Category Archives: Offtopic

MAD MAX: Fury Road – Art, The Dust Gun, and Preparations

While it may be old news, late is better than never. Prior to the release of the new Mad Max: Fury Road release, my sister – Elysse Melo – and I were tasked with transforming cars off the streets of Toronto into Mad Max inspired dusty works of art.

I designed and made the graphics for set decor, installing and accenting the set with custom crafted props.  The whole day would have been a flop had it not been for a few clever decisions in our planning stages.

The intent originally was to fill squirt bottles with vegetable oil, and lightly coat vehicles so that SFX dust could be sprinkled onto the vehicles. We settled on pressurized cans of canola oil cooking spray. Pre-filled and consistent, the cooking spray cans were ideal for fast and controlled application.

Sprinkling the dust was wasteful and left an uneven layer which was difficult to work with. Throwing the paper-dust at the oil-covered car worked better still, and so an idea was born.

Drawing from my knowledge and background working with air brushes, I designed and built a custom dust cannon. Our first prototype was a simple water bottle with a dip straw and air inlet in it’s side. Slow to fill, and easily jammed – it proved the concept, paving the way for version two.

The new dust cannon was not only a huge improvement in speed, but also efficiency as well. With a multi-valve setup and shop compressor – my tool was ready to make mini dust storms on queue. It looks pretty cool too.

Here’s the SFX dust cannon, made of ABS and copper:

Finished product.

To further speed the project along, I partnered with DWS Creative Imaging to craft a set of stencils and other tools to speed up the dust-painting process. With my direction, we were able to exceed all expectations – decoration far more cars than previously thought possible.

Broken Digital Pocket Scale – Troubleshooting and Repair

This is an off-beat post, and has nothing to do with websites or the digital world for that matter. I’ll be going through the steps I used to fix a broken pocket scale that was gifted to me – I get a lot of, “If you can fix, it it’s yours” gifts.

This 50.00g digital scale stopped working for an unknown reason, and the top suggestion for fixing these scales is a re-calibration. Unfortunately, this digital scale could not be calibrated – likely a result of the problems it was already having. After further inspection I realized the scale still accurately measured negative values. At this point the, “if it’s broken and destined for the garbage, I had might as well see how it works.” Was running through the back of my head.

Check the video out for a quick little tutorial and walkthrough of how I got my scale back in mostly working order. Step-by-step below.

  1. Remove the top plate of your scale to gain access to the mounting points of the weight surface.
  2. In my case there were two Phillips screws
  3. Flip the scale and remove the battery cover to reveal the second mount point
  4. Remove that pair of screws and set them aside as well
  5. Under where the weigh platform was, flip the sensor bar
  6. Re-attach all components

The kicker is, now when I lift the weighing platform, it shows me a proper positive number – reversing the fix brings the problems back. Does anyone with more knowledge of digital circuitry have an explanation for this rogue resistor?