How to make your own LED shop Lights DIY

It seems like having efficient lighting is all the rage but
I have not really found any lighting that I thought was actually all that efficient.  I have converted from incandescent lights to
fluorescent lights but they keep burning out.
They might be less on my electric bill but it is costly to replace the
bulbs so I am not convinced of the overall savings.

My shop has standard florescent lighting but they are about
13 feet in the air.

I usually wait for a couple to burn out before I set up
my scaffolding to climb up and replace them.

Recently I stumbled onto a video where the people made their
own lights for shooting video.  I thought
this might be a good idea for making my shop lights.  Here is their link:

The LEDs are cheap to make and cheap to buy.  It costs me roughly $25 dollars to make two eight-foot
strips.  One eight-foot strip puts out a
bit less than a standard two bulb fluorescent.

Light strip off

Light strip on

Light strips off

Light strips on


Here is a video of how I assembled them:

And here are some links to the parts on ebay:




I hope it helps with your projects.  Let me know if you have some ideas for improvements or other applications!

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DSLR Monitor Mounting Assembly for the Nexus 7

I was looking for an inexpensive yet sturdy DSLR tablet mount for my Nexus 7. My search took me to DSLR Film Noob. The site has a ton of neat ideas and I have only scratched the surface!

Here’s a link:

DSLR Film Noob’s idea was great but I wondered if instead of buying the RAM mount or something like it, I could just use a TPU case specifically for the Nexus 7. The answer is yes and it works great!

I beefed up the TPU case with a piece of plastic that was thick enough for me to drill and tap into for my 1/4-20 mounting screw on the articulating mounting arm. I went ahead and did a few holes to give me a few extra mounting options.

I spent $6 dollars on the case and $7 on the articulating mounting arm. That includes shopping! The rest was just scraps from around my shop but if you had to buy them you might spend another $10.

Here are a couple pictures:

Thanks to DSLR Film Noob for priming my imagination!

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Animation with Flash

I finally completed my first full-length cartoon!

Well, full length meaning it had a beginning and an end. I am not sure what the legal time limit is supposed to be for a cartoon. I actually completed it a few weeks ago and am just now blogging about it.

It was pretty fun. I did it in Flash. I had made a really simple five second animation and pasted my granddaughters faces on it and put it to music. It was really cheesy and really dumb. They loved it! I liken it to buying an expensive present for your kids and having them spend more time playing with the ratty wrapping paper than the present. My little animation was ratty paper. But, it inspired me to do better!

I made up a little story and did some animation. The animation was about as complicated as Southpark. Even as simple as it was, I may as well have been forging the Portrait of Mona Lisa. I used the site and worked through the “Flash Essentials” course to get what I needed for the animation. I have much to learn but was able to pull it off.

One of the things that was fun was that the girls live in England. My daughter recorded them reading the script then sent me the recording to edit into the program. I was limited by the recording and my abilities, mostly by my abilities.

It is truly one of those things where the more you learn the less you know!

Anyway, now that I have carpal tunnel, I am done with that project and looking forward to another installment.

Take a look at it and give me your feedback!


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How to install a Bathroom Countertop – Quick and easy!

I have wanted to put something up on YouTube but have not been able to come up with anything that I thought was YouTube worthy.  Then I spent about two minutes browsing for something ridiculous, found it, and decided I could do that or at least something close.

There is some great stuff out there but there is also some real crap.  I think this quick and dirty video came out OK but I will let you decide what category it fits best in, good, bad, or somewhere in between.

One of my problems was wanting to post something of value and something that was not completely stupid.  I finally decided I would die of old age before I got anywhere near the quality of the movie playing in my head so thanks to the morass of ridiculously low quality videos out there, I am posting this piece.

I used a Sony HD Cybershot to film a project my wife had been asking me to complete for a month now.  Basically, we had installed cabinets in the kitchen.  Obviously when you do that you have to make the bathrooms match, whatever.  The kitchen cabinets were made out of glue, staples, glue and sawdust.  To replace the countertops the correct way we would have destroyed the cabinets in the process.  My solution was to buy the cheap preformed counter tops and lay them over the top.  It took about four hours and I was completely done!  Therefore, I decided to duplicate the effort in the bathroom.

We did this in a modular home with cheap cabinets.  I would not dream of doing this in a real house with expensive cabinets.  This would be a good application for a rental or some other disposable structure.

I hope this gives you some ideas for installing a cheap counter top and inspires you to make the leap from trying to produce a commercial grade video to just producing something.

Feedback is welcome!

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How to make a larger shop

Want to know how to make your house, garage, shop, or even desk larger?  Wait for it……clean it!

Several years ago, I built a shop.  I had a hard time prying my wallet open to release the funds but I finally got tired of rolling around in the dirt in all matters of weather, trying to work on stuff.

I could never leave my tools out until the next day and the little shed I had for storing them was getting cramped.

Over time I have filled my shop with more tools, scrap wood, scrap metal, scrap scrap, half-done projects, three quarter done projects, 15/16 done projects, etc. and have slowly ran out of real-estate and am back to working outside, rolling around in the dirt, in all matters of weather.

I sort of cheated.  I didn’t clean up my mess as much as I relocated it.  I just finished a small outbuilding to store some of my things that I don’t access as often.  It now holds my two riding lawn mowers, (doesn’t everyone have two?)  scrap, scaffolding, miscellaneous parts that have no real purpose but they look cool, my tractor, and one of my half-done

Several years ago when gas prices shot up I decided it was time to make an electric car.  I really like the Geo metro/Suzuki Swift and have always had a small army of them for parts.  In fact I still drive one which gets over 40 miles to the gallon and has over 300,000 miles on it, but I digress.

Here is where I am on my half-done project.

Geo Graveyard




Wet Paint!


While pushing it from my shop to the shed I decided it was about time to start working on it again, especially now that gas prices are so cheap.  In fact, at this point it will be more of a novelty than anything else.  Almost like making a catapult for chunking pumpkins. BTW, that project is also on my to-do list.

Oh hell yeah!

I have already purchased the motor but one of the other big-ticket items is the controller.  If anyone out there has a Curtis 1231 motor controller, working or not, I would be interested it.

Have you ever started a really awesome project and gotten sidetracked?  If you had all the time and money you needed, what would be the one project you would try to complete?

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I was just thinking that I need to knock the dust off my blog and exercise it but was having some trouble coming up with something to blog about. I mean, I should put something sort of useful out there right? Most blogs are full of personal rants and whatnot so why not take the high road so to speak. I took a vow to make sure my blogs have some tidbit of useful information in them. And so, there my blog sits, gathering dust and moss and actually growing roots as it settles in for a life of neglect.

Just when I sighed my final sigh in resignation a spark emerged from the e-mail-o-sphere. I had replied to an email with a couple sentences about what I was up to and not only did I get a reply but they gave me a nudge. I suppose I was getting nudged all the time however I happened to pay attention to this one. I won’t name any names but thanks Kayla for the kind words that made me at least poke at my blog with a long stick instead of leaving it lay there. That by the way is the extent of my first aid training so if you are injured and need assistance, make sure you have a long stick nearby so I can help you.

Kayla said, and I quote “Comedic writer is definitely one of your attributes!”. This is intended as either a nice comment for someone aspiring to be a great comedy writer or a subtle hint not to quit my day job as a night watchman because my comedic writing efforts do not produce material fit for a mime. For the record, I am not trying to be a great comedy writer. I know, that takes a lot of pressure off both of us right?

So what was it that made Kayla offer up this advice? I told her I fell off my roof.

Thank you Kayla for knocking the dust off my blog and encouraging me to keep my day job.

Has anyone ever been involved in one of those horrific accidents that everyone laughed at but you? Please share it with me. Trust me, I won’t laugh.

PS. Kayla, you’re a keeper;)

PS2. No authors, comedic or otherwise, were physically injured in the filming of this blog.

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Annoying Finger Nicks

I don’t know what else to call them. Those little nicks you get on the edge of your fingers. It is like a little paper cut or a rat bite. They are annoying, little, and vicious. I have a few solutions, one of which is by far the best. Which one you ask? I will tell you at the end in the big reveal!  I have listed them in order of effectiveness saving the best for last!

These little nicks are small then sort of get dry and rough. After that it turns into an annoying and painful cycle. It seems they reach a point where they hang up on everything. Just about the time you think it is finally going to heal you snag it on your pocket and it opens a fresh and deeper wound. From then on it is very tender. Your frayed nerve endings are exposed and even brushing against a few small air molecules is painful.

I am not sure how they really start. I usually get them when I work with metal. Sometimes I get them if I let my hands get too chapped. One of my solutions is to use Bag Balm the wonder ointment. If you don’t know about Bag Balm see my other post “Bag Balm a Go Go.”

Another trick I use is band-aids. They seem to fall off pretty easy after a short time. Especially if you are trying to work. Your sense of touch is also obscured which can be a problem for doing small things.

Another option, which works even better than band-aids believe it or not, is masking tape. It sticks much better and holds up to work very well. The bad part is again, the sense of touch issue.

So here is the big reveal, the magic bullet, Super glue!

Put a little dot of glue on your nick and you are good to go. It lasts about 24 hours depending on what you are doing and it doesn’t hang up on everything. Once I bent a fingernail back which ripped it and left the rest hanging on to the quick. I used super glue to hold it down until it grew out. It worked great! I have heard of people using it for large cuts but I have never bothered.

Do you have a super super glue story? Let me know!

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Sometimes it is not worth being considerate

So a friend of mine was telling me how a fart in his house was a bad thing.  No matter how innocent or how much of an accident it may have been, it is taboo.  In fact, if he were to fart and laugh, well, he indicated it would be grounds for divorce.

This may not sound like the worst situation in the world except for the fact that this fifty something grown man giggles like a school boy if he lets one loose.  He actually tears up if he gets one with the right pitch and duration.  I did not think about it until now but he does not seem to care so much about the smell but more that it makes some kind of audible report.

Our house is completely different.  A fart is an invitation for a short comedy routine.  I have many poses and a fart accompanies all of them.  I have the Superman where I act as if I am getting ready to be propelled by a fart into the heavens ‘Up, Up, and away.’  I have my Harley fart where I am trying to kickstart a motorcycle.  I usually get it on the first try.  I have a ballet fart where I do some kind of bastardized ballet kick in the air and let one go.  I do not do that so much because I hurt my back on the last one.

One of my favorites is the “Dang, I think I sat in gum” maneuver.  An adaptation is “Dang I think I sat on a chunk of melted chocolate.”  For this one you say, “Dang I think I sat in some gum” and you act as if you cannot quite see where it is stuck on your pants.  You ask a victim to take a look.  When they get close enough to inspect, you let one go.  I am laughing right now just thinking about the last time I pulled that on my wife.  I am going to have to quit that routine soon.  She can almost catch me.

When I told my coworker about the kind of fun I have with farts in my house I watched him melt with envy.  He informed me he would definitely be dead or divorced or both if he tried any of that around his wife.  Fortunately, he has kids that still think farts are fun.

Today my coworker came in and told me an awesome story that happened to his family over the weekend.  They had gone on a trip and spent a good deal of time whooping it up with friends.  Needless to say, by Sunday their digestive systems were a little out of whack.

On the way home from their trip they stopped at a Starbucks and among other things, had to use the restroom.  After my friend’s wife did her business, she came out just as a Starbucks worker was going in.  Politely and discreetly, my friends’ wife informed the worker that it was not quit safe and she may want to give it a little time to air out.

The worker decided to heed the thoughtful advice.  Shortly thereafter, a woman approached the worker and asked where the restrooms were.  The workers response was “the bathrooms are over there but that woman” and she points to my friends fart phobic wife, “That woman just came out and said you better let it air out a few minutes, like 15 or 20.”  My friend’s wife was mortified!

When they finally got back on the road, it took the whole family, except for his wife, a good ten miles to quit crying from laughter.



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Rude People Suck


My sister took a picture of some arrogant individual who obviously thought they were more important than anyone else or as she pointed out, they must have a really small penis. They took up two parking places to prove it. What a butt. I think she used some even more colorful words.

It never seems like you have a camera when that stuff happens or if you do, you just do not think to use it. Well I am getting better at it now that I have one on my phone.

Not too long ago I was driving to lunch and there was a car that was driving a bit slow and dipping its wheels across the lines on the shoulder. I had to get around this person because if he ran off the road I did not want to be bothered with trying to help him.

As I pulled up alongside of him, I saw that he was talking on a cell phone. Not only is talking on a cell phone while driving illegal in this state, it is just bad form if you are driving your company car and you work for a driving school! I took a picture but it did not come out too well.  Take my word for it, he is talking on a cell phone.  He didn’t even see me take the picture.  Just a note, as far as I know the law states that it is illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving, it does not say anything about taking pictures with your cell phone while driving.

The car had stickers all over it letting people know it was a driver’s education car complete with the company name and contact information. I did a crappy job of taking the picture so you cannot see the National Safety Council sticker near the back. “Do as I say not as I do” I always say.

Now, if a student was driving and the instructor was in the passenger seat, would it be legal for the instructor to talk on the phone?

And finally, the person that pushed me over the edge to enter this post. I know it looks like he is just pulling in but he is, in fact, parked.

On the way to Best Buy this morning, this person had to take up as many parking spaces as he could. His car had placards on it with his name and everything. In fact, he is so important that I figured I would not bother to smudge it out so if you want to call and tell him how awesome he is you can! I can tell you that I will not hire him to do anything for me.

Some people!

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Bag Balm a Go-Go

You know how you can be having a nice lunch with your friends, talking about all kinds of things and then you realize that you are having a conversation about Bag Balm?  I know right?  Well that is where our conversation went today.

I really do not know how we got there because at one minute we were talking about how I deliberately try to arrive late to lunch just so I do not have to pay and the next we are talking about Bag Balm.

The individual responses to the topic were somewhat interesting.  One of my friends gave an enthusiastic, all knowing nod as if he had just purchased a can of it and the other sort of grimaced and said, “What do you use that for?”

For those of you that do not know, Bag Balm is a salve developed in 1899 to protect cow teats. It is used for so much more! Wikipedia has a good write up on it

“Its uses are many, for example “squeaky bed springs, psoriasis, dry facial skin, cracked fingers, burns, zits, diaper rash, saddle sores, sunburn, pruned trees, rifles, shell casings, bed sores and radiation burns.”” – Wikipedia 

As I explained the different uses to my buds, I touched down on the “chapped lips” and shared a remedy for
chapped hands my 6th grade teacher told me about:

When your hands are chapped, take a liberal handful of Bag Balm and rub it all over your hands right before bed.  I mean liberal, dig deep and grab a scoopful!  Now you are in a situation where everything you touch, including yourself, will be contaminated with a
nice layer of Bag Balm so to keep that from happening you take a couple athletic socks, put them on your hands like mittens, and climb into bed.  When you wake up the next morning, your hands will be nice and soft just like cow teats! (Except they will also be greasy).

I went further to describe the antiseptic qualities of Bag Balm and told them a story about my poor old dog and how I helped her:

One day we were in our house and we heard our dog growling and barking. This was not her ordinary growling and barking.  The poor dog sounded mad.  I got up to look.  As I peered out the window, I saw a sight I had never seen before.  There was my dog with her butt firmly planted on the ground, dragging it for all she was worth, across the dirt, gravel and stickers while snarling, growling and barking at it in frustration.  Yes, she was actually barking at her ass!

I wish I would have had been able to get it on video.  It was just an unbelievably funny thing to have witnessed and I do not think writing about it can do it justice.

At the time, I did not know anything about dog’s oil glands.  I only
knew that between licking her butt and dragging it across the desert, she had worn it raw.  I knew what the remedy was, Bag Balm!

I went in the house, got a plastic bag, put it over my hand for protection, and scooped out a fistful of Bag Balm.  I grabbed my dog, flipped her over on her back and spread that glob of Bag Balm all over her nether regions.  Either it fixed the problem or she was smart enough not to bark at her butt again because she knew I would come at her with a handful of gook.  She was a border collie after all and they are smart.

As I wrapped up my story both my friends just stared at me in disbelief. Wait till I tell them about how good of friends my sisters horse and I have become after I took care of him over the weekend.  We had a bit of a fly problem and the horse had them bothering him everywhere…….everywhere. My sister told me to apply some kind of fly repellant and, well, let’s just say my animal husbandry skills have made us the best of buds.  I will save that story for another time…..or not.

Have you had any experiences using Bag Balm?  Do you have any of your own old-fashioned remedies for taking care of some of life’s challenges?  Let’s hear them!




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