There are three basic types of timing lights available. The first is a simple neon bulb with two wire connections (one for the spark plug and one for the plug wire, connecting the light in series). This type of light is quite dim, and must be held closely to the marks to be seen, but is quite inexpensive. The second type of light operated from the car’s battery. Two alligator clips connect to the battery terminals, while a third wire connects to the spark plug with an adapter. This type of light is more expensive, but the xenon bulb provides a nice bright flash, which can even be seen in sunlight. The third type replaces the battery source with 110-volt house current, but still attaches to the No. 1 spark plug wire in order to determine when the plug is fired. Some timing lights have other functions built into them, such as dwell meters, tachometers, or remote starting switches. These are convenient, in that they reduce the tangle of wires under the hood, but may duplicate the function of the tools you already have.
My ideas reflect my experiences with things mechanical. I grew up around “motor-heads” and was inspired to take things apart and putting it back together to see how they work. I wanted to know how fix my bike, then it grew into wanted to know how to fix my car. Aside from the inconvenience of not being able to move from “A to B” quickly I wanted to learn from them if they were broken.
I open the hood of my car these days with the same curiosity as a kid, but as an artist the mechanical components have become the core of the subject matter in my work. With a background in painting and drawing I was drawn to printmaking mainly because of the presses. I like to create images using an-indirect art-making process like printmaking because the process of analyzing my ideas reveals the fundamental elements within my compositions. I chose to work with techniques such as printmaking because of the machine-oriented operation in the process of developing a print. However, I get a lot of satisfaction from the direct tool to surface experience that comes with painting as well as the physicality of the paint. I am attracted to the print mediums ability to take a concept apart and put back together. I like to call it “to build and to re-build”. The hand-operated gear driven presses keep me connected to the print in a way that is direct and physical. The understanding of how the image develops not only registers with my eyes, but with my hands and the sense of touch. These senses trigger the most vivid memories of being curious about how things work.
Thomas Lucas 2010