Silhouette Cameo - High Performance Vinyl Cutter

I got the bug one night looking at cool decals, thinking I could make those if I had a vinyl cutter. I had purchased a few decals for the RCR-GT40 that were done with a vinyl cutter and they looked good. I had some background in the color separation business as a youth and understood the process of layering and such. So WTF, time to find a machine that was inexpensive and had good software.  One thing I understood was that the software is key, their were plenty of low cost machines but the software was another story. I had looked at some of the home maker machine like the Cricut which was advertising like crazy. Inexpensive but lacked any sort of software and used some sort of cartridge system. Brother also recently releaced one like the Circut but again, cartridge based. Enter the Silhouette Cameo.  The machine looks and sized like an Ink Jet printer but cuts vinyl, paper and does all sorts of other things. You can get the vinyl from Amazon or online shops. I picked up some quality vinyl at H & H Sign Supply. They had a great selection, sampler packs, etc. My advice is to get Oracal or other quality product, some of the product I picked up from Amazon was no-name and not so good.

The software that comes with the Silhouette is so easy to use and yet very powerful. I had not use such well thought out CAD style software in a long time. It has many features and if you upgrade to the 'Pro' version it unlocks a few more things as well as ability to import addition formats which I needed. I run the package on the PC but it's support also on the Mac if you that sorta' person.
Air Filter Flow Bench
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Air Filter Flow Bench

In all its glory a used Kodak Printer box was converted into an Air Filter Flow Bench, or poor man's filter tester since the number are really relative based on clean new filters.

Basically the box was used to test the rectangular flat air filters that are used on my Ford 2003 Power Stroke Excursion.

Below is a fun video I did for a place that I am no longer supporting but since I did the video I can feel good about re-sharing the fun as well as the informal testing that was done.

The overall idea of the video was to show you can make your own test equipment with some minimal investment, and then we show relative to each other how the filters flow. Three filters were used, a new stock Fram filter, the same Fram filter that the Filter Minder showed as very clogged and in need of replacement and a Spectre gauze filter.

Also the idea was shot out to see if we could clean the old clogged filter like the old days by blowing it out. See the results for yourself... And enjoy the wacky professor doing his thing.

The 'Digital Vacuum' gauge is actually a Manometer but that seems way to scientific to say. Read all about it on Amazon as that's where I picked it up at - Extech HD750 Differential Pressure Manometer, You can find less expensive ones as well. They come in a couple of different measurment ranges. I chose the 5psi one, they have one that is more sensitive at full scale 2psi. It must be HEAVY DUTY as it has HD in the part number (note sarcasm), but it's actually a well built tool with some really nice features if you have a use for one this is a good product.

Remember the idea here is to make and test things with mostly stuff you can make yourself, if you didn't have a high tech digital manometer you could have made one with a clear piece of tubing and some water. If you look around on the web you can find many ingenious and simple tools that you can make for next to nothing so have at it and start 'Garage Professoring'!
Extech HD750
If the video doesn't play in above player use the link HERE