a healthy criticism of everything


April 24, 2017
by: jovial_cynic
I've got a small shop at my new place in Washington. Small-ish, anyway. It's big enough for one car, a metalworking space, and a woodworking space. I've been working with wood a lot more lately, including my CNC machine, and I'm constantly trying to keep up with the sawdust and wood particles in the air. It's a mess, really. My poor Datsun 510 is constantly covered in sawdust!

I've decided to partition off a section of my shop for the woodwork by installing walls. Originally, I was going to fully frame out the walls, but my genius wife suggested doing something less permanent.

This is where the CNC machine lives. It's in the back corner of the shop to try to keep the dust it makes as far away from everything as possible. But a small shop can't avoid getting dust all over it unless you wall things off.

In addition to walling off the woodworking area, I thought that having an air filtration system installed would be a very good idea. There's no sense in drowning in sawdust. I've seen many DIY filtration designs, but I figured I'd do it the way a house fan is done: fan on one side of the area with filtered openings on the other side.

After tracing out the fan housing and building a box for support, I installed the fan on the far corner of the enclosure.

Here's another shot of it.

I used some thick clear plastic over some 2x2" studs. Because these walls aren't going to hold anything other than the plastic, I didn't need to bother with proper 2x4" studs or leave 16" (or is it 24"?) spaces between the studs. These 2x2"s are 36" apart and will do serve just fine.

Here's the installation of the filter. Pretty straight forward, but I may end up installing a second one above it. The fan is pretty powerful, and I'm concerned that there's not enough opportunity for the air to escape the room.

And here's the result. The woodworking room is fully sectioned off in the shop with all the wood tools inside. I have a few spots to seal up so the air only escapes through the filter, but I think this should work!

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np category: DIY


April 13, 2017
by: jovial_cynic

There's often an association between traditional celebrations of Easter and pagan traditions centered around fertility, spring-time, etc. Easter bunnies, eggs - none of it is biblical, but it has become a tradition that Christians participate in.

An often missed association is between Easter and the Jewish Passover celebration. It is the remembrance of the time God struck down the Egyptians who enslaved Israel with ten plagues, the 10th being the death of the firstborn in the land by way of the Destroying Angel. The only way for anyone in Egypt to be saved was to take a young unblemished lamb into the home, kill it to be eaten, but first taking a hyssop branch dipped in the lamb's blood and marking the side and top door posts of the home with that blood. By seeing the blood covering the door posts, the Destroying Angel would *pass over* the house and not enter it, sparing those inside from destruction.

Jesus' death on the cross served as an extension of that story: as the unblemished Lamb of God, his blood was shed to cover our door posts, so that when God's Destroying Angel is sent to destroy wickedness in the world, he will *pass over* those who are covered.

The celebration of Easter, for Christians, is about recognizing that the Lamb was the son of God, voluntarily laying down his life for us. And while this story could remain somber as we reflect on a senseless death, the celebration of Easter is the story of resurrection - the Lamb is raised from the dead, and encourages us to know that the work of salvation is final. We are redeemed. We are saved by the blood of the lamb.

And for that, we Praise God.

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np category: theology


March 29, 2016
by: jovial_cynic
Because I've become comfortable cutting up the Datsun 510 and welding it back together, I decided to try my hand at some panel repair.

A couple of years back, I tore apart the rear panel of my car to address a significant bondo issue. As in, there was too much of it, and it just needed to be removed. This time around, I decided to fix a portion of the rear passenger panel. This actually required a bit more work, because I had to fabricate the 510's signature lines.

Now, I could have bought a replacement panel from Futofab, and this particular piece would have only been about $100. However... I do like doing things myself and learning in the process, so... here we go.

Between my bead roller and some careful hammering, I got pretty close:

And here's the reason I needed to make that panel:

It's pretty amazing how much better this looks... and it's not even attached to the car yet. Having a straighter line makes a world of difference.

Here it is welded up. You can tell it's not perfect, but it's so much better, and I don't mind correcting the minor errors with a little bit of filler.

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np category: 510


October 03, 2015
by: jovial_cynic

SIN and SIN-OFFERING in the Old Testament are both translated from the same Hebrew word, chatta'ath. Every time in the Old Testament where the word is used, the translators needed to use context to determine whether to translate it as SIN or as SIN-OFFERING. This is odd, because we tend to define SIN as "bad thing" and SIN-OFFERING as "good thing." SIN is the offense, and the SIN-OFFERING is price paid for that offense – they appear to be opposites.

What deepens the complication is when translators disagree on the context.

Take for example the first time the Hebrew word, chatta'ath, is used. In Genesis 4, after Cain fails to offer a correct sacrifice, God speaks:

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
~ Genesis 4:6-7 (NIV)

The New International Version (NIV) Bible translates chatta-ath as SIN in this passage, as do many of the modern translations. When read this way, and pushed forward as doctrine, we have an image of a personal evil presence at our door, which crouches, desiring to have us, but we are instructed to rule over it.

This is a very common way of looking at the relationship between people and evil: evil is always in front of us, but we have to make good choices to stay in God's good graces. We must rule over any evil desires that present themselves.

In contrast, Young's Literal Translation renders it this way:

And Jehovah saith unto Cain, `Why hast thou displeasure? and why hath thy countenance fallen? Is there not, if thou dost well, acceptance? and if thou dost not well, at the opening a sin-offering is crouching, and unto thee its desire, and thou rulest over it.'
~ Youngs Literal Translation 4:6-7 (YLT)

If you can get past the old-English use of “thee” and “thou,” you'll notice that the YLT translators use SIN-OFFERING instead of SIN. If you understand SIN-OFFERING to be a lamb (in a nod to the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Jesus), the image is not of an evil force that is crouching, waiting to pounce, but rather of a personal willing sacrifice, in the form of a lamb, physically waiting at Cain's door – an offering that God would accept alongside Abel's offering.

This carries such a different meaning, and provides much more grace than the SIN translation. When translated as SIN, the responsibility for maintaining God's approval lies on our shoulders. We must make good choices and rule over any temptation and sinful desire. But when translated as SIN-OFFERING, we have a picture of God Himself making a way out; the work of grace is made available at our door. God Himself provides the lamb.

So how do we reconcile the complete differences in meaning? Who is “right” in their translation?

I believe that a proper understanding comes from another way of looking at this Hebrew word. Chatta'ath perhaps should be read as “consequence of the offense.” Rendered that way, each instance of the word, whether translated as SIN or as SIN-OFFERING is quite clear: there is a consequence for disobedience. Either we carry that consequence ourselves, or the sacrifice carries it away from us.

When the New Testament says that Jesus “became sin” for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), there's some depth to that statement that is often missed in the English. (It is important to note that the Greek text uses a word for SIN [hamartia] that can only be translated as SIN, or OFFENSE. Some translations render this as trespass. But there is no dual meaning like there is with the Hebrew chatta'ath.)

Perhaps Paul, writing this letter to the Corinthians, understood that the Hebrew scriptures described a sacrifice that was necessary to cover the consequence of Adam's disobedience, and that Jesus Himself was that sacrifice. The sacrifice on the cross described both what Jesus did as well as who he was: the covering over Adam in Genesis 3, and the appropriate offering to God in Genesis 4, both provided by God Himself and acceptable to Him.

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np category: theology


June 03, 2015
by: jovial_cynic
My latest project with my 510 has been to get the instrument cluster from an R33 Skyline (RB25DET motor) into my car, and hooking it up to my SR20DET motor. I don't think anybody else has done this, and from the responses I've received when I've mentioned it, I don't think it's a popular modification. It's just not "period correct," as I've heard it said... which is odd, because the engine isn't exactly period-correct either.

Anyhow, I picked this instrument cluster because it has all the gauges that I like in one place without having to include a bunch of separate gauges. I especially like the boost gauge... although that particular gauge has been giving me a bit of trouble.

I looked all over the place online and found a few places where somebody has explained the wiring of the cluster, and at least one place that gave a rough explanation about how the boost sensor itself is wired, but I didn't find anything that spelled it out for me in a way that made sense.

So... between following all the traces on the back of the cluster, putting together the complete wiring diagram, I was able to actually put something together that should help me figure this thing out.

The image above is the FULL diagram with the boost gauge lines colored in so I could see what was going on. It's a 5mb+ image, so click at your own risk.

The odd thing is that after going over the diagram and the cluster for hours, I finally figured out that the diagram is wrong. The diagram and chart above spells it out a bit; the plug on the far-right is written in exactly backwards (instead of 1-to-12, it's 12-to-1). So, I put my own chart together and hopefully that makes it easier for me (and anyone else doing this) to figure the wiring out.

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np category: 510


January 27, 2015
by: jovial_cynic
The stock 510 gas tank doesn't have a built-in fuel pump. There are some debates about the benefits of in-tank or external fuel pumps, but in the end, I think I prefer the in-tank pumps because they are quieter. And while it seems like extra work to have to pop open a tank to access the pump if anything goes wrong, I've messed with this one enough times to tell you that it's just a matter of pulling a few bolts. It's really not that big of a deal.

Cutting a proper hole into the top of the stock tank takes a steady hand. If you're going to use a plasma cutter, you MUST either fill the tank with water or flood it with an inert gas so you don't blow yourself up. Even the tinest bit of gas fumes can wreck your day or KILL YOU if you don't protect yourself.

I picked up a whole 1995 Honda Civic gas tank for $20 and cut the pump access off of it and welded it on top of the hole I cut out for the 510 tank. Again, because you are welding in a potentially deadly environment, either flood the tank with water or an inert gas to protect yourself. DON'T DIE doing this.

Once the pump access is welded on, bolting down the seal is easy. And all the wiring for the pump is right there on top.

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np category: 510


January 27, 2015
by: jovial_cynic

The first part of getting an SR20DET into a 1971 Datsun 510 is (aside from actually acquiring one) is figuring out how to get the engine into the engine bay. It wasn't meant to be in there.

Problem #1 is that the stock 510 crossmember is backwards relative to the oil sump on the SR20 engine.

Cutting and flipping is a common option. I decided to cut and reinforce with some 1" square tubing I had sitting around. I don't know why.

Here you can see the crossmember attached to the car, but if you look closely at the left side motor mount, you can see something wrong.

The stock mounts don't line up with the SR20, so some modifications were necessary.

Specifically, I had to add some length to both motormounts to get it to stand off from the crossmember enough to fit. I also had to make sure that this didn't make the engine sit too tall to close the hood. We're good.

And here you can see it fitting up just nicely.

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np category: 510