Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Customized PC

A pictorial blog of my customized PC.

Kustomize your life!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Make a Powerful LED Bicycle Headlight from a Vintage Flashlight

This is a really easy project, it looks awesome on antique & classic bicycles and provides a lot of light with a long run time. It also looks great on modern cruiser bicycles.

Tools: A screw driver and a pair of pliers.

Things you will need:
  1. A Vintage Flashlight, 2 or 3 D Cell that takes a flange style bulb. Click here for eBay's listing of vintage flashlights.
  2. D Cell Batteries
  3. Wald #40 Flashlight Bracket
  4. A TerraLUX TLE-1F MiniStar1 1-Watt Flange Base LED Bulb Replacement.
  5. Optional, plastic straps.
  6. Optional, Plastidip Rubberized Coating.

Why D cells? D cells are inexpensive. The Family Dollar stores seem to have the best prices on name brand batteries. A pair of D cell batteries cost the same as a pair of AA cells and has much more capacity. Also, this is the size flashlight that will fit the Wald Flashlight Bracket.

Why the TerraLUX bulb replacement? It's one of the best available, being extremely efficient and relatively inexpensive. There are lots of LED bulb replacements available, but this is one of the only LED bulb replacements that will maintain a steady light output over the life of the battery.

Step 1. Get your vintage flashlight.

Where to get a vintage flashlight? I bought mine on by searching for "vintage flashlight." It's an Eveready Captain with a large reflector.. Verify with the seller that the thing lights up. If the seller can't or won't do this for you, move on to another seller. There are plenty of these old flashlights available. Be sure to ask the seller what type of bulb the flashlight takes If it takes the screw in type bulb, you may be out of luck. TerraLUX has discontinued the LED bulb replacement  for screw in bulbs. You'll want the flange type bulb base with no threads and no bayonet pins. Click here for eBay's listing of vintage flashlights.

Step 2. Remove and discard the regular flashlight bulb.

Step 3. Install the TerraLUX TLE-1F LED Bulb Replacement.

Step 4. Install the batteries and test the flashlight. If it doesn't light up, be sure that the batteries are good and installed properly.

Step 5. Mount the Wald Flashlight Bracket.

Step 6. Install the flashlight into the Wald Flashlight Bracket.

Step 7. Optionally, secure the flashlight with a couple of plastic straps for rough trails and easy theft deterrent.

Step 8. Optionally, coat your Wald Flashlight Bracket with Plastidip rubberized coating. Follow the directions on the can.

You're done and now have a VERY kool LED bicycle headlight!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sturmey Archer 3 Speed Hub Oil Cap Replacement Alternative

There are replacement lubricators (oil caps) available for the old Sturmey Archer 3 speed and other internal gear bicycle hubs for roughly $2.00, but then you can end up paying $9.00 or more for shipping. This is a really inexpensive alternative to replacing the oil cap.

I used a nylon, 1/4"-20 machine screw with the threaded part cut down to roughly 1/8" long. I used a hack saw blade to cut the screw. I paid $0.45 for a pack of 3 screws at my local hardware store. Simply unscrew your broken lubricator from the hub and replace it with your modified nylon 1/4"-20 machine screw.

These socket cap screws would work great because you can use a long Allen wrench to insert and extract it. I'll have to see if I can find one locally.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A project inspired by The Duke, John Wayne

John Wayne's last movie, The Shootist is my all time favorite of his and in this movie his character, J.B. Books wears a hat with a band made of diamondback rattlesnake skin that just screams "Wild West." Now that I live in Texas, I gotta have one!

I'm not about to buy one because every one that I see is way too gaudy for my taste, having fancy buckles, conchos, beads and fringe. The hat band in the movie is very basic ... just the skin with a double loop buckle.
There's no lack of sewing machines around here, but most of them mom has setup for quilting. I've been dragging this old Singer 99K around with me for about 7 years ... way too long for it to be idle. The first part of the project is to clean, lube, test and adjust the ol' Singer and then get it setup for leather crafts.

After cleaning out 50 years of dust, thread and other debris, a thorough lube job, belt adjustment and fiddling with the tension, I was able to make very good stitches with heavy thread and a leather needle through two layers of fleeced vinyl.

Found this table on craigslist for $20. I mounted the machine to the left to avoid having to make a spacer.

First, I had to have a hat to put a band on. I found and won this beat-up old Stetson with an ugly macramé style band and ridiculous, pink feather on eBay for $2.05. It turned out to be in never worn condition, just bent up from lack of proper storage. I removed the band and feather, bent the brim back into shape and steamed the rest of it back into something that resembled a western hat.

It's looking a LOT better! I have another hat that needs a band and now that I know I can make rattlesnake skin bands like this, I'll do a detailed "how to" for the next hat band. This band cost me around $25 in materials. They retail for $50 and up!

Items that I used:

Suede strip, 1 1/2" wide x 42" long, available here (click)
Concho, Texas Star, Scalloped, available here (click)
Rattlesnake Skin (I don't have a reliable, continuous source yet)

Other items that I used:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Truck Tonneau Cover, Mother / Son Project

Today I finished this tonneau cover that my mother and I worked on for two days. The old one is in the photo below. It's so shrunken and tight that only one of the three support bows can be installed.

Here you can see how weathered it is. It was really tough to snap it down in cold weather.

Here are some of the items that I used:

It looks like it should be an easy project, but there's more to it than meets the eye. First, the front of the tonneau is 2 inches wider than the rear and then we had to compensate for the support bows. We also had to piece it together from two pieces of vinyl. I could have ordered one wide piece, but it would have cost nearly as much as a new tonneau.

I bought 4 yards of marine vinyl from Joanne Fabrics and used Coats & Clark UV resistant polyester thread with a Singer denim needle. If you try this yourself with the same thread, do NOT use the leather needles 110/18 as they chew the thread up. In order to sew the two pieces together on the ol' Viking machine, we had to roll one side up so it would fit in the throat of the machine (not shown.) It took the both of us to feed it in without it binding.

We decided not to use welting on the edge like the original. Instead, we hid 1" wide nylon strapping for a cleaner look and added strength.

Below, the old tonneau looks almost gray compared to the new vinyl.

Test fit without snaps. Got it right the first time!

The support bows adjusted to 3 inches higher than the rails in the center.

First, all 4 corner snaps were installed, one on each side of the corner.

Next, the center most snaps on each side were installed. I continued to install snaps in the middle of snaps already installed to keep from pulling too tight to one side.

Marking the snap centers.

I destroyed the hole punch. It was only able to punch 7 holes through the nylon strap before it was too dull. I continued to use the punch to mark the snap holes.

I finished going through the tonneau with an awl and then installing the snaps.

I used nickel plated brass snaps that I had left over from my Amish buggy business.

I used adapters for my Vice Grips to crimp the snaps.