How to Set Proper Spring Pre Load on Coilovers

So you’ve purchased a set of coilover shocks for your car with spring pre load (or “spring tension”) adjustment, but do you know how to properly set it? Maybe your coilover system does not have independent ride height adjustability, you set it to yield a desired ride height, and are now just hoping the set pre load is within proper range. Or maybe your coilovers do have spring pre load adjustability independent of ride height adjustability, but you are unsure of how this affects performance. In this article we will describe the effects of spring pre load and how to properly set it.

Having too much or too little spring tension will negatively affect suspension performance, but in different ways. Too much spring tension can make your suspension feel like it is topping out. This happens because now the shock extends to its maximum length too suddenly, and this may unload your wheels from the road surface. Not enough spring tension can make your suspension bottom out excessively. Knowing these effects can help make the correct adjustments.

Let’s define a few terms to help understand spring pre load effects. The amount of stroke the spring consumes at static ride height from the weight of the vehicle is called “droop.” And the amount of stroke left over at static ride height is called “compression stroke.” The total shock stroke is droop and compression stroke combined.


Total Shock Stroke = Droop + Compression Stroke

It is important to understand that spring tension does not affect the spring rate of a linear spring (most coilover systems come with linear springs). For example, increasing spring pre load WILL NOT increase the firmness of your linear spring. However, this WILL increase the amount of compression stroke you have which increases bottoming resistance.

Springs on most coilover systems have to be pre loaded in order to retain a desirable amount of compression stroke at static ride height. For example; if you have a coilover with a 200 lbs/in spring rate carrying 800 lbs of weight, without any pre set spring pre load, the coilover will compress 4″ just from the static 800 lbs of weight acting on it. If this coilover has a total of 5″ of stroke, this only leaves you with 1″ of compression stroke left over! In this scenario you must pre load the spring to insure you have more than 1″ of compression stroke. There is way too much droop in this scenario.

So we now know that spring tension affects droop. But what is the proper amount of droop to have? This varies depending on how much total stroke your coilovers have, so we treat the desired droop as a ratio of total shock stroke. In order to have an appropriate amount of droop, we recommend setting droop to be 30-40% of the total shock stroke (see equation below). Now you know that you have to adjust the spring tension on your coilovers to yield 30-40% droop!


Desired Droop = Total Shock Stroke x.35

How to set spring pre load:

You must first measure the total shock stroke of your coilover (including the bump stop length). Then measure how much the coilover compresses when the vehicle is at static ride height. Subtract the compression stroke at static ride height from the total shock stroke to find the droop amount. Adjust spring pre load until suspension droop is between 30-40% of total shock stroke.


Droop = Total Shock Stroke – Compression Stroke

Say Goodbye To Shakes And Bumps With Qualityensions

Many people complain that they feel lots of shakes and bumps during the drive. Their vehicles have totally lost the comfort that it initially used to give. Most of the people make their mind of replacing their old car with the new one as they believe that the life of their old car has completed. They take this big decision themselves without taking any suggestion from the experts. What has happened to their cars? Are their vehicles got old and superannuated? No, this is not true. Problem of bumps and shakes is quite common that you have to countenance because of a broken suspension system of your car. Suspension elements are designed to separate vehicle's bumpers from the road. These suspensions also avoid a vehicle from shaking into pieces. A car with damaged or improper suspensions will make you shimmy even on a flat road. Lack of suspensions will make these shakes and bumps go right to the car frame which might have severe results. Wheels can lose contact with the road and even bang into the road surface. Damaged suspension coils are the only reason why you have to face hard-to-steer ride.

There are several ways through which suspension coils make your drive comfortable. These include:

  • Steering Control: These suspensions retain wheels in the proper place with respect to the road surface. These also prevent the vehicle from rolling or tipping in the road corner.
  • Sensational Ride: Suspension ensures that the wheels follow the road profile. Multiple suspensions are present in the car that causes a little rise and fall in tire load. Tires must stay in contact with the surface as they produce friction which is necessary for stopping and accelerating the car.
  • Avoid High Frequency Quivering: There is a need of suitable separation in the suspension joints which requires transmission of any "road noise" to the body of the vehicle.
  • Driving Comfort : It is through suspension systems that the car responds positively in controlling the forces that tires generate while accelerating, longitudinal braking, and lateral cornering.

There are two types of suspension systems that use springs (torsion bars, coil springs and leaf springs) and shock absorbers. These include:

Independent Suspension: In this suspension type, front and rear wheel of the vehicles are independent of each other and the wheels on the opposite side.

An exception in this suspension type is that there is an anti-roll bar that joins two wheels and delays the car suspension from rolling as it bends.

There are different types of independent suspensions exist like coil spring type 1, coil spring type 2, trailing-arm, multi-link, twin I-beam, transverse leaf spring and Moulton rubber.

Dependent Suspension: In this suspension type, front and rear wheel of the vehicles are dependent on the wheel at the opposite side.

This suspension system is found in modern trucks and off-road vehicles.

It is absolutely clear that suspension systems are essential for making a ride comfortable and stable with better traction.

Learn Facial Massage Moves to Fight Age Lines and Wrinkles

When you learn to face massage, and repeat the treatment regularly, there's no need to buy pricey anti-age serums and creams, or take the invasive step of plastic surgery, to look younger and healthier. A facial massage irons out fine lines and wrinkles, stimulates blood circulation and removes toxins, allows muscles to 'slide' back into place more easily after being tensed.

Below you can learn some facial massage techniques that smooth out facial lines and firm baggy skin, leaving you with a toned and silky complexion glowing with health and nourishment.

Reducing neck lines

Knuckling – Using your knuckles apply small circular movements all over the upper chest, shoulders and neck area, making sure you only work on tissue and not bones.

Fanning – Use your fingertips to lift upper chest and neck skin in fast repetitive movements upwards.

Kneading – Take upper chest, shoulders and neck (front and back) tissue between your thumb and fingers and lift tissue upwards with a kneading motion. Be careful not to pinch but take enough tissue with your fingertips to apply medium pressure.

Tightening saggy chins

Effleurage – Apply circular movements with your fingers from the shoulders and neck to the chin and over the nose to the forehead.

Kneading – Take the flesh between your thumb and fingers and knead with a slightly firmer pressure than for the neck. This is a high tension area so make sure you work quite deeply. With your thumb on top of the jaw and fingers at the bottom, move from the chin to the ears, where you apply slightly lighter pressure.

Prayer movement – With palms flat on either side of the chin, move your palms upward over the nose to the forehead, dragging the fingers behind.

Zigzag – With fingers flat on the chin, quickly and repeatedly move the hands together so that your fingers interlock.

Lifting – Cup hands round the chin, and slide and lift with one hand then the other, lifting the tissue of the cheek area with the back of your fingers.

Mouth / laughter lines

Zigzag – With one hand on each cheek and all fingers flat, zigzag from left to right on the skin next to the mouth.

Circular moves – Using your fingertips trace small circles around the mouth, ensuring very light pressure on the skin covering the teeth. Then, dividing the cheek area into three, trace small circles with your fingertips around each area.

Pinching – Lightly pinch tissue in the cheek area between thumb and fingers, increasing blood circulation.

Fast lifting – Cup hands round the bottom of the chin and lift upwards across the cheek to the ear with a very light and rapid movement.

Frown marks and lines around the eyes

Circular moves – Make large circles with your fingertips around the eye area from the top of the nose over the eyebrows and down under the eyes working inwards, applying very light pressure under each eye.

Kneading – On the eyebrows, take tissue between your thumbs and forefingers and make small kneading movements inwards.

Zigzag – Place a hand on each temple and with the back of your fingers flat in the eyebrow area, quickly move each hand towards each other so that your fingers interlock between the eyebrows.

Forehead expression lines

Circular moves – Using your fingertips make small circles on the forehead using moderate pressure from inside outwards and ending in the temple area.

Friction – With the fingertips of two or three fingers make fast up and down movements on the forehead to increase blood circulation.

Zigzag – Place two fingers on one hand and one on the other hand against the forehead, and slide your fingers together so that the one finger fits between the two. Start rapidly and gradually slow down.

Maybe one of the best things about learning facial massage is that you can either use the techniques on someone else, who should be lying down on their backs, or adapt each move to apply it to yourself anytime you want to relax and feel better.

As well as rejuvenating the face through cell renewal and detoxification, facial massage can also help fight headaches and sinus pain, and can chase away anxiety, stress, depression and premenstrual tension. So when you learn to massage, you not only discover how to look younger but also feel better too.

Unmanned Robotic Truck Wash Tunnels

With labor costs soaring and the quality of work ethic in the United States lacking we will need to have more robotic systems to do those jobs that most humans will not do. You should understand that this is becoming critical and is not an anti-union or worker sentiment, but rather an industry known choice, which is becoming more and more prevalent. In the truck washing business for instance it can take as many as 10-30 men for a 1-3 bay truck wash and that that is a lot of folks. Still each truck takes about 20-30 minutes from the time it comes into the bay until it exits.

Washing equipment such as trucks without the use of people is possible and can be done, but it is not an "Easy" proposition to get it right. You have to know what you are doing and do not allow the equipment salesmen to baffle you with Bullshit, which they are all too good at. You see at the end of the day all that really matters is;

1.) Is the Truck actually clean

2.) Did you clean it without damaging it; the paint, the decals, the mirrors, wipers or some other component.

The rest is "water under the truck wash" if you understand the flow of thought here? The truck wash sector is going robotic like it or not. For those who claim that an all hand wash is better, well that maybe maybe true today and for a few more years, but soon they will be no difference between a robotic truck wash or one done by a small team of humans, in fact the robotics will get incrementally better until, the humans can no longer compete in quality or costs. Think on this in 2006.

How to Make a Magnetic Tape Wallet

Like to own a magnetic tape wallet? You may find the wallets that are available in the market are quite expensive. Did you not find the appropriate wallet that has the capability to satisfy your requirements? Simply think about making one. If you are aware of how to make a magnetic tape wallet you can feel it to be an easy task.

For making a magnetic tape wallet you need some materials that could be found in your household. There would be no necessity to buy a material from a store. The things you may require include a tape in which you are willing to part with its magnetic tape guts, wire cutters, screw driver and a rubber band.

As all the materials are ready now you would be able to start the making process. The initial step would be to extract the screws of the magnetic tape and open and remove it completely. The spools or any steel parts of the tape can be removed. By making a thorough search if you come across any projections or protruding parts those can be removed with the help of the wire cutters. Such projections in the tape may cause any type of damage to your money while standing in it.

After all of the magnetic tape is opened by fastening together all the edges of the tape you can close it. You can place the tape on a table or flat surface with its wider length side resting on the surface. With the utilization of the wire cutter you may make a hole along the lengthwise side of the two halves of the tape. The hole should not be large it just should have the space required for the rubber band. You would be able to make a hinge by appropriately positioning the two pieces of tape with hole on either side. The rubber band is to be passed through the hole with half part of it sticking out.

Now comes the working part. You may deposit your money into the inner half side of the rubber band and close the two halves of the tape and you may close the wallet by simply pulling the outer half of the rubber band. Are you creative? Just make avail of your imagination and creativity and you will find what all beneficial wonders you can make with the magnetic wallet like a card holder, ID container, notes keeper, and many more. During the process of making magnetic tape wallet you can add wallpaper or a black or opaque tape could be used so that the contents inside your wallet would not be viewed by others.

Air Conditioning Maintenance – Keeping You and Your Air Conditioner Well Maintained!

An air conditioner is a good option of keeping your home or office cool. It is also valuable as it improves your standards of living. Imagine how it feels when you walk into an office or a home that has been cooled off. It just feels better and more relaxing than a hot room. An air conditioner like other electrical equipment needs to be maintained to give you the service that you desire. Regular air conditioning maintenance will also help to prolong the life of the unit. You do not want to turn on your condition during a hot day, only for it to fail you!
But keeping your condition maintained is a simple task if you know what you are doing and have the right tools.

However, it is recommended that you hire an expert to maintain the air conditioner for you. A professional engineer will tell you of the possible malfunctions that your air conditioner may have. The engineer will also tell you how often you should maintain your condition. The air conditioner is supposed to be served every 6-12 weeks. Add this serving in to your schedule and make it a routine. This helps you keep track on when and how the unit should be maintained.

The most important air conditioning maintenance required to be made for the duct air (refrigerating) system is cleaning it. The purpose of the filter in the air grille is to suck back the air into the unit. To be able to clean the grille filter, you have to first open the grille and slide out the filter or you can clean it in its place. This is done by using warm water with soap or by vacuuming the filter. It is best to do this every 3 months. If it produces an unfamiliar noise, it's a sign that it needs to be cleaned.

Regular air conditioning maintenance ensures that your air conditioner consumes less energy, runs efficiently, becomes more reliable, is clean, and its life span is prolonged. Maintenance will help you save money as you will not have to keep on changing your unit. As it consumes less energy, you will not have such high energy bills. No matter the season, your conditioner unit needs maintenance. This is because most people tend to ignore or forget to maintain their units during winter when it is cold as they do not need it. But remember, during those hot days in summer, you will want to find yourself with a functioning unit.

Heating and Air Conditioning Unit Information

There is a lot of information available on the internet to find the right heating and air conditioning unit for your home. You will have to decide on the manufacturer that best fits the system you want to buy. Also make sure that you check out the warranty that comes with the system to see if it covers parts and labor cost or just parts. Read all the fine print in the warranty because somewhere it should say that you have to have a qualified service company perform a preventative maintenance at least once a year.

Keep those records in a folder so that if your air conditioner was to breakdown you can show that all maintenance has been performed correctly by a service technician so that your warranty will cover the cost your repairs. Due to the cost of having your heating and air conditioning unit repairs down, even if you do not have a warranty your system still needs regular maintenance. Having a preventative maintenance done two times a year is best. A lot of repairs can be prevented by having your system cleaned by you or a service technician.

Having repairs done on your heating and air conditioning unit can be costly when it comes to replacing a compressor, indoor coil, outdoor coil, fan motors and leak repairs. Replacing the major components of your system has to be done by a service technician as per EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) standards. This is because the major components deal with refrigerant in the system having to be reclaimed or pulled out of your system before you can remove the bad part.

Remember when it comes to replacing parts or performing a preventative maintenance always think of safety and turn off the power first.

How to Whip Up Healthy Yet Delicious Salsa in Minutes

These days, ready to eat food has become so widely available in supermarkets and grocery stores as they offer convenience to people who are busy with their lives that they have no time to prepare a meal. Indeed, it is easier to just shove TV dinner into a microwave oven, wait for it to heat up and, then, when it is done, you take it out of the oven and eat it. But have you ever thought of all the artificial preservatives and chemicals that are contained in ready to eat food? Have you ever thought what these might do to your body? Have you ever thought of the important nutrients that your body should have been consuming?

Ready to cook food may offer less hassle for people to prepare but in the long run, these unhealthy options do not help in making our bodies strong and sound. In fact, they contain artificial preservatives, flavorings and colorings that can even cause more damage to us. Store bought salsa, for instance, contain chemicals that help preserve the ingredients inside for a long time. But the thing is these same chemicals are not good for our bodies. At the same time, when you opt for store bought salsa, you can not fine tune the taste of the salsa based on your own preferences.

Rather than buying ready made salsa, it would be best for you to make your own concoction as you can be sure that the ingredients are fresh and you can tailor fit the overall taste of the salsa and make it as spicy as you want. What is also good is that making your own salsa is way cheaper compared to buying it in a grocery store.

Here are a couple of salsa recipes that you can definitely try at home and even serve for your next party.

Apple Green Onion and Jalapeno Salsa

1 1/2 pounds Fuji apples (about 3 large), peeled, halved, cored
1/2 cup minced green onions
2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeño chiles
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
4 teaspoons (packed) finely grained lemon peel

Coarsely grate apples into strainer set over large bowl. Press and turn apples to drain off excess juices. Transfer apples bowl and stir in green onions and chiles.

Whisk lemon juice, honey, and lemon peel in small bowl to blend; mix into apples. Season salsa to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and chill.)

Makes approx 3 cups.

Blinding Burning Salsa

10 – 15 Roma Tomatoes
1 Red Onion
2 Yellow Wax Peppers
1 Jalapeno Pepper
2 Serrano Chili Peppers
1/2 Bunch Of Cilantro
1 Tbsp Garlic Salt
1 Juice Of A Lime
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Pepper
1/2 Tsp Of Chili Powder

Tomatoes And Peppers Should Be Seeded, Everything Else Is Chopped Fine And Mixed In A Non-Reactive Bowl.

Cover, Chill And Serve. Great Over Taquitos, Burritos, Eggs Or Forget Dinner And Sit Down With This Salsa And A Package Of White Corn Tortilla Chips.

Carpet Industry – An Overview

Carpet was the major attraction of many royal palaces and aristocrat families in the early periods. Nowadays carpet plays a significant role in the interior decoration; the use of carpets in the houses and business establishments are highly desirable. In the ancient times this industry was in its boom with many skilled artisans and weavers. Jute yarn and silk threads are the important raw materials for the carpet industries. Recently synthetic yarns are also used for the production of mats and rugs.
Availability of raw materials, skilled workers, understanding of the traditional weaving patterns, accessibility of capitals, competition, marketability etc are the major factors affecting the existence of this industry.

The beauty of the handmade carpets from different countries depicts the heritage and aesthetic sense of the weavers of that particular country. China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Persian countries, France, US, England, Russia are the major contributors to this industry. Millions of weavers are working day and night in the carpets and mat industries in order to meet the demands of the mass.

Industrialization in late 30's introduced the concepts of mechanized patterns for weaving the rugs and mats, which initiated the concept of mass production. The US carpet industry commenced its mechanized operations in the year 1791 in Philadelphia and the first broadloom carpet was introduced in the year 1877.
Over the centuries Iranian hand woven carpets gained much attraction in the world wide. The diversified designs, super quality and brilliant hand work keep preserving the world wide demand for the Iranian carpets in the last few decades. But the economic recession in the Europe, Japan and United States affects the export of Iranian carpets from 2000 onwards.

By 2002, the export for these carpets was dropping down $ 600 million by compared to the previous years. Carpets from India also have remarkable glory in the minds of carpet lovers of domestic and international markets. But the heritage of Indian carpets is still concerted in the corners of villages. Numbers of artisans are working in different places of India like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat etc
In Pakistan carpet manufacturing is mainly undertaking in the areas like Quetta, parts of NWFP, Karachi and Attock. We can see millions of carpet weaving looms in Attock area itself. Pakistan is exporting carpets and carpets mainly to USA, Germany, Italy, the UK, France, and UAE.Till 2000, the export from various countries to the international market was stable.

The world wide economic recession affects the export of carpets; this affects the life of the weavers also. Mechanization of this industry coarsely hit the daily lives of the artisan's families, most of them left jobless and finds other jobs. Afghan refugees were the major carpet weavers in Pakistan; the return of these refugees created a big declination in the production of carpets. Lack of raw materials, lack of professional approach, competition internally and externally, lack of coordination, shortage of working capitals etc. are other factors reducing the growth of this industry. Now the Governments of various nations are providing different platforms for recovering carpet industry from its slowdowns.

Wrist Watches for Men – Get the Perfect Gift

Of the few things that men obsess about, watches are one of them. It is the accessory they really flaunt. Hence, they are willing to spend any amount on a quality purchase. A good time teller makes a great gift option for a man. However, there are a lot of factors that must be considered when purchasing wrist watches for men.

What’s his lifestyle like?

The wrist watch you choose should work well with his lifestyle. Men who handle heavy equipment need a watch that will withstand the wear and tear of their job. Leather band wrist watches for men are among the most durable. Stainless steel straps also last longer. A sports enthusiast will prefer a watch with added functionalities such as measuring distance, digital displays, heart rates monitors, water resistant features etc.

Many men prefer to have separate watches for work and play; a metallic finish for everyday use and a classy leather strap version for formal occasions.

Size of the face

The dial on most wrist watches for men is bigger than that on ladies watches. The size should be in proportion to the size of the wrist. Standard size faces look very feminine. Thus, you should opt for larger ones. A 34-40mm dial works for men with thin wrists while the larger 46mm dials are designed for rugged wrists. How thick the dial is also determines how big it looks.

Quartz or Automatic

There are two mechanisms that drive a watch namely quartz and automatic. The first uses a quartz crystal to regulate the oscillator and is powered by a battery. A wrist watch with quartz movements does not need manually winding. The second is the automatic caliber. The movement of the wearer’s wrist winds the principal spring in the watch and powers it. Quartz watches are more accurate than automatic watches. There are mechanical watches too and you have to wind the pendulum manually.

Analog or Digital

Digital watches have LCD and LED dials; they display the time in a numerical format. Analog wrist watches for men are your traditional watches. They have the hours and minutes hand and with markers in numbers and Roman numerals.


Black, brown and tan are colors that are best suited for men. Silver, gold and platinum-plated watches are masculine in appearance but only dressier. They pair well with dress shirts and slacks. Bright colors such as red, blue, pink do not appeal to men.

Added features

There are other features that you can look for. They include:

• Stop watches

• Integrated GPS

• Lap counter

• Heart rate monitor

• Calendar

• Temperature recorders

• Altitude and tidal cycle reporters


The price is also a determining factor in your choice of wrist watches for men. The brand, the material and the design influence the price. Quartz watches are cheaper than automatic models. Vintage watches also cost more.

In addition to factoring in all these aspects, you need to pay special attention to where you buy the wrist watch from. The market is full of fake watches; imitations of high-end brands. Therefore, buy only from a reputable seller.

Above all, buy a good looking, functional watch that you can comfortably afford.

Find Out How to Preserve Your Woodwind Instrument

Most accidents happen with these instruments, when they are not put into their cases in between use. A favourite accident is with children who practise in their bedrooms and leave the instrument temporarily on their beds; then subsequently sit on them during a lapse of memory. Keys are bent out of place and in the case of flutes, they take on a decidedly banana-looking shape. When not in use, keep the instrument in its case, as that is the safest place for it. Equally, the popular gig bags best avoided with younger children as damage can still be caused if accidentally dropped. A hard case will always offer the best protection.

When putting an instrument together, the aim is to position the hands so that there is minimal pressure applied to any of the keys. With the saxophones the principal danger is with the crook (Top joint). With clarinets and oboes there are keys that need to be matched up from one joint to the next and those are at high risk of damage. When in doubt, bring the instrument into a recognised repairer to be seen to. All cork joints are to be greased regularly to avoid any difficulty when fitting the joints together and therefore putting unnecessary hand pressure on the instrument, leading to damage of keys. Some teachers offer pupils Vaseline as a substitute to the Woodwind cork grease, but the ingredients are not exactly the same and it should therefore not be recommended.

It is a myth that metal joints on flutes and saxophones need greasing. If the instrument is well made (such as a Jupiter flute), there should be no need for lubrication.

Food and playing a Woodwind instrument do not mix. It makes more work with cleaning the instrument afterwards and can put your pads at increased risk of needing replacement if they get food substances or drink being absorbed into them.

When you have finished playing your instrument, it needs to be dried before replacing into its case. No matter how capable a musician the player is, there is always condensation produced on the inside of the instrument from playing. A Pull-through (cloth with weight attached to a piece of string) is the simplest and most effective method of drying the inside of the instrument. This prevents moulding pads and cracking, in the case of wooden instruments. With a flute, it is simply a case of using a special wood needle and cotton cloth. Metal needles are also out on the market, but with many years experience in instrument repairs and services, I feel metal is more likely to mark the inside of the instrument. For the exterior of the flute, a silver polish cloth works well, but be careful not to be too over zealous with it as springs can be knocked out of place in the process.

No instrument responds well to extreme changes in temperature. Watch that the instrument is not being stored next to a radiator or left in a hot car or conservatory that is prone to more extreme ranges of temperature. The integrity of pads can be affected due to melting glue that holds them in place.

It is recommended that woodwind and brass instruments are taken to a qualified repairer at least once a year for servicing to keep the instrument in good playing condition. This ensures that the instrument can continue to play at its optimum capacity.

Common Building Materials

Part of the Civil Engineering industry, the building sub section is responsible for producing bridges, dams as well as roads and the houses that we live in. Although other materials can be used the most common are iron, steel, concrete, timber, blocks and bricks. Building is a huge industry and is a major player in any countries economy.

Studies have been made of ancient civilizations to find the techniques and materials that have been used in building their communities. It has been found that the Roman, Mayan and Egyptians all used blocks, local stone that was available and made their own bricks and types of concrete. There structures were complex and science based in design. Today we still emulate these styles and techniques.

The North American Indians used slimmer trees and branches for their homes with smaller twigs and sticks for the roofs. The Zulus of South Africa and the tribes in Kenya used a mix of soil and cow dung with water as the major material in the building their homes. Further east in Asia trees were also used for their homes, all these methods and traditional building styles are still in use today.

The use of iron has become the most common material in larger constructions, it has been used in the UK since the eighth century and many of the structures that were created then are still to be seen today.

The use of local stone has always been a popular material, these are mined from quarries and have become popular for house building. Kiln based bricks are used in-house building and with so many colors and sizes being produced can provide ample variety for the building constructors.

Wood will always remain popular although it can not be used in substantive buildings like bridges but now tend to be used for the interior of houses, either ceilings or floors are the most popular areas for its use.

Since the discovery of crude oil it has been put to many uses in the building trade, tar is made from bitumen mixed with gravel and is mostly seen as a surface for our roads and runways.

A mixture of lime cement, sand and gravel makes concrete and has been in constant use for many years. In all large and heavy construction projects typically with steel or iron concrete is a fluid material used widely in modern construction.

The building industry is heavily dependent on steel, it is the backbone of most projects and again an important part of any countries economic strategy. It is one of the products whose value is watched in financial markets worldwide.

Making an Iron Man Helmet

There are tons of ways to make your own custom Iron Man helmet, depending on your resources including both time and money.

You can make one for display purposes or for use on Halloween or for Cosplay. The materials you choose and the time you spend will determine the overall quality of the helmet.

Electronics can be added to any home made unit, depending on your skill level. Opening and closing face plates should be part of the design prior to construction so you do not have to cut it out later. Lighting and sounds can be added similarly.

Before beginning, you can also purchase an Iron Man helmet if you're not into creative. Models range from movie accurate to plastic masks mean for young children. Some actually light up or make sounds, depending on what you want to spend.

Let's assume you're into making one of these yourself- here are the three most popular methods of constructing your own helmet.

1. Papier Mache

A little glue, a little flour and some water will help you to make a rudimentary paste which can be layered onto a frame in strips of newspaper or magazine. It's best to start with a picture of what you'd like your helmet to look like. This is a great time to add any customizations that Tony Stark left out.

Making a frame for the papier mache to cling to is easy- you can use just about anything to keep the shape until the mixture dries. In a pinch, a baseball cap covered with a piece of aluminum foil will serve as an excellent way of constructing your helmet. The cap keeps the head shape while the foil allows for a semi rigid base to work on.

Make your base, apply your papier mache and allow to dry. Once it's dry you'll be able to see any areas which are not smooth. Gently sand with 800 grit sandwich to knock down any points which stick up- trim jagged pieces of papier mache with fingernail clippers. If there are divots, then fill them with a little more papier mache and allow to dry.

Once dry again, use a fine sandpaper (1000 grit works well) to smooth all the contours of the helmet. When you're satisfied that the helmet looks good, simply paint in your preferred colors. For a really clean look, use blue or green painter's tape to mask your lines off and top it all with a coat of clear spray paint.

2. Foam / Vinyl

Following the same procedure as above, we will use a frame to hold our design firm. In this case, it's best to use a mannequin head with a sheet of plastic wrap or tin foil on top- easily located online or in a local craft shop, the foam head will hold your design steady as you work.

First, you'll need a hot glue gun and foam vinyl sheets in the colors of your choice. Place an old t shirt over the foam head or other base and use a marker to mark the middle of the rear of the Iron Man helmet. Make a similar mark on each side of the head as well. The front will be left alone because the faceplate will be cut out here.

The cuts will serve as a template to lay down the main color of the helmet in foam, leaving a slit in the middle and sides to allow the material to be shaped. Simply place the template you made over the foam, trace and cut.

Remember to leave plenty of overlap because we'll be trimming things up later on to make it look extra awesome.

Using the hot glue gun, glue the cut out foam to the plastic or tin foil covering on the foam mannequin head. Make sure the edges touch in the back, but do not trim off any excess yet. Do the same with the sides. If you need to (and you likely will), make additional small cuts to help with fitment.

Once the glue is dry and cool, do a test fit and use a marker to mark the approximate area where the eye slits will be cut. If everything fits well, remove and trim all the stray edges, gluing everything down perfectly.

From here there are two options- you can either cut eye slits and use the other foam color to make the mask, then glue on top. Then you're done- go enjoy your new creation!

Or, and this is the recommended way for the cool factor alone, you can cut out the original color area in the shape of the faceplate, then use two small round velcro tabs to attach the faceplate to the helmet so you can remove it when you want to. Then you're done- go enjoy your new creation!

3. 3D Printing

This is where the rubber meets the road- or, more likely, the plastic. 3D Printing, officially known as Additive Manufacturing, allows complex shapes to be made via the addition of small layers of plastic or another material such as metal.

People have printed Iron Man helmets for years now and you can even purchase them in part or full on many sites such as eBay. If you're into 3D printing, you can purchase the plans and have a local printer to make them up for you.

This can also be done with a home 3D printer, although it will be in many smaller pieces which must then be joined later on. However you do it, Additive Manufacturing will have the option that is most accurate. It's also the most expensive, so it pays to really do some research and decide if 3D printing an Iron Man helmet is for you.

So, there we have it- a pretty solid blueprint to build an Iron Man helmet Tony Stark would be proud of. There are options from rags to riches, so choose the one which is best for you. If you do not feel like a DIY project, there are plenty of sellers who will offer replicas in every size from keychain to fully wearable.

Great Tips to Decorate the Exteriors of Your House

In the world of real estate, home staging is almost like interior designing. However, home staging focuses not only on enhancing the appeal of the interiors, but also the exteriors of a property. Unlike interior designing, the main idea behind staging a home is to sell it as fast as possible, at the best price. Here are some great ideas to improve your home's outdoor appearance.

* Use your creativity and imagination while decorating the outdoors. Identify what can be the best use of different areas in your yard. For instance, if you like eating outside, then add a set of stylish table and beautiful chairs. But while choosing outdoor furniture, do make sure that it goes well with the design of your house. Beside, if you or kids enjoy playing outdoor games like badminton, volleyball etc then you can consider adding a net stand for such games.

* Apart from the ones suggested above, the backyard of a house can also be decorated using the following – a hammock, garden ornaments, plants like planted trees and flowering plants. You can even add a nice fire pit and statuary to make best use of your garden area.

* It is great to make a right division of your entire background. This can be done using dividers such as hedges, fines etc.

* Sometimes, it can be really hot or really cold, due to the temperature extremes. Thus, it is advisable to put a nice rug in your backyard. There is an extensive range of outdoor rugs available in the market. Choosing an attractive rug would make your house look more welcoming.

* Add colorful fabrics to brighten up your yard. You can very easily find an excellent variety of outdoor fabrics in the market. Choosing the best ones that can match with the exteriors of your house would be great fun and would probably create cozy atmosphere.

* Add an attractive fireplace in your backyard. It may be used to ward off the cold during winters and can even be used for cooking. For many people, cooking outside their house in the backyard is a hobby. Cooking outside and having the meals together with friends and family, in front of the lit fireplace, sets a mood and increases everyone's appetite.

As decorating the outdoor area of ​​a house is a tough job, to succeed with your plans of staging the exteriors of your house, you need to put equal efforts as you would put in decorating the interiors. Your garden area or porch is an important part of your house and enhancing its appeal can present you with a quick sale. It is the very first part that a buyer sees while making a visit to a house for sale. So, implement these handy tips to make sure your prospective buyers are totally impressed with your property.

The Future Of Residential Construction Is Precast Concrete

It seems logical that the future of residential construction is going to be built with precast concrete. There are less and less people starting apprenticeships in Australia, namely bricklaying apprenticeship, since the fact that the residential construction industry has been paying a tariff / levy / tax called the "brick levy" since the early 2000s.

The brick levy was a government introduced program which charges a "levy" to new homes constructed from brick / masonry products. A small charge is paid for the number of bricks used per project to the brick supplier (who in turn pays the levy to the government for administration).

As an aside, and this is just a thought, I'd love to see the figures on the brick levy collected versus the dollar amount after administration that is directly available for the program ie how much of the levy collected is absorbed in administration by the government.

Secondly, are there figures available that can show a direct correlation between the bricklaying levy and an improvement in the problem for which it was introduced to solution? Is the brick levy just another indirect tax used by the government to find money, to pay for election promises? I do not know. I'm posting these questions seeking enlightenment.

The purpose of this levy is to provide funds to bricklayers so they may take on apprentices and teach more people the trade (to address the shortages).

So why then is the cost of bricklaying becoming so prohibitive and there seems to be less and less bricklayers available to do work?

The National Bricklaying Association works full time for its members to leverage the bricklaying rates higher, which is great for members. With rates moving higher and higher still housing prices remaining fairly stagnant, and more competitive pressure in the residential marketplace, I feel we're getting to an inflection point where house designs will change to remove hand-crafted elements like brickwork.

Bricklayers are going to become like Stonemasons. Highly skilled artisans used sparingly in the volume market or in lower application than they currently are. If there are not sufficient new apprentices coming through the training program and the existing trade base greys into retirement, the shortfall / labor base will continue to diminish meaning we will have to design around this labor shortfall.

This is where I believe precast will fill the void.

I know the natural inclining is to think "yeah, but it costs a heap more than bricklaying / brick veneer of cavity brick". Yes, at the moment it does but we are reaching two diverging lines where the time and cost savings will meet then overtake the costs & waste (material and process) of bricklaying.

Precast seems like the logical choice to me for a few reasons.


Variations in appearance / surface finish are mitigated. No longer do we all have to fight to get a superior finished product. Surface finish is controlled in the manufacturing process and to quality assurance standards by the supplier in a controlled environment.


The supplier controls the manufacturing process and guarantees delivery dates – time efficiencies. Jobs can be efficiently scheduled because the manufacturing process is controlled (linear) and is not affected by onsite conditions. Having a manufactured process over an uncontrolled labor driven process means certyty in the building program. I feel that more and more elements of the building process will be transported out by suppliers rather than subcontractors. I do not believe that subcontractors will disappear completely just the proportion of who is doing what onsite will change dramatically.

To this point, carpenters will be used even more than they are currently. I think they will start on site as early as the current "slab stage" and stay onsite until the second and final fix is ​​done, which will coincide with the completion of paint works and the start of main floor tiling. The building program will compress further than it is.


Waste minimization. Precast is a highly efficient process that minimizes waste produced. With the rising costs of landfill, the near future of the construction environment we will work in will be one of a zero waste policy where we will be penalized for using waste-producing processes (brick cuts, mortar, sand, pallet packing, straps) . This will extend across all the materials we use on site, not just bricks. Each aspect of construction will evolve in consideration of this point.


I believe the use of precast is the logical next step in the transformation of the construction process. The building process has severely changed in the last 60 years. We still build today as we did 60 years ago except materials have become more lightweight "read cost-effective" (hardwood frames replaced with manufactured pine and truss systems). Precast concrete allows builders to innovate the building process in a different way by changing the sequence of construction (more on this in a future post).

In summary, I see precast as being the logical next step in the evolution of residential construction because it will save time, eliminate waste while allowing for standardized quality features and greatly improving the building process.