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Ben's blog

  • House – Support Built-Up Beam Anchoring

     Once again I spent hours measuring & leveling; the laser level has proven itself to be invaluable.

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    To lift the beams up I used a technique I don’t know the name of but that I discovered watching this: link. This is no Stonehege but 3 2x8x16 with plywood sandwiched between is more than I can lift, this technique worked really well.

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    Leveling, mesuring, hammering for 9 hours. The 2 heaviest parts of the house, piers & beams are up a month ahead of schedule.

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  • House – Support Built-Up Beam Assembly

    Getting ready for fun

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    Charging station

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    Clamping left & right, not all 2x8x16s are created equals, it’s very hard to mitigate their imperfections.

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    Helpers helping

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    The inevitable was not evited.

    IMG_3663End of the day, 3 built-up beams ready. Next thing is to attach these monsters to the piers.

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  • House – Pier Install Day

    Take it away Ken

     

    In spite of the batter boards & strings, it takes a very long time to get everything level and right where it needs to be.

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    I  love the fact that Ken doesn’t give a flying crap about liability and expects you to be in the hole & helping as he makes 750lb piers fly above your head. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Great & fun guy, knows his stuff too. “Uh oh Ben, we’re running out of piers.”

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    Filling it all back up & calling it a day

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    Thanks to Matt for stopping by unexpectedly and helping for hours.

  • House – First Load, Piers & Wood for the Main Beams

    3 tons of precast 5′ piers

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    Remote controlled crane

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    Hats off to Shane for trying to get closer to the site

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  • House – Establishing the Site and Leveling for Piers

    Level, like an Egyptian. This method is both cheap and very accurate. Note the use of windshield wiper fluid for color & anti-freeze.

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    Zeno’s paradox?

     

    Unfortunately I couldn’t come up with a way of doing right angles I trusted, so I ended up getting a laser level; which is a pretty awesome toy and confirmed how accurate liquid leveling was on top of giving me a perfect 90°.

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    A perfect right angle if ever I’ve seen one.

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    End of the day, with every mason strings finely adjusted to a perfect & level square. It doesn’t look like much but it took 7 hours to get there.

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    Unlike the pricy electric laser level, the liquid one can sleep outside.

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  • Here we go

    Only a year after buying our chunk of land we are building a house. The dream we came to pursue in Vermont is finally happening, 4 years in (we had planned on 2). Vermont felt right going in, there simply could not have been a better place, better people, better circumstances to surrounds ourselves with to make it happen. These 4 years were more than necessary to make the adjustments needed for such a lifestyle change. We are extremely appreciative and in debt to everyone who helped a couple of flatlanders get acquainted with all the awesome skills we wanted to develop. To this list of skills that is so nicely summarized in the “categories” of this blog, we are adding “building”.

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    We spent all Winter learning how to build a house & designing it. It completely blows my mind that we live in a time where all this information is available online. I spent countless hours reading and watching videos on building techniques. Not only is information ubiquitous, so is stuff. Every specialized tool or object referenced in these videos is available to purchase online, with reviews, and unboxing videos…

    Preparations in no particular order

    • septic permit, the only paperwork/requirement
    • Sketchup design
      • extensive reviews by multiple trusted builders
    • research & acquire needed tools
      • skill saw
      • clamps
      • rip & plywood blades
      • generator
      • run generator and charge devices with it to avoid surprises
    • create guides for sawing
      • 2×6 with 22.5 angle
      • plywood 4′ & 8′
    • find cheap recovered windows & fix them up
    • visit local lumber yards to get material pricing & delivery fees
    • buy portable shower & potty
    • emptying our current house of superfluous things we’ve accumulated to get ready for downsizing
    • budgeting
    • scheduling
  • 5:30 alarm clock

    Make sure to turn the volume up, gobble gobble.

  • Duplogrifier

    I’ve been wondering for a while if I could represent a picture with Duplo pixels in a way that would do it justice.

    Introducing the Duplogrifier!

    Duplogrifier will take any JPEG and turn it into an arrangement of 2×2 Duplo bricks. Now truth be told, the answer to my original question is “no”. There are not enough colors available and it would take a obscene amount of bricks to build something visually acceptable. However it leads to some fairly cool results.

    2015-04-15: added 6 more “pixel” colors.

    You can play with it here:

  • Cool Duplo Project #28 – The Tallest Duplo Tower in the World

    While this is not the tallest Lego tower in the World, I couldn’t find a taller Duplo Tower. Hence, I hereby proclaim this to be the Tallest Duplo Tower in the World. We can advertise this fact on the town signs to attract tourism “Home of the Tallest Duplo Tower in the World”. Tourists looooooove Duplo Towers.

    We actually built 3 of them, the tallest was approximately 5.3 meters (17.4′) high and weighed close to 5kg (11lb).

    Preparation

    The OCD is strong in this scene

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    IMG_3387Building

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    Tower 01

    I bumped into it while setting up the pull string : Sorry random guy who happened to stumble upon tower apocalypse.

     

    Tower 02

    The tallest & heaviest, unfortunately the felling method of yanking a feet out with the pull string did not produce the usual result of the tower leaning to its doom. Instead its weight made it come crashing straight down.

     

    Tower 03

    The last and successful attempt at a good fell :)

    Thank you

    to the helpers and the town’s elementary school

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  • Cool Duplo Project #27 – Trebuchet

    We are dangerously entering the realm of projectiles.

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    I MacGyver’d a sling with rubber bands & a rubber balloon.

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    I’m helping the counterweight a bit since Duplos don’t have much mass; there is definitely room for improvement in other regards, the sling release specifically. currently it takes a few trials to get a good trajectory.

    Medieval warfare? More like Medieval fun times.