Modifying/Upgrading a DP Ultra Gympac

On August 15th I bought the DP Ultra Gympac, a piece of fitness equipment from the mid-80s.

It was missing some of the original parts, but it had the weight stack and pulley system, which are what I cared about. I had made my own pulley system, but I’ve been fighting with it for several months. Having something dedicated with it’s own weight stack was going to be a big improvement. Here’s what the equipment looked like when I got it home.

This awesome machine was sold at Sears for $499.99 back in the day!

I paid $100 for this one and it also came with a small barbell and weights, which I’ll sell. The unit did need some work. I moved the bench and curl attachment to storage because I don’t plan to use them. Then I disassembled the unit. Most of the weight stack plates had cracks. By a stroke of luck, I came across a Facebook Marketplace listing for 14 of the same weights and I paid $25.

The base of the Gympac had quite a mess where something nasty had spilled a very long time ago. I got that taken care of and cleaned the pulleys really well. The main top and bottom pieces got fresh black paint. I bought new cotter pins for the pulleys, replaced nuts and bolts, added washers and made a cable. The hardest part of the rebuild was replacing the guide rails with longer ones to allow more travel length for the cable. A couple of eight foot pieces of 1″ aluminum square tubing ran me about $30 and I drilled holes for the various bolts. On my bandsaw I cut the original logo out of the cracked plastic case.

Making room required a big reorganization of my gym space. After that I moved the unit in place, put everything together, and bolted it to the wall. The final touch was labeling the weights. I wasn’t confident in the numbers on the original stickers, so I bought a small luggage scale and sure enough, everything had previously been labeled six pounds too heavy. I made some new labels.

I love it! The great thing is it only uses about two and a half square feet of floor space. Rethinking the entire organization of the gym space ended up making the rest of my equipment a lot more accessible as well. This was a really fun project. If you have a garage gym and some extra space, try to find one of these.

% Better/Worse

This showed up in my Facebook memories this morning and I quickly shared it.


Then I thought about it for a minute and the scale on the chart seemed out of whack, so I deleted the post. I opened up a Google spreadsheet and started messing with numbers. Here’s what a real chart looks like if you improve by 1% each day.


What does this really show though? If the starting number 1 represents your current ability in some skill, the end result is your ability in that skill. So if you improved by 1% each day, at the end of a year your skill level would be over 37x what it currently is. Conversely if you got 1% worse each day, at the end of a year you’d be left with about 2.5% of your original ability. I can’t think of any skill where either that much of an improvement or decline is possible by any stretch of the imagination.

What about 0.1% changes though?


If you got 0.1% better each day for a year, your skill level would improve by 44% and if you got 0.1% worse each day you’d be left with just under 70% of your ability. Now we’re getting somewhere realistic!

It’s still hard to grasp what that means though, with 1 representing some ability or skill level. To put this in perspective, I’ll use the time it takes to run a mile. Starting with a 10 minute mile on day one makes it easy to understand.

If you run 1% faster each day, you’d have to run a 15.5 second mile at the end of the year. Good luck!

If you run 0.1% faster each day, you’d be running a mile in 6:56 at the end of the year. That’s seems possible doesn’t it?

Pringles Can Improvement

Pringles® are very user-friendly potato chips. They’re fun to eat and addicting. I have an issue with the can though. Once you eat half of the chips, getting at the rest can be messy, unless you pour them in a bowl.

Each can should have some kind of simple spring mechanism that pushes up the bottom as you eat chips. Or how cool would it be if you could peel away layers of the can as you go deeper in the stack of chips?

It would be amazing if the next chip was always at the top of the can.

Master Your Goals

Really wanting to be a better you and not caring about other idiots is the only way to continuously improve and never quit. It isn’t a lifelong process. It’s life itself! Be the best you can be by constantly beating yourself.

Oystein Jensen

Never Settle

Today I attended an UnPresenting workshop because I’d like to get comfortable in front of a crowd so I can be a speaker at WordCamps. When it was my turn to talk in front of the others I mentioned “I never want to settle.” It drew an interesting reaction.

As I’ve thought about it the rest of the day I was reminded of a post I wrote in 2004, titled Being Satisfied. Be sure to read the comment from my friend Lindsay, which is excellent. Many of the things I wrote about in that post are still goals today. A few things have changed.

If I were writing that post today, I wouldn’t mention money or a new job. When I worked for SVSU, money was a motivator because I didn’t enjoy what I was doing and there wasn’t any place to advance to. A higher salary was advancement.

Today I have a job I love. I’m motivated to make great products for our users, help my coworkers, and improve my skills. You might be thinking, “Isn’t that settling for your job?” Not at all. There isn’t another company in the world I would rather work for and I love the role I have. However, I will not settle for my performance. There are many things I have to learn and I can always get better at doing my job.

Do you settle?

Self Improvement

I’ve written about being satisfied before and some of my recent posts have hinted at at the fact that I’m not satisfied with myself. In the last couple of weeks I’ve started more changes in my life than at any other time. I’ve attempted to make similar self improvements before and always ended up reverting to my old ways. This time is much different. I’m 100% committed this time around and I’m feeling great.

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.


If we aren’t happy with life we have no one to blame but ourselves. There comes a point when you realise this and make the necessary changes. Self improvement can be one of the most gratifying feelings in the world. Step back and look at your self in the mirror. What are you disappointed with? What can you change? How are you going to change it?

My changes:

  • Exercise on a daily basis.
  • Eat healthier.
  • Drink more water.
  • Take better care of my teeth by brushing more often (with a great Oral-B Triumph toothbrush), using mouthwash, and buying products that contain Xylitol.
  • Made an appointment with a doctor to talk about my sleeping problems.
  • Moved to a safer part of town which also means a shorter drive to work and area stores.

What are you going to do?

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