Week 01, 2019 – Catching up

New Year, new chance to fail at making weekly updates! It’s never too early to start missing deadlines!

I’ve got a couple blog posts that have been in draft form for way too long, and a few things I haven’t written about yet, and some big news.  All of which I’ll be sure to never get around to posting, in the fullness of time.

Meanwhile, I did a thing. A very rash, impulsive, irresponsible, positively mad, thing; I got a Windows Mixed Reality headset and motion controller bundle.  Namely a Lenovo Explorer.  I seem to have gotten one of the last ones off the Microsoft Store, because they almost immediately went to Sold Out, and most places are listing them as ‘Discontinued’.  I’ll do a thorough write-up later, once I’ve had it a few more days, for now here’s a preview of the unboxing pics.

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Wherein I (over)analyze Disney’s next step towards the robot apocalypse

As you all know, my brain does not work like that of normal people. [He says, making a grotesque understatement.] One particular gift/curse granted me by this derangement of the mind is my innate ability to just mentally disassemble things I’m looking at, and—regardless of complexity —instantly understand how they work.  Or, to put it another way: I can see the Matrix.

So I was doing my morning web browsing, when I spotted an article about an animatronic attraction being constructed at Tokyo Disneyland. The animated gif heading the article caught my attention because the technology looked so advanced. And in the video, they showed the inner workings of one of the characters’ arms for like three seconds. Read on for a better look at the arm, and my (over)analysis. Read more…

Head Tracking Redux

So, it’s been three and a half years since I first made my head tracker to aid me in my “Dangerously Elite Adventures in SPAAAAAACE!!!” and for at least half that time I’ve intended to make a more permanent solution…  Well, I finally got around to it! Read more…

[Preview!] Fresh Baked Patches

So I’m finally writing about the process behind the patches I’ve been making and selling on my Etsy shop…stay tuned!

Fresh Baked Patches

A fresh batch of patches, with their iron-on backings applied, hot off the heat press!

Do you have a moment to talk about Our Lord and Savior, the ESP32?

The ESP-WROOM-32 'module'.

The ESP-WROOM-32 ‘module’.

By now just about every electronics hobbyist, embedded systems engineer, person interested in the ‘Internet of Things’, or anyone I can get to stand still for more than three minutes, knows about Espressif’s ESP32 line of absurdly inexpensive and frighteningly powerful ‘system on a chip’ devices. If by some strange chance you don’t, and it sounds like something relevant to your interests, buckle up! Read more…

Multipurpose Monocular Heads Up Display (Part 1)

Now, this is a project I’ve had in the works for quite some time… It started out simply as a clever way to read Twitch chat whilst doing my professional imaginary spaceship pilot gig, without taking my eyes off what I’m doing, but I believe it has a lot more potential. Read more…

Plotting to build a plotter… (On hold)

It’s 2am the morning after Thanksgiving. I’m standing in the middle of the dimly-lit kitchen bare-handing a slice of the pumpkin pie I didn’t get to try before succumbing to a food coma nine hours earlier, as I stare at the pile of aluminium sheet stock in one corner of the room…

They say “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” …it seems the same goes for “if you get a really really spiffy new hammer,” because I’ve basically been solving everything—even the most mundane of everyday needs —with my 3D printer… Well, I aim to change that with my current project, if only because trying to design all the parts to be printable was getting fucking tiresome.

For the longest time I’ve really needed a bigger plotter than my Silhouette SD (i.e. CraftRobo) because the narrow working envelope was a real limitation. I also wanted something heavy duty that could tackle more tasks…

Update: 05/14/2018 – Well, that escalated quickly slowly.

So, in the SIX MONTHS since I started writing this post—hell, in the month since I last touched it —I actually just said screw it and got a Silhouette Cameo 3, and I’ll talk about that in another post.  Anyway, at some point I’ll revisit this, but what I was getting to was the fact that I was designing a CoreXY-based plotter and I was going to build it out of aluminium.

Week 47, 2017 – Where have I been hiding?!

This was originally supposed to go up back in May…but…you know.

The few people who actually visit my site intentionally, and those non-bots who stumble upon it by accident, have probably been wondering where the hell I’ve been and what manner of hell I’ve been up to for the past five months year.  Well, I wish I could say I had a lot to show for my time…but it would be a damned dirty lie.  Then again, I’m occasionally told that I’m overly-critical of myself…so I guess you’ll just have to read the highlights and decide for yourself if I’ve wasted half a year of my life!

Probably the biggest thing is that I bought an embroidery machine, a small and inexpensive home model that can do up to 4×4 inch patterns. And then I acquired digitizing software… Wilcom Hatch Embroidery… Which costs $1200—yes, twelve-hundred god damn dollars —if you want the version that you can actually make art in.  Luckily they offer flex-pay and I’ve been paying $99.99 a month since.

So, I’ve been making embroidered patches.  Why? Because like damn-near everything I pursue, I wanted a thing; then, having decided I was too poor to have somebody else make it for me, I proceeded to somehow spend obscene amounts of money—seemingly beyond my means —to give myself the capability to make the thing that I wanted. This is where I’d normally say something about doing a more in-depth post on this later, but by now we all know that is also a damned dirty lie.

This was not without tangible benefits beyond, you know, the literally tangible ones —as it forced me to finally open an Etsy store which has so far generated 10 sales, averaging a sale a week— and a dollar of profit a day —for 73 days.  Not bad considering I’m only selling two items and at the moment not doing anything to really put my shop out there to get noticed.

Other notable things that I may or may not elaborate on later:

  • I was one of the lucky(?) backers who actually received their Tiko3D… (Spoilers: It’s kinda rubbish.)
  • I made some upgrades to my 3D printer. (For better or worse? I think the whole thing needs to be taken to bits and reassembled.)
  • I’ve been doing a lot of experiments with using 3D printing to improve the workflow of other processes. (Like printing templates for things.)
  • My giant-ass monitor bit it, I know what’s wrong but not why nor how to fix it, and that’s had me flummoxed for quite a while.
  • I’ve made inroads toward having my mill and lathe usable.
  • I designed several very complex 3D printing projects.
  • I’ve begun work on a rebranding of MAKE COOL THINGS for 2018, with a new logo and a bunch of matching icons and things.

Leaving on a Jet Plane – Shenzhen I/O

So, here’s something different, a game review! (This was originally written in October 2016, but I’m really the worst blogger ever.)

Shenzhen I/O is the latest puzzle game from Zachtronics, and in it you play a newly-minted Electrical Engineer, fresh out of school, and faced with the reality that we make all of jack and shit in this country. (So apparently not much changes between now and 2026…) And so you get a job with a company in Shenzhen, and are off to China! I’d previously played TIS-100 which was a puzzle game about programming in assembly– because I am exactly that kind of nerd –and enjoyed it immensely. Shenzhen I/O builds upon that formula by adding hardware design…needless to say that just makes me that much more into the game. Read more…

Week 51, 2016 – Wrapping Up The Year – Part 1

H***y H***days! (Don’t ask. You’ll follow my example if you don’t want to be hounded by C*****mas-themed spambots until the heat-death of the universe.)

Okay, so here we are. The end of the year.  I guess first and foremost, the responsible thing would be to list the things I still haven’t managed to do this year, as a reminder to myself…

I have a few nearly-finished posts in draft form that haven’t made it up yet:

  • A review of the game Shenzhen I/O
  • A post about 3D printer upgrades
  • A post about live-streaming

That’s actually a lot less than I expected! …of course then there’s the ones I never got around to even starting… Foremost among these is probably the one about 3D printing-related crowdfunding campaigns I’ve backed… And it’s probably just as well that I haven’t done it yet, because the biggest one of all hasn’t arrived yet! (But it’s sitting on a boat in customs at the port of Long Beach!)

There’s also the progress I’ve been meaning to write about regarding my HOTAS modifications, which will eventually turn into a complete custom stick and throttle project… For now, I’ll give you a sample… Since I just finished it the other day!

Anyway, next weekend I’ll talk about what I hope to do in the coming year! (Ironically, New Years Day is still technically the last day of the 52nd week of 2016… #JustISOThings )

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