Tuesday, January 28, 2014

DIY Pitching Mound

We have two boys (7 and 11) and from the beginning of April until the end of July it's baseball 24-7 at our house.  By the end of the season the lawn is bare where the kids have setup their make shift pitching mound.  I decided to remedy that by building a wooden mound instead.  I wanted to build something large enough that the kids could grow into it, but still portable enough to move it now and then.  I also wanted to be able to use it inside during the winter in the basement.

Here's what I ended up building:

Materials list:

  • 3 - 2x6x10ft treated lumber
  • 1 - 2x6.x8ft treated lumber
  • 1 - 2x4x8ft treated lumber
  • 1 - 4x8x1/2 treated plywood
  • 1 - box 1 1/4" coated deck screens
  • 1 - box 3" coated deck screws
  • 1 - pitching rubber (Amazon)
  • 7 - 1/2" reversible foam mats 
  • 1 - tube foam adhesive
The dimensions of the mound are 84" x 42".  The end with the pitching rubber is the full width of a 2x6 (~5 1/2" ) and it tapers down to 2" at the bottom.  I choose that height because in little league the mound is 6" above home plate.  The flat section with the rubber is 22" inches wide before it begins to taper.

I cut away a section from the sides and back of each board to help reduce the weight and to also give the grass underneath the mound a chance to breathe.  It also makes it much easier to lift up if you need to move it.  I plan add some portable wheels eventually, but I'll worry about that this spring when it's time to move it :)

Here are a few more pictures from different angles:

You can see from the picture below that I set the bottom of the plywood 7/8" of an inch below the top of the 2x6's.  That way when I added the 1/2" foam it would be roughly flush with the top. The pitching rubber is 3/4" of an inch thick so it sits above the foam slightly.  I debated on adding an extra piece of wood below the rubber to raise it up a bit more, but I figured that the foam would compress some after use.

The reason that I used foam rubber tiles is because I had a bunch of them laying in my garage collecting dust.  I considered indoor/outdoor carpet, but I thought the kids would appreciate having a bit more cushion.  I also seriously consisted buying a cheap rubber stall mat, but the mat alone was close to 70 pounds.

He's an angle from the bottom and as you can see it's not very pretty. If I had had some extra 2x4's laying around I would have built a 1 1/2" continuous frame around the perimeter to support the plywood.  Instead I simply used the scrape pieces that I had left over from side and back cutouts. It seems to be plenty stable for the kids, so it worked out OK.  You can't tell from the pictures, but I also drilled some drainage holes at the bottom of the mound.

 Hopefully someone will find this useful.  We'll see you in Williamsport (go Coon Rapids Andover American Little League!)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Man Vs. Mosquito live on Android Market!

We just launched our first Android using the AndEngine game engine. Check it out at the Android market here:

Man Vs. Mosquito

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Garminfone hard plastic case

I recently purchased a Garminfone from T-Mobile.  I made the switch from an iPhone 2G because I dropped the iPhone and cracked the screen.   After that experience I decided that it wasn't going to happen to my Garminfone. Unfortunately, the Garminfone hasn't sold very well so there aren't very many companies making cases for it.  I decided to try a case from Ebay that's sold by Wireless Accessories.  If you search on eBay for "garminfone case fire burn orange" you will find it.

Here are a few pictures.

I couldn't find any reviews on the case so I wasn't sure what to expect.  The case is relatively attractive and it comes in a variety of colors.  The case material is a hard plastic and it comes in either a shiny or rubberized finish.  I went with the rubberized version because I didn't want it slipping out of my hand.  The case comes in two pieces that snap together.  Once you snap it together it's really difficult to get apart again.   The phone fits very snugly in the case.  The openings for the speaker and camera are well placed and the case isn't terribly bulky.

Unfortunately, those are the only nice things that I can say about it.  When I bought it I figured that it probably wouldn't work with the stock car mount.  From the 3rd picture you can see that there's a round hump on the back of phone.  This is apparently designed to be used with a belt clip.  The problem is that it sticks out about an 1/8 of an inch.  Without a case the phone snaps tightly into the car mount, but with the case it's too thick.  On top of that the opening for the mount isn't wide enough (see picture 4).  The mount is about 1/2 of an inch wider than the opening in the case.  I don't even know why they bothered cutting an opening for it.

The first thing that I noticed when I put the phone into the case was that it was really hard to turn the phone on.  The case fits very snugly, and the opening for the power button is large enough to easily access the button.  It's really hard to explain, but the case compresses the phone in manner that makes the button not work properly.  Without the case the power button will move about 1/6 of an inch.  With the case it moves less than 1/32 of an inch so it's really frustrating to use.  I get the distinct impression that the manufacturer never actually tried the case on a real phone.   They must have only tested it against a demo phone.  This flaw pretty much makes the case worthless.

So to summarize:

  • Looks nice
  • Solidly built with a nice feel
  • Slim fitting case
  • Cheap ~$8
  • The case is too thick to use with the stock mount
  • THe opening in the case it too narrow for the car mount
  • The case is too snug so you can't turn on the phone properly.

Friday, July 23, 2010

House listed on MLS

You can now find the property on MLS by searching for number MLS# 3951123.  Here's a direct link to the Edina Reality site: Edina Reality Listing.