Monday, January 22, 2007

ProAC 2.5 Clone Project - Part 2

In my previous article, I listed all the tools, material and parts used to build my pair of speakers.

Cutting - I used the dimension from here to cut my MDF sheets to size. When working with MDF, I highly recommend wearing a dust mask and goggle. MDF is very dusty.

Panels - When I bought my 4'x8' MDF sheets at the hardware store, I asked them to cut it in half (4' x 4'). Two reasons, it's easy to drive them home and to cut on my tablesaw. I used the tablesaw to cut the panels to dimension.

Speaker and port holes - Use the router with the Jasper jig to cut all those circles. Cut the recess first, then cut through on the inner diameter. When cutting the recess, make sure you account for the thickness of your veneer. I made that mistake. I did not do that, so my speaker drivers sit a bit deeper than desire. I also use the Jasper jig to cut the holes for the bracing piece. Note: If I'm to build another pair, I would veneer the front panel first before I cut the speaker circles. You should get a better look and fit. Trimming veneer from the recess part is difficult.

Putting the front and side part together - Glue everything except for the rear panel to allow access for installing the crossover and damping materials. I used drywall screw in addition to glue. In hindsight, I don't think the screws were necessary. The wood glue provides a very strong bond.
After the glue dries, use the orbital sander with varying grits to sand excess glue and any imperfections in your cuts. In some area, I had hairline gaps, I used wood fillers to fill these gaps.

Port and Binding posts - I added a 100mm x 100mm bracing for the port and glue it to the inside of the cabinet as mentioned here. Before gluing the port, I decided to paint the inside of my PVC pipe black (a glossy black aerosol spray paint can). At this point, I decided to apply the Maple veneer, glue in the Ports (PVC pipes) and the binding posts to the rear panels. Add the damping material (felt and poly-fill)

Add Damping materials - Add the roof felt to all the internal surfaces except for the front. I used spray adhesive and stapler. Then glue the poly-fill on top of the roof felt. I used spray adhesive. Also, this is when I install my crossover module. I'll cover on building the crossover module in the next article.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Flash Element TD - "Interest" ugrade to level 28

Here is a strategy/walkthrough that'll get to level 28 with "Interest" only upgrades. After level 28, you can pick your desire "element" upgrade and finished with a descent score. I use this technique to create my "All Fire", "All Arrow", "All Rockets", "All Water", etc final scene.

We'll use only "cannons" for land critters and "airs" for air critters. The desire placement for cannons are from the upper right corner to lower left corner on the map. Experiment your placements.

Round 1: 1 x canon (lvl1)

Round 2: upgrade canon to level2
Round 3: Add a 2nd cannon

Round 4: Upgrade 1st canon to level3

Round 8: Sell all your cannons, add 2 airs (lvl2).

Round 9: Sell all your air towers and add 2 cannons (lvl3 & lv1)

Round 10: Upgrade the cannons to level 3
Round 11 (Boss): Add 3 more level3 cannons (5 total). Sell down to 3 when the boss is close to dying.

Round 12 - Round 16: You can get by these rounds with 3 cannons (level3). On 16, try to sell all but one before round is over.

Round 17: buy 4 air towers(lvl3) Try to sell all air towers before end of round

Round 18: Add 5 x level3 cannons

Round 19: 2 more cannons (level3)
Round 21: 1 more cannon (level3). 8 total.

Round 22: Add 4 Arrow towers (level3)

Round 25: Add 1 more cannon(level3)
Round 26: Add 10 more Arrow towers(lvl3). You should have 9 cannons and 14 arrows

Round 27: Add 6 Air towers(lvl3). Sell the air towards to the of the level. Below screenshot, I had 6 air towers, it's not enough, I would use 7 or 8.

Round 28: Sell all the air towers if you haven't sold them.

Wood!, upgrade to whatever you desire.

Updated 01/22/07
For a good reference to help maximize gold jump here Flash Element Turret Defense Interest Calculator

Monday, January 15, 2007

Flash Element TD - Final Battles

Fire Storm

Well this blog article is a bit off topic, but it's a how-to. Last week, I found this game on It's a flash game based Warcraft TD game inspired by Elemental TD for WarcraftIII. It got popular really fast. Because of its popularity, the game author(s) is updating the game almost daily. The game is quite addicting. Anyway, I decided to have some fun with the game. I wanted to build crazy last battle (Level 38). So far, I got all Fire Element Towers scene. I wanted to do screencast of all my final battles, but I haven't found a free screencast software I can use on my Mac, so I settle for screenshots. I'm planning to do "All Arrow Towers", "All Earth Towers", "All Cannon Towers". I'll update with more screenshots later.

Before we can do that, we need to build up a lot of money to afford to setup the last battle. So far, this is my strategy to save as much money as possible before the last battle. I usually can get to about 20,000 coins using the following strategy.

Rockets in my pocket (UPDATE: 1/18/2007)

These guys (kids) didn't make past the lower right corner on Round 39.
Ok, I'm using another coin accumulating strategy ("Interest" only upgrade to Round 28). There are 5 woods upgrade you can get in the game. To get rocket towers, you need one of each elements (fire, earth, water). So, do the first 2 upgrade as interest and the rest with the elements. Follow the mentioned guide up to round 21 and upgrade to fire. Use fire towers to get you to round 35. After round 35, I used the rocket towers exclusively. In round 22, use 2 fire towers (lvl4) and sell down to 1 on the boss 2nd pass.
  • Round 23-24: use 1 fire tower (lvl4)
  • Round 25-31: use 2 fire towers (lvl4)
  • Round 32: 4 fire towers
  • Round 33 (boss): 9 fire towers. sell down to 5 towers towards the end.
  • Round 34: 5 fires
  • Round 35: 7 fires
Upgrade and now you can start building rockets, start with 2 upgraded towers

Play the game here

Build your money strategy (OLD: 1/11/2007)
I'm pretty sure other folks have a better path, because I see crazy high scores of 60K+. The general path is get to level 7, buy Fire tower with wood and buy "Interest" with the rest. There are 3 boss levels, I usually ignore them. I try to kill them in 2 rounds.

Round 1: Build a Level 2 Arrow tower(AT).

Round 2: Upgrade Arrow to level 3. (note: Sometime the last monster escape, I wouldn't worry too much about it. You can buy back that life later)

Round 5: Add second Arrow (level 3)

Round 6: Add 3rd Arrow tower(level 2)

Round 8: Buy Fire Elemental and the rest of the wood, buy interest.
Round 9: Upgrade 3rd Arrow to level 3

Round 10: Add 1st Fire Tower

Round 13: Add 2nd Fire Tower

Round 16: Sell 1st Arrow tower and replace it with Fire Tower
Round 17 : Sell 2nd Arrow tower and replace it with Fire Tower

Round 18: Upgrade 1st Fire Tower(FT) to level 2. Sell 3rd Arrow tower and replace it with Fire Tower.

Round 19: Upgrade FT1 and FT2 to level2
Round 21: Upgrade all FT to level2

Round 26: Add the 6th FT and upgrade the 1st FT to level2

From now on, the strategy is to reinforce these 6 positions with more Fire Towers.

Round 30: Add 2 more FT(lvl2)

Round 32: Add 4 more FT(lvl2)

Round 32 (Boss): Add more

Round 36: and upgrade and add more. I pretty much have all the FT at least level2 and level3. It may be overkill. Adjust to your need.

Round 37: Add more. You should have 20k in coins after this round.

The Setup - Spend at will.

The final battle

Saturday, January 13, 2007

How to Upgrade Your MacBook Memory

If you own a MacBook and things seem a little sluggish... well, a little more memory might be the answer. This DIY project will save you money and make a big performance impact on your MacBook (especially if you are running Windows XP in parallel like I am)

MacBook default specs are either 252k or 512k (depending on the model you have and when you bought it). I strongly suggest you upgrade your ram to 2gig. If you take your laptop to the Apple store, they will take you to the cleaners. Follow these simple steps below and get more out of your Mac laptop and do it for half the price.

What you'll need:
  • MacBook
  • Two 1gig compatible ram chips
  • Towel or soft surface
  • Mirco Phillips head and flat head screw driver
  • Mid sized coin
  1. First lets talk about what kind of memory you need. When shopping for ram that will work in a MacBook, visit this site to confirm what type of memory you'll need: MacBook Memory
  2. Now that you know what you need, you'll need to purchase TWO 1 gig strips. The MacBook performs best when you have an even amount of ram in each of the two memory slots. Shop around, but your best bet is NewEgg. Jump over to see what I purchased for my MacBook (black).
  3. Now lets open the Laptop and remove the battery (write down or print out these steps).
    1. Power down and unplug the power
    2. Turn the MacBook over and place it on a soft surface
    3. Using a coin, turn the battery lock clockwise to unlock and pop out the battery

  4. With the battery out, you've exposed a bracket held in by three little screws. Using you Phillips head, unscrew the three screws.
  5. Slowly remove the metal bracket to reveal the two memory slots (remove slowly so the screws remain in the bracket).
  6. Now lets take the old memory out. Using your thumb, slowly push the white levers to the left. You may need to put some pressure on the levers because the memory is tightly housed. The chip should present itself and now you should be able to pull the memory out... While you do this, take notice on how the chip is housed. There is a notch about 1/3 from the left. You'll need to put the new chips in the same way.
  7. After removing the old chips, evenly push the new ones in (lined up the same as the old ones). Push evenly, using your thumbs, until it's all the way in. A good amount of pressure is required, so don't fell like you are going to break something.
  8. Place the bracket back in it's original place. Using a flat head screw driver, tuck in the fabric tab (that's on the bracket) into the space where the memory is housed. Screw in all three screws and take notice that the fabric tab remains in place. The bracket should be flat against the memory slots (like it was when removed)
  9. Place the battery back in using a coin, lock the battery in place.
  10. Turn on the computer and verify you system settings. Upper left, click on the apple. Then click on 'About this Mac'. A window should open showing 2gig next to Memory. You are now free to move about the cabin...

If you prefer a video showing these steps, jump here to see: Instructional Video

Friday, January 12, 2007

How to Watch iPod video files in full HD

In my next DIY project, I'm going to cover how to get your purchased DVD's into your iTunes library with the best possible quality. You'll then be able to use FrontRow or your video iPod to enjoy quality content... While I document these steps, check out this new product below...

Looks like someone is going over the head of Apple, Inc. IF this this product does what they are advertising, then @TV has already been beaten... to the core...

jump for all the info: MV-D1

Thursday, January 11, 2007

DIY ProAc Response 2.5 Clone - Part 1

Tools, Material and Parts

In the last article, I gave a little background on my journey building a ProAc Response 2.5 loudspeaker project. I'm thinking of dividing the project into 4 articles:
In this article, I'll list all the tools, parts and material needed to build your own loudspeakers. Since this is a few years ago, the cost of material, parts and the stores I bought my items may have changed or may not be available.

Below is a list of online store I frequently visit for audio part supplies:

  • Tablesaw - You can use a circular saw, but you'll need a long straight edge.
  • Router and Router Bits - a 1/4 and 3/8 straight bit to trim veneer and to cut the circular holes. My router comes with a plunger, which is needed to route the bevels on the speaker holes.
  • The Jasper Model 400 - This is the jig I used to cut all the port and speaker holes.
  • Measuring Tape - Since the diagram measurements are all in metric, I suggest you pick a metric one. I bought this Stanley Metric/Fractional Tape one at Lowes.
  • Clamps - a minimum 4 clamps are need to glue the speakers together. The more the better. I bought a set of cheap clamps from Lowes for $20. Here is what the set looks like on Amazon. Here.
  • Orbital Sander - Use to sand flush imperfections when gluing the panels (a belt sander is probably better, but I don't have one) and for sanding the wood veneer.
  • Glue - Wood glue (Titebond). A spray adhesive to glue the Dampen Polly Fill. I used the 3M Supper 77.
  • Contact Cement - This is use to for veneering your speakers. I went with DAP contact cement (waterborne) and got good result.
  • Hot Glue Gun - This is to glue crossover parts onto a board.
  • Rolling Pin - I used my wife's baking tool. :)
Use this list as your reference as well.
  • Two 4' x 8' MDF board. I think you can get away with just one if you plan your cut well. I ended up using 2 because I made a mistake on one of the speaker panel. (~$25 per board)
  • 3" PVC pipe - This is for the port. You just need a pipe long enough to create two 6-inch long ports. I've a leftover PVC pipe from my past plumbing project.
  • Roofing Felt - For the 3-5mm bituminous felt damping.
  • Polly-fill - Damping foam lining.
  • 1 x Maple Wood Veneer (4' x 8' sheet). I ordered mine from here. $84 + S/H.
  • 2 x 18w/8535 Scan-Speak - I bought mine from Speaker City. You can get the shielded version if you are going to put these speakers near a CRT TV. $281.60
  • 2 x D2010/8513 Scan-Speak. $113
  • Solderless terminals for speaker. it looks something like this. I just went to my local Radio Shack and picked up a bag of these.
  • 12 AWG speaker wires. A 25-ft spool from Radioshack should be sufficient.
Crossover Parts
I built my crossover based on this diagram. Troels' modified crossover. I built it with the Optional Notch. I did not get all the parts with the exact specs listed in the diagram. I tried to get as close as possible. During my search on the web and reading DIY forums on people who have built speakers in the pas, I have concluded that most of these folks have good experience with Mills brand resistor. Getting Mills resistors from an online source to buy is a bit challenging. I ended up getting Dale 1.5-Ohms/5W and Dale 5.6-Ohm/5W from Surplus Sales of Nebraska. I just did a quick search on Google now and this place offer Mills resistors.
As for the 47-Ohm/5W resistor, I got them from here.

I think this will work as well, it's just rated with higher wattage.

I bought 10 or more resistors of each type just in case I decided build more clones for friends and family. All these parts sits on a square laminated floor board I have leftover from my past project.

Next article: Woodworking - Cutting and Gluing

Friday, January 5, 2007

Make Your Own Nike+ iPod Sport Kit Footwear

That's right... If you are one of the millions of people that got the Nike + iPod Nano Sport Kits as a gift this holiday season, you are probably now in the market for the Nike + shoes to go with it. Well, if you'd like to save 100 dollars and do a few simple steps, you can turn your favorite running shoes into Nike+ knock offs. Follow these simple DIY steps:

  • Step 1: Select shoe and peel up the foam insert (cushion) from inside the shoe. Just peel up 1/3 of the insert. This keeps the integrity of the shoe intact.
  • Step 2: Center the Nike+ transmitter in the shoe and trace it's outline with a pencil or pen.
  • Step 3: Use utility knife to cut away the fabric (some shoes may not have this layer, so just skip to step 4). Score the line you traced to a depth of 1 centimeter (enough to cut away the fabric). Note: you want the transmitter to be snug in the shoe so, don't cut away to much. You can always take away more material later.
  • Step 4: Using the Dremel tool, remove the material inside the oval you traced. Remember, don't remove more material then needed. You don't want the transmitter bumping around when you run. Take out just the material required to make it a sung fit.
  • Step 5: Check fit. Place transmitter in the shoe and replace the foam insert you removed or pealed up in step 1. Put the shoe on. If you can feel a bump in the area of the transmitter, you didn't place it deep enough. Go back to step 4 and go a little deeper.
  • Step 6: Start Running!
Nike would love to sell you new shoes, but just follow these simple steps and you'll save big. Plus, you can use any brand shoe you'd like. Don't fall for there marketing tricks and don't buy the cheap add ons you tie to your shoe laces (They flop around and don't transmit accurate).

Now that you're done... start running!


ProAC 2.5 Clone Project

Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4


This all started back in May, 2003 when I picked up a table saw from Lowes for $100 (Delta). I also picked up a Bosch router from Amazon. After a few minor home projects of building shelves, moldings with these tools. I decided to work on a more challenging project. My interest has always been in Audio/Home Theater. So, I decide to build a tower loudspeakers.

A few searches on Google led me to this site on building a ProAc 2.5 Clone. I had a chance to listen to the ProAc 2.5 in a retail store in Manhattan. It sounded great, very neutral loudspeakers, but they were retailed at $3000 for the pair. Based on the clone site, I can do it for under $700 at the time.

In the next few articles, I'll detailed my loudspeaker project. The steps I took to build these speakers (mistakes, pitfalls, improvements). I took me a few weekends to complete building the pair of speakers. I'm estimating costing me around $750 in parts and material to complete. I'm happy with the result giving I'm pretty much a novice woodworker. I definitely learn my lesson in applying wood veneer. I'll detail my mistakes and suggestions to apply veneer onto a speaker. Finally, the loudspeakers put out amazing sound. I was surprise how much Bass can be generated from a pair of 7-inch woofers.

Here is a list of sites I use as reference to build the ProAc Clone
UPDATED (1/10/07):
3 years after I've completed the project. It's now being use as the main speakers for my newly acquired Plasma TV.

Next: Getting all the parts, materials and tools.

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This blog site is dedicated to providing information on different types of Do It Yourself projects. Included will be blogs on building projects, hack ideas and concepts to make life a little easier.