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12 December, 2014

Scratching my head... How do I remove this grommet?

So I noticed my truck running a bit tough, and sounding funny, like I dropped a Flowmaster muffler in place of the stocker. Admittedly the sound is pretty cool.

And then the code got thrown....

Out comes the SCT XCal2 and I check the code to find a 0016 and look it up, sure enough, it is Variable Cam Timing Solenoid bank1....

Now that is no shock, the 5.4L 3V Ford Triton V8 is somewhat known for VCT issues. So I order BOTH solenoids, hey if one is going, the other isn't far behind right?

And then realize the solenoids doin't come with the little metal / rubber grommets that seal the solenoid to the valve cover, so I make a mad dash to the Ford dealer to grab the grommets, and then back home to follow the instructions in the manual...

In one of the early on steps after disconnecting the battery, and wiring harness connector for the solenoid, you are supposed to simply and easily pull the grommet from the valve cover....

NOT such a simple task...

As I write, the grommet is not leaking, but it IS pried up about 1/2 way and waiting for me to climb my happy butt back up into that engine compartment to finish yanking that dumb thing out of there...

It is repair jobs like this, that should be oh so simple that make me wonder... Do the manufacturers intentionally hire sadistic engineers or is this engineering choices driven by the accounting department?

Either way, it is making my life tougher than it needs to be...

I will take another whack at it tomorrow, maybe I will have more luck!

25 October, 2014

Building my own Camera Jib / Crane

In my research on how to improve my videos, one of the items that keeps cropping up is a camera jib / crane which will allow for smooth pan / raise / lower of perspective, etc...



There are tons of DIY howtos on Youtube for building various designs of jibs, and after a good deal of research, I had several requirements which were.



#1. Minimum top camera elevation of 8' while mounted on the tripod.

#2. Breaks down to an easily transportable size, no harder to transport than the tripod itself.

#3. Easy to build.

#4. Reasonable cost.

#5. Adjustable length.

#6. Fixed level, and rotating level capability.



After reviewing a LARGE number of camera jib builds, I came across one that while not perfect, for the most part suits my needs.



The video from the gentleman that built the inspiration jib is here...







There are several build quality issues, and minor design flaws, or at least choices I disagree with that I will be doing differently...



Yes, I am building one...



My first steps were today. So far I have...



#1. Done the shopping for items I need to build this. The extension poles I got came from Home Depot, they were on clearance so I got lucky.

#2. The casters I got were close, but not dead on, and I am NOT using 1x4 stock, but rather scrap 3/4" plywood, and 2x6 that I will be cutting rabbets into. I have removed the wheels from the small casters courtesy of my Dremel and a cutoff wheel. The large caster axle is simply a nut and bolt arrangement so I simply unbolted the wheel...

#3. I have the plug pieces for the PVC / small casters and the platform cut and glued up in clamps right now. Unlike the gent who made the inspiration piece, I have sanded my parts, and gotten them smooth prior to getting them in glue, and I am NOT adding screws to it. However I WILL be using a set screw to help retain the plugs a bit better. I used a 1.5" hole saw to cut the plug. Yes I have a hole in the middle, I just don't care that much....



I was unable to source up the yolk parts however I am figuring on fabricating a suitable yolk for each side. Most likely will be made from either aluminum, or steel. Depends on what I can source up from my scrap buckets... I think I have some aluminum. Either way, I will be connecting to the small end of the poles using rivets, which means no cutting of the poles themselves.



For the weight / counterbalance issue, I am thinking about adapting the aluminum extrustion to PVC, and then some small athletic lifting weights held in with some sort of retained cap.... Not sure how to explain this, Hopefully in the next few posts I can get it clear...

11 October, 2014

Roller Fairlead LIcense Plate Bracket Installation and Demo

This is the second related video to this. Actually a modification of the first. I have added a functional demonstration on to the end. Sorry about the foggy video, It's been raining and it was pretty much impossible to keep the camera lens from fogging up....



I sincerely hope my blog posts, and videos are helping you folks, and look forward to your feedback.



If you like what I am doing here and would like to support Daves Workshop, please feel free to make a donation using the Donate Now button on the bottom of the page. Thanks!



EZ Flip License Plate Bracket Installation.

Hopefully this is understandable. My truck has a winch mounted in front of the OE license plate holder. The clip on type license plate holders are just begging for plate theft, so I opted to install a permanent flip up type license plate bracket onto the Roller Fairlead. I am going through the process of installing and figuring it out as I am shooting the video, I sped through the more mundane parts, and omitted the final installation as it is simmply the reverse of removal, I also omitted using a dremel to elongate the mount holes and turn them into slots. I could do a video on that process if you'd like, but I figure folks kind of know how to do that... Let me know if you need to see it done!




09 October, 2014

Roller fairlead license plate mount installation.http://astore.amazon.com/davework-20/detail/B00FH5KKM6

For my readers that own 4x4, or service trucks of some sort, and are equipped with a front mounted winch, I have found a workable solution to replace jamming your front license plate up on the dashboard, or using bailing wire to hold it to the grille...

On my 2004 Ford F150, I have an Engo E9000 winch installed on a Go Rhino brush guard / winch mount. It looks great, and pulls even better. But living and driving in a state that requires both a front and a rear license plate on my vehicle required some serious digging...

At first I tried the Smittybuilt roller fairlead license plate bracket. Simply put, Don't bother. The weight of the unit itself simply slides down the rollers, there is great lateral control and hold, just not vertical, and no permanent mount of any sort, just grab and pull and off comes your license plate for any thief that wants an easy plate to steal...

I found out the hard way how easy it was to lose my front plate. Earlier this week I got a call from Officer Muir of the Friendswood Texas Police department asking if I drove a beige Ford truck...

Fearing my truck had been stolen, I shakily responded yes I do... Is there a problem?

He kindly informed me that he believed he might have my license plate, it was found in my church parking lot...

I guess I parked too close to the bushes on Sunday.

A quick order of the EZ Flip License Plate bracket and a quick installation and I now have the problem permanently fixed...

I should have noted the fit notes. My Engo E9000 appears to be nothing more than a rebadged Smittybuilt 9K, and the fairlead looks the same. The EZ Flip says it does NOT fit Smittybuilt... I found out the hard way, they are right...

Some quick grinding with my rotary tool and the holes were elongated sufficiently to securely hold the bracket, and off to the races I went...

I have a suggestion to the folks that make the EZ Flip. Why don't you set your laser cutter to make the mount holes elongated such that it will fit Smittybuilt, and Warn style roller fairleads? It might take an extra half a second in manufacturing, but would open up a MUCH larger market for your product!

Bypassing that issue, the install went very smoothly.
Step #1. Gather tools needed. These include a Phillips head screwdriver, Outward opening spring clip pliers, a 1/4" socket set with extension and U joint, and a set of metric allen wrenches.
Step #2. Unbo the unit, and remove the protective plastic from the metal surfaces.
Step #3. Using the small flat head screws and locknuts, attach the plastic clips to the metal frame.
Step #4. If your fairlead is installed correctly, the spring clips will be on the BOTTOM of the roller fairlead. Careful remove the clips and pins leaving the rollers in place.
Step #5. Assemble the license plate to the frame. Top of plate goes toward the hinge.
Step #6. With license plate facing away from you, line up the mount holes in the hinge ears to the holes in the fairlead, and reinstall pins.
Step #7. Reinstall spring clips. If you have them available, now might be a good time to get new ones put on.

If you did everything correctly you should be able to swing the plate down into position, and click it on to your rollers to secure it. Pulling in a rotating motion from the bottom of the plate unhooks it and the spring swings it up and out of the way to allow for winch use...

This thing is just so brilliant, and necessary for those of us in 2 plate states to avoid tickets that it ought to be included with the winch, or at least the fairlead... Like I said, this thing is brilliant!

Speaking of brilliant, there is ONE configuration I can think of where this will NOT work... On my fairlead there are holes right behind the pin holes to mount off road lights. If those lights were mounted, they would interfere with the operation of the plate bracket. Long story short, won't work, at least not well...

Now that I am done, I have a solid, secure, and somewhat good looking plate mount that keeps me from getting the attention of my local police department.

All things considered, a win win for me!

28 September, 2014

Picking up supplies for projects... Not much shop time.

Although this was technically a long weekend for me as I had 3 days off of my regular job, I wasn't able to get much actual shop time. I have been spending quality time on the road here and there, visiting with in laws, doing other various bits of business that took me up into Houston... so a trip to 4 Wheel Parts Wholesalers was in order. Anyone that has been in the off road scene for more than 10 minutes knows that the word Wholesalers in 4 wheel parts name is a LIE... but I digress...

You see the Chrome lug nuts for my truck are old enough, well... the chrome is peeling off. So I had a fresh set on order and needed to pick them up...

While I was there, I needed to replace the roller fairlead license plate mount bracket. The one that I Have now simply clips to the rollers and is super easy to steal...I picked up a license plate mount that is supposed to swing up and away from the fairlead when released, yet remain firmly mounted on the truck to at least somewhat deter easy theft. There are NO instructions what so ever, and at first glance, the way the mount is built does not appear to be able to function at all, but a second look and some mechanical reasoning shows how it goes together and works.

I am not going to bother doing a video on replacing lug nuts. If my audiencce can't figure lug nuts I need to seriously reasses who I think my audience is...
rein
So the projects I see in the plan for the video shoots in the near future are...

#1. Complete the 7 pin trailer harness // reverse lighting installation.
#2. Roller Fairlead License Plate holder installation. This is going to be important to those that live in states that require both a front and a rear plate, and you have a winch installed. Apparently winch mount designers do NOT take license plate relocation into accout, at all...
#3. Shop cleanup / organization. More the organizing part. I have need for storage space for household consumable items such as light bulbs, etc... and I know just the spot to put them... This is likely going to be a small cabinet build project in here as well.
#4. Structured wiring install. This is NOT going to be enclosed as my structured wiring project is far too large for any enclosures. Instead it will be rack mounted and include a KVM, 16 port gigabit switch, 16 port patch panel, VoIP adapter, router, modem the whole shebang...
#5. Office Depot particle board filing cabinet reinforcement project. Pretty simple one, but important. My office move is going to require it...
#6. overhead book storage. Simply put, the bookshelves are going away, and I need places to store my tech books, as well as recreational reading books, cookbooks etc...

Be patient with me on this whole thing. I am squeezing it in when I can, I know sevveral of y'all are chomping at the bit about the LED reverse light project, and I have heard from others about when am I going to get back to making sawdust... It's all coming God willing, please be patient... My recording / editing environment is almost complete. I will have the capacity soon, and hopefully I can sneak away from my wife's schedule plans long enough to get this done for you!

21 September, 2014

Business practices of folks we know...

So I have been under the weather this weekend, trying to get up to speed so that my work week isn't so painful, and i was talking airplanes with a fellow colleague of mine before i went out on training, which brought a former fellow church member from my old church over a decade ago, I remember he bought up a struggling little kit airplane company and moved operations to a little shop in Webster Texas.

Now mind you, I am trying what I can to stay within what I know of copyright law / fair use and respecting the privacy of the person I am talking about, however I kind of have to divulge at least the company name due to copyright. It is NOT my intention to point this individual out and say "See what a schmuck this guy is?" I am NOT passing judgement on him as a person, but rather trying to give warning to others about business mistakes while following dreams...

The product he was selling was somewhat viable enough for aviation enthusiasts, a small kit built experimental aircraft, he was manufacturing the kits and from what I understand even turn key airplanes to order.
And as I understand it, he had orders. No idea if it was enough, or if he actually had the finances to pull it off, but there were orders...

Scan of a promotional postcard front for
the Airborne Innovations Wizard.
Scan of promotional postcard rear for
the Airborne Innovations Wizard.

I had the chance to tour the shop when he initially set up, and it looked good, everything was clean, well organized, there was an engineers precision to the entire thing. It looked good.

He worked in a different department for the company I worked for for several years after I left the church I was in previously, and I never heard much about his manufacturing company, I figured he didn't talk about it much so that he was't in any way having a conflict of interest, and I can respect that...

I always wondered what happened to him and his company. I moved on, years ticked by, and I did some Googling about his name, and his business name in relation to the city it was in, and found, well... conflicting information on his doings particularly in the time frame about the time I left that church...

On one hand, he worked for a large well known organization having to do with Aerospace and was receiving numerous awards for his work, and innovations that helped his company along.

On the other hand, there were several posts, and even entire web sites set up and to this day maintained talking about the poor and unethical business practices of his own privately held company.

Major issues such as taking payment in full, and never delivering product, failure to respond to communication attempts, up to and including registered mail, and finally just closing up shop and disappearing...

I know he had other life issues at the same time, not sure if one led to the other, not all that concerned either as it isn't my business or my point....

What I knew of this guy is this, he had a huge passion for aviation, and crazy good skills in Aerospace engineering, he came across an opportunity to pursue the dream to be one of the names remembered forever as a major contributor to his field, and I honestly think that is something in some way or another we want to leave a mark, a legacy that says we did something important.  Now building kit airplanes isn't the end all be all for most of us I bet, but I bet would love to be known for leaving our influence much in the same was as Norm Abram, or Zora Arkus Duntov (car guys will know...) or, well whoever...

But if we go about it recklessly, without sufficient backing, and a solid business plan, we stand to leave behind a much more shameful legacy, more like a cautionary tale than an inspirational story.

And worse yet, if you count yourself among the faithful, you stand to tarnish what could have been a great ministry, and end up being at best a poor ambassador for your faith.

I know like I said above, many of us have our own dream we are following, whether it is the big corporate job, a little shop of our own, or some network marketing opportunity, or just some silly blog / podcast (who does THAT still?!), give it your all, and don't ever short change your customers / audience. If you don't have the funds to follow through with the job at hand, don't take the job in the first place. Or get financial backing. We live in the age or Kickstarter, and GoFundMe, not to mention direct donations / payments for capitol. Maybe, just maybe start your thing up as a hobby and grow it from there,.

If you do it right, and honest, and fail, you can look your customer square in the eye with a good conscience and say, "I did all I could, since I couldn't come through, here is your refund, and thank you for the trust you put in me!"

Don't let your dreams die just because of a setback or two, if your dream is to be, it will, find the right way to do it, and go for it!

Speaking of going for it, and being under the weather, I am on day 3 of my Z Pack, hopefully thing respiratory thing will be clear by mid week, and I can con my lovely wife into helping out with material for my next installation. Faux Talavera pottery. Yeah I am trying to get her flower pots out of my shop...

I am realizing much to my chagrin that my cell phone takes true HD video and my 2006 digital camcorder does not. To that end, I have rigged a phone adapter to my tripod, and am getting consistently better at shooting with the phone.

The sound recording gear is all funded (and as soon as the check clears to Discover, paid off), I just have one last piece that has not come in yet, which is a pop filter for my mic, Apparently they shipped in via sail powered cargo ship from China, and then mule train overland to get here... That is the bad, the good is, the mic is sensitive enough I don't need to be close enough to the mic to need a pop filter... So that is pretty awesome...


20 September, 2014

Taking a break from one technology and getting a little, very little bit of shop time in today...

This past week I spent in a training boot camp as it were for study for my Red Hat Certified Engineers exam, only to realize that the class wasn't nearly long enough to cover all the new material to be tested on. But at least they gave us the books to study, and I can whip up a virtual machine pretty quick....

With my head in virtual meltdown mode, and fighting off some sort of respiratory and now ear infection, I opted to spend a little bit of time relaxing, and, well trying to get a few of the items on my to do list into the DONE pile...

I have moved the music equipment from the master bedroom into where the music room / recording studio / and home office will be. The String Swing mounts went up, and I made a HUGE mistake measuring for the holes. I assumed String Swing had them evenly spaced from the sides... They did not, so my mount blocks are somewhat off kilter. (grumble grumble...). I did luck out though, the spot where the Ibanez SR480 is now hanging, was directly over a stud. So I have rock solid mounting for my good bass. The old bang around bass however, not so much...

I dug up some wiring raceway that I had left over from an ethernet project from years past, and will use that for running the audio cables over the doorway from amp line out to mixer in.

I spent some time again covering my wife's flower pots that are sucking up my workbench wWith ith white paint. I REALLY need to get that shop straightened up! The Faux Talavera pot project is taking up far too much time, and I wasn't really expecting this to be a me only project... I need to con my wife into coming out to the shop and grabbing a brush for her flower pots...

I have been working on editing audio, and videos now for FAR too long, for me to FINALLY realize that my Galaxy S4 takes FAR better video than my 2006 digital camcorder. And better photos than my 2009 Digital Camera...

With that being said, I went ahead and ordered up  a tripod mount for the phone. I am thinking about grabbing one of those grabby little flexible tripods that grips stuff for doing things like under car video shoots. I REALLY need to use one for moving forward with the trailer wiring / LED mod project. It kind of has me stuck since I am trying to do it as a video project for you guys...

Well folks, it's time to hit the meds, and the books again. I already know I will be asleep before I get 3 pages into the reading again. Almost not worth it...

17 September, 2014

T Splice Demo Cleaned Audio

T splice soldering demo video. Same one I had uploaded before, only changes made was that I used the full version of Power Director instead of demo, and I cleaned up the audio in Audactiy. It's not perfect, but it is MUCH easier to listen to this way...


Need For Thread Locker

Here's a little video with me talking about the need for thread locker...



14 September, 2014

Fixing what's not broken, and a bit of a review on what I use to bring this to you...

Okay folks, I have been just swamped, beyond words swamped... I am presently over my head with things to do. I am working my day job, have several other irons in the fire, and am working on the podcasting / video podcasting setup and shooting videos etc...

I was planning on shooting a quick video and write up of fixing a compressed air piping system leak as I found a leak at the thread joint in the manifold, well I had disconnected the manifold and let it sit while I worked on other issues, and honestly got time away from my studies, my work, and my wife, and went out to do the video and fix the leak...

Guess what disappeared?

If you guessed that the leak went away nowhere to be found you'd be 100% correct!

Go figure...

Oh well, so that's a bust. I bet it will leak again, I should be more ready to tackle it next time anyway...

So, instead of a video on the fixing of compressed air plumbing leaks, I present to you now the maiden voyage of my current, and likely final audio recording setup for the podcasts, and video podcasts. I am set up with a Behringer XENYX 1202FX mixer, Behriner UCA200 USB Audio Interface, a Neewer XLR cable / microphone boom arm and shock mount, and a Behringer C1 large diaphragm condenser microphone. I have a pop filter on the way, but looking at the delivery date scheuled, it must be coming by sailing ship from China... The nice thing about this particular mic though is it is sensitive enough I can have the mic far away from my mouth and still pick up my voice quite nicely!


Well, there it is, thanks for watching, and hopefully you got something out of this!

09 September, 2014

Haven't forgotten about y'all... Sidelined with work, and setting up the recording studio.

I have a few videos being processed and voiced over right now for the blog, but for the most part, I am swamped with paid work, and studying for my upcoming RHCE exam. Yes I am a Linux geek. It pays the bills, so I need to keep up with it...

No small part of my voice over work is going to require moving my home office, which has been in the planning stages for several years now, and is finally coming into reality. The reason for this is actually multiple reasons.

#1. My current home office has the outside AC unit just below the window, I get LOTS of AC noise in the office / studio, meaning I have to run my gain way down, and do a LOT of noise filtering, which makes my voice sound muddy.
#2. The wall / door / window layout of the current office does not work with the larger pieces of wall centric furnishings needed for the office. The new one does.
#3. The new office is central to the house, and as such, will make it somewhat easier to finish up the structured wiring project for the house. I am NOT enclosing in a cabinet though. My structured wiring will be run into a wall mounted rack. Considering the size of my IP network, it's MUCH better this way. Anything that CAN have a wired IP connection WILL. I know 802.11ac can go up to 1750mbps, but in actual function, isn't likely to. I prefer hard wired. I know I'm werid.
#4. The remodel project is making me purge junk from the spare bedroom and home office. By the time I have the office moved into the new room, I should just have to slap paint on ceiling, walls and trim, rip out carpet and tack strip, lay down laminate, replace junk sockets and switches for fresh Decora units, Clean / repaint ceiling fan (white blades are turning gray). Swap out old window covering for new "Texas Flag Theme" window coverings, move furnishings and knick knacks in, make the bed with the "Texas Flag Theme" bedding, and call it DONE.

FWIW, the bed is a Full size memory foam mattress on a roller frame that I will be building a Texas Star 2x4 and panel headboard for. (Already have the design, just need to build it).

I will be setting up the home office / recording studio for multiple purposes. I mentioned it was to be a music room..


My music room equipment configuration plan is also complete. I haven't yet decided on a digital piano, but my wife wants one, so I am planning to put one in. The guitar and guitar amp actually belong to a friend, however he is looking to sell to me for a fair price.


During the remodel I will be doing some video of removing carpet, tack strip, filing and smoothing the concrete and laying down the laminate. I hope you folks are going to stick around with me long enough to catch the videos and enjoy them! I need to figure out a way to speed up my work flow!

04 September, 2014

Cleaning up non shop related messes, and fixing a HUGE design flaw.

One of the serious drawbacks to having a home workshop that is physically attached to the home A.K.A. in the garage is spouses. 

Simply put my wife's flower pots are pretty much everywhere in the shop now (again). She wanted to paint the pots to mimic Mexican Talavera pottery, put them all out in my shop, along with the supplies, and has since forgotten about them... 

I need to gather them up, stash them in the corner with the lawn and garden stuff and get them away from my workspace.

I also have plenty of self induced chaos that I need to clear up. Tools need to go back into the tool box and cabinets, supplies need to be stashed where they belong, and overall the shop needs a good sweeping...

Once the shop is clean, and vaguely presentable, I plan on starting back up on my video series, and do a video on soldering etc...

I have recently assembled one of those particle board filing cabinets (the demo model in store was DEFINATELY a combination of ply and solid wood, this particle board ticks me off to no end but I digress), and there was a HUGE problem with assembly. The back panel of the filing cabinet, the one that keeps it from racking, well the so called hardboard was nothing more than overglorified cardboard, and the nails pulled through almost instantly. I have LOTS of tempered hardboard in the shop. Which is one reason to get the shop clean, so I can cut a proper sized hardboard back panel and attach it. I will likely use pnuematic nails and glue to make sure it doesn't go anywhere. I am also planning on adding some bracing / glue blocks for leveling feet. 

If nothing else, I have a set of decent dimensions to work out a filing cabinet / drawer plan for myself to come up with a plan and build from. 

22 August, 2014

The Daves Workshop / Wildersport Outdoors podcasting audio studio is live!

I have the audio studio set up and tested. I put up a video / audio clip slideshow on youtube walking you through... Like I said, I am working my tail off trying to get Daves Workshop media to be first rate to make your time spent here to be as enjoyable and productive as possible!

I wasn't happy with my sound editing on the video I initially posted. I made some changes, and re-uploaded the video, the URL has changed, take a peek, it sounds MUCH better. (Thank God for Audacity Compressor function!)

Thanks for visiting.



17 August, 2014

XENYX 502 Podcaststudio usb mic port test



I have been in discussion with some folks about this issue. In my efforts to produce a better product for my readers / viewers I am wanting to produce quality audio, and video, I made this quick and honestly lazy presentation / test of the mixing board that came with my podcaststudio kit, and shows how a simple, very small mixer will allow for multiple microphone connections. Admittedly the channel 2 connection isn't ideal as it bypasses the equalizer circuitry, but it will work well enough for studio guests if I ever get them in... Yes folks I have ideas for where I want to take this blog, and I am looking at breaking into podcast / video podcasting territory...