Category Archives: Electronics

Arduino Metronome

I've got the idea to make an Arduino-based metronome while I was between other projects. It's got a Neopixel ring for flashing the beat (plus a piezo buzzer) and displaying the current BPM, plus a pair of buttons for increasing/decreasing the rate. So, pretty simple - but kind of cool. I still need to figure out an enclosure for it - I'll post another pic once it's done.

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KSP Control Panel – Part 2

I've done some more work on the KSP control panel - I've connected up all of the button and switches on the first two panels, and have them talking to an Arduino Leonardo. The bottom pic shows the first custom PCB I've ever designed and had made. It's basically some shift registers and pull-downs to support 16 buttons/switches per PCB, will connections to allow chaining multiple copies together. It was a cool and pretty inexpensive experience - I think I might try to make more custom boards in the future. For example, a lot of my neopixel-based clock ideas are essentially the same circuit every time. I might try to design an Arduino Shield with that circuit on it, to make my designs cleaner and faster to build.

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KSP Control Panel – Part 1

Sean and I play a video game called Kerbal Space Program, where you build things and send them to space - everything from simple orbiters, to space stations, to landers and rovers to other planets. What's cool about it is how it tries to keep things pretty realistic - you have to learn a bit about orbital mechanics in order to be successful, for example. One thing we noticed online is that some people build these elaborate control panels and connect them to their PC to play the game - lots of switches, LEDs, etc. - just like a real control panel. That sort of project is right up my alley! Sean and I have started working on one. We're still in the early stages, but I'll try to share some photos as we go.

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Word Clock

Yup - another clock. :P This one reports the time in five minute increments, but uses words - as in, "it's half past three o'clock". It's not as blindingly-bright in person - my camera makes it look a lot brighter than it really is. For the case I used some awesome tiger maple that I've been hanging onto for a while. It doesn't come across in that dark photo, but in person it looks awesome!

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Neopixel Bubble Clock

Anybody who knows me and my hobbies knows I love to make interesting clocks - I feel like they are the perfect canvas to try out new things and get creative, as everyone fundamentally understands what a clock is supposed to do. Because the basic idea is constrained, it lets me be creative with the implementation without having to also explain what the thing actually *does*. So here's a new clock I built - it's Neopixel-based and run off of an Arduino. The outer ring is hours, and the inner ring is minutes (in 10 minute intervals). The center pixel is an AM/PM indicator. I used ping-ping balls for the diffusers - it turns out that they work great for Neopixels! They remind me of bubbles, which is why I call this my "bubble clock". The colors are really washed out in this photo, but I think that's just because the Neopixels are so bright. In person it is very vibrant and colorful.

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Bluetooth Tiki Mask

When he was a kid, somebody brought Sean this toy Tiki mask back from a vacation. It's been kicking around our house for years now. I finally figured out something to do with it. I stick some Neopixels in ping-pon balls behind the eyes, and the color can be controlled (over Bluetooth) from an app on my phone. I'd been looking for an excuse to play around with a Bluetooth receiver connected to an Arduino, and this turned out to be just the thing.

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Solenoid Engine

One of things I've tried to make on the metal lathe was this little solenoid engine. This video was taken during the process of building it - I have since cleaned it up and made it prettier. But it was cool just to see it move!

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Lixie Clock

A friend showed me a project online where somebody made an edge-lit acrylic clock inspired by Nixie tubes. Once I saw it, the seed was essentially embedded in my skull and I knew I was going to have to make one of my own. The acrylic panels were cut on my home-built CNC machine, the LEDs are neopixels driven by an Adafruit Trinket, and the case is walnut.

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Nixie Tube Clock

I've been wanting to build a Nixie tube clock for many years now, but the high voltage required always scared me off. Recently I was looking online for a step-up power supply to try to finally build it, and found a site that sold a pre-built Nixie clock board for less than the parts would have cost me. So I ordered one, and built an enclosure for it. The outer enclosure is painted pine, and the 'face' is bubinga that I CNC cut around the Nixie tubes.

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Bartop Arcade

I'm convinced that I've posted about this project before, but I can't seem to find it on the blog no matter how I search. Back when I made it, it was sort of a rush job to finish it before a party - so I guess I must have forgotten to post it. Anyway, here is a bartop Raspberry Pi arcade machine I built a year or so ago. The best part? It's got a pair of USB jacks on the front that can be used to plug in some USB SNES controller I've got, or you can also insert a memory stick to install new games to the system.

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