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Fluid Film by William


Perhaps you’ve heard me mention using Fluid Film sometime? Maybe not as much on here yet, but some of the forums I visit I am always plugging Fluid Film. So you might ask as to why I am promoting  this product now. It’s simple really, this stuff is awesome. We do not usually promote any products here on Midnight Mods with a whole article, just tid bits here in there about the vendors or products we use. Lets start with a little product info first before I divulge further.

Fluid Film is a natural based lubricant made from lanolin. It’s solvent free, and eco friendly. While I’m not pushing green technology here, this really means that it is safe to use anywhere. (I’m not sure if you want to use it around food.) Lanolin comes from Sheep. It’s a natural moisturizer and lubricant. For me working with sheep, if you have caught on to that by now, I really enjoy this product. My hard work, essentially, goes to making this product. I sheer off the wool, and then when the wool is processed, the lanolin is washed out of the wool at the Woolen Mill. What is done with it after that, I am not sure, but this stuff is just as slippery as the stuff on the sheep.

I’m not sure what is all in this besides lanolin, but whatever they did, it works. This product is great on metals, it sticks and doesn’t easily wash off. It is highly water resistant as well. It’s even safe on paint and synthetic rubbers. There really are lots of uses for this product besides lubrication as well. I use it to seal my shoes so my feet do not get wet. Underbody coating on your vehicle. There is a web site out there dedicated to the creative uses of this product. http://fluid-film.ning.com/

I could probably go on for a while about this product, but let’s get down to why this article is on our sight. It was noticed that I mentioned Fluid Film quite often on a forum and tried to get other members to use it. I was contacted by a site sponsor rep for Fluid Film. A week later I got a box in the mail.

ffswag1338A decent sized box at that. I was so excited I blacked out the addresses and took pictures. Comedy, even in donations. Dano on Ford-Trucks was kind enough to send me this package with some goodies for the help I had been giving him on the sight promoting Fluid Film. Lets open it up and take a look.


Sneaky. The goodies are hidden under some paper. I didn’t let this stop me!

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Inside I found a hat and a shirt. Let me tell you, this is probably the nicest promotional hat that I have ever got. Sorry newegg, this thing is sweet. Even the clasp in the back has fluid film logo stamped into the metal. I’m sorry to report that it is not made here in the US like Fluid Film, which is made out in California. Lets check out the rest of the shirt.


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The shirt comes with a sleeve tag as well as some rocking graphics on the back. Can’t wait to wear this sheering to start some conversations.

ffswag1342Here is the full lot of goodies. I got a bunch of stickers and the big decals were totally unexpected!

Brett also received a sample can of Fluid Film, and a T-Shirt as well.

Thanks for the Hook Up Dano! We really love donations over here at Midnight Mods.


If your looking to try out some fluid film, send me an email and I’ll get you setup with Dano. I do sell small lots of the 12oz Aerosol cans as well. Fluid Film also comes in 1 gallon and 5 gallon containers as well. Any questions regarding Fluid Film, feel free to comment, any questions regarding ordering the product, please send me an email.

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Pelican Bicycle Panniers by Brett

007 I’ve been commuting to work using my bicycle more and more over the last year or so since I’ve moved to California. It’s been nice so far. I get some stress free outdoor exercise doing an activity I’ve always enjoyed. Plus, now I look forward to the ride home, as opposed to sitting in the car getting aggravated at rush hour traffic.

My workplace is nice enough to have changing facilities, so I ride in comfortable cycling clothes and change at work. When I started out, I used a backpack to hold my change of clothes, wallet, keys, paperwork, ID Badge, music device, camera, and various other things. Most mornings I’d also stop on the way and pickup breakfast at Burger King (hey, its an 18 mile commute, I’ve earned it!), placing (read: cramming, stuffing, and squishing) my croissant sandwich in the bag as well to eat at work (I elect not to chill at BK in my spandex and have a bite, hard to believe I know.) Actually, I rotated between 3-4 different backpacks with different sizes and straps, always trying to find the one that worked best. Funny how it always ended up being the cheap small single strap one.

Like everything else, backpacks have their advantages and drawbacks. They are cheap (you probably have one already!), easy to use, don’t produce a lot of drag when on a bike, quick to attach, and some hold quite a bit. Plus, you already have all the mounting hardware, provided you have shoulders. On the other side though, they put additional weight on you, that weight gets transferred to your back, which means extra weight on your Anatomic Saddle System (A.S.S. for short). There were some days where I would have liked to take something extra, like my laptop or a small package, but it just wasn’t happening with my backpacks. Perhaps the biggest issue I had was sweat. During the summer months especially, backpacks leave your back, shirt, and pack itself wet with perspiration. Sometimes it would even make it’s way inside the bag- not cool if you have important paperwork, laptop, or a change of clothes inside.

I knew about panniers, but I’d never owned a set. Now, I figured hard case panniers would already exist and be readily available, but I was surprised when few turned up in my searches. The ones I did find where all wrong somehow. Wrong size. Wrong attaching system. Wrong material. Interested to see what they have to offer, but not satisfied with the selections in stores or online, I set out to make my own hard case panniers.  Guess if you want it done right, you gotta do it yourself?

I came up with a list of requirements.

  • It had to fit all of my laptops and safely carry at least one at a time (bonus points for extra laptops.)
  • It had to also carry a change of clothes and related pocket items.
  • It had to also have enough room for additional stuff (Breakfast? Paperwork?)
  • It had to quickly attach and remove from my bike (for public transit.)
  • It had to be waterproof.
  • It had to protect the contents in case of a fall.
  • …and most important, it had to fit on my bicycle!

I’ve been a fan of Pelican products since a friend introduced me to them some years CIMG2566ago as a good laptop case and I thought they’d probably make an awesome pannier too. They are waterproof, configurable, tough, and available in many different sizes. I did a quick Google search and found some inspiration from Josh Putnam. After some measurements of my gear,  I purchased a pair of Black 1430’s for about $60 each. They fit every one of my current laptops (at once without padding!), open from the top (so I can get gear in and out without taking them off), and this model has an optional “Boat Bracket Kit” for about $10 a pair that, although I couldn’t find much information on, I thought might make a cool mounting system on the bike (more on this later.)

So plan A was to buy a rack for the back of the bike and figure out a way to mount the  cases on the back using the boat brackets. The Cheap Rack, Pretty Nice ActuallyI bought a cheap rack and began dry fitting the parts as they arrived. This didn’t go so well. Typical to Pelican Engineering, the boat brackets were designed really well not to be easily removed from the cases. They attach by rotating on from the sides, meaning they have to be removed from whatever they are hooked on to take them off the case. They also screw into the case on the bottom. Not exactly quick release.

Okay, just one problem to overcome, so I kept the project moving forward, venturing I could fix the quick release problem down the road if everything else worked out. Next issue, how can I get the brackets to mount to the rack? I bought some aluminum poles and cut it and the rack up to fit together.  The whole thing was pretty ugly, rattled a lot, and I didn’t put a whole lot of trust in it.  Hours of fiddling later and I still didn’t have a solution. The next day, I went to the local mega hardware stores and spent hours playing with parts from all around the store until  I had a headache from the constant intercom interruptions and distracting muzak. 

I came home and stared at my parts for a little while longer. Feeling defeated, I let the project sit for a while. Then, after a week or two, I started back at the research phase. This time, really hitting the internet hard to find the best way to attach the darn cases to my bike. I knew my next plan, Plan B, would roughly involve buying a set of pannier mounts, drilling holes in my cases, and mounting them to the sides.

CIMG2614 CIMG2616

After much debate, I finally decided on the Arkel 10” Cam-Lock system, fancy technology imported from the strange, far away, misunderstood land of Canada. They looked pretty straight forward, got good reviews, and the price was in the budget for a pair. Boy, are they neat! The cam-lock system is really adjustable and when you are building panniers yourself, adjustability is key.

CIMG2649The next thing to do was dry fit the 10” Cam-Lock track to the case. So, I disassembled the hooks and chose a spot on the back of the Pelicans to mount the track. Then I traced over the ridges that I would have to grind down to get the track to mount flush on the side of the case. After that, it was short work with the angle grinder to flatten them out. I was careful to keep the clearance in mind that the top of the hooks would need to slide CIMG2650around on the track. If the track was mounted too high, the hinges there would keep the hooks from being able to use the whole track. The case may look funny right now, but the track will cover most of that up. 

If the grinding on the $60 cases made you nervous, drilling holes in the case isn’t going to be easy for you, I know it wasn’t easy for me to do, but that is indeed the next step and it had to be done. The CIMG2653tracks need two holes to mount to the case, one bolt at each end of the track.

The bolts included with the kit were not long enough to fit through the thick walls of the Pelican case. I was able to find longer bolts  at the local mega hardware store that fit the stock metric square nuts that fit in the track. Along with the bolts, I purchased two different rubber washers (large and small) to keep the water from entering my case through the bolt holes and a larger set of fender washers to help distribute the weight across a larger area.

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040After the whole thing was assembled, I did a little happy dance and went out to the garage to test it. It worked! Okay, not that well- but that was mostly due to the cheap rack I still had on the bike from Plan A (that had been cut up a bit mind you.) So I did a little more searching and found the rack that would work the best with my hooks. That is, fat tubes to hook on to and the longest platform I could find (because my commuter bike has the back wheel really forward and I have big feet, I needed to get the cases set back to prevent heel-strike, where your heel hits the pannier because of insufficient clearance.) As a bonus, it also fit better because it was wider, being made for a tandem bicycle and as I learned that's the width my rear mounts required for some reason.

Arkel Cam-Locks in Action

001I took my pannier with me to the store just to make sure the shoe fit. Like a glove- er, shoe! Sold. I mounted it up and clipped on the case. Then I made little stops or as I call them for some reason, indexes, out of hose claps around strips of old inner tubes on the top rail there. They keep the case from sliding forward while riding and make it easy to clamp the whole thing on in the right spot every time.

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To top the whole thing off, I purchased some black 3M reflective stickers and cut them up to not only look ultra cool, but add to my night-time visibility.


My bike may not feel like a race car with these thing on, but it sure does haul ass! There weight isn’t a big deal so far (with the cases at just over 6lbs each empty, total weight is under 20lbs on most days.) Yeah, it takes a little extra effort up hills, but you get it back on the down slope. The most noticeable drag seems to come from high winds, but even that isn’t horrible. The capacity? HEEE-YOUUUUGE! Since the original planning of this project, I don’t have the need to carry my laptop normally, so I find myself putting my cheap backpack in one side (with all work stuff and related) and the other side has my change of clothes (and a small bag with ID Badge, keys, belt, wallet, related pocket goodies) with plenty room leftover for a bag-o-breakfast. This arrangement is working well. I have my backpack for everyday use, then when I’m ready to bike to work, I just toss it in and go. Then when I get there, I take the other case with me to the change room and swap clothes.

I’m so happy with the project so far, I’m already working on design upgrades for 2.0, but that’ll be another article :-)

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Down Time by William

We don’t ever really have down time, but if we do have time where much is not going on, we got something going on.
Today, we are going to modify some Dull Pencils, to Sharp Pencils. All in the eye of the beholder.

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