Quarantine project: My brother and I each built a custom powered Bluetooth speaker using PDF instructions from https://kmakits.com. The instructions tell you which electronics are needed, and rough lumber dimensions. I deviated quite a bit from the instruction when making the wood enclosure to achieve the look I wanted – the end result turned out great! The speakers sound fantastic.
When deciding to make the speaker I knew I wanted to use Walnut, and that I wanted a good mix of heart and sap wood. I also knew I wanted to incorporate metal somehow, and originally intended on doing a brass knob and brass splines. The brass quickly turned into copper (I preferred the orange/rose tones with the dark walnut), and ended up only doing the knob in copper as the copper stock I ordered for the splines wasn’t thick enough for the saw blade. The box features splines from spalted maple (my brother used this wood for his speaker face). The speaker has 2 walnut feet with a slight pitch to project the box upward slightly.
For the back I painted it matte black to give it a finished stereo vibe, and added a red led for power status to go along with the power switch, power input, aux input, and aux speaker out. Decided not to include the optional batteries for this project as I didn’t intend for it to be mobile (future speaker build with leather strap? yes please)
Copper knob from https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheRightParts, this guy was great!
Some pictures of building a walnut desktop for the IKEA SKARSTA standing desk. https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/skarsta-desk-sit-stand-white-s59324818/.
I was looking for a natural matte/satin finish for the Walnut so I went with Tried & True – Original Traditionnel. It’s food/environmentally safe, no VOCs, safe for skin, and made from renewable ingredients.
It contains Beeswax which offers some hardness and protection from water, and was perfect for a computer desk. The low odor/no vocs allowed me to finish it in my apartment as well. Ended up doing 3 coats, burnishing in-between each coat.
Wood was machine sanded, and then hand sanding up-to 220 before finishing. Put felt underneath the magnetic tray and computer monitor as added protection from scratches.
Huge thanks to my buddy Adrian Orozco for milling, assembling, and cutting everything! If you want a custom piece, use the link before to reach out:
A hobby project I’ve been working on recently. This project involved:
- soldering small electronic components
- using a multimeter (to measure current, resistance, amperage)
- understanding and installing resistors and LEDs
- painting/spray painting plastic and installing small plastic pieces to the body shell
- knowledge of DC
- removing the old light board and installing a new LokSound DCC Select Direct board
- using LokProgrammer to configure the board and install custom sounds
- creating custom station and announcement sounds to use within LokProgrammer
- creating a custom sound schedule with logic for station and route sounds
Photos of the train with the shell off:
I’ve been wanting to experiment with epoxy resin for awhile and I finally found some wildflowers from the local forest Preserve that I run in frequently. They made the perfect subject to create a balanced and visually stunning composition.
I also wanted to add a technical touch, so I embedded in the bottom layer of the epoxy a NFC chip. See the video below!
Fresh off of building PTSExplorer.com I had some inquires about building an adaption for a kiosk or exhibition. I was excited by the challenge and below is what I built in a night to show my vision of what that could look like.
The iPad app uses the didConnectNotification from UIScreen to detect when a secondary screen is connected, via HDMI or AirPlay. Once a second screen is detected at runtime I programmatically create another window with a root view controller from a storyboard.
One of my favorite things about the model train hobby is getting to experiment with my love for hardware and code. One day I was playing with a crossing system I bought from a big retailer and quickly became frustrated with its shortcomings, I literally had an “ah hah” moment when I realized I could create my own, pretty easily.
The video below describes in detail why I decided to build my own, and how I went about doing it. I go over different “activation methods” and why I chose to go with sonar over voltage or light.
One additional thing I did was add a BLE chip so I could control the whole system with my smart phone (luckily I know a good iOS developer to build the app).
Grossing Gates, Turnout, and Signal Bridge
- Arduino Mega
- Sonic sensors (HC-SR04)
- NJI Crossing Gates (NJI 1164) & NJI dwarf
- Adafruit Bluefruit LE UART Friend – Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
- Innovative Train Technology Products HQ-300 (Sound module)
- Tolako 5v Relay Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)
- SMAKN® 5V Active Low 2 Channel Relay Shield Module for Arduino UNO 2560 1280 ARM PIC AVR STM32 Raspberry Pi
- BLMA 3 track modern signal bridge
- Circuitron 6000 Tortoise Switch Machine
- Misc. servos (crossing gate and car stopping mechanism)
- Rare earth magnets (interrupts the reed switch in Faller car)
- Faller – Car System Start-Set MB Sprinter
- Adafruit Speaker – 3″ Diameter – 8 Ohm 1 Watt [ADA1313]
Faller car system
I really wanted a quick and secure way to get a breakdown of my spending without having to give up my banking details to a third-party. For the longest time I was using an excel spreadsheets and doing a lot of work manually to categorize transactions and compute totals. One day I decided to just build my own tool!
- Chase’s developer API is invite only, so used their csv data dump option
- Lots of pre-work happens before rendering the charts, data from csv is converted to objects, grouped by months, computed for totals/averages/etc., and then categorized by user inputted data
- The transaction list allows me to flag what category a transaction should fall under – under similar transaction will automatically be assigned that category unless explicitly overwritten.
- Using chart.js to render the charts – this framework is incredible and really easy to use
Below is a video of what I settled on for a v1. It does everything I need it to quickly, and makes understanding where I’m spending my money clear. Some future enhancements will include:
- Monitor Chase’s API to see if it opens up for normal developers
- Flag transactions that fall outside a specific variance (unexpected transactions)
- Show top 5-10 places I’m spending money, e.g. how much money am I spending at Chipotle!
- Add pagination for transactions list
- Show YOY information and trends
- Add ability to layer in a second account
- Refactor code to reduce redundancies in calculations
PTS Explorer is a quick way to find instagram photos of a given PTS (paint to sample) color. A few months ago I noticed there were many Instagram accounts centered around PTS colors – this worked well to see many examples of different colors, but what if you didn’t know all the colors, or wanted to see many examples of a certain color?
These questions prompted me to create PTS Explorer.