Previous Features


March 2012


Wrote a note with satellite-based position sensing as I did a little excercising on in-line skates.

I'm sure I'm not the only one to think of this.

Status: Done. Smily face next?



September 2011

YJ Front Left Quarter Table

Jeep project had leftover parts.

My mum had a few glass tabletops lying around.

Naturally, then...

Status: Being sat at.


Machining output.

I am upgrading the e-motor in an electrified Saab Sonett.

This piece of aluminum connects a shaft coupler on one side (to connect the electric motor output shaft) to a piece of the old clutch on the other side (to connect to the transmission input shaft).

Why feature this? Because it's a good looking piece off the ol' Bridgeport!

Ready to install.




Wiimote Whiteboard!

My daughter wanted an interactive whiteboard ever since she was introduced to them in school. Thanks to Johnny Chung Lee and Uwe Schmidt for their freely available Wiimote hacks, and to Santa fro bringing a simple little gaming projector, we've got it!

Status: deployed and well loved.


The biggest recitifer I ever built.

A completely standard rectifier bridge... but made from 200A, 200V diodes! Each one weighs more than a pound.

This takes single-phase AC from a generator and to provide 96V (nominal) via a current controller to a lead-acid battery string for a very simple hybrid configuration.

The black wire with the red boot is the (+) output, the black wire with the black boot is the (-) output. The capacitor (lower left) smooths the leftover AC most of the way, the batteries (themselves basically giant electro-chemical capacitors) take care of the rest.

Status: Deployed.


River depth to the Web.

A friend near a river has need of minding our west-of-Boston flooding. I am helping him out with a little exercise in off-the-shelf integration.

The purveyors at Omega offer wireless sensor pairs that use IEEE's 802.15.4 standard, with receiver units that have hardware-based web servers. Hard to beat!

Add a differential pressure sensor, some tubing, a fish-tank pump, and away we go.

Status: Testing.


Resting a smooth e-car project.

I hate hate hate to put a project away without finishing it... or at least proving it works.

Nonetheless, I am putting away this e-car project in favor of concentrating on the secret, special Project AVX.

Meanwhile, here it is: front end made from a Suzuki quad, rear end from a golf car. Disk brakes in front, drum in back. Golf car motors "twinned" for drive. Chain drive to jack shaft, sprocketed chain reduction to final drive.

Status: on hold.


F-150 e-conversion.

350 lbs of Cat forklift motor to drive an 80s full-sized F-series.

Pretty good precision (+/- .005") in combination with a lot of mass is pretty cool. But as always, watch your toes.

Status: work in process.



750' of 1" black PVC (irrigation tubing) buried 4' down under a 1000 sq.ft. area provide heating in winter and cooling in the summer.

Status: deployed (finally) but still a work in process.


Robot ressurection.

Years ago, I built a radio-controlled, 12vdc-powered robot with one of my high-school science students.

Now my own child wants a robot. So, according to her specifications, I modified the dusty platform... and so begins this incarnation, Tiny!

Status: Work in process. Next step is to add a gel-cell and the control servos.


Educational hack.

We had a bicycle day at my favorite local institution. I helped out by building a two-station, people-powered electrical generating set.

Peak output was about 350W, and that made all six light bulbs glow convincingly.

Status: Successfully deployed. It's waiting for either next year's event or some other opportunity to help people to understand just how hard it is to keep lightbulbs lighted.


Pragma-hack: remote computer rebooter.

This probably looks April-Fool-y, but it's not a joke.

The gist: Old electro-mechanical, cassette-based answering machine repurposed to reboot a computer up in a cabin in Maine.

Status: Recently replaced by an X-10 set after about seven years of service.


Summer fun: Pontoon boat diving platform.

March is the gateway to spring; I'm thinking about warmer weather!

The gist: 2x4s cued up for another project, along with an old ladder, plywood scraps, and some line, gave us this tower for our old 24' pontoon boat.

Status: Done, dismantled.

Fun while it lasted!



The gist:

($25 snowmobile from the parts yard)
(1980 Vespa PX200)
(winter scooting fun)

sno vespa