Many bits of mixer

So the mixer is now in even more bits. I’ve ordered some pre-paint wipes to see if I can get a better finish on this than I usually get, since it would be nice if it actually looks good after this process (in addition to, ideally, actually functioning). I’m not quite sure what the history of this mixer is because the more I take it to bits the more it seems to have been attacked with a spade, beaten into a thousand bits and put back together from more than one machine.

Having found a manual – and some pictures of other Assistent N8s (I think it’s an N8), it appears the knobs should actually be the same colour – our sports one black and one white knob.

And having dismantled it, someone’s clearly changed out the motor (I’m suspecting for an earlier one, actually, because the insulation on the motor looks older than what I suspect is PVC on the switches). Anyway, I pulled one of the chocolate blocks out that was doing duty connecting one side of the motor and soldered that section of cable together. Mainly that’s because I was putting heatshrink over a section of cable where the insulation had worn through so I had to pop that chocolate block out anyway:

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I cleaned up the inside of the mixer’s base which was filthy and is now much more acceptable:

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And I worked out where the loose bits of plastic came from:

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I’ve stuck them back in place (not because they’re important, just for the sake of completeness) – so they’re drying overnight. As is the front panel which is all clamped together but beforehand looked like this:

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It’s actually got a multitude of small cracks in it – I wonder if it got dropped on its front? But I don’t know how you’d do that because the back of it is the (much) heavier end. Unless maybe it fell of a shelf onto work surface? But to do the amount of damage it’s had it seems like it would need a fair smack.

Anyhow, while I was just looking it over before stopping for the day I discovered that the insulation on one of the wires from the power connector had worn through. So I then disconnected it – at which point I finally twigged that someone has soldered the replacement wires to the power inlet – but the power inlet has actually got threaded screw holes…! So, err, not sure what happened to the screws. Anyhow, I soldered the cable back on since I’m not sure I have a tap or an appropriate size screw. I kind of wish I had some suitably beefy cable kicking around to replace the whole lot, but I don’t. Most of the stuff I’ve got is low voltage.

Maybe I’ll do that at some point.

Anyhow – for the moment I’m concentrating on functional, clean and a bit prettier.

So I’m planning to make a new front panel to replace the mangled original – so far I’ve come up with this:

Which I’m planning to cut out of perspex on the laser cutter. I’ll actually flip it to print it so it can etch the text in the back – then I’ll (hopefully) spray it to fill that text in – before cleaning the back off and spraying it a different colour. I originally thought about recreating the 1950s Electrolux font / logo, but I decided that actually a pseudo-replica of the modern one will do just fine.

However, there’s a couple of important tweaks that I’m going to make – it’s going to have a few screw holes in it so that I can use the perspex to brace the poor, battered old original mounting plate. There’s only so much that JB Weld can do – and while I think it’s going to be better than it *was* (not a hard challenge), it’d be more likely to survive with some bracing.

In other news – I’ve put up a bunch of shelves in the garage now, which has helped with organization in there :)

Mixing it up

So, I heard about this type of mixer. It’s like a standmixer, but instead of the motor being on top, it’s on the bottom and, on top, instead, is this incredibly solid arm onto which you put the mixer mechanism which is rotated by the bowl. It’s weird, I know. I heard of it when I was looking at reviews of mixers – because when we left the UK we sold our rather nice John Lewis stand mixer (although it wasn’t a hundred percent happy – bread making had upset it slightly); and we’d been talking – on and off – about getting a mixer.

Being in the US the standard is, of course, the Kitchen Aid. But a lot of recent reviews said that the newer ones struggle with bigger mixes, and that they don’t last nearly as long because the plastic gears in modern ones strip under heavy loads. Which is true of many a modern replacement that looks much the same as the original.

But I kept coming across the Ankarsrum Assistent as a recommendation. Particularly for people who do lots of cakes and doughs. And that is more our thing. So I looked at them and – as I expected – they were waaaaay outside our pricerange*. Well, okay, we could have afforded one but they were not something that it seemed reasonable to spend that much on at this point.

So, as is often the case, I left a search running on ebay and one day I noticed this very foxed looking one priced at $300. It apparently ‘turned on’ but was listed as spares only.

$300? That was far too much.

And it sat.

And it sat.

And I bid on a different one that was going for about $200 – in the end that went for about $400.

And still it sat.

And then I made a lowball offer.

And the person responded that the cost of shipping would likely be $50 by itself.

And I thought about it – and it came with the mincer (which you can get accessories so it can also be a pasta maker…)

So I decided to up my offer – and ISTR it ended up costing about $150 with shipping included.

And now it’s arrived and boy is it beaten up. It looks like someone tried to run a hammer through the front panel:

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Seriously – the front panel looks like it’s the morning after a particularly heavy night of drinking, after which it decided to insult the biggest guy in the bar:

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But true to the seller’s word – it does sort of work. I mean, it runs. It smells of hot electronics (bad), but it does work. So, today, since we had plans to go do some (socially distant and safe) stuff this afternoon and I had an hour before I wanted to get cleaned up I started stripping it down to see what needed fixing.

Before even getting to the mixer – the cable is… not great.

It’s not earthed – so this:

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Well, let’s say neither of those is ideal.

Inside the case things didn’t exactly improve.

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I’m not sure what they’re from – I’ll have a bit more of a hunt when the capacitors arrive (I’ll get to that); but those chunks of plastic presumably should not be rattling around loose in the case.

Inside, there’s also a surprising number of chocolate block connectors – not sure what that’s about. I’m wondering if this, at some point, got a new motor? At some point the insulation clearly wore through the cable where it runs to the motor through a channel in the case.

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Unfortunately, the front panel has also had ‘a bit of an incident’. I’m not sure how it got so thoroughly cracked. I’m frankly surprised that it didn’t damage more stuff inside.

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Anyhow – the main problem (beyond the cracked case, the random bits of plastic, and the front panel fouling all the knobs because it’s so bent) is the capacitors which are, as my good friend John calls them, Rifa PME271m delayed-action smoke generators.

These are, indeed, somewhere after their last legs.

If you’ve made the unfortunate error of finding this post because you – like me – have a sickly mixer and want to know what the specs are so you can order them ahead of time:

0.047 uF, 250V x2 rated PME capacitor
0.15 uF, 250V ish (presumably x2 rated) PME capacitor.

The board also sports a TYAL 510BV1 (presumably a transistor) and a D1303 (I’m guessing a diode) – neither of these I can find any data sheets for. And I’ve not bothered drawing out the circuit because I’m guessing that the hot electronics smell is courtesy of the two sickly capacitors.

Following along with it’s “dragged out the back of the club, beaten and thrown in a bush” aesthetic, the knobs on the front have also taken a beating:

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And of course, one of them broke as I tried to remove it – so me and JB Weld and the mixer are already friends.

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It will need more than that, I’m sure, to stop it disintegrating again – but for the moment it will have to do.

So the jobs list for this are:

  1. Clean everything
  2. Replace the capacitors
  3. Fix the knob…more better ;)
  4. Work out where those bits of plastic came from – and if they’re important
  5. Replace the failing insulation tape with heatshrink and a nice join
  6. Make a new front panel
  7. Spray the whole thing
  8. Make a new cable

So that should be no bother at all :)

Sadly, one of the problems is that as far as I can tell the available spares list is – basically – the belt drive. Originally an independent company, Ankarsrum bought back production from Electrolux and so these earlier mixers are, well, somewhat left out in the cold. They do still sell all the accessories, though, which is very cool and could lead to expensiveness. People sell new motors for the newer versions, and similarly digital controllers for the newer ones. But this one sports a mechanical timer and a couple of chunky microswitches, and the variable resistor / speed controller… so none of that is available; nor is the front panel.

So, uh. I’ve ordered the capacitors, and I’m going to work on making a replacement front panel next week. And the other jobs too, but for the moment, that’s where I’m at.

* Interestingly I found a bunch of cheap ones in Europe – but it is a Swedish brand. The US ones though – they were all well upwards of $350 even for the decades old variant missing lots of parts or markedly damaged ones.

Perseverance, Predisposition and Productivity

Today was just one of those days. Not actually a bad day, but I just felt a bit grouchy all day. It didn’t help that my tea ended up on the floor early in proceedings; although at least it landed next to the box of potatoes, not in the box of potatoes.

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But that wasn’t the ideal start to the day. Then I realised that my plan of action – to just empty the first of the two shelves, swap it to the other side, and then fill it again; and then rinse and repeat with the second shelf – would not, in fact, work. It couldn’t work because the drywall was behind it. Which needed to be on the other side of the garage.

Indeed, really, the thing that made the most sense to do was to actually insulate and drywall that section… only; part way through that process I realised that because of the way the building’s framed I had to finish the window wall first – then do the last side wall. That meant that both shelves had to be cleared and moved.

I did manage to get them moved to a position where, with some difficulty I could negotiate both myself and the relevant chunks of drywall (in the case of the south wall – two full sheets, in the case of the other wall about 1.6m of drywall twice) into the space. And with my usual trick (attaching a small block to the wall) I could hoick the drywall up on to the wall, rest it on the block and – using some shims – I then get it fairly snug against the ceiling and screw it in place. And Bob’s your uncle. Or my uncle. Or at least someone’s uncle.

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But the whole process is hideously unwieldy and awkward. Made extra super fun by the fact that a couple of the earthquake bolts had been installed with their plates overhanging the soleplate and sticking out well past where the plasterboard would sit. So I needed to rectify that.

But really the vast majority of the day has just been loading and unloading shelves. Dragging shelves around. Swearing at stuff. And some of it is my own fault. Selling things is hassle; and so I procrastinate and eventually it falls off my list of things to do. There’s stuff there that I should have sold years ago. There’s stuff that needs to be sold now.

There’s also stuff which was expensive to buy and so we don’t hugely want to just get rid of it – but it’s also not… stuff we need. Like, we have an extra box of the bird spikes (got to stop them trying to get into our roof vents, and also because the woodpecker had decided to try and work its way through our roof from the underside). We have no use for them, but they seem like something that we could sell at a garage sale. Only… COVID.

There’s also a ton of tools which while useful are not required at the moment because they’re mainly useful for – say – building a house. I mean, I don’t need the framing gun in an easily accessible location. But I also don’t really want to get rid of our framing gun. It was expensive. And it’s handy for framing.

And there’s the tiles. The bathroom tiles have now been moved countless f’kin times. Not just from the garage at our apartment to here – but I think they went into the house first, then out to the garage. Then they’ve been in various locations as the shelving’s been in various locations. Good lord am I sick of moving those bloody tiles. But until COVID’s done and dealt with (ha. Ha ha ha) then there’s little hope of us finishing the second bathroom.

Ah well.

Thankfully, as I was starting to consider spiraling into being thoroughly moody – and grouching about the fact that I’d misidentified our shelving as 4′ units when they’re actually 5′ units* – Kathryn came in and offered her after work help.

Which meant that we could talk about where to put things a bit and she could reassure me that it did – in fact – look much better than it has. She also, handily reminded me that the bedframe that’s currently occupying the garage could, in fact, go down to the storage unit we have at the moment. And while there’s still a ton to do to organise the stuff that is currently just kinda heaped at the east end of the garage… there’s an end in sight. And it’s an end where the garage should be a lot more functional.

I need to run the excess insulation and drywall back to Home Depot if it’s dry tomorrow…. Assuming I can extract the board without damaging it. It’s currently stacked behind what I’m intending to be the desk surface and the material for the raised floor… and the table saw….and the chop saw… and the surface that’s holding everything that was on my temporary workbench in the garage… and, and, and…. :-/ But after that there’s a bit over a meter (but full height) of wall to drywall – and it needs one section insulating. And that job will be done.

Anyway. Despite me being super grouchy, we are much further forward. I still need to mud / tape / insulate the ceiling. But. I’m going to take today as a win.

* Which totally screwed up my planned arrangement for hanging the bikes (thankfully I’d not built it yet – although I’d thought about putting up the hooks quite a few times)

More drywall (again)

So I’ve been plodding through doing the garage drywall; it’s about 2/3rds done – and I’ve reached the oh so exciting point of unloading all the shelving so I can move it.

Once the shelving’s out of the way the actual drywalling shouldn’t take too long. But it’s going to be a bit of a faff to get it out of the way. Once that’s done we can rent the insulation blower, insulate the roof void and that will be a heatable space. At some point in the future I’ll come back and do some tape and mudding – but for the moment we’re just going for walls and ceiling up.

Then we can arrange things in there so it’s a more functional actual garage:

I’m hoping this will work – at the moment the sit/stand bench is in our office in the house – but the plan is once the tablesaw is gone it can go out there. The tablesaw is being kept around for the minute because – mainly – COVID. Our lovely friends have a much nicer tablesaw in a proper woodshop that we were using but when we were doing a bunch of stuff and would have had to lug a lot of wood around it was handy having one here. Now COVID – so even small jobs that need stuff ripping down I can’t go over and be all ‘Oh hey, I’ve come with wood (and viral death)’. So yeah.

It’s not terribly exciting; insulating and drywalling is tedious to do and pretty tedious to write about, but it’s nice to get this off the project list and means that I can get back to oiling trim which will be good. I can also do a couple of other projects – one is the prototype Mycroft build. I want to switch away from our ‘smart devices’ being google – after quite so many awful things that google have done.

And while the google home is a neat piece of tech, I’m not a big fan of having it around. So… yeah, I’d like to build a Mycroft. I’ve printed some of the bits, and Nikki has kindly printed some of the other bits. I’ve got one left to do (which I hope to do once the garage is done) – it’s a bit of an irritating ‘whiny’ noise to have going in a house with no doors.

So there’s that. I’ve accumulated all the other parts required (I think they’ve all arrived now); so there’s a bunch of soldering and putting together to do.

Then there’s this:

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It’s an Electrolux N10 – better known as an Anksurum Assistent mixer. These are apparently the bee’s knees when it comes to mixers – particularly for bread making. People seem to rave about them and the mechanical design seems to have remained pretty much the same since they were designed back in 1947, which is pretty cool.

I’ve been trying to find one for quite a while, but they always were suuuper expensive. This one, though, has taken quite a beating (no pun intended, or maybe it was).

Beyond the sad chipped paint and general slight grubbiness, the front panel appears to have been beaten with a hammer until it was hideously deformed, the knobs are somewhat loose and it seems to only really have one speed option. Oh, also, the mains connector on the end of the power cable is cracked, and the plug on the other end is just fucking terrifying.

Hopefully a bit of a service should do for most of it – all the functions more-or-less work. It does seem to only really have one and a bit speeds (similar to how Molly was when I first got her…)

1930s BSA 3 Speed Stepthrough Cycle

I’m somewhat suspect of the Rifa capactitors which allegedly lurk inside the case – but finding information on them has proven to be difficult. Possibly this is a good sign – I’d actually not seen any broken ones go by on e-bay until this one.

Initially I thought that not knowing the model number – which I now think might be N10 – was the challenge I was having in finding information. Buuuuut even with that I’ve not found much. I’m now beginning to suspect that, in fact, the problem is that they don’t break much.

People just seem to have them and use them and love them (and possibly cuddle them and pet them). This is both good and slightly awkward.

I mean, it isn’t a complex device. It’s just a motor driving a massive thick belt drive that runs a worm gear that turns the bowl around. The roller is turned by the bowl itself (and pleasingly, you can still get both accessories and at least some spares for it). It’s old enough that the controller is a mechanical timer (that could probably do with a blow through with some compressed air given the environment most mixers live in), a variable resistor and a couple of switches.

So hopefully me’n the laser cutter will make a new front panel and me’n the workspace in the garage will give it a clean and a paint and it’ll be right as rain.

So yes. Once the drywalling is done, there is space opened up for ‘projects’ and that I’m quite looking forward to.

The rest of the drywalling not-so-much.

I have also – at long last – spent the money to get Rebecca’s new motor. That is winging its way here from wherever it is – ripped from a crashed iMiEV. 47kW should be more than enough for li’l Rebecca Mog.

Anyway. Many things to get on with.