Floorboards?! We don't need no stinkin' floorboards!

On this occasion I repaired the driver's side floorboard of my pickup using only scrap metal taken from a leaky fuel tank I happened to have lying around. But first a little background on this truck. My Dad bought this thing for $600 in 2003. This was before I got involved with auto repair, and consequently, he did not consult me on it's mechanical soundness before purchasing. It had a blown head gasket and cracked head. I put an engine in this thing some time in 2004 and returned it to him. It was a second vehicle for many years until I asked to borrowed it in 2013 and he simply gave it to me. This is what the floorboard looked like underneath the carpet.

Several years prior, I'd replaced the fuel tank in my B-body dodge van, and still had the leaky tank hanging around. I decided, since it's a fairly rust-resistant alloy, to use it as the patch material. After a couple of hours of measuring, cutting, stretching, shrinking, and welding; the floor is whole again. Only this time it has some amount of corrugation.

The weld quality is poor, partly due to the degraded quality of both the base metal (I hadn't removed all the corroded material, just the parts that were very flimsy) and the patch material; but mostly it's due to the 110v flux core (no gas) mig power source I was using. It cost less than $200 new. One does get what one pays for, and this case is no exception.

Here is the repair again in 2017. The brown is Rustoleum "rusty metal" primer.

This repair was very inexpensive. A few ounces of flux core wire, some time, and a piece of scrap metal. There is something very satisfying about achieving results with no material investment. The primer I applied when I did the whole truck exterior in it.

More images in the gallery.

OLPC Keyboard Mod

The OLPC-XO1 is a nifty piece of kit, although its low processing power makes it nearly useless. This little guy has the best wi-fi range of any device I've tested. I acquired it back in 2007 during a "Give one, get one" event. I had some fun replacing the keyboard. It originally featured a rubber membrane keyboard that utilized the stainless chassis as a groundplane. The keyboard is nearly unusable since the force required to press a key is less than what it takes to sense the key with your fingertips. The only way to type on it is by staring and pecking. I saw an instructable where the author hacked in a tiny usb keyboard. The keys on the XO are small, even by child standards, so it was remarkable that there even was one whose physical characteristics were similar. The original keyboard controller is integrated with the mouse controller, so removing it isn't really an option. Adapting the new keyboard to the old controller would require detailed knowledge of both that wasn't available to me. So instead, the instructable author made room for the new keyboard controller recessed between its backplane and the chassis cover, soldered it to the usb controller and called it a day. I followed the instructions pretty much as-is.

Because of the small form factor, the overall improvement was negligible. There is some distortion to the case because the silver cap (visible in the third image) causes an interference fit. I should have relocated it with short pig-tails. They new keyboard isn't much better to type on either. The small form factor precludes touch typing, though the addition of dots on the F and J keys does make homing easier. The backlight control is missing and will have to be bound to keys in software. The other functions appear to simply be bound to function keys. While this mod was fun to do, I can't recommend it to anyone else, it simply isn't worth the trouble.