Thursday, December 7, 2017

More Lighting

The new truck has a mix of incandescent and LED lights, for example the tail lights are LED but the backup lights are incandescent. LED's are not by default brighter but you can obtain brighter versions of a particular bulb along with different kelvin ratings.

I ordered some 6000k LED bulbs to replace the backup lights, the bed lights on the back of the cab and the license plate lights. The backup lights will help with visibility at night looking through the backup camera. The bed lights help some when backing up but are more to make the bed more visible. The license plate lights are to get rid of the only 3000k lights left on the back of the truck.

The lights I ordered for the backup and bed are 1000 lumen each, which is equal to a very powerful tactical flashlight. Another modification I did while changing these was to wire the backup lights to the bed lights. When the truck is unlocked with the remote at night, the backup lights, puddle lights, headlights all turn on. If you want the bed lights to turn on you have to go in the cab and hit the switch on the center console, now they come on with the remote. The only downside is when you put the truck in reverse the bed lights come on, I'll live with that trade off any day of the week.

I forgot to take a picture of the truck with the incandescent backup and bed lights, but here is one with the LED's in place. They overwhelm the camera sensor on my Iphone.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Awesome Light Pods

I had this week off and decided to do a small project with the GMC. In GM's infinite wisdom they decided in 2014 to stop lighting the foot well areas in their trucks. Now if you drop a something small at night on the floor it is a lot more fun to find than having a simple light to see it. I also like how foot well lighting looks when your getting in the vehicle. I had bought some LED strip lights last year for this project but the first roll was cheap Chinese and had cold solider joints causing the lights to randomly shut off or flicker. The second roll I bought was from a US distributor and had some of the same issues so this time I decided to use LED pods.

I bought this LED kit for $13.99, it had enough modules to do the interior and the bed. I'm very impressed with the quality for the cost of these modules. The modules are UL listed, waterproof and pre-wired. The kit came with a harness, additional wire, real 3M adhesive pads, and screws if you chose to hard mount the modules. This allow me to use some existing screws in the truck to securely mount the pods.

This is one under the glove box lighting the passenger side foot-well.

The light is 5000k, and looks to me just slightly yellow to the factory interior lights although that might just be the surface its shining on, its very close. For the rear seats I was able to wrap a zip tie around the seat frame tube and secure the pod just at the back of the front seat.

I used 1 module at each seat and put the remaining 8 modules in the bed in addition to the factory bed lights. The bed has areas under the rail where the steel is stamped at an angle that made a perfect spot to mount these lights.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Fishing Trip - Fort Lauderdale

I took a some guys from work along with our customer on a fishing trip in Fort Lauderdale this week.

Its not something I was necessarily looking forward to, I have never been on this type of fishing trip and probably had some preconceived notions to what it would be like.

I ended up having a great time, with some good memories. I am not going to show pictures of who went with me or list names. I will say we got there the day before, went out the night before and one of the group didn't make the boat the next morning. He had to retrieve his cell phone from someone named George that was texting our group text when we thought we were chatting with our friend...

I sent Tania this picture just to show her the view from our hotel bar at the marina, she thought I was sending her a picture of the boat we were going out on. It happens to be the Sovereign a little boat with 8k square feet of living space. Its also for sale for a paltry 32.5 million.

 Our boat showed up a few hours later.

The following morning we headed out at 8am. The houses in the area were quite impressive.

This was one of the many superyachts  we passed on the way out of the marina. Out of curiosity I Googled "Vibrant Curiosity" and found the superyacht had its own wiki page. Apparently the $111,000,000 superyacht has a fuel capacity of 285.000 liters which at $2.50 a gallon for marine diesel would cost around $189k just to fill her up. Note what appears to be a Eurocopter on the helo pad.

The first hour or so while we were just off the coast trying to catch bait this was all over the place apparently on maneuvers.

 Cell phone coverage was pretty impressive, at one time we were 30+ miles out.

We ended up catching limit of kings and one albacore. It was a beautiful day and the water was very calm till we were returning around 5pm.

We passed by these at the end of the day on the way back into the marina. This is the "Seven Seas" and apparently belongs to Steven Spielberg. When I looked it up the information I could find was he is building another one because this one is too small. In the interim he rents it out for 1.2 million a month. At that rate with no interest it would take him 13 years to pay it off.

This military looking yacht is "Scat" which belongs to a former Microsoft software engineer.

This is me with one of the kings, I caught two, but which two who knows. All the fish went to the motel and they cleaned them and had a big fish fry. They served the albacore raw it was very tasty.

I wont explain this one, the right people know what it is.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Business Trip - Pittsburgh

Last week I had to make a business trip to Pittsburgh nothing really new or special, I normally travel at least once a month on average. This time though when I was searching for flights I came across a non-stop provided by a company called OneJet who operates bizjets. The flight was only $20.00 more than the cheapest flight offered by a major carrier so I jumped on it.

When I arrived at the airport I immediately regretted my decision. When I checked in at the counter, I was informed the flight was delayed for maintenance and to stand by. 30 minutes later a bus drove me and the four other passengers across the field to Millionair. There OneJet had secured a replacement aircraft and we were on our way in 30 minutes.

Looking to the back of the aircraft from my seat, not very good pictures, I was trying to take them secretly so I wouldn't be "that guy", he was actually in the back of the aircraft.

Seat view looking forward.

Even with the aircraft switch and delays, I was in Pittsburgh quicker than any of the major carriers would have gotten me there.
Landing at PIT.

On the way back we flew in a OneJet Leer 20.

When I returned to INDY this beauty was sitting in the courtyard advertising the Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational,  held every year on Fathers Day at IMS.

Overall I was very satisfied with my OneJet experience, the return trip was one hour and I was in my office by 7:25am that's earlier than I get to the office when I'm already home...

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Indianapolis Cars and Coffee

Yesterday Tania and I went to Indianapolis Cars and Coffee. I was impressed by the amount of cars in attendance and how well it was run.

Their schedule is:
1st and 3rd Saturday's each month will be at Gator Motorsport.
2nd Saturday each month (except May will be Sunday) will be at the IMS Museum.

This is just the lot in front of Gator Motorsports there is an area just as large behind the business and a lot next to it that were full of cars.

 I don't normally get excited about cars from this era but the dual carb straight eight was way cool.

These were cars inside Gator Motorsports for sale. The blue and black car in the front is an Zenos E10S. Its a 1600lb car with a 2.0 liter turbocharged Ford that puts out 250hp, I think they start around 60k.

The blue car is a Lotus Evora, the black car is Lotus 2-Eleven track day car with similar specs to the Zenos

This beauty is a $186,000.00 2017 Lotus 3-Eleven. It has a supercharged 3.5 that puts out 460hp, a sequential six speed and does 0-60 in 2.9 seconds. I know they can make these street legal in Europe, I don't know if this one is. Its a lot of money to spend for a track day car but what a beast.

This is a 2005 Noble M12GTO-3R with around a 1,000 miles on it. They are a British made supercar with around 350hp and they weigh around 2,400lbs. Its a very cool car that needs someone to buy it and drive it. Really a 2005 with 1k miles wtf?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Gas Monkey Beat Down

I had to travel to Dallas this week for work. Our dinner was scheduled coincidentally at Gas Monkey Bar and Grill on the night of the big race between Gas Monkey Garage and Street Outlaws Oklahoma.

Not surprisingly after the beat down widely publicized on the internet, only two of the multiple TV's both inside and outside had aired the episode of Gas Monkey Garage. Even those two TV's had the volume turned off, I guess it would be bad for business.

We did have a great evening there with very good food. I wanted to buy a tee shirt in their gift shop but wasn't willing to pay $30.00 for a 100% cotton non-brand tee shirt.

Friday, March 24, 2017


This week I got a chance to take one of our customers hockey game at the United Center.

I've been to some of the minor league games recently but no major league games in the last 20 years. My company has a suite at the United Center that takes all of five minutes to get into from the parking lot.

The Blackhawks played the Dallas Stars. I forgot just how large professional ice is compared to the rinks the minors play on.

At times with all the lighting and sound system it looked and felt like being at a rock concert. The lighting on the ice was very impressive.

The Blackhawks won in overtime, it was a very enjoyable evening doing something I wouldn't normally do.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Hot Wire Foam Cutter

Over the last few weeks I started looking at different soft cases available for my AR15. The particular cases I was looking at were in the $50-$80 dollar range when I came across the Plano All Weather Rifle Hard Case for $62.00.

Plano claims their All Weather cases "create watertight and airtight shields that protect your guns even in the most extreme conditions" and "are designed to withstand the continuous bumping and jarring of airline travel". I found a lot of positive reviews on it so I went ahead and ordered one.

The main layer of foam in the case consists of approximately 2.5" of "pick and pluck foam" which consists of partially cut 1" squares. Once you have traced an outline on the foam you pluck what is not needed. It makes it easy to make a cutout for the gun but it gives it an unsightly appearance and it is not at all durable. It is not as supportive as solid foam and if anything catches on the foam it will pluck that piece out.

Here is a picture of a newly done gun case with pick and pluck foam, note how the pieces around the gun are already starting to be displaced.

 This one shows the same type of foam after it has been in use for a while. You can see where it has started to deteriorate and separate.

 The alternative is using solid foam that is cut specifically to the items you are trying to protect. This is a far more durable option that produces a more professional appearance. There are various ways to cut solid foam from regular knifes to water jets and lasers. Hot wire cutters are fairly simple and make very clean cuts so I decided to build one.

I purchased a folding tailgate table from "The Walmart" and using some scrap metal I had along with some uni-strut constructed a, way more complex than it needed to be, hot wire foam cutter.

The folding table made the entire project much harder than if I had just used a simple piece of wood. I wanted something I could fold up and put away when I wasn't using it.

The top piece of the cutter has an adjustment knob for when the wire heats up or stretches. The wire itself is Kanthal and seems to be fairly durable. The adjustment knob also allows for the wire to be quickly disconnected and strung through the foam for making inside cuts. The fan was a last minute addition to blow the smoke away from the cut.

The cutter clamps to the sides of the table by interference fit. There is a common beam across the bottom that has a tongue which fits into the main piece. This is also interference fit which allows the entire cutter to be quickly installed or removed.

A simple automotive battery charger is used to apply 12v @ 2 amps to the cutting wire.

This video shows the cutter in action with an old piece of 3" thick foam. This was the first time I tried using it.

With the cutter working the next step was to make templates for the items I wanted in my gun case. Using poster board allows the wire to be run along it, because the wire wont quickly cut the poster board it makes for very accurate cuts.

The templates are difficult when the item does not sit flat, the gun itself took me about 90 minutes to accurately trace. This can be done more quickly if fit is not a big concern.

Once it was traced out I cut it with scissors and pinned it to the foam. It took about 6 minutes to cut it out with the hot wire. The cutouts are then placed on their side for a perpendicular cut this is to make a piece that goes back in the cutout hole and raises the item in the cutout hole. In the picture below I set up a simple fence for the amount I wanted to cut off the gun cutout. If I were to make a hot wire cutter again this would be something I would include in the design.

Overall I am very happy with the hot wire cutter, I have about 45-50 dollars invested in it. The foam itself can be very expensive, I was lucky enough to find a few pieces in the trash at work that were close to the size I needed. Below is a shot of my first try at foaming my gun case, It was a lot of work but I am very happy with the outcome.

I positioned the gun to the left side in anticipation of the Hearing Protection Act. To offset the weight of the gun I have 5 loaded mags positioned to the right with a minimum of 1" spacing from any item to the edge of the foam.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Deer + GMC = Better

After weeks at the dealership and four additional trips back for parking sensor issues, I have my truck back.

The damage was limited to the bumpers and the seat belt tensioners. I also had its first service completed while it was there. I did have them install Denali bumpers on the truck since they were being replaced anyway. Its funny that painted bumpers cost me almost 1k over having the chrome ones put back on. I prefer the look of the painted bumpers and it helped me over the whole wrecking the truck thing.