Desktop PCB Mill

After many delays and set backs I’ve finally gotten a working, reliable PCB mill. In the first post I did of this, I used V bit’s to get better resolution of the tracks. The height issues remained and I was unable to get the auto bed leveling working on the Marlin firmware. What I did to fix the multiple issues: I found the X and Y couplers were a poor choice, as they were acting like large springs. I added lock nuts to the far ends of the X and Y axis, on the outer edges to pull the couplers Continue Reading →

Cheap Pickups

Some more cheapies from the weekend – although not hugely successful, provided hours of interest. Solidoodle Press Ubiquiti Nanostation HFW5200-IRA camera Solidoodle Press This was a nostalgic purchase, I originally purchased a Solidoodle 2 as my first printer and it was kinda cool to have one of their production models. I purchased it with the intent of buying spare parts and priced accordingly. It didn’t come with a power supply so I soldered a PC PSU to provide the 12v. I have since found that it’s a 24v system, and by using a 20v 4amp laptop charger, I’ve been able Continue Reading →

Amp’d For Profit

I bought a Boss car audio amp (BA-4800) for a staggering $2. There was noticeable physical damage, but it’s worth a gamble for a quick, cheap fix. The damage looked localized to two RCA connectors. The remaining pins from the connector looked undamaged. Without changing anything it was powered with a PC PSU. Volume was good from both the remaining RCA connectors. Desoldered the pins and replaced the RCA connectors with an additional through-hole quad RCA connector. Connected power again: Now all 4 channels were working well. For what started as $2 for 2 working channels is now $6 for Continue Reading →

Offset Smoker

This was done a few months ago, I just didn’t think to add it till now. I’ve wanted to make an offset smoker since I found out that my hot water system would need replacing. I got a fair way through the project when I couldn’t get accurate information on weather it was safe to leave the glass lining on the inside. After a quick email to the original manufacturer it was confirmed it needed to be removed. It was too thick to remove with a flappy disk and grinder so it was abandoned. I saw an advert online for Continue Reading →

Mini Virtual Pinball Cabinet

While smoking some meat in the drum smoker, I had some time to kill, so I decided to build a smaller desktop virtual pinball cabinet. Hopefully one that would be portable, but still big enough to provide a similar experience to a full size cabinet. The base cabinet was cut and monitors fitted during this time, the rest was done over the following few weekends. Similar to the other one I built, this too would be mainly build from recycled/cheap parts: The laptop inside has a smashed screen and no battery, which would have other wise been thrown out, but Continue Reading →

Ugly Drum Smoker (UDS)

This project started when I was doing a pork leg and it was too big (and tall) to fit in my old charcoal BBQ (18″ Eurochef kindly donated by a good mate). Old bricks  and clamps where to hold the lid down. After some research I found a DIY smoker called a UDS (Ugly Drum Smoker). After much thought and research, I opted for a food safe drum (stupid move) from a chocolate factory, formally it was full of sucrose. So far I’ve invested $5. . Checked the local fire laws – unfortunately our shire does not allow burn off’s,incinerators Continue Reading →

Virtual Pinball Machine

Virtual pinball tables consist of the same basic elements as regular pinball machines with a few replacements; The playfield and backglass are replaced with monitors and controlled by a PC. The buttons (and sometimes the plunger) are replaced by buttons and a game controller or keyboard emulator. In more advanced tables the LED dot matrix display replaced with a compatible replacement or a 3rd monitor. This previous project was the perfect test bed to see if the PC I was planning on using was good enough to run the games smoothly. The first test run was running Future Pinball with a Continue Reading →

Augmented Reality Sandbox

Found this neat project by Oliver Kreylos, and gave it a go over a weekend using only spare parts. It came together well on a Toshiba i5 laptop. I found there to be issues using the Intel graphics card/drivers, so I swapped to an AMD Athlon 2X4 with a Radeon HD47## card (no longer supported by AMD). It did refresh faster than the Intel graphics card, but had the same ‘unknown’ issue when trying to render water. After swapping out the Radeon with a slower Nvidia card, it all displays correctly, but the frame rates where pretty slow. I reduced the quality Continue Reading →

Mostly Printed CNC (MP-CNC)

Having a CNC machine to cut panels for projects has been a wish for a while. Then I found this awesome project: Mostly Printed CNC ( As the name says, most parts are 3D printed and the non-printed parts are easily accessible. The controller is a RAMPs 1.4 board with Arduino Mega, easy to find cheap online. I used the Marlin firmware because it’s the same as both my 3D printers. After destroying my Mendel i2 trying a new printing surface I had spent many hours printing the parts on my Solidoodle2 with a printing volume 6″ x 6″ x Continue Reading →

Samsung Smart Aircon and MRTG

We’ve had 4 Samsung Smart air conditioners for a few years and every once and a while I revisit trying to automate them using scripts and a like. This time I was successfull using perl scripts written/edited by Daniel (CloCkWeRX) and Shannon (freman) to deal with the transmission protocol and token management – I personally would’ve never been able to work it out – so thanks and full credit to them. To start with, you have to discover then register the aircons to get a token for each, to discover them you can use this script, which was obtained Continue Reading →