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Roll Your Own Instrument Cart

9/30/2013 06:00 AM EDT
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kfield
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Can Jon build shelves, too?
kfield   9/30/2013 9:33:16 AM
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Leave it to Jon Titus to create this little beauty! I have been drooling over those industrial-style kitchen shelves made with pipe for the supports, super expensive though. Wonder if Jon can scale up and build something for me?  :-)

MeasurementBlues
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Re: Can Jon build shelves, too?
MeasurementBlues   9/30/2013 9:58:11 AM
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It seems like you can accomplish the same thing with a cheap kitchen cart. I have one in the basement. It even has doors. I could just remove the back and the doors and add casters.

My basement "workbench" consists of three metal cabinets side by side by side. I use the tops as work space and store things underneath. The floor is pitched and uneven, but that's easily fixed with some wood shims.

Caleb Kraft
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Re: Can Jon build shelves, too?
Caleb Kraft   9/30/2013 10:28:03 AM
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A kitchen cart might be cheaper, but I'd be tempted to just build one for the strength. Even if mine was ugly at least it wouldn't sag in a few months. Then again, I guess you could buy a high quality kitchen cart, but that probably wouldn't be much cheaper at all!

dmoisan
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Cheap kitchen carts
dmoisan   10/7/2013 9:06:31 PM
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I used my late mom's kitchen cart--an oldie-old-cart made with white metal tubing--as a scope cart.  I still use it, though I needed to put new casters on it.  It is not light, with an HP1722 scope, '5126 counter and an also oldie-old HP3440 DMM on it.  If I only had a Rigol, I could use a CRT swing arm for sure. 

MeasurementBlues
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Re: Can Jon build shelves, too?
MeasurementBlues   9/30/2013 10:01:45 AM
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@kfield, did you see the steps taken in the construction on the EDN article? Here's the link again. A do-it-yourself instrument cart.

 

kfield
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Re: Can Jon build shelves, too?
kfield   9/30/2013 10:04:28 AM
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@measurementblues  Yes, I did. Thanks for sending them along. It's just I'm all thumbs when it comes to carpentry!

MeasurementBlues
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Re: Can Jon build shelves, too?
MeasurementBlues   9/30/2013 10:13:52 AM
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I added some shelves over the cabinets. The area has a wood door that I leave open, where I added hooks to hang things. I love hanging things because they are visible and easy to find when I need them.

The work area also has some old kitchen cabinets left over from a renovation two years ago. They are great for storing things like paint cans and other supplies, including soldering irons (see my post tomorrow on soldering). I just stacked the the cabinets and added some shims to level them.

MeasurementBlues
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Re: Can Jon build shelves, too?
MeasurementBlues   9/30/2013 10:39:06 AM
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I can do a little carpentry. Well, I have two hand saws and two drills.

As for the basement cabinets, you can see what replaced them in Keith Dawson's blog Kitchen's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades. I did all the wood finishing of the window and door moldings, plus baseboards and several doors that are not in the photos.

David Ashton
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Re: Can Jon build shelves, too?
David Ashton   9/30/2013 6:07:53 PM
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@Karen: "It's just I'm all thumbs when it comes to carpentry!"

I thought that's what husbands were for??  :-)  Actually I'm not much good at it either.  When I was in Zimbabwe I needed tables to hold a printer and a terminal controller box that I rented to travel agents.  I found one of the guys who make basic furniture and sell it on the side of the road to make me  up a few 2-tier tables to my specs, and they worked a treat.  Cheap too.  Sometimes third-world countries have the advantage!

mike_m
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Re: Can Jon build shelves, too?
mike_m   9/30/2013 2:02:45 PM
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Creative and useable except I have to ask you this,

 

Where is the coffee machine and donut holder?

WireMan0
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Re: Can Jon build shelves, too?
WireMan0   9/30/2013 4:12:45 PM
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Coffee machine?  It's on the back of the TM5000 enclosure, which generates enough heat to brew a pot. We have a Dunkin Donuts going in nearby, so that should solve the lack-of-donuts problem.

WireMan0
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Re: Can Jon build shelves, too?
WireMan0   9/30/2013 4:14:00 PM
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If you have the plans. I can build it. You're on your own for staining or painting, Karen. ;-)

antedeluvian
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VDU arm
antedeluvian   9/30/2013 11:22:40 AM
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I use a PC monitor arm to hold my oscilloscope. It allows me to leave my desk cluttered and still get my scope to wherever it is needed. The arms may be harder to find now with the advent of LCD monitors, but on the flip side newer scopes are much thinner and lighter so the arm doesn't need to be so robust.



WireMan0
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Re: VDU arm
WireMan0   9/30/2013 4:18:26 PM
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I like that monitor arm, Aubrey, and I thought about going that route with my Tek scope, but I couldn't find one that cost as little as some plywood and casters. Plus, getting back to woodwork forced me to properly align my radial-arm saw so it would cut straight and make good 45-degree angles. I put that task off for a long time.

antedeluvian
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Re: VDU arm
antedeluvian   9/30/2013 5:54:38 PM
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Hi Jon

I actually proposed the idea originally in an article in Test and Measurment World in January 1998. The author of the article was one Martin Rowe (I just looked at my scrapbook), but I have a recollection that you were editor at the time. Ahh, memories...

Geez I have had my 'scope since before 1998!

MeasurementBlues
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Re: VDU arm
MeasurementBlues   9/30/2013 6:35:17 PM
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Antedeluvian,

OMG, there you are on page 18! Yes, I have a copy of every T&M World from August 1992 to the end last year. I knew you in 1998? How we forget.

Would you like a PDF of the full article?



 

antedeluvian
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Re: VDU arm
antedeluvian   9/30/2013 6:40:10 PM
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Martin

Would you like a PDF of the full article?

Yes, please.

MeasurementBlues
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Re: VDU arm
MeasurementBlues   10/1/2013 8:40:40 AM
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If anyone else would like a PDF of the 1998 article on organizing your test bench, I will upload it to the server and provide a link.

WireMan0
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Re: VDU arm
WireMan0   9/30/2013 8:15:18 PM
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Yes, I was editor at T&MW "back then."  I wish my memory was good enough to remember all (most?) of the articles we ran. Thankfully, Martin salvaged the T&MW issues and has a complete archive. And probably a better memory...

MeasurementBlues
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Re: VDU arm
MeasurementBlues   10/1/2013 8:43:32 AM
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>Geez I have had my 'scope since before 1998!

I guess you have a good scope. It looks like an HP, before Agilent.

antedeluvian
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Re: VDU arm
antedeluvian   10/1/2013 8:48:26 AM
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Martin

I guess you have a good scope. It looks like an HP, before Agilent.

Sure has been and still is a good scope. It is an HP54645D (2Analog @ 100MHz and 16 digital)

MeasurementBlues
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Re: VDU arm
MeasurementBlues   10/1/2013 9:40:00 AM
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I didn't mean to imply that Agilent scopes weren't good.

David Ashton
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Nice work....
David Ashton   9/30/2013 5:56:06 PM
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Nice work Jon!    I have seen commercial printer trolleys that are also useful for test equipment, but they cost.....  Aubrey, I used to have a similar arm for a CRT monitor but now I have an LCD and I think I chucked that old arm out - damn!  A trolley would be no good for me - my workshop is 4 by 6 feet at the end of my garage and there's no room to swing a cat....

I had an idea to use an anglepoise document holder for a multimeter and my LCR meter on my workbench.  However they are considerably heavier than the average document and I think I'd have to put beefier springs in it, and/or tighten the hinges to make it stay where I want it.  I got given 2 and I have one used for its original purpose - holding datasheets so I can swing them into view when I need pinouts etc, and out of the way when I am doing other stuff.  If I get the other one working with the meters I'll post a pic.

Charles.Desassure
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Think about it...
Charles.Desassure   10/2/2013 8:17:24 AM
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I am sure there are tons of people out there who have created their own instrument cart for their engineering lab at home.  I think you should go further Martin Rowe and have a video contest where the user demonstrate how they use the instrument cart (required guidelines, no vendors); the top few winners will obtain a T-shirt or a pen from eeTimes (something simple).  The readers will be the voters.  Something to think about for the future.

  

MeasurementBlues
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Re: Think about it...
MeasurementBlues   10/2/2013 8:40:00 AM
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@Charles Interesting idea. I'll think about it.

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