Tag: repairs

Fifty: Toys

Over the last few years, thanks to friends and family, the number of little children getting about in our house has increased. Occasionally we spot really nice toys at op-shops and we now have a modest collection we can pull out when we have little visitors. One of our favourites is a wooden duck walker thing that has feet that flop when it’s pushed but sadly one of our nieces was a little bit rough with it and snapped its axle in twain.

Luckily it wasn’t too hard a fix. First, I sawed off the broken dowel flush with the wheel. Then I was able to carefully drill out the centre of the wheel. After that all I had to do was cut a new piece of dowel to length and reassemble with a little bit of wood glue.

And there you have it, a lame duck no more!

 

Another wooden toy we have picked up is a little rainbow xylophone. However it was a bit hard to play as it came without any mallets. So I made some.

I was able to buy the spheres pre-drilled which saved me a lot of hassle, so all I really had to do was cut my dowel to the correct length and glue it in. After a bit of a sand with some fine sandpaper they’re good to go!

I really like having toys that I can repair.

Forty-One: I Can Fix That!

While the main focus of this project was to create things, the original manifesto also mentions mending things—something which we seem to have mostly forgotten about. But fear not, I have fixed some things and will now briefly tell you about it.

Thing 1

On a recent weekend away we had plans to do some baking, so we packed some flour. Sadly the box that held the flour jar also held many other things, until it gave way and held nothing (something which we had both seen coming, but did nothing about..).

Luckily the damage was not catastrophic; only two neat chips broke away from the lid. A pretty simple fix. My main takeaway from this fix (and others before it) is that ceramic adhesive is good stuff. It is easy to apply as it doesn’t set quickly and allows you to manoeuvre the piece(s) into the perfect position. It also is easy to get a clean finish as you can just wipe away excess with a damp cloth, or once it has set, using a razor blade to scrape your joins clean.

Thing B

(Sorry, no photos for this part. I took some but they’ve disappeared.)

A few months ago I dropped my phone one too many times and cracked the screen badly enough that the touch stopped working. This made me pretty unhappy, as while it was not a super-expensive nor new phone, it was perfectly serviceable and I was not planning on retiring it any time soon. Apparently, the average working life of a mobile phone is 7 years but worldwide the average consumer changes their mobile every 11 months (Sharpe, 2005), which I find quite disturbing considering the environmental impacts of the mining, manufacturing and transporting of these little pocket computers. Not to mention the horrific consequences of dumping e-waste into countries ill-equipped to handle it.

Sadly greed and a lack of regulation means that most things built these days are not easy to repair, even though it would be relatively easy to do (or we could use our awesome technology to just make phones that don’t break, but where would the profit there be?) </rant>

Anyway, I should get back on track. I ordered a new screen from the eBay for about $25—roughly $175 less than I was quoted for repair in a shop—and when it arrived I set about pulling apart the old Nexus 5.

Long story short, www.ifixit.com is awesome and I was able to swap the screens without much trouble.

My take-away from this fix was to do one’s research. As previously mentioned, phones are not really built to be repaired. I got lucky as the Nexus 5 is pretty good in that regard, however I also started to pull apart my old Nexus 4 (the screen on that also died an untimely death) and quickly found that it was going to be a fair bit of work and require a heat-gun to soften the glue. I recommend you watch a disassembly video before you buy the parts and decide if you’re capable.

Thing Ⅲ

I’m not entirely sure where this little table came from, but if I had to guess, I would say an op-shop. Sadly it wasn’t really built to last and the hinges that are vital to its structural integrity were pretty flimsy and have mostly given up on life.

So off I went to The Big Green Shed and bought some new hinges. Made from solid brass, these hinges are a lot sturdier than their predecessors and should last considerably longer. The new hinges were a little bit bigger than the old, so some chiselling  was needed to get them to fit, but nothing too difficult.

They were a little pricey at $2 a pop, but for the cost of two coffees I’ve kept alive a table to put my two coffees on.

Refs:

Sharpe, M. (2005). “Climbing the e-waste mountain.” Journal of Environmental Monitoring 7(10): 933-936.

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