How To Change Your Motorcycle Oil – Anyone can do it!

Changing your own motorcycle oil is a great first step into vehicle maintenance. Doing it yourself can save you money and make sure the job is done right.
I don’t change my car’s oil, it’s not practical in an urban setting when you can get it done so easily and cheaply by a professional. Motorcycles are a more personal ownership experience than a car I’ve found – and more expensive to have changed professionally!
Directed, edited, written – and with original music – by Spencer Balliet
Staring Daniel Landberg in his pilot jumpsuit debut.

RageQuit by RageCade – Home Made Arcade Cabinet

I loved going to the arcade as a child. Five dollars from my mother amounted to what seemed like a mountain of quarters. The Boardwalk Arcade (still there? still there.) in my hometown was the place most typical.

So I built a home arcade

 

It’s inspired by a few designs on the internet but it’s more an original design. If someone really wants the plans I’ll take some exact measurements on request.

The goal of the project was to create a semi-portable arcade machine capable of playing most arcade games and cartridge based systems (Nintendo / Sega / Etc). While it would be a PC under the hood running windows, I wanted the OS to be as invisible to the user as possible with navigation and game selection done entirely through the arcade controls. I wanted it to look classy and not too out of place in a nice bar so I decided to stain it dark oak.
Materials used:
  • Raw Materials
    • About 4′ x 4′ of Plywood
    • Flooring Plywood (very thin 1/8″ plywood generally used for underfloors)
    • Clear Lucite Acrylic Sheet
    • 1″ Aluminum Angle Stock
    • 2″ Gold Wood Screws
    • Zip Ties
    • Pipe Hanger Strap (Plumber’s Tape)
  • Controls
    • 16x Sanwa Style 30mm Arcade Buttons
    • 2x 8-way Joysticks
    • 1x Generic SPST Switch
    • 4x Xbox 360 Wired USB Controllers
  • Tools
    • Jig Saw, Circular Saw, Standard Saw and Miter Box
    • 3″ Hole Saw, 30mm hole saw, 28mm hole saw
    • Miscellaneous Hand Tools
  • Brain
    • Shuttle mini-ITX Donor PC
    • Dell Optiplex Power Supply
    • Core2 Duo Processor
    • 4GB RAM
    • 120GB SD
    • 80mm Fan and Grill
    • ATI HD5450 Low Profile Graphics Card
    • WiFi USB Dongle
  • Software
    • Windows 7 x64
    • Hyperspin 1.3
    • Xpadder
  • Aesthetics
    • USB bus-powered speakers with 1/8″ input
    • USB bus-powered LED strip
    • Color Laser Printer
    • Stain with Polyurethane
I started by standing at the bar and seeing what felt right height-wise. I did some quick math on the height of the motherboard components (notably the video card and Processor Heatsink) and drew up some basic plans and got to cutting.

First I stained and poly’d all the wood so it would be well protected and easy to work with.
This took forever.

I chopped up the PC with an angle grinder, it was a Shuttle Mini-PC from some years ago. I saved the front of it, cut it apart, and mounted it on the back so there would be USB, power, reset and headphone jacks.
Just a jumble right now.
Rear Panel with power, reset, headphones and a few USB cords hanging out.

Bolted it to bottom of the Arcade, I used a power supply from an old Dell Optiplex I had laying around because it fit better (the photo above shows the old power supply, below is the better fitting Dell one).
See the dell power supply and HD mounted on the right side.

For the controls, I used a template based on the Sega Layout shown by slagcoin – minus 2 of the buttons on the far right. I put two extra buttons on the front for either start/select or to emulate inserting a coin and 1P / 2P start buttons.

Slagcoin was a great resource – these printable controller templates are just one of the great things they do.

To cut it, I taped the template on the wood and cut ~2mm deep with the 30mm hole saw. I then cut the rest of the way with the 28mm hole saw. This created a nice countersink for the button surround to sit in perfectly snugly.

The arcade buttons are relatively simple momentary SPST switches. They get a bit more complicated because each one has an LED that requires 2 more wires. The Joysticks are also simple banks of 4 SPST switches with diagonals signaled by being a combination of two directions.
Yep.
OK getting better. See the white SPST switches in a pile on the right and the LEDs just above them.

They get wired up via header pins to a USB controller device that is seen by Windows as two 10 button gamepads. Getting all this to fit with the motherboard below was a bit of a stretch – or a crunch as you can see in some of the photos.
I added in a generic SPST red button to exit games that mounted on the LCD panel holder. it’s out of the way and discreet. It’s only purpose is to exit games and submenus.

What’s another hole in this thing?
Do. Not. Press.
I used a single very long wood screw (4.5″ I think) to secure the video card. I shaved the stress reliefs off the cables to make sure they would fit with the back on.

This video card is solid.
The monitor is a Dell 1705FP 17″ LCD Monitor I picked up off Craigslist from a nice gentleman for five bucks. It has a Digital DVI input which allows me to not worry about adjusting it. I discovered it would automatically turn on when power and/or display signal was applied, which was a win as I don’t want the user to ever have to do anything to turn it on other than push the power button.

Very low profile when the bezel is stripped – it was surprisingly well suited 
Nearly flush mounted

I removed all the bezels around the monitor leaving the bare panel. I mounted it on the underflooring plywood by tracing it’s outline and cutting it out, then mounting some small pieces of scrap wood to hold it in place. I wired the power cable into the PC power supply to have one source of electricity for the unit.

How the monitor is held in.
The marquee is backlit by an LED strip that picked up on eBay for a few bucks. The LED strip is USB powered so it easily turns on and off with the arcade. The marquee border is 1″ aluminum angle stock from Home Depot, it was very cheap and it looks good and was easy to drill/cut. The marquee itself is acrylic sheeting from home depot sandwiching a logo just printed on a laser printer and cut to fit. I designed the logo in Photoshop.

This is the rear, the LED strip is center and held by zip ties
The speakers required some searching – it’s one of the few things I couldn’t source from spares lying around. I found speakers that are powered by a USB port (again, on and off with the arcade). They have a standard 1/8″ input which made it easy – Earise AL-101 is the model – they were on sale on Amazon. I mounted them behind the marquee and turned up the treble on the EQ in Windows to compensate them being behind the acrylic marquee. This worked surprisingly well to compensate.
Speakers held snugly in place with pipe strapping wrapped in black tape

I found the PC was overheating so I took a 3″ hole saw to the side and mounted up a standard case fan with a nice looking chrome grill. This fan pulls air in, which then the processor fan blows over the heatsink, followed by the power supply that has an exhaust fan. This creates a good crossbreeze inside the arcade and eliminated any issues with overheating.

Again, what’s another hole going to do?

I found that a permanent marker masked a lot of knicks and imperfections in the stain and edges – I would swipe the marker followed by a wet paper towel to blend it in quite effectively.

Here are some more photos of the build!

Software:

Windows 7 x64 seemed the clear choice for operating system. XP is missing a few features and doesn’t perform as well and Windows 8 has compatibility issues with some emulator software and doesn’t always like some resolutions and hacks that older emulators use to work properly.

Hyperspin is a front-end for that handles launching the correct software to play the selected game. It also handles showing artwork and videos of each game/system you have. Configuring Hyperspin is a massive undertaking and has a steep learning curve. I recommend you start with their forums and get involved with their community if your heart is in it. It’s very rewarding because nothing compares to it in terms of hiding the fact that it’s running on a PC.

Xpadder maps gamepad buttons/movements to keyboard keys. this allows me to standardize keys across different emulators and allows me to easily control systems – with this virtual keyboard – that don’t support gamepads. It also allows me to double up controls so I can plug Xbox 360 controllers in and have them work as P1 and P2 (along with P3 and P4 with more controllers!)

IKEA Bed Headboard becomes an itty bitty stand – Recycling and IKEA hacking

I needed a stand for a wine chiller. Wine fridge? Wine cooler? Bartles and Jaymes?

Complete shot first:

It’s on the left. Under the wine device.

I had this extra bed headboard (and tailboard? is that a thing?). It’s from IKEA. It’s made of wood. I hate throwing good wood away. I’ll burn/crush/destroy and otherwise exact lament upon particle board furniture all day long but in its original native tree form I have an affinity with it; I want to see it live anew; this respect is akin to a steak versus chicken nuggets.

Enter bedframe/headboard/tailboard/woods:

BedWoods

I cut it down so the legs were all equal and gave them a staining.

Cutting / Staining

I then cut the thin back board and linked them together with some dowels and wood glue to give it some rigidity and to get it to the right size.

Still Staining

I used some spare wood I had lying around as a topper for it and snapped up a segment of 1×2 (these not shown) to the back as a brace.

Voila: recycled.

Thrift Store Table – Refinish – Upgrade

Final shot first:


But, how?

What an unusual table!
What, an unusual table?

Have you ever seen a table like this? What was it for? A game? A ritual? I purchased it for the heavily discounted rate of $15 from Out of the Closet in Atwater Village a week or so ago. It was in bad shape:

  • One loose leg
  • It didn’t stand straight
  • Appeared to have been dropped down several flights of stairs
    • heavy gouging and missing hardware
  • What was the leather thing? a lamp? a roulette wheel? a drum?
  • Now that I see the photos I promise it looked worse in person
So many mysteries, no answers, only solutions. I planned to refinish it, put something in the giant hole, and replace my albeit without issue (but too large) current coffee table.
SAND SAND SAND. I sanded the imperfections and all of the finish off. I removed some hardware but not all.
Enter: this stuff. I like this stuff. Good for impatient people. It’s got polyurethane and stain all in one. I slap it on, wait for it to dry, steel wool it, rinse and repeat. The drawers got a lighter color stain, but otherwise the same treatment.

In Progress.

My teammate provided a bowl that seemed as though it was made for the giant circular hole,

Here it is all finished in the living room. It freed up a lot of space in the room and is a fun and unique piece to have around!

Accessorized!

Clearly where the keyboard goes.

Dem Drawers.

Bowl Shot.

Look at that deep dish.
More stuff to come.

Spring and Strut Replacement – Koni/AGX/Hypercoils – 1993 NX2000

A Treatise on Building and Installing Custom Suspension:

It’s not easy.

Goal:

Install fully new suspension encompassing new springs and struts which lower the car approximately one-inch from its stock ride height. Do this without compromising safety and performance while maintaining daily driveability.

Equipment:

  • 2x Koni Yellow B15 Sentra front adjustable strut inserts
  • 2x KYB AGX rear adjustable gas struts
  • 4x Hyperco Hypercoil Generation 2 lowering springs
  • Reuse stock front strut housings
  • Reuse all top hats and mounting bushings etc.
  • 2x bicycle headset spacers

Overview:

  1. Remove front struts and springs and disassemble
  2. Cut housings, drill out bottoms, and remove “blood n’ guts” to insert the Koni struts
  3. Modify Koni strut bottoms to clear CV boots, insert and reassemble with new springs
  4. Rear is the same as the front, only the rear struts are a direct replacement
Photos:
Look at those tight coils (old vs. new)

Front bumpstop (cut 50%), boot and top hat.

Stock front SensaTracs

This is easy compared to getting the compressor tool in between the rings on the Hypercoils. BTW the pressure the springs are under in this maneuver is astronomical.

Exceptionally manly moment about to ensue.

So pretty. Not their prescribed purpose – these are for a 2000 Sentra really.

The contents of two Monroe SensaTrac struts. Don’t breathe this.

Slicin’ / Dicin’

This is the rear assembled (these were WAY easier than hollowing out the fronts)

The two rears assembled
Caveats:
My axle fell apart during this and had to be replaced. That is not typical. The upside of this is a shimmy on the highway appears to have departed with the bad axle. The strut spindle (center) in the front did not bolt to the stock top hats as expected, there was approximately 1.5-2.5cm of space that needed to be filled. I used approximately 9qty. 1/2″ interior diameter washers to fill this gap. Getting the Konis into the housings was quite a battle – my fronts were not original though and were Monroe Sensatracs. I cut the stock bumpstops by about 50% and reused those and the boots on both ends of the car.
Impressions:
Hard to see from this angle, but the drop is very minimal which is good. Can’t be scraping around LA.
Performance is excellent. I’ve ridden on Ground Control coilovers with AGXes in the past on a Nissan NX2000 and this is WORLDS better than that. I’ve also had Tein SS coilovers on a P11 Infiniti G20 which was bone jarring compared to this. So far, this setup is excellent.

The $50 Automotive Paintjob

This is my experience with the famous $50 automotive paintjob. Total cost here was about $50, maybe $65 with the addition of the cheap Harbor Freight buffer I bought. Equipment list:

  • Quart of Rustoleum gloss white paint
  • Odorless mineral spirits
  • Cheap foam brushes galore
  • 600, 1000, 1500 and 2000 grit (wet) sand paper
  • Rattle Spray Can of Rustoleum gray primer
  • Harbor Freight palm orbiting buffer

Outlined here:

http://www.rickwrench.com/index79master.htm?http://www.rickwrench.com/50dollarpaint.html

And starting at day one (600 grit sand prep)…

Sanded, then masked off for Primer

Rustoleum Automotive Rattle-Can Primer Gray. Could have called it done right here if this was a Camaro.

Coverage = Bad, the paint is thinned with mineral spirits nearly 50/50

This is like 6 coats in, wet sanding with 1000 grit every 2 coats.

8 or so coats

Roundabouts 10 coats

With the license plate back in place and the bottom of the bumper refastened.
Wet sanded with 2000 grit, then buffed with the buffer and some wax/polish/compound.
Thoughts gleaned from the experience:
  • The Rickwrench site above is pretty much right on. I would recommend getting as good of a primer as you can underneath it all, preferably the color you’re painting it as the coverage is terrible.
  • I bought a buffer from Harbor Freight which did a lot for the sheen, but this job is definitely in “good enough” territory. It’s nothing special.
  • It feels durable but we’ll see what it does with the test of time. Looks great though, especially at 4 feet away