Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Creating an Instructable

As part of our final projects, we are required to make an Instructable about our project.
Things we need to include to make our Instructable successful.

Quality Images including photographs documenting every step of the process and construction, schematics, charts, diagrams, and videos.  Use the builtin tag feature in Instructables to label parts of your images or add notes to them. 

Text will include proper grammar and spelling while giving a true narrative of the project.  The narrative should include your inspiration for the project, sources you used, clear instructions on each step of the project, and should avoid specialized words that will only be familiar to some readers.

Materials list should include detailed descriptions, references, link to suppliers, datasheets, vendors, approximate costs,  and links to other projects.

And always include a results video showing your Instructable in action or use.

Programming an Arduino

One of the best sources to get started with programming an Arduino is ArduinoCC website.

But another great and free source is the Arduino Programming Notebook by Brian Evans.
It can be downloaded for free from Arduino Notebook.

The Arduino notebook covers just about everything you need to get started programming your Arduino.
It covers all aspects of programming
1 Structure
2 Variables
3 Datatypes
4 Arithmetic
5 Constants
6 Flow Control
7 Digital I/O
8 Analog I/O
9 Time
10 Math
11 Random
12 Serial
13 Appendix

It is a great read, but also very technical and can be a little confusing if you haven't done any programming before.  It's been years since I last did programming, almost back to the years of Basic.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Interactive Noise Project

After having issues with my first idea of making a electronic noise machine glove, I decided to try something using conductive copper foil tape.
I soldered wires to each of the contact pads on noise maker design #2
Also adding hot glue to cover the connections after they were soldered.

 After soldering the components onto the circuit board I soldered wires to each of the contact points on the circuit board and tested that they work, all worked.
Next I decided to try out some copper foil tape as a means to make contact with the wires coming off the contact points on the circuit board.  I took a piece of 1/4 inch copper foil tape and taped the end of the wire coming off the contact point to the box.  Tested it for conductivity with my multi-meter and the contact was good from the circuit board to the tape on the box.  I then taped all the other wires to the box about an inch apart.
Copper Tape

This video proves that it all works, now to make something more interesting using the same concept.


After my prototype I started building the finished product.
Starting with painting a box matte black.

Next I hot glue the circuit board, and speakers to a piece of cardboard to hold them in place once I place them inside the box, to keep the wires from touching each other or the copper foil.

Next I run some of the 1/4 copper foil tape under the flap inside the box and run it outside the box and tape it to the top, making sure none of the 6 lengths of foil tape touch each other.
Then I tape the loose ends of the wires that were soldered to the circuit board to the ends of the copper foil that is still inside the box, making sure I do not let any of the wires or copper foil short each other out.

The outside of the box once I removed the paper backing of the copper foil tape so it would stick to the box.  This tape is extremely fragile and will coil-up and tear very easily.

First run with the new box.
After using the box I realized that most of the sound was being trapped inside the box so I drilled some holes through the outside of the box, sanded it, and repainted it being careful to avoid damaging any of the components inside the box or the foil on the outside.  I had to repair some of the foil on the edges of the box.

Stopped by an office to see what they thought of my noise box. 
One said it was a bit annoying since I didn't install an of switch, something I had thought about last night but I didn't want to cannibalize any of my home electronics to get a switch since I didn't have any in my supply kit.
Video of one of the office workers playing with the noise box and asking questions.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Dunne & Raby

Dunne & Raby are creative visual artists who use a variety of different mediums to exhibit their work.  With projects from the mid 1990s and exhibitions scheduled into 2018.

One of the most striking early works is their Is This Your Future? series from 2004

Before Is This Your Future? Was another favorite of mine Bioland 2002/2003 because of it's simple yet effective use of colors and shapes.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Final Project Idea

Being a long time Doctor Who fan, started watching in elementary school due to having a very cool teacher in 5th grade, I've decided to make a working "sonic screwdriver".

I would like for it to have different types of working sensors like temperature, humidity, proximity, magnetic, light levels, sound levels, and maybe even heart beat.  Along with audio and LED or Laser output based on the different inputs and a LCD readout screen to give the numerical values of each sensor readout.

I would have to use a smaller Arduino like the Nano, Micro, or Mini to make this work since the Uno is a bit large for a screw driver.  I order a sensor kit off Amazon earlier this week, it arrived today, that should have all the sensors I need to make this work.
Version 2.0 37pc kit  Version 2.0 kit doesn't have any sensors containing mercury, V 1.0 does.

There are quite a few instructables going over different versions of the sonic screwdrivers from the different seasons of Doctor Who.

Cool working screwdriver

Arduino Uno screwdriver

Mark V

Steampunk Sonic

Working Sonic

And Many More

I think this will be very challenging to fit in all the sensors that I want, but very rewarding if it works.
Good enough to take to Pensacon 2018.

Monday, October 9, 2017


For those who like to tinker with electronics, crafts, food prep, gardening, and everything else, one of the best websites to find new ideas or how to do the project you are working on is Instructables

Taking an hour or so and looking through only a small fraction of the 265340 different instructables posted to their site I found a few worth noting for being something good, bad, ugly, or just plain cool.


Homemade Aircraft

Bichromate Prints from Digital I will have to try this one.

Bad - mostly for lack of full instructions or details

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Taking a break for Hurricane Nate

With Hurricane Nate churning through the Gulf of Mexico faster than any other hurricane in history, 28 mph forward movement.  I decided to head out to Pensacola Beach this morning to take some photographs, surprisingly it was sunny part of the time I was there.

Then after taking a break so I could clean all the salt spray off my camera and lens, I went back out around 4:00 PM to take some more photographs and the surf and wind were both much stronger.

When ever you go out to photograph any type of stormy weather, safety should be your first priority.
Always look around you, large waves can hit very quickly which happened to me earlier this year when tropical storm Cindy was in the gulf earlier this year.  My camera and tripod got knocked over by a wave that was 18 inches higher than any of the prior waves I had seen that day, luckily my Pentax K3 has exceptionally good weather sealing and it survived the quick dip in the Gulf of Mexico.