decagon-light-a

It’s been a while since Decagon Light (Part II), but we’re here with Part III! Thanks to Jason we (mainly he) finally got around to do the CNC work for this monstrosity. Becky then wired it up while I worked on the programming. (Thanks, Brinn Labs!)

decagon-light

Below is the small prototype again…

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Besides adding some new patterns, I modified the code so you can use any consecutive pins. For the LEDs I use pins 1 through 10, but for the lamps we’re using 2 through 11. (Don’t ask why.) I also added an logic flipper, because LEDs and relays work opposite, HIGH is LOW and LOW is HIGH, depending on which you are using, so yeah, a lot of the code writing was just to deal with the differences between two version of this thing. Anyway, I squashed the last bug today, so it’s all good. (I think.)

And here’s a short video of it in operation. There’s still work to do, but we’ve made great progress in the last two weeks. (And yeah, I really wanted it done before Maker Faire, but didn’t quite hit that deadline.)

You’ll notice the design of the lines changed a bit. It’s still a decagon (a 10-sided polygon) but it’s no longer a 9-simplex. It’s almost a 5-orthoplex, but not quite. If you can figure out exactly what it is, let me know.

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In our introduction post I mentioned NoiseMaster 3000 and all of the noisemaking devices we built. Well, here’s another one in the series.

While I used wood for the first one, I chose MDF for this one. MDF has some nice qualities, like being smooth and consistent in surface and size, but besides all that, it’s terrible. Actually, I should say that I’m terrible when it comes to working with it. It’s not like wood, which is forgiving, and I seem to split MDF whenever I use it. I find it annoying, so why not work with it for a project that doesn’t matter that much, so I can try to improve my skills a bit. Good idea, right?

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This one again makes use of an ATtiny (I have like 20 of them) and I sort of liked this design when I built it. You’ll notice in the photo above that the screws holding the speaker in place are at a weird angle. That happened in transport, and was not planned. They were actually straight when I built it, but being piled in a bin with a dozen other noisemakers and other things caused a little damage.

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You can barely see it, but this one introduces something that will show up in future posts… 3D printed parts. It’s just the standoffs in this case, since I used all the laser-cut standoffs for the last one. Again, all electronics and wiring are exposed, by choice.

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I used a lot of screw terminal blocks, typically for power input (though sometimes for speaker output.) Like anything you make, if there’s a chance someone besides you might use it (or if you forget things) add labels! I did not add the ‘+’ and ‘-’ to this, as I know that when I use two wire colors the darker one is always ground and the lighter one is always positive. Maks and Dustin didn’t know that, so they traced the symbols from the PCB and added the labels.

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This one once again remained pretty raw. I left the MDF as-is, and did not paint it or otherwise do anything to the surface. I was still just focused on building things quickly. (Don’t worry, that changed a bit as I built more of them.)

This is just one post in a series about noisemakers. Check out the other posts as well:

noisemaster-3000

Around the end of 2016 I got some PCBs made that would hold ATtiny85 chips, and I used them in a sound installation. I was trying to figure out how I might reuse the piece(s) for Maker Faire Milwaukee, but I didn’t want to hang things, and I didn’t want to do the same thing again…

After I made SpringTime4 I thought about using the ATtinys in various noise-making devices, and so the journey began. (I also convinced Maks to join in and the idea for NoiseMaster 3000 was born. Oh, and along the way we recruited Dustin to join us.)

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I started digging up all the speakers I could find, and grabbed lots of wall warts from Milwaukee Makerspace, and I’ve always got scrap wood on hand, so I started building. At first I just slapped things together fairly haphazardly, but as I built more devices, I started making design choices. (You’ll see these in future posts.) In this post, we’ve just got a simple noisemaker. You press a button, it makes noise. (One of the criteria we set was that everything would be momentary, so no on/off switches. Sound could only be activated temporarily, so no one could turn everything “on” and then walk away. Sound should only be present when a person was engaged with it.

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In nearly all of the noisemakers I built, I chose to keep the wires and electronics exposed, or on display, as it were. If I used enclosures, they were typically open on multiple sides. Speakers were almost always visible. I didn’t stray too far from that aesthetic as I built things. Most of the buttons provided power to the unit, which started the noise, though later there were a few that used the button to enable the speaker. A subtle difference most people would not notice, but if you did, you probably know how microcontrollers work. :)

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I started working on the noisemakers in June, and thought that would leave plenty of time to make a dozen before Maker Faire. I came pretty close too, and along the way ended up doing some interesting things (at least I like to think so.)

I plan to write up posts showing each noisemaker (hence the “Part I” in the title of this post.) I’ll include photos and a short video, and notes about construction.

Enjoy the Noise!

This is just one post in a series about noisemakers. Check out the other posts as well:

dalek-headwear-0195

One of the big attractions for Maker Faire Milwaukee this year was a Guinness World Record Attempt for the “largest gathering of Daleks” and since I was drafted to be part of the “Dalek Dream Team” I thought I should make something to be part of it all.

You may have seen a few in-progress shots on Instagram of the Dalek eye which was 3D printed and then painted, but I’ll cover a bit more of the construction of the rest of it.

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For those of you unfamiliar, the Daleks are evil creatures from the television series Doctor Who. Above is a photo of a Dalek so you can see what the head looks like. I was aiming to replicate the head on a low-budget, and without much time as I was just a little bit busy organizing Maker Faire.

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I started with a large metal bowl I got from a retired science teacher who was cleaning out her house and garage that held 30 years of classroom experiments and materials. Getting the bowl (and a bag full of plungers) was pretty much the inspiration for this project… along with the fact that the folks at Dalek Asylum Milwaukee were on a rampage building Daleks at Milwaukee Makerspace every time I was there.

Once I had the bowl and acquired a lovely gold spray paint, I grabbed an eye from Thingiverse, split it in two pieces, printed it, and then painted it and attached it to the bowl with a bolt.

eye-half

I forgot to get a photo of the two halves, but this is a trick I often use, printing in two pieces and the assembling together. This time I drilled a hole through the bottom part, stuck a bolt in, and the hot glued it in place before gluing both pieces together. It worked out well.

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Jon (Master of the Daleks) gave me two light cages, which appear to be laser cut Acrylic glued together and painted silver, along with two ping pong balls. I then got two size PM-40 pill bottoms which I Dremeled to the right size, and put sliced in half pudding cups inside of to hold the ping pong ball at the right height.

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I also cut some 1/4″ Baltic Birch (by hand) to put on the bottom of the light cages. I hot glued those in place then attached Velcro® Hook and Loop so I could easily attach them to the bowl (and remove them if needed.)

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The next part was the most difficult. I should state that I really never make costumes or wearable things, so… yeah. I originally tried to make something with foam, and I thought about chin strap, but then I got a hard hat for about $7 on Amazon and thought that if I could attach that, it would be easily adjustable to (nearly) any size human head. The hard part was getting it attached to the bowl. I tend to deal with rectilinear things, not curvy shapes.

I brought the whole thing to Milwaukee Makerspace and asked for ideas… One member said he could make a wooden frame for it, and we did that, but it ended up being really heavy. Like.. uncomfortably heavy. I ended up removing that and using Great Stuff, as another member recommended. I’ve never used Great Stuff before, and let me tell you, it’s terrible.

I got Great Stuff on my hands, and that shit is nasty! I tried to scrub it off, and eventually using Comet cleanser, probably not the best thing to clean your hands with, but then again, Great Stuff shouldn’t be on your hands either. Wear gloves! I ended up getting my hands clean enough to not be sticky, but my fingers were stained for a few days. Yuck!

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I ended up spraying the Great Stuff into the bowl, then laying down plastic wrap and pushing the helmet in to shape the Great Stuff into a helmet receiving shape. It actually worked okay. Then to get the helmet to stay in place, I turned to my old friend, hot glue. There’s a liberal amount of hot glue holding the helmet to the Great Stuff. It’s ugly as Hell, but it works.

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Since I also had some plungers (from the science teacher’s house) I painted one gold to go along with the headwear. Every Dalek should have a plunger and a whisk, or a paint roller, or something that looks like that silly Dalek arm… the one that is not a plunger.

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The first time I painted the plunger I ended up flexing the rubber part and flaking off the paint a bit, so I turned to… hot glue, once again, to make a sort of “weld” thing around the base to prevent the rubber from flexing. It worked, but I forgot to bring the plunger with me (a symptom many were guilty of) so it didn’t get to be part of the ensemble.

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And here’s Rick from Milwaukee Makerspace wearing the Dalek headwear while holding the 10 foot ladder I was standing on. The headwear does work okay, but if you’re moving around it tends to fall forward. And forget about running or leaning forward. Perhaps it does need a chinstrap. Or maybe I’ll just keep it around without actually wearing it. I don’t know… it’s just another ridiculous thing I made because I love Doctor Who and Maker Faire.

reprap-3dprinter

This time in the RepRap Report we’re going to talk about the functional 3D printer, and not the old RepRap Prusa which I don’t know the status of since someone else has it right now…

I upgraded to a CNC Machined Lever and Extruder Plate back in June after having some issues printing ABS. I also replaced the 2m PTFE tube inside the hot-end, and now (thanks to eBay) have enough to last for years.) Other things I’ve done is add a PEI print surface attached to a piece of glass, and I had to replace a fan I broke while trying to attach it while it was spinning (which is a bad idea.)

Besides all that, it’s just been cranking out prints of various types for work, fun, and whatever else I create. Nine months into it, I’m still pretty happy with the Maker Select Plus for basic 3D printing using PLA.

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