Saturday, December 31, 2022

Making a Plastic Press



In another post I showed how to use a tortilla press to compress melted HDPE plastic in flat disks to use for making things. I made a bit more elaborate press to get bigger pieces while keeping them flat and as thin as possible, between 1/8 - 1/4 inch. The key ingredient is a bottle jack.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Melt HDPE Plastic For Projects


I wrote about this a couple years back and I have significantly refined this process so I figured I would provide an update. I still find melted and flattened HDPE plastic to be a useful building material for projects as long as the project specs require something simple like a box, backing, or frame. I've developed a pretty simple workflow that anyone can do with limited tools.  

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Arduino Controlled 5V Relay for Christmas Tree Lights

Our christmas tree lights plug into the wall behind the tree and are always hard to reach without sprinkling needles on the floor when we want to turn the lights on or off. This year I made an Arduino controlled relay that can turn the lights on and off with a switch that extends out next to the tree. Here is a video of the switch in action:

Friday, July 31, 2020

Hacked an Answering Machine

I found this old answering machine and originally thought it was a good find for just harvesting the 7-segment display. But as it sat around my work table it occurred to me it would be fun to use the display and buttons to insert a Simon game inside the case. I put it off because it seemed daunting but once I started on it yesterday it turned out to only take a day to put together.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Generative Art with TurtleArt

I made a series of drawings with the LogoTurtle a while back and I am revisiting the same idea of "exploded shapes" using Turtle Art. With this simple idea:

Friday, June 26, 2020

Melt Down HDPE Plastic for Projects

I've seen several videos showing how to melt down HDPE plastic containers and mold them into usable forms for projects. But I've been just skeptical enough about the safety of heating up plastic to not try it until just now. This technique made it somehow seem more doable with the addition of the press over simply heating in an oven, I think because it allows you to mush it into a blob and press out air bubbles more quickly.

Monday, June 08, 2020

Hacking Salvaged LED Displays (Part II)

Good news! I just found a discarded VCR with an LED display. That means it's time to salvage the display and make a project out of it. While the last post on 7-segment displays was a single digit, standard display, this one actually turns out to be 10-segment with non-numerical segments. So it will be an exercise in figuring out how a non-standard display works. In this post I will go over my process for hacking a display like this. If you're interested in doing this for a simple, standard 7-segment numerical display see this other post.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Hacking Salvaged LED Displays (Part 1)

You can buy many kinds of standard 7-segment displays, but I prefer hacking salvaged ones you can find in broken e-waste. True, it's easy to buy displays with integrated drivers that make them much easier to connect to a micro-controller and program, but more often than not I end up finding components and making up projects for them, rather than the other way around. In this post I'll show how I salvage a standard single digit 7-seg display, figure out the pinout, and make it do some fun things. In a following post I'll show how I do the same with a more complicated, non-standard, multi-digit salvaged display.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Teensy-Controlled Vacuum Fluorescent Display: Step-by-step

I'm recording in pictures the steps I'm taking to power and control this Yamaha Futaba vfd I removed from an old entertainment system.