X-Carve CNC

This past Black Friday I jumped on a great offer from Inventables and picked up a new CNC setup.  Inventables is a company out of Chicago which offers just about everything to get started in manufacturing.  Aside from their great CNC machines, they offer slick design software, materials, and...

Cozy Coupe Retrofit

Hot Dog! http://www.brentmorelabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/hot_dog.m4v   Concept The Little Tike Cozy Coupe, a children’s classic made of soft hollow plastic (LPDE), is a blank canvas for tinkering and customization.  While the car comes with some entertainment options, such...

Star Topper

This tree topper shows that the holiday season is always a good opportunity to practice one’s making skills.  Usually I’m focused on woodworking because cutting boards are always in style, but this season presents a new opportunity for learning.  Combining a number of skills and...

Helmet Larson Scanne...

Now that I’m biking more, I’ve begun outfitting my helmet with lots of useless practical tech in the name of safety.  Not long ago, I found the helmet-mounted flashlight that I used during my deployments.  With a little finagling, it fit nicely on my bike helmet as well.  To...

Make: Wireless Secur...

I wrote a special article in the latest issues of Make: where I discuss wireless security and drones. The article, Build a Wi-Fi Drone Disabler with Raspberry Pi, explores the risks of using unsecured wireless communications with a step-by-step guide to disable a popular toy drone which uses...

Iconic Memories

Computer hard disk drives are amazing feats of engineering.  Encased in a metal box, several perfectly flat platters spin at 5400 or 7200 revolutions per minute thanks to a powerful spindle motor.  When these drives fail – and they always do – I love taking them apart to get a...

LED Cube II

A few years ago I tried my hand at making my own LED Cube. It was a great way to sharpen my design and soldering skills while creating something visually interesting.  When I was planning the old cube, I got some great advice from a researcher, mathematician and artist named Chris Lomont....

Synesthesia in the L...

Literally meaning “sensations together” in Greek, synesthesia is a very interesting condition where the stimulation of one sense triggers a perception in another.  Those who experience synesthesia might “hear” the color red, or “see” a loud noise. When...

Mad Scientist Googles Aug23

Mad Scientist Google...

… or are they Cyber Googles?  Whatever you want to call them, these things are most likely going to be part of a Halloween costume this year.  The lights are a line of LEDs called Neopixels.  I mounted a Trinket microcontroller and small rechargeable battery in the eye pieces to control...

All Systems Go! Part...

After many months of planning, building and organizing, I’ve finally gotten my basement lab set up.  This workshop complements my woodshop, which I wrote about in All Systems Go! Part 1.   In addition to housing all of my networking equipment, the space also has my CNC, Mac mini...

Throwback: iPod Dock Feb28

Throwback: iPod Dock

A few years ago I had an iPod touch that I used on a daily basis, but my car had no place to securely dock it while I drove.  Not being one that enjoys having cables everywhere, I though it’d be a good idea to replace the ashtray unit that sat beneath the radio with a custom iPod...

Minty Boost Nov16

Minty Boost

The MintyBoost is a great open-source hardware charger designed by the engineers at Adafruit, a small electronics company out of NYC.  It’s a small yet powerful USB charger for iPods, iPhones or any other USB-powered device. Proving 500mA @ 5V, it’s a great emergency power source when my...

Adjustable Standing ...

Between working, watching TV, and driving, we spend something like half of our waking hours sitting down. Gina’s job requires a lot of computer-based work.  A few weeks ago she let me know that she wanted to spend less time sitting, so she took action.  The next day I noticed her laptop...

ATX Breakout Feb01

ATX Breakout

A full size benchtop power supply isn’t in my budget right now, but still need reliable power for some of my projects.  Hmm… what devices supply reliable 3.3V, 5V and 12V consistently and affordably?  The answer is almost any desktop computer power supply.  The ATX power supply...

RF Explorer Feb01

RF Explorer

My RF Explorer arrived today in a nice little package from Seeed Studio.  The RF Explorer ISM Combo is a handheld spectrum analyzer capable of RF analysis in both sub-1GHz and 2.4GHz ISM bands.  It’s very small – smaller than anything I’ve used before, including the...

Bohemian Gravity Sep19

Bohemian Gravity

When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be a firefighter scientist.  In fact, I was a physics major for a brief time (before I came to my senses) and I try to stay current with the latest breakthoughs at CERN and the Department of Energy’s national labs.  Today I came across this...

Imperative Lights Jun08

Imperative Lights

I’ve been wanting to add some lighting to my car for additional safety whist driving around.  I have existing daytime running lights, but at the rate that I get cut off in traffic here I figured I’d add some more illumination in case other drivers had trouble seeing me before....

First Upgrade May16

First Upgrade

I got a new car last month and have been wanting to upgrade the radio ever since.  There’s nothing wrong with the old one – it’s just time to get something with a little more pizazz.  The installation took about an hour since there wasn’t much splicing to do.  The...

Quadcopters! Feb22

Quadcopters!

Here’s a video I just had to share which I humbly predict will have significant impact in our near future, once refined.  It’s a demonstration from 3 scientists at a Swiss University featuring two quadcopters (flying robots with 4 rotors) throwing and catching a weighted rod....

Fume Extractor Jan11

Fume Extractor

The fan is pulled from a PowerMac G5, the switch from some old electronic equipment and the battery holder I got from some electronics company as a free sample. Just add in a charcoal filter and Boom! fume extractor. This is obviously for use in removing toxic solder fumes from the area,...