I got this nice little bench from a picker I know. I try to put everything in my shop on casters, but didn’t want to spend too much, so here’s a set of old casters I got for $5 being hacked into a pice of plywood.
I cut out some footholds from scrap on the bandsaw.
Hit a semi-disappointing sale this morning. Not too much of interest, or as pickers say, nothing had any age on it.
The two finds I did get: a great little Griswold no. 3 cast iron pan for $5. Nicely seasoned, probably perfect for a grilled cheese sandwich I’ll be making for lunch…
The other thing I picked up is this kooky Keen Kutter pocket knife. It’s a bone handled Barlow model, made from 1940-1960. Blade marked “K288 1/2”.
I call it kooky due to the tip. Looks like the previous owner snapped it off and then did a nice job cleaning it up into a concave dip. I probably paid too much at $10, but I like its apparent history.
I can tell from the other knives at the estate that the previous owner really had a problem with using knives as screwdrivers/pry bars. At least this one has a nifty attempt at saving it.
Today I’m featuring an electrician’s Leatherman, the E4 Squirt, and a Modern Times (beer brewer/coffee roaster from San Diego) Black House coffee brewed in a Bialetti moka pot my mom gave me. (I think it was from my Zia Wanda’s kitchen in Cassino, Italy.)
I really like the E4 because it’s got a good set of wire strippers/cutters on it, and the Philips screwdriver is a pretty nice one. I keep it in my jeans coin pocket.
I have this great little welding cart I got from a picker. The size was almost — but not quite — perfect to hold my little MIG welder underneath. I got 10′ of 1/2″ 16 gauge steel square tubing for $2.06 at Industrial Metal Supply’s remainders bin and cut two lengths down to size to fit the footprint of the welder. I welded them to the cart and now it’s all neatly contained.
The coolest robot I’ve ever built was made of pixels. Here’s Doris, the robotic bowler hat from Disney’s Meet the Robinsons. As a character technical director at Walt Disney Animation Studios at the time, my job was to create all of the rigging and controls the animators needed to pose and animate this creepy, evil robot.
Building the Doris rig was a really fun challenge — the script called for her to fly, crawl like a hexapod, hide all parts and appear as an ordinary bowler hat, extend her lens, poke a top-mounted arm holding a toothbrush, screwdriver, or flashlight through a retractable hatch, shoot a grappling hook, and deploy multiple spinning claw hands on infinitely long flexible metal arms.
I created her rig in Autodesk Maya, first by placing skeletal joint pivots for all of the articulated parts, and then through a series of MEL scripts I wrote to create deformations, animator-friendly controllers, forward/inverse and spline kinematics, constraints, and semi-automated parts, such as the iris and the retractable ports from which the various arms, grappling hooks, goggles and so on would emerge. I collaborated with incredibly talented people, including modeler Joe Bowers and animator Jay Davis, to bring her to life.
I love Arduino! But the boards are so tiny that they can be difficult to hug. And not so easy to see, either, if you’re a student sitting at the back of a classroom. So why not solve both problems by building a really huge, fully-functioning Arduino that’s six times larger than real life?
By popular demand, I finally put together a tutorial for building your own not-so-micro microcontroller: