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2017: A Year of Hacking

Daily log of the my projects, ideas, tips, failures, etc.

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Regular updated log of the projects I am working on. My goal is to update the project log on a daily basis. I hope that sharing my projects inspires others to also post their ideas.

Previous Published Projects:

In-Work Projects:

Future Projects:

  • 3D print new fish feeder tray
  • Servo controlled fish feeder
  • Collect soil moisture data and publish to cloud, control plant watering
  • Wifi Light Switch w/motion sensor
  • 3D print enclosure for 120v AC to 5V converter.
  • Upgrades to Adafruit LED Goggles project
    • Adding built-in battery charger
    • Adding enclosure with on/off switch

  • Week 12: 3/23/2017

    Eric Moyer5 days ago 0 comments

    I made a quick video of my 3D printed beer bottle opener in action.

    I also created a Thingiverse project page.

  • Week 12: 3/19/2017

    Eric Moyer03/20/2017 at 03:32 0 comments

    Work has been my life for the last few weeks and my days have been reduced to 1)work and 2)sleep. Today I have "almost" a full day off and thus decided to get creative and knock out a quick project start to finish in one day.

    I have not be completely stagnate since the last post and I have been spending my rare free moments with my wife, catching up on a little TV and finally getting all of my Digistump Oak development boards connected to the cloud. It took much longer than expect but I now have all five(5) development boards connected.

    Now back to what I completed today. I have been 3D printing up this great bottle opener for a couple years now. I have printed up dozens maybe hundreds of these since people seem to love them and they are a easy file to print up. I also have used these to benchmark changes to my 3D printer since if I had made a wrong decision I quickly know it. A friend I gave one to glued a small magnet on the bottle opener so he could attach it to his fridge, which I always thought was a great idea.

    I recent saw a post on my Google Plus feed where someone printed a mesh Easter bunny and add small plastic eggs towards the end of the print. I have been unable to find the original post but I am pretty sure this was the 3D printer files. I have seen captive 3D printing before but this time around I instantly thought about inserting a magnet into the 3D printed bottle opener.

    First was to update the design and thankfully Zach Hoeken posted some .dxf files with the profile curves for his bottle opener design. Next, was to fire up Fusion 360 to import the .dxf information and create my new design with a cavity for the magnet.

    Since I needed to stop the my printer mid-print I had to create a small "ear" on the cavity to give a visual indication on when to insert the magnet. After I had a complete 3D model it was time to export an .stl which is surprisingly simple with Fusion 360.

    Post processing the .stl using Repetier/Slic3r was pretty straight forward since I pretty much had the settings figured out using my Monoprice Select Mini (MPSM). The hardest thing about this print was keeping constant tabs on the progress since I had to manually pause the print. I have yet to learn how to program a pause in the G-code and then re-start on my MPSM.

    In the end everything turned out great. I will create a Thingiverse project for this "remix" design and I plan on making a quick video to show it in use. There is one additional function that the magnet has and I will leave you guessing until the video is posted.

    Thanks for reading my update and hopefully my next post will be much sooner.

  • Week 9: 2/26/2017

    Eric Moyer02/27/2017 at 06:12 0 comments

    Last night I was able to attend a meetup at the SoDo MakerSpace for the new Ultimaker 3. The Ultimaker community team gave a great presentation of all the improvements and changes.

    One of the highlights of this machine is a dual extruder head that retracts the unused extruder. This seems like a great feature and I hope it works. I think the thing that shocked me the most was the $3500 price tag. There were lots of loyal Ultimaker 2 and 2+ owners in attendence so hopefully Ultimaker can expand their loyal customer base with this new model. I see this machine for the business crowd since the fit and finish is getting almost to an appliance level.

    Today was spend getting ready for the work week after a week long vacation. I did find time to get some additional Digistump Oak development boards connected to the cloud. I was hoping to get the remaining four (4) connected now that I had the proper cable for my USB to serial converter. I got two (2) online with the final two causing problems along the way. Ever single board so far has present new issues and required different solutions to get them connected to the cloud. It's frustrating and challenging all at the same time.

  • Week 8: 2/24/2017

    Eric Moyer02/25/2017 at 04:55 0 comments

    No project progress today since most of the day was traveling (this post from 30,000 ft) but I did have a chance to start writing down all the projects over the last couple of years I wanted to do but somehow lost the motivation. I have made some updates to my future projects list. It's partially motivation but I hope it shows others that there is no way you will get to complete all the things you want to and it doesn't mean you failed.

  • Week 8: 2/23/2017

    Eric Moyer02/23/2017 at 15:46 0 comments

    This week I was on vacation and my plan was to work on some stagnate projects while traveling that wouldn't require a lot of effort just time (which I typically have on vacation). Well, that plan failed when I didn't bring a mini USB cable for my USB to serial converter. With pretty much all everything going to mini USB it was just an oversight. My saving grace could been my GoPro but I made a last minute decision not to bring it which is probably the only electronic device I still use that has mini USB.

    My plan was to update the firmware of some additional Digistump Oak boards I have and get them connected to the cloud. I happen to also have a Particle Photon board along and I tried to make that act as a USB to serial connection however I was just not savvy enough to make it happen. (Reference: Here are some instructions on how the Bluz development board uses a Photon as a serial connection, I just couldn't get it to work.)

    As always I bring a back-up project to work on in case so I spend the rest of my free time messing with my Particle Photon Internet Button and my Adafruit Circuit Playground. I have a weekend family reunion coming up this summer and my plans for the Circuit Playground is to come up with some projects for the kids to work on. I plan to do projects that involve conductive paint and/or conductive tape to have an arts and crafts feel to them.

    Below is my travel set-up. I really like using old prescription bottles to hold small electronics since the bottle are also small and have a positive locking lid. They are also borderline unbreakable so they protect anything delicate from damage. I also always bring a battery pack for both working on projects and charging devices. Finally, the one cable that has come in handy is a male-to-female regular USB cable. It lets me both extend cables but also lets me organize things a little better when space is a premium.

  • Week 7: 2/18/2017

    Eric Moyer02/18/2017 at 22:47 0 comments

    Here is the final version of the Valentine's gift I made. I am super happy with how it turned out.

    I know I have raved about my Monoprice Select Mini (MPSM) 3D printer but I can't help how awesome it performs all the time. When I built my Printrbot Plus V2 back in 2013 I think most people focused on making their 3D printers better and that was the challenge. A huge amount of knowledge was gained by this undertaking however my focus was the 3D printer and not what I made with the 3D printer. My new MPSM highlights how cheap 3D printers have transitioned from a projects to a tool.

  • Week 7: 2/13/2017

    Eric Moyer02/14/2017 at 01:36 0 comments

      If you haven't already figured out I am not posting daily as I originally set out. Many times it's not because I am not doing stuff, it's just that when I do have a free moment I want to do something and not post. I have been trying to figure out ways that I can spend less time posting since when I do post I like to include as much information as possible and pictures are something I think are necessary to help tell the story. I have found an app called Lightroom and I really like it so far. I am able to adjust the camera so I doing less modifications afterwards with the goal I am able to just snap and post.

      Next, for a while I was wondering why not a single person has posted on this project or my light switch project to only realize I haven't done the same. Going forward I am going to make an effort to comment at least once a week on a project I am following. Even if it's a simple as a couple words of encouragement.

      I figured I would post a great meal I made over the weekend. I love finding ways to make a meal that you typically don't do a home easy and taste just as good. For me I miss really good east coast Italian food and Seattle has a couple good places but its not the same and its typically a fancier restaurant and not your corner pizza shop. One dish I love is chicken parm and Trader Joe's has a pretty good already prepared version in their fresh food case. I think the chicken breast they use are a little too think and you don't get a proper chicken to breading to cheese to sauce ratio. My solution was to use their already prepared chicken tenders and then top with cheese and sauce.

      The steps are rather simple:

      1. Prepare chicken tenders per the instructions in a glass baking pan however set a timer for the lower time listed since we will be cooking the chicken a for plenty of time to melt the cheese. For the TJ's brand I used the time was only 15 minutes for the first step. TIP: Put some parchment paper down in your pan first and clean up is a breeze.
      2. Remove from oven and generously top tenders with parmesan cheese. Return to oven until cheese is melted, around 5 minutes.
      3. Remove from oven and generously top with marina sauce and more parmasan cheese. Return to oven until cheese is melted, this may take up to 10 minutes since you are also warming up the sauce.
      4. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes then serve. I typically like to serve over a bed of angel hair pasta and some steamed vegetables.

      Now onto other things I have been working on. I have been slowing printing a Valentine's gift for my wife who is a high school science teacher. I have been printing up bits and pieces of it over the last week and up until today it was just weird 3D printed shapes.

      In the end its suppose to be a single molecule of phenanthrene, which looks like a heart. The carbon are colored in red and the hydrogen are white. I was originally going to print it in read however was able to find a cheap PLA red that I could get in time. I ended up painting white PLA with red arcylic paint which turned out amazing and is the first time I ever painted a PLA print. I would recommend buying a mutli-color paint set and just painting your prints rather then buying tons of filament. Here is the project files on Thingiverse. I will post pictures of the final product.

  • Week 6: 2/8/2017

    Eric Moyer02/09/2017 at 04:10 0 comments

    Today I received my first new roll of PLA in a long time. I have been printing from never ending rolls of white, black and clear for what seems like years. I decided to try something that I have seen some great results with and based on my first print I have to agree, Wood PLA (or is it PLA Wood). I went with Hatchbox Wood PLA 1.75 and it printed up identically to regular PLA however the material has a more soft and supple feel to it when printed thin. Here are pictures of my first print, a heart box I am going to try and stain for Valentine's day.

    Heart Box on Thingiverse

  • Week 6: 2/6/2017

    Eric Moyer02/07/2017 at 04:53 0 comments

    Hit a bit of a plateau on my current light switch project going back and forth on my next steps. No regrets on going to 3D printed enclosure, now I just have to decide on how crazy I want to get with the enclosure. I have been thinking making the enclosure work with a "rocker style" wall plate since it eliminates the need to drill anything or more importantly having to purchase a 11/32" brad point drill bit to get a nice hole in the blank wall plate. The new negative of going that route will be the 3D enclosure will be exposed but maybe a coat of primer/paint will make it look professional.

  • Week 5: 2/2/2107

    Eric Moyer02/03/2017 at 05:17 0 comments

    Installed the light switch tonight. Version 1.0 of the enclosure works fine for a single gang box but I will need to reduce the width to make it work with multi-gang switches.

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