a healthy criticism of everything


September 22, 2014
by: jovial_cynic

Companion Cube, the size of a Rubik's Cube. Well, a little larger than a Rubik's Cube, but close enough.

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np category: welding


June 30, 2013
by: jovial_cynic
I currently have a fully operational 4x4' CNC machine!

Here it is fully assembled in the garage.

It's using the G540 motor controller, connected to NEMA23 motors.

Here are the motor control wires, cobbled together to make sure it works.

Calibrating the machine with an electronic gauge.

Every CNC machine needs a panic button. Here is mine.

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np category: CNC


May 20, 2013
by: jovial_cynic
I've been dabbling with bodywork on my 510 for the last year, terrified at first at the idea of cutting up my beloved car and trying to patch it back together. However, after peeling through some of the nightmarish work that was done to the car by the previous owner, I figured I couldn't do much worse than what was already on it.

My first attempt was cutting out a stubborn dent that was "solved" by a monstrous glob of bondo.

It's a little hard to tell what's going on there, but what you are looking at is a mountain of bondo covering a patch panel that went over the 510's gas cap filler hole. The previous owner shaved the gas hatch, and his metal work must not have been as good as he had hoped. That's a lot of bondo.

Before I had a decent MIG welder, I tried welding this up with my oxy/acetylene torch.

Not great. Not horrid.

I ended up getting it done, but oxy/acetylene is not the way to go when it comes to patch panels. I ended up picking up a great Hobart MIG welder and it's worked wonders.

Another problem area was the entire rear panel. That picture above... it looks like sheet-rock, the bondo is so thick. I tried cutting away the bondo to see where the metal began, and it just took too long.

Unable to deal with all the bondo on the rear panel, I simply cut the panel off. It would be easier to start from scratch than to try to fix that mess.

I've always liked the name "Nissan" more than "Datsun." I managed to pick up this truck tail gate at the local pick-and-pull in Fresno. I also picked up a few Nissan badges to throw on the car.

Here's the tail gate, skinned and tack-welded to the rear of the 510.

Here is it fitted up with the trunk lid. Not too bad.

A little bondo work of my own (very little bondo), plus I've filled (with metal!) the spot where the tail gate handle once was.

Filled and ready for smoothing out. I've also set the tail lights in place for the picture.

Smoothed out and primered. The rest of the car was also primered afterwards.

It just needs paint, but it's basically done. It's the first Nissan 510 tail panel.

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np category: 510


December 02, 2012
by: jovial_cynic

A while back, I picked up a bead roller from Harbor Freight. I got it specifically to cut metal, and had no plans to do any beading, as I couldn't think of any use for it, other than to put dents into metal. Since most of my sheet metal working involved making 4" metal people, all I really needed was a simple way to cut 1" strips for the figurine bodies.

Recently, I started doing some bodywork on my Datsun 510, and because I was cutting and welding in new patch panels, I've learned how useful a bead roller can be. With the dies that came with the bead roller, plus the use of some small shims to put the dies where I want them, I've figured out how to replicate the "supersonic line" on the panels.

These are my test runs. I need some more practice keeping a straight line, and I should probably modify the bead roller to keep the rollers from shifting laterally, but I'm pretty excited about being able to reproduce the panels on every area of my car.

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np category: 510


April 15, 2012
by: jovial_cynic

My wife and I have been taking on some more home decorating projects. Typically, this involves my wife finding something she likes on Pinterest and having me or her dad buy the parts and build it. This time around, the idea was mine.

We have a good-sized pantry in our kitchen. It's actually pretty impressive, and it's always been a shame that there's a door that's in the way.

Problem solved.

This project consisted of the following:

1. Cutting the door in half
2. Relocating the top hinge
3. Cutting some 5/8" MDF board for a shelf on the door
4. Mounting the shelf and building a rear support for it
5. Paint

Between the half-door and the short curtain on top, it looks very inviting. I'm pleased with it.

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np category: DIY


January 09, 2012
by: jovial_cynic

This is the first electric razor I've ever owned. It's an old Remington. You know... the old, "as close as a razor or your money back," brand. It hadn't worked in years, but because I have a hard time throwing things away, it sat in a drawer for several years, just waiting for me to come rescue it.

This is a rechargeable model, but long before the razor quit working, it quit charging, forcing me to plug it in every time I wanted to use it. It turns out that these old NiCd AA batteries weren't meant to last forever, so the first order of business was to rip them out and dispose of them (properly). At this juncture, I had a few options - one of which was to simply throw in a set of rechargeable batteries that I had sitting around. However, that would be too easy. And in fact, while testing the motor (bypassing the batteries entirely), I'm pretty sure I toasted the transformer.

Batteries removed, and knowing that the charging circuit was more than I wanted to deal with, I decided that I'd simply bypass the entire thing and wire a power source directly to the razor motor.

Here's the connection between the power source and the motor.

And here's everything connected up. I could have taken the charging circuit out entirely, but that seemed like more work than necessary. So yeah - those are just a bunch of components just taking up space at the bottom of the razor.

My choice of power supply? An extra iPhone USB charger. Alternatively, I could literally plug my razor into any computer and shave... right there in front of the screen.

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np category: DIY


December 01, 2011
by: jovial_cynic
A lot of people have seen the Google Car driving around in their towns, taking pictures of everything. And a lot of you have taken pictures of the Google Car.

Here's my picture:

I managed to catch the car at a local gas station, and like most of you, I simply couldn't help myself.

But what's even MORE interesting is that I managed to actually talk to the Google Car driver! That's right. So instead of simply taking a picture of the car, this driver agreed to let me snap a shot of the both of us in front of the car.

Turns out that Google gets their drivers from a hiring agency. This driver has been cruising around the area since June of this year.

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np category: personal