Wednesday, July 16, 2014

V carving with a Dremel 125 bit

a Dremel 125 bit
I recently purchased and assembled a Shapeoko 2 kit from Inventables and my wife asked me to help her etch text into a plaque for her boss as a going away present.  Well, the easiest way to do text is V-carving, and V-carving requires V-bits.

Here's the problem: traditional V-bits all have 1/4" shafts which don't fit into the rotary tool (a Chinese made Dremel knock-off) that comes standard in the Shapeoko 2 kit.

I was in my local big box hardware store and happened to see a cone-shaped carving bit, the Dremel 125.  You get two in a package for $9.50, that's about a third of the cost of a traditional V-bit, so maybe this lets us do V-carving on the cheap!

The first thing to do is take some measurements. I found the largest diameter of the bit is 0.24" and the height of the cone is 0.38" which means it's a cone with an opening angle of 35.05 degrees.

I put that angle into F-Carve, and viola! V-carving on the cheap. You can see results after the jump:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Electric Zeppelin Racing League

 I was recently honored with a commission from Redmoon theater to design a kit for kids to assemble at their annual Skelebration Children's Halloween party.

What we came up with is the Electric Zeppelin Racing League.

The goal is to have (small) people compete in electric zeppelin races - electric powered vehicles that fly across the room suspended by a wire.

The inspiration for this project is the BSA's Space Derby and the Power Racing Series. We wanted higher speed, longer distances, so electric powered zeppelins were born!
Lights on
The constraints for this project were:
  • <$20 retail price for the kits
  • No soldering
  • Target age: 6-12 years old
  • Can be assembled in an hour

Included in the current kits are:
  • 3.7V Motor
  • propeller (color varies)
  • 2xAA battery holder with switch
  • One LED (color varies: red, blue, green, yellow, white)
  • Three plastic cable ties
  • Two paper clips
  • 6" x 6" Coroplast sheet
  • Three flier templates (templates vary: zeppelin, pony, dragon, car, butterfly, bird)
  • Instruction sheet
Classroom packs:
  • Ten kits (contents listed above)
  • One reel of 100 yards of 12lb test fishing line 
  • Teacher's resource sheet
We are currently beta-testing the kits with Girls Inc. and GeekBus.

Pre-order single kits and classroom packs (shipping at the end of July):

Single Kit ($14.99 - free shipping to the USA, $19.99 free shipping worldwide)
Shipping to:

Classroom 10-Pack ($119.99 - free shipping to the USA, $129.99 free shipping worldwide)
Shipping to:

Prototype #1

Monday, February 10, 2014

Challenge: Zero to Prototype in 72 Hours

The @CraftsMANhammer tweeting hammer prototype

I have a new personal challenge: 

I'm going to do four 72-hour prototype building sprints on four different projects in the next four weeks and write about the results here.

Where this idea came from:

While at a party on a recent Saturday night, I received an email from a potential client, an ad agency. They are about to pitch for the business of a major tool manufacturer, am I available to make a hammer that is motion sensitive and sends out tweets? Oh, and can I deliver it by Wednesday?

My response was 1) yes, I'm available, 2) wait, do you mean THIS Wednesday, three days from now?

By the time my estimates were approved and I was given the green light to start work (Sunday afternoon), I had almost exactly 72 hours to deliver a prototype.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Lace toggles

Here's a quick one:
Due to record cold, I've been using my insulated work boots on a daily basis for the first time. While I love them, I hate how long it takes to get them on and off, and it takes forever to adjust them when wearing gloves.

So, I downloaded and printed this file in bright green:

I'm not super happy with the results, if I get annoyed enough, I might redesign it for better printing, but for now, it works!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

3D Printing: Ceiling Fan Repair

I have three matching ceiling fans in my house, but when I moved in, one of them was missing both the glass light globe and the retaining ring.
Before: ceiling fan without a globe

What the other fans look like.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Raspi Lapdock: Ready for Hacking

I've gotten my Lapdock + Raspberry Pi ready for hardware and software hacking, and I have to admit that I'm thrilled with the results.

  • Motorola Bionic Lapdock
  • Raspberry Pi (Rev B)
  • Raspberry Pi camera
  • Tenda USB WiFi Adapter
  • 3D printed Raspberry Pi holder
  • 3D printed Raspberry Pi camera case
  • Short solderless bread board + components and wires
  • Cables and adapters for the lapdock <--> raspi connections
  • Lots of hook and loop fasteners to keep cables and devices tamed

At the end, I have a completely portable <3 lb wireless hacktop good not only for working on the go, but for keeping my work area neat.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Bahn Bao: Hot Steamed Buns

Bahn Bao fresh from the steamer
I love knishes, empanadas, ravioli, and bahn bao (Vietnamese bao, A.K.A. steamed buns).  Essentially if you wrap something tasty in dough and cook it, I'm a happy camper.

Until spending Christmas with my in-laws, the only one of that list I didn't know how to make was bahn bao, Vietnamese steamed buns.

The recipe is surprisingly easy - it took us less than an hour to make 12 giant fluffy buns filled with tasty things.

I can't wait to experiment with the fillings!


1 bag of steamed bun flour
1 cup of water or milk
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 pound ground pork
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 cup green peas
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 chinese sausages, each cut into 12 round slices (24 slices total)
3 boiled eggs, each cut into 4 pieces (12 pieces total)
12 small squares of clean paper
Rolling pin
Mix and knead dough and set aside for 15-30 minutes
While dough is resting, combine pork with green onions, salt, and pepper, then divide into 12 equal portions.
Knead dough for another 5 minutes and divide into 12 equal portions on a floured counter.
With a rolling pin, or by hand, press a dough portion into a 5"-6" diameter circle, place pork, an egg slice, two sausage slices, and several peas into the center.
Pinch the sides up to make a pouch, place on a piece of paper in a steamer tray.
Bahn bao with filling, ready for pinching
Repeat for all 12 dough balls, then steam the buns for 20 minutes or until pork is fully cooked.

Bahn Bao cooked (left) and raw (right)