F I N K B U I L T

Today’s Ebay Item

missle tracker

Scale model cockpit FPV

fpv
cool scale cockpit video

Funny Zoo Snap

man enjoys elephant My wife noticed this in the family archives.

RC Nitro motorcycle racing

rc motorcycle Motorcycle racing in Lilliput.

Manned RC Multicopter

manned multicopter
Here’s an RC multicopter big enough to ride on!

Quadcopter FPV

Quadcopter FPV
Amazing remote first person view piloting.

Make: Talk 004

make: Talk 004
I had a fun time talking to Mark Frauenfelder in episode 4 of his new podcast, Make: Talk!

Helmets

retro vintage motorcycle helmets Pictures of boxes full of sweet vintage motorcycle helmets

One Man Basement Band

one man band
I feel like I could be getting more mileage out of my right foot.

Liberty

liberty vintage motorcycles An Etsy portrait. Thanks, Danny.

Tequila Sleeve

tequila the champs
Champs sleeve

Wolf-Stelzer Book Lamp

Book Lamp
My friend Tess just made the cover of ReadyMade with her cool lamp design.

Tree Stump Bug

null
Can this be for real? The design is so awesomely Thunderbirds. Via

The Nothing Box

nothing box

Thunderbirds

Thunderbirds are go
Are Go!




Special when lit!

September 9th, 2010

In a turn of events only slightly less fortunate than Mr. Jalopy finding a Bally Captain Fantastic just sitting there in the gutter, I just got myself a Gottlieb Road Race pinball machine!

I’ve always liked pinball. When I was a kid, I would gravitate toward pinball in favor of Asteroids or Space Invaders. I love the clicking of the score reels, the relays, and the musical tone of the analog chimes in the old Electro-mechanical machines. Iv’e always wanted a machine. But It’s the kind of thing that you don’t normally just go out and buy. For the few people that I know who actually have pinball machines, the machines seem to have found them.

This one found me when my friend Roya and her man Greg (who met in some pinball related context) decided to lighten their material load and expatriate themselves to Sweden. Many of their games are either going into storage, or going into the care of friends. This particular game was not really functioning when I got it. Roya and greg rescued the machine from a friend who apparently kept in in their garden shed for a number of years, but they never got around to refurbishing it. When Roya asked me if I wanted to buy it for an undisclosed paltry, token sum, I just about wet my pants.

When I first turned the machine on, it didn’t really do much. when I finally got it to come alive, the score reels were actually running backwards, few of the lights worked, and it certainly wouldn’t go through a game cycle. I went through the machine pretty systematically, aided by the excellent troubleshooting guide at This Old Pinball. Once I got the steppers cleaned and adjusted, the score motor turning freely, and a whole host of switches and solenoids clean and moving freely, things really started to happen. I replaced all of the lamps, repaired most of the lamp sockets, and replaced all of the rubber bumper parts, cleaned and cleaned, and well, it’s now a pretty happening pinball machine. I am still waiting for a coil to arrive so that I can fix the last major flaw, a broken pop bumper.

Ding! ding! ding! ding! ding! ding! ding!

Belt and Totem Pole

September 6th, 2010

Belated Garage Sale Report – August 21, 1010.

My son picked up this cool, oak themed, hand tooled, youth sized leather belt at an estate sale a few weeks back. The proprietor of the sale said that her father had made the belt himself, and would have been very happy to see it go to a boy like my son. The belt maker had also carved the 20 foot tall totem pole that adorned one corner of the yard. I wish that I had gotten more of his story.

Lo-Diddley Box Guitar

September 6th, 2010

Here are some pictures of a “box guitar” that I recently built. It’s sort of like a cigar box guitar, only rather than finding a pre-built box and scratch-building a neck for it, I bought a guitar neck, and scratch-built a box for it.




I picked up a neck from a new, but broken Cort acoustic guitar, and a cheap soundhole style pickup on ebay. The pickup came pre-wired to tone and volume pots (tone doesn’t seem to do anything though) and knobs were included. The rest of the materials I had on hand, so build cost was under $40 dollars for this project, including paint and a set of 10′s.

The sound is kind of banjo-twangy unplugged, and it has an interesting howl when plugged in. Here is a Garageband sample. (forgive the playing).

1969 Jim Beam

September 6th, 2010

Garage Sale Report – Sunday, September 9.

Unless I spy a 1962 Seattle World’s Fair decanter, I normally look with disdain at a table full of Jim Beam bottles at a garage sale. But this table was different. All the bottles were still full, with unbroken seals. I knew that the price of whiskey went up dramatically with age, so I figured a 30 or 40 year old bourbon would either be really good, or really bad, but certainly worth a gamble.

I selected this “Black Hills” edition, which featured a rather handsome depiction of Mount Rushmore on the front.

It turns out that “Black Hills” was issued in 1969, so the whiskey is roughly 41 years old. I have a hunch that the aging that really improves a whiskey is probably done in the cask, not the bottle, but hey, I was still excited about finding a 41 year old bottle of whiskey.

I was worried that the cork might have decayed and contaminated the contents. I was also worried that the cork would have lost its sealing capacity, allowing the volatiles to escape, and the rest to go off. I honestly had pretty low expectations.

Upon un-corking the bottle, I was a little alarmed at the shape of the cork. It appeared to have shrunk quite a bit, and left behind a ring of cork residue inside the neck of the bottle. But it was definitely airtight, because it gave a little sheeewwwp! sound when I pulled the stopper out.

I gave it a sniff and it didn’t smell like paint thinner or rotten eggs or anything horrible, but had a pretty normal smell for a bottle of whiskey.

I poured a glass, fully expecting to see a cloudy mess of bourbon not-quite-right, but in fact, out came a nice clear amber fluid. I gave it a nose, then took a taste, and what do you know? Good!

My whiskey palette is not sophisticated enough to really know if it was 41 year-old-whiskey good, but It was definitely not bad. My friend Adam who had actually once attended a bourbon tasting, and was therefore more qualified than myself was visiting, so I gave him a glass, and he concurred.

Not Undrinkable Good whiskey.

Comanche!

April 24th, 2010

Here is a free Rock-n-Roll download for you.

I recorded this cover of Link Wray’s 1959 song Comanche.

Enjoy : Comanche

Guitars, percussion, vocals: Steve Lodefink

Vocals: Harlan Lodefink, Ivan Lodefink.

UPDATE:

A lot of people have asked me about my recording process for this song, mostly wondering if I used drum loops, and where I got them.

No loops. I just played all the parts all the way through, using a metronome with the first drum track to keep me in line. I only have a single cheap dynamic mic from Radio Shack, so I laid down 3 percussion tracks, and 3 guitar tracks, then mixed in the “comanche” cries.

I am a novice guitar player, so I had to do about a dozen takes with the lead parts to get 3 that sounded ok.

I actually recorded the kids vocals first, the night before the main recording, since they were going to be away for the weekend (which is why I had so much free time to mess around in GarageBand).

Here are the tracks in the order that they were recorded:

  • Vocals
  • Snare/hi-hat/bass drum
  • Tambourine
  • Floor tom
  • Main guitar riff
  • Bendy howl guitar riff
  • Guitar lead licks

Member in Good Standing

February 19th, 2010

club devo

I remember filling out the application that came stuffed in the liner of my copy of Duty Now for the Future.

IBM Selectric Typewriter

January 30th, 2010

IBM Selectric

When I was a kid, my dad had a green IBM Selectric typewriter with a black keyboard. He used it to publish a stock market analysis and investing strategy newsletter, which he banged out on his Selectric in his bedroom. Sometimes, to make money to buy Wacky Packages, or issues of MAD magazine, I would help collate and staple the latest issue, or sort the envelopes into bulk piles and run them through the Pitney Bowes postage meter.

At some point he gave me the typewriter. Not too long after, I ditched it during an apartment move. I right away regreted getting rid of it, and ever since, I have sort of kept my eye out for another one.

Well, today I was at the RE-store in Seattle donating some usable bathroom fixtures that we had leftover after a recent remodel, and there it was. A green Selectric, complete with original dust cover, 12 different typeface balls, the original manuals, and 8 new ribbons. All for $30.

I think I’m going to start my screenplay tonight.

Garage Sale Report – August 22, 2009

August 24th, 2009

chemistry sets

There was a time when I was an avid garage saler, addicted to the thrill of the hunt and anxious to harvest the bounty of better than new, once treasured goods that the weekend had to offer. Not so much in recent years. These days, I am pretty happy to live vicariously through Mr. Jalopy.

This weekend when the kids and I were walking to a local car show, we stumbled into an authentic, in-the-garage, cleaning out dad’s estate, garage sale. You know, a set of baby moons, cases of NOS copper scrubber pads, wooden boxes full of greasy salvaged bolts, Jim Beam bottles, souvenir salt-n-pepper shakers from 50 vacations, film cameras, and tools, tools, tools. I only had $3 to blow and was about to spend an indeterminate amount of time at a car show, so I had to spend judiciously. I bought this Gilbert chemistry set and a pair of wire/round stock/bolt gauges.

chemistry sets

This set was made during final years of the American Age of Science, where “Today’s adventures in science will create tomorrow’s America”, and chemistry sets actually contained chemicals.

chemistry sets

I bought the set for $2 just for the wonderfully illustrated metal tri-fold box, without even bothering to open it. A few blocks later, curiosity got the better of me and I had to stop on a park bench and crack the set open. The first thing that I saw was the unit on glass blowing. Not only did this chemistry set actually contain chemicals, but it taught you how to make your own borosilicate lab ware! How times have changed.

tool

I didn’t feel like lugging anything else around at the car show, but I still had a dollar to blow, so I picked up these two gauge tool things. They looked like they had been used and treasured for at least 80 years. One is from the L.S. ST(repair)ETT CO. ATHOL, MASS U.S.A. and had been broken, then repaired with what must have been a pretty laborious weld and grind job.

Garage Surf Motivational

August 24th, 2009

I picked up this Personal Motivation 7″ about 15 years ago, thinking that I might someday do something with it. Recently, I have been figuring out how to play the guitar, and decided to put it to use. Well, here is rough draft of a song that I am recording. Guitars by me, drums by Garageband, vocals by Paul J. Meyer. Enjoy!

personal motivation

My Robot Made This

June 24th, 2009

skull lithopane kit

I ran the first machining job with my newly operational Lumenlab Micro CNC robot (did you hear the champagne cork pop?). I say newly operational, since I won’t consider this thing “finished” for a long time, if ever. I anticipate fitting new tools to the machine to do different things for years to come.

Lithophane

Lithophanes were a popular way to hide girlie pictures in the bottom a of gentleman’s tea cup around the end of the 19th century. An image would be molded into the porcelain in the cup so that only when held up to a light would the picture be visible.

cnc kit

I “lithophaned” an image of a skull into a piece of corian. When viewed under normal front lighting, it sort of looks like a distorted C-3P0 face, but when held up to a light source, it is transformed into a skull.

cnc kit

The open source, EMC2 machine controller software that I am running comes with a cool program that converts a grayscale image into a machining tool path (g code) program.

Some of you will no doubt remember the CNC vanity jack-o-lantern that Grayson Sigler made last year with this little freeware gem.

Here is a video of the machine at work. But be warned, unless you are deeply interested in engraving, it is a little bit like watching paint dry. I can’t stop watching it.