Welcome! I am an engineer, programmer, designer, and gentleman. You may be interested in some of my electrical and mechanical projects. Take everything you read here with a grain of salt and remember to wear your safety glasses.

3D-Printed Organizer Bins for Crimp Terminals

3D-printed bins, in black PLA, keep a larger variety of parts organized.

I recently needed to crimp some right-angle “flag”-style quick-disconnect terminals, which meant buying yet another crimp tool (turns out you can't use the same one you use for straight terminals) and yet more small parts, which of course have to be kept organized. To replace the various disconnected organizers I was using for this type of part I purchased a 15-inch Flambeau Merchant Box with lift-out tray, $19.99 at Orchard Supply.

I used the lift-out tray to acommodate a sheet of 1 1/8 inch Kaizen foam, a product I've used before to make drawer organizers for my office. Kaizen foam is made of layers that can be peeled from each other (but not as cleanly as you might want), so that you can draw an outline of a tool on the foam, cut straight down to the appropriate depth using a razor blade or other knife, and then hollow out the foam to that depth by digging with your fingers. This gave me a place for my crimp tools plus some room for future expansion.

Y-Axis Stop Upgrade for Prusa i3 3D Printer

The new part triggering the microswitch. Success!

Since day one of using Crystal Palace, my Reprapguru Prusa i3 V2 clone, I've been planning to fix the poor design of the y-axis stop switch. The Reprapguru design is annoying but marginally usable with careful adjustment and frequent human intervention, but after making a small bumper part on the 3D printer and screwing it to the bearing housing (all of forty minutes of effort) the problem is solved and I don't have to worry about it anymore. Not bad for a full year of irritation and procrastination!

Read more here.

Sunshine Through the Tall Grass: an Original Cocktail for Summer

Perfect for a picnic!

Although I haven't blogged about any cocktail since last July, I haven't abandoned the lab; in fact, I'm finally ready for a first: publishing an original! I've been playing with this one for months but as it's obviously a summer drink, I'm releasing it only now, when you need it the most. Herbal, bright, cold, and not so boozy you wouldn't want a few before five o'clock, Sunshine Through the Tall Grass is just right for hot weather, long days, and meals outside. Here's what you do:

  • 1 1/2 oz. gin. I used The Botanist for this, but I'm not too particular.
  • 1/2 oz. Chartreuse
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • 2–3 oz. ginger beer; I recommend Fever Tree.
  • Tarragon and lemon wheel to garnish

Fill a rocks glass with crushed ice. Place a generous bunch of tarragon leaves on the palm of one hand and slap it hard with the other. Then plant this bunch in the ice, artfully, along one side of the glass. Add gin, Chartreuse and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker full of ice cubes. Shake vigorously and strain into the glass. Top off with something like 2 to 3 oz. of ginger beer, depending on the size of your glass, how full of ice you had it, and how sweet you want this drink to be. Place a lemon wheel on the rim behind the tarragon for a sunset-through-the-grass effect.

Go ahead and try this while the weather's warm. I'd love to hear about your results and about any variations you try!

EV100 Logo Banner Update: Fixing a Background Positioning Problem In Chrome

At some point since my original post in February an update to Chrome broke the layout of the EV100 logo overlay you (should!) see on the upper-left corner of this page. Before fixing it I noticed that nothing was visible there except on the contact page, and that was because that page is short enough to not require scrolling on my display. The bug wasn't present on firefox, IE, or mobile Chrome on my Android.

A little investigation revealed that the element itself was correctly positioned but that the background image wasn't visible. Removing the fixed positioning of the background (but not the element) proved to be the solution. I replaced this:

background: url(/images/ev100logobanner.png) no-repeat fixed top right;

With this:

background: url(/images/ev100logobanner.png) no-repeat;

I don't exactly understand what changed in Chrome and why this fixed it, or indeed, why I had it that way in the first place. Any explanations are welcome!

Reprap Guru Prusa i3 3D Printer Update: Fixing a Z-Axis Problem

Plastic dust from the spinning nut on one of the couplers.

I recently fixed another problem with my 3D printer: damage to the z-axis caused by unsecured wires getting in the way of the z-axis limit switch. This caused the nuts to turn entirely out of their housing as the printer reached zero mechanically but couldn't trigger the limit switch to turn the motors off. Read more about the fix here. This is another reason I need to get back to the task of making cable chains and other wire management features to make this printer a little cleaner and better contained.

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