2007-2012 Honda Accord Brake Job

Cost of a front and rear brake job at the dealership: $550

Cost of the same job done at home: $200

(And it doesn’t take $350 in tools either!)

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Posted in Uncategorized

Rustic Dining Room Table, Version 2

When my wife and I moved into our new house, there was a spot that was perfect for a large dining room table.  I assured my wife that I could make it “really quickly” and for cheap.  10 months later, I was able to keep one of those promises!

It is as heavy and imposing as it looks

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Posted in Home Projects

Rustic Dining Room Table, Version 1

A friend texted one night if I had a saw that could cut 45 angles and if I could help him make a new table for his wife in their new home.  I offered to help and we went to the local big box home improvement store and bought some Douglas Fir lumber.  They were looking for a table that fit their decor, wasn’t too expensive, and looked good to them.  I think we pretty much nailed it!

After completing this and during the writeup, I realized that this was probably based on the design by Shanty 2 Chic and that their’s was based on a design by Ana White.

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The assembled table

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Posted in Home Projects

Making a Reloading Bench for a Hornady Lock-n-Load Press

I first started reloading using an old, rickety workbench.  Although it worked, to keep the press from bouncing around and spilling powder, I had to keep a firm grip on the front of it.  The best solution was to build a new bench!

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Plans for the bench in SketchUp (stool not included)

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Posted in Home Projects, Shooting

5 Gallon Bucket Thien Baffle Dust Collector

My original dust collector was just an old shop vacuum.  The filter clogged regularly so I made a cyclone separator out of sheet metal and some old buckets.  This worked well enough except I didn’t engineer the lid for the cyclone well enough and it tended to pop off, that and its nearly 4′ overall height made it lee than ideal.

I decided to switch over to a Thien Baffle-style separator for a smaller footprint and lower vertical height.

The completed baffle

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Posted in Home Projects

Hornady Lock n Load AP Primer Out Alarm

After a reloading session and running out of primers several times, I decided to build an alarm for when the primer tube runs out.  Each time it happened, I missed the fact it was empty for a case or two and had to go back and fix those rounds.  This ended up being pretty cheap and will save me from having to go back and remake several rounds.

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I thought about making an alarm that sits on the primer tube, but I didn’t want something else on top of it rattling around.  With this system, I might add a powder check alarm that uses the same battery and buzzer.

After trying several ways to fit it all in the small project box, I hot glued the buzzer and battery holder to the underside of the lid, drilled a 13/16″ hole on the top for the on/off switch, and drilled a smaller hole to run the wires outside the box for the SPDT lever switch.

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Posted in Random Technology, Shooting

Monitoring pfSense WAN Uptime with Uptime Robot

I have had a few problems with my pfSense firewalls losing their internet connection and not finding out about it until I get a panicked call or text from someone.  Nine times out of ten this is caused by the ISP going down or their modem crashing.  I have successfully turned on email notifications from within pfSense and this is helpful to let me know that a connection has gone down and to send me daily reports.  The problem with this is that only a few locations have more than one WAN, and I won’t get an alert if the only internet connection goes down.

Easy Solutions

I happened upon a post on Nothing to IT detailing how to use Uptime Robot.  Uptime Robot is a free service that will ping your firewall every five minutes and send an email or app alert to inform you when it goes down.  The paid service can check every minute for only $5.50 a month or $54.00 a year.  If for some reason, you want a longer interval, the service can check at longer intervals, up to 24 hours between pings.

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Posted in pfSense, Random Technology

Turning on Email Notifications in pfSense

Over the last few days I was trying to VPN into the pfSense firewall that I had setup a dual WAN on.  For some reason I wasn’t able to, but the school never sent a complaint that something was wrong with the internet.  It turns out the modem had crashed and needed a reboot (Ahh Comcast…), but the second internet connection prevented anyone from knowing that.

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Packet loss showing how long the connection had been down for

To prevent this from happening again, I finally turned on email notifications to get an alert the next time the gateway went down.

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Posted in pfSense