CNC Birdbath Bowl

I recently completed my most ambitious ShopBot project to date: casting a concrete birdbath bowl in a mold that I CNC’d. This was also my first attempt at producing a video about a project as I’m working on it. Watch the video below:

05

07 2016

Of Biscuits and Pirates

A lively assist!

A lively assist!

Hark! Saturday eve a few weeks past our dear “Spoons” (AKA Gerald Gayares) held a feast of hearty proportions! Eggs were broken, strawberries destemmed, chives snipped, and oh the mushroom boiling! He was valiantly assisted in this effort by Shelly “Pickles” Gayares and a smattering of the Mighty Crew of PS:One who were drafted to the event.

 

A Hearty-har-har Hardtack

A Hearty-har-har Hardtack

Ye may be asking then: how to can I provoke such a feast of glory of mine own?

1: Firstly ye must be WISE! Tender biscuits and crispy yeasty waffles are not the product of a few hours of careless abandon. Ye must plan for your journey so as to have on hand all the necessary apparatus, provender, and mates to accomplish your goal. Spoon’s yon tender-crisp waffles had begun some twelve hours in advance! Supplies were amassed over the whole of the week. Mark yer book of accounting with a list of needs and wants. Timing be’ critical.

pirated-me

Gather A Crew!

2: Secondly ye must be BOLD and Seductive! Declare yer intentions. Claim thy time and place with loud hollering. Alert thy comrades old and new. Do ye be thinking that a person shall attend the quiet church mouse squeaking out a proclamation of a tidy crumb to be nibbled? NAY I say! Go instead to the weekly meeting and bellow out “FEAST” so that all may know of yer intended soiree. (In our case it be more like a sortie…) Then go to the town square (Google Groups) and post a list declaring your nefarious goal along with any needs of supplies and crew. If-n’ ye be the timid sort or of short time then promote yer-self a good first mate to advocate for your cause. There be’ many a good mate to be had at this port, especially for the cause of a good feeding.

 

pot-o-mushrooms-before

Pot-O’ Mushrooms

mushroom-gravey-after

Pot-O’ Victory

3.Thirdly ye must be STRONG! The day of yer tasty battle will not be kiddy pools and microwaves. There will be fire, a broad side of gloriously dirty dishes, and absent baking soda all bent on thwarting yer merrymaking. Command thy crew with vitality and they will follow you to the depths of this Cursed Sea and to the grocery store no matter what behemoth lays in wait, as long as they get fed.

 

 

 

 

 

With the aforementioned application of Wisdom in planning, and Boldness for comrades, and Strength in application ye shall have all a person needs to attain a tasty conquest. This is after all a maker space: Just do it.

waffly-goodness

Aged Yeasty Waffles of Joy

16

06 2016

100th NERP Tonite! Embedded GUIs part 2 of 2: Qt

For the 100th NERP Meetup (Yea!), we’ll have the second of a two-part discussion of embedded GUIs on small Linux devices. Qt is much more than a GUI library. Tonight Ron Olson will share some wisdom on the Qt application framework. Ron tells me that Qt promises a lot, and it delivers. Sounds good to me!

Ron says “I figured the main thrust of the talk would be Qt, how it works, its two main parts (C++, QML), and how it works with the BBB as well as a Qt project controlling an Arduino, all with an eye towards demonstrating the QML, and lightly, the C++ connection.”

After graduating from NYU’s film school, Ron took full advantage of his film and theatre background by becoming a software developer. For 24 years, Ron has been one of the developers that companies go to when they want to make their customers lives worse; he helped write the system to show commercials at MTV, worked on cancelled projects at an animation studio that went out of business, pioneered allowing you to lose your retirement savings on the web at Bankers Trust, came up with new ways to target ads to you at DoubleClick, did his part in the financial crisis at Goldman Sachs, and lately has been writing software to help your attorney remember when your trial date is.
Mostly in C++ and Java.

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago. Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at

http:// www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and
http://pumpingstationone.org/

Doors open at 6:30pm. NERP is free and open to the public. Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Pumping Station One, programming, Qt

06

06 2016

So you want a smart thermostat but don’t have a ‘C-Wire’

Background

You are rent/own a condo/apartment and you want a smart thermostat to keep track of your spending on heat/cool, or want a thermostat with remote sensor support.  You pulled the current thermostat off the wall and looked at the wiring and you have a 4 wire system (R, Y, G, W) but no ‘C-Wire’ and the thermostat you want to use requires a ‘C-wire’ but you don’t have one.  You look at the Ecobee3 that supports 4 wire systems but you don’t have access to the HVAC unit because its in a locked closet/on the roof and you don’t want to have to deal with your landlord/association to get access to it as it probably means having to spend a few hundred more bucks to have a professional installer do the work.  Don’t worry though you can still have that smart thermostat you want, but it’s gonna be a little ugly but you can still have what you want.

What is a ‘C-Wire’ and why do thermostats need them?

HVAC control systems are based on 24V AC control signals, in a combined heat/cool unit you have 4 or 5 wires (we are going to concentrate on the 4 wires here because if you had 5 then you probably would not be searching for a solution for this problem.  In a 4 wire system you have one common supply wire (R) when the thermostat wants to request a function from your HVAC unit it connects one of the other 3 wires to the common supply wire to complete the circuit for that feature. 4-Wire ‘pins’

  • R – Common supply line
  • G – Fan request
  • Y – A/C Request
  • W –  Heat Request

The 5th wire in the system is C this is the second common wire and is connected to the other side of the 24V transformer in the HVAC control system, its used to power accessories such as a thermostat.  Your system probably does not have a C-Wire as your thermostat is battery powered.  ‘So how does the Nest manage to work without the c-wire?’ I hear you ask, well it scavenges power to charge an internal battery/capacitor by using G wire in short bursts to complete its charging circuit.  ‘Ok so why don’t other thermostats do that?’ Well if your HVAC system is to sensitive it can cause your fan to turn on and off for very short periods of time, this can be very bad for the longevity of your blower motor.

Imagine this simplified control board diagram:

 

hvac-control

So can’t I just hook up a second PSU to the thermostat and hook it up from R to C?

Short answer, no!  Long answer if you are are VERY VERY VERY sure that the phases of your HVAC unit and the outlet you use are in sync it is a very bad idea to just hook up a second PSU to the system, you will damage both your thermostat and HVAC control board.

So what is the solution?

To get the system to work you have to create an interface that will mimic a thermostat to the HVAC control board and mimic a 5 wire HVAC control board to your smart thermostat.  To do this we need 3 relays with a coil voltage of 24V AC, a 24V AC PSU, some screw terminals, a proto-board and some form of case.  I used the following relays and PSU:

  • Relay RT314524  – Newark P/N 03P2422
  • Triad Magnetics WAU24-200 – Newark P/N 96M0310 (Note this item is discontinued once stock levels are depleted so you may need to find an alternative)

Once you have the parts you need to assemble the following circuit:

 

interface

Put it in a case and hook it up to your system.  Now you can enjoy your 5-wire requiring thermostat with your 4 wire controlled HVAC system.

 

IMG_0545

IMG_0546

You should also design a better wall mounting solution into your case so you don’t have to use blue painters tape to hold it to the wall, this will be being rectified with some double sided foam mount tape in the future.

05

06 2016

House Number

This was a simple project that took a lot longer than it should have. Nothing fancy, just numbers welded from 1-1/4″ mild steel stock and 3/32 rods. Some of you may have seen me tackle it a few months back in the hot metals area. Due to a total lack of free time, I only now installed it on my house.

20160529_140934(1)

The rods are painted a color approximating the brick, making the numbers “float” about 1-1/2″ from the face of the wall.

31

05 2016

Yes, You Can (Document Small Projects)!

light cube

WP-White-Bar-550x10

Mohamed Dardiri took a professional looking photograph of a laser cut design he made and it was getting likes on Pinterest within minutes. You can do this, too! Photographing small projects using one of our light cubes gives you a nice, even lighting without any harsh shadows.

Read the rest of this entry →

30

05 2016

‘Balance’ Coffee Table

Here’s a summary of my coffee table project that many of you have seen me work on (or struggle with) over for the last several months.

DCIM138GOPRO

I like furniture that can flex or modify it’s position to address different needs. I’ve seen coffee tables that raise to eating height before, but I wanted to design one that really expresses the mechanism and plays up the physics behind it. Back in October I made a 1/2 scale mock up of the design to understand the motion.

BCT-MOCKUP

Then it was back to designing a full size mock-up.

MOCK-UP-FULL

 

I realized it wasn’t going to be stable enough with just one set of arms, so I decided two sets would still look good. Everything was designed in Autodesk Revit. The software allows you to figure out volume, then with a given density of materials I could get weights from the various parts. This allowed me to determine the balance. I didn’t want it to be perfectly balanced with the counter-weight, but have enough weight to assist the movement.

COFFEE TABLE BALANCE-v2 side     CTB REVIT

First I started making the frame out of aluminum. It’s fastened using a pneumatic riveter.

FRAME-01FRAME-02

Painting the steel arms.

ARMS

CNC cutting the concrete forms out of pink foam

FOAM-01 FOAM-02

FOAM-03

Creating the concrete counter-weight form

counterwight-01

Failed attempt to CNC cut aluminum for brackets. I’ll skip the rest of these struggles…

counterweight-02

Casting the concrete base

casting-01

Casting the counterweight (nice and sloppy)

casting-02

The base assembled.

casting-03

casting-04

casting with arms

Frame is attached.

assembled-01

There were many tweaks after testing it. There was some wiggling around the axles, so I widened the holes in the steel arms to put nylon sleeve bearings in for a tighter smoother fit. There was still some shifting after putting some weight on the front, so I designed a locking mechanism with a latch.

CTB LATCH

Lots of struggle with this latch at the top of the photo. (FYI, learn the cold metals milling machine if you need a part like this)

locking mech

And finally… a video…

By Josh Myers

10

05 2016

NERP 5/9/16: Neurobionics Tonite: A Lightweight Robotic Knee Prosthesis that is Powered By Drone Technology

knee-exoskeleton

knee-exoskeleton

Elliott Rouse is the Director of the Neurobionics Lab in the Center for Bionic Medicine at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. The vision of his group is to discover the fundamental science that underlies human joint dynamics during locomotion and incorporate these discoveries in novel, effective wearable robotic technologies.

At NERP on Monday, Elliott will show us some fun stuff from his lab including a new generation of his group’s robotic knee. We’ll see that a robotic knee is much more than a motorized linkage, although it is that, too.

quasi-passive pneumatic foot

quasi-passive pneumatic foot

Abstract: The Neurobionics Lab is interested in understanding neural control of movement from the lens of mechanical descriptions. The intent is to use these discoveries to design and control a new class of assistive technologies. These technologies would be capable of not only replicating the natural biological torques and speeds, but also the underlying stiffness properties. However, since many of the stiffness properties are unknown, the Neurobionics Lab also seeks to supplement this philosophy with the design and control of technologies that cleverly implement or leverage mechanics. The purpose of this talk will be to discuss ongoing research and a few specific technologies that are currently being developed in the group. The presentation will focus on two technologies, the actuation of wearable robots with balloons, and a novel low cost, lightweight robotic knee prosthesis that is powered by drone technology.

Bio: Elliott Rouse is the Director of the Neurobionics Lab in the Center for Bionic Medicine at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, as well as the Departments of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University. The vision of his group is to discover the fundamental science that underlies human joint dynamics during locomotion and incorporate these discoveries in novel, effective wearable robotic technologies. The Neurobionics Lab uses technical tools from mechanical and biomedical engineering applied to the complex challenges of human augmentation, physical medicine, rehabilitation, and neuroscience. Elliott received the BS degree in mechanical engineering from The Ohio State University in 2007, and the MS and PhD degrees in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University in 2009 and 2012, respectively. Subsequently, he joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a Postdoctoral Fellow, working with the Biomechatronics Group in the MIT Media Lab until 2014. Elliott and his research have been featured at TED, on the Discovery Channel, CNN, National Public Radio, Wired Magazine UK, Business Insider, and Odyssey Magazine.

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago. Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at

http: //www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and
http://pumpingstationone.org/

Doors open at 6:30pm.
NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com
Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source,
raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Pumping Station One, prosthetics

08

05 2016

501c3 Status Party – Thurs. April 28th

The cake, decorated by Shelly Loke. Before

This is the red velvet cake, decorated by Shelly L. She did a great job. Thanks to Everett for donating the chocolate that appears on every event cake so far.

 

 

The "original" song for PS:One.

The “original” song for PS:One. We actually sang this song before cutting the cake.

The table of tasty treats.

The table of tasty treats. Sorry for the blurry picture, the sugar content was making the camera jitter.

The cutting of the cake.

The cutting of the cake. Shelly did the honors.

After

Two hours later and the cake is almost gone.

We all gathered in the lounge to celebrate the hard work of many PS:1 boards and members. It seemed like a fitting end to getting 501c3 status so I planned a party. I chose red velvet cake because our color, as far as I know, is red. I could be wrong, it could have been purple and the blue ran away. Lol. Party guests brought doughnuts, plenty of doughnuts, pizza pringles, and kit kats. The cupcakes looked so fancy. We even had ice cream to go with the cake. With the help of Andy L. we sang our 501c3 song and it was a mouthful. Try it yourself. It was a very good evening for me and I hope you. To all who shared in the treats after the party. Salute!

02

05 2016

Power Racing Series Meeting

This Saturday, April 30th, we will meet at 9pm in the shop to discuss our entry into the Power Racing Series. Its a friendly competition between hackerspaces where we modify ride on kids toys and race them at Maker Faires.  We have a car that works great but is in need of TLC. We have a race in San Mateo in a few weeks time and need to get it ready.  We will be discussing what needs to be done for that race and races to come. If you have experience with welding, electronics, fabrication, you are more than welcome. If you don’t have experience, come by and get some.  Read the rest of this entry →

29

04 2016