Site Notes

03/05/2007 - It's been a while, and I've been relatively busy.  In this update, I've added a few more pictures to the PC board design, rearranged the PCboard section, added a section on making a probe for a logic analyzer (and some information on the logic analyzer itself).  I think that's about it, not sure for the moment.  I have a graphics controller project that I'll be completing (shortly, I hope), which will get its own section. 
09/25/2006 - I've been on a roll (kaiser, but with sesame seeds).  I've done most of the updating I will do for a little bit.  I've added a section on making pc boards with eagle.  It's not a tutorial, but it does address some of the problems that people have had, and so have I.  I've added some design notes on the Hand Controller that I've built.  I'm not including the schematic or the code, because I'm not ready to release the project to the public, if I ever do.  I'm not sure if the project will be a sellable item for me, or the kind of item I just tell people about and let them roll their own. 

I do think that I will answer questions about the various design features, but a lot of this is either 1) obvious, or 2) just a matter of deciding what features you want to include then writing them in.  To me, the design process is far more interesting than some of the details of the design.  I suspect that most of the software is out there, either in C form for the AVR series, or in assembly.  However, as I said, I will answer questions if asked.

So that's it for today, the addition of the Eagle CAD notes (version 4.16), and the design notes for a project.

09/19/2006 -  Nobody ever saw the update on May 22, mostly because I didn't do it.  Reality, or at least, what passes for it around here just got me more involved with things than I had thought.  However, I've managed to finish the breadboard setup, get a lot of software debugging done, and have another project to write up. (nope, not on the site yet).  The next project to be written up is an evaluation of several methods of PC board design and fabrication.  These are not for the faint of heart, since the ideal methods can involve lots of equipment.  However, with a bit of compromise here and there, you can do decent PC boards, or at least, I think so.
05/22/2006 - If anyone has been watching,  you'll have noticed the very long time between updates. 

There's a good reason for that.  I spend most of 2005 putting in new flooring in my house, painting walls, fixing things, packing boxes, going through stuff, and the like.  In February, we moved from Central Alabama (more or less) to Central Florida.  This means a completely new shop, thousands of boxes (seemingly) to unpack, many things not found, searches for supplies, and perhaps a welcome return to projects. 

In fact, a very welcome return to projects.  I will say that I have gotten a bit out of practice in some things, not so much the machining, but I've gotten a few different things on the printed circuit board making side, and my latest attempt to make boards has shown me that the process needs a bit of fine tuning.

Perhaps we should make that a lot....

I'll be putting up a revised section on printed circuit boards after a bit, once I fine tune the process to both adapt to the new surroundings and mess with a few new techniques after a bit.  I have a number of projects that have been put on hold due to the move, and it's getting time to start in on them.

I will be putting up a few new pictures of the shop once it's in shape.  You'll see the problems, one way or another...

01/15/05 - Added a new section in the CAD/CAM section.  I've started to do a conversion on an HF 47158 micro-mill.  It will be fully CNC'd after a bit.  I'm using 130 in-oz steppers (NEMA 34), because I had them.  The Z axis is pretty much done right now, with the exception of the connector wiring.  I've made the couplers so far, so the next step is the motor mounts.  I've slightly redesigned the look of the index pages, should be a bit neater.  I also added a gallery section with more pictures to the Carrara section.  Some of the pictures are a bit large, a megabyte or so.  I may fix that after a bit.
10/04/04 - I've cleaned up things a bit, added the metalworking pages, both 1 and 2, Added some general things, messed around with the index page a bit.  The xyzr table will be added after a while.  This has been a lot of work to reformat stuff, make sure that all the links are to the largest pictures available, and so forth.  Fortunately, it onl has to be done once.  I may break out the mill section or the DRO section of the mill separately in the main index.  That's not too bad an idea.  I plan to make some additions on how to make PC boards and a few other things that have to do with more interesting varieties of electronics.  Those will come as they are more or less complete projects.  I have some stepper drivers, and some interesting microprocessor projects that will be documented in the electronics section.


09/07/04 - I've rehosted the site, when I get the link up and running, you are now at .  I've got lots more storage space than I had before, Microsoft FrontPage Extensions do work, and I've redesigned the website a bit.  I'm still in the process of working out the bugs, transferring old stuff over, reformatting here and there, so keep checking back for new stuff.  I guess it will take about a week to get the site fully transferred over, and I can put in some of the updates that were languishing due to lack of space on the old site.



Why is this website here?

Well, to put it shortly, partly to share what I've been doing, and also as a collection of teaching material.  Not that I'm an expert at this, mind you, but as you follow the design, you will at least see what did work, some things that didn't (and there are!), and what the results were.  Not everyone will have a miniature oscilloscope they want to package, but this concept can work for any project of the "portable" variety.  So how do you repackage something that wasn't meant to be in that box, have it look good, and also have it work?  Click on electronics and go find out.  How do you combine woodworking and electronics?  Well, try the barn door project under astronomy.  How do you add a tachometer to a lathe?  There's a project for that, too.  That project also makes use of parts of old floppy drives, specifically the write protect sensor assembly from a 5 1/4 inch disk drive.  Depending on what's wrong with them, those disk drives can be useful.  Don't get the new ones, get the oldest ones you can find, the parts are more useful and there are more of them.

There are some useful ideas here, the milling tool setups are convenient, the flashlight is used almost daily (true, but a flashlight with a broken body isn't useful, and this body won't break).  The flashlight is a good example of workflow and project planning, because it came together very well without any nasty moments.  It's also a good example of how to duplicate the look and feel of an existing item without having to be exact. 

Oh, and by the way, this website is here because the stuff I've been doing is fun, and that's always worthwhile to share.  Creativity takes many forms, and isn't always recognizable.  Regardless of whether or not an item is utilitarian (a flashlight or a milling fixture), or a modification (an add on lamp for a mill or a camlock tailstock), there's an element of creativity that comes out in the expression of the design, the quality of the workmanship, and the joy with which it was done.  I'm still working on all this, of course.  The pictures done in Carrara (the front page and the Carrara section, you did look, didn't you?) are perhaps more easily recognizable as creative, yet are no more nor less creative, just a different expression.

The idea is, of course, for you to enjoy and perhaps learn.  So welcome, and have fun.


Index page:

The artwork was created with Carrara Studio Pro.  The ship is a hypersonic capable lunar liner that is modeled completely in the vertex modeler in Carrara and shaded using shader domains.  The strobes are made with the strobe tutorials I've put up in the Carrara section.  I may put in a link to a small animation.  (Not yet, I have).  I've changed the terrain to the more realistic terrain available in Carrara 4.  I picked a point when all the strobes were on bright setting.


Links and themes:

This site was done with Front Page 2002, with a consistent theme applied across all the pages known as "classic".  I've changed the theme a little for better readability.   



Some of the newer pictures are linked to larger 640 * 480 JPGs.  If the picture you are interested in is linked this way, you will be able to see the cursor change as you go over the picture.  Simply click to download the larger version.

Most of the recent pictures were done with a Sony Camcorder that takes stills at 640 by 480 resolution, no other choice available.  The astronomy pictures aren't done this way, also most of the barn door pictures were photographic, not electronic.  Most everything else is electronic, and especially the Carrara pictures.  Newer astronomy pictures to be added will be with a Sony higher resolution digital camera.  More on that later.

Picture quality varies, but should be reasonable enough. 

I'm being tempted to kill the thumbnails and just have the original pictures.  They will all be sized to 640 x 480.  It will make for a longer download, but once you have the download done, it's done.  Just click "save as" and then you should have the entire page.


Comments are welcome:  Please email  if I don't respond, then it didn't get here, so please give a try and that one I know works.