HangGoose: The Evolution of a Design?

I am a SCUBA diver, licensed for 40Meters (~130 Feet) with IANTD Advanced Nitrox endorsements, and ultimately I aim to get up to Trimix rebreathers, but that is still a ways off. Anyway, with SCUBA, it is imperative you keep your gear in top condition and more so with mixed gas and technical diving as a failure at depth can easily be fatal.

Wetsuits, drysuits and the other protective equipment such as the booties, hoods and gloves retain water, (drysuit as the name suggests, doesn’t but it still is wet externally) are central to the safe (and comfortable) diving in the area I live, and for maintenance it is imperative to dry these out properly to maximise the life of them it does this by helping prevent mould or other nasties growing inside the equipment.

Most people put their wetsuits on a normal coat hanger style device to dry them out. This, however is not so good for the equipment as the added weight of the water, in the case of some wetsuits is quite a bit (in my case its about 5KG of water is retained by the suit) and this puts extra strain on the shoulders of the suit where it is hung on a conventional hanger, leading over time to weakening and degradation, and over time failure of the materials in this area of the wetsuit.

This is where the HangGoose comes in, hangs the wetsuit at its waistline putting the area of support for the suit over a larger area thereby causing less strain on any one section of the suit. This is evident through simple logic as if a suit hung by its shoulders at lets say 10KG (weight of the suit plus the weight of the water) then all 10KG is hanging below (and on) the shoulders with all the weight pulling in one direction. Conversely if we hang it at its midpoint then whilst the 10KG is still putting downward strain on the wetsuit, due to it having two downward points there is only half the strain and weight of the suit on any one point as they are balanced on the HangGoose, thereby reducing the amount of strain experienced by the suit which in turn extends its useful life. The other benefit of the midpoint hanging is that you have two “low points” allowing the water to drain (under gravity) from both the upper and lower half of the suits simultaneously, and with only having half the distance to travel the water drains quicker, drying the suit quicker.

The HangGoose, as shown below this is really nothing more than a fancy coat hanger, but this one is designed for surfers mainly. However many people are using it for SCUBA wetsuits as well, as the wetsuits involved are similar enough (generally they are just thicker) that it suits that purpose.

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Now Recently I was sent an email stating that the price of the HangGoose would go up at the end of that month, considering that with the falling Australian Dollar, and the fact I was looking at getting a Drysuit so I could dive a little more comfortably during the winter period, I decided to grab one before the price went up, nothing unusual there. What did catch me by surprise though was the fact that when it arrived a week or so later, the design had changed considerably.

This is what I first saw when I got it out of the box;

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A bit of a change in this version hey…

 

Now as shown in the first set of pictures the design for the HangGoose was and is purely functional, some pieces of reclaimed teak, or at least the original was claimed that it was (something about floorboards if I recall correctly), the site now claims that it is heirloom quality teak. The new design has changed from this “chunky” original design, to a new design on the suit hanging area that is more rounded, I was taken a bit aback by this considering that the original design as above is still predominantly featured on their home page, and yes whilst the new design is in the photo gallery I did not look at that, as I had no need to see it being used as I had one.

Below is a side by side comparison of the two HangGoose wetsuit areas:

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As you can see the design has changed to a more “elegant” rounded one, and whilst I like the original, I do believe that the new design will provide a better support to the wetsuit or drysuit hung off it, all in all I am happy with the new design.

All in All I love both my HangGoose’s (HangGeese?) and I highly recommend them

Product Review: Rifle Rods

I have been thinking about doing this review for a while, but had not got up to doing it…. until now.

As you may have inferred from previous posts, I am a shooter, and considering where I live (Australia, for those who have not worked it out from the domain) I do have a rather extensive, and expensive collection of longarms (well for Australia at least), and as with any hobby, space is always at a premium. Due to this, and the fact I have plans to double my collection over time, I had to find space to fit more into the (do more with less anyone??). Considering I already had two safes, one being used to store ammunition and the other the firearms themselves, as to comply with Australian law, I had to get as much into the Hy-Skor (Hyskor) HSCH2 (a 30 longarm safe) as possible. As anyone who has had a firearms safe with any type of modern scoped rifle in it, can attest there is no way you can fit the stated capacity in the safe as it is (if I am to believe what I am told) based on how many shotguns, specifically over/under shotguns it can fit, not rifles.

So it is with this starting situation I start looking for solutions, as it happens someone else at the time over at Shooting.com.au (No longer a forum) was looking for something called Rifle Rods (available through Store More Guns) them, and I saw the thread and my interest was piqued. After some research I decided to purchase some on my trip to the US in December 2012/January 2013, and this is exactly what I did, I purchased them and had them delivered to my hotel in San Francisco, then flew back with them.

After several months of having other things to do, including hours of catch up work for taking 6 weeks off (is it really a holiday if you come back and do the work anyway?) I finally got around to doing the first part of the install in April. The first part is/was the modifying of the safe itself, whilst strictly not required and I could have put the special hook and loop material onto the bottom of the shelves and internal compartment, I would have only got about two thirds of the possible shelf space. So instead I took measurements using the pre existing mounting points for the firearms and the pre-existing shelves and internal compartment bottoms to get dimensions for shelves, these turned out to be as follows;

Shelf: 590mm in width; 360mm in depth with 2 folds on the 590mm edge adding another 10mm for each fold, and the material being 1.5mm steel
Internal Compartment Bottom Extension: 540mm in width; 360mm in depth with 1 fold on the 540mm edge adding another 10mm for the fold, and the material being 1.5mm steel

Which I then took to a local metalshop and got them to fold me the new larger shelves, when this was done both shelves were then primed with 2 coats of Kill Rust primer that I purchased from the local hardware store, as well as a top coat of “hammer tone” black to make it more closely match the powder coating of the safe. I also cut and fitted the Hook and Loop material to the bottom of the shelf and the bottom extension, with the shelf also getting a piece of non slip matting being cut for its upper part. That was the easy part done, now to install them.

To install the shelf was the easy part of the installation process, simply take the old one out, and put the new one in, the extension to the internal compartment bottom was a whole different ballgame.

To affix this new bottom/shelf to the safe I firstly had to remove the lining from under the compartment, this was very, very well adhered to the bottom of the compartment with some form of glue, so after about an hour of scraping away at it will a scraper, and making a mess in general but I eventually got a clean(ish) surface to work with, I then proceeded to use SikaBond to glue it to the base, using various objects from around the safe area to hold it in place until the SikaBond had dried, then plus a few days to ensure it had cured.

Once this was done it was simply a matter of re-installing the lighting system and putting the rifles and other bits back in. Now I have not only a safe that will hold the advertised amount, but more than the advertised amount I believe, but I will have to find out at some point.

Overall I am very happy with this, I do want to make a couple of modifications to the system, namely for the shotguns where the rods really need a rubber or silicon part attached to the rods that makes them a little wider so they sit properly upright, I suppose I had better break out the moulding gear and the vacuum chamber.

Now back to the Arduino Project.

My Thoughts: Fleetio

First of all, what is Fleetio? Fleetio is a web based vehicle maintenance system aimed primarily at companies that manage fleets of vehicles, which is where it got its name… strange about that. This is not to say that it is not useful for us “regular” people who have multiple vehicles, or even one vehicle, it really does handle them all, but it does shine and is primarily designed for those with the large fleets. That’s enough of that, on with my thoughts.

Now why would I be interested in this solution, well apart from being a sole trader, so tracking my vehicles expenses is to say the least very important to me so I can claim the maximum amount back from the tax office, I also have multiple personal vehicles, including motorcycles, work vehicles and a convertible all that need to have maintenance and other expenses tracked to ensure its all kept up to scratch, and having complete logs when you go to sell it certainly helps.

I have been using Fleetio now for several months, well its getting close to 12 I would think and I can honestly say I love it, its not perfect, nor does it do everything I need/want it to do but it is honestly the best solution I have used.

The prices for the service range from free for one user and five vehicles, this is suitable for many Sole Traders and families, up to $149 (USD) a month for 250 vehicles and unlimited users, personally I simply use the free one at this point, although I am considering using the $9.00 in future to add the other vehicles in the family, including several collectors vehicles, a forklift and a boat, this will be a true indication of how well it runs when I do this, but at least all the records are in one place.

Fleetio has many features, many I am simply not going to cover as I have not used them, and if you want to know more about them I suggest you head over to the website (http://www.fleetio.com) and check them out. The features I currently use are; Service Logs, Service Reminders, Fuel Logs, Renewal Reminders and Documents. As I said however there are many other features including reports that can be useful but you really need to check them out for yourself as I don’t use them, but for the features I do use, here is a rundown

  •  Service Logs: As the name suggests, this is where you log the work you have done to your vehicle, be it an addition such as driving lights, or maintenance such as the regular oil change, it records what was done, who it was done by, the date it was done and what it cost, all the relevant details, but there is one thing that I do wish it had, the ability to attach one, or preferably multiple files to the service, things such as receipts, quotes, warranties etc. The system handles that under the documents function, which I will get to later in the article, so why not add the ability to link a document, or as I said preferably multiple documents to a service.
  • Service Reminders: Again as the name suggests this allows for the setting of reminders about services, dependent on the way the vehicle is tracked it is done through Running Time, Hours or Date based periods, for example one of my service intervals for one vehicle is 5000KM or every 6 months, what ever is first. In my case this is set up as an “Oil Change” service which to me is a basic service of oil, filter, grease points etc. This feature also allows you to have subscribers that receive emails when something is about to become due (this warning activates at a pre-determined time prior to the event happening, in the case of the service I have set this to 500KM/2 Weeks) it also emails you until you have completed it, if its overdue.
  • Fuel Logs: Basically the same as service logs, tracks (depending on settings I am using metric) Fuel input, tripmeter reading, cost and cost per unit, with this data it can calculate fuel economy and show you on graphs what is happening, a very useful feature, but it could be made better as I will discuss further on in the article
  • Renewal Reminders: Well what can I say, its a reminder, it reminds you of something, in my case I have commonly set (in addition to service reminders above, these are a different item all together) Registration and Insurance, it also handle inspection and emissions test reminders.
  • Documents: This function allows you to upload documents, any type of documents you need, nothing special, useful but not as useful as being able to attach them to a service or fuel entry, that’s not to say I don’t need to add “normal” documents such as manuals to the information, but I also need the ability to link a document, or as I have previously said, multiple documents to a service and fuel entry, service in particular, but fuel entry would also be useful

Now as I said above,  I am not saying Fleetio is perfect, but it is the best that I have used so far, and I have used quite a few programs for this kind of thing. Firstly if I were over there I would add an API and application interface, now this does not sound like much but there are several benefits and things that could be done with this that can not be done with a website only product, the first is cashing of data, now whilst I am not the same as everyone and I realise and accept this, in my situation even though I predominantly work in IT, I am not always connected to the internet, allowing me to store data locally especially the fuel log would allow me to enter data on the spot, then when the device gets an internet connection and can establish a link back to the Fleetio site it can upload the newly added or changed data.

Secondly and this is the other major change/addition I would make to the service is that of a trip log, this would simply be starting KM/Miles (automatically filled in from current trip reading/end of last trip reading) and ending KM/Miles. This would allow me to keep a log for tax purposes as well as anything else that I might require it for, this kind of data is better cashed in an application and uploaded when available than having to have an internet connection all the time, having said that, even adding this to the web interface would be a good start. To further expand on this if they wanted, they could offer GPS logging of trips, these files could then be automatically uploaded to the website when a connection was available, and be overlayed on a Google (or other) map, and the GPS file available for download if required. To add further function to the trip log, a simple “Toll Cost” field could be added so that the cost of toll road(s) could be recorded for each trip as well

Over the period I have been using Fleetio, I have made several suggestions, some have been acted on, some not. However each and every time I have gone out of my way to help them, (for me this is a big thing as I do not waste time on things that are not useful to my family, friends or myself as it serves no purpose) I have got a response saying they will look into it, they will add it or they do not plan to add it at this stage etc. even getting this response as a NON paying service user means I have no hesitation recommending them to others.

I urge people to check it out, its one useful site I just had to share

Justin