New Rig Build List

Finally got some time to shop for my PC rig. Here’s the list of the core components:

 

  • CPU
    Core i7 – 8700 Box – 3.2Ghz / 12MB Cache / LGA1151 *Coffee Lake

    MOBO
    Asus TUF Z370 Plus Gaming

    RAM
    Kingston DDR4-2400 16GB

    SSD
    WD Blue 250GB 3D NAND (Max Read Up To 545MB/s & Write 525MB/s)

    PSU
    Corsair TXM Series TX750M 750W PSU – Semi Moduler, 80Plus Gold (7Yrs Warranty)

    Case
    Corsair Carbide 400C White

    GFX Card
    Asus nVidia PH-GTX1050-2GD5

    UPS
    NeuroPower Compact Touch 850va UPS

     

My rig would have been cheaper by at least 15% had it not been for the recent craze on crypto-currency speculations. Anyhow, this setup is going to set me back by about RM6,000.

OK, time to place the order for my wish list.

2018-01-20T01:32:16+00:00 January 20th, 2018|Hobby & Leisures, Technology|0 Comments

Signing Off for 2017

Haven’t wrote anything longer than a paragraph lately. No, I haven’t been building furniture. I was busy closing this year’s revenue with a bang. We attempted to double our revenue this year from 2016 and we are very close. There’s still 5 days to go before 2017 runs out, anything can still happen.

Also, I’ve been catching up on my readings. The best I could do was to tweet sporadically when some interesting thoughts cross my synapses. And when you are reading a few books at the same time, your thoughts can get very interesting indeed.

Don’t worry, you won’t be reading any ‘My Resolutions for This Year…’ in this space. Resolutions are for losers. It’s just an excuse to announce to the world you are not going to achieve those goals. You don’t need resolutions, you just need actions. And if those ‘resolutions’ are important enough, you should already be working on it.

Today, I would just like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on making it to 2018.

Happy holidays and keep hustling!

 

 

2017-12-25T17:57:41+00:00 December 25th, 2017|Daily Observations|0 Comments

Pushing Your Luck

“Some people became too carried away by the air of excitement at the apparently unstoppable advance. An American war correspondent, determined to beat his rivals, turned up in Chartres so as to witness the capture of the city. Unfortunately, he was two days early. The German 6th Security Regiment promptly took him prisoner.”

Antony Beevor, D-Day

That’s literally ‘jumping the gun’. It’s dangerous to be caught up in euphoria. When emotions run high, we are very likely to make decisions we will regret later on. We are only as rational as the amount of logical thinking we can muster during time of crisis.

Do not be enthralled by the senses.

2017-11-21T01:50:32+00:00 November 21st, 2017|Daily Observations|0 Comments

Be Careful with Your Ideas

Party of Light Bulbs

So, you’ve just had a great idea that flashed through your head while shaving this morning.

Be careful with that because 15,391,482 individuals on this planet probably had that same epiphany.

It likely didn’t become a reality because a myriad of reasons- inactivity, distractions and it’s probably not such a great idea after all (discouragements after discussing it with your friends).

Keep shaving.

2017-09-30T00:37:20+00:00 September 30th, 2017|Daily Observations|0 Comments

Project Leather Milk – Building Your Own Lighted Display Shelf

I promised one of my US suppliers, Mr Snow that I will make a display shelf for him when his goods arrived in my retail store. My initial estimate for the completion of the shelf was a week but I soon learned that my optimism will always be the root of all the planning fallacies. The shelf was eventually completed after 2 months.

As with any carpentry projects, sketching out the product is very important. It gives you a good idea on how much materials you will use and the limitations you may encounter.

My first sketch was in 3D, basically to nail the type of shelf design.

3D Sketch for Project Leather Milk
So, after a quick vote from everyone in the company, we decided to go for the right most design. It’s got a more ‘Western Bar’ look. I actually liked the left most design, but we are a democratic company. So, Western Bar it is.

Next, we take the right most design and came up with a few more iterations.

Project Leather Milk - Sketches

The sketches becomes more serious as we start considering the measurements. We don’t have a huge retail front, so every inch matters.


After about 3-4 days on the drawing board,  I moved on to the next phase- material sourcing. If you are looking for a good place to buy plywoods and wooden materials for your carpentry work, I recommend Kee Lek. It’s a bit out of town in an industrial area between the border of Balakong and Kajang, but the trip there is definitely worth it as there’s a nice variety of materials to choose from. Besides, you don’t get much choice from the hardware suppliers closer to the cities.

Project Leather Milk - Kee Lek
Project Leather Milk - Kee Lek
Just look at all the range of pre-cut woods they have… feels like Legoland.

Project Leather Milk - Kee Lek
Project Leather Milk - Kee Lek
Project Leather Milk - Kee Lek
Project Leather Milk - Kee Lek
Just be sure not to wear your dress shoes to the warehouse, because you will be walking through thick saw dust. And for just RM50, you can get Kee Lek to send your order to your doorstep. I estimate my order to be at least 150kg, so RM50 is really a bargain.

Transporting the Wood
For a little warm-up session, I made 2 coffee stools with some leftover plywoods from previous projects.

warm-up-coffee-stools
The first step after our little warm up is to cut the boards according to the measurements. Because I am not a full time carpenter, I would have to stick to my little Makita jigsaw. However, after sawing all these plywood, I am really looking forward to upgrade to a full-blown circular wood cutting machine. It should speed up the progress of cutting these plywood by 80%. Well, I am just a hobbyist for now.

chopping-boards-01
chopping-boards-02
chopping-boards-03
For this project, I acquired a new machine- the Dongcheng Orbital Sander. This machine sets me off by about RM150, but I reckon it will save me hours of sanding. I wanted to get the Makita sander but the hardware store near me don’t carry them anymore… so I guess Dongcheng would have to do.

I used to sand manually with sandpapers wrapped in Styrofoam brick. With this new sanding machine, I could sand the plywoods in an hour. I estimate if I am using the Sytrofoam brick method, it might take me at least 4-5 hours. An important tip, when sanding with the orbital machine, always do it outdoor. I realized my folly after my entire pantry is covered with pepper-fine wood dust. I was ordered to sand outside the office from then on.

sanding-01
sanding-02
After sanding, you would still need to get rid of the wood dust with a wet cloth to remove any debris that will get in the way when you apply the wood varnish later on. I even used a vacuum cleaner to make sure it’s totally dust free.

sanding-03
Once the woods are dust-free, we move on to the varnishing act. I got the ‘Oakwood’ color from Nippon Wood Varnish series. Because my project uses plywood instead of real solid wood (out of budget), I have to apply 3 layers to make it look like ‘Oakwood’. Unfortunately, it was only at this phase I realized that one of the plywood surface has got some ‘blisters’. So, lesson learned, next time choose your plywoods on the spot and have them shipped exactly the ones that you’ve examined.

The varnish phase is also the most time consuming one because it takes about an hour for each coat to really dry, and you can get really high smelling the fumes from the varnish. My suggestion is that you take a break after every 30 minutes to reduce the high.

If there’s a coating machine to apply the varnish, I would seriously consider it. Paint brushing all these surfaces is literally a pain-in-the-neck-back-ass chore.

varnishing-01
varnishing-02
Next comes the assembly phase. I started by joining the horizontal planks with the top-most and bottom-most levels. I was thinking by doing that, I would have a rectangular frame which would be easier to work on. However, that was not the case.

first-assembly-01
first-assembly-02
first-assembly-03
If I was to do it again, I would start off with the middle most section and working my way out to the bottom-most and top-most level simultaneously. By doing so, I would be able to ensure that each individual planks will be as level as possible without having to compromise for the rigid rectangular frame. This miscalculation has indeed caused the mid-section planks to less level than I’d aimed for. But it wasn’t so bad that flat-bottomed products will start rolling from side-to-side like a boat ride.

first-assembly-04
first-assembly-05
Once the main planks are assembled, I am faced with the next critical issue- racking. This means that even with the screws securely drilled into each plank for maximum rigidness, the whole shelf as a whole will still sway left to right like a man after 6 pints of beer.

first-assembly-06

Fortunately the solution for racking do not require a degree in rocket science. You just need more woods. In this case, 2 big piece of plywoods nailed as a backboard to the rack. Not only will these plywoods stops the swaying, they will also add to the aesthetics of the shelf. So, it’s only prudent that I put additional care in preparing and treating the backboard.

Preparing the Backboard and Spoilers
Another weekend gone preparing the backboard, and a few ‘spoilers’ for the edges of the planks.

Preparing the Backboard and Spoilers
Just by nailing only half the backboard, the shelf has decided to stop alcohol for good.

Preparing the Backboard and Spoilers
Next up, we are going to power up the shelf with some electricity. After investing so much on preparing the wooden surface of the shelf, I am not going to spare any resources that will enhance the showcase effect of the products. I’ve planned from the beginning that each rack will be lighted. And so, we start off with the basic stuff- Live, Neutral and Earth wires.

Lighting up the Christmas Tree
This is how it looks with the T5 LED.

Lighting up the Christmas Tree
These are the spoilers I prepared earlier to clean up the edges of the planks.

Lighting up the Christmas Tree
Let there be light (not explosion)!

Lighting up the Christmas Tree
With all racks lighted up, the whole display shelf is beginning to come to life.

Lighting up the Christmas Tree
Now, throw in some cow hides imported from India. These 2 pieces set me back by about RM300.

Putting in the Products
Let’s try arranging some of Mr Snow’s products on the shelf.

Putting in the Products
Voila! It’s finally complete. 2 months of work, probably about 30 hours in total.

Putting in the Products
There you go, the whole process of building a display rack. Not a bad adventure. I would love to try my hands on real wood next time. Real wood would definitely add a whole lot more character to the project.

You might ask why didn’t I just buy the shelf from IKEA or furniture shop. Of course, that’s totally a possibility but my purpose here is not to safe time or money. The whole objective here is to train my grit in getting a project from start to finish. It’s akin to why people climb Mt Kinabalu. They could have just take a helicopter to the peak right? I definitely learn more from this project than if I’d just followed the Billy manual from IKEA.

There are people who just don’t like to read the manual while some must read the manual from front to back before they start. And then there are those who prefer to write their own manual.

2017-09-30T16:48:31+00:00 September 28th, 2017|Daily Observations, Hobby & Leisures|1 Comment

On Workstations

I built my first PC circa 2002, almost 15 years ago. It was an AMD machine with an ASUS motherboard. I remembered it has 256MB of RAM which was a big deal, and a 2GB Maxtor hard drive. I have no idea what happened to that machine, but it really got me through lots of freelance projects and contributed hundreds of hour of rendering time for my award-winning 3D animation. The return on investment for that AMD machine was easily a hundred fold.

In the age of internet shopping convenience, only people with a lot of time on their hands would think about building their own workstation. Anyone who knows how to check out an item online, pay their online orders with their credit card can buy a notebook easily. So easy that most probably don’t even bother to look at the full specs of the machine they are getting. They probably just stopped right at the part where the online brochure says “Made for those who wants to get the job done…”

Well, I am not anyone. I am actually quite fed up with the stock machines offered by manufacturers these days. Too much cosmetics. Too much sugar-coatings. Too much emphasis on outlooks and forms. I am hungry for raw power.

So, today, I have decided build myself a new workstation. It may not be cost effective than those stock machines out there, but at least I get to maxed out on the stuff that really matters to me.

I don’t want to ‘Think Different’. I want to ‘Do Different’.

2017-05-22T03:42:24+00:00 May 22nd, 2017|Technology|2 Comments