One of my other hobbies that I don’t blog much about is photography. It has taken a bit of a backburner lately. I have an upcoming trip to Alaska, and I’d really like to be able to photograph wildlife. After much consideration, I went with a Canon 100-400L lens. The push/pull design is a little strange, but works satisfactorily. I’ve rented this lens before and it produced solid results. Hopefully it will yield some memorable photos.
One of my friends works as a programmer at hyper tech and got me signed up for the beta program. This gets my truck up to 550 hp and 1000 ft/lbs of torque. I know its more traditional to say the truck has been chipped, but I think its much more fun and appropriate to use the term overclocked. Of course, I’m getting a few DTCs now, but hopefully they will go away.
Many of you don’t know, but most of the stuff I blog about here is just my hobby. For my real job, I am a director of software development. Recently I left Medco where I had been for 8 years. I’ve started a new position doing something similar, but on a slightly smaller scale. Below is my new office and the beginning of a new journey!
One thing that I’ve wanted to try for a long time is astrophotography. A few years back I got my wife a 10″ LX200 scope with GPS and UHTC optics. She has long loved gazing at the stars. I had wanted to attach my camera to it so that we could capture the things that we saw. To this end, I finally sprung for the parts to connect my 5D to it. The first image below shows the camera mounted to the telescope and the second shows my first picture of Saturn.
One of my longer term objectives is to create a garden in my backyard. Never one to under-do something, I decided to get a hydraulic tiller for the back of my riding mower. This one can go in either forward or reverse and till several inches deep in one pass.
Unfortunately there are more pieces missing than I had hoped. I’m going to need to adapt quite a bit to make it work with my mower. I got a good deal off of ebay, so I shouldn’t complain much. Guess I’m further away from tilling than I had originally hoped.
Recently we had the upstairs finished at our house. In this expansion, we added a fabrication lab, an office, and a craft room. I find that the blazing summer and brisk winters in Memphis get in the way of me using my CNC machines. Having a lab inside will help. Its about 600 square feet with dedicated spots for my electronics, laser cutter, v90, taig mill, sherline lathe, 2 printers, and a few other misc items. There is a workbench in the middle of the room with electricity. On top of that, I’ve got about 60 amps of 110 and 220 run to the room. This is going to be exciting
My old truck has been great, but its up to 160,000 miles and the transmission has started to act up. I negotiated the deal I wanted on one from New Jersey and picked it up on my way home. She’s a 2012 F350 Lariat diesel fully decked out. The diesel generates 400 hp and 800 ft/lbs of torque!
Got the new batteries in for the toy quad and wanted to run a test. You can see the result below
So with all of these subtractive and additive CNC devices, its nice to have additional ways to create objects. I wanted to try 3d scanning. There are open source, DIY, and commercial variants. The only open source one I know of is the makerbot cyclops which uses structured light and I really wanted to try the laser method. The commercial variant I saw recently demonstrated by Bre cost about $30k which is out of my price range. There is a DIY option called the David Laser Scanner that looked promising. You need a webcam, a laser, and their software. You can use a trial of their software at low res to get a feel for it. I picked up a $10 laser off of ebay and reused an old webcam to get started. Below you can see the setup.
The pattern is a PDF that you print. I picked up some foam core from a local craft store and constructed the scanning set. Below you can see a video of the actual scanning taking place.
Next I’m going to mount the laser to an old meade tripod so that it will skew consistently so that I don’t have to do it by hand. Please look for updates to this blog with pictures of the scanned image. Then I’ll try and print it on my Prusa
Today I finished my vacuum reservoir. I have posted before about the vacuum table and the pump, but this is the last missing piece. I used the instructions (and a few parts) from the JoeWoodworker site. The goal is that it should allow the pump to run in a more optimal manner. More specifically, it won’t have to run continuously. The switch will turn it on to replenish the vacuum just like normal compressors do. This isn’t exactly necessary for vacuum chucking, but it will help whenever I need to pull down and hold a vacuum. Here are the pictures:
So a few notes about the setup. I’m able to pull down about 25″ hg with the complete setup, which is a little less than I was able to get with just the gauge on the pump. That amount of vacuum is plenty for my purposes.
In the pictures, you see a lever with a red handle. That lever allows you to cut off vacuum to the accessory that is connected. This is useful to build up a vacuum before connecting it to the accessory. When you flip the lever, it immediately gives you suction. You’ll also see two standard light switches in the junction box. The first switch allows you to turn it on, and the second allows you to force the pump to run continuously. You would want to enable the latter switch if the pump was cutting on and off every 30 seconds or so. Frequent power oscillations are supposed to be more damaging than a continuous run.
The screw up of the night was dripping PVC glue on one of the brass fittings. Because of it, one of the pipes is sticking out an inch further than the other.
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