Author Archives: joel

Lixie Clock

Years ago I built a one-digit Lixie clock that's now in my office at work. But I've always wanted to build a full six-digit version (with seconds), as that is way more interesting to look at. Now with the laser cutter for etching the acrylic and my new knowledge for making PCBs, this project idea finally seems ready to translate into reality. The photo on the left is a proof of concept of a single digit. The photo on the right is all of the various parts I've been working on to build the six-digit version.

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Peach and Plum Seedlings

Last fall I saved the pits from some peaches and plums to see if I could get them to grow. For those fruits you have to 'stratify' the seeds in the refrigerator for several months in order to get the seeds to sprout. I just checked on them a week or so ago, and low and behold they were sprouting! I've since moved them to the windowsill and they are 3-4 inches tall already. Once they get big enough I'm hoping to harden them off and plant them outside.

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Batch of Mugs

I've been working on a batch of mugs lately - this is a set of twelve that I threw last weekend and I'm waiting for them to dry. One or two have some cracking on the handles where the lower part of the handle connects to the mug body. That seems to be the spot that I always get some cracking - I need to figure out a better plan for trying to avoid that. I think some experimentation is in order.

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Word Alarm Clock v2

This is version 2 of the nightstand-sized version of the word clock that I've been working on. You can see version 1 on the left, and version 2 on the right. As you can see, I definitely achieved my goal of making it a lot less deep! The new one is slightly less than an inch and a half deep. I redesigned the circuit for the new version to eliminate the separate Arduino and switched to board-mounted buttons (instead of the panel-mounted buttons the old one used). I also changed the way I did the light-separation grid to make it less thick. All of those changed made a huge difference in the size, as the first version was almost three and a half inches deep.

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Under-Workbench Storage

I built this narrow drawer cabinet to go under my electronics workbench, to give me a plan to keep some frequently used tools near at hand, and to give me a place to stash in-progress projects when I want to get them off the bench. The body is cherry, and I painted the drawer fronts black for some interesting contrast. It's only 10 inches wide, but the drawer are pretty long so it actually holds a fair bit of stuff. For some of the drawers I also used the laser cutter to make some sliding trays to hold the many small items I use a lot when populating boards.

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Word Alarm Clock

I've been working on trying to come up with a version of the word clock I build that is in a smaller form factor - something more of the nightstand-sized variety. This is version 1. It still doesn't have a wooden enclosure around it, but it's definitely much smaller. This one uses a pair of PCBs that I designed and populated myself - one for the LED layer, and one for the rest of the circuit. It's still a lot deeper than I would like though, so I've been starting to plan for a version 2.

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Sitting Lizard

I recently made this little "sitting lizard" for the shelf above my monitors at home. He's made from an aluminum wire armature and Super Sculpey oven-bake clay. I think he's cute - it looks like he's just kicking back and soaking up the sunshine.

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Growing Crystals

I read an article online about how to grow cool crystals at home using fertilizer, and Carter and I thought we'd give it a try. Our first attempt failed, but did something really interesting. The article mentioned this might happen if the water was allowed to evaporate too quickly. It grew this amazing structure that looks almost like white broccoli.

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Word Clock #2

Technically, this is actually word clock #3 - as #2 is on my desk at work. But where I haven't taken any photos of #2 or posted it here, we'll call this one #2 for now. I made this for my sister's fiance Nate, after he saw the first one at my house and fell in love with it.

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Avatar Night Light

Made this for Carter for Christmas on the laser cutter. Each panel is one of the elemental symbols from Avatar, and there is a remote-controlled LED puck inside of it.

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