Chicken Coop Controler Version 2

Chicken Coop Controler Redux

 

After over a decade of service my original coop controller finally died.  This was no fault of it’s own the old 12V AGM battery died and when I hooked up the new one I did so with the incorrect polarity.  This was rapidly followed but a “pop” and the dreaded magic smoke escaping from it.  The flyback diode took the brunt of the damage it followed by the speed controller FET.  Because of this I felt it in my best interest, instead of reviving the old board I would start anew with more goodness.  The original controller suffered from a few problems:

  • It was difficult to tell if the door was actually up or down from the house
  • When it got an error (i.e. chicken poop prevented the door from closing) it was hard to reset
  • It utilized a CdS sensor I pulled from a smoke detector which wasn’t temperature stable year round
  • It was a custom arduino board and the chip needed to be pulled and put in a programmer to update the firmware (whch is lost to time)

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Prusa 3D Printing Station/Organizer

I recently purchased the MMU2s for my Prusa i3 and quickly found my desk was an unruly mess.  With the filament buffer and multiple spools there was stuff everywhere.  I was determined to clean up this mess so I took to my notebook and after a couple quick measurements sketched out a design that would add some additional under-printer storage as well as manage multiple spools and the buffer.  This is the end result.

 

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GRBL Postprocessor for Solidworks

 

As part of mentoring out High School’s First Robotics Team Andromeda One I have learned Solidworks.  Since we have a Jet Mill converted to CNC (running GRBL and a Chinese controller) and several of the other mentors, including myself, having CNC routers like the ShapeOKO 2 and X-carve we wanted to be able to have a one-stop shop for doing our design and CAM toolpath generation.  There are some generic postprocessors for Solidworks but none seemed to support exactly the post processing options and syntax I wanted to see.  As such I embarked on writing my own post for Solidworks.

I downloaded “Universal Post Generator” from Camworks who provides the CAM functionality for Solidworks.  This can be found here:  https://camworks.com/universal-post-generator/

When installing it is necessary to install it as Administrator.  If you do not it will not install properly/fully and may not work properly.  I then used this tool to edit a Postprocessor from scratch and compile it into something Solidworks understand.  Note, this was not very straight forward and resulted in several iterations of trial and error until I got it close enough.  I’m still getting syntax errors on comment lines.  For some reason the line starts with an “*” then the line number and then the tool comment.  I cannot determine where this “*” is coming from in the post or how to get rid of it.  The second issue is the line numbers,  These are very much a personal preference but even if they are disabled in the post configuration they still appear on the output in Solidworks.  In the end the postprocessor output needs to be post processed to run on my CNC with a text editor to fix the tool comment lines.

You can download the fruits of my labor here: SW_GRBL_POST.zip

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CNC/Laser Heart Box

I created this heart shaped box in November 2017 and never shared it here.  This box is laser engraved on my 2.5W Laser in Meranti and CNC’d inside and out.  Each side takes about 8 minutes on the CNC with 4 Minutes on the laser.  This is version 1.0 of the box and I think I’ll be refining the design and possibly adding more depth to it this year.  This whole design was done in Vetric Vcarve including the laser toolpaths.  Finish is boiled linseed oil.  Box is unlined.

 

DIY Rapid Carbonator

Parts List

Parts cost me about $110.  Blichman’s QuickCarb runs about $180.  Mines mounted on a piece of oak plywood and Blichman’s Is mounted on a nice piece of stainless steel.  I actually spent about $40 less because I already had some of the parts on hand like swivel flare nuts and and the disconnects and beer line cleaner on-hand  The ball valve, optional, is used during the sanitization process.  One can simply kink the hose instead. Read more

Programming Chinese Arduinos on Mac

I recently purchased a package fo some cheap Arduino Nano development boards from Amazon.  For a couple bucks more you get 5 instead of 3. The only downside is they have the CH340G serial chipset.  In order to get these to program on the mac and avoid the stk500_getsync() errors a couple steps need to be followed:

  • First download the latest serial driver for OSX from the vendors website here:  Mac CH341 Serial Driver
    • Follow the installation instructions in the readme.
    • I had an old driver installed so I removed it first before installing the new driver and rebooting my machine
  • Connect the serial cable and open the Arduino IDE
    • In the IDE make sure you have the Arduino Nano selected and the appropriate com port
  • This step is critical in the Tools menu select the Atmega328P (Old Bootloader) option.
    • If you don’t to this you will still get stk500_getsync errors.

Hope this is helpful for someone having these issues.

K40 LASER Chiller

I recently renovated an Iceman Clear3 Chiller I had recieved from someone who had a knee replacement.  The pump no longer worked but I kept this around for the hose quick disconnects and the nice bucket.  When I removed the two screws holding the pump in the nice trim plate on the back fell off.  So I whipped up these retainers in Fusion 360 and printed them out on my trusty old Makerbot Thing-O-Matic and about 10 minutes later I had it back together.  Works like a charm, looks nice, and as a bonus I can see the water flowing into the tank.  Just drop in a couple Blue Ice to keep things chill for the long jobs and replace them later.

Retainers installed with original hardware in the back of the chiller

You can download the STL for the retainers on Thingiverse:  Iceman Chiller Backplate Retainer

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