Sunday, 25 January 2015

Soldering Work Tool Box

I frequently have bits of soldering to do and it would be handy to have a toolbox that I can carry all the bits and bobs around. After an unsuccessful first attempt that was too small, I made this box one morning from the old one and some extra wood:

Having only a cheap soldering iron with a stand that wanders around due to it's light weight means that attaching the soldering iron stand to the box makes working with the iron a much nicer experience.

The irons and bits and bobs go in a drawer at the top:

The box closes up and some catches will hold the front secure while it is carried about.

There's an extension lead for power inside the box, and the cable is wrapped round some tidies on the back of the box:

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Scalpel Box

I bought some scalpel blades and handles and knocke dup a box to hold them in so I don't cut myself. I do that enough without sharp thing like these hanging about.

I'll probably create another one  for electronics projects to go in the latest project, the soldering toolbox.

 HP30b Calculator JTAG Connector 

The HP30b is a repurposable calculator, but to do this you need either a serial cable or a JTAG connector. I have a JTAG adapter, so needed a hole in the calculator case for the connector.

A few minute on the milling machine and we have two neat holes in the back of the case:

That is for extra IO, probably ADC inputs.

JTAG connector:

 having proper holes is a lot easier when trying the JTAG out as the batteries are held in by the case and having to hold the battry in while doing other stuff was a pain. Next job is to make a serial connector from some pins and milled plastic. That will allow reflashing.

The Eclipse setup for the JTAG was a bit of a pain but looks to be close to working now. I have to erase the flash and get my code on the board before it will work properly I think, as the security bit is probably set in the processor chip.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Dehydrator MK 1

Having an apple tree in the garden means that now and again we get a lot of apples. (Now and again we get around 2, though, and I'm not sure why). After attempting apple pies, baked apple and other such things, I thought dried apple would mean that less of the freezer was taken up with apple.

Having heard somewhere that a cardboard box and light bulb could make a dehydrator I came up with dehydrator MK 1:

As a dehydrator works by heating wet things and then removing the damp air that results, you need a fan to remove the air:

I made trays for putting the apples on out of a bit of wood and some twine:

When in use you get a nice lighting effect from the lightbulb:

Dehydrator in use:

The result was dried apple which takes up very little space and it also tastes pretty good. Well, I think so, some people don't.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Glass Lanterns

A while back I made three glass lanterns. The design is very simple, four sheets of glass, all held together with a frame made of copper sheet soldered together and then painted black.

There are three lanterns, each a bit bigger than the last.

You can see the size difference in the lanterns by the relative size of the ceiling rose. I unconsciously auto-scaled the lanterns when I took the pictures.

The bulbs are multi LED units mountd in 3D printed bulb holders.

Cube Lamp

Many years ago I made a few mathematical models from paper, things like cubes, an icosahedron and the great stellated dodecahedron.  

Move forwards a few years and I had the idea of doing the same thing in glass as a lampshade. The result is simple and functional.

It's made using sheets of glass and copper foil, in the Tiffany method of stained glass'. The copper foil is sticky on one side and I ran that down the edge of the glass and then soldered the edges together. One of the panes of glass has a hinge fabricated from copper wire and copper sheet, so that the bulb can be changed.
The bulk holder itself is mounted on a frame that is made from copper wire, for added strength. (The first design came apart as the weight of the lantern pulled the copper foil glue from the sheets of glass, so the final lampshade has a copper wire frame completely supporting the entire structure inside. That has worked for a year or so).


Pens are usually turned on a wood or metal-turning lathe, but sometimes they are made without such tools. Being a bit of a pen collector, I decided I'd enter the realm of pen making. For a start I decided to try making pens without a lathe.

The result isn't too bad at all:

To do this I cut the wood using a Japanese crosscut saw, then hand filed it using a japanese carvers file. These files are really good at cutting wood neatly and controllably.

The rest of the pen is from a pen kit that I got on the internet. I didn't use it as intended as it was designed to have the cap post on to the body when writing and that left an ugly threaded part exposed when closed, so I omitted that part.

Wooden Spoons

I had some pine and wanted to make some wooden spoons, so after a quick spin on the lathe, I got a couple of spoons. I didn't try to make them identical, that's for machines, so I went with 'what the wood wanted' and ended up with two different personalities.

The convex parts are easier than the concave, I had to buy so wood carving tools to get anything that worked at all in the spoony bit.

After manufacture, I painted them in white acrylic paint and then spent about four hours putting detailed patterns on to them with a fine liner.


Saturday, 10 January 2015

Flash Diffuser

A friend asked for a box to diffuse the light from a flashgun, so one plywood box later we have a box that has a flashgun poking in from the back:

The flashgun is mounted on a hot shoe from a defunct camera, which is screwed via tapped holes into a machined aluminium plate, thence to a block of wood. The aluminum plate is to provide a good way to mount the old hot-shoe:


the flashgun is inserted into a hole in the back of the box, some light proofing may be required to all edges and gaps.

The white king for the Netherlands is on it's way:

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Table Chess Piece

While staying in a hotel in the Netherlands, they had a chessboard table with large chess pieces on it. Unfortunately the white king was missing. So I decided to make them one.

Fortunately the new wood lathe would come in handy...

This is the corresponding  black king.