Monday, December 28, 2020

Ribbon Winder Project

Ribbon Winder
Ribbon Winder

The heart of the system are these machine screws that function as axle bolts. The ribbon spools are secured to the bolts tightly with a set of lock washers and nuts. Meanwhile, the axle bolt is free to rotate in the hole of the angle bracket.

Ribbon Winder

The 3/8" nuts are tightened using a chuck key wrench from a Dremel Moto-tool kit.

Ribbon Winder

Here are both ribbon spools attached to their respective axle bolts. The oddly-shaped brackets are from my assortment of odds & ends spare hardware bits & bobs; they function as washers to help clamp the spools to the bolts, via the lock nuts.

Ribbon Winder

The wooden plate is installed mainly to keep the ends of the axle bolts secured, and the bolts parallel to one another while winding. The plate is secured to the base with a short thumb screw that functions as a locating pin. Also seen is the Dremel chuck key wrench, whose middle hole is a perfect fit for the locating pin.

Ribbon winder

Here's a detail of the locating pin, removed from its hole.

Ribbon Winder

Here is the other side of the winder, with wooden plate installed. The wide brackets on the spools are more of those miscellaneous hardware brackets I had stored away. They do seem to function rather well to keep the ribbon spools nicely secured, regardless of how wide the central ribbon spool spindle hole is.

Ribbon Winder

One feature not obvious in these still photos is that an electric screwdriver, with drill bit chuck attached, can be chucked onto the end of the take-up spool bolt, and with backtension applied to the supply-side spool, the ribbon can be wound on with tremendous speed and efficiency. Here's a video about this project:


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Wayward Stargazer

iPhone 6S, Zhumell 25x100 binocularsiPhone image through eyepiece of Zhumell 25 x 100 binocular

“Wayward Stargazer”

Last night, the night of the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction, I spent out on the streetside with the Zhumell 25 x 100s on a Bogen tripod, which gave a very crisp view for family and passersby. I did try a few iPhone snaps through the eyepiece, but nothing to write home about, except for the moon photo above.

The Zhumells are individual eyepiece-focus, you have to adjust each eye separately, so I adjusted them for my corrected vision while wearing glasses, and that seemed pretty close for most people. Luckily there's enough eye relief that I can see a full field of view even wearing glasses.

Tonite, a day later, I used my Panasonic Lumix G5 camera with Tokina 70-200 F/2.8 lens, to try for a better view of the planets. This isn't really astronomy-grade imaging gear, the resulting image is barely comprehensible, but here it is:

Jupiter & Saturn

And here's the kit:

LUMIX G5 + Tokina 80-200 F/2.8

I've always been attracted to visual astronomy. The allure of digital imaging doesn't tempt me; if I wanted a nice image of some distant galaxy I can see a Hubble Telescope view online. Oh, I certainly understand the idea of stretching your imaging skills as much as possible, but often these days it's a race to who can spend the most bucks, and I'm not interested in that game.

The observing skills I'm most interested in involves learning the night sky, and learning to see astronomically. Which, I remind myself, can only happen when you get out there under the stars.

How about you; do you stargaze?


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Cozy Afternoon

Cozy Afternoon

The Olympia Reporter is a champ to do quick typings on, hardly any finger force is needed and it'll lay down ink on paper as quick as you can wiggle your fingers. It did, however, start to show a bit of piling-on, when doing rapid, staccato typing (which, we are advised by our typing instructors of long ago, not to do). So a bit of Tri-Lube oil on the carriage bearing rails and Bob's your uncle.

I realize it's been several weeks since I blogged, and decided that I don't always have to wait until something extraordinarily important comes along that needs to be shared. Actually, rarely has this blog been extraordinary, in all the years since it started (2006 to be exact). But a little bit here and there is better than none at all. Even if it's just a simple observation in the warmth of a sunny afternoon's light.

Stay well, and go do something creative.

Sunday, December 06, 2020

Typewriter Club Live!

Typewriter Club Live

I missed last week's meet-up, so was looking forward to today's. But then, during preliminary checks of my system, I discover the mic input on my Mac Mini suddenly is line-level only; two weeks ago it would detect a mic input and automatically switch. Since then, there's been a (so-called) "update" and now things are different. I ended up having to use an amplified video microphone instead, which worked okay but didn't have the sonic isolation of a lavelier mic.

After the meeting today I did some internet sleuthing but couldn't find an easy fix. Until I decided to try my Audio Technica input adapter, that combines a separate 3-pin headphone output and mic jack input into one 4-pin connector. Once plugged into the Mac's headphone jack, it worked fine. Go figure. Another good reason to check things out before hand.

I also continue to have technical issues with the HDMI connectors from my cameras, their connectors are very glitchy if the camera is moved. I need to cobble together a cable attachment that fixes that issue, because moving the camera around is important if you have to do show-and-tell with typewriters.

As I alluded to in the typing, it was difficult for me to concentrate on writing anything worthwhile, consciously knowing (?) others are watching. Maybe I should think of it more like a performance, in the way that professional entertainers and musicians are used to concentrating fully on their work, while others watch. Performance typing. Heh.

This week's meeting was different from previous ones in the sense that we did more ad hoc typing, on occassion there being little or no talking, just tapping away on our machines. That was refreshing. I especially like watching several of our members actually write letters, doing something productive.

I started the meeting with my MJ Rooy and Hermes 3000, later bringing out the Groma Kolibri and Smith-Corona 5-series electric. A fun time was had.

I encourage you to tune into the Typewriter Club on Sunday mornings at 8am Pacific Time Zone, on Gregory Short's Poor Typist channel.