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November 4, 2012

Monitor Arm

By a combination of luck and keeping a close eye on the reuse mailing list, I have acquired a pair of nice, large computer monitors: A 24" 1920 x 1200 SyncMaster 245BW and a 25" 1920 x 1080 HP 2509m.  Both screens were easily repaired by replacing dead capacitors on their power supply and inverter boards.  Due to the small size of the stock dorm room desks, the two monitors plus my laptop could not actually fit on my desk with space left for anything else, so I built a monitor arm that bolts to my loft out of some 80/20 extrusion.

October 28, 2012

Nyan Hat

I present Nyan Hat, possibly my silliest and most useless project yet.  Nyan Hat was spawned from a late-night discussion involving at various times Halloween, hats, and Nyan Cat, and went from idea to completion in just over two weeks.

September 15, 2012


Using wood left over from the REX shenanigans in the East Campus courtyard, my roommate and I built a double loft in our room.  We put up the loft in record time - we only had to sleep in our institute-provided beds for a total of one night before we could sleep in the loft.  The design we used was based on another loft down the hall.  It spans the entire room, so there are no supports in the middle of the floor, and it is tall enough to walk under without having to duck.  It also includes integrated speaker mounts, a cruft shelf, and LED strip lighting.

August 27, 2012

DPD Adjustable Laptop Stand

During the Discover Product Design Freshman Pre-orientation Program I did, our groups were tasked with creating a product to make our dorm rooms better.  My group came up with an adjustable laptop stand that raises your laptop so that the screen is in a better position relative to your head, the keyboard is at a more comfortable angle for typing, and the laptop's underneath is unobstructed, for better airflow.

The assembly we designed was cut out of acrylic on a laser cutter, and glued together wit acrylic cement.

August 19, 2012

Blacksmithing: Year 3

For the third year running, I spent a week in the blacksmithing shop at the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina.  Following the trend I set during my last two visits, I continued working on cool but useless mechanical things.  This time around, I made gears.  

July 23, 2012

Site Change

Until now, this site has been organized so that all my projects have exactly one post associated with them.  I started out posting that way because my early projects on here were ported over from Instructables I had written, rather than posted here initially.  I've gotten a bit fed up with writing one massive post when I finish a project, so from now on I will be posting about projects all along the way, instead of just at the end.  

All posts about in progress projects will show up here...

...which can also be found by clicking the "In Progress" tab under the header image.

Since Blogger doesn't support having two blogs within one website, the In Progress page is actually a completely different website, with the same template as the main site.  

The main page of this site will not change.  When a project is more or less finished (as I've learned from my electric scooter project, some builds may never be truly finished), I'll make a post on the main page with final pictures and details, but without any of the normal "how to" I used to include.  All the "how to" will be under the In Progress portion of the site.

In Progress posts will be labeled by specific project (e.g. "All-Terrain Electric Scooter"), rather than type of project (Mechanical, Programming, etc), as they are on the main page, so that one will be able to easily find the entire build log of one project by clicking that project's unique label.  

July 5, 2012

All-Terrain Electric Scooter

As seems to be the case with many of my projects, for this one, I acquired the parts first, and then designed a project to fit the parts I had. Here is the back story of how I got the parts, and what drove me to use them to build the vehicular monstrosity this post is about.

But first, a brief overview of the scooter's specs:

Motors: 3x CIM motors
Batteries: 8x Turnigy 5000 mAh 4s LiPo packs, 16s2p configuration (59.2V, 10 Ah)
Controller: Kelly KDS72200E, 72V, 120 A continuous, 200A peak
Wheels: 12.5" with knobby pneumatic tires
Deck: Hand laminated carbon fiber with polycarbonate top
Frame: Royce Union Transit kick scooter, with about 200% more aluminum added
Brake: Pedal actuated rear disk (sprocket) brake

Videos are at the bottom of the post.


May 31, 2012

Graduation Glasses

For my high school graduation, students walk onto the stage in pairs, and are expected to do something interesting (most do some variation of a dance move or handshake) when they meet in the middle, before going to their seats.  Having been to my sister's graduation last year, I knew ahead of time that I wanted to make my entrance more interesting and less awkward than the ones I had seen.

I built two pairs of glasses - one for me, one for my walk in partner - that, when turned on, display "2012" across the two pairs.  

March 18, 2012

MIT Tube Hack

This year in their early acceptance tubes, in honor of the 30th anniversery of the great balloon hack, the MIT admissions office sent a note encouraging us to hack our tubes.  Since there were an number of balloons included in the tube, I decided to make my tube hack a tribute to the the great balloon hack.  To fill the balloon, I built an electrolytic cell out of stainless steel washers.  When the cell is placed in water (with baking soda added to increase its conductivity), the current splits the water into oxygen and hydrogen.  This gas then fills the balloon.  When the oxygen-hydrogen mixture in the balloon comes in contact with a flame, the oxygen and hydrogen very quickly combust back into water, producing a very satisfying explosion.

March 16, 2012

Impossible Circuit

As you can see, the circuit consists of two switches, two LEDs, and a resistor in series (and yes, they actually are in series - there are no hidden wires).  So how does each switch control one LED?  Solution after the break:

January 28, 2012

Arduino Game Port Interface

A while back I got my hands on an old analog PC joystick, and since then I have been meaning to build an adapter make the joystick work over USB.  The adapter I finally built consists of an Arduino connected to a game port I hacked off an old sound card.  The Arduino reads the analog (x and y movement) and digital (buttons) inputs and then sends them to the computer over serial.  Then a Processing script running on the computer reads the serial data, and converts it into mouse movements and clicks using the Java Robot class.