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Things you can make yourself

Cassette Tape case for SD Cards

There’s nothing like housing your modern technology in the façade of old technology. This is a small laser cut box that can hold up to 8 full-sized SD flash cards. There is a small living spring that will hold the lid shut when it’s bouncing around in your bag. You can open the box from either side. With Christmas coming up, this would make great easy to make gift. I know I’ll be making a set of them. This holder is the second generation of a SD card box, the original version was not nearly as...

posted @ Sunday, December 11, 2011 10:47 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ DIY Laser ]

Simple Hack: 3D to 2D glasses

Here is another simple hack for all of you that dislike 3d movies, converting 2 pairs of 3d glasses into 2 pairs of 2D glasses is quite easy. These glasses will make 3d movies look like regular 2d movies while you are wearing them. First a quick recap: most 3d glasses use differently polarized plastic lenses to filter the 2 images projected on a 3d screen into your two eyes. However you can swap lenses around to make sure the same image goes into both eyes. However this method only works with the “cheap” plastic 3d glasses,...

posted @ Thursday, April 21, 2011 12:07 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ DIY Simple Hacks ]

Simple Hack: Fixing Tripod Slide

Simple hacks is a short series of posts I’ve been meaning to do about simple tricks and alternative uses for things I’ve accumulated over the last year and documented. I’ll be trying to post one every couple of days. Some of them you may be aware of, or seem very simple, but they've all saved me time and aggravation over the last year. Simple Hack 1: Fixing a friction style tripod slide column My main photo and video tripod, the Manfrotto 7258 has a friction type center post. It’s great because it’s quick to adjust and set it...

posted @ Tuesday, April 19, 2011 1:56 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ DIY Simple Hacks ]

A t2i / 550D Magic Lantern firmware Alpha is Now Available!

Trammel Hudson of Magic Lantern fame has started porting the custom Magic Lantern firmware to the cannon t2i / 550D. So for it seems to be an alpha release,  but I suspect that things will start moving more quickly now. In this first release the only new features appear to be audio monitoring and lens info, but that is a great start. In my opinion the poor audio quality of the t2i is in my opinion the biggest flaw the camera has right now. With manual audio control and a little skill, I think the t2i could be used to shoot feature...

posted @ Monday, August 02, 2010 2:01 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ DIY Tech Photos Commentary ]

Using Hobby RC parts in DIY projects

I’m always happy when I find a new kind of part that is cheap and easy to use with DIY electronics projects or robotics, the more standardized the better. There’s a whole world of smart electronics and helper things in the hobby and remote control world that are great for robots and other things. You probably already know that hobby servos are easy to control from any microcontroller like the arduino, but there are a bunch of other things that are just as easy to use. Generic motor controllers, battery systems are also equally as useful, but are sometimes hard to sort...

posted @ Saturday, June 05, 2010 2:29 AM | Feedback (3) | Filed Under [ DIY Tech Robotics ]

Testing Jansen Walker Version 3

  Over the last week I’ve been working on the next version of the Jansen Walker, this will be the 3rd release. The goal is to make it much easier to assemble, faster, and 1/3rd larger using 3mm (1/8in) material. The biggest change is that instead of using modified servos, which seem to scare a lot of people off, use geared motors which are about the same price. That will make the electronics side easier, perhaps slightly more expensive depending on your controls.   The new version will use the Tamiya Twin-Motor Gearbox, that has a good 203:1 ratio that is ideal...

posted @ Monday, February 15, 2010 3:03 PM | Feedback (1) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser Robotics ]

Laser Toy Blocks

For Christmas this year I made some custom toy blocks with friends and family initials. The blocks were cut from square wood stock into 1.25in cubes. The stock I used was indented for banisters, and had peg ends, but they were easily cut off. I made a batch of both Oak and Fir. Oak turned out fine, and is what is pictured here. The Fir blocks came out with a more slightly more desirable finish since the end grain was more smooth after sanding.   Setup First I taped down a...

posted @ Saturday, February 06, 2010 1:26 AM | Feedback (1) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

The “Cheap and Easy” Photo Backdrop

Every now and then everyone needs to take a photo of something small, there’s an easy (and cheap!) way to get a great looking photo with a white background. As soon as you see the technique, it’s hard to forget, it’s a plain white poster board propped up against a wall or whatever you have handy. Fill your camera’s view with the poster board and take the photo. For lighting you’ll need a reflected flash or some bright lights, but that is not the focus of this article. I’ll soon do an article on my...

posted @ Monday, January 11, 2010 12:50 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Photos ]

Holiday Post-mortem

The holidays are a undoubtedly a a big cost every year for me, but this year I decided to try something different, I wanted to make all my gifts, or give things that are new but unused. My quest was a success, I effectively bought no new packaged items. I did buy some raw materials, but no packaged things. Thingiverse.com was a big help, and I also produced a few things I designed, including: Earphone Holder by 4volt Gothic Bookends by 4volt Little Business Card Stand by oomlout DIY iPhone stand... by...

posted @ Monday, January 04, 2010 1:26 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Thing: Earphone holder (folding style)

For Christmas this year I’ll be giving out inexpensive things I’ve cut with my laser, here’s one of the original designs I’ve come up with, a small holder for earbud style earphones. Other earphone winder designs make you wrap your chord around and around until you’ve wrapped the whole chord. That way is pretty aquard, and I never end up using them. It really is quite a bit faster to “fold” then to “loop”. This winder/holder is designed for that with a hook on one side, and a strap in the middle. Although, you can still wrap them the other way...

posted @ Friday, December 18, 2009 2:31 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Making a $1,000 laser into a $10,000 laser

      If you follow this blog you’ll know I do a lot of stuff with my cheap $1,000 dollar Chinese laser engraver/cutter. I’ve had it for almost a year, and I think I can clearly define all it’s shortcomings. Cutting area is small (8x8in) Controller software is poor Laser power control is manual Poor ventilation for fumes Poor/no laser cooling system Not very fast with engraving tasks Keeping all those things in mind, I’ve decided to start planning a re-build of my laser using...

posted @ Tuesday, November 17, 2009 11:57 AM | Feedback (1) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Project: Gothic Architecture Bookends

  With the glorious re-launching of my laser, I broke it in with a new design. This is a design meant mostly for small books and is inspired by Gothic Architecture. This is a design meant mostly for small books and is inspired by Gothic Architecture, inspiration drawn from Cologne Cathedral, and Church of St Barbara Kutna Hora. There are several flying buttress and the "windows" are done in the style of a Flamboyant arch. The small gargoyles are designed after the hunched Notre Dame gargoyles. Lately I've been doing mostly mechanical projects, there satisfying to build, but usually very time consuming....

posted @ Wednesday, September 23, 2009 9:19 AM | Feedback (1) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Laser GO!

  After a few weeks of having a broken laser, I received my replacement laser power supply and installed it last night. I emailed a few sellers on eBay that sold similar looking laser engravers with pictures of the fried parts, and I was able to fine someone that happened to have a spare and ships from the US. I was a bit worried about screwing something up, the red power lead you see coming out of the transformer is soldered directly to the laser tube’s terminal. Connecting the new lead was a bit cumbersome with limited space,...

posted @ Tuesday, September 15, 2009 11:35 AM | Feedback (1) | Filed Under [ DIY Laser ]

Hex Toy 3mm –or- 1/8in

If you are not familiar the Hex Toy is a laser cut building toy, the edge notches fit together to make abstract shapes. Here’s a new version made specifically made for 3mm and 1/8th in plastic. The notches are larger, and the peices themselves are larger too. The feel is much more substantial. Check out the Hex Connectors project page for more detail and to download the new design.

posted @ Thursday, June 25, 2009 12:16 AM | Feedback (2) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Father’s Day Gift – Laser Etched Journal

In the past there’s been a lot of talk about laser etched/cut moleskine blank books, but it’s come to attention that the PVC outer layer is very toxic when vaporized. On the other hand, real leather bound journals are great for engraving on and make a great Father’s day gift. This isn’t really a new idea, but it’s great in context of Father’s Day. I chose an image from “Ernst Haeckel: Kunstformen der Natur” It has fantastic and artfully hand drawn illustrations of various plant and sea life, and better yet, is in public domain....

posted @ Monday, June 15, 2009 11:28 PM | Feedback (2) | Filed Under [ DIY Art Laser ]

DIY 3 Stage Air Filter

Here are my plans for a 3 stage filter, it has a rough filter, a fine filter, and a tray of activated carbon. It uses standard 14x20in home filters and bathroom ventilation fans for suction. The cost is about $50, not including filters. It’s good for dust, smoke, and fumes at about 100 CFM. It’s great for my shop. To start you’ll need: 2 – 24x48x0.5in plywood sheets 1 – 4ft 2x4 board 2 – 8ft 2x2 boards Screws or nails 2 Bathroom style ventilation fans ...

posted @ Tuesday, June 09, 2009 10:13 PM | Feedback (2) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Follow up: Rapid prototyping with sugar and lasers

My last post was about rapid prototyping with sugar and lasers, it turned out well, but the result is really only 2d. Although with some supporting hardware I think it has great potential for making full 3d objects. Soon I will be testing a 3d object with finer sugar, but the first step is to get all the 2d layers of a 3d object and semi-manually building up the object layer by layer. After some research I found Skeinforge, a collection of python tools for slicing and creating g-code for 3d printers like the RepRap and Makerbot. I downloaded the version...

posted @ Monday, June 01, 2009 11:15 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Cheap Laser Engraved Keychain Tags

I was looking for inexpensive things to engrave at the local department store and came across these cool “Key Tags”. They are a thick paper chip with an aluminum protecting ring around them with a keychain ring already inserted. The Avery 11027 pack has 25 in it for about $3.50. It turns out these are perfect for engraving on and handing out as trinkets, the paper chips mark easily, but are thick enough that a low laser power setting doesn't instantly cut though them.   I...

posted @ Thursday, May 28, 2009 9:10 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Using the Minimal Arduino

Todbot has posted an excellent tutorial on how to setup and use the minimal Arduino, which is the bare minimum you need to run a ATmega chip and the Arduino bootloader. Todd goes into detail about how to get the bootloader onto the chip as well as how to setup the Arduino environment to use it. Even if your not interested in building an Arduino from scratch, It’s a good read if you are interested in the technical aspects of what makes the Arduino work. http://todbot.com/blog/2009/05/26/minimal-arduino-with-atmega8/

posted @ Wednesday, May 27, 2009 8:47 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ DIY Tech Robotics ]

Rubber Coating Laser-cut Plastic Parts

When building the Jansen Walker I coated the feet for better traction, I didn't go into much detail then but I wanted to show the whole process here. Laser cut acrylic parts are pretty slippery, especially on hard surfaces and fabrics. For parts that need good traction, like legs and wheels, it’s nice to have a little extra something. I used plasti-dip, it’s a rubberizing dip that’s designed for dipping tool handles and it works great with laser cut acrylic.   I used 3 coats and dried them hanging up, the tricky part is hanging them...

posted @ Sunday, May 24, 2009 10:18 PM | Feedback (1) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

John Aho’s 3rd PSCombine Set

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything PSCombine related, if you are not familiar here is a short blurb: PSCombine is a program that will import your collection of images or photos and randomly combine them in Photoshop with a random blending, opacity, and filters. I like to think of it as "Computer Assisted Art". It’s free to use, all you need is photoshop, go check out the PSCombine project page for more detail. If you have a PSCombine gallery let me know, I would love to see it. John...

posted @ Friday, May 22, 2009 9:15 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ DIY Art Photos ]

Stripping a Scanner for Parts (in 10 minutes)

I’m starting on a project that I’ll be using stepping motors and belts, and after looking for cheap parts online, I thought I could do better by stripping down some old scanners. People are excited to get rid of there old computer stuff, the great thing is it doesn't matter if the old scanner works. Even if it doesn't turn on likely the motor and mechanical parts are still good for salvage. I posted a ad on Portland’s craigslist in the wanted section and got several responses, in a week I had a bunch of scanners for free, I only...

posted @ Wednesday, May 20, 2009 9:35 PM | Feedback (10) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Tech Robotics ]

Adam’s Jansen Walker

Adam so far has been the first to complete a Jansen Walker and it looks very sharp. This is a build of Beta 2, which includes 3 pairs of legs on each side which looks awesome. He also implements it with a Seguino which is also a first. It sounds like Adam is still working on one of the servos, but there is a video available at: http://vimeo.com/4739602 Edit: Adam has uploaded a new video with better walking action: http://vimeo.com/4739602 If you have finished a walker, or know someone who has, I would love to hear about it, send me an email. In other...

posted @ Wednesday, May 20, 2009 8:49 AM | Feedback (2) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Ikea Hack: Home Wiring Cabinet

Last year while remodeling our house, I took the opportunity to wire up the whole house with cat5e Ethernet wire, as well as coaxial cable to every room, and some lower quality wire for security to each door and window. Some people think Ethernet is unnecessary with wireless access points and cards being so inexpensive, it’s great to have around, but for permanent (non-mobile) devices I much prefer a wired connection, so I decided to wire the whole house up. One problem is where to source all the wires to, there ends up being quite a few. A commercial enclosure is big...

posted @ Monday, May 18, 2009 12:32 AM | Feedback (3) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY ]

Laser Cut Calipers

Here are plans for a simple caliper, handy to have around the shop for measuring thickness and diameters. Anytime I can build something that helps me build something else I am always pleased. The plans should be as accurate as your cutter or printer is, I actually used this project as a calibration for my laser. If you don't have a laser you can print the PDF and glue the paper down to any flat material and cut it by hand. In the case of a laser, I engraved the markings and painted them, then sanded off the extra...

posted @ Monday, May 11, 2009 11:35 PM | Feedback (3) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Jansen Walker Beta 2

I’m releasing the plans for the beta 2 of the Jansen Walker, Improvements include: 3 pairs of leg on each side instead of 2 A drop-in platform for the center Several other small improvements Improved building plans. Check out the Jansen Walker project page for all the files and plans.

posted @ Monday, May 04, 2009 1:00 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser Robotics ]

Functional Papercraft: The Laser Cut Takeout Box

In the past I designed and posted the Functional Papercraft: Folded Box, this project in that same vein. This box is perfect for carrying stuff with it’s built in handle, which is surprisingly strong. It also makes a good gift box. This copy of the container is cut from a 8x8in of paper area, and when folded is 2x2x4, big enough for small trinkets. The design can easily be scaled up to hold bigger items, all you would have to do is printing out the design larger. Check out the projects page for more details and downloadable files on the...

posted @ Thursday, April 30, 2009 12:03 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Laser Engraving with Highlight Paint

Last week I posted about a coin that I laser engraved and enhanced with some paint, but did not post step by step instructions. With a recent project for Midnight Research Labs, I had a chance to take some more pictures. I engraved the coin in the regular way and then painted over the whole sheet with a standard acrylic spray-paint.   After the paint dried over night I used a random-orbital sander to sand off the excess paint. I also sanded the back sides of the coin so the back finish matches the front...

posted @ Tuesday, April 28, 2009 7:46 PM | Feedback (4) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Art Laser ]

Fail Whale Stencil

For the most of Monday my ISP and connection was having issues and the site was up and down all day (mostly down). In honor of the occasion I decided to make a Fail Whale stencil, something fun for the whole family for when the site goes live again. Making stencils with a laser is as easy as it sounds, the most time consuming part is making the design. This version is loosely based on the twitter's infamous fail whale. Download the Fail Whale Stencil DXF file.

posted @ Tuesday, April 28, 2009 1:33 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Art Laser ]

Jansen Walker Beta 1 Official Release

I’m officially releasing my Jansen Walker as a beta with the source files and a video! 4volt Jansen Walker Beta 1 Video Jansen Walker: An openly designed Creative Commons licensed robot. What you see here is the Beta 1 version of the walker, a laser-cut robot, based on the Jansen Mechanism. It has 8 legs and scuttles similar to a crab walking sideways. The brain is a Arduino, and the legs are powered by 2 micro-servos modified for continuous rotation. If you would like to buy a kit of just the plastic in its current state, check out the...

posted @ Sunday, April 19, 2009 2:24 AM | Feedback (2) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Tech Laser Robotics ]

Modifying Micro Servos for Continuous Rotation

There are many ways to power your next project but I’m quite partial to the continuous rotation servo because it’s very easy to hook up to your micro controller, you don’t need to build or buy a separate controller or h-bridge to power the motor. In a servo all that is built in. All you need to do is connect the power directly to your battery and send a low-voltage control signal to tell it what you want it to do. Servos out of the box are meant to rotate in a fixed range of 180 degrees, but modifying them for...

posted @ Saturday, April 18, 2009 9:29 PM | Feedback (2) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Tech Photos Robotics ]

Jansen Walker: The story so far

Update Note: While I'm keeping this post for historical value, this post is not kept up to date with my Jansen Walker, look at the Jansen Walker project page for the latest details and plans. Original Post: If you’ve been following my posts lately I’ve been putting a bunch of my time into a robotics project that uses the Jansen mechanism for movement, if your not familiar look below for an animation. I've spent quite a bit of time on the mechanical design on this robot, maybe more then was strictly necessary since I used this opportunity to learn SolidWorks, and since...

posted @ Saturday, April 18, 2009 12:33 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Tech Laser Photos Robotics ]

Laser Cut Coin and New Marking Technique

I took a break from my Jansen Walker project to do a few other smaller projects, and one of them was this membership coin for a Lovecraft board game a few of my friends have been playing. The coin says “Secret Society of Arkham” and has a little icon of Cthulhu. Getting text on laser cut acrylic is hard to see unless you are looking at a specific angle, and kind of leaves something to be desired. I wanted distinct black engraving on the acrylic. My new technique involves engraving the item, painting the whole part, then after...

posted @ Thursday, April 16, 2009 11:50 AM | Feedback (1) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Papercraft Folded Box Generator

Zignig from Thingiverse posted a python script called "Parametric Papercraft" that will draw boxes of any size based on my folded box design. It’s a cool idea that I highly recommend checking out.  

posted @ Wednesday, April 15, 2009 10:59 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ DIY Tech Code ]

Laser Cut Gears 2

I spent most of last night designing the gears that will link the servo to the drive train on my Jansen walker, I'm hoping that a 1:1 ratio will be okay, the servos are surprisingly strong for how small they are. I used a playing card as my test material, they are stronger are more ridged then cardstock. The hardest part of the design was getting the teeth on the inside of the servo gear just right, I wanted to just slip the gear onto the servo horn and have the teeth grip the ridges that are on the horn...

posted @ Thursday, April 09, 2009 10:04 AM | Feedback (1) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser Robotics ]

New Laser-cut Business Card

I went to the first MAKE:PDX meeting on Sunday and decided I should have some business cards to give out, so I whipped these up really quick. I’m able to cut 10 of these from one standard piece of letter-sized cardstock. I was pleased at how thin I was able to get the stencil markings on the letters to be, when you see the card your don’t immediately think the letters are stencil-cut. I suppose if one were more vandalism-oriented then I am, one could use the card to spray-paint the 4volt logo all around...

posted @ Tuesday, April 07, 2009 10:35 AM | Feedback (2) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Jansen Walker Post 4: First Prototype

Update Note: While I'm keeping this post for historical value, this post is not kept up to date with my Jansen Walker, look at the Jansen Walker project page for the latest details and plans. Original Post: So I updated my plans make a medium sized version and fired up my laser cutter. This version is about 5 by 4 inches and seems like a happy medium in terms of size. I think I'll be able to use 2mm plexi-glass for the material, though I managed to break several parts while I was separating them from the sheet. I suspect that...

posted @ Saturday, April 04, 2009 7:56 PM | Feedback (3) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser Robotics ]

Jansen Walker Post 3

Update Note: While I'm keeping this post for historical value, this post is not kept up to date with my Jansen Walker, look at the Jansen Walker project page for the latest details and plans. Original Post: I’ve put a little bit of more time into my natural gearing walker, and got a few things done. Here is an animation of the quad-leg assembly, I plan on putting one of these assemblies on each side of the walker. I’m still on the ropes about what type of motor to power the movement, I've been leaning towards continuous rotation servos, that would...

posted @ Monday, March 30, 2009 1:21 AM | Feedback (2) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Robotics ]

Flashing the PSP with alternative firmware

The sony PSP (pay station portable) is a great piece of hardware, a nice big screen with a decent processing power along with a some good controls and a fair amount of software features right out of the box. In my opinion the biggest competitor to the PSP is the iPhone and the iPod touch, though there are not directly equivalent. The problem with the stock firmware is that it’s locked to sony signed apps, running an alternative firmware will let you run homebrew code. There’s a plethora of conflicting info on how to flash the psp, There...

posted @ Tuesday, March 24, 2009 6:39 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Tech ]

Electric Pickle Experiment

Here’s an experiment my brother and I did a while back, involving high voltage and pickles. The setup is an electrical cord stripped, and wrapped around two nails. The nails are the terminals that transfer the electricity into the pickle(s).   For safety the modified cord is taped down to the work surface and plugged into a power strip with a isolated switch and fuse. This allows some safety (the 15A fuse) and control (the switch) that we used to start and stop the experiment.   Immediately after switching the power on, the pickle lights up with a flickering pattern. One side of...

posted @ Monday, March 23, 2009 9:11 PM | Feedback (5) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY ]

Howto: Hotwire a PC power supply

In my current PC I have two power supplies, one for my motherboard and accessories, and one for my raid array. The problem is, you cant just use a regular ATX PC power supply for dumb power without hooking it up to a motherboard. Fortunately there’s a (fairly) easy way around that. There is a wire in the main 20-24 pin ATX header that tells your power supply to turn on, and is usually the only green one. Before we get into the details, here are two warnings: There are dangerous voltages in your power supply, if your not...

posted @ Thursday, March 12, 2009 9:51 AM | Feedback (1) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Tech ]

Scavenging for parts from a PC case (in 5 minutes)

  I always scavenge any electronics I'm throwing out, even if I only have a limited amount of time. For a long time I’ve considered empty computer cases to be worthless, but there are a few things that are worth keeping. Excluding the power supply, most of the parts are on the front cover. The LED’s and buttons aren’t worth a whole lot, but they come with pre-soldered with a short jumper cable that's ready to be plugged into a header somewhere, there time savers.    There’s also the fan and maybe a...

posted @ Monday, March 09, 2009 12:56 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ DIY Tech ]

Jansen Walker: Post 2

Update Note: While I'm keeping this post for historical value, this post is not kept up to date with my Jansen Walker, look at the Jansen Walker project page for the latest details and plans. Original Post: I posted a few weeks ago about the Jansen walking mechanism, and since then I've been working on a Solidworks model to test the proportions of the 12 numbers with success. Solidworks allowed me to adjust the length of any proportion in the model without redrawing anything. I ended up using a variation of the numbers found by Rik at Lets Make Robots. Below is an...

posted @ Sunday, March 08, 2009 4:02 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Tech Robotics ]

Jansen Walker Research

Update Note: While I'm keeping this post for historical value, this post is not kept up to date with my Jansen Walker, look at the Jansen Walker project page for the latest details and plans. Original Post: I’ve taken a  strong interest in Theo Jansen’s walking mechanism, it’s a very efficient mechanical leg design for converting rotary motion into leg movements, and is very elegant in my opinion. The basis is the relative distance of the 12 joins, he calls them “The 12 Holy Numbers”. I’ve also seen “11 Holy Numbers” in a few references. Another parallel interest I have with...

posted @ Monday, February 23, 2009 7:31 PM | Feedback (1) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Tech Robotics ]

Laser Engraved DS Lite

  When laser engraving plastics, all the laser does is evaporate material from it, so depending on the plastic, you could get many results. I just engraved a white DS lite, that version of the DS has a clear shell that is painted on the inside. The engraving is light but has a cool effect, It casts a shadow on painted inner shell and depending on the light it shows with varying effect.

posted @ Tuesday, January 13, 2009 11:37 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Arduino UAV from SparkFun

SparkFun just released an Arduino-compatible autopilot board designed by Chris Anderson and Jordi Muñoz of DIY Drones. I checked out Chris' board a while back and was under the impression that it was still under construction, though if SparkFun is manufacturing the board now it must be ready for the average hobbist. For $85 you can have the brains and GPS for your own UAV. Personally I've always wanted to create a boat UAV that autonomously roves the coast traveling to far away places with a cellular modem reporting back with pictures and charging with solar panels. http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=8785

posted @ Tuesday, January 06, 2009 11:25 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ DIY Tech ]

Making Laser Cut Gears with InkScape

  If you ever decide to design something mechanical, eventually you’ll need some gears. I’ve been experimenting with laser-cutting gears. The first thing I found out is that drawing gears is hard, they are complex in ways you might not realize at first. Gear teeth aren’t simple squares, or triangles, or a easy combination of the two. The teeth are angled based on the diameter of the gear and the pressure angle. See the two following images to compare a small diameter gear and a large diameter gear with the same size teeth (20px) and pressure angle (20). Luckily there is a easy...

posted @ Monday, January 05, 2009 10:28 PM | Feedback (5) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Tech Laser Robotics ]

Cassette Tape Business Card

Description This business card is a tri-folded laser cut card meant to look like a old school cassette tape. The advantage this card has over other is that there's a zipper seal (like on UPS envelopes) on the back of the card that lets you open it like a tri-fold brochure so you can fit a mini-portfolio or a bunch of text on your usually too small business card. This design gives you about 3.5 x 4in of space that you can't see when the card is folded and sealed. It's possible to print the card on standard...

posted @ Thursday, January 01, 2009 10:29 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

PSCombine 1.5.0

I’ve just released version 1.5 of the PSCombine program. I’ve put quite a bit of time and effort into it the last few days trying to make it more flexible, and easier to use. Head over to 4volt.com/projects/PSCombine/ to download the new version. If you enjoy PSCombine, you can always donate, or just drop me a note. Here’s a quick rundown on the new features: Live View When you are actively generating images you can use the “Live View” tab to view the images that Photoshop writes immediately after they are...

posted @ Tuesday, December 30, 2008 9:33 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Tech Art Code ]

New Hex Connector Photos

I made a bunch of my Hex Connectors for Christmas gifts and I spent a few minutes taking a few more photos, here are some of the things you can make:   For directions on how to make see my previous post: Hex Connectors

posted @ Monday, December 29, 2008 9:22 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser Photos ]

PSCombine: Computer Assisted Art

I've posted the first version of my image randomizer program, I like to think of it as "Computer Assisted Art". http://4volt.com/projects/PSCombine/ If you have any issues installing or using the program, email me, or post a message here. Update: I've released version 1.0.4 that solves some incompatibility issues with Photoshop CS3. If you previously were having issues and were running CS3, download and install 1.0.4.

posted @ Thursday, December 25, 2008 5:54 AM | Feedback (6) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Art Code ]

Functional Papercraft: A Folded Box

Description It seems that many of my things I'll be giving as Christmas presents this year are small, less then a few inches in dimensions. That brings up the question, How do I pack it? One could put the thing in a envelope or a small plastic bag, but all of those like a distinct "giftiness", they don't really look like a gift. Enter the Folded Box, it's small enough to print and/or cut from a piece of standard size card stock. You can also easily customize it with a logo or name to make it that much cooler. The box is...

posted @ Thursday, December 18, 2008 11:31 AM | Feedback (4) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

DIY: Hex Connector Toy

I created this design while learning how to use my laser, it's a good simple project that creates 35, 1.2in hex pieces that can be pushed together to make abstract sculptures. They make a great desk toy or gift because you can engrave a custom logo or name on each piece to make them truly unique. I'll be giving several sets out this Christmas. This pattern creates about 35 pieces, and the only material you'll need is a 8x8in piece of Plexiglas, which I've been able to regularly find at my local home improvement store for $1.50. 35 pieces is enough...

posted @ Friday, December 12, 2008 9:47 AM | Feedback (5) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Super-inexpensive laser cutting material

  Recently, I made a copy of the Planetary gear calling card by phooky from (thingiverse) with a more permanent material. My version is made from 1/8in (3mm) fiber board that is very inexpensive, a 4ft by 8ft sheet is only $9.50 at Home Depot. This cut only costs about 7 cents in material. What is this wondrous and mysterious material? It's cheep imitation wood-grain wood paneling. Normally this is used to nail to the back of inexpensive bookshelves, or for fake wood wall paneling. The type I found is smooth on both sides, there is also a version that...

posted @ Wednesday, December 10, 2008 8:46 PM | Feedback (9) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Bamboo Rolling Ball Sculptures

These rolling ball sculptures are very ingenious and extremely inexpensive to make, the tracks and structure are made from bamboo skewers that generally are sold in packages of 50 or 100 for just a few dollars. This makes me wonder what other types of DIY structures could be made with this inexpensive material. The chaotic nature of the construction makes the path the ball will take hard to visualize, watch the videos to get the full effect. http://www.ohthebanter.com/rbs/

posted @ Wednesday, December 10, 2008 6:44 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ DIY ]

Minimal Arduino

HC Gilje posted an the minimal requirements for running the atmega168 with the Arduino bootloader. The schematic is easy to add to any project, and brings the price down from $20 to around $4. The Arduino makes programming an AVR micro controller easy since you can use C, and all the pins are useful for all sorts of projects, this configuration runs at 3.3v at 8mhz.   http://hcgilje.wordpress.com/resources/arduino-standalone/

posted @ Wednesday, December 10, 2008 6:30 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ DIY ]