Category: Projects

Banggood A3 Laser Post for Fusion 360 Laser CAM

Fusion 360 is an awesome CAD/CAM package from Autodesk.  The licensing is reasonable,  the support is good, the CAD/CAM is top notch and it runs on both macOS and Windows 10.  Recently I acquired a Banggood A3 2.5W Laser Engraver and decided, since I had a good tool chain for cutting on my ShapeOKO I may as well carry that over to my Laser.  I started with GRBL 1.1d (edge) release which was just just came out and built it using the PlatformIO IDE.  I did this on my Mac and uploaded the resultant hex file using Xloader on my PC that’s connected to the laser.  The compiled hex I used for my Atmega328 Nano that was installed on my laser is below.  Please note if you were not running GRBL 0.9 on your laser prior you should remove the nano and set the jumper to 0.9 on the controller board.  Note if you are using a Smoothie board you can just follow along with the tool path and gcode generation portion that follows and use the Smoothie post that is already included.  The GRBL post that’s included does not support the new waterjet/laser features.

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Jayco X213 Under Couch Access Mod

Here’s an easy mod to make some of the storage in your X213 a little easier to access.  This may apply to other models depending on how the Couch/Bed is configured.  On my camper the skirt beneath the couch is purely decorative.  In that I mean it does not structurally support any weight of the sofa.  On my model the skirt was held on with two square drive screws. from the back.  Remove these screws to give access to the ample storage under the sofa.  You might now even be able to fit something under there.

File Jul 27, 6 58 48 PM

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Jayco X213 Solar Installation

A lot of the Sate and National park campgrounds we visit to do not have full-hookups or RV sites.  To counter this I wanted to make our camper a little more capable of boondocking  or dry camping.  The first upgrade that one can do is install some solar panels to keep the lights on, heater running and the water pumping. So I set out and did some research as to what others had done and how they had done it.  I settled on a Renogy 200W Monocrystalline Solar system to start with and can upgrade it trivially up to 400W with the addition of two more solar panels – which should still fit on my roof when done.

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Jayco X213 Pet Screen

Having a dog often results in a torn screen on the screen door of our camper.  So we looked around for different solutions to prevent this.  We wanted something that looked good and still allowed airflow.  We considered a sheet of Lexan, but this prevents airflow.  After searching around we found several companies selling screens that can screw on the door to protect them like this Camco Screen Door Grille or this slightly less expensive Camco Aluminum Screen Door Grille.  These solutions were expensive ($30-60) and really don’t look that great.  We also considered taking a $10 piece of metal expanded sheet and making a frame for that to screw or mount onto the door.  On our way to Home Depot to pick up the materials, we stopped at our local transfer station and found a damaged Safety 1st Bamboo Gate.  It had a nice bamboo frame and a light plastic grate.   It also happened to be the perfect size to fit on the door.

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Jayco X213 Bunk Ladder

I recently purchased a 2015 Jayco Jayfeather X213 Camper.  This trailer has the prefect sleeping configuration for our family with a King Size slide-out and 2 Bunks.  This allows us to setup and not have to break-down the table or convert a sofa for sleeping quarters for our two children every night.  The two bunks are nice but getting into them without assistance can be difficult for a child and downright impossible for an adult.  To remedy this situation I looked into several commercially available ladder solutions such as the following:

Stromberg Carlson (LA-460-B) Black 60″ Bunk Ladder

But at nearly $60.00 and made of ugly metal that didn’t match the interior of the camper I passed.  In addition this ladder was wider than it needed to be and needed to be fastened into one location.  I found several other options while searching the internet but none fit the bill so I sketched out what I wanted on paper and came up with the following requirements: Read more

Expedient Disc Sander

I needed a disc sander to clean up some edges on several wood working projects I was working on.  I didn’t have a bunch of money to spend or more space in my shop for another tool so I decided to fabricate what I needed out of scraps for my Atlas 10″ lathe.  I started by using a backing plate for the lathe I had around.  I drilled several holes through on my drill press about halfway between the edge of the plate and the through hole.  These holes were later used to join the plate to a 9″ round 3/4″ MDF disc I cut out on my bandsaw.  Why 9″ around instead of 10″?  Because standard sandpaper sheets are 9″ wide and doing something larger would require cutting down a larger paper disc or would leave gaps at the edges.

The backing plate was affixed to the MDF disc with some 3/4″ Wood screws and mounted on the lathe.  I sprayed the back of a sheet of 100 grit paper with some 3M spray adhesive let it set and attached it to the cut MDF sanding disc.  A utility knife was used to trim the edges of the paper.  I now had a basic sanding disc but no table/rest.  I found some 6″ wide scrap wood in my scrap bin.  I cut some thin strips of scrap to fit the ways of the lathe glued and tacked it together.  Now in 45 minutes my Atlas lathe is now a decent disc sander.  I plan on adding some dust collection to it as well by blocking off the left opening and making a hole for my shop vac.

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Electrodragon ESP8266 (Wi07C) Module Notes

I recently ordered up a few of those super-cheap ESP8266 wifi modules.  These have an 80211 b/g/n Wifi with WPA/WPA2 support, are super small and have a fairly powerful CPU on board (more powerful than that Arduino I am hooking it up to).  I ordered my modules from Electrodragon and they came super-fast (and even shipped from state-side).  For ~ $25.00 I got 4 pieces shipped to my door.  In hindsight I should have ordered a couple of the modules with all the GPIO pins exposed.  The first order of business is interfacing.  These modules utilize a 3.3V power supply and IOs.  I utilized my $17.00 Arduino Mega with 3.3v selector to be voltage compatible instead of setting up voltage dividers.

There are 5 critical pins needed to get this working:

  • GND – Connect to Arduino GND
  • VCC – Connect to Arduino 3.3V VDD
  • UTXD – Connect to Arduino Mega RX1
  • URXD – Connect to Arduino Mega TX1
  • CH_PD – Connect to Arduino 3.3V VDD

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Cheap and Easy DIY Router Table

I found my self in need of a small router table to clean up edges of some small parts.  I have a pretty nice Porter Cable 890 Series router and adjustable base already and wanted to be able to make use of it for these smaller parts.  How hard could it be to build a router table?  I didn’t want to spend upwards of $100 for a piece of junk and it turns out a decent table can be built for far less. I think the total bill of materials came out to be around $20.00 including hardware.  I also wanted something that would take little or no room to store.

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Old Project: Chicken Coop Automated Door

Sometime around May 2004 we decided we were going to get chickens.  We decided to build out own coop.  I researched several designs online but wanted something that wouldn’t stick out and would blend in with the existing shed it was going to be placed near.  I made some measurements of where it would be placed and got to work sketching out what I wanted for a coop.  I refined the design and came up with how it would be framed on paper.

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