Entries in Category Engineering and Inventions

Link Dump, February 2017

I think I'll try something new and share some items recently interesting to me in the form of a link dump.

  • Last year I followed with great interest youtube machinist Clickspring as he made a mechanical pendulum-timed clock from scratch in his home shop in Australia. This year he begins an ambitious new project, documenting in a series of videos his process of replicating the ancient mechanical computer known as the Antikythera mechanism. Here's the first episode:
  • Neal Stephenson (one of my favorite authors) has announced, with Nicole Galland, a new Speculative Fiction novel featuring time-travel, the Victorian era, and a transition from a world in which magic works to one dominated by technology. The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. will be on sale June 13.
  • There's a nice infrared thermometer made by Etekcity for sale at Amazon as of this writing. Even if you don't have any specific need for convenient no-contact temperature measurement, it's a great way to get an intuitive sense of heat transfer and great fun to point at everything you can think of.
  • Speaking of tools for STEM education, there's a project that makes it easy to enable visual programming environment Scratch, popular for teaching grade-school kids to code, to receive input from and pass control signals to things in the real world via Arduino. Scratch 4 Arduino is remarkably mature and easy to get going with.
  • In fact, I'm using it myself to build a system of musical swings (inspired by this traveling exhibit) that will be programmed by a talented student at a local school. Watch this space for more by the end of the month!

Birthday LED Lights, with Birch Bark, Brass, and Laser-cut Acrylic

This summer I built a series of LED lamps to take the place of birthday candles for four of my family. There's 175 candle-flicker LEDs in all! Watch a video of the result on youtube:

I also added a page describing the process of making these to my projects page. Click here to read more!

Introduction to 3D Design

Who wants to join me in the future? I'll be teaching an introductory CAD course at Hacklab North Boynton on Monday nights from 7 till 9. The price is $25 per session or $140 for all six. You'll learn to design your own parts suitable for 3d printing, machining, or any other process. All you need is a laptop and a mouse.

Our first session is this Monday, January 18th. We'll meet again on the 25th and on February 1st, 8th, 22nd, and 29th.

See you there!

Update, January 18: Hacklab North Boynton has postponed the future! But only by one week! Sign up and join me next Monday, January 25, instead. Thank you for your patience.

Lasercut Storage Bins

I have a small workshop space in a spare bedroom at home. Like many people that work in small shops I try to find ingenious ways to use every part of the buffalo. My latest improvements are some laser-cut plywood storage bins for small tools and parts, designed to mount to the sides of the hutch over my electronics workbench.

Macro Photography Light Tent, Mk.2

I've upgraded my light tent for macro photography yet again. I reused most of the PVC components from the Mk.1 design but replaced some of the pipes to make the tent wider; I had sometimes been limited that way with the original design. I'm keeping this one at the office instead of at home and wanted to be able to accommodate one of the 23-inch wide patch panels I've designed, which requires a significantly wider light tent.

Upgraded frame on IKEA table

I designed the Mk.2 around some left-over IKEA GALANT parts we had in the office, which yielded a table 47.5 inches wide and 31.5 inches deep. I bought some M10-threaded caster wheels and screwed them into the bottom of the GALANT legs to make the table mobile for ease of re-configuring my office area.

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