Water-cooled raspberry pi?!?! Some of you might think “awesome!”, others may think “why bother?” I did it for several reasons: Because I can! It looks cool on my desk I want to overclock it so that I have the fastest raspberry pi on the internet! (also falls into “Because I can!”View full post
The smell of vanilla essence is one of the my favourites… It’s an essential in the kitchen and if you bake often then you probably go through loads of vanilla extract, Vanilla ice-cream, vanilla cake… I’m getting hungry just thinking about it! Here i will show you how to make your own exceptionally nice vanilla …View full post
I’ve been eagerly creating batch after batch of home-made soap, trying new things and experimenting with different methods! I thought the result of this batch was worth a blog! I chose to try something different this time and added Honey to the batch to take hold of all the wonderful natural benefits that honey provides, …View full post
This will be one big introductory post about my new rally car! I hope to keep a progress log about the car here on my blog. So after hours of trudging through forums and asking everyone i could find about rally cars, i decided to buy a (mostly) ready-to-race rally car, i settled on a …View full post
Water-cooled raspberry pi?!?!
Some of you might think “awesome!”, others may think “why bother?” I did it for several reasons:
The smell of vanilla essence is one of the my favourites… It’s an essential in the kitchen and if you bake often then you probably go through loads of vanilla extract, Vanilla ice-cream, vanilla cake… I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!
Here i will show you how to make your own exceptionally nice vanilla extract for much less than store-bought vanilla.
Vanilla essence is made by macerating vanilla beans in a high-proof alcohol. I’d suggest using a nice bourbon or plain vodka (absolut works well). If you don’t want to use a lot of your precious booze on the vanilla essence, you could grab a few of those small sample bottles like you get in hotels or on a plane. Grab a few different spirits to experiment with.
Split vanilla beans lengthwise stopping about an inch from the end and pop them in the alcohol. For a stronger essence, i find it useful to scrape out the seeds from the vanilla pod and drop them in the alcohol too. The general rule of thumb is 3 vanilla beans to a cup of spirit.
Now you have to wait, about 3 weeks minimum. Give the bottle/jar a shake every few days and then open it for a sniff to see how the extract is progressing. I find after the first day, the extract smells very sharp like high-proof spirit and raw vanilla but as time progresses, the subtle complexity of the whiskey blends with the sweet, warm aroma of the vanilla to make something purely delightful. As with most alcohol macerations, it just gets better with age…
If you choose to leave the vanilla beans in the essence (highly recommended!) you can simply top it up with more alcohol as you use it up. Don’t forget, there are many different types of vanilla beans, try experimenting with different varieties to see what you can come up with!
I’ve been eagerly creating batch after batch of home-made soap, trying new things and experimenting with different methods! I thought the result of this batch was worth a blog!
I chose to try something different this time and added Honey to the batch to take hold of all the wonderful natural benefits that honey provides, it is GREAT for your skin.
I won’t bother re-iterating the process because you can find that in my Lemon Myrtle Soap Recipe but here is my recipe for this batch:
Differences from my normal Method:
This will be one big introductory post about my new rally car! I hope to keep a progress log about the car here on my blog.
So after hours of trudging through forums and asking everyone i could find about rally cars, i decided to buy a (mostly) ready-to-race rally car, i settled on a Hyundai Excel.
The excel won my affection for many reasons but mostly because it is a cheap(er) way to get into rallying. They are really reliable, readily available and parts (or even whole cars) are a dime-a-dozen!
The excel makes really good power for a 4cylinder engine and is quite competitive on the track. This particular car has had the standard single cam engine replaced with a twin cam engine for a bit more power.
The list of mods goes on and on for this car but the main features are:
The car was weighed at Rally Vic last year with mud and ½ fuel at 972kg, (minimum weight 960kg for Excel series)
I picked up the car for $7500 from Victoria, looking at the work that has been done to the car, i saved a hell of a lot of money getting one that was already built!
A few months ago, i came across a deal from Texas Instruments that let me get a free eZ430-F2013 development stick. Since i couldn’t resist the temptation of free gadgets, i immediately ordered one and then waited for it to turn up.. a month later…
If you haven’t seen the neat little proto kit, it comes as a USB dongle, not much bigger than a flash drive which consists of a USB debugger (the big bit) and a removable board that holds the F2013 micro controller, each pin broken out to a standard pitch header.
So when this thing finally arrived, (I’d forgotten all about it) I had a quick look and put it aside since i didn’t feel like installing yet another proprietary software package to be able to work with the device.
Having re-discovered the gadget the other day in a box from moving house, i decided to give it another go. Much to my satisfaction MSP-GCC came to the rescue!
Here are the steps i followed to get this thing working under Fedora 16 without the IAR embedded workbench stuff
OR:you can tell mspdebug to program and run the code without having to enter the command line interface:
Someone mentioned the words “Sugru” and “Group Buy” the other day at work which got me thinking about Sugru and what it is exactly, which then lead to “How do i make it?”
If you don’t know what Sugru is, check out their website: Sugru.com It is a “self-setting rubber for fixing, modifying and improving your stuff” and can be used for many many useful things such as repairing broken cables/adding strain relief, making custom grips for your bike handlebars, making mounts for cameras and even repairing shoes.
I wanted to be able to make up something similar to Sugru any time i need any rather than ordering it from the UK and waiting for it to arrive. After a quick google, i found an instructable for making “OoGoo” which pretty much covers what i needed Here is my attempt at making my own Sugru:
Here is a brief run down on how to make the stuff, for more detail refer to the Original Instructable:
How it works:
Normal silicon takes forever to set, the thicker it is, the longer it takes. Silicon sets by drawing in moisture from the air. The way the Sugru substitute works is by using moisture that the cornflour has absorbed and distributing it evenly through the compound so that it dries from the inside out and much faster than normal.
What you need:
How to make it:
This stuff sticks to most things really well, it sticks to already cured oogoo very well but doesn’t bond with plastic or metal very well. You can add a small amount of super glue (cyanacrylate adhesive) to the mix to make it stick better.
By changing the ratio of cornflour to silicon, you can vary the time it takes to set and the final strength of the compound. More corn flour will make it set quicker since there is more moisture in the mix. Less cornflour gives you longer to work the stuff into shape. a 1:5 cornflour:silicon mix will give you about a 1hr working time.
Now that you have your own moldable silicon, have fun and see what creative ideas you come up with!
I thought this one deserved a blog post, not exactly a hobby of mine but worth a look none the less.
It’s a great example of waste in today’s society… tiny little SD card in a huge packet!
The only reasons i can think of for this is either:
Good one Verbatim!
What more could a gadget-addict want than to have all the features of Google’s latest flagship tablet, the Nexus 7 embedded in the dash of their car?
I quickly got bored with off-the-shelf car stereo systems, here is my response:
I have installed a Google/Asus nexus 7 in the dash of my MY00 Subaru WRX. I trialled the optus mytab (AKA ZTE V9) in the dash but it didn’t last more than a day since it was a piece of crap performance and audio-wise.
After spending a few months building a nano-itx double din touch screen pc to go in the dash, i changed my mind (for the millionth time) and decided to stick an android in there instead. The intel PC is now sitting in a box at home doing nothing…
The biggest trouble was finding a tablet that would fit in below the A/C controls nicely.. in the end, the N7 was about 3mm too big bit i broke out the dremel and made it fit!
ASUS Google Nexus 7
4 Channel Nakimichi Amplifier
Single Channel Class-D 1000W Nakimichi Subwoofer amplifier
Gold plated Ground splitter and +12v Splitter/Circuit Breaker
Oxygen-Free Copper speaker cables (around 12 gauge)
(coming soon) 1.5 Farad Capacitor (to stop headlights dimming)
2 x Kenwood 1200W Subwoofers
4 x Focal 6″ Splits
Good quality RCA cables
R/A 3.5mm headphone plug to 2x RCA 30cm cable
R/A Micro USB cable
gutted tomtom GPS charger
(coming soon) RCA volume level control (thanks for the idea ahavens17)
20mm wide metal strips
Hook and Loop velcro
Update: Added some more pics showing my crude but effective way of holding the tablet in-place.
To hold the tablet in place, i have used some metal straps cut to size that are screwed on using the screws that hold the top of the ash tray to the dash fascia. I stuck some velcro on to the metal straps and 2 small strips on the back of the tablet to dampen vibration and stop the tablet sliding around sideways. The velcro also stops the metal straps from marking the back of the tablet (not that it matters since it is hidden behind the dash)
You can see how it is done in the pictures above. Also, I am using right-angle micro USB and audio connectors so that they fit nicely in the dash.
Update: Nexus 7 is off for replacement
Unfortunately, i had to return my N7 under warranty because the USB port slowly failed to function. At first, it charged really slow, then it wasn’t able to connect or be recognised on any of my computers and then it stopped charging altogether so i sent it off to google. The good news is that the replacement should arrive in a few days!
Due to my keen interest in gardening and also science, I like to distil essential oils from plants (I will describe my distillation hobby in another post). I take the trimmings from plants that i grow and rather than throw them in the compost, i run them through my steam distillation apparatus and extract the volatile oils from the plant matter.
After extracting a few different types of essential oils and not having much of a use for them other than oil burners and eucalyptus oil for it’s cleaning/solvent properties, I decided to try and find another use for them. The outcome of my brainstorming was to make soap!
Home-made soap would make a great christmas gift, saves money if i use it at home and is fun to make!
I chose to use Olive oil and refined coconut oil as the base, lemon myrtle fine ground leaves and essential oil for scent and exfoliation and green Argiletz clay for colour. This method is called “Cold Process” soap making
The recipe was somewhat like this: