Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Sneak Peek: Orbitar Project

I have been working on a interactive performance device with a conceptual artist. She is about to take it to New York to present it at a art conference as a featured speaker. Once it is done we will be open sourcing it and there will be a large amount of material available. In the meantime you can checkout this collage of documentation images of our hardware prototype and beta software.

Orbitar Documentation Imagery Collage

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Clients Visiting = Clean Office

We have had lots going on in the office lately, and as a result it is cleaner and more organized than ever before. I have uploaded some pictures to remind me how it should look when the inevitable ‘decay’ sets in.

Facing North

Facing North

Facing South

Facing South

Primary Work Area

Primary Work Area

'Electronics Lab'

'Electronics Lab'

Monday, March 15th, 2010

MikroBASIC PRO, PLX-DAQ, xGLCD Library, and Microsoft Excel – Super Low Cost(FREE?) Data Acquisition


I use a variety of data acquisition techniques, but sometimes quick and dirty is the way to go. When I recently needed to capture 1 variable to tune a scoring algorithm for an electronic game I am developing, I decided the best way to get usable data was to do experiments using the actual prototype device’s sensors and hardware. In the past I have used a Parallax BS2 homework board with their PLX-DAQ program. PLX-DAQ allows a simple method to dump data directly into Microsoft Excel. This is great because it required much less work to setup and was going to result in a real world, immediately useful data-set compared to using my USB DAQ device with Lavbiew. I used a USB<->RS232 cable to connect my hardware.


I do not use much Parallax hardware anymore and have been building my prototypes using Mikroelectronica‘s MikroBASIC Pro and their awesome ‘EasyPIC5′ Development board. Porting the .BS2 PBASIC code to work within  MikroBASIC turned out to be a relatively simple task.

Here you can find my code, which is using the xGLCD library available from, who also make a nice GLCD font creator.

I hope someone finds this useful!

MikroBasic Pro PLX-DAQ | my MicroBASIC Pro 2009 PLX-DAQ Code

Monday, December 21st, 2009

New Toy: Canon T1i DSLR


I finally got a decent camera! It was a hard choice between a Nikon D90 or D5000 and the Canon t1i.. In the end the t1i won out for 2 reasons: the first is the price – t1i seems to offer a great price\performance ratio and the other reason was the strong endorsement canon products get from the professional photographers I know. Of course, their cameras are much fancier than mine, but I am happy to be able to document my work and life with reasonable quality.

After getting used to the camera I have immediately become interested in multiple exposure HDR(high dynamic range) photography. To capture these images I am using ‘SLR Remote Pro’ software for tethered control. These images are captured in AEB(auto exposure bracketing) at -2/0/+2 exposure and then processed with HDRsoft Photomatix with final stuff done in Photoshop. With no formal photo background, learning all about apertures, f-stops, ISO, and the other mainstays of photography has been very interesting.

Here are a few of the first few images I have captured this way. Enjoy!


The building across the street


My pal Jeff

Friday, December 11th, 2009

MOO | An Interesting Printing Company


Recently I have spent a lot of time researching business card design and printing while preparing materials for friends and clients who all seem to need or want new business cards. One trend of sorts that is immediately apparent is cards that are not all the same on at least one side are popular.  LinkedIn is one example of a company that has used this technique to good effect.


I recently happened across the company, Moo,  which printed the LinkedIn cards while reading a great blog belonging to UK designer Chris Spooner. The thing that immediately struck me about Moo was their unique and attractive product offering. Moo specializes in printing short runs of cards  of various types, from business cards to postcards and greeting cards. Unlike most print services where you are limited to uploading a single design per print job (and for good reason), at Moo you are able to upload a unique image on one side for every single print. So, if you are getting 50 cards printed, you can upload 50 unique images for one side of the job! This is a great thing for certain types of people looking for business cards. Photographers seem to get the most immediately satisfying use out of this, but there are other great examples on their website.

I am about to order their 10 business card “free sample” . While they call them free, they put their logo and a black band on one side,  so it isnt really free, but you do get to upload 10 unique images for one side of each card!  I will definitely write a review when I receive my order.

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Keling Inc. 4030 Wiring Diagram

-600×359.jpg” alt=”Keling 4030 Stepper Drivers” width=”600″ height=”359″ />

On my old site I had a bunch of 3D files and documents. I will slowly be adding them to this site so that all of the 404 Nothing Found errors people get when following 4 year old links will get them what they are looking for.

There is a company in Illinois that sells low cost imported asian CNC and automation equipment called Kelling Inc. They have some great low cost stuf, but their documentation really looks terrible. While using some of their products in a project I made a nice wiring diagram in Visio and shared it over at CNC Zone, a web forum I used to be very active on.

cnc wiring

As a bonus, I am including a SolidWorks model of the Keling NEMA 23 420oz/in Stepper.

Keling 4030 cnc wiring – This is the big diagram pictured directly above

CNC Package Datasheet 1

CNC Package Datasheet 2

Keling Nema23 420oz Stepper Solidworks .sldprt File

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

DIY Rotary Tattoo Gun (revisited)

DIY Rotary Tattoo Gun

The old pre-CMS robertguys

viagra soft tabs site had one very popular item that accounted for 95% of all site traffic: a single 3D rendering of a simple rotary tattoo gun design. For the 2 years it was available, I got some 100 visits a day from people looking for information on DIY rotary tattoo guns. This style of gun uses a small motor to spin a offset cam holding a needle. The needle is fit into a tip that holds ink which it picks up as it moves in and out. This general design is similar to prison tattoo guns, the construction of which show great ingenuity. To make this specific design, it would help to have a metal shop or CNC machine. If there is interest, I will make the 3D model available and some simple NC code.

Soon I will be making 2D plans available, as well as photographing the prototype that is almost completed. If there is any interest shown, I will make a working prototype and photograph the process to help anyone who wants to build a similar device.

DIY Rotary Tattoo Gun Tip

One thing I can see that will change as a result of prototyping is the diameter of the flywheel. Clearly the stroke is going to be far longer than would be ideal..

Looking forward to hearing any thoughts on this design from people who have experrience with these devices.

Who knows, maybe I will eventually get a tattoo from a diy gun from this design!

DIY Rotary Tattoo Gun

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Technorati Claim HU7MUKYDF6T2


Sunday, November 15th, 2009

Into the mouth of madness.. I mean twitter


It is not something I completely expected to be doing: twitter! I read a article not so long ago the premise of which ‘young people are not on twitter because their parents are on twitter’. Thankfully, my parents are not on twitter!

You can find my twitter updates various places on this website, or at my twitter page.

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