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iPhone Dock and Autodesk 123D Tutorial

A couple of weeks ago I bought a new vehicle, a 2007 Lincoln Town Car. The car came with a Satellite Navigation radio with THX certified sound. It sounded fantastic but there was no auxiliary input! Remembering this story I saw on Hackaday a little while ago, I decide to tap into the CD changer audio-in.

Here are some details plus a video tutorial on designing a part for 3D printing with the free Autodesk 123D Design software.

VW Type 3 Replacement Carburetor Linkage

I'm working on an old Volkswagen Type 3 for a friend, she's sort of an automotive foster child. The car in question is a 1972 VW Squareback named Adelaide and she is in surprisingly good shape except for her motor. Fortunately I have in my warehouse a spare Type 3 engine that was given to me by my father-in-law several years ago that will fit Adelaide perfectly.

Unfortunately, some of the parts for her carburetors needed to be fabricated.

Guest Post: The Ferris Hybrid

I'm excited to tell you that we have a guest author today!  Brandon Boyer is an engineering student at Ferris State University who is involved with the school's team build a diesel/electric hybrid car to compete in the Formula Hybrid International Competition in New Hampshire in April and May. - Jake

By Brandon Boyer

In 1901, Queen Victoria of The United Kingdom passed away. The same year Ferdinand Porsche developed the first ever hybrid vehicle, the Löhner-Porsche Mixte Hybrid. Today the spirit of Victorian ingenuity and know-how lives on. In Chilly Big Rapids Michigan, a small group of international engineering students are working towards their common goal, competing in the SAE International Hybrid Competition in New Hampshire later this year.


Mjöllnir Lamps for the Roadster

Some projects take a long time. Sometimes I start something and then put it aside, in this case for more that two years! When Make:TV came out to the workshop to shoot a profile of me in July of 2008, one of the projects that I worked on for them was a coach lamp for my car. I built one lamp for them and just finished the other lamp today. Watch the video for the beginnings of the project and then click through to see some details of the construction and the completed lamps. 

I've named them Mjöllnir Lamps because my fellow SPWS contributor Annie (who is a Viking) says that they reminder her of Thor's hammer.

Toyota Yaris Battery Light On - Repair

The day after I returned from SteamCon in Seattle I got into the car to go to the day job and discovered that my battery light was on in my 2007 Toyota Yaris.  Being an old Volkswagen man I resisted the urge to get out and hammer on the the alternator with a monkey wrench.  Instead I turned everything off and then listened carefully to the engine RPM as I turned on the rear window defroster.  When I pressed the defrost button the engines revs did indeed drop about 100 and the engine lugged for a moment until the ECU gave it a bit more gas to smooth out the idle.  Good. This exercise told me that the alternator was charging the battery and that the problem was with the warning light itself. I could safely drive the car for the rest of the week and figure things out at my leisure.

This morning I started working the problem . . .

Toyota Sienna Body Repair

If you follow me on Twitter you know that I had a near death encounter with a flying chunk of steel last week .

This is how I spent my Saturday.

. . .

Steampunk Kamaro (Camaro)



When I was a boy I vividly recall encountering, for the first time,  a 1978 Camaro Z28 in a parking lot on my way home from school.  I was stunned! I thought: "OMG! This is F%$king Vader's car!"  While I now value very different things, I still have a soft spot for that particular GM marque.

So when I got an email with the subject "SteampunkKamaro" I though "oh god, what now?"  But this is actually pretty awesome!  John 'Jazz' Vernon does computer renderings of hot rod projects for people getting ready to drop a lot of dough into an old car, with his help you get to see what your project will look like when it's complete.

John writes:


Your website is the greatest! I'm a freelance designer, mostly known for my vehicles and vehicle graphics. I have a website
www.rodvisions.com for those who are building, restoring, repainting their vehicle project and want to see what the end result will look like in rendering form..

I came across your website and was inspired to offer my 2 cents worth for you and your website visitors.. the SteampunkKamaro.


John 'Jazz' Vernon

Click through for a bigger image . . .


Toyota Sienna Evaporative Canister (P0446) and SVS Valve Repair or Think Like a Maker


Rage drove me to it.  Our 2001 Toyota Sienna failed it's Massachusetts emissions test this year, the problem was with the evaporative emissions control system  (code #P0446) so I dropped it at the dealer to be fixed. 

You see, several years ago I decided I had  enough frustration working on cars and decided to focus on more fun pursuits. 

Several things have happened since then.  #1 - I have a much better shop and more capable tools.  No rusted nut or bolt can resist the hot wrench (mechanic's slang for an oxy/acetylene cutting torch) !  and #2 - I've become a radical Makepunk. 

. . .

STMPNK License Plates

STMPNK exhaust

So I got vanity plates for my kit car that read STMPNK but when I did a search on that term I just got unkind and disemvowled Boingboing comments so I acquired the domain stmpnk.com and I've been dropping crumbs around the net like this to boost its position on the page.

Steampunk Car Update - Catalytic Converter on an Aircooled VW Motor

STMPNKLots of progress!  She's on the road, registered, inspected, and passed, including emissions which is pretty cool considering that she's basically a 1972 VW Beetle that was re-titled in Ohio as a 1985 "assembled vehicle."  A close read of the Massachusetts auto emissions law would seem to indicate that a kit car of this type should be tested under the make, model, and year that the chassis was manufactured.  However, the test station can only test to the make, model, and year the vehicle is registered. 

Since this vehicle was titled as a 1985 in Ohio that's the only thing that our RMV would let me register it as.  They told me I'd have to go to Ohio's DMV to get it changed - but under Ohio's rules, it's correct!  Classic Catch-22.  Read on to see what I did.

Oh yes! and I got Mass plates STMPNK no less!


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