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Fan Shelf Brackets

Once again my fan can sit on the window sill and cool my home office! We got new windows installed this year, and since it was a complete tear-out the new windows have this large lip that prevent you from placing a fan on the sill. 3D printing to the rescue!

Here’s the giant lip, which is about 6mm thick. I guess this is how they make moderns windows… I’m not sure I’m a fan. (Ha Ha.)

Here’s the giant lip, which is about 6mm thick. The bracket has a 6mm slot that fits onto the lip. The bracket also has different heights on each side of the lip to accommodate the different heights of the sill on either side.

I used 1/2″ long #4 screws to secure the brackets to a piece of 1/4″ thick Baltic Birch plywood I have lying around. (The brackets were designed with using that hardware in mind, so the lip on the bracket would be enough to prevent the 1/2″ screws from pocking through.)

Here is shelf. Good shelf. Shelf works. Shelf is removable. The only downside of the shelf is that I do not think it will support our 10 pound cat. And it definitely will not support our 20 pound cat/ Which is a shame. Obviously I’ll need to come up with a solution for those problems.

You can get the STL file from Printables.com – Fan Shelf Bracket, though unless you have the same windows, it’s not going to work. Feel free to use it as inspiration to fit your own windows.

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Parts Tray with Sliding Lid

I get a lot of hardware from Bolt Depot and it comes in these tiny bags with labels, which are great, but when I’m building products I find that I’m always opening and closing bags to grab what I need and I wanted to try another way. I designed a parts tray with a sliding lid to organize things a bit better.

Here’s a render showing how it fits together. I do this stuff in OpenSCAD. (I’m still far from being an expert in that application, but I am getting better, and exercises like this help.)

It’s a three piece design. There’s the bottom part (the tray) that holds things, a top part which gets attached to the bottom part with screws, and a lid. I laser cut some clear(ish) acrylic for the lid so I could see the parts inside. You could just print the tray part if you don’t need a lid.

No laser cutter? No problem! You can also just print a lid. Obviously you can’t see the contents with the 3D printed lid… though maybe if it were printed in resin? I don’t know… I don’t print with resin. Anyway, there are files to laser cut a lid and for 3D printing a lid.

Part of the idea of two separate pieces connected with fasteners was to allow for making the fit tighter or looser, to some degree. There are friction bumps on the top part that the lid slides against, and the top part flexes a bit to allow for a good sliding fit. That’s the idea anyway.

Now, the first sliding lid I laser cut didn’t fit… seems it was 2.8mm acrylic, not 3mm acrylic. To make it fit right I just added a bit of tape along the edge of the lid. (Note: Clear tape might be better. I used blue tape for this photograph so you can see it.) You can also adjust the top part and print it until you get it right. It’s a small part that doesn’t use too much filament.

I posted the in-progress photos of this on Twitter and a fellow named Pooch asked if I could just print it as a single piece standing up. Turns out you can, so I included an STL for that method as well. (I’m still a fan of printing in two pieces and then using a laser cut lid but hey, options are good!)

Because options are good I also created a “deep dish” version that’s a bit taller and will hold more (or larger) hardware a bit easier. There’s also some OpenSCAD files so you can change whatever you want. So… many… options!

You can get all of the files from Printables.com – Tray with Sliding Lid.

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Recording Video and (Line-in) Audio to the iPhone

I record audio & video of all my musical jams on my iPhone. I plug all my synth devices into a Bastl Dude mixer, then out to a splitter, one side goes to headphones so I can monitor, the other goes to a USB audio dongle with 1/8″ input, then into a USB to Lightning adapter plugged into the phone. It’s a little weird but it works great for me. I’ll try to describe the setup in detail below.

I’ll start by saying this. I’ve worked in media production a long time. I’ve worked on commercial video shoots, I’ve worked as a sound engineer, I subscribe to Tape Op, and I know there are a million ways to record things. This is the method I use because it’s easy for me, and a simple workflow for recording music means I can focus on actually making music and capturing it easily. Also, and this is important, I want to record audio and video together into one single file.

Not including the mixer and phone, here are the other components.

Here’s what it looks like all connected together. (Click the image for a larger version.)

Are there other ways to do this? Yes. Are some of them better? Probably. This works for me with the equipment I had on hand. I didn’t buy anything special for this because these are all components I had for other purposes or projects. Chances are if you’re already making music you have most of these things. If you’ve got an iPhone but still need the USB Audio Adapter and Lightning to USB Adapter you can get them both for under $20 USD.

For the actual recording I just use the iPhone’s built-in Camera app in video mode. It does the right thing with regards to grabbing the audio. This solution also allows for monitoring, since the audio signal splits before it goes into the phone. (Monitoring audio from the phone is… tricky.) Is it perfect? No, but it works. Audio levels are where they should be, and I don’t need to sync a separate audio file to a video file when editing the video.

I did try a bunch of other methods when I started. Including a Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter, a Zoom recorder (great for audio, but no video), recording directly to a computer (video was not great) and… probably others I forgot about. Yes, I know about the Headset Buddy, and I tried a lot of different apps on the iPhone. Again, this works for me. If this is helpful to you. You’re welcome!

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Pocket Operator Sync Splitter

If you’ve seen one of my Pocket Operator videos (like this one) you may have wondered how I have things hooked up. Since people seem to ask every now and then, I thought it would be helpful to just write up a post. So here it is.

If you have two Pocket Operator you probably know that you can sync them up, and audio will pass from the first unit through the second unit. The 1/8″ TRS (stereo) cable will carry the sync signal on one channel and the audio on the other. With two Pocket Operators you can adjust the volume for each and usually get a decent enough balance for the final output. It works. Mostly.

But what if you have three or more Pocket Operators? Well, you can still chain them and sync them, and the audio will carry through all of them, but it gets more difficult to adjust the volume on each one, and getting three or more chained together with equal sound levels at the end is… rough. So here’s my solution.

I got a sync device from the p0k3t0 shop on Tindie. Specifically I use the Sync Splitter for Pocket Operators – 7 Way. (There’s a 5 Way and 9 Way as well.) This device allows you to run the first PO into it, then split the sync into 6 output signals (for 7 more Pocket Operators) and then it also passes through the audio from the first PO.

So the Sync Splitter is the output for the first PO, and every other PO outputs audio as normal, and now you’ve got X number of audio signals where X is the number of Pocket Operators you have. In my case it’s four. (For now. I’ve still got my eye on the Arcade.)

Here’s a diagram:

Note that all cables are standard 1/8″ TRS Stereo Cables. No mono, no splitters, etc. The exact cables I use are these short red right angle cables.

Okay, so I’ve got four Pocket Operators each with their own output and I need to do something with them… so I plug them all into a Bastl Dude Mixer. I love that little Dude! It’s small, runs on four AA batteries (I use rechargeables) and it has five inputs, so if you’re doing a jam with 5 or less Pocket Operators each can have its own channel. Each channel has its own volume control and a mute button so you can do punch in/out easily for each PO.

Any multi-channel mixer should work fine, but the Dude has 1/8″ instead of 1/4″, runs on batteries, and it’s tiny. It’s sort of a perfect fit for the little PO crew, and it works well for my needs.

This post is long enough so I won’t get into the actual recording technique. I’ll save that for another post. Cheers!

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Sync a Behringer TD-3 to a Pocket Operator

Last year I wrote up Syncing a Behringer RD-6 to a Pocket Operator via a Pi Pico which was more of a “wow, this works!” thing than a good explanation. I say that because a few people thought it was nice, but didn’t quite understand it, or wanted a diagram, so here’s a diagram…

The 1/8″ stereo jack on the left is where you plug in the Pocket Operator, and the 1/8″ stereo jack on the right goes to the device you want to sync up. (A Behringer RD-6 or TD-3 for example.) The ring/red is the audio side of things, the tip/orange is the click/sync signal put out by the PO, and sleeve/black is the common ground.

As previously mentioned, the Pocket Operators are awesome, and they can sync with each other, but can’t always sync with other devices. They put out a 1 volt signal for the sync track (the “click”) and most other electronic devices want something higher, like 2.5 volts, or 5 volts. The Behringer RD-6 wants over 2.5 volts, so you cannot sync it to a Pocket Operator, but now you can with this device!

This basically reads the 1 volt from the Pocket Operator, and then outputs 5 volts that the Behringer RD-6 can recognize as a sync in signal. While the RD-6 has a sync out port, there are reasons you may want to have the PO be the primary and the RD-6 be the secondary. There’s also the Behringer TD-3, which (oddly enough) does not have a sync out port.

A guy named Oscar got in touch and asked if this worked with the TD-3 and at the time I didn’t have one. Well, I have one now, and it works great. And since the TD-3 does not have a sync out port (!?!?) this is the only way (without additional hardware) to sync a TD-3 to a PO.

I built one (using a Nano, not an Uno) and I’m sending it to Oscar to test out. He’ll need to provide a USB power source and a splitter cable to get it working. (He’s got both already. Most Pocket Operator nerds probably do.)

I did make one mistake on this device… I actually incorporated labels into the enclosure. I for “In” and O for “Out” and when assembling it I didn’t notice I had it backwards until testing. Oops! So I just stuck some labels on the top, and now In is on the right and Out is on the left. If I make another, I’ll do it right next time. Oh, I also realized I could probably just build a splitter into it by adding another jack, so I may do that as well. (Though that will increase the size of the enclosure a bit.)