What you need to know before buying Velleman Set of 80 LED’s

If, like me, you have wondered what the ratio of LED’s was in the Velleman Set of 80 LED’s, then the video in this post should help you.

First I talk through the packaging and the details on the rear, which I could not find online before purchasing.

Later in the video I test each of the colour’s in the different sizes so you can get an idea of the brightness of the LED’s.

I also cover some of the future idea’s I have for videos, please let me know what you think.

[Edit – 2017-03-22] Velleman reached out to me on YouTube to let me know that they are working on their product page. If you are in North, Central or South America, you can visit the product page on the Velleman Store at https://www.vellemanstore.com/en/velleman-k-led1-assorted-led-set-80

You can recycle when building a model! Spark plug wires from trash

Little details like spark plug wires add a great deal of visual impact to a model. Here I show you an unlikely source of wires that you can use for spark plug wires on your model car build.

Many new electronic items have their cables wrapped with a binding wire. This wire is thin and quite pliable, making it easy to use for fiddly tasks such as spark plug wires on a scale plastic model car kit.

In this video I demonstrate how you can remove the inner wire from the sheathing, and show a few different wires to help you identify it in future.

Model building does not have to be an expensive hobby, you can enjoy yourself and have have detailing if you think out the box!

As you can see I am starting out making video’s, please like and subscribe if you enjoy what I do. Comments are always welcome.

Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner motor and spark plug wire detailing

I moved on to seeing how the engine would fit, so cut the pieces free from the sprue and loosely assembled it. I tape the body together again, as it kept falling apart.


I was checking to see if I could lift the air clear a touch as it sits almost on top of the distributor. There does seem to be room to do this. Not 100% sure though, so instead I am going to try some thing else I think.


Above is the view from the side showing a gap. Further inspection showed this was down to the front suspension not being seated correctly.


Here is a look from the bottom, the wheel shaft should be quite a bit higher, it looks as though the bottome suspension is not even touching the chassis.


Above I am holding the front suspension in it’s correct place. The gap between wher the hood would be and the air cleaner is now much smaller.

On to getting ready for spark plug wires…


Being a firm believer in using what’s at hand (some would say, a cheapskate) I found some wires that may do the trick.


Close up picture shows how the air cleaner really does touch the distributor.


Looks messy but the air cleaner covers it mostly. I don’t have the tiny drill bits that I see many model builders using, so I cam up with a plan, more on that below.


Air cleaner on and it does not look that bad. Here you can see the first wire goes from the coil, to the centre of the distributor. The second wired comes out of the distributor, over the valve cover to the spark plug.


Same as photo above, only now without the air cleaner.


My cheapskate wires!


Here is where you usually find them, tied around cables too keep them in check.


Test fitting and seeing how it all looks inside the engine bay. Looks like it will work to me.


The method I use is a bit messy, basically I heat up the wire, then push it into the distributor while it is very hot and melt a hole. I have made nine holes in here. With all the wires in, I don’t think it will look too bad, but time will tell.


With the air cleaner on the wire is almost not noticeable, and the messy distributor even less so.


Test fitting a wheel, I really like the look of these wheels!


The cylinder heads have pointy bits on them. Initially I thought they were meant to be the spark plugs, so I butchered two to take the wires.

Figured out that they actually represent the exhaust headers going onto the cylinder heads. The photo above shows that I added four holes, roughly where the spark plugs actually would be.


Another shot showing the holes where the spark plug wires will go into.


Underneath, you can see the wire poking through. This is ok as there is s gap, between this part and the engine block.

Almost time to slap some paint on the motor!

Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner mock up

Following the unboxing of my Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner I got started on the kit, first unpacking it all so I could see what was inside.


First bit I put together was a wheel, as I had wanted to see how the chrome looked, along with the ‘whitewall’ that simply fits into the tire.


I must say I am quite impressed with how it turned out.

Next I got started on the body, this is a multi piece body, so you need to assemble the sides to the front fenders and firewall with the rear body panel. I mocked this up, using masking tape to hold it together. I also popped the trunk on, again, to see how it looked.


A different angle, here from the top/rear, with the hood open.


Left hand side of the Ford Skyliner.


A view of the rear body panel, with the trunk on. I think this is going to be a bit of a pain to line up.


Front of the car, I like the detail on the badge on the hood, the mark below is from cutting it off the sprue. This will be a bit of a pain to cut clean up properly and get ready for paint.


All for now, hope you enjoyed it!

Revell Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner Unboxing

I recently bought a kit from a local hobby shop here in Maia, Portugal. The Ford Skyliner caught my eye mainly because of the box art, it was just so different from the other car plastic model kits.

In the video I take it out the box and do a quick inspection of the parts included inside. I have yet to decide exactly how I am going to build it, but do have an idea on the colours to use, more on that later though.

I have built kits in the past, with varying degrees of success and decided to give it a try again.

With winter approaching here in Portugal and my family and I having settled into an apartment, my usual leisure pastimes just won’t be possible (woodworking, tinkering in a garage). I am hoping that this and other plastic model kits will be a good distraction over winter.

I hope to document the process as much as possible as I go, so check back!

Converting AC to DC power from a stepper motor

One of the projects I want to do, is to build a flashing LED for my son’s bicycle. The idea is to have a stepper motor run off his wheel, which charges up a battery / capacitors and ultimately makes the light flash.

To use all the electricity generated by the stepper motor we need to convert it from AC to DC current.

Bridge rectifier stepper motor ac to dc circuit
Image 1: Bridge rectifier stepper motor AC to DC circuit

Here is an example of how you would do that. It is called a bridge rectifier and makes use of a few diodes to control the flow of current.

In Image 1 I am using 2 LED’s as placeholders for the coils in the stepper motor, so you just need a bit of imagination 😉

The current flows from the motors coils, through the purple wires, and through the diodes. Diodes serve a purpose here in that they only allow current to flow in one direction.

As we know stepper motors output AC  (alternating current) when turned, and diodes only allow current to flow through in one direction, so we can use this to convert the AC current from the stepper motor into DC.

Back to Image 1, when you look at a diode, such as in the circuit, you will see it has a silver line on the one side. This shows the direction of flow through the diode. Current coming from that side will be blocked, whereas the current flowing through the diode from the other side will be let through.

You can see from the circuit that for each coil, there are two sets of diodes, one set where the lines are facing one another, and another set where they are facing away from one another.

The wires from the coil, each connect to a side of the sets of diodes, so that there is a diode whose line is on the side of the coil and another diode where the line is away from the coil. What this does is only lets the current through when it is higher than the other side of the diode.

This will lead us to the following;

By Jjbeard (Made in Inkscape from scratch.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Image 2: Wave rectification By Jjbeard (Made in Inkscape from scratch.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
In Image 2 the first wave depicts AC current. Using a single diode would give us the second graph, which is half wave rectification. We would have DC current, but we are throwing half of the current generated in the motor away.
The third graph shows the output of a bridge rectifier.

Lets take another look at this circuit;

Image 3: Full rectification Circuit By Wdwd (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
 Image 3 has a different representation of the same circuit. Here you can see the diodes act in pairs to only allow the current to flow in one direction, regardless of the output from the stepper motor.

I am using a stepper motor with two coils, so I have an additional bridge rectifier to handle the output of the other coil. The converted DC current is then taken to a common rail, through a pull down resistor and into an LED.

Please leave a comment if you enjoyed this, or have anything to add 😉

My first post – what’s this here for?

To define the purpose of my blog, first we need to know what ‘maker’ means in this context. Let’s use a definition from techopedia.com;

The maker movement is a trend in which individuals or groups of individuals create and market products that are recreated and assembled using unused, discarded or broken electronic, plastic, silicon or virtually any raw material and/or product from a computer-related device.

Source: Techopedia definition of maker movement

What resonates with me the most in that definition is ‘recreated and assembled using unused, discarded or broken electronic, plastic, silicon’. We live in a throw-away society and it pains me deeply to see so much working stuff simply tossed away.

While I have been a tinkerer for many year’s, I have had a disdain for electronics. My attempts have been marked by at best, black smoke and at worst nothing. No worky, just breaky and nothing to show for it. I preferred mechanical stuff where I could visually inspect moving parts and reason out interactions.

That changed when I moved to Cape Town and started working with people who studied and played with electronics, as we are all developers they were making the connection with code and physical devices (arduino etc.)

I got to see how I could actually build machines, that I could control via code! Machines to build other machines (think CNC cutters, 3-d printers etc.)

Problem is I still have a mental block with electronics, so I need to start right from scratch and learn the very basic of basics, hence the ‘wannabe’.

My goal is to create a small, CNC cutter from recycled printer parts. Small but working.

Are you too, interested, but not quite there in terms of skill? Join me in my journey to becoming a ‘maker’.