June 2017

Friday, June 30, 2017

Impact 7' wall-mounted boom arm unboxing and first impressions


The Impact 7' wall-mounted boom arm provides an overhead adjustable location to mount photography equipment to in a studio environment. In this House of Hacks episode, Harley unboxes a new boom arm and gives his first impressions of it.

Purchase on Amazon: Impact 7' wall-mounted boom arm (Affiliate link)

Impact web site: http://www.impactstudiolighting.com

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For a written transcript, go to Impact 7' wall-mounted boom arm unboxing and first impressions

Music under Creative Commons License By Attribution 3.0.
Intro/Exit: "Hot Swing" by Kevin MacLeod at http://incompetech.com


Today at the House of Hacks we're going to unbox some studio equipment.

[Intro music]

Hi Makers, Builders and Photographers. Harley here.

My buddy Rich ordered a 7 foot, long-arm, adjustable, wall mounted bracket for studio lights for his photography studio.

And this is going to be an unboxing of that unit and kind of first impressions; see how I like it based on initial impressions.

I expect two follow-up videos from this.

One will be where I'm making a bracket that allows us to mount it in different locations in the studio in different rooms so it's not kind of a single fixed location.

It'll give us a little bit of flexibility in the studio.

And then I expect a second follow-up video of real world experiences with it. How we like it once it's in place and we've put it through it's paces.

So if this is your first time here at House of Hacks, welcome! I'm glad you're here.

If you're interested in making things related to woodworking, metalworking, photography, electronics, computers, things of that nature, hit the subscribe button and YouTube will notify you next time I upload a video.

So let's get to this.

He ordered this from B & H. It came in a box. It's not terribly heavy. I'm guessing probably less than 20 pounds. I probably could look on the packing list if I really was that interested in it. It's not terribly heavy.

It's got some bubble wrap.

Lots of bubble wrap.

Wow! Lots and lots and lots of bubble wrap.

So, this box, big huge box, it's only about a third full. We've got a box inside a box.

And the official name for this is an "Impact Wall-Mounted Boom Arm, 7' HD." I assume that refers to "heavy duty."

It's got mounting hardware included. One year limited warrantee.

And I'll leave a link to the manufacturer's web site in the description below.

So now we'll just kind of slice open the inside box.

It's also got B & H tape on it. Makes me wonder if it's been opened once before.

It doesn't really make a big... probably a big difference, as long as it's in good shape. Somebody may have ordered it and it wasn't quite what they were looking for.

Trying to figure out how this box opens up. There we go.

And there's the good stuff. It's of course wrapped in plastic. Boy, it looks like it's all already assembled. There is a little bit of hardware and a manual.

So we've got a little, couple page instruction manual. Basically says loosen these knobs, specifications.

Maximum extension 7 feet.

Minimum extension 3 feet 9, or 3.9 feet.

Maximum recommended load at full extension is 12 pounds. So it should handle a light without any problem.

Pan movement 180 degrees.

Tilt movement 180 degrees.

Attachment type is standard studs.

And that's pretty much it. A couple other minor statistics. That's it.

And then some mounting hardware. Basically just some screws, washers, drywall anchors, a Allen wrench, probably for some adjustment somewhere that you set once and forget it, and some sort of bracket that we'll probably figure out once we get more into it.

And now we have the unit itself. It is just wrapped up in some plastic. Big plastic bag.

Like I said, it looks like it's fully assembled so, besides mounting it, I don't think there's much you need to do to it to put it into use.

It's not like there's assembly of different pieces required.

So this piece mounts to the wall. It's a little bit stiff, but that's probably adjustable.

We have these brackets here that I expect will allow it to tip. There we go.

And there's some bubble wrap on here. It doesn't look like it's ever been taken apart so even if the box was opened, I don't think it's probably an issue of any sort.

OK, I got the bubble wrap off of this. Just a little bit of packing stuff to keep it from getting scratched up.

There's two sliders on here that control the angle up and down. So this slider slides on the bottom part that's kind of a supporting bracket for the main top piece. And it slides up and down this way which allows you to get a whole lot, a huge range of motion on it this way.

Then on the end, there's another adjustment over here that allows you to extend the reach out this direction.

Overall the whole thing seems really well built. It's high quality, heavy duty metal all the way around.

It's got metal screws everywhere. Lock nuts. Metal inserts where the screws go in. I can't tell, this is either really high grade plastic or aluminum brackets where all the screws go in and hold everything together. So overall I'm really impressed with the build quality on this.

On the end here, it does have a mounting stud that has both 3/8ths and 1/4 inch studs on it so you can mount cameras... any kind of camera gear on it that uses those two standards.

This stud can be mounted on either side of the extension tube or on the end. And since the extension tube swivels, you can put it anywhere full 360 degrees all the way around. You don't really need to have... put it on both sides because you can swivel the light around. Or swivel the bar around. But you can also put it in the end if you want to.

Overall I'm really impressed with the build quality on this.

So now I need to make a mounting bracket and mount it in the studio and get some real world experience with it.

Until next time, go make something.

Perfection's not required. Fun is!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

How to make a DIY magnetic light switch cover


Light switches are found in convenient locations to store stuff like keys and pens and other things that gather in pockets or that we want to have handy when we leave the house. Often we put hooks next to them. In this episode of the House of Hacks, Harley shows how to make a magnetic light switch cover to store things on and replace those hooks. While this can function as a magnetic key holder so you never lose your keys again, it can hold any lightweight ferrous object.

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Magnetic light switch cover
Epoxy glue
Neodymium magnets

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For a written transcript, go to How to make a DIY magnetic light switch cover

Music under Creative Commons License By Attribution 3.0.
Intro/Exit: "Hot Swing" by Kevin MacLeod at http://incompetech.com


Today at the House of Hacks we're going to make a magical key chain holder.

[Intro music]

Hi! Harley here.

If you're interested in videos about making things, particularly woodworking, metalworking, electronics, photography and things like that, things with a mechanical or technical bent, go ahead and subscribe and hit the bell notification icon and YouTube will tell you next time I have a video uploaded.

In the opening segment, I indicated we're going to make a magical light switch cover. I think it was Arthur C. Clarke that said "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." We know in this case it's not really magic, it's just magnets.

This project was inspired by a video I saw somewhere, I don't know where the original video was or I would give credit, but I did find these magnetic light switch covers available on Amazon. So if you don't have the parts or take the time to make your own, you can go check out the link down below and help support the channel by buying things off Amazon. They are, they're not terribly expensive. They're $7.50 or something like that. So they're not super expensive, but they're a whole lot more expensive than a light switch cover and some surplus magnets that I scavenged out of an old hard drive. I'll have a video up at some point talking about scavenging magnets out of hard drives. And then just a little bit of epoxy to hold the magnets in and we'll save a whole bunch of money. Let's get started.

OK, the first thing we need to do is take the light switch cover off the light switch.

And now down here in the workshop, I have my workbench covered up with a little bit of cardboard to keep the epoxy off. Anything that overflows, I don't want it to get on the workbench top. So it's real simple. I've already got some segments right in here that are just molded into the plastic. I didn't have to do anything. That those magnets fit in real nicely. I was thinking I might have to get the Dremel out and kind of cut out an area, but it looks like everything is going to be good to go. So, all I'm going to do here is open up the epoxy and squirt just a tiny, don't need a whole lot, put a little bit in here... that was a whole lot more than I wanted but we'll have to make do. I think the epoxy was a little bit old and got kind of junked up inside the container there. But we'll spread that... we'll use that for both sides. I was going to put a little bit in this side and a little bit in this side, but, you know, things change and I'll just mix it all up on this side. Right here I've got a Popsicle stick that I use for mixing epoxy. And I'll mix this up real good here and then we'll put some of it in the other side. I want to make it so it'll work either on the top or the bottom without regards to how... orientation. So, just kind of mix this up real good. This is 5 minute, fast setting epoxy. So we'll just put some of that stuff that's been mixed up real well over here. And just kind of try to get maybe equal amounts if I can kind of eyeball this. And we'll spread that out there and we'll spread this stuff out here. I don't know if I have it exactly even but it's close enough. It'll be fine. Now we'll just put the magnet... You have to be careful. You have to be careful when working with these magnets because they will attract to each other and they will cause blood blisters if they snap together when you're holding them. So, I'm going to put one right there. And I'm going to put the other one... try to make it symmetrical... put it right there. I'm going to just push that down into the epoxy like so. And like so. Let it get really... I'll just cover up the edges here to smooth it out a little bit. I've got a little bit more epoxy than I need but it will, should be sufficient. It should work. I'm going to just push that guy down in there and it's going to set up here pretty quick like. I kind of like the idea of covering the whole magnet. I don't think I have quiet... I think I have more epoxy on one side than the other. So I'll just kind of cover up those edges. And smooth that down. I'm kind of liking the idea of putting a coat of epoxy all the way across the top to kind of act as a little bit of an insulator. There shouldn't ever be a problem inside the light switch with arcing or electronics or anything, but just to be on the safe side, covering that up will kind of alleviate any potential problems with that. And now we just have to play the waiting game to wait until that epoxy sets up. It should be about 5 minutes or so.

OK, it's been about 20 minutes and that's what it looks like. It's still a little wee bit tacky but it'll harden up over the next 24 hours or so. I think it's going to be just fine. It's not going to be a problem.

Let's go install it.


Well, that was a quick, fun, easy project. I hope you liked it.

Until next time, go make something.

Perfection's not required. Fun is!


Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magnet.

From magnet.

From magic.