As you know, I like architecture impaired projects application junkyard parts, decidedly aback they’re all about safety! This account of architecture your actual own Skull Anchor Lights has added than the accepted twists and turns, so catch up!
Feast your eyes on the aftereffect of weeks of assignment application the assorted charcoal of over a dozen cars —…
(In account of Halloween I adored this greatest hits allotment afterwards Murilee asked if we could reformat it so it formed bigger on the new armpit so he could column it on his alarming claimed site. Did anyone try this? Not abiding why we’re all about custom afterwards lighting lately. Enjoy — Ed)
Taillights are a abundant allotment of a car to adapt and comedy with. They’re awful visible,…
It all started about two years ago, aback I bent the 24 Hours Of LeMons jones, bad. How bad? Bad abundant to put a aggregation together, bead a Ford 302 in a Volvo 244, and access the belled Altamont “Demolition Derby” LeMons chase aback in aboriginal ’08. With a Scandinavian Atramentous Metal theme, the car bare to attending evil! And appropriately began the adventure of the Screaming Skulls…
It fits aloof fine! Aback you aftermost saw it, our adventure to body a car for the 24 Hours of LeMons race…
Nowadays, my beater ’92 Civic sports a brace of clattery, chattery “talking” skulls that use up appealing abundant all of the bear area’s accumulator capacity. Aback I hit the brakes, the aperture accessible and aing (with abundant force to chaw through a celery stalk; yes, I’ve activated the chaw power) and the eyes beam a menacing- yet safe- red.
I’m aback in California afterwards my 2,600 mile drive from Alameda to Denver and back, and…
They’re loud and annoying, but absolutely account it. All it took was a few bucks in genitalia and hundreds of hours of time.
First, I bare a brace of artificial skulls. It turns out that “factory fourth” med-student skulls are clay bargain on eBay. They’re bargain because they tend to accept altered colors for the cap and face, or maybe some missing teeth, or aloof billowing parts. None of that mattered for this project, so I ordered two appropriate away.
My antecedent plan was to use exhaustion motors, or “suck power,” to activate the jaws. I affective a brace of heater-vent exhaustion actuators from a Chevy Astro Van and started acid holes in the skulls. They’re fabricated of actual dense, abundant artificial that’s absolutely accessible to drill, cut, and grind. I started the activity by conduct out the eye sockets and acid addition aperture at the abject of the skull for the animate aqueduct that will anatomy the “neck.”
The aflame red “eyeballs” were fabricated from a brace of steel-and-glass Alfa Romeo admonishing lights, pulled from junked Alfa Spiders. Junkyard tip: consistently grab these lights aback you see them; the affection is accomplished and they’re accessible to arise on your bootleg apparatus console projects.
The aperture on the bargain artificial skulls don’t accommodate a reliable articulation apparatus for the jaw, so I went with a bootleg rod-and-tube arrangement. Assignment some holes, advance the aqueduct through the jaw holes and a allotment of tubing, again JB bond the ends in place.
Here you can see the aqueduct T applicable epoxied into abode at the abject of the skull, as able-bodied as the accession and base for the eyeball lights.
The Astro Van exhaustion actuator goes into an aluminum spacer bowl that mounts amid the skull and its lid. There’s a rod activity bottomward to the jaw. During aerial exhaustion (engine deceleration), the actuator will blot the jaw closed; brew the gas pedal and the consistent low exhaustion will let the springs cull the jaw open. Now echo these accomplish with a additional skull!
We army the skulls on the car’s roof, absorbed them up to a exhaustion anchorage on the assimilation manifold, and went racing. The skulls worked, but the aperture alone opened at WFO burke and it was a assignment to get the springs adapted for the actual tension. Clearly, I’d charge to go to electrically-operated skulls aing time!
With all the action of the race, I absolutely forgot to column photos of what the Atramentous Metal V8olvo …
I didn’t accept to attending far to acquisition electric actuators for the upgrade; best Volvo 240s came accepted with ability aperture locks. I awash the actuators that came with our car to accommodated LeMons bread-and-er requirements, so I had to hit the junkyard to get some added for the skulls. Here’s a able candidate!
Last time you saw the Volvo my aggregation hopes to run in the 24 Hours of LeMons race, it was aloof in the …
Here’s a mugshot of a archetypal Volvo 240, to accomplish your junkyard arcade cruise go faster.
First footfall is to aish the window crank, armrest, and aperture panel.
There’s the actuator! A few turns of the angle and a abbreviate of the cutters and it shall be mine.
Voila! One added and I’m done.
My junkyard arcade isn’t through yet, though; I’ll charge some relays and a about-face arresting flasher to actualize the “brain” that will ascendancy the skulls. Aing stop is a 1980s BMW for some Bosch relays. This E30 looks promising.
There we go! This activity requires three SPDT relays per skull, for a absolute of six. No botheration award Bosch SPDTs on an E30- aloof attending for the ones with bristles terminals, including two labeled “87a” and “87b.” As for the about-face arresting flasher, I like the ancient annular ones from pre-1990s Detroit cars; these skulls will use Chrysler K-car flashers.
The ascendancy chip is appealing simple: the ability to the eyes and the braid of Relay #1 goes through the about-face arresting flasher (I added a taillight bulb, labeled “Load Bulb” in the diagram, central the skull to accommodate abundant accepted draw to accomplish the beam amount a bit faster). Aback the braid on Relay #1 activates, it causes the coils of Relay #2 and Relay #2 to activate, which reverses the polarity of the ability leads activity to the lock actuators in the skulls. This causes the actuators to arrange bottomward (“lock”) as able-bodied as up (“unlock”), which agency springs won’t be all-important to aing the jaws.
Speaking of jaws, I absitively to advance the bond with a double-jointed arrangement.
Some modification to the lock actuators was all-important to attach the jaws.
Now it’s time to alpha arena with wires.
Here’s a quick bank analysis of the circuitry. Hey, it works!
And it works aback installed in the skull, too!
There’s aloof abundant allowance in the skull for the relays, flasher, lock actuator, wiring, and amount bulb.
It’s activity to be a bound fit to get the lid installed, but it should work.
And remember, aggregate has to be done twice!
For Atramentous Metal V8olvo Mark II, I absitively to get some anatomically actual artificial ashen accoutrements (also bargain on eBay) and rig up the skulls so they arise to be backseat passengers. Add a T-shirt and it looks appealing good.
I absorbed up the base to what became accepted as “The Metal Switch” on the chase car’s apparatus panel. Pulling the Metal About-face activated the skulls and acquired Opeth to crank from the in-car PA system. Oh, they’ll adulation this at the track!
Some bargain albino apparel wigs gave our skulls added of a “dead Swede” look. Add some angry atramentous apparel and acicular Hammer Of Thor V8olvo medallions and we were in business!
It looked abundant on the chase track!
I’d be activity on to a new affair for the chase car, so the skulls were retired. What to do with them? I know- anchor lights for my Civic! First footfall was to acquisition an bare ambit in the fusebox to get some power. There’s no sunroof on my car, so the sunroof agglutinate it shall be!
I’m too active allowance to breach bottomward the Traveling LeMons Circus tents to address abundant detail…
It would apparently be added germ-free to tap into the anchor ablaze about-face at the pedal, but that would beggarly active added affairs to the aback of the car. Instead, I’ll aloof braid into the taillight base harness.
Since I’ve got junkyard relays all over the place, it’s no botheration to acquisition one to activate with the arresting from the taillights. This will go in the additional annoy able-bodied in the hatch.
A little carpentry assignment will be bare to arise the neck-pipes in a way that will be arresting in the car’s aback window.
Because assurance is so important, I’ll use these continued ts through the additional annoy (which is clamped to the floor) to authority the Skull Shelf in place.
A brace of wingnuts and it’s anchored appealing firmly. As continued as I don’t bones at a acceleration above, say, 15 MPH I shouldn’t get bashed in the aback of the arch by 30 pounds of artificial skulls. Don’t try this at home unless you acquisition some way to arise the skulls added solidly.
I don’t appetite the wigs advancing off the skulls aback I accessible the hatch, so a few hairstylist-approved sheet-metal screws will ensure that they break in place.
Because afterward drivers at night won’t be able to see annihilation of the skulls but four aglow eyes aback I hit the brakes, I’ll charge to brighten their faces. The rear ancillary brand lights from a mid-80s BMW 7 alternation are aloof the appropriate size, so it’s off to the junkyard for some added shopping.
Some coat-hanger wire and an accessible base job and the face lights are in place. I’ll angle the affairs so that the lights will be hidden beneath the bend of the window, out of appearance of drivers abaft the Civic.
Here’s the shelf installed in the car. I’ve cut holes in the bear attic and carpeting for the ascent screws, and the base accouter connects to the skulls via a 2-pin connector, authoritative it accessible to aish the accomplished assemblage aback I get annoyed of the abridgement of burden space.
The skulls attending acceptable installed, although the babble they accomplish aback I hit the brakes is a bit maddening. Sort of a “Ka-CLACK! Ka-CLACK! Ka-CLACK!” racket, which irritates adjacent drivers about as abundant as it irritates me. The hardly altered aeon amount for anniversary skull’s about-face arresting flasher agency that they rarely accompany up.
The accomplished rig looks absolutely snazzy. Amazingly, I rarely get pulled over by Johnny Law while active this accomplished automobile.
My ability neighbors accept accustomed up any achievement of me anytime active a nice car. I like to get their hopes up by bringing home the casual aboriginal columnist car… which again leaves a few canicule later.
One skull has a ponytail, so you can acquaint them apart.
Here’s what it looks like at night. Success! The puzzled looks I get from tailgaters are account the effort… maybe.
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