Saturday, May 19, 2018

Trim Command - Fusion360 Quick Tip

Even with Fusion 360's great sketch tools, sometimes your sketch can become cluttered. That's not a big problem on simpler sketches. But in a complex sketch all those extra lines crisscrossing everywhere can become confusing.

The TRIM command lets you get rid of all those extra lines and clean up your sketches so that they're easy to work with.
  • Under the SKETCH menu, select the TRIM command. Or type "T" to invoke the command.
  • If you are not already in a sketch, you will be prompted to select a sketch to work with.
  • The cursor will change to a "scissors" icon.
  • You can select either a single line or "paint" across multiple lines to delete all of them at once

Fusion 360 Trim command

Single Lines: When you move the cursor over a line, the selected line segment will turn red to indicate which portion of the line will be deleted. When you left-click on the highlighted segment, that segment will be deleted (trimmed).

Painting Multiple Lines: You can also left-click and hold the mouse button down as you move the cursor across multiple lines. All line segments that your cursors crosses while the mouse button is down will be deleted.

Since Fusion stops trimming at the first boundary, you must continue clicking line segments to delete across multiple boundaries.
  • Construction lines can also function as trimming boundaries.
  • Although I call them lines, TRIM also works on curves, splines and shapes (e.g. circles, rectangles).
  • However, lines and boundaries must be on the same plane (share a point in space). For instance, you cannot use a 3d spline as a trim-boundary if does not intersect the line to be trimmed.
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Notice that Fusion 360 makes intelligent guesses about which line segments you want to delete (trim). Fusion will select segments based on crossing boundary lines and end point nodes. Fusion will trim the line to the nearest crossing or node. If there are crossings or nodes on both ends, Fusion will trim out the center section.

Fusion 360 Trim command
The selected segment will turn red when you roll the cursor over it. Left-click on the highlighted segment to delete (trim) it. If there is only one boundary, Fusion will delete the line up until that boundary.

Fusion 360 Trim command
When there are two boundaries, Fusion will trim the segment that lies between the two boundaries.

My preferred method is to draw all my lines into the sketch. After I've drawn all my basic geometry I then go back and start trimming lines to clean up the sketch. I find that this sequence avoids the problems that happen when Fusion creates relationships and constraints between the lines.

However, these relationships and constraints are also very useful. For instance, Fusion will adjust the gap created if you trim a segment, then move the boundary line.

The TRIM command's opposite is the EXTEND command.

The BREAK command divides  a line into segments at a boundary, but does not delete any part of the line.

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Rainwater Cascade Welded from Scrap

When the rain comes, you still have to find a way to create beauty. I welded this sculptural downspout extension out of scraps from other projects.

I wanted to add some visual interest at a downspout that can be seen from the main entrance. And I wanted to disperse the water in a gentler pattern to prevent erosion.

In the past, I've created splash pads with rocks and channeled it with gnarled, hollowed out tree branches. This time I wanted to use metal.

Welded metal fountain splash block downspout extension rainwatersculpture
I welded a fountain from scrap metal, then discovered that it worked better as a splash block cascade at the downspout. The constantly changing flow of water makes the piece much more interesting to watch.

The project started as a small fountain. The piece was designed for nearly vertical placement. I played around with the shapes and placement of the metal until I got the water motion into an interesting pattern.

It worked well for an indoor fountain. However, the scale was so small that the water's movement remained fairly constant and the repetition caused me to lose interest. I wanted constantly changing visual patterns and sounds.

I went back and added textures and sluices to help vary the pattern. They helped, but not enough.

So I tried the fountain outdoors. I hoped the wind would change the motion enough to keep the fountain interesting. Gentle breezes did change up the pattern of the water flow. But anything more than a gentle breeze blew the water off the face of the fountain.

I tried tilting the fountain to 45 degrees. That kept the water on the metal in most conditions, but it also changed the piece from a fountain to more of a cascade. And it looked very odd having a slab of metal suspended in the air at a diagonal.

I thought about embedding the angled version into a miniature landscape, but that started to seem like a lot of work.

Welded metal fountain splash block downspout extension rainwater sculpture
You can see how the splash block fountain spreads the water over a larger area to prevent the erosion.

Then I noticed that one of the downspouts was starting to create a ditch. "Why not put that so called fountain at the downspout," I thought. And I did.

I like the way it looks, and the openings along the edge let the water drain across a wider area. The visual appeal is increased because the volume of water exiting the downspout varies constantly. These random fluctuations make the water choose different paths around the gates and curves.

Welded metal fountain splash block downspout extension rainwater sculpture
The edges of the splash block fountain are open, so the water gets dispersed over a much wider area than when it exits the downspout directly. Most of the water cascades down the right hand side, but when it's raining hard, the water also pulses through the channels on the left.

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Sunday, May 13, 2018

PauseWaitDelay - Coding in Visual SpaChinglish

I just confused a group of new programmers. I tried to introduce them to Microsoft's MakeCode. It's a cool new online visual programming environment that is both simple to use and powerful. The program's creators went to a lot of trouble to make it fun and easy to learn.

I, however, managed to make it seem complicated and confusing - "My work here is done."

To be fair, it was an impromptu session so I had not prepared or practiced in any way. I just pointed them to the site, not intending to teach anything, much less hold an hour long spontaneous lesson. But they all seemed really interested, so I jumped right in. Who needs to plan or prepare - just start talking, right?

At left is the MakeCode IDE using "Pause." The center shows the Arduino IDE using "Delay." And at right is the Scratch environment using "Wait." The commands all accomplish basically the same thing, they just use different wording. I'm not at all confused, are you confused?

It wasn't that bad really, I don't think I scared them away. But I noticed the occasional blank look and realized I was using the wrong term sometimes. And I did get surprised by the odd (to me) ways that Microsoft tweaks the Arduino programming environment.

Or maybe the  new kids were simply overwhelmed and didn't actually notice my gaffs - but I did.

See, I use all kinds of programming environments, so switching between them feels natural. Sure, I forget which environment I'm in sometimes. But to me it's like using a new TV remote control or driving an unfamiliar car. It takes me a while to make the change mentally and I'll reach for the shifter in the wrong location, or hit power button instead of source.

Or maybe it's like when I try to use my high school Spanish and I get stuck so I blurt out an English word because I can't conjugate well. Or when my friend's grandmother has to use English because her grandson doesn't understand her in Chinese. Living in a multilingual culture is awesome, if somewhat frustrating at times.

So it's no big deal, but I feel bad for any confusion I caused. The new coders probably expected a precise and concise lesson. That's what programming is about, right - precision? Instead, I gave them a scrambled introduction to multiple variants of IDEs. In fact, I kept calling it MakeBlock instead of MakeCode - I can't even keep the vendor names straight.

Another example: The Arduino IDE uses "Delay" to specify how long the program should wait before executing the next command. But MakeCode uses the word "Pause" while Scratch uses "Wait." They all do the same basic thing. But me using the words interchangeably probably didn't make things easier for new programmers. A month from now they will think it's funny. But it was bad for a first experience.

(At least I didn't talk about whether time is measured in seconds or milliseconds, or the difference between wait, timer, rest and beat...)

Like every IDE that attempts to simplify a complex task, the MakeCode environment has some quirks. It creates variables of a certain type without labeling their type, then allows the variables to get plugged into slots where they don't belong. My example is the RGB values being considered "strings" in certain commands, but "integers" in other places (or maybe the other command casts the strings to integers).

No big deal to me, I'm used to dealing with var types so the error code at least made sense to me. I figured out a way around it. I'm comfortable troubleshooting conflicts, that's part of coding. But me fumbling around surely made the process look more difficult than it really is. That's my fault because I made assumptions that weren't true. Every environment is different and I was poorly prepared.

Oh who am I kidding, I can't keep all the quirks straight for one environment, much less five. I fumble around until I remember how this IDE works, or I just find a way around the so called issue. And that's part of the appeal of a drag-n-drop system like MakeCode or Scratch. You can wander around and explore options quickly without all the tedious overhead of setup. So maybe it was a good lesson and showed the new kids how to just keep playing until you have figured it out.

We'll see if any of those fledgling coders come back. They seemed excited and entertained, and they promised to practice at home (MakeCode is web based, so they can carry the code anywhere). One even said they were going to buy a Circuit Playground from Adafruit to practice on. So maybe I didn't make it seem too boring or complicated after all.

They might never ask me for help again, but I sure hope we have some new programmers beginning their journey. And MakeCode is a pretty good way to start.

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Friday, May 11, 2018

8-Bar plus 24-Ring equals NeoPixel Belt Buckle

Sometimes being slightly disorganized works in your favor. I keep a tray filled with every size and shape of NeoPixels. The tray lives near my electronics work station. When I find a nifty part and want to see if a NeoPixel will fit that part, I simply reach into the tray and grab an example to test.

The collection comes in very handy so I leave the LEDs in the tray at all times. I know I should put them back in their anti-static bags and put the protected LEDs back in the main collection. But I don't because, well... because I'm kind of lazy.

This week, I started playing with electronics again after taking several months off for other project types. And when I pulled out some NeoPixels to test fit onto a part I got a pleasant surprise.

Neopixel 8 bar and 24 ring as jewelry
Notice how perfectly the 8-pixel bar and the 24-pixel ring fit together

The 8-pixel bar and the 24-pixel ring had stuck together and came out of the tray as a pair. The combination created a perfect shape for a belt buckle, or broach, or maybe a hair ornament. I'll have to cover them of course, and hook them up to an Arduino. I just finished playing with decorative round covers exactly for this purpose.

Finding this combination by accident is funny. I have tested all the ring sizes in various combinations. There are enough different sizes of NeoPixel rings that you can make many combinations of concentric rings - including an LED clock with 60 pixels for the second hand.

But for some reason I had never combined or even tested the bar together with the rings. I felt silly, but happy because the universe had gifted me a new combination without me even searching for it. I think maybe I'm supposed to make a few pieces of light-up jewelry as my transition back into my electronics hobby.

Find out more about NeoPixels at Adafruit. (the 8-bar and 24-ring are two of my favorites). By now, Adafruit has the same configurations in RGB, RGB plus white (in several Kelvin colors) and even a version with faster refresh rates called DotStars.

If you've never hooked them up to your Arduino before, grab yourself some NeoPixels and start lighting up your world.

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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Paper on Metal Washer Jewelry

I am putting some of my "paper on metal" jewelry back onto the sales tables for craft shows. I had saturated the market for this style last year. But after a recent show, I remembered that although a piece of jewelry might be a year old to me, it will be brand new to someone else. Plus I like some of these pieces, so they're going back on display.

Paper from Silhouette cameo craft cutter on metal washer jewelry necklace

I did a completely different style of jewelry this year (I even did a quick Instructable on the process). I can't stick with one style for very long. I know that's not very professional of me, but this jewelry making thing is just a way to blow off some creative energy when I get bogged down in my other projects. I like making jewelry, but I think it might be because I have no real stake in it.

In fact, jewelry is an area where I have no expectations of myself or the outcome. Most of my other projects are carefully conceived, extensively researched and planned. I have very precise expectations of the outcome. When I tried combining the two parts of my brain, I got poor results (check out the experiments I did with 3d printing, Arduino and jewelry - the detailed three-part series turned into a technical documentation binge instead of a jewelry making session)

So I went back to thinking of jewelry as a completely separate process. I treat jewelry making like a random story generator. The stranger the seed-ideas the more fun I have fleshing out the story, ummm, making the jewelry. How can I make the most unalike items that I can find come together into a cohesive composition.

Steampunk Paper from Silhouette cameo craft cutter on metal washer jewelry necklace

I know I would get better results if I picked one style and "worked the problem" until I developed a dependable and attractive solution. But I don't, jewelry making is just entertainment and a way to blow off steam.

The pieces shown here all use a technique of cut paper circles adhered onto a painted washer. These were just experiments for me. I had craft cutter that had sat idle for months, some remnants of scrapbooking paper, and some nearly empty rattle-cans of paint.

Paper from Silhouette cameo craft cutter on metal washer jewelry necklace

What else could I do but make jewelry. I mean, they are all such traditional jewelry making materials right? At least I added some bits from a craft store to finish them off. Now it's official, it's real jewelry LOL

In the next post I explain more about how these pieces are made. And here's the reason I started playing with washers as art - the bright and colorful NeoPixel LED rings.

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Will It Go Round in Circles - The Wash(er) Cycle

In the previous post I showed some of the paper-on-metal jewelry I've made. This post is about the process I used to create them. It's a pretty basic concept, but I like the results. I haven't played with it this year, but I just found some left-overs from last year and remembered how fun it can be.

Steampunk Paper from Silhouette cameo craft cutter on metal washer jewelry necklace
I started using random pages from magazines. I would just pick a page that had an interesting color, pattern or composition - then just slap it onto the Cameo's cutting pad and cut away. As you can see, the results are varied and fun. Artistically, they are more difficult to work with than my early experiments with scrapbooking paper. The colors and shapes and random hints of words make it a challenge to create a cohesive piece of jewelry with them. And that's why they are so much fun.

I started using washers in jewelry projects because they are perfect sizes to cover NeoPixel rings. I started putting the bright NeoPixel LEDs into jewelry before I had a 3d printer. I liked the results and even published an Instructable on how I made one. As you can tell from the photos, I needed something to cover the NeoPixels with since they are so bright.

(I've also used washers in other non-jewelry projects like my welded washer bowl.)

Finding square and rectangular covers is easy, you can make attractive jewelry with a variety of materials. Squares and rectangles are also easy to cut or fabricate. But making perfect circles, especially concentric circles - well that's harder and often very tedious and time consuming. That's why I defaulted to washers at first.

I spray painted a few and used nail polish on others. When I added some bling the washers kind of worked as jewelry. But I still wanted something else, that little something extra. I kept seeing paper and cloth that I likes and kept wishing I could somehow get them onto the washer. But cutting them to fit would be a pain.

Then I remembered I had a craft cutter -Duh!!! - that's why I got the Silhouette Cameo in the first place.

Steampunk Paper from Silhouette cameo craft cutter on metal washer jewelry necklace
The Silhouette design software made it easy to create a template. Notice that I also included some half-rounds, insets and off-center parts. This gave me a lot of options to work with.

Steampunk Paper from Silhouette cameo craft cutter on metal washer jewelry necklace
I started by cutting decorative paper from the scrapbooking section of the craft store. This made it easy to design because the colors and motifs were modern and already geared towards the craft market. Later, I started using random pages from magazines and that forced me to really work to find a color scheme and composition that worked.

So I decided to make some paper circles with a Silhouette Cameo craft cutter machine (I so smart). I measured the washers and used those dimensions to draw circles in the Silhouette design software. I drew circles for several of the washer sizes. And I added some half-rounds, some offset and off-center versions as well. That way I have a variety of shapes to play with and overlay on top of each other.

It worked, a few minutes later I had a large selection of paper circles to use. I played with them for days. And of course I had to add bling, extra paint and glitter to some of them.

One thing I liked about this technique is the randomness of the result. You can use the design software to place the cuts exactly where you want. But letting the cuts fall wherever all random and weird, that gave me a treasure trove of chaotic suggestions.

Steampunk Paper from Silhouette cameo craft cutter on metal washer jewelry necklace
This os one of the offset (inset?) rings. See how it's smaller than the washer and forms a decorative stripe instead of covering the entire washer. I hit the edges of the paper with some ink from a stamp pad to make it stand out. The washer was painted with some nail polish. And I covered the entire surface with a finishing seal coat of glitter polish.

I have a least several hundred paper circles left. I'm not sure how many more pieces of jewelry I'll create with this technique (at least for this year). But I wanted to document and share the technique before it got buried and forgotten somewhere in the studio.

Plus, now that I have a 3d printer I've started to play with creating custom shells for the jewelry, so I might not get back to this technique for quite a while.

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Monday, April 30, 2018

Jewlery Making Tutorial on Instructables

Just published a short tutorial on Instructables about using salvaged parts and e-waste to make jewelry. You've seen some of the projects here on the blog, but I go into more depth about the process and techniques used.

It's also the first time I reference my previous work. In this tutorial I point back to one of the simple tear-down videos. I've spent several months making a series of very basic how-to videos and tutorials. I now have a set of foundational guides I can refer back to. That way, I don't have to make every tutorial really long and detailed. I can just point back to one of the foundation series.

upcycle repurpose e-waste jewelry

Check it out and let me know what you think (or any of my Instructables). I feel the need to go do some coding and welding now, so this might be the last jewelry based post for a few months. The 3d printer is also sitting in the corner taunting me for not playing with it for at least a month.

I've also got plans for more projects that use all the items from the foundation series. Drop me a note if you've seen any ideas proposed in the basic guides that you want to see turned into actual projects.

Then again, I might 3d print some jewelry to weld, so.....

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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Tearing Apart Three Toy Guitars

I've wanted to make a real working MIDI guitar out of cheap toy guitar for a long time. I finally have the boards and most of the skills to do it, now I just need a good vessel for my creativity. To find that perfect container for my electronic musical madness, I tore apart three different toy guitars to find one that has the kinds of basic parts that I can hook into and hack easily.

This first version is going to be a standalone MIDI guitar. The sound will come from a MIDI board inside the guitar. There's no need for a computer or software. It's basically a glorified toy guitar, but with a lot more control. I have hooked up my MIDI board up to an Arduino and gotten them to work. It was a lot of fun, but tapping on buttons just wasn't as much fun as shredding on a guitar. I finally decided to take the next step.

Check out the video to see what I find inside these thriftstore toy guitars. And stay tuned for project updates.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Jewelry in Progress - Two More Experiments

Last time, I shared a piece of Goth jewelry I'm working on. That's not my usual style, as I noted in that post. Here's a couple more pieces I'm developing. One is a neutral tone antique look, the other is a high tech version of Steampunk.

Washer art steampunk antique circuit board jewlery
A piece of antique random washer art and some hi-tech Steampunk - or at least the foundation for them.

Neither piece is finished, they're really just the base layer.

The round piece is a washer that I covered with paper that I cut to size with my old craft cutter machine. It's from a series of experiments I was doing - sort of forcing myself into randomness. I would slap some tear-outs from various magazines onto the cutting mat and cut randomly, then try to make something pretty from the results. It was meant to be an antidote to the precise, overly planned activities that my coding and 3d design require. And it sure was fun, so I might do that again.

The other piece is a scavenged PCB (circuit board) with a bright gold frame. I didn't realize it until too late, but I'm probably the only person who knows that the board is nearly flat and all the other stuff is added on. Only an electro-geek would know that... jeesh, what was I thinking. So I added an antique frame and stamp to steer it towards the Steampunk realm. I like the balance and rhythm of the objects, but no one will know that they came from me.

I didn't touch them today. I needed to cogitate and agitate a little first. I think I've got a plan now, but we'll see how it works out.

It seems that I'm trying to develop a new style, whether I really want to or not. I hesitate to even call it that, but that's what I get for trying new things. Normal people are starting tp create the types of stuff I did years ago, so now I'm trying to move beyond that. When I started doing Steampunk it was weird and people looked at it slightly askance. And I was okay with that. Now everyone is doing it and I've got to move on.

So I'm forced to try new things again... and I'm okay with that. And sure, my new stuff looks odd even to me. I haven't found a dependable visual vocabulary yet. I don't even know what the pieces are about, what their narrative is. I don't see other people doing it yet, so I don't really have anyone to steal from or prop my decisions against for surety. Basically I don't know what I'm doing yet.

It does seem, at least to me, that I'm repeatedly trying to marry different materials and time periods. The "style" hasn't congealed into anything coherent yet, though. I feel like I'm treading water, like I'm just slapping stuff together with no plan. And I'm okay with that. Sometimes things turn out well, even better than expected.

If you're trying something new, or want to, then that's what usually happens. I've been here before, so I'm comfortable. Just thought I would leave a note here for anyone else that's struggling to find their new thing... you're not alone ( and it's really kind of fun travelling without a map.)

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Saturday, April 14, 2018

Friday the 13th Jewelry

Missed posting this on Friday the 13th but going to show it now. Starting to make some new jewelry for an upcoming show. Not even sure if I'll be in the show, but it's a good excuse to try some new techniques.

The skull matched the dark depths of the scavenged LCD screen. I thought a silver clock face and a spot of red were good accents.

This isn't my usual style, but I needed something to offset the black square and a skull worked nicely. For some reason I felt all goth that day. Maybe it's just my attempt to balance the "natural tones" pieces that I'm making at the same time.

This piece is comprised of an upcycled LCD screen I scavenged from a teardown. It had a spooky, dark depth to it. And the screen becomes semi-transparent when a strong backlight is put behind it. I thought the black-and-white skull looked like it was floating on a pool of darkness.

I could never find a use for the silvery chrome clock faces before since most of my jewelry has a kind of antique or steampunk look. But the silver seemed to match the theme well.

And I had some old buttons I had scavenged from a calculator. The red color made the piece pop a little, and the glue distorted the printed cross just enough to make it cool. Glad I could finally repurpose these parts.

I'm also trying to incorporate some pretty and glittery things, some canvas and some actual plant materials. We'll see how it goes, and I'll post more samples as I complete them.

Skull clock face goth jewelry necklace
The LCD screen is semi-transparent in strong backlight and the clock face shows through as the skull floats in space.

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Friday, April 13, 2018

Mythical Vibrator Found?

I might have found one of the legendary LRA vibration motors. I can't be sure yet, but all the signs are there. It looks like a standard ERM, but it acts more like a piezo and its magnet is incredibly powerful.

Is this an LRA linear resonant actuator virator motor in an old cell phone.
So is this an LRA vibration motor? It looks like a standard ERM pancake motor. But it's got a really strong magnet and operates like a piezo. I'm going to hook it up to my haptic driver controller and test it out.

What's the big deal? Well the LRA (Linear Resonant Actuator) is rumored to have a better feel for haptic feedback devices. When your phone vibrates, or the screen clicks or taps or buzzes when you touch it - that's an LRA.

An LRA acts like a speaker. When current is applied, a weight moves back and forth in a linear motion. Like a speaker, this allows you to create complex waveforms that can be felt kind of like you hear waveforms in music.

Compared to a regular ERM (Eccentric Rotating Mass) vibrator, LRAs provide a wider range of sensations. That's why they're used for tactile feedback in all your phones.

You can find standard  ERMs everywhere, from the tiny disk shaped motors in a bristlebot, to the huge versions in your back massager. They are cheap, readily available and easy to work with. But they have a very limited vocabulary. All you can really do is adjust the speed and duration. Even with modern controllers, you can't use ERMs for sophisticated feedback tasks.

By contrast, LRAs are difficult to source and many use connector sizes I'm not comfortable working with. You also need to be either a serious programmer or buy a specialty controller board to use them. I do own one of those controller boards, a haptic feedback driver, so I can test my newly found vibe as soon as I figure out how to tweak the registers. Luckily, this motor is also large enough and uses connectors that I can see without a magnifying glass.

If I get it working without blowing anything up, I will certainly post my experiences here.

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Am I Still a Maker

What is a "maker" exactly? Is a janitor a maker? What about facilities-maintenance staff? I took time off from my personal projects to do some repair and maintenance on several buildings this week. I was using the same tools and techniques, but somehow it didn't feel like I was "making."

None of the people I worked with this week consider themselves "makers" even though they are all more skilled than I am in many areas. For the entire week I was more like an assistant or apprentice to them. They do this type of work full time and have a deep knowledge of many things. I'm a dilettante who thankfully knows enough to call in experts when safety or financial efficiency are at stake.

I did some good, solid real-world work this week. When I knew what I needed to do and had a plan for the task, I thought of myself as "merely working." When I had no plans, when I was just exploring and dreaming - then I thought of myself as a maker.

In fact, it wasn't until I made a cartoon face out of an old light fixture that I thought of myself as a maker. "At least I made one thing this week," I thought to myself.

What the... what does that mean? Why is my mindset like that? And am I the only one who thinks like this?

Why do I consider this silly cartoon face from scrap parts to be "making."

And why do I not consider replacing these old light fixtures with new LED versions a form of making?

I get to hang out with carpenters, contractors, welders, mechanics, cabinet makers and chefs. I also hang around with painters and photographers and jewelry artists. None of them have really adopted the term "maker" to identify themselves.

I also know people who identify as tinkerers, shade tree mechanics, DIYers, hobbyists or amateurs in various fields. I even know people who still use the terms "home brewed" and jack-of-all-trades. These people consider making and repairing and creating a basic life skill that everyone should have, not something particularly special. They have not adopted the maker moniker either.

In fact, these folks seem to have a distaste for the new marketing term of "maker." They see the hoopla and overuse of the term in advertising and grant proposals and seem determined to avoid the term.

So I wonder if "maker" is becoming a name for people who haven't fully integrated creativity and physical work in their lives.

I don't have any answers, just a lot more questions. Why do I never post my artistic work here? Why do I not post about repair and maintenance? Why do I avoid posting real programming, mechanical and engineering challenges? Do I really think makers are so easily frightened that I'll scare them off by posting professional level tasks?

Until now, my biggest worry was that I bounce around between so many materials, techniques and project types that it will take a year before I post a similar project. What if people show up because of my electronics projects and are disappointed to find arabesque shadow screens instead, or wood carving, or halter tops, or graphic design tips? That is, after all, why I chose such a weird name for the blog, "You've been warned, you knew what to expect from the title."

Maybe I need to stop limiting the types of things I post here and start sharing the full range of project types and levels of difficulty.

Okay, that's enough overthinking and public rumination for one post. Time to go do something, make something, create something... doesn't really matter what I call it now does it... as long as I do it.

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Thursday, March 29, 2018

DIY Blacklight Tutorial now on Instructables

Created a step-by-step tutorial for the DIY Blacklight Flashlight and entered it in a cople of contests over on the Instructables web site.

Check it out on

The redlight version is good for finding dropped items at night without losing your night vision.

I forgot to mention some things in the video, or didn't emphasize other things strongly enough. So I felt like I needed to add some more information.

But doing a tutorial on this blog seemed kind of silly when there is a great platform with tools specifically made for creating tutorials. That's why I published to Instructables.

Sometimes I forget to mention my posts on Instructables and YouTube. My friends are tired of hearing me talk about my projects by the time I'm ready to publish them. But I'm realizing that a lot of people who visit this blog don't have weekly coffee meetings with me, so I'll try to post more regularly here and keep everyone informed.

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