3D Vision With a Single Smart Camera

Facilitating the measurement of height, volume, shape and profile is extremely difficult through three distinct segments of the vision system. Each element of the vision system must specifically constructed to increase speed, efficiency, and compatibility while decreasing size, and power consumption.

Single camera 3D systems are a powerful tool in today’s competitive vision market. But how do they work?

Capture: Illumination & capture

A combination of specially made optics and light sources input a multiple illumination color sequence to a monochrome sensor, synchronized with the image capture.

Inspect: Image processing

Utilizing an embedded smart USB2.0 camera to manage and process the alternating images flow. The captured data is pre processed in the embedded DSP, saving time and resources from the Host processor and either the raw data is transferred, or a processed 3D.

Grade: Image Generation

After the camera triggered illumination sequence, the vision system outputs the gathered live video by interchanging the images according to their placement and time. This video is then displayed using a 3D monitor, which is capable of page flip mode, or just with simple 3D red/blue glasses, and is perceived as a viable 3D object.

Single vision system widens potential vision applications:

Providing a 3rd dimension adds height and shape to industrial data, improving the overall capabilities of industrial vision systems. As a result, many market-leading in-line inspection machines use 3D vision.

The features and flexibility of a single cameras solution enable the use of 3D technology for medical and industrial applications never endeavored because of size and capability restraints. Single vision systems represents a new stage in 3D vision development that will make cameras more available to the ever expanding number of vision applications.

Essential Lighting Tips for Green Screen Technology

With the advancement in technology nowadays, there are also incredible changes in terms of the digital technology. Some aspects that have greatly improved in this digital world are photography and cinematography. Now, it is very possible for one subject to have any background without even going there. This is very feasible through green screen technology. It has been used by news anchors to report weather for a number of decades already. However, the green screen technology serves a lot of benefits for the photographer or cinematographer. As long as the proper lighting and a high quality camera is used, this technology will work well.

To achieve great results in green screen photography, proper lighting must be used in the process. This will ensure that the subject will appear natural and the new background will look realistic. This is commonly used to place a live-action subject within a chosen virtual world. After shooting a subject on a green screen, you can then inject images and scenes behind the subject with the aid of computer software. But take note that to achieve great results green screen lighting is vital. This article will tackle some of the important tips with regards to green screen lighting.

Lighting the Green Screen and the Subject Must be Done Separately

One of the things that you should practice is to light the green screen and the subject separately. With regards to lighting the screen, try to use two fill lights in order to create a smoothly lit surface. You can then shoot the lights at an angle directly at the screen. To create an even level, also adjust the intensity of the lights. Some of the things that you should avoid within the screen are circles or the so-called ‘hot spots.’ These are the areas of the screen that are brighter than the rest. You can hold a dark-colored lighting gel in front of your eyes in order to determine the evenness of the light. With that, you are able to spot if there is any irregularity on the screen than the naked eye may miss.

After you have determined that the green screen has been evenly lit, you can now turn off the green screen lights and start lighting the subject. There are a number of things that you should consider when lighting the subject. You must light the subject according to the environment that will replace the screen during post-production. For instance, if the subject will appear to be standing on a beach, use an intense key light in order to simulate the sun with that kind of environment. On the other hand, if the subject is to be in a normal room, opt for a more subdued lighting situation.

Utilizing the Three-Point Lighting System for the Subject

Now, when lighting the subject, the standard three-point lighting system is appropriate. It is the standard method used in visual media such as video, film, and still photography. This is a simple yet versatile method which forms the basis of most lighting. The technique consists of three lights: the key light, fill light and back light. In order to utilize the technique fully, three lights are needed.

Your key light will serve as the main light source which illuminates the subject. It should be cast at an angle, according to the scene that you wish to create during post-production. Some of the things that you must avoid here are the shadows created by the key light and to reduce it, use two fill lights. The fill lights should be positioned at an angle from either side of the subject. Also take note that the intensity of those fill lights should be half than that of the key light. Moreover, you should also place a backlight behind the subject in order to separate the subject from the background. The backlight can either be positioned below or above the subject, creating a rim of light around the subject’s edges.

Effective use of green screen technology can produce amazing results. As mentioned above, one of things that you have to take a look at is the proper lighting. However, if you are just a beginner in this kind of field, you can get essential tips and guidance from a particular green screen studio. With the services of such companies, you can place your subject in the places which is beyond the horizon of reality and into anywhere your imagination leads to.

Suspended Timber Floors

The majority of older houses in Britain have suspended timber floors (also known as hollow floors) in the ground-floor rooms. However, during and after the Second World War, timber became scarce and restrictions were placed on its use and availability, so other forms of construction were employed. The solid floor was introduced as a suitable and economic alternative at ground level.

Suspended timber ground floors

A suspended timber ground floor consists of a number of boards sometimes tongued-and-grooved – or sheets of man-made boards such as chipboard or plywood, laid over and supported by timber joists. The joists are 400mm to 600mm apart and are supported by 100mm x 50mm timber wallplates which are in turn supported by the main walls of the building, or by sleeper walls built up from a layer of concrete beneath the house, or by a combination of the two. To prevent the timber floor from absorbing any moisture, the wallplates are bedded on top of a suitable damp-proof course.

Suspended timber upper floors

Like suspended ground floors, upper floors consist of timber boards or sheets of man-made board laid over and supported by timber joists. Suspended timber floors which are not at ground level are often called single floors because the joists bridge a single span they run from wall to wall.

As it is not possible to give additional support to upper floors by using sleeper walls, the joists of single floors are bigger than those of hollow ground floors and usually bridge the narrowest span – often across the narrowest part of the room. If the joists bridge spans greater than 4.0m, timber or steel cross-members (called binders) may be used to give intermediate support. Joists in a single floor tend to flex, so rows of struts may be laid across the floor between the joists to make the floor stiffer.

The ends of the joists may be built into the walls, or supported by joist hangers built into or fixed on to the face of the wall. If the joist end is built into the wall, this part should be treated with preservative to protect it from decay.

The ceiling of the room underneath the floor is usually lath-and-plaster or plasterboard fixed to the underside of the joists. Plasterboard may have a plaster ‘skim’ finish.

Solid ground floors

The cross-section of a solid floor consists of a number of layers of different materials.

The first layer is 100 to 150mm of consolidated hardcore com¬posed of crushed stone and clean broken bricks. This is to level out any unevenness in the ground caused by the excavation and to provide a firm and level base for the floor slab.

A 50mm-thick layer of fine ash, sand or weak mix concrete is laid over the hardcore to bind the surface. This blinding will also give a smooth even surface for laying the damp-proof membrane on. The damp-proof membrane should never be laid directly on to the hardcore – it may puncture.

The damp-proof membrane may be placed above or below the floor slab. In the latter case, the DPM will keep the floor slab free from moisture. A wide range of materials are suitable as DPMs: hot and cold poured bitumen, asphalt, epoxy pitch compounds and 1000-gauge polythene sheeting.

The floor slab (concrete) can vary in thickness from 100 to 150mm and have one or two layers of mesh reinforcement, depending on the area of the floor and its intended use. The concrete slab may have a cement screed laid over its surface, depending on what type of floor finish is to be used.

To provide extra insulation, 50mm sheets of expanded polystyrene can be added between the slab and the screed.

Oak Flooring – Adding a Touch of Class to Any Home

There is no mistaking the elegance that oak  flooring  can add to a home. While all hardwood floors are attractive, oak  flooring  holds a certain degree of respect with people that is hard to describe. If you really want to set your floor apart, use wide plank oak  flooring  and watch people’s jaws drop when they walk into your home.

When you go back in time a bit, hardwood  flooring  was the standard that all homes were built with. For most people growing up, it was just normal to have hardwood floors. Over the years, different  flooring  became much more popular and then of course, it seemed like everyone switched over to carpeting in their homes.

Today, it seems as though we are going back in time as the latest fad seems to be hardwood  flooring . While the youngsters of this world think that they have discovered something new, the old timers are shaking their heads and thinking that this is nothing special. When they were growing up, hardwood floors were the norm and it was a home that had carpeting that was all the rave.

It is very funny how history always seems to repeat itself and how homeowners now are all looking to add oak  flooring  to their houses to create a rich look. Not only that, but the oldest of hardwood floors, plank  flooring  is really stealing the headlines. When you combine this with oak, it becomes one of the most attractive options in  flooring  that is available.

Oak  flooring  comes in a couple of different options. If you have the skill to do it yourself or are going to hire a contractor, you should use solid wood  flooring . This is especially true if you are doing the upper levels of your home where moisture is not a problem. While it will be a little more work, it is much more authentic looking and will have a look that will truly set your home apart from others.

If you still want real hardwood floors but are a little worried about the installation, you may want to think about using engineered oak  flooring . While it will still be real oak, it will already be finished for you and all you have to do is install it. Even that is easier as the thicker boards can actually be glued down instead of nailed down. This type of  flooring  will also hold up better to moisture so that may be a consideration as well as to what you are going to use.

As we said, history often repeats itself and home remodeling and design is no different. For years people have tried to cover up their hardwood floors with carpeting and at one time, carpeting was considered to be a sign of wealth. Now the most sought after homes on the market have thrown carpet out the windows and hardwood floors are considered to be an elegant and rich look. If our parents could only tell the future, they would have saved themselves a lot of time and money by keeping their floors up and avoiding the whole “carpet thing” . . .

Breast Enlargement Pump

Using breast enlargement pumps can be a great way to increase the size of your boobs. Breast pumps are sold quite cheaply compared to the cost of boob enlargement surgery. They are also a lot safer than surgery and offer no risks to using them. Many women suffer from confidence issues if their boobs are too small or are sagging and this can lead to depression and low self-esteem. That’s why it is important for women to know that there are helpful ways out there to enhance their breasts, causing their confidence to improve as a result.

Breast enlargement pumps come in all different shapes and sizes ranging from a variety of prices. The different shapes and sizes are designed to fit every type of woman comfortably. One very main reason why many women are concerned with their boob shape is because of the deflated and stretched look of a woman’s boobs if she has breast fed her children. Women who have breast fed often feel insecure about their new boobs which are no longer as appealing. Breast enlargement pumps are a great solution for women who feel like this.

Most pumps operate in a certain fashion where the breast enlargement pump is attached to the breasts and then pumped using an attached pump of any kind. This creates a suction in which your breasts are pulled outward making them bigger. It works by swelling the breast tissue by pulling fats and fluids into breast tissue cells causing them to expand outwards. By increasing the mammary gland tissue to its fullest by causing a balanced natural hormone level, similar to what happens to women in puberty, when your breasts were experiencing the most growth. Breast enlargement pumps Increase collagen production to firm the boobs. Making breast pumps effective in shaping better boobs.

When buying a breast pump investigate all the breast pumps out there by reading reviews online. Buying something that is safe and is going to work is very important so it’s a good thing to have all the facts. Most breast pumps can be bought online at certain stores although there are a few stores that do sell breast enlargement pumps. Before using a breast pump it is important to contact your doctor if you have any worries about using it. When using breast enlargement pumps your breasts may take a while to show results as they normally show after a month or so, so it is important to be patient.

3 Important Tips to Build Muscle Faster – Get Lean and Ripped

Let’s face it… building muscle is not the easiest thing to accomplish even despite regular hard workout schedules and trying every type of workout and supplement. 

I struggled for years to gain any significant muscle mass, but over the years in my personal training business and with my own experimentation have found some important things that have helped make significant muscle gains possible even for hardgainers.

So, I’m going to give 3 important tips here so you can start building  lean  muscle mass faster and easier.

1. Make sure that 95% of the exercises you perform regularly in the gym are big multi-joint compound exercises.  It doesn’t matter if your goal is fat loss or building muscle… big multi-joint exercises should comprise 95% of the exercises you do in your workouts if you want to get  lean , ripped, and powerful.

It’s easiest to think of it in terms of the major movement patterns such as these (focus 95% of your workouts on these):

  • upper body horizontal press (bench press, pushups, dips),
  • upper body horizontal rows (1-arm dumbbell rows, seated cable rows, bent over barbell rows),
  • upper body vertical pull (lat pulldowns, pullups, chinups),
  • upper body vertical press (overhead dumbbell and barbell presses, barbell or kettlebell clean & presses)
  • lower body squatting movements (front squats, back squats, overhead squats, bodyweight squats, etc)
  • lower body deadlifting movements (regular deadlifts, sumo deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts)
  • lower body single leg movements (lunges, step-ups, jump lunges, etc)
  • abdominal and core exercises (these are important, but still are 2nd priority after all of the major upper body and lower body multi-joint movements… your abs and core will be worked from most major multi-joint exercises anyway)

The other 5% of your exercises can focus on single joint exercises (isolation exercises) such as bicep curls, tricep presses, calf presses, shoulder shrugs, shoulder lateral raises, pec flyes, etc, etc.  However, these exercises are only accessory exercises to do after the main focus has been the multi-joint drills.

2.  Train hard and intensely 3-4 days/week for 45-60 minutes per weight training workout.  Keep your workouts to no longer than 60 minutes as training too much beyond this point can trigger excess catabolism.  You want to stay anabolic, but you still need to train your body hard and intensely enough to trigger muscle growth.

Try a super-set style of workout program to maximize the intensity that you can train.  My favorite combinations are opposing upper and lower body movement patterns that don’t interfere with each other, such as squats coupled with pullups as a superset, or bench press coupled with deadlifts as a superset.

Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of these types of upper/lower body supersets done with heavy weights and a high intensity.  The first time in my life that I experienced significant muscle mass gains were when I started doing these types of workout combos regularly (although still mixing up my training variables).

These are mainstays of almost any effective workout program — caloric intake can simply be adjusted whether your goal is fat burning or gaining muscle mass.

3.  Eat clean with quality whole foods… REAL foods instead of highly processed over-hyped supplement powders and bars. 

The quality of protein (and additional nutrition from vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants) are best assimilated by the body from real whole food such as eggs, meats, dairy (preferably raw), fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, etc. instead of from processed protein powders, chemical-laden bars, and meal replacements.

Forget about the hyped up workouts in the muscle mags that only work for pro bodybuilders or people on steroids. Forget about the over-hyped supplement “stacks” that pay the bills for almost every muscle mag… Instead, make these tips in this article part of your lifestyle, and you’ll see muscle gains and a  leaner , ripped body like you’ve never seen before!

How to Fix Wii Remote Problems

Having a problem with your Wii remote? Below is a guide on how to fix the most common Wii remote problems.

Tilt problems:

1. Check the motion sensors functionality by holding the remote with the button side facing down. Now tap the button side of the remote against the palm of your opposite hand, but remember to try not to use too much force when doing this. You can damage your remote by doing this with too much force. Doing this doesn’t take much force, so you don’t exactly have to tap hard to see results.

2. If the solution above doesn’t work, during game play, you can try placing the remote in a neutral position on a flat surface.

Remote batteries run out fast:

1. A brand new set of alkaline batteries should last for up to 30 hours. How long it lasts can depend on many factors, such as the quality of the battery, age of the battery, type of game being played, remote speaker volume, and even rumble.

2. If you are using rechargeable batteries instead, it is important to know that Nickel Metal Hydride batteries are the only recommended batteries you should use with your remote. You need to follow the manufacturers guidelines for safety and proper usage. Failure to abide by this can void your warranty.

3. To conserve battery, you can put your Wii into burn-in reduction mode. In burn-in reduction mode, the remote will go into sleep mode if the wii is turned off, or after 5 minutes of inactivity. In most cases, this is the best solution for conserving your battery.

Remote does not rumble

1. Verify that the remotes power isn’t low by going to the HOME menu

2. Verify that the rumble feature is turned ON in the Wii remote settings.

3. The remote should rumble slightly if you go to the Wii menu and point at the Wii button located on the bottom left corner of the screen. You can do this to check that the rumble feature is working. If not, your remote may need repair.

Buttons are not responding:

You may want to check the games manual to see if the non-responding buttons are actually used in the game as some games do not use all of the Wii’s buttons or features.

Eco-Garden Room Builds – Natural Materials Vs Man Made

Garden Room Environment Connections

Every garden in the world is determined by its own biosphere. In Asia a historic garden building is the ‘pergola’ where foundations, four posts and a tiled or a thatched roof is the convention. So humid is it that in parts of Asia this works perfectly and allows for quick cover during tropical rain.

In contrast the thickly walled, Scandinavian log cabin has played an important role as a garden room, housing the family sauna or as a barbeque room, in Norway and Denmark since the Bronze era. Due to a shear number of Scot’s Pine Trees available it offers a resourceful efficient building material. The USA and the west inherited a great deal of the building processes from Scandinavian regions and as a result it is a very common garden room style throughout the northern hemisphere of the world.

Here in Britain, life in the garden room varies from region to region. Orchard rooms in Kent, Boathouses in Norfolk, Summerhouses in Devon, potting sheds in Yorkshire, Offices in London, holiday cabins in Scotland, work houses in Lincoln and kiosks in Essex. Garden building use changes by terrain, and the needs of the local people.

In Europe the garden building has evolved from a long history of early ‘AD’ pavilions for religious worship and also, from the 13th century, glass structures are used in to cultivate fruit and vegetables.

Later in European history we find a noticeable third reason for a garden building: to demonstrate wealth through the building of a folly. To create an impression within the grounds of their mansions and estates, the gentry of Europe built everything from pineapples to towers and temples to tree houses. In Europe, the garden room has been built in every shape and form.

Mother Nature has also been at work and has engineered the odd garden room of her own. See has created treehouses, nests, caves, dug outs, hives, tunnels, canopys, natural   sunshades  and grass houses.

Distant childhood memories provide a further twist on garden room dwellings. As Beatrice Lillies elaborates in her 1934 record – there are “fairies at the bottom of the garden” and often the garden room takes centre stage. Fairytales and cartoons have fantasized of garden room flower pots in ‘The Wombles’; garden room tea pots in ‘Poddington Peas’ and let’s not forget Goldilocks’s experiences in the mysterious garden house or the adventures of The Three Little Pigs!

Throughout history the garden room has been more than a functional building. It is room for people to find themselves in, to explore their relationship with their own culture, their gods or themselves. It is a place of work, rest, play and worship.

The garden buildings protects its owner from demons. Used wisely the garden room protects your from extremes of weather, neighbours and intrusion. If you understand the peace and tranquility of the garden then the garden room is yours to cultivate, and thrive in.

The Product of Nature: The Garden Room

If your garden building is an escape into your own, personal, piece of nature, it makes sense if the structure is built from natural materials so that it blends into it’s unique garden setting.

A garden building should not be made out of plastic and PVC. This is an affront to the natural world and avoids the necessity for all of us to be more environmentally considerate. You can limit the carbon footprint of a new garden building by using locally sourced, natural materials that will automatically make the building blend into the domestic garden environment.

When the Pilgrims landed on the shores of the New World at the beginning of the 1600’s, they faced incredible hardships whilst building settlements and finding the means to survive. Materials that they had brought from Europe were unable to stand the new and harsh environments that the Pilgrims’ found themselves in. A source of help came from the local, indigenous peoples.

In the early days the Native Americans and the Pilgrims enjoyed a more friendly relationship than what came later. The early sharing that occurred between the groups is remembered in the American festival of Thanksgiving. One of the things shared by the Native Americans was the means to survive and build in the hostile American climate through the use of nature.

Western Red Cedar (Thuja Plicata) is the ideal material for roof shingles. It is a durable and waterproof wood that survives the elements for decades. It is the material that Native Americans used to build their canoes, fashioned simply from the logs of Western Red Cedar trees. Able to remain in the water for long periods of time without succumbing to rot, it is a natural and renewable roofing material source that for a sustainable garden room. The Thuja Plicata is also known for the smell of its cedar oil, which it keeps long after it has been cut into shingles, a welcome and soothing aroma in a garden environment.

As a proven example of the Western Red Cedar’s amazing endurance, many Native American Totem Poles have survived to the present day. Another Native American use of the Western Red Cedar’s wood.

It’s a given that anything that can be used to build a boat is going to be a reliable material to survive the elements. Like the Western Red Cedar’s use in Native American canoes, the best material for external wood cladding is Larch. It is a tough and durable wood, famed for its waterproof properties. Traditionally it was used in Europe for building fishing boats and it is still a favourite for yacht building. It lasts for years when used in salt water, one of the most corrosive natural elements on the planet.

As a living tree, the Larch is renowned for fast growth and its resistance to disease. These are properties that remain in the wood when it is harvested. It is extremely resistant to rot, even when in contact with the ground, which will give any structure built with this material an extremely long life. Larch is a fast growing tree, frequently grown in sustainable forests the UK. The British larch is known to be stronger and more durable than its European counterpart. This makes in a more sustainable choice than slow growing oak. Because the tree is grown in Scotland, its transport carbon footprint is small. A natural cladding wood for your garden room.

Comfort is important in the twenty first century garden building. As a nation devoted to home improvements the British are no longer interested in shivering in the garden shed of sizzling in the summerhouse Controlling temperature plays a huge part in comfort in a garden room. A functional garden room must be cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Insulation is the key ingredient in a comfortable and sustainable garden room. However, many insulation materials are made from PVC and are not good for the environment. So what can we use that is more environmentally friendly?

The answer to this question is another question – “what is it that keeps people warm?” Answer – “jumpers”. A pure wool jumper is always snugglier than one knitted with man-made materials. Sheep’s wool can work as the perfect eco-friendly insulation. It grows naturally on the back of the sheep and is both sustainable and renewable. There are two major suppliers of sheepswool insulation the UK, helping to reduce carbon foot print of homes and garden rooms: Second Nature and Black Mountain Insulation.

Garden Room Design

When designers and builders combine simple, classic designs with the simplest, natural materials then something special is created. Every spring, birds in their millions prepare their own garden room up in the trees, using delicately chosen twigs and insulation. The materials they use remain far longer than the nest is needed and the result is a sustainable garden room.

A real garden room is a form of human nest building. The garden room owner seeks a natural habitat in the garden, where he or she can either enjoy the garden, or completely ignore the garden and pursue their work or hobby. The garden room provides the escape that nature offers whilst deadheading the roses or escaping from the merry-go-round of life.

So there’s an enormous value in having a garden room, and the process involved in commissioning the right one can be demanding. We’ve all planned projects like this at some time or another in our lives… an idea, a big prevailing vision, then inspiration, followed by pricing, conformity and regulations, revising our ideas and our budget and then finally – decision time. But, in the end, the important thing is to be happy in a room of our own, at the bottom of the garden

Must Have Camping Equipment

It can be relaxing to spend time in the wilderness, away from modern conveniences. As enjoyable as it is to sleep in a tent and cook over an open fire, you will need some specific pieces of camping equipment to use while you spend time away from home.

Sleeping Bags

Sleeping bags come in a variety of sizes, colors, and ratings for temperature. If you’re outdoors in cold temperatures, purchase a bag that’s rated for the expected overnight low. If the temperatures are milder, your sleeping bag should be rated for warmer conditions. Some bags have special pouches to keep valuables safe and dry.

Sleeping Pads

If the idea of sleeping on the ground isn’t appealing, you’ll need a pad to place under your sleeping bag. Pads add a layer of insulation to keep you warm and also provide extra cushioning for comfort.

Tent

Unless you plan on sleeping under the stars, you will need some sort of shelter. A tent works well for protection from insects and precipitation. Tents vary in size, so select one that will accommodate the number of people in your party. Tents also have special features such as a rainfly that allows you to open the top for extra ventilation, or close it to keep out rain.

Cooking and Eating Gear

You might not want to pack your best cookware for preparing food over an open fire, but you will need pots and pans to boil water and cook meals. Anodized aluminum and cast iron are two options. Don’t forget plates, mugs, and silverware.

Cooler

When packing perishable food, a cooler is mandatory. Coolers preserve food and also provide an additional surface to sit or work. Many coolers also have cup holders built into their tops.

Light Sources

If you plan to do some exploring at night you need addition light sources. Lanterns are great for this and come in propane and electric. Flashlights are also essential in case you lose something or want to read before bed.

Chairs

A comfortable seat around a fire is a nice touch when spending time outdoors. Opt for nylon folding chairs with steel frames for extra stability. Armrests and angled backrests are also comfortable features.

Survival Knife

This type of blade is a multi-purpose tool you can use for gathering firewood, starting a fire, and preparing food. A knife can serve as a potholder for moving a hot kettle from an open fire. In a pinch, you could use the butt of the blade as a hammer when pounding in tent stakes.

Rain Gear

If wet weather hits, you’ll need some protection from the elements. Waterproof jackets with hoods are a must to keep you warm and dry. An awning over your picnic table will also enable you to be outdoors while cooking or eating without getting soaked.

Gather all the important camping equipment to make your trip to the wilderness memorable.

Is Cell Phone Repair Worth It?

Having your handheld device repaired can be better and more cost effective than having to pay your mobile phone insurance deductible. If you take a look at the price of a mobile device out of contract you’ll see that these little devices aren’t cheap at all, and in fact many of them cost over $500 USD! That isn’t the price that you paid for your phone though, is it? That is because the stores that sell mobile phones get paid for every contract that they sign you up for, and if you terminate your contract early they’ll still get their money. handheld device insurance can be a good investment if you lose your device, but with sites like eBay, Craigslist, and amazon it can be cheaper to get a new handheld device than making an insurance claim. So, is cell phone repair worth it?

Did you break you digitizer by dropping your phone? Many people every day drop their phones on the pavement, in the toilet, and places that are way beyond me. Now, to get your digitizer repaired by a cell phone repair specialist this will cost you under $120 USD on an iPhone 4. The cost to have your insurance replace your iPhone with a refurbished device is $180 for an iPhone 4 if you have your insurance through Assurion. This does not include your monthly deductible that you have been paying every month through your carrier, and they make money off of that too. I’ve found that the average monthly premium price is around $10 USD even for your iPhone 4. A little bit of elementary math will show you that having your digitizer replaced by a mobile device repair specialist is cheaper, and a broken screen is something that Apple will not cover under their warranty.

I know you must be thinking that having mobile device insurance is a rip-off, and it can be depending on your view of the situation. These phone insurance companies buy broken phones in bulk, and repair them. Then they ship one of those mobile phones to you. I have taken apart a couple of those refurbished phones, and some are missing screws, show signs of water damage, and the list could go on and on. If you lost your cell phone you could get a used one off of one of the sites stated above for about the same price as your deductible. With handheld device repair becoming more prominent in larger cities, it will become easier for you to find a cell phone repair center near you. I’ve seen a lot of these device repair agencies pop up over night it seems, and you may want to be careful about who you choose.

I would do my research before I need this type of service, so that way you aren’t scrambling to make a decision on a company. I would follow these rules when choosing a mobile device repair company: Do they list their prices on their website? If they do they are more likely not to change their pricing on a regular basis, and they should know their market. Do they offer a warranty? Most of the handheld device repair companies that I have found offer a warranty of at least 90 days. Do they have parts in stock? Any one of these companies that has been around for a while is going to have parts in stock for the more popular phones that they service, because no one wants to wait. Do they take mail in phones? The strongest of these companies are ready to accept phones from anywhere in the world. Most of the time they can get your phone back to you in less time than your insurance can.

We can all hope that we never drop our phones, run them over, or take them for a swim. Honestly the chances of this happening are greater than you finding $5 dollars on the sidewalk. We all may need a great cell phone repair service one day, but we all don’t need cell phone insurance. It is a great waste of money, and although it is only $10 a month. Ten dollars a month over a year is the same price of having your screen replaced, and if your a habitual cell phone fumble and miss offender, get an Otter Box!

Flying Over The New Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge

If you think the new Hoover Dam Bypass  Bridge  is impressive from the ground, wait until you fly over it. The twin-rib concrete arch structure is the largest of its kind in the U.S., and makes aerial tours to the area a “must-do” for Las Vegas travelers. The official name of the $114 million bypass is the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial  Bridge , and it’s massively huge. Here are some quick facts:

1. The arch span is 1.060 feet long

2. The  bridge  is 1,900 feet long

3. The  bridge  deck/sidewalk are 900 feet above the Colorado River

Located 1,500 feet south of Hoover Dam, the  bridge  spans Black Canyon and serves as the connecting link between the Nevada and Arizona approach highways. The bypass also includes a sidewalk on the Nevada side where views of Hoover Dam are optimal. Other visitor amenities include a parking lot, trail, and interpretive plaza.

The Hoover Dam Bypass was built to increase driver safety, protect the dam, and relive traffic congestion. The original two-lane was steep and twisting and came with potential hazards to travelers and the dam itself. The road was also overwhelmed with traffic: Up to 15,000 trucks and cars crossed the dam each day. Those vehicles now use the  bridge  and the top of Hoover Dam is only open to pedestrians.

Las Vegas Hoover Dam tours are the most exciting way to experience the full scale of the  bridge . Here’s a quick list of the most popular trips:

1. Helicopter flights. En route, you will fly over Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the U.S., and then enter Black Canyon, where you’ll hover over the  bridge  and the dam. Flights use the EcoStar 130, a deluxe helicopter that features stadium-style seating, wraparound windshields, and Fenestron quiet-ride rotor technology. Includes hotel pick up and drop off. Total tour time is about three hours. Note: Helicopters fly at a lower altitude than planes.

2. Airplane. This tour follows the same route as the helicopter tour but continues on to Grand Canyon West, home of the Grand Canyon Skywalk. The return gives you another opportunity to see the  bridge . Many flights use a fixed-wing Vistaliner aircraft (over-sized windows, taped tour narration, climate-controlled cabin). Includes free hotel shuttle service. Total tour time is 5.5 hours.

3. Bus tour with helicopter ride. Includes VIP Discovery Tour of the dam’s interior, as well as access to the visitor’s center, exhibit areas, movie room, observation deck, and generator room. Transfer to an EcoStar 130 helicopter for stellar views of the  bridge  and the dam. Includes hotel pick up/ drop off. Total tour time 3.5 hours.

Wrap Up

The new Hoover Dam Bypass  Bridge , a.k.a the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial  Bridge , is a sight to behold. Started in 2005 and completed in October 2010, the structure is already being revered as one of this century’s elite engineering projects. Epic in scale, the  bridge  is best experienced from the air. Las Vegas has a number of excellent tour operators who offer superb helicopter, airplane, and bus-helicopter packages. But book online in advance: The  bridge  is Las Vegas’ newest natural attraction and flights are selling out fast.

Anatomy of a Boat Builder: Five Day European Tour

A recent five day tour of some of Europe’s key boat building factories by The Catamaran Group yacht brokers highlighted important design innovations and new directions in technology from leading European builders such as Lagoon, Yapluka and Alliaura Marine.

The trip allowed yacht brokers and staff to see first hand how catamarans such as the Lagoon 500, Lagoon 420 and Yapluka 70 are put together using a blend of the latest technology and well trained labor specialists.

PART 1: LAGOON – BLENDING ART AND SCIENCE TO PERFECTION

Nick Harvey, President of Lagoon America, provided an in-depth and insightful tour of the Lagoon facilities that have all gone through incremental and sometimes revolutionary changes in the four key areas of boat building: molding, trimming,   assembly  and expedition/finishing.

Over the last 20 years Lagoon has been constantly tweaking and revising the process to include the use of robotics, template designs and rapid prototyping thus speeding up the production process. A highly skilled and mobile workforce ensures high-end finishing with up to three separate quality control checks before the boat leaves the factory.

One of Lagoon’s leading figures in directing design and implementation has been Bruno Belmont, a graduate of the Southampton School of Naval Architecture who helped introduce new composite techniques that have saved up to 50% in costs when applied to new models such as the Lagoon 500 and 420.

The construction of the Bordeaux III factory underscores the growth in production and engineering requirements that are taking place within Lagoon at the moment.

Situated between Bordeaux I (Aluminum) and Bordeaux II composite workshop, Bordeaux III will cumulatively occupy more than 15,000 square meters of space. It includes an  assembly  space 120 meters long; 25 meters wide.

The factory will also house a 2,500 square meter pre-assembly platform, offices overlooking the river, stores, diverse workshops and a company restaurant for the entire Bordeaux site.

Outside facilities will notably include a 6,000 square meter area outfitted for the pre-launch preparation of boats, an inclined plane launch facility and landscaped areas highlighting the facility’s integration into its riverside environment.

Bordeaux III will focus strongly on the Lagoon brand and the Lagoon 500 in particular. Advanced construction techniques are currently being applied to the Lagoon 500 and Lagoon 420 which are outlined further below under the molding section.

Inside the Construction Process

What follows is a brief description of the Lagoon boat building process that have helped establish the French yard as one of the dominant catamaran builders in the world today.

MOLDING

The construction process gets underway in the molding department where a female mould is sprayed with gel coat resin.

This is followed by a hand lay up of fiberglass, more cloth and more resin.

All fiberglass used in the mold room is pre cut, labeled, and delivered to mold room team for building of hulls, decks, and grids. The delivery of fiberglass kits ready for use assures precise fitting and correct quantities.

With each layer of fiberglass a coat of resin is applied, and the process of hand rolling the fiberglass layers begins. Each layer of glass is carefully rolled by use of small grooved rollers, which will remove trapped air and excess resin. Once this process is completed, then the next layer of fiberglass can be applied.

Overhead receivers are used for securing the bulkheads as well as locations for hatches and access areas for deck mounted hardware. The overhead liner also provides locations for conduits for running of electrical wiring as well as for instrumentation wiring.

Vacuum Bag-Infusion with Vinylester Resin

This technology is less than 10 years old and is revolutionizing the construction of modern catamarans such as the Lagoon 500, Lagoon 420 and recently the Lagoon 570.

After comparative laboratory trials, this technique provided excellent engineering results. These results are equal to or superior to pre-preg in as much as fabric compaction is achieved without the slightest possibility of air being captured in the composite.

The fabric is positioned with the same precision used in pre-preg. This technology also allows Lagoon to construct simultaneously the outer skin, core and inner skin, as well as the structure (in case of female mold construction). Using glue between each layer is unnecessary.

For each hull made, a sample can be saved for engineering or chemical testing. The Tg obtained is at least 80°C (110°C in vinylester).

TRIMMING

Some cleaning and adjustments are made in this facility. The windows, ports, hatches, lockers and other openings are cutout and cleaned. Any voids, low spots or imperfections are ground out and repaired at a central inspection station. From here the bridgedeck is moved to the  assembly  line where the modular interiors are attached.

Pre-assemly

Prepping booths house hulls prior to delivery to the  assembly  line and help streamline the process and maintain high organizational levels in the process.

 ASSEMBLY 

All the pieces of the puzzle start to fit together in the  assembly  bay. These include the installation of pre-cut wood interiors made in the wood shop.

The “moving”  assembly  lines are characteristic of all Lagoon factories. This method of bringing the pieces to the stations where workers and their tools are located is extremely efficient in reducing the wasted man-hours that occurs when the moving  assembly  line is not employed.

Raised  assembly  lines and mezzanines are other design features that are not seen in many major sailboat manufacturing facilities. This design feature affords a safer platform for Lagoon workers and easier access in and out of the yachts. These rolling  assembly  lines allow yachts to move from station to station. The tools and craftsmen remain in place.

Bulkhead Installation

The bulkheads are installed and bonded to hull (and later to the deck) for stiffness, and all wiring is placed in the pre-designed raceways port and starboard. The engines, tanks, hoses, through-hulls, cabinets, windows, ports, and hatches are all installed on this line.

After the entire interior is assembled, the deck is then set onto the hull using the same poly-sulfide adhesive and sealant along with bolts for a strong, waterproof bond. The bulkheads are bonded on all 360 degrees to the hull and deck surfaces.

The deck hardware including the winches, hatches, sheet stoppers, blocks, cleats and toe-rail are attached. Each piece of deck hardware is installed by teams of two, with one on deck and the other below bedding and tightening each nut and bolt.

A Touch of Wood

The interior furniture kits are produced by the Beneteau wood shop and shipped to the various production plants in France and the Marion, South Carolina site. The wood is completely finished with varnish and ready for  assembly . Beneteau’s furniture factory runs 3 shifts producing over 6,000 finished pieces of furniture per day and a completed wood kit every 15 minutes.

This speed is achieved by the use of many huge computer controlled cutting and finishing machines. Interior furniture is pre-fitted in a duplicate mold of the hull grid mold, prior to final installation in the yacht. This extra step allows a precise fit of all interior furniture and ensures efficiency of  assembly  outside the hull.

Ultrasound machines are used to cure the resin on laminated wood that are fused together in three layers.

Greater speeds were introduced with the inclusion of four CNC routing machines that work off coded templates and quickly punch out grooved interior wood finishing for the latest Lagoon models on the production line including the 420, 500 and Lagoon Power 44.

Furniture is protected with clear plastic sheeting and foam held in place by tape.

The woodshop identifies processes for both regular and irregular wood finishings and additionally has a separate building for fusing non-visible wood pieces that are used on a typical Lagoon catamaran.

EXPEDITION OR FINISHING

The completed hull is then lifted into one of the huge in-house test tanks. The engine and electronics are tested as well as all the through-hulls for any leaks. The finished boats then go to a final inspection stage where a team goes over the entire hull, deck, interior and exterior checking each system for integrity and quality. Any boat that shows anything that is below the standard gets repaired before it goes out to the shipping area.

Yachts are also fitted with floorboards, cushions, and loose gear is stowed in sail lockers. Final quality checks are preformed and the yacht is released to shipping department.

Conclusion

Lagoon has consistently fine tuned the boat building process over the last 20 years and introduced some ground breaking techniques into certain stages such as Vacuum Bag Infusion

Molding.

Wherever possible technology is used to aid, streamline and improve the process but there is a high degree of human interaction to enforce quality control and improve production line speeds.

The combined advances in molding, trimming,  assembly  and expedition are being used creatively to produce the latest line of top models including the Lagoon 420, Lagoon 500 and Lagoon Power 44.

Coming Soon

PART II: YAPLUKA

PART III: PRIVILEGE

Commercial Roof Repair 101: Reasons for Repair

Commercial roof repair is a significant investment, one that typically includes a few repair bills over several years. If you are installing a new one, it is important to realize that some roofing problems are preventable, while others result from age and environmental factors. To help you plan for the maintenance of your building’s roof, below is a list of the most common reasons why you can experience problems:

Poor Maintenance

When a roof is not maintained according to the specifications of the contractor, the quality of its materials gradually declines. Roof maintenance does require a regular financial investment, but not maintaining it could lead to more expensive repairs, and could necessitate a costly replacement. Immediately following an installation, the building owner should establish a maintenance contract to have it inspected and maintained on a regular basis.

Wind Damage

When wind blows over the edge of panels or shingles, it can create a partial vacuum that destabilizes them. Although wind damage is thought to occur during hurricane weather or tornado weather, it can also happen when winds reach a moderate intensity (roughly sixty miles an hour). Properly applied metal edge strips can prevent most types of wind damage.

Weathering

All roofing materials gradually decline due to weathering. The rate of decline can be influenced by several factors, including:

  • Whether the materials are organic or inorganic
  • The presence of environmental pollutants
  • The presence of airborne salt
  • Temperature fluctuation

A roofing contractor can tell you what materials respond best to the city’s humid subtropical climate.

Poor Design

Poor design is a major cause of premature commercial roof repair and replacement. This is why building owners should only hire contractors who provide a manufacturer’s warranty-a warranty that insures the workmanship of the installation, not just the installed materials.

Flashing Damage

Flashings are used to prevent water from infiltrating the seams where the roof surface meets projections such as chimneys and steam pipes. Flashings are usually the first part of a roof system to experience decline, and should be closely monitored through regular maintenance.

Metal Edge Strip Damage

Metal edge strips and gravel stops in aggregate-surfaced systems are used to cap the edges of smooth surfaced roofs to protect against wind damage. Over time, the strips can experience broken joints and splits in the stripping felts at their edges. Raising the strips out of the water line, or providing an internal drainage system, can help prevent this damage.

Improper Mountings

When mountings are secured directly to the roof, penetrating its membrane, hard to repair leaks are the inevitable result. Unfortunately, many building owners install antennae, signs, and other rooftop projections without knowing this. If an improper mounting causes a problem, the mounting must typically be removed before the problem can be fixed.

Conclusion

The list above provides an overview of the most common reasons for commercial roof repair. If you need more information on maintenance, repair, or replacement in your area, contact a reputable roofing contractor today.

Power Drills Buyer’s Guide

Take the hard work out of DO-IT-YOURSELF with a good drill.

It could be on of the most diverse and very useful tools you buy.

Proper drill will save time during your work and make easy drilling holes into metal, wood, concrete etc., as well as drive screws and bolts.

It is useful getting acquaint with a drill’s main feature before you buy, so you could choose the best one.

I. Types

  1. Standard Drills
  2. Hammer Drills
  3. Screw Guns

II. Cordless drills

  1. Cord or Cordless? Pros and Cons
  2. The main features
  3. Power and Battery

III. Drill Shapes

IV. Variable speed

V. Torque

VI. Other features to look out for

VII. Power rating

VIII. Hammer action

IX. Chuck type

TYPES

Standard Drills

Standard electric rotary drills designed for drilling metal and wood. This type of drill is normally small and compact. Motor sizes range from around 500 watts. The lower wattage motors are OK for drilling small holes or minimal use, the more powerful motored machines will cope with larger size holes and more frequent use. The chuck size is another thing to check, the smaller drills have a chuck which will only accept drill bits up to 10mm diameter the larger chuck size is 13mm.

Hammer Drills

The hammer drill is similar to a standard electric drill, with the exception that it is provided with a hammer action for drilling masonry. The hammer action may be engaged or disengaged as required.

The hammer action is cheap but delicate. It uses two cam plates to make the chuck accelerate towards the work. However because of the relative masses of the chuck+bit and the remainder of the drill the energy transfer is inefficient and will fail to penetrate harder materials and vibrates the operators hand. The cams wear quickly.

Compare this to a rotary/pneumatic hammer drill where just the bit is accelerated to the work. They have relatively little vibration and penetrate most building materials. It feels as though the work is sucking the bit inwards.

Large cam hammer drills, especially transverse motor, are crude in their action. The energy delivered in each stroke is highly variable. The cheaper drill will smash its way through the work and vibrate the surroundings, this can cause lots of collateral damage. A good SDS drill will gently pulverize the work material just in front of the bit and glide into the hole without any “fuss”.

However there is a big difference in cost. In the UK typically £12-40 for a cam hammer and £100 up for a rotary/pneumatic. For light DIY use they are fine.

Screw Guns

These Electric Screwdrivers are made specifically for applying screws and hexagon headed Tek Screw to plasterboard and metal cladding. The drywall screws are designed purely for plasterboard fixing. The electric screwdriver uses a specially designed chuck to self guide the specifically designed fixings that feature widely spaced threads to ensure good grip. This is achieved by the unique collar on this type of electric screwdriver.

Some electric screwdrivers are able to use Collated Screws which provides auto-loading of screws which are loaded into the tool on a strip which is then fed onto the bit.

Drill press

A drill press (also known as pedestal drill, pillar drill, or bench drill) is a fixed style of drill that may be mounted on a stand or bolted to the floor or workbench. A drill press consists of a base, column (or pillar), table, spindle (or quill), and drill head, usually driven by an induction motor. The head has a set of handles (usually 3) radiating from a central hub that, when turned, move the spindle and chuck vertically, parallel to the axis of the column. The table can be adjusted vertically and is generally moved by a rack and pinion; however, some older models rely on the operator to lift and re-clamp the table in position. The table may also be offset from the spindle’s axis and in some cases rotated to a position perpendicular to the column. The size of a drill press is typically measured in terms of swing. Swing is defined as twice the throat distance, which is the distance from the center of the spindle to the closest edge of the pillar. For example, a 16-inch drill press will have an 8-inch throat distance.

A drill press has a number of advantages over a hand-held drill:

less effort is required to apply the drill to the workpiece. The movement of the chuck and spindle is by a lever working on a rack and pinion, which gives the operator considerable mechanical advantage.

the table allows a vise or clamp to position and lock the work in place making the operation secure.

the angle of the spindle is fixed in relation to the table, allowing holes to be drilled accurately and repetitively.

Speed change is achieved by manually moving a belt across a stepped pulley arrangement. Some drill presses add a third stepped pulley to increase the speed range. Modern drill presses can, however, use a variable-speed motor in conjunction with the stepped-pulley system; a few older drill presses, on the other hand, have a sort of traction-based continuously variable transmission for wide ranges of chuck speeds instead, which can be changed while the machine is running.

CORDLESS DRILLS

A cordless drill is a type of electric drill which uses rechargeable batteries. These drills are available with similar features to an AC mains-powered drill. They are available in the hammer drill configuration and most also have a clutch setting which allows them to be used for driving screws.

For continuous use, a worker will have one or more spare battery packs charging while drilling, so that he or she can quickly swap them, instead of having to wait several hours during recharges.

Early cordless drills started with interchangeable 7.2V battery packs, and over the years the battery voltage has been increased to 18V, and higher, allowing these tools to produce as much torque as many mains-powered drills. The drawback of most current models is the use of nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries, which develop a memory effect or internal short circuits due to dendrite growth, severely limiting their useful life, and posing a hazardous materials disposal problem. Drill manufacturers are now introducing lithium ion batteries, most notably DEWALT.

The main advantages are lack of memory effect and very short charging time. Instead of charging a tool for an hour to get 20 minutes of use, 20 minutes of charge can run the tool for an hour. Lithium-ion batteries also have a constant discharge rate. The power output remains constant until the battery is depleted, something that nickel-cadmium batteries also lack, and which makes the tool much more versatile. Lithium-ion batteries also hold a charge for a significantly longer time than nickel-cadmium batteries, about 2 years if not used, vs. around 4 months for a nickel-cadmium battery.

CORD OR CORDLESS. Pros and Cons

I. Corded Drills

  1. Pack the most power
  2. Most durable
  3. Can handle mixing mud, boring holes, and drilling concrete
  4. Usually unnecessary for most homeowners

II. Cordless Power Drills

  1. Easily transported and used
  2. Less power and run time restricted by battery life
  3. Recharging may take several hours
  4. Higher voltage means more power, but also more weight
  5. Newer technology has improved cordless drills; most are now strong enough for many tasks previously out of their league

Cordless drill:

  • Lightweight, easy to handle and comfortable to use
  • Safer to work with as there’s no trailing cord
  • More versatile – can access more tricky to get to places and can be used anywhere, there’s no restriction on distance or electricity supply
  • Batteries can be interchanged for continuous power
  • Some models double up as an electric screwdriver
  • A ‘quick charge’ feature is handy if you’ve forgotten to charge it in advance
  • Not as much power as a corded model and has limited battery life
  • You need to remember to charge the battery before use
  • Some are not capable of drilling through masonry
  • Corded drill:

  • More power and torque
  • Always ready to use and provides continuous power
  • May have extra features not available on a cordless model
  • Models tend to be heavier than cordless models
  • The cord can be restrictive and intrusive
  • You’re reliant on a nearby electricity socket
  • THE MAIN FEATURES

    Top 10 points to look for:

    Speed-range switch, generally 2 ratios, both high and low, normally selected by changing mechanical gearing. High is for drilling applications whilst low range is reserved for driving screws. Look out for the widest range between the two settings

    Look for a reliable motor, some models have external brushes for easy changing – when the brushes wear down you can easily change them for new ones, some bosch models have this feature ,it is only of use if you are uning your cordless drill on a daily basis.

    Forward/reverse switch: This should be easy to operate with either your thumb or trigger finger – again this is a standard feature but look for one which is easy to operate.

    Hand grip: Texture and contoured, should aid your grip, some Porter and Cable cordless drills have padded grips which you can choose to match your hand size – useful after an 8 hour shift.

    Voltage: a higher voltage means more drilling power but it can also mean more weight – don’t buy a drill you won’t need, 12 volt drills are powerful enough for most DIY users, bigger models just weigh more so think carefully about what you will be using the drill for.

    Batteries: Two are better than one. New NiMH batteries tend to be better because they deliver more charge and last longer.

    Trigger: Make sure your index finger fits around it comfortably when gripping the drill, Variable speed offers the greatest control.

    Chuck jaws: The maximum chuck capacity on most drills is 3/8 inches. Although some 14.4 and 18V drills can handle 1/2-inch-diameter bits, these have a 1/2inch chuck.

    Keyless chuck: Virtually a standard fitting today, hand-turn it to open and close the chuck jaws. The keyless chuck can grip any screwdriver bit or drill bit securely.

    Clutch: Setting the clutch gives you greater control of the depth to which screws are driven.

    POWER AND BATTERY

    Batteries: A cordless drill is only as good as its battery. Make sure the battery has enough run time to help you power through all your tasks. For more demanding applications, look for a drill that comes with a second battery or purchase an additional one. Chargers can take several hours to fully recharge a battery, so bear that in mind when planning your work schedule. If you need a faster recharge, look for a “smart” charger. Smart chargers work quickly and often reduce charge as the battery becomes full to avoid overcharging to extend the life of the battery. Look for nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) and lithium-ion batteries, as they are slightly smaller and tend to have a longer run time.

    Charge a second battery as you work to avoid mid-job downtime

    Smart chargers use fans to reduce heat and decrease recharging time

    NiMH batteries are easier and less hazardous to dispose of than other types

    First thing when you look at a good cordless drill will be Volts of the the battery pack. To simplify it – the more Volts your cordless drill has – the faster the motor spins – the more torque you will get. Unfortunately – the more volts your cordless drills have – the heavier they get (if you ever worked with a 18 Volt drill over a longer period of time – you will know what I am talking about).

    Similar important as the Volts of your battery are the Ampere. Measured in Ah (Ampere per hour) it gives you an idea of how long a battery will last. You can have a 12 Volts battery with 1.8 Ah and with 2.4 Ah. Obviously both batteries should give you the same power initially, but the 2.4 Ah will last 30% longer. Important if you use cordless drills for heavy duty work.

    Looking at Volts and Ampere, you should also understand the basic types of battery packs currently available on the market. The (older) Standard Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd) battery packs are cheaper but do not give you much Ah as the newer Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery packs. The Ni-MH packs also give you an additional advantage in recharging, as the do not loose power after being recharged many many times (no-memory effect). Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery packs are usually more expensive, but definitely worth it’s money.

    As batteries changed improved over the past years most manufacturers offer a wide range of power packs. Finding the right Dewalt or Makita batteries can therefore sometimes be a bit of a challenge.

    The higher the voltage, the more power (9.6-28V) and weight (3-10 lb) the drill will possess. Most household jobs will be fine with a 13.2 volt or 14.4 volt battery, but an 18 volt couldn’t hurt. Most 9.6V drills might be sufficient for home jobs, but may lack the needed torque you find in a 14.4V drill — which is usually not significantly more in price. Go with at least a 14.4V. For tough jobs and doing masonry, a more powerful 24 or 28 volt battery is recommended.

    Rechargeable drill batteries should last you about five years, or roughly 500 charges, though with frequent use you might need to replace it sooner. They can be pricey ($50-$80) so if your drill was only $100 or less, you might want to consider just buying a brand new drill. If you have a higher end drill, it’s probably more economical to buy a replacement battery.

    DRILL SHAPES

    Pistol Grip Drills

    Are held like a pistol.

    Doesn’t that feel powerful?

    T-Handle Drills

    Are most popular.

    Shaped like a T for best balance.

    Right Angle Drills

    Are barrel-less.

    The bit extends from the base at a right angle.

    TORQUE

    Drill price reflects a number of features, including torque. Torque, which is measured in foot-pounds, is the drill’s maximum amount of turning force. Some drills have an adjustable clutch with different torque settings for different applications.

    Common features you’ll want in a cordless or corded drill are electric brakes, which stops the drill chuck as soon as you release the trigger, and keyless chucks.

    OTHER FEATURES TO LOOK OUT FOR

    Keyless Chuck: The chuck holds the drill bit in place, and keyless chucks allow you to conveniently change bits without having to use a separate key to unlock and replace.

    Auxiliary Handle: Drills with side handles provide greater control and two-handed operation. These auxiliary handles rotate, enabling you to find the ideal angle and position from which to work.

    Multiple Clutch Settings: Cordless drills often feature a clutch adjustment ring, which may have anywhere from two to twenty-four settings. Once you know the depth and torque needed on a particular surface, set the clutch accordingly to ensure consistent results and reduce the instance of wrist snap.

    Electronic Brake: This feature causes the drill to stop immediately when you stop squeezing the trigger, preventing you from overdriving or stripping screws.

    Variable Speed and Reversing: Many drills offer multiple speed settings, allowing you to choose the right one for the job at hand, and most have a reverse feature that allows you to remove screws and other fasteners.

    Heat Shields and Cooling Fans: These features protect the drill from overheating, enabling longer, more efficient periods of use.

    Rhodes Koskinou

    When the local people talk about Koskinou, the first thing they mention is always the doors of the village houses: painted in vivid colours (red, turquoise, blue and yellow), made of wood or iron with carved or etched designs, surrounded by fine stone porches with arches across the door-posts, the doors are without doubt the most striking sight the village has to offer. However, you won’t see any of these doors on your first arrival in the village. In fact, at first sight you won’t find the place particularly impressive.

    What you have to do is leave your car in the parking area in the village square and make your way down some of the narrow streets of the preserved part of the village. Here it is that you’ll encounter the unique   mosaic  of colours for which Koskinou is famous. The little gardens with their cobbled floors hidden behind the courtyard doors vie with one another in charm and beauty. Continue your walk, admiring the doors and trying to decide which is your favourite, until you arrive at the ‘Traditional House’ a reconstruction of a typical village house, decorated with ceramic plates and woven fabrics. As you move on into the newer part of the village and its outskirts, you’ll see that the buildings are more modern; this is where wealthy people from the town of Rhodes have been building houses in recent years, attracted by the village’s short distance from town.

    The nearest beach to Koskinou is Reni, some 2.5km from the village, full of hotels and rented rooms. We have left to the end the sweetest surprise that Koskinou has to offer the visitor. It is only here that you can sample the traditional sweet known as ‘melekounia’. It used to be made by the housewives of the village before big holidays, and the preparations were a ritual in themselves, accompanied by the singing of the appropriate songs. You can find the melekounia in the patisserie run by Mary and the one run by Sofia.

    Rhodes hotels are among the best in Greece and Cactus hotel Rhodes stands out along with Rhodes Palace hotel.