Monday, August 28, 2006

Vacuum Forming

Several years ago I was asked to help put together some costumes. As usual I never actually pulled it off. I couldn't find what kind of plastic I needed. There's lots of pages on vacuum forming, but they always seem to assume you know where to get random sheets of plastic...

Well tonight I made that particular discovery.

From this page on

Sometimes called HIPs [High-Impact Polystyrene Sheet] I've had the best luck searching for HIS [High-Impact Styrene Sheet] Below are some suggested sources.


The problem that brought this up was, I'm wondering if this is a practical way to build some new trim pieces for my car. The old pieces just arent holding up. Or maybe just use the plastic to mold more durable fiberglass bits.

Of course that would require a nearly 4ft vacuum table. :)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

More of what I've been up to...

In June I worked on my car for nearly two weeks.

My clutch was headed out so I decided to go ahead and replace it. Unfortunately in
the final step of removal I broke the return spring of the throwout bearing. I would not suggest you do the same. Otherwise this job would have only taken a couple of days.

In the above picture there is a cordless impact wrench. That particular one was $70 from home depot (bought at 8:45 one night while working on my dad's car (home depot closes at 9)). I highly suggest you go buy one of these if you work on your car and don't have a compressor, its a true life saver!

That's the spring there, the out of focus brass colored thing..

A couple of weeks after that I finally made it out to Barry's U-Pull-It Junkyard, I had a hot tip that there was a CRX with the front fender I needed for my car.

This was the generous donor CRX.

The Recovered bumper posing on my car, right before I made out of there like a bandit! :]

Look a CRX SI!!

Barry's is a heavenly place to be for many possibilities.....

The bumper still isn't on my car. I intend to back it up with some fiberglass to reinforce it before mounting it to my car.

The week after the 4th of July Hyrum and Allie and Ian came down to Alabama to visit.

Before this visit I was frantically trying to get the projector panel working. It needed power then I would test it to see if it really worked at all, then I would build the necessary adapter cable for video. So I got all my electronics stuff out and made my work area on the dining room table....

Then I built a little circuit to adapt power from an ATX power supply to a cable stolen from an old keyboard.

I checked everything 4 times, but everytime I turned on the supply with everything hooked up, the power supply blipped its fan then acted dead. After I was CERTAIN that everything was hooked up right I gave up. The panel IS DEAD! After I had spent at least $50 on supplies and hookups, and the other $60 I spent on the panel...Nothing.

Then A New Hope.

When Hyrum and Allie arrived, Hyrum brought an offcast LCD monitor that he had rescued from disposal at his work. So what did we do? We took it apart! :D

Then I built a holder for it to sit over the Overhead Projector, so the projector could cast light through the LCD delivering an image to my screen.

Unfortunately, When we turned on the LCD , in spite of my efforts it was a mirror image (left to right) of what it should have been, BUT it DID display an image. Ever since I heard about this LCD projection thing I was always a bit skeptical, but now I've seen it works. But the combination of the screen being flipped and the FFL (flat flexible cable (as they call it on the lumenlab forums)) problem, which meant the top 10 percent and the left 20 percent of the image were blocked by circuit boards, and I couldn't find a video card setting/tweaker to fix the mirror flip...

So i decided to reassemble the LCD as a regular monitor. At some point in the future I WILL build a proper lumenlabs style LCD projector. But I cant yet. :P

The last thing I would like to talk about is some shelves me and Oliver salvaged from disposal. I saw these driving home one day. They were setup there outside an A/C supply place. They intended to break them down and put them in the dumpster. So I called them the next day and found out they were destined for the dump and salvaged them.

This is some serious shelving folks, I could make any kind of mount/base/structure with this stuff. I Got about 9 shelves worth. So I went ahead and set one up in my storage..

I LOVE my car, the versatility of a CRX as you can see, is incredible! :D

Oliver said it looked like a computer store in my storage....I cant see why he said that, HAHA!


Sometimes my ideas come to me all at once....
And sometimes I even draw them out....
Then a very few times I scan that drawing and post the idea on my blog :D

So, I was laying on my bed a minute ago, thinking as I have many times before how much I would just like to use the computer from right there. Then I realized that I had an LCD monitor sitting right in front of me and it began to become a possibility, if only I had a monitor arm that could reach over my bed...(or a projector...but anyways). I started thinking about the process of building a monitor arm (buying one is for people flush with cash....and who don't know how to weld :](which gives me another idea...). So I ruled out wood because I don't think its strong enough and really like using metal. So I started to think about what an arm would look like, it would need an arm with a pivot on the end, hmm sounds hard....unless.

So I hit on the idea of using the remains of discarded bikes, I would use a bottom tube for the top arm and another for the vertical mounting piece. Then I drew the whole thing up.

By the way, my other idea from above was a bumper sticker that would say.
"Buying things is for People who don't know how to weld"

Sunday, August 13, 2006

I made it onto Makezine!

Check it out, I posted a little article on making a pizza sauce can furnace and then Makezine posted it on their blog. :D

Edit: Sorry I forgot to post the they are...
Makezine Blog

Thursday, August 03, 2006

4 Month Old Pictures

What have I been up to, since the last time I really posted in January?
And why haven't I posted any on the blog?
Well, Alotta things I've been meaning to blog, but haven't managed to get around to till now... (plus picture upload was broke last time I tried this post)

In April I went to Blakely Park in Spanish Fort, Alabama; then followed that mini-trip up with a real one to Sand Rock, Alabama; Birmingham and Finally to Montgomery to see MuteMath, I couldn't rent a car for the whole weekend and stay in mobile.

Here's some of the better pics :]

The two above are from sunset on the river at blakely. This was the highlight of the trip (visually at least). Unfortunately after it got dark I noticed (would be hard not to) that a couple of sites down they had an elaborate tent replete with a generator running an a/c ( yeah that's camping! ). So it was quite hard to rest, or think, or do anything other than listen to that thing run all night!!

This is the view from Rock Village, in Sand Rock, Alabama! Next time I go I have definitely gotta camp out and see what dawn looks like! (the first is facing east, the second is south, it was near sunset at the time). Sand Rock is one of my absolute favorite places (or at least..of the ones I've been to so far). This view is mezmorizing to me, it completely consumes my attention. :D Then there's the fact that to get this view REQUIRES you scramble up onto the rocks, and your right there on the edge, no safety rails or ropes, it is fully possible you could fall off. It's a good kind of exhilaration. I guess to get the long view (from the mountainside) risk is required. :)

Look someone wrote my name on the rocks. :) (not me)

This is an attempted picture of Mutemath. The camera I took this with (that I borrowed from Ashley), absolutely refuses to take a good picture at a concert.

Look its my name again, on Mutemath's keyboard this time. Sweet!