VIDEO: Brake ducts installed at VIR!

Here's one of those videos that rely on just one viewpoint that's so amazing to watch that it doesn't take much to keep it interesting.

I have had a hard time keeping my Ford Fiesta ST in brakes during track events. The ST is hard on them, because it actually uses the brakes during acceleration out of a turn to keep the inside tire from spinning. It's called Torque Vectoring, or sometimes it's called an "e-diff". 

My hope was that keeping the brakes cooler would reduce the rate of wear, so I built some brake ducts. 

The ducts just provide some additional fresh air right to the hub area, where hopefully the rotors will pick it up and flow it through their cooling vanes.

The ducts just provide some additional fresh air right to the hub area, where hopefully the rotors will pick it up and flow it through their cooling vanes.

I put a camera down there to see what was going on with my design, and I was pleased to see that the system worked better than I could have imagined. The evidence is how quickly the red hot rotors go dark again.

but the video is even more interesting, just to watch everything mechanical going on.. The engine shifting, the suspension compressing, the tire stressing. It is pretty interesting to watch.

Progress on the Chairs

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So we're moving along slowly on the chairs, but I thought I'd share some pics of the progress. To the left is a picture of one of the chairs in the condition it was purchased.

 

Ripping out the cording that was glued into the staple groove.

Ripping out the cording that was glued into the staple groove.

Ripping away the black naugahyde, removing the 1/8" hardboard back, and cleaning the channels of all staples and residue.

Ripping away the black naugahyde, removing the 1/8" hardboard back, and cleaning the channels of all staples and residue.

Since then, we've removed all the seats and backs. One chair is finished and upholstered. One is just about ready to be finished. One is in a dozen pieces being sanded, and the remaining three still await disassembly.

One of the chairs with the seat and back removed, but not yet disassembled. Note gaps in the side rails. This one is particularly rickety.

One of the chairs with the seat and back removed, but not yet disassembled. Note gaps in the side rails. This one is particularly rickety.

A chair that's been disassembled, sanded, glued up, and is ready for a light sanding and finish.

A chair that's been disassembled, sanded, glued up, and is ready for a light sanding and finish.

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This is the only one that's done so far. This was the worst of the bunch, so it only gets better from here!

This is the only one that's done so far. This was the worst of the bunch, so it only gets better from here!

Finished product! (We've only got one done so far)

Finished product! (We've only got one done so far)

Mid-Century Modern Chair Refinishing

Our latest project is a set of mid-century modern dining chairs that we found at Habitat for Humanity's Silver Spring Re-Store. It's a brand new store with a lot of surplus, salvage, and antique building materials and furniture.

There was a sale happening that day, and we got them for 30% off, which resulted in six chairs costing about 70 bucks. Not bad, but when you consider that we spent more than four times that on all the materials, fabric, tools, and sandpaper, not to mention our time, they weren't all that cheap. But it is fun.

The chairs were in pretty poor shape. The finish was all rubbed off on the edges, and almost all of them were repaired poorly at some point in their lives. Most of them were wobbly too, requiring a rebuild.

The finish really cleaned up nicely, and we picked out a fairly simple, but definitely true to mid-century-modern style fabric to replace the black naugahyde upholstery. Most of the work has involved sanding, drilling, filling, gluing, and finally upholstering.

You can see how bad the previous repairs were in this picture. They used angle brackets (which were all broken in two), nasty glue, and hastily built-up dowels. Holes must have been drilled by hand, because everywhere they drilled a hole, they split the wood. Evidently they didn't use clamps. Anywhere.

You can see how bad the previous repairs were in this picture. They used angle brackets (which were all broken in two), nasty glue, and hastily built-up dowels. Holes must have been drilled by hand, because everywhere they drilled a hole, they split the wood. Evidently they didn't use clamps. Anywhere.

On a couple of the chairs, they created new holes for long screws to try to strengthen the chairs. I removed that stuff and repaired the holes with plugs of walnut. The repairs really came out nicely.

These dining chairs were manufactured in Tampa, Florida by the Foster McDavid company, which evidently made furniture in the 50's and 60's. They are made of walnut, most likely. We broke them apart, repaired cracks, screw holes, and gouges, and sanded the entire finish off using 150 grit (trying to remove as little material as possible).

After re-assembling the chairs, we sanded them with 350 grit one last time and dusted them off with a tack rag. Then we applied Watco Danish Oil in the natural color.

Wow.

A few days later I applied a furniture wax, which made them look even better. The wood feels so silky.

 

VIDEO: Last Track Day of 2014

November, 2014

At the NASA Mid-Atlantic Fall Finale event at Summit Point Raceway, in West Virginia, I got a little excited on the track and didn't realize that I was out of brakes. So I drove it until I had none at all. That was bad, but very fortunately, no real harm was done (except to my brakes).

I chalk it up to good experience. Now I know what to listen for. And with experience, you understand that you and the car are not invincible. That conditions change. That things can go wrong. And that you always have to be careful and vigilant at the track.

Check your brake pad material before every session. And your oil. And your GoPro batteries and media. Live and learn.

VIDEO: Virginia International Raceway

This is my second track day ever, if you don't count the ST Octane Academy experience with Ford Racing in Utah.

It was such a beautiful place to drive - and the track was just rewarding to learn. 

Learning from the first track-day video, I condensed the warmup lap and ran a single lap at regular speed. And after this run, my go-pro ran out of room on the card. There was actually lots of room, but because I emptied the card manually, the camera didn't really know the space was there.

So I had to deal with the footage I had. It's foggy because the temps were warming up during the run. It's not my best line because it was early in the weekend. And I didn't have any engine audio because this camera placement only captures wind noise.

But again, it has some cool music, and for me, it's a worthwhile video. I watch it and I remember every nuance of the turns as I move through it, and I remember how damn fast I was going at the end of the back straight (120 mph). Gopro video doesn't really capture speed well because the lens is such a fisheye. But I can remember it!


VIDEO: Autocrossers, Inc.

Here's a run from an early event at Blue Crabs Stadium in Waldorf, Maryland.

I think I drove it pretty well, considering I was so rusty after nearly a decade of a break.

This is just a straight video of a run. No special editing or fancy music here.

VIDEO: My First Track Day Ever

This is a video of my very first open track day ever. I had such a blast in my new 2014 Ford Fiesta ST. The footage is taken from a single camera, placed in different locations on the car over the ten sessions I ran that weekend.

On the last session, it snowed.

This video represents a great deal of learning on my part. I learned a lot about driving road courses. I got a lot of seat time in my car. And I learned what it costs to maintain a car if you're tracking it.

Most of all, I learned that four minutes is too long to make people watch a video of yourself driving in circles. So since then I've tried to keep things simple... Digest, compress, concise-ify. You know that saying, right?

Still, I learned a lot about cutting video to the music marks. That kind of redeems the video - I felt like I kept up the energy throughout. At the end, if you're willing to wait for it, there's a montage of myself starting the camera. Kind of fun.


VIDEO: Skiing and dogsledding in Italy

Kendra and I took a trip with a local ski club to Italy this year, and it was beautiful!

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Here are three videos:

Getting There

This was my first video ever. I used the GoPro video editing software and a template furnished by GoPro. It made for some really great video, but it would be cool if there were more than just a dozen or so templates for their software.

 

First day of Skiing

Again, from a GoPro template. Really fun music, awesome cuts. But the number of templates out there was really limiting, and there wasn't a good way to cut to the music if you don't have a template.

 

Dogsledding

This was my first video made with iMovie. I learned a lot while making it, and i'm getting fast enough now that my major limitation is the machine, not me. I have at least an hour of video footage from Italy that I still want to put into one really cool video.