Thursday, February 24, 2011

Modified Pressure Pot

Its one thing to explain this.  Its another to show you.  1picture = 1000 words.

Metal wear on the lid from lid clamps
The clamps that hold down the lid are made of cheap pot metal.  But they are metal.  And when you tighten the clamps, the metal against metal marks up and damages the lid.  Eventually, you will wear through the lid.  This pressure pot is normally close to $200.  I would hate to have to buy one every couple of years.

New threaded Pin for clamps
This is what I was describing earlier.  The clamps I have on my lid are a 10 mm x 1.5mm thread pitch.  So I took some aluminum bronze and machined it to 10 mm in diameter and then I machined a 1.5 thread pitch on the length of bar I just machined.  This bar will replace the threads on the lid clamps.

The threaded bar that will replace the clamp threads
Here is the length of threaded Aluminum bronze I made that will replace the threads on the lid clamps.
Clamp threads replaced with spring pin installed

First I cut the threads off  of the butterflies. Next I drill a 8.5 mm (tap drill size equals diameter minus the pitch.  It's easier in metric because in Imperial you have to convert the fraction to decimal form and then you are working with 3-4 decimal places instead of whole numbers.).  Then I put some lock tite on the threads and thread it into the butterfly.  Then I drill a 1/8" hole in the butterfly in a position that is right in the middle of both the threaded aluminum bronze bar and the butterfly.  Next I install a 1/8 spring pin.

Finished Clamp with new threads
The aluminum bronze is soft.  Its a cheaper viable option to brass.  The reason I did this is that now, the threaded aluminum bronze will mushroom.  We want this to happen.  Because it is softer it will mushroom and wear instead of the pressure pot lid.  When the threaded aluminum bronze  becomes too mushroomed and no longer works, I will punch out the spring pin and replace the threaded aluminum bronze pins and drill a hole in the same place through the new aluminum bronze threaded pin and reinstall the spring pin.

Close up of finished clamp
Now I realize not everyone has a lathe to machine the 10 mm x 1.5 pitch or whatever thread pitch your lid clamps may be.  You might be able to get some brass  bolts or cap screws.  You can use these just as well.  You just need to cut off the head of the cap screw or bolt. It took me 1 hour to drill and tap the holes, install the new threaded pins and drill and install the spring pins.  All in all a couple of hours and our pressure pot should now live longer than we will.  :~)

And if worst comes to worst, you cant find the parts or you don't feel comfortable doing this...drop me a line at   I'll do it for you for a VERY reasonable price. 

Now the only thing on our pot that will need replacing is the seal every so often.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Washing LEGO

After using the LEGO a few times to make molds, they do get dirty.  Some of the clay sticks.  Some of the silicone gets into the inside.  Plus you have the sealer mold release that leave traces as well.  How do you clean it up?

In regards to the silicone, you basically rub and pick it out.  For the clay, sealer and mold release,  your best bet is to just wash it. 

I have heard stories from others about various methods of washing LEGO.  The one that sticks out the most is when someone put their LEGO through the dishwasher.  Even tho LEGO is injection molded, it is still plastic.  At about 170 F it starts to melt.   212 F is the boiling point of water.  And if steam is achieved, it can get reach even higher temperatures.  If you use boiling hot water, you will warp all your LEGO. 

The best way is to hand wash them in warm soapy water.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Modifying The Pressure Pot

I'm cheap.  I wear a $35 pair of runners till they fall apart.  I got a great deal on the pressure pot.  And I know things don't last.  I guess its a matter of personal position where you stand on this post.

Before you do something, you have to ask...Is it worth it?  Do I spend the time/effort to make something last or do I just go out and buy another one and throw the old one out?  I prefer to milk what I have till it turns to dust.

So I modify my pressure pot.  Not the design, I basically replace certain parts.  If you rub steel on steel, eventually it will wear.  That's why I put coppercote on the threads that lock down the lid.  To keep the threads from binding.  But when you lock down the lid, the lid top gets marked up.  So we replace the thread.  Drill out the handles.  Tap them the same size as the threads that lock down the lid.  We use Aluminum Ready rod.  Cut it to length.  Thread it into the handle.  Then you drill through the handle AND the screwed in Aluminum Ready Rod and in that hole you install a spring pin.  This allows for 2 things.  It secures the Ready Rod from coming out and it also allows for you to be able to simply knock the pin out and install a new Threaded bar when this one gives out.  We use Aluminum because then it wears and doesn't gall the lid.  This helps the lid to last longer.  Coppercote the new threads and you're ready to go.

Now like I said, I paid $ 70 on sale for my pressure pot.  Its regularly closer to about $150-$200.  And in just over a year I have had to do maintenance.  So I figure 2-3 years to the pressure pot without preventative maintenance. 

Some of you might choose to just buy a new one.  I'm cheap.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Well I think they are Warbirds.  Its Japanese Anime.  There are 5 different figures that turn into birds similar to the Micronauts Red Falcon.

The Warbirds have a great deal of chrome and are extremely detailed.  They are very nice figures...EXCEPT...

These are not toys.  They are not designed to withstand play.  Like the MP Megatron, they are top heavy and want to lean forward.  If you have new figures this is not a problem.  They are nice and tight.  I would not want to own these figures if they were played with.  Once they loosen up they become like marionettes with cut strings.  No stability. 

They are also not meant to be played with.  They are not as durable as the Micronaut Magnos.  They are sturdy, yet delicate.  They are meant to be posed and displayed.

They are roughly the same size as magno figures.  I'll take some pictures tomorrow.  I need more natural light.  With all the chrome, they reflect the flash and show up either in a different color or very dark.

All in all, I like these figures very much.  Im very glad I bought them and glad they are nice and tight.  The boxes come with display windows in them.  I may just display them like that.  You dont get to see the whole figure, but it sure looks cool.