I’ve added a build summary to my site detailing my most recent completed hobby project.
If you have an interest in tooling around with things mechanical and messy click the link.
Now that the daily temp here has dropped below 30 degrees, I’m starting to think about messing around with my Go-Kart some more. The 2-speed transmission has been successful and fun, but the Kart with its modest 6.5hp power-plant lacks the kind of power I’m used to with my previous builds (both had motorcycle engines with hp in the double digits).
I have a 250cc engine from a Suzuki GN250 which rates somewhere around 15-20Hp and comes with a 5-speed gearbox. It’s a pretty good upgrade from the centrifugal clutched stationary unit.
To fit the engine I might have to extend the existing engine bay on the Kart and I’ll have to fit a jack-shaft to get the chain running forward from the engine. A road bike engine isn’t the best fit for an off-road Kart because I’ll have to fit a lot of electronics and/or strip out the unnecessary bits and probably have to make sure the engine gets good air flow at low speed.
This is probably going to take a few months to get done, I’ll be sure to post the progress here as it gets going.
Yer I haven’t updated this blog recently. Things are pretty quiet on the hobby projects front due to summer heat. Once things cool off I’ll be putting a GN250 engine into my off-road Kart. In the meantime I’ve been messing about with my new Caanoo, I might even try contributing some LOVE to the openhandheld scene?
My Xbox 360 did what so many before it have done, and got itself a dose of the ole’ Red Ring O’ Death (RROD).
Even though I knew it was a case of when-and-not-if it happened, I was still a bit gypped. I held off buying a 360 for ages, waited until Microsoft revised and re-revised their flawed designs. I thought my Falcon revision might have gained some resistance to the RROD plague, but no. Microsoft can revise all they like and still get nowhere, it seems.
All would’ve been good if it wasn’t for the pretty ordinary experience with Xbox Support that followed:
1. Tried to call the AUS support number but that’s just a recorded message that directs you to the US website then hangs up.
2. Links to the Australian “Online Repair Centre” are broken so that’s a no go. Lots of the pages have broken or empty links, which is just strange for such a high profile product.
http://www.xbox.com/en-AU/support/register-repair.htm = 404
3. Sent an email via the form to support, got a mail back 2 days later asking me to unplug and re-plug the cords! The email then directs me to various broken links, see 2.
4. I finally found a route into the AUS pages through http://forums.xbox.com/22667741/ShowPost.aspx but after registering my repair the online service centre https://myservice.xbox.com/En-au/Pages/Welcome.aspx – wont display the shipping order it describes, so I cant send the box!
5. Eventually, an email from Teleplan turns up with the printable shipping order.
6. Post the box.
7. Online repair process progress page shows all fields “complete” even though I only just sent the thing.
8. Get an email saying they have received my dead Xbox. Repair progress page updated, now shows “repair in progress” ticked.
9. Get an email saying I will receive an (not my) Xbox in the mail. Click the “See your Package tracking information” and…
…I get this: “System Error Occured * An error has occurred in the system, please try again. Repair Status Dummy Link”
Ahh Microsoft you scamp, what next?
…Will the box ever get to my door?
…If so will the refurb’ unit last more than a week?
…Do I actually care any more?
Sour grapes aside, the whole thing puts a big dent in the neutral, benefit-of-the-doubt attitude I had towards Microsoft beforehand. I know everyone likes to hang turds on them for any reason that comes to mind, but this is one experience of mine that (when grouped other experiences of their products) leaves me wondering if the captain’s got a hold of the wheel over there? I understand the console industry is perhaps the most intense example of cost-vs-quality pressures but defect rates above 35% are bad news no matter what muttered, half-arsed excuses you try to boil up.
It makes me wonder how the RROD fiasco will affect Microsoft’s future hardware releases? Coz in my opinion, you’d have to be a bit crazy-in-the-coconut to be an early-adopter of anything they produce, and the console industry is all about intensive early adopter momentum.
Any bets on what Microsoft’s next “coloured object of death” will be?
Update: My refurb’? unit arrived by courier today ~19 days after I lodged my service request. Interestingly, it came with a faceplate and HDD bay cover plate so now I have two of each, woo-hoo?
It is very clean and the fans don’t appear to have any dust on them so I’m assuming they either gave me a new-old-stock unit or partly-new unit (more likely). I was kinda hoping for a Jasper revision but it looks like this is another Falcon, which means it’s days are numbered fewer.
I’ve tested it and it works, the DVD drive seems a bit louder than my old one.
I think I’ll keep hold of the box it came in just in case.
Ok, so I had a few ideas for improving the gunmetal look on the handgun prop for Joy the other day and decided to give them a go.
I’d been experimenting with graphite powder on another project and mixed some with my airbrush flow medium (which seems to be some sort of thin water based acrylic, similar to aquadhere from what I can tell). I made a 1 part graphite to about 4 parts flow medium and 1 part water mixture and mixed well until it forms a thin grey liquid. Put this in my airbrush and ran a light mist over a matt black acrylic painted test surface. Dried it with my heat gun then rubbed half the surface with a coarse cloth. Sure enough the graphite gets polished on the rubbed areas and looks like shiny grey metal while the untouched surface has a darker dull lustre.
Next I tried it on the gun. The spray is so light you can spray right over all surfaces including non-black areas and it wont affect them very much, in fact it adds a thin layer of surface aging/grime which can be a good thing if the prop looks “too new”. If you dont want it somewhere you can either mask out or just rub it off later with a moist cloth and/or bud.
I liked the effect but it was still a little bit to subtle in places, I wanted to get the inner surfaces looking even more dull and aged. To do this I made a similar mixture except with black powder paint instead of the graphite and sprayed this into the places I wanted dulled down, avoiding my freshly polished surfaces where possible. The black is dried (again, it is so light that the sprayed areas blend with unsprayed surfaces quite evenly) then any excess removed with a damp bud.
Later, I went over places I wanted heavy dulling with a brush loaded with the mixture, almost like a wash or ink. You can be quite imprecise as it dries quite evenly because it is thin.
All in all a much more realistic and durable effect than the simple graphite rub I was using before. Obviously, now that I know this works I’d reverse the process in future doing the dulling first then the highlights/polishing.