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May 2009 Entries

Rapid prototyping: Making Sugar Objects with a Laser

I always wanted to start a project for making 3d prototypes with my laser in layers similar to how the legacy Candyfab project did, but never got around to it. With the recent Candyfab news , and the relative success of my Laser Cooked Bacon project, my curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to see what would happen. I did some research and I wasn't able to find anyone that had melted sugar with a laser, there was some posts on the Candyfab forums, some seemed to think it was possible, and some did not. So I fired up...

posted @ Friday, May 29, 2009 1:27 AM | Feedback (10) | Filed Under [ Original Posts 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 ]

Pi Pie

This isn’t incredibly unique, but while searching for photos on another post I wanted to share it with the world. It’s a pie, with the number of pi around the edge, plus the pi symbol is carved in the lid. Also, apple pie is awesome. I want some now.

posted @ Sunday, May 17, 2009 10:43 PM | Feedback (2) | Filed Under [ Original Posts Photos ]

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 ]

Laser Cooked Bacon

So recently I was thinking about what other non-standard uses I could put my laser up to, that got me thinking about what food related things I could do, and bacon came to mind. Other then being awesome in general, bacon is a thin meat that might be ideal for cooking with a laser. Laser Bacon   So what was it like? The bacon cooked well on the top layer, so well that it was slightly charred. After cooking the bacon was thinner after two passes, but didn’t shrink in width like it does...

posted @ Wednesday, May 06, 2009 8:45 PM | Feedback (14) | Filed Under [ Original Posts 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 ]

Star Trek Movie Preview

So far this site hasn’t been much for movie reviews, but I was in a preview screening of new star trek movie on Saturday and I wanted to share some non-spoiler thoughts. Before the movie, I was mostly concerned with how high of expectations I should have. With sufficiently low expectations it wouldn’t take a very “good” movie to be pleasantly surprised. On the other hand if one has high expectations it takes a better movie for it to make the grade. So with that in mind, I wasn’t sure what to expect with Star Trek movie. I’ve...

posted @ Monday, May 04, 2009 12:51 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Commentary ]