the bitter smell of melting ABS plastic
Saturday, April 27 2019
This morning it was cool and sunny when I took the dogs for a walk to the south end of the Farm Road, where they broke away and did their own thing while I hiked back home along the top of the escarpment west of the Farm Road. I stopped to take pictures of flowers and fiddleheads, but they were all out of focus.
While I was walking, it occurred to me that I might be able to avoid cutting out and replacing the vent stack behind the upstairs bathroom's medicine cabinet if I could just heat it with a heat gun and collapse it by a couple inches. So back at the house, I made myself a depth gauge from wood and began heating the pipe. It required a lot of heat for a long time before the pipe grew flaccid enough to collapse in places. I could tell from the sharp bitter smell that it definitely was ABS plastic, which is the most common print material used in 3D printers. It's designed so that it can he heated and shaped. All was going well until my efforts at collapsing the pipe at the top part of where it needed to collapse caused it to tear. Well, that was it. I was going to have to cut it out and use eccentric fittings after all. Or was I? Perhaps not all was lost; maybe I could weld in a patch to close the tear. Whatever I did, it would have to be water-tight, as the top of that pipe comes out of the roof and is open to the rain. I was also going to need better air flow if I wanted to do much more of this sort of work. The acrid fumes from the melting ABS were a bit much in the bathroom with the windows closed, which was how I had to have them given that temperatures were in the upper 40s. Later I would start a fire in the woodstove, the first woodstove fire in something like two weeks.
At some point (after the risk of an unseen fire from all the heatgun work had subsided), I took the dogs on a drive out to West Hurley. We went to the Hurley Ridge Hannaford, where I got orange juice, lemonade, vegan icecream, a new kind of IPA, and a tray of vegan sushi. Then I went to the Hurley Ridge wine store in hopes of getting a big bottle of cheap wine. Over the years, you see, I've found that when I'm drinking alone, wine always seems to produce the best results. But that wine store doesn't cater to my demographic. They don't sell wine in bottles bigger than 750 mL, and the cheapest of these seemed to be about $10. Good to know! I ended up buying a bottle of Excelsior Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 from South Africa. It was perfectly fine, but I would've been happier with whatever the $3 equivalent is sold by Trader Joe's.
Some weeks ago, I mentioned copying an SD card from a bootable Raspberry Pi Model 1 B and finding that it worked just fine in a Raspberry Pi Zero. I'd spoken too soon. Such copied operating systems are enough to boot a Pi Zero, but they only work for about two minutes before crashing and rebooting. To get a stable operating system onto a Raspberry Pi Zero, I had to make an SD card using Balena Etcher with an image downloaded from RaspberryPi.org. Today I got all that working well enough. The idea is to make a good enough image to clone for my other Raspberry Pi Zero. The intention for these is to provide camera feeds and highly-local weather data from multiple locations.
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