Saturday, January 15, 2011

shed tips - foaming tools, and disposable nozzles

Foaming tools

Basically a number of tools come in either blow-mold cases, or metal cases with blow-mold inserts. The decision to use blow-mold is based on providing a close fit to the tools in the case, without the cost of the old style wooden inserts.
There is a problem with the blow-mold inserts - breaking down due to age and vibration. the plastic liner breaks down and cracks apart due to the weight of the tools and eventually becomes useless.  Following the advice of those wiser people, I take the time to fill the backs of blow-mold liners so there isn't as much "give" in the liner, and the tools don't break it down as much (if at all)

The basic principle is to fill the voids in the back with something disposable and durable - currently I use expanding foam (the single expansion type, not the one which expands again when contacted by heat or water), but in the past I've used silastic (caulking sealer) bulked up with either sawdust, or scraps of foam, wood, or even general shed rubbish (broken hacksaw blades, etc)

Using foam
Access the underside of the blow-mold liner

fill the gaps with expanding foam

apply a sheet of heavy card (old filing cabinet suspension files) and weight it down until the foam cures

if you remove the card,you will find the foam pretty much filling all large gaps, but maybe missing some of the smaller ones - sometimes I refill them, other times simply leave them.

The photo below shows one weighted down liner, the other simply left uncovered and unweighted during the foam cure

As seen below, the unweighted one cured with large air bubbles under the foam, basically providing no support to the liner and the tools. The cut way pieces of cured foam aren't tossed away, instead they are pressed into the gaps, then refoamed and covered and weighted. As mentioned at the top of the article, the filling doesn't need to be anything flash, so offcuts of foam work fine.

I know people who use plaster for this some task - works well - my only concerns are the weight, and the holding of moisture inside the tool case.

Disposable nozzles for foam dispensing
The foam dispensing can nozzle - the sales guy from ramset told me that the expnding foam valve is a single function unit as mandated by the nannygovt  - as a result I buy my can (local trade store) and collect up a handful of straws from macdonalds. I cut the supplied nozzle tube at 1" (25mm)

and slide the macdonalds straw over the original (shortened) nozzle tube - this makes cleanup much easier (throw the straw away, and blow out the short piece) - As long as I schedule all my foaming for one day, I can usually use up the whole can before the internally sabotaged valve locks me out of the can.

Upcoming posts -
New life for an old welding helmet, and the lathe stand/cabinet

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