myself no end of effort, some welding and so on. It would also have meant the whole asembley would have been able to flex if the barrel swings a little. Not only that but it would have allowed me space to put a second barrel underneath the shower - with its own faucet.

Well, today started by my having to clear a space underneath the bus on which I could lie to work. The winters leaves had all collected on that side of the bus. A quick blow job later and the leaves were gone.

I looked underneath the bus and the ribs are just about perfect. It seems to alternate two opposing C sections and two box sections. The C sections I can easily drill into to install the attachments for the chains that hold the drums.

Visualising how to hang the drums, I found my cheap dollar store cargo straps are way too long and will probably need to be trimmed but I can see how the drums will hang. Knowing about the hose connectors lets me think more about adding that second barrel. On the other side of the bus, there's space for a white and a grey and possibly a black too. I'm not sure that I want to put a battery underneath though. It just seems that I won't be using that much power anyway. I thus have my eye on a different solution or different series of solutions.

In order to hang the barrels I need to put pairs of holes perfectly aligned. Three pairs of holes will do. Thus I made a small template to guide me for the second hole. Looking at the C section above, I should have no problem with the sections bowing under 125lbs weight. Indeed, given that I'm using three chains with each chain capable of holding 450lbs and three turnbuckles each capable of holding 130lbs plus other bits that are pretty darned strong (can't recall the specifications), I think I have plenty spare capacity. The most I can reliably say it'll stand is three times 130lbs (the strength of the turnbuckles) so 390lbs. Of course I'm unlikely ever to reach more than 125lbs given barrel capacity.

Underneath the bus, I set to and drilled three holes - one for each chain that will pass around the barrel. The second hole posed more of an issue. I had no 5/16 bolt to bolt my template to the first hole. Oh, I haven't told you about the template. I made a template that matched the two sides of my U bolts as shown in the photo.

So, without using the template my first hole was not quite in the right place. I had to do a lot of filing to make it right! And of course prudence being the better part of valor, I departed to Lowes (hiss, spit) where I picked up not only a pair of 5/16 nuts and bolts but also some Thread Locker. That's useful stuff that is painted on a bolt then the nut is tightened and the nut then does not come undone without a significant fight. Just the thing for under bus usage!

While in Lowes, my phone rang with an unfamiliar out-of-state number. I didn't answer but let it go to voicemail. Then when I listened to the voicemail, it was a woman I vaguely remembered trying to help in the past. Eventually figuring out her phone number since Google Voice had screwed up pretty badly, I returned her voicemail. A few minutes later, she rang back. During the ensuing conversation I remembered her as being particularly needy and so the daylight escaped as I made multiple attempts to excuse myself, politely. Eventually after 40 minutes I did get away but the daylight had gone.

Undaunted I grabbed my lantern and an S hook and slid under the bus. Blow me down if the lantern trick didn't work. It was phenomenal! I used my bolt and template and made two very successful holes in just the right places. It was I felt too dark to work on the other side though so I packed up and came inside. Tomorrow it is alleged to be going to rain so I might get under the bus in the morning to drill the other six holes (and rust proof them).

The first barrel could be well hung by tomorrow night. Having said that, I'm rethinking my plumbing ideas since the barrels have hosepipe fittings. I did look at some faucets today but did nothing further. I want to let my ideas and thoughts gel overnight. It could well be that while a better solution exists, it would be financially better to stick with existing plans and just modify them a little bit. Being able to use flexible tubing would be a good thing as it allows the barrels a little movement.

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