Yet Another Hobby: Mini-Z!

I recently started a new hobby (well about a year ago… but I was too busy doing it to write about it) – and with so many already I’m not sure why.  I started playing with, racing, tuning, modding, and fixing Mini-Z R/C cars.

What’s a Mini-Z? Simple: It’s a specific brand of 1/28 scale R/C car (approximately 6in (15cm) long) made by Kyosho that has an amazing following and culture around it.  Also, I didn’t think I needed to specify this, but I’ve gotten the question about 4 times – these are completely remote controlled, NOT slot cars.

They start as high quality toys, but with just a couple tweaks they become high quality race cars ready to battle!

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I Void Warranties – With Results!

So, I recently was gifted a copy of Forza 4 for XBOX 360, and I’ve really been enjoying the game.  This post though is not about the game, but instead about my steering wheel – how it broke, and my insane need to fix it on my own so I could get back to playing!!!

Here’s my Thrustmaster VG Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Racing Wheel for Xbox which I really was enjoying… until the downshift paddle stopped working.  It happened quite suddenly one day, but it flat out never worked after that.  I tried playing the game in automatic mode, but it just wasn’t the same.

I know my way around a multimeter and soldering iron – so I was pretty confident that I could figure this one out.  Even if I couldn’t fix it though, I could probably narrow down what the real problem was at least.

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Mechanical Engineering + Art = Watches

I work on mechanical designs everyday, have enjoyed learning how things work for my entire life, and taken apart everything I could – but I really never realized how AMAZING mechanical watches can be.

Just this week I became bizarrely obsessed with learning everything I can about these ticking, turning, tantalizing time pieces.

Here is a sweet one I found – I think the unique, interactive motion when moved makes this an ever changing sculpture on your wrist.  You really need to watch the video to appreciate what’s going on here.

The next one is less show and more technical prowess – this has what’s called a “Flying Tourbillon” which I recently learned helps make the watch more accurate when the balance wheel is held in different orientations on the wrist. Here’s some light reading: wiki-tourbillon.  This particular one is using the tourbillon to tell the seconds… and just looks so good doing it.

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iPhone 4 Bumper Compatibility Modding

I have been loving my new iPhone 4 – it’s fast, sleek, and solid. A recent addition to this all-in-one device was a gift from Apple – a free black bumper case to conveniently disable the network start / stop button (also known as AntennaGate). The bumper is very well made, molded out of two separate materials, with metal pass-through buttons – however, there was a big problem…

THREE of my frequently used iPhone accessories didn’t work with the bumper on!

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AirVideo: Streaming Star Trek to My iPhone 24/7

So here’s a pretty normal picture – it’s my iPhone playing one of my favorite Star Trek TNG episodes.  However, what’s blog worthy is HOW the episode is getting to my phone.

The iPhone has a couple limitations when it comes to Star Trek consumption – capacity, and formats.

So, there’s a fancy little iPhone app that has solved all that, and it’s called AirVideo.

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iPhone On-Hand Lite 3D File Viewer

After seeing Iron Man 2 3D CAD was swimming around in my brain – especially the holographic, touch and voice commanded version.  On this theme I looked for apps on the iPhone that would let me review and share 3D models of things I’m designing.  Well – I found one, and there’s even a free version.

It’s called “On-Hand Lite” and it simply displays 3D models – you can multitouch gesture your way around them, and even section them for advanced viewing.  However getting my model into the program was not very easy, and I’ll elaborate on that.  Still, once they’re on I can spin the world with my finger, or at least I can spin my crudely modeled portable GPS device and cradle with secret mods attached.

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Showing Off the WD Goods

I wanted to share a great custom NAS box mod I found.  This mod originally caught my eye for its very obvious display of my company’s 2TB green power drives, but as I further investigated I learned how nicely custom and thought out this project really was.

The modder Will U calls this “Black Dwarf”, and I just love the raw capacity it demonstrates – 8x 2TB drives on display, wow.  It’s not just a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device though – it’s a full on computer with a mini motherboard and there are actually 2 more hidden drives in the back of this thing – check out the picture below for that.

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Where Gadgets and Engineering Collide