Posts in category metal-working

Blinds Tilt Mechanism Repair

We have a large faux-wood blind on our dining room window. The window pane itself is 70"x70"; which makes for a great view. However, the tilt mechanism stopped working in fairly short order. The tilt mechanism uses a pull-cord based mechanism which is no longer offered in blinds. I replaced the mechanism the first time it failed, but when it failed the second time in much the same way, I could no longer find a replacement for the parts. The original mechanism failed because the interface between the cord spool and the shaft driving the worm gear which drove the tilting of the blinds had worn, become loose, and allowed the cord spool to rotate without turning the worm gear shaft. The replacement mechanism failed in a different place; it had a bushing to adapt the sqare rod that runs the length of the blinds to a hexagonal through-hole in the driving gear. That bushing was made of plastic and had worn to the point that the drive gear could rotate without rotating the square rod.

The original tilt mechanism was made largely from metal components, while the replacement I had purchased was largely plastic. Examining them both, I determined that it would be more straight-forward to machine a new pully for the original mechanism than to machine a drive gear for the replacement mechanism. The original pully was made of nylon; I chose to machine a replacement pully from aluminum bar stock.

Cutting the main profile of the spool body:

1-cutting-main-profile.jpg 2-cutting-deeper.jpg

And the conical recess in the spool: 3-conical-recess.jpg

Cutting the spool off the stock: 4-cutoff-conical.jpg 5-cutoff-flat.jpg

Milled the slot for the worm gear shaft and the holes required for the threading the pull cord through: 6-milled-slot-conical.jpg 7-milled-slot-flat.jpg

Installed in the blinds: 8-installed.jpg 9-installed-closeup.jpg

This has held up well over the past 8 months, and it was gratifying to be able to repair something when replacement parts were no longer available.

Making Stake Pocket Anchors

I bought a toolbox for my pickup truck, and needed to mount it to the bed rails securely. Using some J-hooks to bolt it to the metal inside the stake pockets did not work well enough; the loaded toolbox shifted from side to side while driving, scraping up the bed rail covers in the process. I needed a more secure mounting option for the toolbox that did not require drilling holes in my truck, and if I could avoid drilling holes in the toolbox, even better. Oh, and I needed to get it done immediately to avoid additional damage. While Magnum Manufacturing offers the stake pocket tie downs they use for their headache racks, I needed to solve the problem immediately, not wait for a well-made product to arrive.

The concept is to have an assembly that fits into the stake pocket which I can bolt onto from the top, and fasten from the side. My solution was to cut some scrap 2x4 down to fill the stake pocket, and cut out space for a bracket, and a recess for the bolt.


I fabricated the bracket from 1/8"-thick 2x2" angle iron; cutting it to size, drilling counter-sunk holes for the screws, and tapping a hole for a bolt on top.


I drilled pilot holes in the wood block and assembled the anchors with exterior wood screws:


Given that I was in a hurry and making it up as I went along, the actual anchors looked a bit more like this:


I dropped the anchors into the stake pockets and marked the location of the hole inside the truck bed, then drilled a pilot hole in the center of that.


Installing the anchors in the truck meant dropping the anchor in place


and securing it with an exterior wood screw and fender washer.


From there, it was a matter of lining up the toolbox slot with the bolt hole


and bolting it down.

Now, the toolbox is much more solidly anchored to the truck.