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Archive for the ‘Projects’Category

Taper Jig and Sheet Lumber Storage

I decided that I needed to have some decent sheet lumber storage in my garage because i didn’t want anymore warped wood. So to build this storage I figured the easiest way was to build a jig to make long angle (or taper) cuts in a controlled precise manner.

I gathered up the material needed for the project:
3/4x24x48 MDF sheet
1x4x6 oak board
8x  T-Nuts (sometimes called Blind nuts)
3/8 all-thread rod
3/8 nuts
I also used some scrap 1/2 and 1/8 MDF
#6 3/4 Screws

Some of the tools I used:
10″ table saw
12″ Mitre saw
Drill press
Laser cutter
Cordless drill
Air Pin Nailer
Hacksaw
Small file
Hammer

Supplies

Supplies

 

I started by ripping the 3/4 MDF sheet down to ~11″ x 4′ (this didn’t need to be exact because I would be trimming the excess later)
I also ripped a piece of oak 3/8″x3/4″x4′. This is to be the guide that slides in the mitre slot on the table saw.

Oak Guide

Oak Guide

 

I then drilled and counter sunk the oak on both sides (this is so when the screw goes in the MFD the oak won’t shift or separate at all. I then glued, tacked and screwed the oak to the MDF board ~4-1/2″ from one side so that when the jig was placed in either mitre slot the edge of the MDF would be at the saw blade. I let this dry for several hours.
I then ran the the jig through the table saw to trim up the edges thus having the saw blade at the very edge of the jig. The next step I took was measuring 1 1/2″ from the center guide and drilling and countersinking holes for the T-nuts.

Countersunk holes

Countersunk holes

 

I then hammered the T-nuts into place ensuring that they didn’t protrude from the board

T-Nuts installed

T-Nuts installed

 

The next step of the process was getting all of the accessories prepared. I started by drawing up a CAD file of a 2-1/2″ hex with a hex hole in the center that would fit a standard 3/8 hex nut. Using the laser cutter at Techworks, I cut 10 of these hexes out of scrap 1/2″ MDF. I then designed an equally sized hex but with a hole in the center and cut 20 pieces out of 1/8″ MDF. I placed the a hex nut in the center of the 1/2″ and sandwiched this between 2 1/8″ hexes. I then glued and tacked these together. (sorry no close ups of the finished sandwich…mmm sandwich)

Cutting hex pieces

Cutting hex pieces

 

Hex Hold

Hex Hold

 

Hex Hold with screw

Hex Hold with screw

 

I then cut 5″ lengths of threaded rod taking care to smooth out the threads using a file. Next I cut 4 blocks of oak measuring ~3/4×1-1/2×11″. Using a sled I made out of scrap material and a dado blade, I cut slots into the oak pieces so they would fit around the threaded rod.

Dado Sled

Dado Sled

 

Finally I screwed a small piece of wood on the end of the jig to act as a stop and I was ready to start making my shelf.
Using the threaded rod and hex nuts, I was able to clamp the wood to the jig at a very shallow angle. I used one of the oak pieces as a stop to be able to reproduce the same cut on multiple 2×6 boards.

Clamped wood

Clamped wood

 

After a successful first cut, I proceeded to make 3 more of the exact same cuts.

First Cut

First Cut

 

Success

Success

 

And after all the trouble of making the jig, I was able to make my angled cuts in about 5 minutes. however it did make my cuts consistent and making the dado sled helped when making the dado cuts for my shelf. and the final product turned out quite nice.

Competed Shelf

Competed Shelf

26

07 2016

Base Commanders (Paintball Game)

Paintball Game for Ranger Lake Bible Camp

A few years ago I built a “Terrorist Bomb” for RLBC to use as a paintball game. It was simple. It was hacked together out of a variety of parts I had lying around. It was also a huge hit.

aka "Game Timer"

aka “Game Timer”

After that, we started talking about a grander scheme. The next game would consist of three bases with buttons and lights. Initially it was traffic lights, but it eventually became the light pole we ended up using. The biggest problem with this sort of “capture the flag” type game is having referees to keep score. If we could use technology to keep score, it frees up the refs so they can focus on fair gameplay. I had been using XBee devices in my “day job,” so decided they would work great for communication between the bases and the command centre.

The system I ended up building consists of a Parallax Propeller based circuit board in a Seahorse case with an SLA battery for power. The light pole uses LED strips intended for ground effect lighting and the buttons are standard arcade machine buttons. Communications are provided by XBee S3B-DM modules, which are probably way overkill for the application, but I decided to start at the top rather than have to work my way up until I found what worked. The base station communications is provided by a stock Digi XBee development board connected to the computer by a USB cable.

Base Commander Bases

Base Commander Bases

Base Commander Light Pole

Base Commander Light Pole

After the initial software developer fell through, I took it upon myself to write the command centre software as well. (I don’t claim to be a software guy — especially GUI applications.) The software monitors the bases throughout the timed game and counts up the score for each team while the base is held by them. It will also remotely reset the base states when starting a new game, and puts all the bases into “win mode” at the end of a game. (They slow blink the winning team colour and no longer respond to button presses until the next game is started.)

The software was written in Free Pascal using the Lazarus IDE. Lazarus is a cross platform development environment and the plan, initially, was to install the software on an older Macintosh laptop. Sadly, I couldn’t get the serial communications library working on the Mac, so I ended up installing the software on an old Windows XP laptop.

Command Centre Software

Command Centre Software

July 4th was the first full day of camp for the 2016 season, and a perfect day to try out the new game.

We installed the base stations at locations around the paintball range and set up the command centre in the safe area building. I was a little worried about the fact we had a metal wall between one of the bases and the command centre, but communications was not a problem.

Speed Bump

Speed Bump

Black Snake

Black Snake

Command Centre

Command Centre

I watched the first couple of games from inside the safe zone. One of the staff provided the players with game progress updates over the PA system. Finally, on the third game, I decided to venture out and watch the action first hand. Sadly, after one picture, my phone announced to me that my memory card was full… and I didn’t feel in a particularly safe situation to go through my pictures and delete old ones. So this is the only photo I got while paintballs were whizzing around me. Yes the ref is protecting his junk. He was caught in the crossfire between a couple players. Yes, he did get hit.

In The Action

In The Action

It seems like the game was a huge hit. Many of the campers thanked me for building it, and a few also put two and two together and asked, excitedly, if I was also the guy who built the “Terrorist Bomb.” Yes. Yes, I am. (But in polite company I refer to it as the “Game Timer.”)

http://www.rlbc.ca
http://www.waldetech.ca
https://www.parallax.com/microcontrollers/propeller
http://www.digi.com/products/xbee-rf-solutions/modules/xbee-pro-900hp
http://www.lazarus-ide.org/

05

07 2016

A Quick Sunday Afternoon CNC Project

When switching back and forth between calibres on my Lee Pro 1000 reloading press, I often have bits and pieces strewn around my reloading bench.  Now, I tolerate a fair bit of disorder, but sometimes it gets to be a bit much.  So… today’s quick project was to help organize my mess a bit better.

The parts I switch out when changing between 9mm and .38spl are the turret with the dies installed, the shell plate, and the case slider.  (Also the case feeder, but that’s too big to store this way.)

IMG_20160522_151827

A few measurements and some quick drawing in Aspire and I’m ready for the router.

IMG_20160522_151843

I always enjoy watching Goliath work.

IMG_20160522_154231

Done,

IMG_20160522_155451

and back home!

IMG_20160522_160128

22

05 2016

Sous Vide Update

The sous vide controller is beginning to take better shape than the prototype on the breadboard.  Note, this one still has a fully configurable analogue stage.  The wheatstone bridge and the op-amp gain can be changed by swapping out resistors.

IMG_20160122_092347

 

The meals have also progressed beyond soft-boiled eggs.

IMG_20160122_092416

 

22

01 2016

Temperature Control (Sous Vide)

I have been talking about this for ages… threatening to build it… even ordered parts.  But, it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago when Drew brought his Sansaire over and cooked some eggs for us that I finally got the motivation to start work on this project.

There are 101 ways you could do this.  I’m going for cheap.  My temperature sensor is a super-cheap PT100 PTC sensor.  I am running it in a wheatstone bridge connected to a differential amplifier tuned to get the best resolution out of the temperature range I’m interested in. (49C – 74C)  The output of that goes to a Nano clone, which currently only turns a Solid State Relay on and off.  (I plan to use PID in the future)  The relay turns a slow cooker on and off.  This tiny one really isn’t hot enough, but I’m giving it a try today.

IMG_20160106_174327

 

I am monitoring the whole thing over the USB/Serial port with a quickly hacked together windows application.  Future plans including adjusting the setpoint and tuning the PID from this application.

IMG_20160106_174335

 

So, in about an hour, I should have some perfectly cooked eggs!

IMG_20160106_174400

 

UPDATE:

It worked!  These were cooked to 64.5C for one hour.
IMG_20160106_185521 IMG_20160106_185614

06

01 2016

Countdown Timer Update

Although the boards didn’t arrive in time for the September event, they are now here. I populated and tested one. I think these will look great for our January event.

IMG_20150924_192454_hdr

 

IMG_20150924_192606_hdr

30

09 2015

Countdown Timer for SCRC Kilobots

I wanted to wait until I was finished before making this post.  Sadly, there has been an unexplained delay with shipping my circuit boards.  So, since my job is keeping this webpage moving with new projects, here it is.

So far…

I ordered some 2.3″ 7-Segment LEDs from Aliexpress for the purpose of making a countdown timer for the SCRC Kilobots arena.  The plan was to have it ready for the big Kilobots XXXI event Sept 20th and 21st, 2015.

2.3" LEDs

 

Since time was getting tight, I went ahead and designed a circuit board and sent it away for manufacturing. (Sent the files, that is.)

kbclock1

 

I did this in the wrong order, really, since I hadn’t even tested the circuit yet.  Over the Sept long weekend, I spent a bit of time and built the circuit on a breadboard to test.  Fortunately, it worked.

Breadboarded Clock

 

(Yes, one of the segments is out in that picture.)

Here it is in operation. (Sped WAY up so you don’t have to watch for a full three minutes.)

16

09 2015

Robots!

Some of our members have been hard at work building combat robots for the upcoming Kilobots XXXI which will take place at the Saskatoon Comic & Entertainment Expo on September 19th and 20th, 2015.

Rachel is rebuilding a bot formerly known as Roadrunner:
meepcrop
“it’s running and it is calibrated now to weld the body and put it on almost done so excited!”

 

Al has done some upgrades to the drive system of Kitty Shark.  He might have overdone it:

 

Jeremy has done a very nice job on Psychomauler.  He has used the CNC router, the CNC mill, and the laser cutter during the design and build of this one:
Psychomauler

“Psychomauler mostly put together. Had to give up on the carbon fibre after  the CNC screwed up and cut it the wrong size (missed steps, or something like that), so garolite will have to do. I should still be OK for weight,  I’m at about 350g currently and just need to add my titanium wedge.”

20

08 2015

T-Shirt Workshop

Albert held a T-Shirt Making workshop and, this time, used his vinyl cutter to cut heat-transfer material.  (We have used laser-cut stencils in past workshops.)  The workshop was primarily attended by SCRC members making team t-shirts for the upcoming Kilobots XXXI in September.

Kurtis writes:
Workshop went great! If anyone wants to post pics of their team shirts, please do! (We’re always looking for more website content.)
Thanks to Albert for putting it on!
TShirts

06

08 2015

Project Report: Hanging Pen Plotter

hanging plotter

One of our members, Jeremy Rans, is currently working on a hanging pen plotter, i.e. a machine that draws on a vertical surface with a suspended pen. The inspiration for the project came from this article on Hackaday. The parts being used include two NEMA-17 stepper motors for controlling the X-Y position of the pen, two EasyDriver stepper drivers, a servo for lifting the pen on and off the drawing surface, and an Arduino Uno for controlling the motors.

The main goal of the project is to make a plotter that can be easily attached to a wall-mounted whiteboard of any size. Most vertical plotters rely on the drawing surface being slightly inclined so that gravity applies the force necessary for the pen to write. Since that’s not really an option with wall-mounted whiteboards, magnets will be used to hold the pen against the board. The plotter will draw using G-Code instructions, a common choice for this type of device.

So far, most of the work done that has been done has been on the software. That includes the Arduino sketch for driving the motors, for which the AccelStepper library has been very helpful. AccelStepper allows for the stepper motors to be driven concurrently which cuts down on a lot of the math that would be involved in having to drive the motors one at a time. The other part of the software is a simple python program for reading in G-Code instructions and telling the Arduino how many steps each motor will need to take to satisfy each instruction. The software was recently tested with a quickly hacked together plotter which can be seen in action in the video below.

With most of the programming work out of the way, the current focus is on the design of the pen holder, the motor mounts & the line guides. The line guides are basically magnetic hooks that the suspension line will run through at the upper left and right corners of the desired drawing area. This allows for the motors & other electronics to remain close together.

Stay tuned for a future update in which we’ll feature the finished product!

31

01 2015


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