Wednesday, July 1, 2015

2015-06-30 (Tu) Automated Aerator and Laser Show for Domestic House Pets

Parts were gathered to start construction of the laser deflector. Electromagnets acting on permanent magnets will change the angle of a mirror which will redirect a laser. Two magnets will be placed at opposite corners of a square mirror. In the corner between the mirrors there will be a pivot point. For this experiment the pivot point was a stack of double-sided tape discs and rubber discs. Rubber discs were cut from a wide rubber band using an ordinary paper punch.

 Parts gathered. Wide rubber band, hole punch, fishing lures, mirror, magnets, clear plastic box, coils, and double-sided tape discs

Beginning of rubber/tape stack
Rubber/tape stack and fishing lure suspension

Corners were suspended by placing small pieces of fishing lure material between the mirror and enclosure surface. Fishing lure material is inexpensive, easy to find, and comes in many shapes. Air gap between permanent magnet and electromagnet could be problematic. Experimenting with simple materials should give an idea of the feasibility and necessary design changes. Video was taken which shows how the deflection of the mirror is properly at right angles to the pivot point. Reflected images in the mirror, the camera lens in this case, move at right angles when the corners are pressed.

Video showing mirror deflection


To Do:
  • Design structure and explain
  • Build structure 
  • Write instructions
    • Make a linkable parts list
    • Draw schematic 

The rest of the posts for this project have been arranged by date.

First time here?

Completed projects from year 1.
Completed projects from year 2



This disclaimer must be intact and whole. This disclaimer must be included if a project is distributed.

All information in this blog, or linked by this blog, are not to be taken as advice or solicitation. Anyone attempting to replicate, in whole or in part, is responsible for the outcome and procedure. Any loss of functionality, money, property or similar, is the responsibility of those involved in the replication.

All digital communication regarding the email address 24hourengineer@gmail.com becomes the intellectual property of Brian McEvoy. Any information contained within these messages may be distributed or retained at the discretion of Brian McEvoy. Any email sent to this address, or any email account owned by Brian McEvoy, cannot be used to claim property or assets.

Comments to the blog may be utilized or erased at the discretion of the owner. No one posting may claim claim property or assets based on their post.

This blog, including pictures and text, is copyright to Brian McEvoy.

2015-06-30 (Tu)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

2015-06-29 (M) Automated Aerator and Laser Show for Domestic House Pets

Mirrors were purchased.

Detailed pictures were taken of the deconstruction of the relays since the coils could become common parts. The process was simple but an incorrect move could damage a coil beyond use so meticulous steps seemed logical. Wear safety glasses.

Side cutting pliers were used to cut through the plastic at one edge of the blue plastic. Once the plastic was cut through it could be easily pulled away from the black base which caused the brittle blue plastic to break away. Careful prying at the plastic released it from the base on all sides so the blue cover could be removed entirely. All parts of the blue case were discarded.

 Two relays to be deconstructed

Cutting the plastic at one edge

Prying at the edge cause the plastic to separate

Blue case removed

There were two short sides of the relay. One end had three pins while the opposite end had two pins. On the end with two pins the side cutting pliers were used to trim away the plastic which held the two pins one at a time. Care must be taken to not cut any wires from the coil. Between the two remaining pins a single pin can be removed by prying up on the copper strip in the middle of the edge. Ordinary pinch pliers should be used since the thin copper can cause cuts. Side cutting pliers can be used to trim away the unnecessary plastic from the relay.

 One of two pins removed

Both pins removed

All unnecessary pins removed and trimmed

Rotating view of finished coil


To Do:
  • Buy mirror
  • Design structure and explain
  • Deconstruct relays
  • Build structure 
  • Write instructions
    • Make a linkable parts list
    • Draw schematic 

The rest of the posts for this project have been arranged by date.

First time here?

Completed projects from year 1.
Completed projects from year 2



This disclaimer must be intact and whole. This disclaimer must be included if a project is distributed.

All information in this blog, or linked by this blog, are not to be taken as advice or solicitation. Anyone attempting to replicate, in whole or in part, is responsible for the outcome and procedure. Any loss of functionality, money, property or similar, is the responsibility of those involved in the replication.

All digital communication regarding the email address 24hourengineer@gmail.com becomes the intellectual property of Brian McEvoy. Any information contained within these messages may be distributed or retained at the discretion of Brian McEvoy. Any email sent to this address, or any email account owned by Brian McEvoy, cannot be used to claim property or assets.

Comments to the blog may be utilized or erased at the discretion of the owner. No one posting may claim claim property or assets based on their post.

This blog, including pictures and text, is copyright to Brian McEvoy.

2015-06-29 (M)

Monday, June 29, 2015

2015-06-28 (Su) Automated Aerator and Laser Show for Domestic House Pets

Debugging was done for the project. Hardware used:
  • Laser module
  • Red LED in place of x-axis. PWM output results in changing intensities
  • Green LED in place of y-axis. PWM output results in changing intensities
  • Amber LED in place of pump relay.
  • Speaker
  • Button to start and stop pump show
  • Button to start and stop laser show
While debugging the program it occurred that the button should also be available to turn off each "show." This functionality was added while making the rest of the program usable. Describing debugging is not exciting since many mistakes were amateur.

A video was made of the operation. The video proves that the buttons can be used to toggle the shows for the laser and pump. Tones are audible signalling the start of a show. The video does not show that these shows will also happen at pseudo-random intervals without user input.

Brief show of the operation

19 second video demonstration with sound



To Do:
  • Debug Program in breadboard
  • Buy mirror
  • Design structure and explain
  • Deconstruct relays
  • Build structure
  • Write instructions
    • Make a linkable parts list
    • Draw schematic

The rest of the posts for this project have been arranged by date.

First time here?

Completed projects from year 1.
Completed projects from year 2



This disclaimer must be intact and whole. This disclaimer must be included if a project is distributed.

All information in this blog, or linked by this blog, are not to be taken as advice or solicitation. Anyone attempting to replicate, in whole or in part, is responsible for the outcome and procedure. Any loss of functionality, money, property or similar, is the responsibility of those involved in the replication.

All digital communication regarding the email address 24hourengineer@gmail.com becomes the intellectual property of Brian McEvoy. Any information contained within these messages may be distributed or retained at the discretion of Brian McEvoy. Any email sent to this address, or any email account owned by Brian McEvoy, cannot be used to claim property or assets.

Comments to the blog may be utilized or erased at the discretion of the owner. No one posting may claim claim property or assets based on their post.

This blog, including pictures and text, is copyright to Brian McEvoy.

2015-06-14 (Su)

2015-06-27 (Sa) Automated Aerator and Laser Show for Domestic House Pets

Automated Aerator and Laser Show for Domestic House Pets
I need a better name for this project. AeroLaser? Automated Cat Entertainment Suite (A.C.E.S.)?

I have a little gray cat named Isla. She likes to help with some of my projects and wake me up at 4am to play fetch. During the winter she spends a lot of time monitoring a humidifier which would occasionally bubble up. Bubbles amuse her to no end. I had an aquarium air pump for a different project which didn't pan out. For the purposes of the project the pump was controlled by a 5V relay and wouldn't run without it. I figured it would be nice if she had bubbles all year round so I spent an evening cobbling together the power supply and power cords necessary to get the air pump running.

At first I wasn't going to even show the work I was doing on this project because it was just me putzing around with the modified pump. Instead I decided to make this into a project which would not only feature the air pump but a laser light show for cats. Automated laser toys for cats aren't original but I have been itching to try to make a cheap laser pointing device I can control myself. Commercial models are at least $12 which isn't bad but I want to be able to control them myself.

Enough background.
----------

A relay controlled air pump was turned on by hard wiring a power supply to the relay coil. One issue with this scheme is that there are two plugs which is dangerous in devices because a regular user may assume all power has been removed when a single plug has been pulled. This will have to be fixed in the final build.

Pump setup and entranced cat

Diligent sentinel cat

Pump control was already built. Designs for a microcontroller automated laser pointer had been conceptualized before so the components of this project were just an assembly of previously designed parts. Pseudo-code was drafted by hand which will control the two systems. While documenting it was decided to add two switches which would allow the user to manually start either process at will, otherwise the sequences will not execute until a randomized timer expires and starts the sequence starts automatically. A speaker was also added which will emit chirps to alert a cat when a sequence is about to start.



 Planning and psuedo-code


To Do:
  • Write code
  • Program Arduino
  • Buy mirror
  • Design structure and explain
  • Write instructions
    • Make a linkable parts list
    • Draw schematic

The rest of the posts for this project have been arranged by date.

First time here?

Completed projects from year 1.
Completed projects from year 2



This disclaimer must be intact and whole. This disclaimer must be included if a project is distributed.

All information in this blog, or linked by this blog, are not to be taken as advice or solicitation. Anyone attempting to replicate, in whole or in part, is responsible for the outcome and procedure. Any loss of functionality, money, property or similar, is the responsibility of those involved in the replication.

All digital communication regarding the email address 24hourengineer@gmail.com becomes the intellectual property of Brian McEvoy. Any information contained within these messages may be distributed or retained at the discretion of Brian McEvoy. Any email sent to this address, or any email account owned by Brian McEvoy, cannot be used to claim property or assets.

Comments to the blog may be utilized or erased at the discretion of the owner. No one posting may claim claim property or assets based on their post.

This blog, including pictures and text, is copyright to Brian McEvoy.

2015-06-10 (W)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

2015-06-26 (F) Weekly Summary

Two projects finished this week. Vibrating Distance Sensor and Kitchen Light Bar.

Vibrating Distance Sensor had been going for weeks and was the most recent revision of the distance sensors. This version is the most intuitive to use but the most difficult to build. Fortunately instructions were give which allow this version to be made without a 3D printer.

Making a PVC insert was the final step to making this project work. By cutting a battery slot, drilling a fastening hole, and gluing a switch to the pipe it was possible to fix all the problems necessary to finish the project. This also eliminated the need for an expensive reed switch and used an inexpensive tactile switch. Electrical schematic was updated to show the tactile switch.

PVC shape to fill flashlight
Schematic showing tactile switch
Tactile switch on PVC

Effort was given to making instructions clear and appealing. A day was used to make the parts list picture. Another day was used to make an attractive (in my opinion) cover image for the Instructable. The Instructable started with a descriptive scenario with the hope of drawing readers in and generating appeal to complete the project as well as describing the use of the sensor.

Graphical parts list

Instructable cover image
Finished distance sensor with working switch

The second completed project this week was a kitchen light to go over my sink. I don't like washing dishes in the dark. IKEA has night LED light sticks but they are expensive. I didn't want to permanently install something. The solution was to use clear tubing and a spring-loaded curtain rod, put an inexpensive LED strip inside the tubing with the rod and put it under the cabinet. It worked really well but the Instructable was not popular.

Undercabinet light cycling through colors

The rest of the weekly summaries have been arranged by date.





This disclaimer must be intact and whole. This disclaimer must be included if a project is distributed.

All information in this blog, or linked by this blog, are not to be taken as advice or solicitation. Anyone attempting to replicate, in whole or in part, is responsible for the outcome and procedure. Any loss of functionality, money, property or similar, is the responsibility of those involved in the replication.

All digital communication regarding the email address 24hourengineer@gmail.com becomes the intellectual property of Brian McEvoy. Any information contained within these messages may be distributed or retained at the discretion of Brian McEvoy. Any email sent to this address, or any email account owned by Brian McEvoy, cannot be used to claim property or assets.

Comments to the blog may be utilized or erased at the discretion of the owner. No one posting may claim claim property or assets based on their post.

This blog, including pictures and text, is copyright to Brian McEvoy.

Friday, June 26, 2015

2015-06-25 (Th) Vibrating Distance Sensor COMPLETED

After a late night an Instructable was written from beginning to end. Over 1,200 words were written which does not include text copied from this blog. There was an attempt with this project to draw people in with a short scenario which quickly showed the function and benefit of a handheld distance sensor. In the scenario the reader is trying to keep from disturbing a light sleeper in an unfamiliar room and must navigate without lights. Sonar, bats, and caves are also mentioned to help imaginations run. There was no mention of vision-impaired people benefiting from this device in the Instructable.

Completion of the Instructable closes this project and it can be considered a success. In the future this could spawn another distance sensing assistive device. Improvements to the ultrasonic distance sensor would help since the current sensor can fail if the surface being inspected is at an oblique angle. A higher speed reader and a more responsive feedback device would also be helpful but more expensive.

Cover image for Instructable

Files for Vibrating Distance Sensor:
The OpenSCAD files below are not necessary unless you want to change something

To Do:
  • Make Instructable

The rest of the posts for this project have been arranged by date.

First time here?

Completed projects from year 1.
Completed projects from year 2



This disclaimer must be intact and whole. This disclaimer must be included if a project is distributed.

All information in this blog, or linked by this blog, are not to be taken as advice or solicitation. Anyone attempting to replicate, in whole or in part, is responsible for the outcome and procedure. Any loss of functionality, money, property or similar, is the responsibility of those involved in the replication.

All digital communication regarding the email address 24hourengineer@gmail.com becomes the intellectual property of Brian McEvoy. Any information contained within these messages may be distributed or retained at the discretion of Brian McEvoy. Any email sent to this address, or any email account owned by Brian McEvoy, cannot be used to claim property or assets.

Comments to the blog may be utilized or erased at the discretion of the owner. No one posting may claim claim property or assets based on their post.

This blog, including pictures and text, is copyright to Brian McEvoy.

2015-06-25 (Th)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

2015-06-24 (W) Vibrating Distance Sensor

An Instructable was started for the Vibrating Distance Sensor. To add some appeal to the cover image a quick sonar graphic was made in a drafting program by drawing thick green lines on a black background to look like an old sonar readout. The effect was not perfect. Instructables seem to do well when there is a developed cover image so an evening was spent to create some play between the fonts for the title and the sonar image.

Sonar

Cover image for Instructable

Images were selected for the Instructable and arranged in order. Selected images were chosen from different blog posts throughout the project. For demonstration sake they have been compiled below but will appear in full resolution for the Instructable and not animated. Full resolution images were selected rather than the scaled version uploaded through Google and Blogger.

Scaled compilation of images

9V Connector
9V battery
Attiny85 Arduino
Tactile switch
Vibrator motor
STL Model for flashlight adapter
3/4" #10 bolt*
#10 end nut *
Super glue
Hot glue stick
1" Schedule PVC * White plumbing pipe
Wire

* These items are cheaper to purchase from a hardware store than order online.

Files for Vibrating Distance Sensor:
The OpenSCAD files below are not necessary unless you want to change something

To Do:
  • Write instructions
    • Collect photos from blog
    • Arrange photos according to instruction order
    • Make Instructable

The rest of the posts for this project have been arranged by date.

First time here?

Completed projects from year 1.
Completed projects from year 2



This disclaimer must be intact and whole. This disclaimer must be included if a project is distributed.

All information in this blog, or linked by this blog, are not to be taken as advice or solicitation. Anyone attempting to replicate, in whole or in part, is responsible for the outcome and procedure. Any loss of functionality, money, property or similar, is the responsibility of those involved in the replication.

All digital communication regarding the email address 24hourengineer@gmail.com becomes the intellectual property of Brian McEvoy. Any information contained within these messages may be distributed or retained at the discretion of Brian McEvoy. Any email sent to this address, or any email account owned by Brian McEvoy, cannot be used to claim property or assets.

Comments to the blog may be utilized or erased at the discretion of the owner. No one posting may claim claim property or assets based on their post.

This blog, including pictures and text, is copyright to Brian McEvoy.

2015-06-24 (W)