I ate my wafer...


The Volkswagon Egg

So, last Saturday I spent 14 straight hours working for the Pontiac area Christmas in Action, which is sort of equivalent to habitat for humanity except fixing existing homes rather than building new ones. To be fair, I only planned on spending about half that time, and I didn't realize that a good chunk of that time would involve breaking large rocks into little rocks on three hours of sleep, but I'm not complaining.

Anyway, at one point in the day, I desperately needed some 2.5mm and 4mm screws to piece together a light fixture, and decided to check out the dumpster for possibilities. Glancing down the length of the 20 cubic yard dumpster, I spotted an imac computer, and realized that computers often have metric screws. So....I grabbed the computer and with the aid of a hammer wielding Gunar, looked for screws in it. Unfortunately, the iMac designers made it impossible to get the screws we needed, so I redneck-tapped the light fixture's metric hole by filing a taper and notches in a SAE 8-32 machine screw, and used a self-tapping sheet metal screw for the second hole. Although the iMac sat in the rain for an hour or so, I decided to take it home, mostly because I was simply too tired to think straight.

So...today, as a long time Windows/Intel computer owner (yes, I did own a Commodore C64 briefly), I now own my first Mac. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it, but it already inspired this fun conversation:

Housemate A: Hey, (sarcasm) I don't think you're supposed to put computers on their faces!

Bob: Its not a computer, ahh.....ahhh...its a volkswagon egg.

So, now that I've dubbed it the VW egg, I'm going to try running OSX or linux on it and using it for simple internet browsing. Other suggestions for it are welcome. As a side benefit it irritates my microsoft worshipping roommates:-)


  • Hmmm. Filed a taper and notches...?
    Could you explain that a little more thoroughly? I have faced the same problem so many times, but never thought to do what you did--whatever it is exactly that you did. I'd love to learn a new way to deal with metric holes. Thanks!

    By Anonymous Sierra Delta Kappy, at 8:09 PM  

  • Bob, i'm so proud of you ;-) you can do all sorts of fun stuff with iMacs, including making them into fish tanks, but i guess linux would be more up your ally... if you need osx discs let me know ;-)

    By Blogger JonMagic, at 10:29 PM  

  • Well, basically, you can make a crude tap of any machine screw by filing or grinding a taper to the first few threads, and putting a few notches on the screw. To get the general idea, just look at a regular 2 flute, non-spiral tap and try to duplicate its shape.

    If you do this with a regular steel machine screw, it can usually tap a hole in potmetal, ZAMAK, aluminum, etc, but not in steel. To do steel, you can file the same taper and notches into a capscrew or Grade 5/8 screw and harden it with a torch (or in a pinch, with a gas kitchen stove.

    If you use a allen head cap screw, you can just stick it on a allen wrench to hold it for hardening, and its way easier to keep it perpendicular to the workpiece when tapping.

    Is that more clear? If not, I can write a full post on the topic?

    By Blogger Bob, at 6:17 PM  

  • Back in the old days, in the late 70's, the VW Karmann Ghia was slang-named "The Egg" by surfers and "dudes" out in CA. Driving mine cross-country in '81 after college (a miracle in itself) I was often asked what the hell is that thing visiting relatives in Nebraska (Brady) and in places like South Dakota and even further East where I wound up (Arlington).

    By Blogger DirtCrashr, at 11:26 AM  

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