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.
Inspired by Dominic Morrow’s Tool of the Day posts, here’s my new feature: Coffee & Tool of the Day.
The macchiato is from Commissary Coffee in Burbank, the pico widgy pry bar is from County Comm, and is a great little tool to keep on your keychain.
I harvested sheet metal from an old fluorescent light fixture, and spot welded strips together to make a little tool tray.
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.
1/2″ 16ga. HR steel square tubing
removing rust with a flap wheel
dry fit is good and tight
gorgeous, award-winning weld
exciting action shot
my MIG welder has a home
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:
Here’s a handy playlist of my Adafruit project video series: