Saturday Snippets: 15.April.2017

Happy Easter Long Weekend! Do you have any plans? We’re hoping the weather will hold for us to get a few good bike rides in, probably some van work, and definitely some good food!

Here’s what caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Our Saturday Snippets for 15.April.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

The Awning:

  • Check out the automatic awning – it just works! Just ignore my barking orders 🙂
  • We had a lot of rain since we cut the hole in the roof, and so far, no leaks. Always a bonus.

The Galley:

  • We finally started working on the galley this week. Which means we have at long last moved the fridge out of the living room in our apartment and into the van. Our apartment feels so spacious now!
  • The first big question was how to attach the fridge to the 80-20 frame and then attach that to the L-track in the floor. The second question was how we were going to thermally isolate the (metal) 80-20 frame from the (metal) L-track on the floor. We’ve got a plan, which we think is going to be pretty bomber.
  • Jonty spent the next few days prototyping fixtures and fittings, using the CNC to cut out the pieces we need. So far so good! We needed a few more parts (correct length screws, etc) but should have it all together by the end of the weekend. | Sprinter conversion - installing the fridge

The NovaKool fridge framed into the 80-20 galley. There will be enough room to place a shallow drawer above the fridge (and below the counter). | Sprinter conversion - installing the fridge

The fridge is attached to the 80-20 frame with a simple aluminum attachment (CNC-milled in aluminum by Jonty, specifically for this purpose). | Sprinter conversion - installing the fridge

The wooden mount fits under the fridge. It will be bolted through the L-Track in the floor (centre) and through the 80-20 (side holes).

Next up:

  • Our sink should arrive shortly, so we’re hoping to start prototyping the counter top out of cheap MDF. We’ll be able to play around with the fit of our induction cooktop and sink, and figure out if we need any additions to the 80-20 frame at all.
  • Then it’s probably more wiring and electrical work. It’s been quite time-consuming for Jonty, but he’s done such an amazing job!!

Pictures from the week of 15.April.2017:

The weather has still been a mixed bag. We had one nice day last weekend and were able to get out for a quick 15 km cycle. Then the other nice day was spent working on the van… which was glorious. We had the side door open, and only had to wear 2 layers, and I squinted into the sunshine for most of the afternoon. Bliss! | Vancouver cherry blossoms | Vancouver Maker Labs murals - blue sky

The other few days at MakerLabs have been grey and soggy. On one of the grey days, I snapped a few pictures of the area. If you know Vancouver at all, you’re probably aware of the Strathcona area, which borders onto the Downtown Eastside. We park the van inside the locked gate at Maker Labs, but can see what’s going down in “the hood” throughout the day. | Vancouver murals at Maker Labs | Vancouver murals at Maker Labs

Most days, we see a minimum of 2 or 3 ambulance call-outs (dealing with the drug overdoses), a variety of people spaced out on something, and far too many people who are generally just trying to get by.

But if you look past some of the dark corners, you see the brightness, too. Murals cover many buildings in the area, and a local community garden (run, in part by some of the homeless people in the neighbourhood) is right across the back alley. Many artists live and work in the area, and there are great coffee shops and cafes everywhere.

It’s an interesting area and, I hope Vancouver will be able to find a way to help those people who need it, without forcing them out of their community. | Vancouver murals at Maker Labs | Vancouver murals at Maker Labs | Vancouver murals at Maker Labs

For better or for worse, there’s never a dull moment when we’re at work 🙂

Happy Long Weekend!

Saturday Snippets: 11.March.2017

Are you ready to spring ahead tomorrow? It’s a love-hate relationship. I love the extra light in the evenings, but the hour of lost sleep in the morning? Not so much. Good thing I have Monday off 🙂

Here’s a few things that caught our eye online. Saturday Snippets for 11.March.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

  • Every time I see a new post from The Perfect Loaf website, it makes me want to start making my own mother starter immediately. I’ve told Jonty it’s a 2017 goal of mine 😉 Perhaps this Sour Cherry, Pecan and Buckwheat loaf will finally push me to try it; gorgeous, isn’t it?
  • The calendar might indicate Spring is on its way, but our weather begs to differ. Cold mornings still require warm breakfasts. How about this blueberry oatmeal?
  • But I’m willing Spring on, and so this Grapefruit Lemon Tart is looking mighty appealing!
  • Are you itching to travel? These Instagram travel photographers are here to help (and two nods for Canada!).
  • This is a major problem in Vancouver, and I’m not sure how they’re going to solve it.
  • We’ve had our Thermos mugs for nearly 10 years (they’ve travelled with us near and far), and they still work! Not sure how they would stand up against the leak test, though. Maybe when they finally konk out (or we lose them), we’ll upgrade to the fancy-pants ones 🙂

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

  • Jonty was working solo this week, as my vacation stint was over. He wired up the lights in the back, as well as the MaxxFan fans. I find it oddly satisfying and very exciting to know that we can flick a switch and have light! Who needs daylight savings time, anyways 😉 | Sprinter van conversion - installing pod lights | Sprinter van conversion - installing pod lights

  • We also spent a bit of time, thinking about the logistics of separating the bedroom from the kitchen galley, something we designed for. Jonty finished prototyping one of the dividers and if we can find the wood we need, hopefully they can be CNC’d in the coming days. | Sprinter van conversion - prototyping the cabinet walls

  • Remember that last 5% of the van insulation that hasn’t been done yet? I started to tackle it yesterday. The headliner in the cab area can be removed, and insulation put behind it. It requires taking off a few panels, the sun visor storage compartments and dealing with the lights console. No problem, hey? My progress involved googling how to do it, then taking off one sun visor compartment. Slow and steady 🙂 | Sprinter van conversion - insulating the headliner

Pictures during the week of 11.March.2017:

Monday was the only reasonably nice day of the week. Before heading down to work on the van, we grabbed a coffee and snack and wandered down into Olympic Village. It had snowed (again!) the day before, and the mountains are still covered. Too bad we’re not skiers – the local mountains have definitely had a great year. | Vancouver's Olympic Village | Vancouver's Olympic Village | Vancouver's Olympic Village

The sun was shining just enough for us to have some reasonably dry benches to sit on. We must have been one of the few people sitting down to eat, because the seagulls were sure looking hungry! While there was still a briskness to the air, the sun was warm on our backs and it was a lovely place to ease into the week. | Vancouver's Olympic Village | Vancouver's Olympic Village

Happy Weekend!

Saturday Snippets: 18.February.2017

Well, the nice thing about being at the tail-end of a long weekend is that the following week is a short one. The only downside about a short week is that I thought I had an extra day to get this post ready! It’s been a jam-packed 4-day week, filled with site visits, van work, gym days and training days. We’ve been going non-stop since last weekend. The weather has improved (read: it stopped snowing, started raining, the temperatures have reached the double digits, and I saw the first cherry blossom of the year!), which definitely makes working in the van much nicer. And we’ve even had a few days of sunshine!

Here’s a few things that caught our eye online during the week. Our Saturday Snippets for 18.February.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

  • This week we finished getting all of the cabinets mounted to the wall and ceiling panels. The original idea we had for thermally isolating the 80-20 cabinets from the van exterior wasn’t actually necessary anymore (Jonty had a better idea). So he manufactured different mounting brackets, drilled holes, installed rivnuts and we attached everything together. With this new design, the 80-20 cabinets will sit flush against the ceiling and the wall, still thermally isolated from the van metal, and provide a nice clean finish. | Sprinter van conversion interior | Sprinter van conversion interior wall mounts

  • Now that the panels are basically finished, it’s time to start thinking about covering them! I had a few practice attempts with pieces of scrap wood. It was definitely a good idea to practice, because it gave me an idea of how thick the foam-backed vinyl really is! The stuff we bought has 1/4-inch foam adhered onto vinyl and, while it looks like it would squish down quite a bit, there’s still some bulk around the corners. We ended up having to enlarge the holes for our ceiling lights, as a result. | Sprinter van conversion wall panels | Sprinter van conversion wall panels

  • I got my first taste at wearing welding goggles. Not to actually weld (I left that part up to Jonty, he was plasma cutting). I can feel your jealousy oozing through the screen 😉 | Sprinter van conversion

Pictures during the week of 18.February.2017:

We had our Family Day long weekend this past week (I’m pretty sure the rest of Canada has their long weekend this weekend. Good planning, BC government!). We took Monday off from van work and enjoyed the sunshine. We got out for a late-morning cycle around UBC. There was still some snow on the ground, but the temperatures were rising, and it felt so darned good to breathe some fresh air! Then we hopped on a bus and headed downtown for an afternoon of walking, eating and having a drink. It ended up being a really full day, but a really great one, as well 🙂 | Vancouver Gastown buildings | Vancouver Gastown buildings | Vancouver Gastown buildings

Happy Weekend!

Saturday Snippets: 28.January.2017

A part of me still doesn’t recognize that it’s 2017. I think I’ve typed “2016” for every single Saturday Snippets of this year! At least I’m consistent 🙂

Yesterday was the first day that the weather had some warmth in the air. We managed to get out on bikes, after climbing in an impromptu 1-hour bouldering competition up at UBC. The entire afternoon was really fun! It felt so good to be out cycling again, too.

Here’s what caught our eye online during the week of 28.January.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

On Moby News (aka Sprinter Conversion Update):

  • We’ve been working on a few piece-meal jobs this week, but sometimes those end up being quite satisfying!
  • Jonty CNC’d, stained and installed the mounts for our inverter and electrical circuit boards. All of the big holes in the mount are to aid in heat dissipation from the inverter. We think it looks pretty great, and Jonty was quite pleased with how easy it was to gain access to all the wiring in the back. | Sprinter van conversion - inverter box | Sprinter van conversion - inverter box | Sprinter van conversion - inverter box

  • Last week, we were working on getting the measurements and contours for the wall panels correct. This week we started CNC-ing out the real panels! We’re using 1/4-inch marine-grade plywood, which will be covered with the foam-backed vinyl we purchased a few months ago. We have the back panels cut and temporarily installed, to get the bolt location correct, and will hopefully have the upper panels done next week. | Sprinter van conversion - wall panels

  • Dare I say, it’s almost starting to look like a home on wheels, instead of a bit construction site? Perhaps I should emphasize the word almost 🙂

Pictures from the week of 28.January.2017:

The week started out with beautiful weather! We had a bit of gloom mid-week, and then it’s picked up again. Our Monday morning walk took us to the lumber store (exciting times) and then to Kits Beach. Everybody was out – parents, kids, dogs, people running, people doing TRX, people splashing in the ocean. It was the first time in a long time that the sun felt warm on our backs! | Vancouver walk - Kits Beach | Vancouver walk - Kits Beach | Vancouver walk - Kits Beach | Vancouver walk - Kits Beach | Vancouver walk - Kits Beach | Vancouver walk - Kits Beach

Happy Weekend!

Saturday Snippets: 14.January.2017

Today marks my first full year of doing Saturday Snippets! It’s been the one consistent posting day I’ve kept up every week, which feels pretty good. And with that said, I think I’m going to try a new style for the next year, and see how I do with it.

I’m going to include the snippets we’ve found interesting throughout the week still (because I like reading through that style of posts on other blogs), but I’m also going to try and include more pictures (because I’m 99% sure most people just like to look at pictures!). The pictures could be from our weekly walks or activities, and will often include our progress update on Moby, the Sprinter Conversion – so I hope you like the new style, any feedback is welcome!

And with that said, here’s a few things that caught our eye online. Our Saturday Snippets for 14.January.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

On Moby News (aka Sprinter Van Conversion):

  • Unfortunately, no pictures to post this week. Jonty has been designing the wall panels and, like most things, the design takes time. He’s planning on starting to CNC the prototypes next week (the weather should be warmer – wahoo!).
  • A replacement PCB is on the way (finally!) for a faulty battery management unit.
  • Often, his design process for the van looks like this:
    1. Prototype a design in FreeCAD.
    2. Figure out how to lay out the design on the material we’re cutting, in order to minimize wasted material for the cut.
    3. CNC the part he’s designed (using a cheaper or waste material).
    4. Bring it into the van and see how well it fits.
    5. Make any tweaks to the design, if necessary, then CNC again.
    6. Repeat this until we’re happy with the design, then CNC the final product using the proper (i.e. more expensive) material.
  • This may not be everyone’s process, but it works for us!

Pictures during the week of 14.January.2017:

Our week started out a bit grey and on the plus-side of zero. We headed out for our weekly Monday walk, and decided to visit the Iona Beach Regional Park. It’s right by the airport and people often head out here to watch the planes take off and land. We have never been, and there was a super-long peninsula that looked walkable (on google maps), so off we went!

When we started walking, we had no idea how long the peninsula was  (turns out, about 4 km), nor did we know what we would find at the end (this was it!). It’s amazing how far out into the ocean it stretches! At the end, you’re almost inline with the furthest point of UBC.

Our second walk of the week took us to Coal Harbour, to catch the sunrise. We had our weekly 6 am gym session downtown, followed by our long-standing post-workout breakfast date at 7 am. The parking meter didn’t start until 9 am, so we decided to walk down to the water to catch the sunrise. The morning was cold and clear, and we thought the views were pretty grand.

Happy Weekend!