Category: Projects

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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Truck Canoe & Kayak Carrier

Faced with the challenge of carrying a a 16′ Old Town canoe, a kayak and all the gear and accessories and camping supplies in the 5 and a half foot bed of my F-150 SuperCrew I set out looking for options. First and foremost how to transport the canoe without being a hazard on the road to myself or anyone else. The prerequisites were as follows:

1) Should allow safe operation of the vehicle
2) No drilling or permanent modifications to the truck and should not interfere with or require the removal of the toneau cover I have installed
3) Must be easy to remove and install
4) Loading the canoe must not be difficult
5) Should hold at least one canoe – two would be better
6) Should look halfway decent
7) And the ever present engineering requirement of cost

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Project – Electric Spinning Wheel

I designed and built this electric spinning wheel for my wife earlier in the year.  The spinner was mocked up in OpenScad (See e-spinner.scad for the cad design and assembly).  This was built out of Maple, Aluminum tube, Nylon bushings and tube and some miscellaneous hardware. The e-spinner is powered by a Singer Style sewing machine motor hooked up to a foot pedal and lamp dimmer for speed control. The aluminum and nylon tube was cut on my Atlas 10″ lathe. The bobbin ends were cut on my Shapeoko CNC Router.

You can see the spinner in action here with my wife spinning imported wool she carded herself:

Bill of Materials (all wood is maple or other suitable hard wood):

  • 1″x3″x7″ (x2) wood for supports
  • 1 Nylon Bushing (1″ O.D. 3/4″ I.D. 3/4″ thick
  • 3/8″ x 8″ (x2) Dowel
  • 1″x1″x6″ wood for flyer arm
  • 1″x3″x9 3/8″ (x2) wood for frame
  • Nylon Tube (1/2″ I.D. 3/4″ O.D.) 6″
  • Aluminium Tube (1/2″ O.D. 1/16″ Thick Wall)
  • 1/4″ x 3″ x 3″ wood for bobbin ends
  • Wood Glue
  • 1 1/2″ Brass wood screws for assembly (x6)
  • Singer Style sewing machine motor
  • Silicone Hair Ties (for belts)