How does Seeed Fusion stack up as a low budget PCB fab It's getting close to Easter time which means assembling more electronic bunnies and for that I need new PCBs. This time around I decided to place and order with Seeed Studio Fusion (that's 3 Es) instead of any of the other PCB Fab I've used in the past. Overall I have to say they have a much better quality than Shenzhen2U, service is fast but shipping is a little pricey, though still much cheaper than Oshpark.
Pedestal fan transformed into a ceiling fan I've already talked about the hidden glass shelf I've added behind my TV, that was not the only bit of work I've done in my apartment to increase the amount of available space. Now that we were entering the Australian summer it meant that all the pedestal fans had to come out. In a small apartment these take up an unnecessary large amount of space wherever they stand so I wanted to do something about that.
Adding a hidden glass shelf behind the TV for extra storage I live in an apartment so storage space is always at a premium and so this Holiday Season I took some time to add extra storage and improve on the storage space that was there already. The very first thing I did was make use of that space behind the TV that often goes unused.
Testing the BYOC Mouse Guitar Pedal I've written previous posts about Putting together the BYOC Mouse guitar pedal kit and the second part of the kit construction. Further I wrote about painting the pedal case. This post ties everything up and is about how I tested the pedal once it was fully assembled and ready to roll (or distort rather!)
Painting the BYOC Mouse Guitar Pedal case Yesterday I wrote about the final assembly of the BYOC Mouse kit which included the painted guitar pedal case. What I left out of that post was the process for painting this case, which I'll cover now. As a reminder, the BYOC kits come with guitar pedal cases that are not painted, just bare metal. Below is what the pedal case looked like when it arrived.
Putting together the BYOC Mouse guitar pedal kit (part 2) I've started making this BYOC Mouse guitar pedal for a good friend of mine, Ilia Rogatchevski before I went on our round the world trip . I actually had everything finished before departing but didn't want to spoil the surprise by posting this update until I've delivered the pedal to Ilia personally.
Aquarium LED replacement round three I originally had a go of replacing the CF tube in my aquarium a while back. The first attempt didn't work out too well so I had a second go with a slightly different circuit and new LED strips. Unfortunately even the second time around was met with LEDs burning out and going dull. So I decided to take a different approach this time around and use some car daytime running lights instead.
Putting together the BYOC Mouse guitar pedal kit (part 1) I'm going travelling soon and will be visiting a good friend of mine and it just so happened that one of his distortion pedals died so I thought that it would be awesome to make a new one for him. After doing some research I settled on the BYOC Mouse Kit. This is how I put it together.
DIY spare parts computer build with a RAIDMAX Anura case Not long ago I decided to replace my home server with a new one and after repurposing as many parts of it as I could (mostly hard drives) I was left with pretty much everything needed to put together a whole new desktop. At the same time my parents' computer started to play up so this was a good opportunity to put all those spare parts to good use and build a new machine.
Final assembly of my OdroidXU4 file/media server Earlier on in the month I mostly assembled my new file/media server but didn't get to finish it because of some panels being incorrectly cut for me. Now I was able to get new panels laser cut and finally assembled the whole unit. It looks amazing...
Aquarium LED replacement round two About a month ago I replaced the CF tube in my fish tank with LED strips. It was all good for a while but I noticed a few things starting to go wrong with my first attempt. The LED strips were sagging, the backing glue was just not holding them, and in addition to that all the strips became dimmer and looked like they had some burn in happening.
Putting together the Odroid-XU4 home media/file server I've been meaning to write this update for a while. The Odroid-XU4 file server I've been working on to replace my existing file server is finally assembled. I've written previously about how I've added an external power button and also externalised the network port, this update shows the final touches including acrylic panels and the Odroid-Show2 placement.
Hardwood garden bench with clear resin void filler (part 2) This is part 2 of the post about the garden bench I built. If you missed part 1, read it here. In part 1 I got as far as describing the origins of this wood, the huge void it had and how I used water-clear polyester resin to fill it. I also described how I removed all the excess resin after curing and touched on the sanding process.
Hardwood garden bench with clear resin void filler (part 1) I had a piece of hardwood left over from when I built my TV unit. This piece of wood was large enough to have two people sit on it comfortably, so it was suggested to me to make it into a garden bench. However this piece had a huge void running down one of its sides, which I decided to fill with water-clear polyester resin, same as all my other wood working projects.
Replacing the CF light tube for LEDs in my AquaStyle 380 aquarium We've had our AquaStyle 380 aquarium for some time now and overall it's a great fish tank, however during the warmer months it has one big drawback and that is the CF tube that's used to light it up heats up a fair amount. This makes it difficult to regulate water temperature when it's already hot and of course can and has resulted in fish dying.
Externalising the OdroidXU4 network port I've been slowly modifying a 4-bay HDD USB 3.0 enclosure to fit an Odroid XU4 to use as a file server. This is the latest modification, the network port from the XU4 is taken and extended to be accessible from outside the HDD enclosure.
Fixing a 3D printer extruder that stopped heating up I was doing some 3D printing over the weekend and everything was going well until I noticed that the extruder on my Portabee wouldn't heat up any more. At first I thought it was a loose connection so I tried to adjust all the wiring - that didn't help. Since it was already dark and cold outside I decided to leave it. Early Monday morning I managed to get some time in before work to determine what happened. I had a sneaking suspicion that the resistor that's used as a heating element has given out, but what I found really surprised me.
Adding an external power button to the OdroidXU4 My file server project using an Odroid XU4 is coming along nicely and since it's all going into a HDD enclosure that I already have, the XU4 board will not be accessible and along with it, its power button. This article shows how I've added an external power button to the XU4.
Making a multi-piece 3D printed solder spool holder stand Now that I got my 3D printer working again and that I've been doing more electronics work I realised that having a solder spool holder/stand saves a lot of effort and frustration so I went out to find one on Thingiverse...and did, then 3D printed an absolute failure. This lead me to design something of my own that actually works.
Hacking my kitchen oven with Kapton Tape After this weekend's big apartment clean up one thing that was really clear was that the oven is a pain to clean. When its door is open, there is a gap that lets bits of stray food fall through, while at the same time trapping it on the ledge just beneath the gap. Sometimes food even falls from that ledge and into the shelf below creating a mess. The design is terrible! I knew that this gap had to go and at first I was a bit stuck on how to make that happen. Then it hit me - Kapton Tape!
DIY indoor apartment grow light wiring One of the problems of living in a high rise apartment is not getting enough sun for your plants. We've been trying to keep a largish plant in the bedroom for atmosphere and better quality of air but all of them have suffered with leaves drying out and the plant not looking too happy. So I decided to attempt to fix this by adding some grow lights. Here's what I did.
Hacking the Aurora LED Color Light Cube Chromatography Glass Clock Kit I loved the Aurora LED Color Light Cube Chromatography Glass Clock Kit that I put together not long ago, apart from one 'feature'. That feature is the beep it emits on the hour. The beep is not subtle by far and the first time I heard it I thought an alarm went off somewhere in my apartment. There is a way to switch it off of course but my clock is plugged into a USB hub connected to my laptop so whenever I disconnect that the clock loses power and when connected again the beep is back (yep that setting is not saved).
How ShenZhen2U stacks up as a low budget PCB fab Just before Easter I've put together a PCB of a flashing LED Easter Bunny. I was working with tight timelines and only had just over 2 weeks before Easter came around and I wanted the PCB in time for the break. I knew that Oshpark would not be able to turn around that quickly (postage to Australia) so I looked for alternatives and found ShenZhen2U. Overall I have to say that ShenZhen2U is fantastic! Read on for details.
Rewiring a Singer 201k Sewing Machine I've had the Singer 201k sewing machine for quite a long time now, originally bought it from a lady that claimed it didn't work, but with a bit of oiling up it started going again. This machine always had dodgy wiring and I've never done much about it, until now. The last time I went to use the machine I noticed that a fair amount of the wiring was frayed and looked like it would short out at any moment, it was becoming a danger to use, so I decided to rewire all the bits that I could get access to.
Keeping a PS4 and AV receiver cool inside an enclosed TV unit Not long ago I built a stunning TV unit out of recycled hardwood. One of the main functional features of this unit was keeping dust out so naturally it was as enclosed as possible. Though the unit looked great, I quickly found that it was not usable the way it was built if both the AV receiver and the PS4 are running. There was no air circulation so everything got super hot inside.
Good Friday Electronics fun Easter Bunny LED PCB Kit IBEABU-01.0 I really liked the Christmas Tree LED kit so decided that for Easter I'll also try and put something together along the same lines. Sadly I could not find such a kit in existence so decided to create my own! Before I get into the details check out the finished product...
Fixing a broken USB port on a RaspberryPi Model A I've had my Raspberry Pi Model A for quite a time and it's got quite a workout over the years and unfortunately the USB port became really mangled. The pins inside somehow got bent out of shape and none of the devices plugged in would work. At first I thought this spelled the end for this Model A RPi, however after a bit of thinking I decided that I could just desolder the USB port and replace it with a USB type B cable.
Assembly: DIY Aurora LED Color Light Cube Chromatography Glass Clock Kit I've bought this kit a while ago and just left it there due to lack of time to assemble it, but now I've finally been able to put it together and I really like the way it looks. This kit is not for the beginner and you will definitely need SMD soldering gear, but the end result is awesome and totally worth it.
From water logged Wood to a beautiful Hardwood TV unit I've put up a small gallery of photos showing off my latest woodworking project, the Hardwood Tiger Stripe TV Unit, this article shows some of what I did to transform a piece of water logged hardwood into this piece of furniture. I've also put up a full gallery of photos showing the construction process.
Dell Vostro 1510 SSD Upgrade Recently I spent a bit of time upgrading an old Dell Vostro 1510 laptop with an SSD drive. The improvement was quite decent though overall this laptop would not come out on top in any benchmark results even with this upgrade. That is mainly due to its graphics card and processor, however if you have one of these and want to give it a little boost and extend its usefulness then upgrading the hard drive to an SSD is worthwhile.
DIY Hardwood Coffee Table made out of recycled wood (part 4) This is a coffee table I made out of recycled hardwood that I purchased from The Big Red Shed. I had some help from my dad on the metalwork side of things, but the rest was all done over several weeks between work by me. This was my first project of this kind and was meant to be as an experiment. There were some epic failures during the creation of this coffee table, but the end result is still quite amazing!
DIY Hardwood Coffee Table made out of recycled wood (part 3) This is a coffee table I made out of recycled hardwood that I purchased from The Big Red Shed. I had some help from my dad on the metalwork side of things, but the rest was all done over several weeks between work by me. This was my first project of this kind and was meant to be as an experiment. There were some epic failures during the creation of this coffee table, but the end result is still quite amazing!
DIY Hardwood Coffee Table made out of recycled wood (part 2) This is a coffee table I made out of recycled hardwood that I purchased from The Big Red Shed. I had some help from my dad on the metalwork side of things, but the rest was all done over several weeks between work by me. This was my first project of this kind and was meant to be as an experiment. There were some epic failures during the creation of this coffee table, but the end result is still quite amazing!
DIY Hardwood Coffee Table made out of recycled wood (part 1) This is a coffee table I made out of recycled hardwood that I purchased from The Big Red Shed. I had some help from my dad on the metalwork side of things, but the rest was all done over several weeks between work by me. This was my first project of this kind and was meant to be as an experiment. There were some epic failures during the creation of this coffee table, but the end result is still quite amazing!
Repairing a flat CAT5 cable after accidentally slashing through it It's been quite humid recently and the bamboo flooring in my apartment expanded to the point where it popped up in certain spots. While fixing the floors my dad accidentally cut through the network cable that runs under the floors from the network router to the server in my office room. This cable couldn't be pulled out and replaced so at first I thought that was it, bye bye wired network.
A clear acrylic case for the DSO138 digital oscilloscope The DSO138 digital oscilloscope that I've put together recently is a nice kit but it lacks a case and it's always nice to have an LCD display protected. I decided to do something about that and make an acrylic case on my laser cutter, before it stopped working anyway.
Putting together the SMD version of the DSO138 DIY Digital Oscilloscope Kit I ordered the DSO 138 Oscilloscope Kit from Banggood.com recently so that I could practice my SMD soldering. The kit has finally arrived and I put it together. Overall I must say that the quality is quite nice, there was one pre-soldered IC on the PCB and the LCD was mounted to a breakout board already. The instructions were quite straight forward, except for the SMD soldering part. Please note that you will need SMD soldering gear to assemble this kit.
Adding extra USB ports to the Dell UltraSharp U3415W Curved Monitor The Dell UltraSharp U3415W Curved Monitor comes with 4 downstream USB ports already, but what if you need more? Or what if the 3 ports that are inside the cable cover are just not enough and you don't like using that 4th external port, it is in an odd spot after all. Turns out you can cram a USB hub inside the cable cover and double the number of available ports that are hidden from view, check it out!
Cutting and Engraving with a 40W CO2 Chinese Laser Cutter I had my CO2 Laser Cutter for a couple of weeks now and in case you missed it, I've written up my initial experience with it over a three part article (part 1, part 2, part 3). I've had a bit of spare time to play around with it a little more, did some cutting and engraving on various materials and at various settings. These are my findings.
So I bought a cheap Chinese 40W CO2 Laser Cutter and it's actually OK (Part 1) I've been tossing up the idea of either getting a new 3D Printer or a Laser Cutter and then I came across Flux3D which could do both to some extent. After nurturing the idea for about a month I decided that I didn't want to mess around with another 3D Printer until they were easier to use so went for the Laser Cutter. After a number of quotes (some going into tens of thousands of dollars) I hit up eBay and found that for just $550 AUD I could buy a desktop sized laser cutter. I was sceptical, but I went for it. Read on for my experience.
Raspberry Pi in a NES Case wiring revisited It's been more than two years since I posted about my Raspberry Pi in a NES Case. That article was spectacularly successful, gaining attention from LifeHacker and shortly being copied across many other blogging sites. Over the past two years I've had many people ask me about the details of the wiring and I must admit some of it was a bit flaky in my original article. So even though I've shelved this project, I dug it out, took it apart again and took a more detailed look at it.
Giving that hacked-together photo frame a facelift Two weekends ago, I hacked together a picture frame out of an old USB monitor and a Raspberry Pi Model A+. Functionally it was almost completed, but aesthetically it was a bit of a wreck, so I decided to do something about.
Second DIY 4 Digit LED clock assembled, in blue, in time for Father's Day Back when I bought my DIY 4 Digita LED Clock Kit, I picked up two - one red and one in blue. Unfortunately only one case was shipped with that order. With days to spare before Father's Day, the missing case finally turned up. I put the blue version of the clock together much faster this time, but I also took a different approach to how I soldered it.
LCD breakout and HI-LO level shifter boards off for fabrication After my 1.38 inch round LCD modules arrived, I was finally able to verify that my Eagle library fit the correct dimensions. I soon got started on the design of the breakout board as well as the level shifter board so that the LCD module can be interfaced to a 3.3V Arduino device. After lots of pointers on electronics from a mate and many questions being answered by Tim from Pi Watch about the LCD module itself, I had the boards ready.
Hacking together a new digital photo frame with RaspberryPi, Minibian and Java I've received my new Raspberry Pi Model A+ last week to use to replace the old Model A inside my photo frame, so I spent some time on the weekend setting that up. Last time that I've set this photo frame up, I went with out-of-the-box software, which did the job but did feel quite clunky. This time around I decided to do it better and write some software for the photo frame instead.
Truly 1.38 inch TFT1P2477-E Round LCD Modules (R61505V) arrived I've posted an Eagle Library for the 1.38 inch round LCD modules that I've ordered. These have finally arrived in the mail today. I can now verify that the Eagle device I've created matches the pin dimensions so I can go ahead with making my breakout board!
Eagle Library for 1.38 inch 30PIN TFT Round Colour LCD R61505V I've found an interesting project, The Pi Watch (also here) that used a relatively cheap round LCD display. There didn't seem to be too much information about this display, but I did manage to find its data sheet online. Tim, the creator of The Pi Watch has also been quite helpful regarding pin outs of this LCD, however one thing that I was missing in order to start my own project was the Eagle device library. Since I couldn't find one online, I just created my own. The download link is further down.
Assembling the DIY 4 Digit LED Electronic Clock Kit While I am waiting to put together all the work on my upcoming clock project, I decided to get something simple to assemble. I ordered one of these DIY 7-segment display clock kits on eBay, it is also available on sites like banggood.com. The kit took under an hour to make and overall I was very impressed with the quality and would recommend it to anyone from beginner to advanced as it is a fun and useful little project.
Another custom SGI Octane light bar I've changed the light bar in my SGI Octane case a number of times previously. At first I got it working as its original red with an ATX motherboard that I put inside, then I updated it to shine bright white. This time around I wanted to have it as a blue glow. It was a small job since I had a spare light bar PCB from the previous time already. I'm pretty happy with the outcome.
Installing an Alpine IVE-W554ABT headunit in a 2005 V35 Skyline (part 2) This is part 2 of the post I started about installing an Alpine IVE-W554ABT headunit in my V35. The first post covered the basics of getting started, pulling wiring through from the boot and assembling the headunit into the stock brackets. This post finishes up the install description with the rest of the wiring that was done in the boot and at the back of the headunit.
Installing an Alpine IVE-W554ABT headunit in a 2005 V35 Skyline (part 1) I've been waiting for the IVE-W554ABT to become available for quite some time, it's an excellent headunit that does not cost too much but provides lots of functionality and is an amazing replacement for the V35's stock unit. There's lots of information available on how to install an after-market headunit in a G35 Infiniti, which is basically what the V35 is, but I've noticed some differences and some things on the G35 Driver forums were not that clear on unless you read dozens of pages of comments.
DIY Lego Movie themed cork board Normal cork boards look boring, that plain brown colour, a wooden frame, there is not much fun about it. This post shows off how to make a more interesting cork board with more colour and in this particular case, a Lego theme with characters from the Lego movie.
DIY custom tall skirting for a bamboo floor I've just finished renovating my apartment - installing bamboo flooring in place of the old carpet. One of the major issues I faced was finding suitable skirting to match the floor. Of all the options I could find sold commercially, the skirting was either too short (25mm) or the wrong colour (way too light for my floors). What I needed was a simple bullnose skirting board that was 100mm tall and in the same coffee (carbonised bamboo) colour. The option I went for was to make these boards myself from the floor boards themselves, with a hand from a cabinet maker to cut the bullnose end for me.
More 3D Printer box and Portabee improvements Over the past couple of months I've had to do some major maintenance on the 3D printer because some of the original parts simply snapped. I took this opportunity to improve both the printer itself and the box that I built to house it. These are the changed that took place.
3D printed DIY garden lattice My hops plant has been growing really well and it was starting to outgrow the stake in its pot so I've decided to put up a lattice for it to climb. I did not find anything that I liked at the hardware store so decided to make my own. This is a very simple DIY lattice that can be 3D printed. You will still need to purchase the rods from a hardware store, it's just the mount pieces that are printed.
A new garden bed for the chillies Spring is coming so it is time to think about planting new chillies. Since my apartment doesn't have any more space for new plants, I decided to build a garden bed at my parents' house. With a bit of recycled wood and some new soil, the chilli seeds are ready for planting.
A low-tech fix to the traffic cam 'green reflection' problem For a long time, I could not figure out what that green reflection was on the traffic cam at night, nor could I get rid of it, until recently. I was talking to a friend of mine, and something so simple hit us, it was the light on the camera causing the green glow! I was dumbfounded, but could not fix it right away as I was interstate. I finally tried it tonight and lo and behold, the camera light was the culprit.
Parametric planter box for my chillies, taking an OpenSCAD model to a reality So I've been thinking, "how can I totally geek up my chillies" and it hit me, why not create a planter box model in OpenSCAD, make it parametric so that I can play around with different sizes of the wood palings and then actually go an make it? Well not really, but I did do all that. The real reason was to have an easy-to-move planter box, but given its weight with the soil and plants, it is now going to be more or less a permanent fixture on my balcony.
Sewing a 3D Printer Dust Cover This is a bit of an unconventional post but worthwhile anyway, since I moved to my new apartment the 3D printer has been sitting outside on the balcony and as a result getting covered in lots of dust from the highway below. I've decided to bust out my old sewing machine and make a cover for the printer.
Vintage style Edison light bulb table lamp I came across these amazing 12cm Edison style light bulbs recently and originally wanted to hang them from my ceiling but that was no possible so I thought that I'd make a table lamp to serve the same purpose. The result...amazing. Check it out.
T-Shirts and Iron-On transfers I bought a bunch of iron-on transfer paper to experiment with creating designs for tshirts so thought I'd write a little about it. The paper I got was for dark fabric, so it looks completely white, this makes it perfect for creating designs that look like silhouettes.
A custom boot install for Infiniti G35 - Part 1 It's been a while since I've done anything serious in terms of audio to my G35 and my current subwoofer setup has been bothering me for a some time, so I decided that once the weather got better that I would finally start on the new install, and here it is. The amplifier (Alpine PDX-M12) is sunken into the floor with lights illuminating it around the border. The subwoofer box is not ready yet, that is the next part of the install.
Improving the Portabee 3D printer Now that I've had the Portabee for quite some time, I've made a few essential improvements that every Portabee owner should have I think. These are: motor/cooling fan wire arm to keep the wiring out of the way and off the heating bed, glass surface to print on, an additional cooling fan mounted onto the extruder assembly and wing nuts for the print bed to make adjustments easier.
3D printer box parts posted on Thingverse I've put together all the STLs and SCAD files that I used for the 3D Printer Box and posted them on Thingiverse, free of charge. Hopefully these will be of some use to others.
A clear acrylic box for the Portabee 3D printer - Part 1 - Making the box I've finally got around to putting together a clear acrylic box/enclosure for my Portabee 3D printer. I made it so that the noise will be reduced and so any dust and bits of plastic stay in the enclosure instead of going all over my table. The noise is only slightly reduced, so it was only partially successful for that purpose, but it makes the printer look a lot more professional.
3D Printer, Faraday cage and filament spool holders I've had my 3D printer for about a week now, there were and still are some teething problems with it, but I'm fixing them one at a time. So here are the main issues I had so far and the solutions I found for them: filament spools unwinding in all crazy directions and fluorescent lights giving off electromagnetic interference and crashing the printer.
Portabee 3D printer After ordering my Portabee 3D printer from RomScraj 4 weeks ago, it finally arrived in a heavy jumbo DHL box. It took me about 2 days to assemble with a total of around 8-10 hours of assembly time. I wasn't quite expecting so many components, but it's all together now.
Using the 12v port on a Dell U2713HM monitor to power a LED Strip There are a number of Dell monitors that support the SoundBar attachment, however since I didn't get this accessory (already have a Bose sound system), the monitor has a 12v port free. Although Dell doesn't specify it, this port can be used to supply a constant 12v to power whatever device you want to plug into it. There is also a bonus, when the monitor is in standby or is turned off, the 12v power is cut as well.