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Recording Sign

I recently made a few “Recording” signs for Brown Dog Gadgets so that when we are recording or streaming no one opens the doors to the studio. This is one of those projects where I thought about it too long instead of just getting busy making it. And of course, like everything, there’s the issue of it being “good enough” versus being “done” and yeah, I just need to find a middle ground between those two things.

I did a quick design in 2D so I could laser cut some 1/8″ Baltic Birch plywood. I didn’t put calipers on the wood so the fit was a little tight, but nothing a few minutes of sandpaper couldn’t solve. Also, since I painted the pieces it slotted together fairly tight so I didn’t even add the 3mm hardware I had planned on. I’m pretty sure if it falls off the wall there’s about a 50% chance it’ll stay put together versus coming apart. I’ll call that a win.

Josh and I talked about using an ESP8266 so we could control it from the studio wirelessly, or just running power to it from within the studio but in the end I just went really simple (hey, it’s version 1.0) and there’s an ATtiny85 programmed using the Arduino IDE to just blink a string of NeoPixels on and off in red. Simple works and usually gets done… eventually.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll make a version 2 that is controlled via WiFi and use matte paint instead of gloss and actually design in an on/off switch hole instead of drilling it later. Stay Tuned!

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Cupcake Sans WiFi

Josh at Brown Dog Gadgets has a saying “Don’t add WiFi to a cupcake”, which sounds weird, but what it means is, don’t over-complicate things. A cupcake is delicious all on its own, and you don’t need to add WiFi to it. Lots of products have WiFi that probably don’t need it. (See @internetofshit if you doubt me.)

Anyway, I grabbed this cupcake and modified it a bit for some laser cutting fun using some stiff felt. I cut three different pieces then layered them and stuck them together with spray glue.

The letters were not cut out, but instead I used a “stitch” effect by outline them using LightBurn‘s Perforation Mode. (And yes, I’ve tried etching felt… it does not really work.)

You can set the length of the cut and then the gap between the next cut. It’s a handy feature for sure. (Yes, you can do this in your vector editing application before you load your file into LightBurn, but it’s helpful to tweak it to exactly what you want when you send the job to the laser.)

Of course I had to add a red LED to one of them, along with a CR2032 and some Maker Tape to complete the circuit…

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Acrylic Bender

I made an Acrylic Bender. If you are one of the people who appreciates that joke, I appreciate you. I mean, it’s an Acrylic Bender, not an Acrylic Bender, an Acrylic bender, or even an acrylic Bender

Sheesh! Look at that face… it’s a face only a mother could love. Seriously folks, this “Acrylic Bender” joke is like six years in the making. I really hope you appreciate it.

I etched the acrylic as I usually do, with LightBurn and the RasterLaser upgraded with a Cohesion3D board…

After etching I applied some black Speedball block printing ink and spread it over the surface, pushing it into the etched areas. I then wiped it off the top surface with toilet paper… Just kidding! I used paper towel. (That joked will not age well.)

Thank you for reading this post, meatbag… also, bite my shiny, metal plastic ass!

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Multicolored Laser Etching

If you want a true to life banana you can’t just laser etch something, you need to go that extra kilometer to make it multicolor. (Of course real bananas need not apply.)

I didn’t go large this time, I went small… How small? Here’s a quarter for scale. Oddly enough, I did not find a banana in the house to use for scale, as they’ve all bean eaten, or frozen, so a quarter will have to do.

I etched some dayglow green acrylic using LightBurn and the RasterLaser upgraded with a Cohesion3D board…

Here’s a plain old green banana that has been laser etched. Look how lifeless and colorless it appears! It’s almost downright unappealing. I dare say we should consider slipping some color into place. It’s probably what Warhol would do.

I took some good old Speedball block printing ink and with my finger (inside a nitrile glove) rubbed ink across the surface. I then took some paper towel and wiped it off. It stayed in the etched part pretty good. Good enough for this first test anyway…

Here’s our multicolored banana with some edge lighting. I should try proper acrylic edge-lighting to see what the results are…

Here’s a view of the edge without extra lighting. This is 3mm acrylic. I’m thinking next time I’ll try additional coats of ink with time in between to dry.

Here’s another photo of the banana with a quarter, but the quarter is out of focus and in the foreground because it feels forelorn because it knows it is not a banana and will never be a banana, and for that, it mourns silently.

Enjoy your banana!

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Ball Feeder Mechanism

Here’s this week’s progress on the wax ball feeder mechanism. These are actually 2D files that were laser cut, but I sort of like the look of making them 2.5D so you can see the dimensionality.

Oh, to make the 3D render I exported a DXF file from Inkscape, load it into OpenSCAD and then use the linear_extrude function.

And yeah, these files are already outdated as there was one mistake (which I fixed with the bandsaw) and I’ve assembled it and found room for improvement.

You can see some earlier iterations here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Which is to say, if you want to see minor updates with very little context, follow @raster on The Instagram.

You’ll notice an issue with the balls getting stuck in the chute, so there’s a bit of work to do there. I’ve got a few ideas, just need time to test them.

And don’t worry, at some point this might all make sense, once you see the rest of the thing. Or maybe it won’t… who knows!?