Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cardboard snowman

As part of my company's Christmas festivities, we are having a snowman building competition.  It rarely snows in central Texas, so the only rule to the contest is that our snowman has to be made of cardboard. 

Mine is pretty much complete except for the nose and the final wiring.  He waves his arm and the corncob pipe houses an LED that fades on and off, simulating a smoldering pipe.  Here's a quick preview.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Here's something I'm working on.  I might do an instructable on this.  More to come...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Iphone Tripod Mount

I wanted a way to mount the iphone on a tripod so I bought a cheap iphone case, some right angle aluminum extrusion and four 4-40 x .5" flat head screws.  The aluminum extrusion is 1 x 1 x .125" and can be found at your local hardware store.  The half inch screws are kind of long but that's what I had on hand.  4-40 x .25" would also work.  I cut two 1.5" lengths of the aluminum extrusion and drilled holes to tap the 4-40 threads into one side and 1/4-20 threads in the other side (your tripod should use a 1/4-20 screw to attach to cameras).  Next I drilled and countersunk the 4 holes into the iphone cover to mount the aluminum brackets.  When you screw the brackets on, the screw heads should sit below the inside surface of the iphone cover.  Cover the screw heads with tape to protect your iphone from being scratched.  Insert your iphone and attach it to your tripod and you're done!  Now you have a stable camera mount for photos, movies, stop motion, time lapse or whatever you want.

Monday, December 5, 2011

555 Toy Organ

I built the Toy Organ found on page 23 of Forrest M. Mims III's book Timer, Op Amp & Optoelectronic Circuits & Projects.  You can buy the book at your local Radio Shack. Part number 62-101.

I added a toggle switch for power and a LED to indicate power.  Mine uses a 9V battery. If I build another one, I'll add a pot for volume control and probably mount the buttons closer together or in a different layout.  It would be neat to experiment with different types of switches as well, like a slider instead of a rotary potentiometer, smaller buttons with less travel in the actuator would also be nice.

It's fun to play with even though I have no musical abilities.