Code School ahoy

•January 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I’ve recently been accepted to a new program called Omaha Code School. I will be trying to update this site with all the neat stuff I learn in this program, as well as keeping a log of it over at
Go check it out if you want to know about the dev stuff I’m working on. :)

Getting more throttle resolution from an old RC Controller.

•April 23, 2012 • 3 Comments

I have been flying my tricopter around lately, and getting a bit better at not running it in to things. But one thing in particular has been bugging me about the controller that I have. The throttle stick resolution seemed really low, especially when compared to a friends, much newer and nicer controller. When flying it around at the Makery there was about one notch of difference between it barely skidding around the floor, and heading straight to the ceiling.

So, tonight I took it apart to see what I could do about getting a bit finer control out of it.  Turns out there is just a small spring arm with a bump at the end riding on notches molded on the back of the joystick. I believe this is pretty standard from what Ive seen online.

This is one of the times where having a 3D printer, and knowing a bit of how it works pays off. I need a very specialized piece with a bunch of notches running up a curved surface. This immediately reminds me of the surface that 3D printers make as lay down each layer of an object. So I take a few measurements, fire up the 3D modeling software and make a “cap” that will sit on top the current notches, so that the spring rids on it instead. You will notice that the 3D model has a perfectly smooth surface, but we get the ridges that it needs by setting the layer height for the printer.  I measured the old notches at .5mm on center, so I set the layer height to .3mm for  the first try.

After trying to print one by itself, and having it end up all blobby and malformed, I remembered to turn the “cool” setting on in Slic3r,  and put 5 of them on a plate to make sure they have time to cool between layers. I also turned the fan on, which I believe is why they all came detached from the build platform halfway thru the print. After turning that off and trying it again, 3 out of the 5 finished properly, and I was able to test it out. It worked great! It press fit right over the top of the old piece and the spring lined up perfectly on top.

It tested out to be a great improvement over the original. The ridges were smaller and more rounded, which gave it a lighter feel, but the spring was compressed more, so it still felt like it was strong enough to hold position. And most importantly It had better resolution, and I can fly it around without worrying so much about it running into the ceiling while indoors.

All in all it took about an hour from idea to finished. I would say it’s definitely worth trying this if your controller is like mine.



Furnace crucible and tongs

•July 9, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Kevin was kind enough to bring down his nice crucible after I brought my furnace body in.  It is just barely small enough to fit in with about 1/2″ clearance on either side.

I may try to increase this slightly, as the sides aren’t exactly perfectly circular anyway.  Im just not sure how to ream it out without destroying it.

So I spent an hour or so making a tool for the upcoming alum smelting sessions. :) I came up with a nice set of tongs that fit right around the body of the crucible. It is just barely small enough to fit between it and the sides of the furnace, and sometimes need a bit of finageling to get it in, or out. But all in all it works pretty well.

I loaded it up with a bunch of alum scraps we have, as tightly packed as I could make them, and the tongs seem to hold it just fine.


Furnace at the makery

•July 8, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I was finally able to get my medium size furnace moved out of the shed, and into the Makery. This was used at my previous residence to melt aluminum with a waist oil burner that was scratch built. I have a feeling that it will be converted to a propane, or propane/oil hybrid burner here at the space.


This is the inlet port that it cast right into the side. It takes a 1.5″ OD pipe and locks it into place with a small bolt tapped into the side.


A nice view of the inside, where there is a small plinth block to keep the crucible off the bottom, and the burner inlet with the venturi tip installed.


It has a chamber about 7.5″ Diameter and 8.5″ depth.



Android stands

•July 8, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I whipped up a couple stands for my Tablet and phone out of a cardboard box. Fairly simple, but very useful.


I had to use a piece of tape on the small one to keep it from flattening out and dropping my phone.image

I like how the gTablet can be turned into a little terminal with the addition of any generic usb keyboard.




•April 14, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Just got the wordpress app for my EVO 4G. thought I would test it out :)image