Sunday, October 25, 2009


So I don't know how many people remember the movie Surf Ninjas but it was certainly a staple of 5th grade sleep overs for me growing up. The kind where you watch a bunch of terrible karate movies and then start fighting all your friends with the sweet moves you just learned from TumTum and Colt.

Anyway, before there were hundreds of videos on YouTube of people wrecking their cars trying to Ghost Ride the Whip, there was MotoSurfing - as made famous by Surf Ninjas. There were many nights I lay awake as a ten year old dreaming of the day I could move to California, own a horrible yellow volkswagen jeep thing, lose the ability to properly pronounce syllables, and MOTOSURF! Today, I got to fulfill the only part of that dream that still remains after 14 years (Hint: It's not the accent). And yes, thats me driving the car from the roof with an iPhone. Subscribe to our YouTubes and watch for Video Nov 3!

Friday, October 23, 2009

No Tailpipe Flames

So unfortunately, after doing a ton of research, we will not be having tailpipe flames on Wendy for reasons of safety (we live dangerously, not stupidly).

So the traditional method of having flames shoot out your tailpipe is to dump extra fuel into the exhaust and then use a spark plug about 6" from the end of your exhaust that will light the unburned fuel when you push a button or something similar. Two problems with this, we have a catalytic converter and a fuel injection system. The whole point of a catalytic converter is to burn unused fuel, so we would have to rip that out. The O2 sensor on the fuel injector would have to go as well, as it keeps your engine from dumping extra fuel without hacking the ECU.

So this leaves the alternative of pumping propane into the exhaust line after the cat converter. The problem with this is that the flame can chase back up into the propane tank and blow up unpredictably. Now don't get me wrong, we are all about explosions, but we prefer it when we can control them. So if anyone knows a lot about propane routing, let us know!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Laptop + Power Wheels = WIN!

We have successfully created our own feedback sensors for a frankensteinesque Power Wheels (whom we have affectionately named Hank). Hank's parts have been fashioned out of everything from spare bike gears and PVC to telephone wire and PCI slot covers and a whole lotta JB Weld (if it can save $3000 in tractor repairs then it's good enough for Hank!)

Anywho, here's a short video showing off Hank and the program we wrote to get our data on his steering and speed. Stay tuned to see where we go from here (Hint: Note that we're filming next to Wendy).

Friday, October 9, 2009

Late Night Mechanics

Last night was a late one trying to get some work done on Wendy. We first tried to hack the cruise control hoping we could use computers to control the speed. But Will has seen Terminator too many times (it doesn't help we named our program SkyNet) and didn't trust it, plus the cruise control was broken anyway. For a $300 car like Wendy I expected a lot better but what are you going to do (she still has a sweet spoiler, and does anyone have spinners we can have?)

In lieu of creating self aware cyber organisms bent on world domination we came up with a much more elegant solution to driving the car - a window motor and a hand wrench. I know, you're pretty impressed. We managed to mount the motor successfully to the floorboards and only drill through the brake lines a little. Just when everything was ready to test...the car battery died. So, currently we are a pair of jumper cables away from a car that can accelerate on its own with no brakes, but don't worry its in the parking garage at work so there's lots of cars around to help stop it!