Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

My adventures in Silksceening – Part 1

Friday, September 21st, 2012

The Motivation

It’s nice to have a souvenir when I come back from vacation: a shot glass, a knick-knack, a T-shirt; a little reminder helps the trip last longer in my mind.

On my last vacation, I realized how much buying souvenirs grates on my diy sensibilites. I wanted a T-Shirt, but I didn’t want what they were selling. I wanted something simple. I wanted the design I had unconsciously completed in my head.

Something clicked. I decided that instead spending $20 on a $5 cookie-cutter T-shirt, I would make my own shirt as soon as I got home.
(more…)

flattr this!

10-Pin offset header for Arduino

Friday, June 15th, 2012

A few years ago, I started making offset headers for the Arduino. These headers allow you to make shields using standard-spaced perfboard, by correcting the shift of that one strangely-placed Arduino header.

With the introduction of the Leonardo, The Arduino team kept the shift of the header, but added two pins to it.

Too keep up in this offset header arms race, I ordered some 10-pin headers and modified my fabrication process to accept the two extra pins. I expect these to find their way into the hands of fine retailers over the next couple of months.

flattr this!

Ladder Golf Construction Tricks

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Spring is here, and that means it’s time to prepare for summer parties. If you’re me, that means making a ladder golf set. It seems like every year I’m making another one, the previous-year’s set having been gifted or left somewhere.

Over the years I’ve picked up a few tricks, and this time around I finally remembered to document them.
(more…)

flattr this!

DIY Custom Heating Element

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012


A few years ago I made a BBQ smoke generator. I was fairly happy with the design, but felt that for the “next time” I would make a few changes.

One of my main issues was the size. I really wanted to make it smaller, but I didn’t want to pay for a small cartridge heater.

It occurred to me a couple of days ago that I might be able to modify a stock toaster-oven heating element to make a smaller heater. If I cut out a small section and drove it at a proportionally smaller voltage, I wondered, could I get a small heater with the same temperature as the big boy? It turns out that the answer is yes.
(more…)

flattr this!

Knitting

Friday, March 2nd, 2012


It’s been a busy few months.  Between the osPID and my day job, it’s been pretty hectic.  Somehow, in the middle of it all, I decided to learn how to knit.
(more…)

flattr this!

Collapsible Knitting Needle

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

I needed a break. I’ve been working hard on the osPID for several months, and I just needed to not look at code or control algorithms for a little bit. Nothing says “break” like an out-of-left-field project.


I only started knitting recently. Something that’s been bothering me about it is the length of the needles. They’re 14″ long, and I’ve been worried they’ll be bent while riding in my backpack.

It occurred to me that some sort of collapsible needle might be useful in this situation. Taking my inspiration from elastic tent poles, I got to work on my “not PID” project.
(more…)

flattr this!

Introducing the osPID

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

About 5 months ago I sent an out-of-the-blue email to RocketScream electronics asking if they wanted to help me build an open source PID controller. It’s been far more challenging than I expected, but today I get to announce the release of my first open source hardware project: the osPID!

(pause for applause)

(more…)

flattr this!

A Proper Multi-Color Print

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

I’ve played around with printing multiple colors using a single extruder, but by and large all the multi-color action was restricted to a single layer. There’s a good reason for this: every color change takes time, and having 2 or more colors run throughout the part would require a color change ON EVERY LAYER.

But I had to try. I had a great idea: a fairly understated bottle opener with different color text embedded on each side. To the uninitiated it’s a neat little thing, but to people who know 3D printing its a: “wait, what? how did you do that?”

Well, here’s “how I did that.” It took a LOT of time. I didn’t call it “The Saturday Killer” for nothing.
(more…)

flattr this!

Three-Color 3D Print

Friday, September 30th, 2011

I’ve been making bottle openers for friends, and I recently struck upon the perfect design for my friend Matt. For some reason, he still pines for a hockey team that left our home state in 1997 (THEN won the Stanley Cup.) His opener got a Whalers Logo:

Up to this point, all my openers have been single color. But combine the fact that I’m jealous of the new dual extruder with the fact that Matt was my Best Man, and I decided that this time I would go the extra mile.

The procedure was straight-forward, and a huge pain in the butt:

  • First I printed a blank opener in the base color
  • Then I adjusted the Z-Height of the Thingomatic by 5.76mm (the height of the opener base)
  • When I switched the color to blue and printed the tail, the printer deposited the plastic on the white base as if it were the build platform
  • After switching colors AGAIN, I printed the W and the opener was done

This was a fairly simple multi-color design, but by breaking up the model ahead of time, this technique could be used for any part.

flattr this!

Making a Custom Bottle Opener

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

I recently posted an improved bottle opener design to Thingiverse. Unlike the mighty bottle opener, this is one that I’m proud to give out, and people are happy to receive.

Because I did the model in OpenSCAD, it turns out to be really easy to create personal, one-of-a-kind gifts for my friends. In this post I’ll go through the steps I took to make an opener for my friend deWit. He skis, and he’s pretty good:

Ok, maybe he’s really good. Anyway, this has been my favorite skiing picture since it was taken a few years back. I thought it might be nice to capture some of this awesomeness in opener form.
(more…)

flattr this!