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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Multitasking

We have been extremely busy with Machine Zealots during this summer, and it looks like we'll be quite productive in the next month or so as well. How about I just show you some of the highlights?

A large installation episode, fully removing the factory TBE, and installing an aftermarket TBE.

Tuning and data logging the OTS Stage 2 map with the Cobb AP.

Installation of the Grimmspeed Turbo Heat Shield.

Installation of the PTP Turbo Blanket.

A detailed episode on installing the Kartboy Short Shifter.

The upcoming episodes for this season are some of the most technical episodes we have done to date. They are super exciting for us to shoot, and we are confident that some of these installation videos have never been posted on the web before. (I could be wrong, but I did a lot of searching.)

As the car has officially entered Stage 2, I am still getting a grip on several things: Tuning, supporting mods, data logging, but mostly research, research, and more research.

I will make a more updated post on the tuning and data logging process a bit later; I am transitioning from the Cobb Accessport to Open Source tuning.

We are now collecting all the shots for each episode, and will aim to edit them when the autumn season approaches. Stay tuned!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Working on it

This is just a short update on what's been going on behind the scenes at Machine Zealots. We recently got a power supply for our electronics projects. We purchased it online for around $60 shipped, which is actually a really good price if you do some research. It has all the features that we would pretty much ever use; able to simulate a car battery so that many of our future electronics mods can be thoroughly tested before installing. I don't think everyone needs a power supply, but you definitely get more overall control with one. I am really enjoying the power supply so far, and it is seemingly a worthy investment for our applications.

Our brand new power supply, power testing the BlackVue dash camera.

With the power supply, I can put many of my ideas to the test. Whether I'm wiring switches, or other devices, it helps me visualize my wiring diagram without actually having to draw one out. Perhaps in the future I'll go through more of the specific features of this particular power supply.

As mentioned in the previous post, we have a lot of footage, and a lot of episodes to hammer out. While I was getting into the groove, I decided it was time for a new intro. With the new DSLR ending the previous season, I thought it would be nice to add nicer DSLR footage to a brand new intro sequence. Below is just a sneak peek at a work in progress.

A new intro sequence for the new season.

To be honest, I wish I had started Season 4 a couple of months earlier. I forgot how much fun it was to work on the cars and make these videos. We'll try not to delay as much when it comes to Season 5.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Ironmen Show & Shine, and some other stuff

It's been a couple of hectic weeks, but I finally have some time to update you guys again. Puyang and I went to a Show & Shine car show on June 7, 2014. It was held at our local Church, and it was a fantastic day of cars, food, and fun. I took this opportunity to volunteer as a photographer and shot an episode while I was at it, which I will be editing soon. Before I show you guys the photos, I'll just briefly update you guys on some Machine Zealot's news.

If you guys follow us on Facebook, I've mentioned that we have four episodes currently in the making. Puyang is a good help when I need an extra hand around the car, or shooting some videos, but I am usually the only person editing the episodes; this is why I can not finish all four videos at the same time. We have all the necessary shots to complete an entire episode, but I still need to trim, colorize, and treat the footage, as well as sync all necessary sounds and background music. It takes roughly thirty to forty hours to finish one episode in the editing phase, so it's a lot of work. Even though I work a full time job, and have other pursuits, I still want to make these videos. To be honest, I have a lot of fun working on cars and making videos, I just wish I had more time!

Here are some pictures from one shot of each upcoming episode:





I'm not going to reveal exactly what each episode will be about, but I think some of the pictures explain themselves very well. Either way, I seem to have some free time in the upcoming week, so I will be getting straight to the episodes. I already have another two episodes lined up for filming. Both Puyang and I are determined to use as many sunny days as possible for shooting during this season. That way, we can have content to work on during the rainy days, or even the fast approaching autumn season.

Well, that's pretty much it for updates. Below are some of our favorite cars from the Ironmen Show & Shine.




















Monday, June 2, 2014

Baby Steps

As mentioned in a previous post, we have started off this season a bit late due to circumstances in life. We have picked up the pace quite a bit in the last couple of weeks, and the ball should be rolling a bit faster now. With the weather finally getting warmer, we are prepping our tools and necessary components to tackle these upcoming mods and episodes.

An STI Episode.

A GTI Episode.

We've got another batch of tools coming in soon for other episodes, but we took some time this week to get two episodes done. They aren't heavily technical episodes, but they have been something both Puyang and I wanted to do in our cars for a while. If you follow us on Facebook, you'll see some of these mini updates as they happen, so be sure to check out the MZ Facebook Page.


Again, because of life circumstances, we are keeping our budget as low as possible on our modifications. However, it would seem that Puyang has a higher budget on the GTI than I do for the STI this year.

In keeping with budget restraints, I decided to create a camera dolly for sliding shots. Some of you may have seen it on our Facebook feeds, but here is the picture of the prototype:

K'nex slider dolly Mk I. (KSD for short)

KSD Mk I with automated sliding feature. (Battery powered motor attached. Working prototype.)

This was an idea that came into my mind about a month ago. I never really sat down and planned this out, but it occurred to me that I needed some tools to help with my film making. However, instead of paying upwards of $200 for a good slider dolly, I thought of building one myself. I'm not great at working with metal, nor wood, so I thought about these K'nex pieces. When Puyang and I were little kids, we got whole boxes of these K'nex building toys. I would create tons of my own stuff, and got relatively good at it. These toys had been sitting in boxes for years, so I'm glad I got another chance to use them. Cost? Well, these were gifts, so it really didn't cost me anything to make this. I spent about six hours on this so far, and I'm not done with it yet. It's sturdy, stable, and makes pretty great shots actually. (You'll see in future episodes.)

This is actually a pretty fun little project, so I am going to continue to do updates on this; we are called Machine Zealots after all, not completely limited to just cars you know. I won't be making YouTube videos on these things though, but will definitely be updating you guys via this Blog, and the Facebook page.

More information to come soon.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Summer Prep

As summer time is approaching, and with a new season launching, the Machine Zealots team took the week to get things prepared; starting with a good old car wash. It was a tiring day, we spent almost six hours to wash and clean three cars. A third car? Well, the third car isn't really a Machine Zealots project car, but a car belonging to one of our own.

Puyang washing his white GTI. White cars get just as dirty as black cars.

Close to completion.

A humble guest joins the wash.

Clean and simple.

Just showing off!

While the first two cars were washed at the Machine Zealots HQ 2, the STI was washed at our main headquarters. Washing the STI was nice, but the shiny STI only revealed two door dings! People don't know how to open doors, or that they banged up my STI on purpose. It wasn't a real ding, but just some missing paint; which is annoying enough. The wash itself went by faster than usual because I had some help cleaning the wheels. She did a really thorough job; a lot better than what I could do actually. She actually asked for more tools so she could get the really tough spots. o_____o

We also found a fully built birds nest in the engine bay. A week previous to this car wash, I had realized the STI drank gas like it was nothing; I kept on thinking that maybe because I drove a lot harder, or that maybe I was just driving a lot more than I thought, but it was actually the nest blocking most of my TMIC!

I was thankful that there were no signs of cooked bird's eggs, so I removed the nest, and placed it on a tree. I personally prefer birds over rats living in my engine bay, and I found it funny that a bird would choose an STI for a home. Flattering.

Thank you for your hard work!

The nest was a bit torn up, because I'd tried to remove it before I was told to take a picture.

STI ready to do battle.

Nice clean wheels. They were pretty much dark bronze before this wash.

An end to a tiring day.