This is a collection of projects that were made just for fun. There's just going to be a bunch of photos here...

Alan the Robot


A few years ago I received a gift from a friend. It was a 10" high sheet metal robot. Being a fan of the old scifi movies, I imagined what this robot would be like "full size," and, inspired by this gift, I set about building a 9' replica of the bright yellow toy. Here are a few images of the building process. Alan, as he was named, had a small solar panel on the top of his head that charged a 12 volt battery. The battery powered a circuit that would sense the approach of a person, engage a mechanism that would oscillate Alan's head back and forth while LED lights flashed in his eyes, all for about 10 seconds. At the same time, Alan would speak words of wisdom, short recordings or Humphry Bogart ("...the stuff that dreams are made of."), sounds of R2D2, and many others on a rotating basis. I was a very fun project! Alan still stands on the grounds of the Belmar Arts Center.

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Creating machines is great fun! This one was inspired by R2D2 and was planned as a way to raise a bit of money for the Belmar Arts Council. It incorporated a used $bill mechanism I got off of ebay that was removed from a vending machines. These mechanisms require a logic circuit that I didn't have, so I modified it with an LED and photo transistor and hooked the motor (that pulls in the bill) to an Arduino through a transistor switch. In a vending machine the mechanism could distinguish between differnet denominatons of bills. Mine would work with a slip of plain paper. When someone put a bill into the bill receiver, 2B2 would rise up the greet them. I used an a linear actuator shown in the pics below, as well as some flashing LEDs and sounds. In the last pic below, 3 Arduino microcontrollers are seen: one operates the linear actuator, one operates the numberous LEDs, and one controls the various sounds. There was also a coin slot that just turned on some flashing lights. The drawer at the bottom was for retrieving the funds.

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Lamps created from black pipe are ofen call "steam punk" and can be found with old steam gauges and other interesting things attached. In my first lamp I incorporated an AC voltmeter. I figured something that actually worked instead of just looking cool would be more appropriate in the overall lamp design. I also like the idea of the industrial pipe with natural wood, although the wood is stained and sealed. Some other examples follow.

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Production Project

For christmas one year I made small jewelry boxes as gifts. I used jigs to cut the parts. The prototype was made from slightly thicker material as can be seen in the upper right of the first picture.

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Little Libraries

This was my first attempt to make a Little Library that would stand by the sidewalk along our fence. I used 1/2" MDO, which is also called signboard. It is exterior plywood with an epoxy coated paper finish on both sides that make it smooth and very nice to paint. The second image is my latest liittle library based on the Rivoli movie theatre that once stood on Main Street in our town. I went to that theatre may times as a kid. The Glowforge laser cutter came in very handy here.

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