Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Team Autoridad Xmas Bash!

The usual way of celebrating the yuletide season is through festive christmas parties. Team AUtoridad, like any other group, celebrates this annual festivity with a bang. This year, we've decided to forego of our usual christmas PARTY in liue of another EVENT.. an experience that made everyone feel the true spirit of christms - we all decided to pay it forward.

We chose to share our blessings with Ang Tahanan ni Maria - a community which houses and helps the elderly. A non profit organization based Carmona, Cavite which relies on donations and pledges for the lolo's and lola's everyday needs. The funds gathered to buy party favors, food, gifts and booze for our christmas party was instead used to buy spaghetti, sandwiches, biscuits, coffee, juice drinks and more - little things that the community had requested.

Unfortunately, not all of the members of the group could join the activity due to prior commitments and obligations but that didn't stop us from pushing through. We started the day cooking and ended it feeling filled with blessings and satisfaction :)

We figured that boiling water through coals would be economical - we are cooking tons of noodles anyway. What we didn't know was that it would take twice (if not thrice) as long :)

After everything was cooked, mixed and sliced -  time to fill up our styros.

RICHARD: The spaghetti's not for you!

Mini production line - everything's easier with a system. Someone lays down the styro packs, one places the bread, we fill it up with spaghetti, someone packs it away - we have our mini pitstop here - race to whoever packs spaghetti the fastest anyone? :)

Photo op while packing.

All set to go to TAHANAN ni Maria! We arrived at around 930AM - time for meryenda :)

Our lolos and lolas waiting for recess.

Setting up and unloading supplies from our service pickup (a.k.a boy pickup- Boom!).

After the snack packs were distributed, time to dig in!

 Ang tahanan ni Maria entertained everyone with a medley of christmas songs.
We were fortunate to have shared the day's activities with the Laguna Dance Group. They were able to organize a program filled with games and activities.
Stop dance with the TNM Dancers.

Time to Partey!

Pinoy Henyo with Lolo Piolo :)
The team having a part of the Christmas spaghetti - we remembered that we forgot to eat breakfast - its a good thing there were some snack packs left :)

The Laguna Dance Group took care of TNM's lunch - we decided to leave just as they were preparing the food. Sacrificing one christmas party and half a  vacation day to spend time with TNM is a good decision. Everyone felt good and fulfilled. I was asked to share a few parting words with the lolas just before we left and I thanked them for the time they've shared with us. Come to think of it, they were the ones doing us the favor. They gave us the opportunity to share and to help them out. I'm sure everyone had their own realizations towards the event but for me, it made me appreciate the family that I have and the blessings I've received this year. I ended my closing remarks with a promise of returning next christmas if they also promise to all be there (no one should be absent or MIA hehe) - to which they replied, "we are going to be here the whole year... you could visit us on valentines, your birthday, our birthday..." Indeed, the spirit of christmas should be celebrated year round and I am definitely looking forward to the group's next outreach activity! :)

YES! YOU CAN SHARE (and will surely feel good about it)!

To learn more about TAHANAN NI MARIA, please visit their page at

For more pictures of the event and other Team Autoridad activities, kindly drop by our FB page!/pages/Team-Autoridad/113219902032170 (you may also click on the team's logo on the left side of this page).

Thanks! :)

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fixing Christmas...

...decors :)

Seasons Greetings!

These past few days has been very hectic with all the shopping, reunions and holiday activities. I usually go home exhausted to the point that I'm not able to do and post any project. :( I'll try to make it up to everyone (including myself) for the posts I've missed.

To start things off - let me share with you how I was able to fix an old but very entertaining christmas decoration.

The fiance's family is fond of setting up a "small" christmas village in their living room. From what I've been told and have observed, what started with just a couple of ceramic christmas houses quickly became a tradition year after year. Presently, the village has grown to no less than 50 houses (got tired of counting years ago) becoming a community to numerous little christmas figures with a new expansion village put up on the other end of the living room just this year :)

Towards the end of the holiday season last year,  one of the village's center pieces - a frozen lake/ park with several villagers skating around - started  having problems. The figures won't move unless you tap the lake (i doubt if they have...). Please see a video of the problem below.

This year, we found out that the problem has already worsened. Realizing that I have nothing to lose - its broken anyway - I decided to try to fix it.

Here's how it looks after carefully removing the cover. TIP: When opening something for the first time, always be very careful because there will always be the possibility of breaking something - could be  a clip that you forgot to pry out or a wire that got pulled out due to your persistent pulling and prying :).

See that there are wires running between the cover and the base. Had I been too excited to open this one up - I might have pulled some of them away from the lights and speakers.

I save the covers of my deo as they are perfect small containers  - in this case, they kept my screws organized. As you can see, this skating decor has a lot!

Removed the white plate where the figures skate to see how this thing works.

The red circles are magnets topped with felt - the figures attach themselves to these which allows them to glide over the white plastic base (a.k.a. our frozen lake). These magnets are housed in the crosslike things attached with gears which are then driven by a small motor (the one where the wires are attached).

There is only one screw in the middle holding the magnets and their gears in place. After removing them, found problem number 1: Some of the magnets are no longer attached in their housing - this causes added load and stress to the whole assembly and the motor.Glued them back in place and set them aside to dry.

Removed where the motor is attached.

Unsoldered the connections (if you don't have a soldering iron, you could cut the wire and then connect it back later )
After gathering enough courage, opened up the gear box for further inspection. I had to see if the gears are broken. TIP: Be careful when lifting covers as it may have springs attached to them that might bounce out :) Fortunately enough - the gears are okay - time to test the motor (removed the two scews holding it in place - circled in red)

I set my adaptor to 4.5v, a couple of volts lower than the 6v power supply of this thing, to be safe and then ran my test. TIP: Universal adaptors like this are not often exact in their rating - setting it to 4.5v often times give  you around 5+v of power so I usually set it lower at first  be sure that I don't fry my motor accidentally.

After several tests - I've observed two things - the motor is not turning as fast as I expected it to be so I decided to go out and compare this old motor to a new one.

I remember opening up a walkman a couple of years back and saw a similar motor inside - if there's one place where I can buy this types of motor, it would be the shop where the sell spare parts for tvs, cassettes, etc. - time visit the nearest one.

The shop was kind enough to let me see a new motor and after comparing it with the one I have - found out that the bushing of the old motor has already been pushed further  inside the housing - this could where problem number 2 lies causing the old motor to turn slower than the new one.. Decided to buy the new motor to be sure.

The new motor and the old one side by side.

Placed the new motor and applied a little grease on the gears TIP: You can buy grease in little packets for 10 pesos but in the long run - it is cheaper to buy a small container for around 80 pesos. Got mine from a friend (thanks Push! - every penny counts hehe..)

Testing if the new motor turns the gears properly.
Decided to clean the "lake" with some soap and water so that the skaters can glide through it easily (a cleaner lake looks better too right!)
After everything double checking everything - time to assemble everything back. 

Hooray! The skaters are happy again! :)
Sharing with you some shots of the Christmas village...

...and its expansion.


Merry Christmas everyone!
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Voxy Masked Off!

Ready for Paint?!? - well almost... before I can apply my first coat of primer - I still need to do a couple of things: 1. Sand the whole car so that the primer will adhere properly. 2. Hose down the car to remove the dust and dirt from all that sanding. 3. mask off everything that needs to be covered - whew! and I thought I was all set for paint :(

Sanding down the whole car is easier than it looks as you are just roughening up the surface so that the primer will have something to hold on to. I wetsanded the car with 220 and 280 grit sand paper. TIP: It is good to have sanding blocks ready (I bought mine from the 66 peso shop) but some blocks of wood and old slippers cutouts will do fine.

I also bought a surplus orbital sander which helped me a lot. This is useful but not necessary. It is relatively easy to sand down the car without this.

Sanded down the fenders and running boards

Expect a lot of milky sand residue :)

Be on the lookout for any bumps and uneven spots you might have missed - remind yourself that preparation is very very important. Not preparing the surface properly will result to poor results. Even if you have bought the most expensive paint and equipment but failed to  repare your surface properly - the end result will not justify what you have already spent and all that hard work will go down the drain.

Applied several coats of rust converter on the underside of the running boards just to be sure.
Here's how it looks like after it has dried up.

After you have cleaned the entire car and prepared the surface - time to cover what needs to be covered.

Masked off the rear windshield - see the fenders hanging from above? This way - its will be easier to paint.

If would be best if you could have a paint booth but most DIYers would have to settle for a makeshift booth. I decided to just use our garage but made sure that everything was properly covered. As you can see - the walls are covered with newspaper to make sure that it doesn't get any overspray (of course - I don't want to get kicked out of the house because of this project)

Covered the engine and wheels.

Covered the windshield with newspaper as well.

The windows - paint is sprayed on as a mist thus it can reach every nook and cranny - cover the things you don't want to get painted. TIP: It is always better to remove everything that you can be removed easily i.e. side mirrors, door handles, antenna, lights, etc. Masking these off would be difficult and yet the result of painting without them is better. Just make sure you know how to place them back again :) Be careful - if you can't pull something out - double check if you missed a screw or a clip - these things can be expensive to replace or fix.

To make sure that I get an even shade of red - I decided to include the door interiors and the inside pillars - so I masked them off as well. I was supposed to remove the sidings but they were already brittle and cracks when I pull out the clips. Better leave them in there - be safe than sorry :)
Masking off the big opening where the door used to be is a nightmare! TIP: Never skimp out on masking tape! It is better to buy branded one like armak or 3m. I found some cheap masking tape - 60 pesos for 6 half inch rolls vs the 35++ pesos for the armak brand - and there were times when they don't have enough stickiness for the job. Also - they sometimes let paint seep in so you still need to clean what you covered afterwards. If you can - buy the better tape. They'll pay for themselves in the long run.

Everything's set! Time to buy me a new compressor! :)
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