Sunday, July 26, 2009


Here at TardHaus, we like to recycle our aluminum cans. In typical TardHaus style, we don't do it the same way most people do. Instead, we melt the aluminum (using a charcoal-powered blast furnace) and use green-sand molds to make whatever we want. The extra melted aluminum goes into a muffin pan to make "ingots" that can be remelted later and made into more stuff.

I took a couple of these ingots and decided to try them out on my CNC mill. It's an EMCO F1-CNC milling machine that was retrofitted by students from Vermont Technical College with new stepper motors, gecko drivers, and Mach 3 software.
After milling some flats on the sides so my vise could grip the ingot, I milled the face and then played with cutting a circular pocket.

Then I played with machining heatsink fins.

I plan to mount some high-power LEDs to this heat sink and make a more permanent lamp for the CNC machine. The current lamp is a single CREE X-Lamp star that Aaron hacked together for me. It does a good job, but I'd like more light.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


How do you shingle your screened in porch in seven hours? Hire us. We've needed to do this for a while but it didn't leak so what was the rush? Unfortunately for us our hand was forced and we needed to get it done. The weather hasn't exactly been cooperating so when we finally got a nice day we went for it. The work was started at roughly 4:30pm and work completed at about 12:00am. Everyone chipped in to get this done and it doesn't look half bad.

We had the roof cleared of all the old debris at about 5:30pm.

I'm going to guess this was about 7:30pm or so, we had all the new tar paper in place.

The ground crew measuring and cutting everything we needed to make the install go smoothly.

At about 9:30 SamCo was showing me how to properly apply bug spray. Oh and we had fourish rows of shingles down.

Thanks to Minion for this picture at 12:10am or so. I couldn't have climbed the tower if my life depended on it.

Giant Plant

Part of our lawn has been left to the wilds and we get some pretty weird things growing out there. This however has us baffled. We don't know what it is but it sure does like growing. That's SamCo for height reference.

Wood Fort Pictures

Quick addition to the post from below. Some of you might not realize when we say a fort we really mean it. We don't really have any place to store 16 pallets of wood pellets besides our giant driveway. We still can't see who's parked in a few of our parking spots. Oh and by the way Shane was wrong, it has now been a week and there are still six pallets in our driveway. Fail.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fort Tard

We have received 16 pallets of pellets (Sally sells sea shells) wood pellets on wood pallets that is. The "Tard's Mahal" (garage) is primarily heated with a homemade pellet stove (made from a recycled washing machine and furnace). "Shane says" the ones that we don't own (we bought 4 of the 16 we unloaded) will be gone in a week. We'll see. The tall pallets make the driveway feel like a fort. It is cool. If it would stop raining for a few days we could do cool things with them since the forklift now has brakes that really work!

Signals from 22200 miles in the sky

In June, 2005, the Tards braved great peril installing a 10 foot C-band antenna. Only a few days after successfully receiving NASA, the transition to digital occurred on Jul 1, 2005. An FTA receiver that could decode the new digital signals was purchased and was used to view the "return to space" mission (after Columbia was lost in February, 2003) on July 25, 2005. The satellite system has been down since the building of the new garage. With help from Aaron, one of Tardhaus's best summer residents, the satellite is again up and ready for the next launch July 11, 2009 (weather permitting). We currently have 4 NASA TV channels to choose from and are rebroadcasting on the Tardhaus video system on channel 125. The signals are being received on C-band at 4040 MHz from AMC 6 at 72.0 degrees W, almost directly South of the Tardhaus!. Imagine, the Tardhaus is receiving digital transmissions directly from NASA!