Thursday, June 29, 2006

The CD Tower Fiasco of Death

Last Friday evening, as I was about to leave the house for my fortnightly Dungeons & Dragons manly high-stakes poker game, I was almost crushed to death by a crapolanch of epic proportions when the overloaded rotating CD Storage Tower of CD Storage leaned over and dumped the sixty or so CDs perched on top of it on me while I was tying my shoes.

As I lay groaning amongst the CDs, gray backing plates and crystal lids with one hinge busted off, Mrs Stevie arrived home and stepped over me with a witty "I thought you were going out to play soldiers tonight!" I explained the situation as best I could but she had already fled upstairs to do whatever it is she does with the door locked. I gathered up the debris and reorganised it, skillfully matching discs to storage cases and cases to lids with little regard for the matching of CD label and little-booklet-trapped-in-the-lid and made my way ot of the house, staunching the two or three dozen minor nicks left by razor-sharp CD lid shards.

And a manly time was then had for about four hours or so.

Saturday dawned and I realized that the CD tower problem wouldn't go away. Fortunately I had an appointment to get the Steviemobile serviced that would preclude Bizarre CD Tower Behaviour diagnosis and so had a couple of hours to myself. Once back I unloaded the 400 CDs from the tower and gave it a twirl. There was a disturbing crunching noise every rotation and the tower leaned at that point in a disturbing manner not conducive to peace of mind, CD-dumpage wise. Clearly "action" was needed. I turned the thing upside down, discovering a mound of ground plastic granules on the floor. "This not look good" said Mr Brain, and he wasn't wrong.

The turntable bearing on these things is actually a shallow plastic pipe, about 10 inches in diameter and, I dunno, maybe four deep that is latched inside the recessed base of the tower by four lugs. Once I had this detached by a process of gentle levering and genteel swearing I discovered that the bearing itself was a sandwich of ball bearings held captive in a ring of polythene. Elegant and simple.

The whole thing might have worked very well too, if not for the desire to produce the base as cheaply as possible. It was a double pipe of very thin plastic, with regular cross webbings to hold it all together. The flanged bearing surface ran between these two pipes, and was quite thin. Over the course of ten years the ball bearings had worn a shallow track in the flanged surface, deep enough to actually penetrate in two places, at which point the bearing surface had fractured and collapsed.

I considered several plans to repair the surface over a cup of tea, but none of them worked in Mr Brain's simulations without coming apart a few days from now. There was only one thing for it. I grabbed a piece of scrap pine from the coffee table which fitted inside the old flangeway quite nicely. It was warped so I gave it a couple of minutes with Mr Belt-Sander set to regulo 6 and leveled it. Then I grabbed a section of an old computer desk that fell apart on me owing to a basement flood too many and cut it to match the inside dimension of the recess in the tower base with Mr Japanese Pull-Saw. Then, weilding the Mighty Tube of Gorilla Glue of Fixing Stuff, I wet all the surfaces and stuck the pine slab into the base and the bit of computer desk onto the pine slab with lashings of glue, placing my Yes, Bowie, Fairports and Mrs Stevie's Elton John collections atop it in lieu of a clamp while the glue cured. Once it had set up I had converted the recessed base of the tower into a nice flat flush one. To this I screwed one of the 12 inch lazy susan bearings I rejected for use in the Hexagonal Jewelry Display Case of Inconvenience.

Thus it was that a mere 6 hours or so after I got home that the CD tower was once again happily storing CDs. It actually runs a lot smoother now. The bearing seems to only come into its own when loaded with whatever 400 CDs amount to. It bound up when I tried to use it for the Jewelry Display Case of Annoyance.

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