Keyboard battery travel guard


The Apple bluetooth keyboard is pretty good for travel when you want to type on an iDevice. Problem I’ve run into is that if it’s in my bag, every time a key is accidentally pressed the iPad it’s paired with wakes up. There is no on/off switch on the keyboard to prevent this — the power button serves more as a pairing button. In the past I’ve solved this by putting a little piece of electrical tape on the inside of the battery compartment cap. It worked pretty well, but that evil electrical tape adhesive got all over things when I pulled it off to use the keyboard. So, I’ve upgraded to a negative contact end cover made from the battery packaging itself.

Drilling apples

My greatest culinary innovation of the year: coring apples with a 1-1/4″ Forstner bit on an electric drill.
I have just revolutionized apple coring. In my kitchen at least.

Please note, this is a pretty new bit and I cleaned it with soap and water first. And then served apple crisp to our friends last night.
And nobody has died. So, if that’s reassuring enough for you, go for it!
If not, please don’t.



Burbank yard sale report – 11/8/15 edition

Three dollars spent this weekend at various yard sales.

First up: four welding plier clamps. $1.50. Original owner was a Lockheed aviation machinist.


Two of them are unmarked, the other two are Knu-Vise brand model P-400-1. They still sell this model today, for around $18 a piece.


Two go carts. $0.00, a.k.a. free. What?! Not technically a yard sale item. I was dropping my son off at school and somebody had set these out on the curb with a FREE sign. They work pretty well, but looking into replacing/upgrading the batteries…



Which leads to: Snap-on/Blue Point MT130 Charging System Analyzer for testing car batteries and alternators.  $0.50. Could be helpful in working on the go carts.


Finally, a deck of Magic Castle playing cards — the cards inside are still sealed. $1.00. I’ll be gifting this to a friend who’s pretty into cards and magic.


IMG_0823 IMG_0824

3D Printing Projects book released


Hey look, the new book is out! That’s my flower care robot, Chauncey, there on the cover. (He waters that flower whenever the soil runs dry.)

I’m very excited and proud to have contributed to this lovely new book from Maker Media chocked full of projects you can build with a 3D printer, some electronics and mechanical parts, and a bit of gumption. The central notion behind 3D Printing Projects: Toys, Tools, and Contraptions to Print and Build Yourself is “You’ve got a 3D printer, and you’ve downloaded and printed a few Yoda heads and vases — now what?”

The projects all go beyond static prints, and into functional builds that show the true utility of desktop prototyping and additive building when combined with other techniques, including print finishing/painting, friction welding, embedded electronics, physical computing, and mechanism design. Downloadable model files are available on the book’s companion site, and we’ve got a GitHub repository set up for any code downloads, such as the Arduino sketch that powers my flower bot.

I’d like to also give an enormous public, internet hug and thank you to my creative collaborator, Barry McWilliams, who inspired me with his Wrylon Robotical Illustrated Catalog of Botanical Delivery ‘Botsand who designed my darling little robot, Chauncey.


If you’re interested in learning how to make your own Chauncey, or animatronic eyes, or a ballpoint pen raygun, an inverted RC trike, and more, from a very talented group of makers, including John Baichtal, James Floyd Kelly, and Brook Drumm,  please check it out on Amazon, at O’Reilly, in your local Barnes & Noble, or other local bookstore. I promise it will give invigorating new purpose to your 3D printer!


Shackles and clamps and another Estwing and more

It is hard to express the depths of my joy at finding these tools and hardware at an estate sale, and my happy anticipation of putting them to work.


U-shackles with clevis bolts in four sizes.



Three 4″ C-clamps.



There is no limit to the number of Estwing leather handle hammers I will acquire and use. This one has a flatter claw than the other one I have in this size. So there you go.



Plus, three Pony clamps for use with 3/4″ black pipe, pair of German Knipex Alligator slip-joint pliers, Plomb open end 9/16″ – 1/2″ wrench, wood handled Irwin 800-4″ flathead screwdriver, oval quicklink, snaplink, and a threaded rod with washers and wing nuts.

Tensor lamp


My $1 yard sale find of the day. A Tensor model 5975 high-intensity mini task lamp, circa 1965.

Love the design and the crinkle paint. I’ll get some bulbs and then possibly rewire it with some cloth braided wire.