House of Hacks

Friday, March 8, 2019

How to find lost camera gear - Set contact file (part 2)


Description

Ever lost a camera or other photo gear? Looking for ideas for how to find lost camera (digital)? This is the second in a series where Harley shows ideas that can help a lost camera find its way back home. These travel tips and hacks can help someone who has found a lost camera return it to you.

Other videos in this series: How to Find My Lost Camera
Photography videos: Photography Tutorials

Here at House of Hacks we do tutorials, project overviews, tool reviews and more related to making things around the home and shop. Generally this involves wood and metal working, electronics, photography and other similar things. If this sounds interesting to you, you may subscribe here.

If you’re interested in learning more about the House of Hacks' values, here’s a playlist for you.

And here’s the most recent video.

For a written transcript, go to How to find lost camera gear - Set contact file (part 2)

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

Transcript

Have you ever lost camera gear?

Are you looking for ideas to recover your camera gear if it ever does get lost?

Today at the House of Hacks, I'm going to talk about two such strategies.

Hi. If we're just meeting, welcome!

I'm Harley and this is the House of Hacks where we do projects related to the workshop, things made out of wood, metal, electronics and other related types of materials.

Today, it's photography gear.

I belong to a local photography Facebook group where occasionally somebody will run across some camera gear that was accidentally left at a popular shooting location.

Generally what will happen is a post will go out describing where it was found and who to contact for more information.

Often times the owner is a member of the group and gets their gear back.

Inspired by these posts, this is the second in a series to help reunite you and your gear if it does get lost.

There's a link to the series right up here.

Our cameras use SD or CF cards to store images on. These are really nothing more than solid state disks that can store any kind of information, not just images.

With this in mind, today's tip is to add a file that contains your contact information in it.

I'm going to show you two ways of doing this.

The first way is to create a text file.

To do this, open a text editor.

On Windows, hit the WIndows key, type "notepad" and hit enter.

On a Mac, hit Command-space and type "textedit" and then hit enter.

Once you're in the editor, put in your contact information. Things like your name, address, phone number, e-mail and website.

Then, save this information on your computer. It can be anywhere you'll remember where it is. Your desktop or documents folders are great locations.

Call the file something that makes the contents obvious. Something like "contact info" or "read me." If you start the name with an underscore character, it'll be at the top of the file list when sorted by name in Windows Explorer or the Mac Finder.

Next, plug your memory card into your computer using a card reader.

The operating system should detect the new drive. Using either Windows Explorer or the Finder, open the card's drive and copy the new file into it.

And you're done!

Do you have any strategies for helping your camera gear find its way home?

Leave a comment below. I'd love to hear it.

And the second way is to create an image with your contact information in it.

To do this, grab a blank sheet of paper. A sheet from your nearest printer will work great.

And then get a marker pen. One with a thick tip is best.

Just write your contact information on the paper and make sure it's legible.

Then take a picture of that page and you're done.

You can keep the paper in your camera bag and then whenever you reformat your card, it's really handy to just grab it and take a picture so that card is now ready to find it's way back home if it ever gets lost.

With either of these tips, if someone finds your camera or your card, all they have to do is take a look at it and they'll be able to find your contact information.

Like the tips in the last video, this is a great first step but it only works for your camera or memory cards. And it requires a bit of thought on the person finding your gear. They have to go look for the information.

And if you ever format the card, you have to put the information back, either copying it off the computer or taking another picture.

In the next tips, I'll give ideas for identifying your equipment that's less technical and doesn't require as much thought on the part of the person finding it. And it'll work for pretty much any item in your camera bag, not just cameras and memory cards.

I'll see you in one of these videos that YouTube thinks you'll enjoy.

And while making things, remember, perfection's not required. Fun is!

Friday, February 22, 2019

How to make a portable air hose reel cart


Description

Wondering about how to build a portable air hose reel cart? In this episode of House of Hacks, Harley shows an install method for his new air hose reel that's portable and uses a new-to-him construction material: SteelTek. There are many ways of mounting an air hose reel but sometimes you don't want it in a permanent location. This option will allow you to move the reel around. This is a small test to see the applicability of this product for future SteelTek projects.

Here at House of Hacks we do tutorials, project overviews, tool reviews and more related to making things around the home and shop. Generally this involves wood and metal working, electronics, photography and other similar things. If this sounds interesting to you, you may subscribe here.

If you’re interested in learning more about the House of Hacks' values, here’s a playlist for you.

And here’s the most recent video.

For a written transcript, go to How to make a portable air hose reel cart

Music under Creative Commons License By Attribution 3.0 by Kevin MacLeod at http://incompetech.com.
Intro/Exit: "Hot Swing"
Incidental: "The Whip Theme", "Pump", "There It Is", "Guiton Sketch", "Cool Rock"

Transcript

There's got to be a better way.

Hi. If we're just meeting, I'm Harley and this is the House of Hacks where we use our God-given creative talents in the workshop to make things out of wood, metal, electronics and other things like that.

Today we're going to be working on a storage system for this compressor hose.

As part of the car project, I picked up a new air compressor. And along with that came a number of new things that are related to the air compressor itself. Things like the air hose and other miscellaneous bits and bobs that are used to connect hoses together and things like that. And eventually I expect I'll be getting some more air tools and I need a place to store those. To help keep the garage organized and less cluttered, I need a place to store some of this new stuff.

I got a ReelWorks hose reel to store the hose on but now I need a place to mount this and I don't want to mount it permanently to the wall anywhere in the garage because I don't really have a good place for it in there and I don't know exactly how I'm going to be using it, where I'm going to be using it, so I wanted a portable solution.

So today I'm going to look at making a cart that this hose reel will mount to and then will also have additional storage that possibly in the future might be expandable to store additional air tools and things like that in that I purchase in the future.

Let's open this up, get some basic dimensions on it because it will be kind of the core around which everything else will be built.

[Unboxing ReelWorks hose reel]

This is what came in the box: the reel, a manual, a strain-relief spring, a connector fitting and the handle.

A little tiny bit of assembly required.

When I ordered the air hose, I also ordered an air filter and a three foot section of hose.

The idea was I will mount the air filter close to the hose reel and that will filter out any contaminants that are in the air line.

I'll get another hose, probably in the 20 foot range, that will go from the air filter to the air compressor.

From my research online, that's a good length to have between the air compressor and the air filter in order to allow time for anything that's suspended in the air flow to condense out and for the air filter to actually be able to be effective.

Then I'll have the longer hose that will wrap onto the hose reel to move around for actual use of the compressed air.

So, let's assemble this, make some drawings and see what we come up with.

[Hose reel assembly]

[Drawing cart elevations]

OK. Here's the concept.

We've got elevation drawings for the front, the top and the side.

The hose reel goes right here and we've got castors on the bottom.

It's 19 inches from the edge of this handle to where this curves up and it's 13 inches tall from the base here where it mounts to the outside edge and it's 11 inches around in this direction.

So the idea is to build a square base that has castors on it depicted by the circles down there so that'll allow it to roll around and have a plate on the bottom that the reel will mount to and then also have two supports that come up and that are joined at the top and it's going to be offset from the center.

It'll be behind the reel.

And that will be what the air filter connects to and then there will be a hose that runs from here down around into the bottom of where it mounts to to connect the incoming air from the air filter into the hose reel.

And I may think about putting some sort of storage media on top here somewhere.

I need to be careful about how big this is though because I don't want it to go above the handle, so it might look like something along these lines where it covers a portion of that space to hold odds and ends and nick-naks.

I don't want it to get all the way to the edge though otherwise it'll make it hard to spin the handle.

So that's the general idea. Let's go see if we can find some parts to build this with.

[Parts shopping]

[Parts cutting]

I was walking through Lowe's the other day in the plumbing department and noticed this really cool material that I hadn't seen in there before.

It's a whole system for making things with. It doesn't really belong in the plumbing aisle as far as I'm concerned other than it has these tubes that kind of looks like plumbing but it's not a plumbing system at all.

It's really a, basically a, Tinkertoys for adults.

They have all kinds of different connectors. These happen to be Ls and I also got some intersection connectors that have one pipe go through on the one direction and has another connector attach something in.

But they have all kinds of different connectors for Ts and multiple intersections coming together in pretty much all the different configurations you can think of of pipes coming together.

They also have adjustable connectors where you can have set screws and put the pipe in and adjust it to different angles depending on the purposes for whatever it is you're building.

It seems like a really cool system.

According to the web site, it comes in 3/8, 3/4 and 1-1/4 inch sizes and in galvanized and in black.

Now my local Lowe's only had it in 3/4 and 1-1/4 sizes and only in galvanized so I haven't seen the smaller size or the black.

For this particular project, the 3/4 is what I got because that was the smallest size they had but it's really overkill.

3/8 probably would have been way more than sufficient.

Each of the connectors have set screws in them that are tightened with an Allen wrench that tighten down onto the pipe and hold it in place.

It seems to be a really solid, robust system and I have a number of projects that I think it'll work really well for but I wanted to use it on this smaller project just for testing things out.

It is not a very cheap system.

These eight connectors and a 10 foot section of pipe ran me about $70 so compared to like copper or PVC that you might use for a similar application from the plumbing aisle where the connectors are in the cents to dollar range, it's much more pricey but it also is much more robust, rigid system.

The pipe comes pre-cut in various lengths from about I think 4 inches was the smallest in I think 2 inch increments up to a certain size and then it started going in foot increments.

The pipe was pretty expensive when purchased in the smaller sections so I ended up getting a 10 foot section which was the longest I could get and the cheapest per foot and then just cut it up to what I needed for this project.

I cut three 20 inch sections for the cross members and four 15 inch sections for the width and the height and now it's just a matter of connecting everything together with the Allen wrench.

Let's put it together.

[Frame assembly]

OK, that's all there is to it. This is a real sturdy system. I'm real impressed. Like I said, this is way overkill for this particular project, but don't have to worry about the hose reel going anywhere.

The next step is to cut some plates to mount things to.

A buddy of mine gave me some of these surplus moving dollies that his company built.

It's basically a piece of heavy duty sheet metal with a bunch of castors on the bottom.

The castors are a little gummed up, a little worn out possibly, possibly just dirty.

So, I'm going to tear these apart, clean them up and cut the metal down to fit in here and use a couple of the castors for the four corners of the hose reel.

[Moving dolly disassembly and cleaning]

OK, that worked really well.

I first started by trying to spray some WD-40 in one of them and realized that was going to take a lot of WD-40 and a lot of fiddling with things so I had the idea to take it upstairs and run them under some water and within seconds of putting them under water they immediately freed up.

That tells me that the thing that was really keeping these things from moving freely was dirt and probably soda.

These things were used to move soda vending machines around and my guess is they just got a lot of soda in there that kind of caked the dirt in there and made everything really gummy because, like I said, within seconds of putting it under the water they were moving freely.

I did use some soap and tried to clean things up pretty well. Had a lot of dirt come out of it as I was running it through the water and now I've kind of soaked them in WD-40 to drive all that moisture out, to lubricate them a little bit and to protect the surfaces from rust.

WD-40 makes a great solvent and water displacer. It does a little bit of surface protection and lubrication but that's not really it's strength.

So, once this WD-40 kind of evaporates out and displaces all the water, I'll get some oil, 3-in-1 oil or something similar to that, and just kind of lubricate this up for long term lubrication and protection.

The next step is to take those metal plates and cut it down to try to make it fit for the frame that I made earlier.

[Metal cutting, filing and drilling]

[Final assembly]

Well, that's a lot more compact and I think it's going to be easier to use. I don't have to unroll the whole hose in order to use things and we've got the filter on it now.

I didn't get it as far done as I would have liked. I would have liked to have painted the wood and gotten the storage system on top but I just have other projects I need to get to and ran out of time.

So, I'm going to call this good for now. Eventually I can do those as future upgrades.

Over here are some videos that YouTube thinks you're going to enjoy and remember when making things, as this demonstrates...

Perfection's not required. Fun is!

Friday, February 8, 2019

How to find lost camera gear - Set Metadata (part 1)


Description

Ever lost a camera or other photo gear? Looking for ideas for how to find lost camera (digital)? This is the first in a series where Harley shows ideas that can help a lost camera find its way back home. These travel tips and hacks can help someone who has found a lost camera return it to you.

Other videos in this series: How to Find My Lost Camera
Photography videos: Photography Tutorials

Here at House of Hacks we do tutorials, project overviews, tool reviews and more related to making things around the home and shop. Generally this involves wood and metal working, electronics, photography and other similar things. If this sounds interesting to you, you may subscribe here.

If you’re interested in learning more about the House of Hacks' values, here’s a playlist for you.

And here’s the most recent video.

For a written transcript, go to How to find lost camera gear - Set Metadata (part 1)

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

Transcript

Ever lost photography gear?

Looking for ideas for how to recover camera gear after it's been lost?

Today at the House of Hacks, I'm going to show you a strategy to help your lost gear find its way home.

Hi! If we're just meeting, I'm Harley and this is the House of Hacks where we work with things related to the workshop. Things like wood, metal, electronics and things of that nature.

Today we're talking about photography gear.

I belong to a local photographers Facebook group where occasionally somebody will find some camera gear that has been accidentally left at a popular shooting location.

Generally, what will happen is a post will go out on the group describing the gear, where it was found and who to contact to retrieve it.

Often times the person is a member of the group and sees that post and is able to get their gear back.

Inspired by these posts, this is the first of several tips to help reunite you and your gear if it ever gets lost.

And today's tip is to update the metadata in your camera.

This information will get saved into every photo that's taken with that camera.

All the Canon camera's I've owned have come with a program called the EOS Utility.

Inside this utility is a Camera Settings section and inside this section is a place for you to enter your name and other contact information.

When this data is uploaded to your camera, it will be added to every photo that's taken by that camera.

This helps in two ways.

Every image you take with that camera has your information in it that can help resolve any copyright disputes.

And if your camera or memory card is ever found, someone can look at your photos and find your contact information to get a hold of you.

And if you find a camera or memory card, look at the card in either Windows Explorer or the Mac Finder.

Any information the user has stored in the metadata will be shown in the information panel.

This way of identifying your gear is a great first step but only works for your body and memory cards and it's not intuitively obvious to anybody that finds it that it's there.

They have to know to go look for it.

I'd love to hear in the comments below if you've done this.

I'd also love to hear if you know how to do this for other camera brands.

In future videos, I'll give additional ideas for identifying your gear.

I'll see you in one of these videos that YouTube thinks you'll enjoy.

And when making things, remember, perfection's not required. Fun is!

Friday, January 25, 2019

How To Hang Moving Blankets For Sound Absorption


Description

Need to easily hang your moving blankets for sound absorption? In this episode of the House of Hacks, Harley shows an fast hack to make moving blankets easy to hang for acoustic treatment.

Referenced videos:
Using moving blankets for sound absorption

Spring clamp hack

Finishing paracord ends

Here at House of Hacks we do tutorials, project overviews, tool reviews and more related to making things around the home and shop. Generally this involves wood and metal working, electronics, photography and other similar things. If this sounds interesting to you, you may subscribe here.

If you’re interested in learning more about the House of Hacks' values, here’s a playlist for you.

And here’s the most recent video.

For a written transcript, go to How To Hang Moving Blankets For Sound Absorption

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

Transcript

Want to see how to make it easier to hang cheap moving blankets to absorb sound? Today at the House of Hacks, we're going to do exactly that.

Hi. If we're just meeting, I'm Harley and this is the House of Hacks where we use our God-given creative talents to make things in the workshop out of wood, metal, electronics, photos and other things of this nature.

In this earlier video, I looked at how surprisingly effective cheap moving blankets were for an acoustic treatment for a room. I measured the echo in my workshop before hanging them and then hung them and then measured it again and found that it worked really, really well.

Now I need a way to easily hang them, move them around and put them to use.

In that video, I used some spring clamps to hold the blankets to some overhead joists here in the workshop. It worked well enough but it was kind of cumbersome since the blanket was held in place by the jaws of the clamps.

As I showed in this other video, I put 1/4-20 bolts on spring clamps in order to hold photography accessories.

One such accessory are these. They're studs that are a couple cents apiece when bought in bulk and are designed to hold studio lights. But of course we don't need to use them for that.

At the hardware store, I picked up a grommet installation kit with some large grommets and some paracord. We'll use this to hang the moving blankets.

The installation kit is designed for two sizes of grommets and so it comes with two cutters for material to make holes the right size and a piece of wood to back those cutters up when cutting the material. To install the grommets, the kit comes with an anvil for one side of the grommet. This is two sided. One for the large size and one for the small size.

And it comes with two punch heads. These are used to crimp the two halves of the grommets together.

To be able to hang these blankets, I'm going to put three grommets on one edge of each blanket.

Starting with the large cutter and the wood, I used a hammer to drive the cutter through the blanket and into the wood. This gives me a hole the right size for the grommet.

The grommets come in two halves. The first half is designed to go through the hole and the second half goes over the top of this with the material sandwiched in between and then it's crimped together.

Place the grommet that goes through the hole on the bottom anvil and then place that under the blanket through the hole.

Place the other half of the grommet on top with the curved side up.

Use the punch head and a hammer to round over the center part of the grommet, crimping the two halves tightly together.

Once the grommets were in place, I then cut the rope into nine inch long segments and sealed the ends. I show in this video how I like to seal the ends of kernmantle rope and paracord.

The rope is looped through the grommets and held with a knot. I used a square knot but you can use whatever you like.

The loops of rope can now slip over the studs on the spring clamps and I can hang a blanket where ever the clamps can be placed... On shelves... On equipment... And it's easier to use on the joists too.

Thanks for joining me on this creative journey that we're on.

I'll see you over here in this video that YouTube thinks you'll like.

And while making things, remember: Perfections not required. Fun is!

[Beep]

OK! We got the audio running this time.

Last take I did the entire video and didn't have the audio on.

Isn't that fabulous?!?!

We'll call it a practice.

Friday, January 11, 2019

DIY Camera Gear: Spring Clamp Hack


Description

Need some inexpensive camera gear? In this episode of House of Hacks, we're going to take a look at an inexpensive but super useful DIY camera gear hack: the spring clamp. Also known as A-clamps, spring clamps are cheap but essential camera gear for beginners that should be part of every camera bag.

Spring clamps at Amazon. (Affiliate link)

Here at House of Hacks we do tutorials, project overviews, tool reviews and more related to making things around the home and shop. Generally this involves wood and metal working, electronics, photography and other similar things. If this sounds interesting to you, you may subscribe here.

If you’re interested in learning more about the House of Hacks' values, here’s a playlist for you.

And here’s the most recent video.

For a written transcript, go to DIY Camera Gear: Spring Clamp Hack

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

Transcript

Besides a camera, today at the House of Hacks we’re going to look at one of the most essential, and cheapest, tools for a photographer’s camera bag: the spring clamp!

Hi! If we’re just meeting, I’m Harley and this is the House of Hacks where we talk about things workshop related. Things like metal working, wood working, electronics, photography and making things in general.

The spring clamp, also known as an A-clamp, is super useful on photo shoots. Today we’re going to talk about a modification that makes it even more useful for photography purposes and then we're going to talk about a number of ways it can be used.

Spring clamps come in a variety of sizes from huge, giant things to these medium sized ones, these happen to be 2 inch, to these smaller guys. I think these are 1 inch. Personally I find the medium sized ones the most useful, followed by the smaller ones. I've haven't ever found a need for the really big ones.

They cost a couple bucks apiece and can be found at most large home improvement stores. I’ve also left a link below to where you can get them on Amazon. This will save you a trip , I get a small commission and it won't cost you anything extra.

To make them even more useful for photography applications, I like to add a 1/4-20 bolt with a nut on it to allow you to mount things like cameras and other photography accessories lights.

To add this hack, for each clamp, get a 1/4-20 1 inch long bolt. I like to use a star lock washer. They seem to work a bit better than say the split ring lock washers. A nyloc 1/4-20 nut. A 1/4-20 flange nut. This is a nut that has a flange on with a wider section on one side. And a large washer where the hole in the middle is large enough for the nut part of the flange nut to go through but not large enough for the flange to go through.

And also some two-part epoxy.

Mix up a bit of epoxy and use it to glue the flange nut to the inside of the washer. The flange itself should be exposed and keep the nut from going through the washer.

While that’s setting, check your clamps to see if they have a hole between the hinge and the tip of the clamp. If they don't, you'll need to drill one. Some brands have a hole here. Some brands don't. These don't, so I'll have to drill a hole. And I'm going to drill that hole just below where the plastic part of the tip ends.

Then, with the star lock washer next to the bolt head, place the bolt through the hole from the inside so the threads are poking out. Use the nyloc nut to hold it securely in place.

Once the epoxy is set, thread that assembly onto the bolt with the flange part of the assembly pointing out.

This gives you a place to mount standard 1/4-20 threaded items onto. The flange nut works as a jam nut to tighten the item down and the washer gives you a little handle to be able to loosen and tighten it.

So, how can you use this?

You can hold backdrops or reflectors to stands…
tighten loose clothing on models…
manage cables and cords…
hold gels on lights…
keep gobos in place...
mount cameras or lights in awkward places…
hang sound absorbing material to deaden room echos…
or whatever you can think of.

If you have clamps like these, leave a comment below and tell me how you've used them.

I’ll see you in this video over here that YouTube thinks you'll find interesting.

And remember when making things: perfection's not required. Fun is!

[John 4:14]