Everything is awesome!

Ok, so here’s the next build for my pay it forward gifts. My excellent friend Shawn, whom I’ve known since college, recently started putting together some old Lego kits. He even went so far as to restore the clear Lego pieces which apparently age due to a fire retardant. I’m sure said retardant also probably causes all types of horrible health problems like making appendages you want to keep fall off. Anywhooooo…….

I decided that Shawn needed some candle holders. But not just any candle holders. LEGO HEAD CANDLE HOLDERS!!!!! Read the rest of this entry »

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Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall…..

So once again this year, I’m doing that Facebook pay it forward routine. The idea is to do something nice for 5 people who must pay it forward by also doing something nice for 5 others. If you look at one of my previous posts, you can see what I made last year.

Rather than wait until all five gifts are created, I’ve decided to post about them as I make them. This is mainly due to the fact that gifts this year will be much more involved and take longer. Read the rest of this entry »

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Gifts Galore

Gifts for my friends

Gifts for my friends

So a while back, a friend of mine on Facebook posted a “pay it forward” type of challenge. The idea was that for the first five people who agreed to do the same, you were supposed to do something nice. They would post the same challenge on their pages, and so on and so forth. Well, I decided to do this on a whim. But instead of just doing something nice, I decided to make gifts for people. I told them that all five gifts would be made by me.

Of course, this is me we’re talking about. Even a couple of friends noted that the language of the post was odd and not like me. This is true given that I just copied the text of the challenge, but they still felt it was out of character. Therefore, to stay in character, I decided to make the gifts unique. Here now, are the five gifts I made for my friends.

Recipient: James
Gift: Custom made drink coasters with the BSA logo
Materials: Acrylic and cork sheet
Tools used: CorelDraw/Inkscape, laser cutter, and spray adhesive

James was the one who started this whole thing with the challenge. Since he works for the BSA, I decided to make him some coasters. I’ve done this before for other friends, so it was an easy job to just modify the files and engrave and cut them. Then it was just a matter of gluing the top cork to the bottom acrylic. James probably has a ton of stuff with the BSA logo, but I figured he could use some nifty coasters at work and home.

Recipient: Mark
Gift: Wooden nameplate
Materials: Pine wood, stain, polyurethane coating, velcro tape
Tools used: Bandsaw

Mark is my most excellent coworker and sits in a cubicle that’s next to mine. He’s always good for a joke or random stream of consciousness discussion at work. They’re probably going to separate us at work when we move to a new building.

I made Mark’s gift using a technique that I saw Jimmy Diresta do. He prints out some text, cuts it on a bandsaw and then makes a sign out of it. Very cool. Mr. Diresta is a phenomenal guy; I wish I could make stuff like him. Here’s the video that I emulated when making my gift.

Recipient: MK (well, her kids)
Gift: Door signs
Materials: Acrylic
Tools used: CorelDraw/Inkscape, laser cutter

For MK’s kids, I made some door labels. These are based on the same ones that I made for my boys some time ago. I asked her their favorite colors, and then obtained acrylic sheet in those colors (or something as close as possible). The small signs fit in by friction/snug fit.

Recipient: Adam
Gift: Light up KISS statues
Materials: KISS models, NeoPixel LEDs, Arduino, wood, wires, solder, etc.
Tools used: Glue, model pieces, Arduino IDE, soldering iron, table saw

I’m not really going to explain this one. Just watch the video. Adam also gets 4 posters that came with the models. Why did I make this? Because when 4 KISS models go on sale, they just beg to be made all flashy shiny blinky.

Recipient: Heidi
Gift: Custom made box with a surprise inside
Materials: Pine wood, polyurethane, cabinet hardware
Tools used: Planer, joiner, miter saw, laser cutter, AutoDesk Inventor, CorelDraw/Inkscape, paintbrush

This is the gift that I am most proud of. It started out as a simple concept but morphed into more and more as I went along. I obtained some pine boards and planed them down to 1/2″. I was originally going to make box joints, but I don’t have a dado set for my table saw, and getting one was going to take time. So I planed them down to 1/4″ and did it on the laser cutter. The designs on the front and side are my own creation with a little help from, ahem, borrowed clip art. Unfortunately, taking it down to 1/4″ meant I couldn’t use the wood screws for the hinges and latch, so I used some 10-24 bolts I had laying around. It gives it a nice industrial finish.

The inside contains some medicinal items based on her husband’s suggestion. If you can’t read the script, it’s a tonic for mothers of teenage daughters. It cures ills, aches, pains, frustrations, and such from having a teenage daughter. Directions say to apply liberally to glass as needed.

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We Are Makers

We are makers.

We make mistakes.
We make progress.
We make enemies.
We make friends.
We make time.
We make money.
We make assumptions.
We make apologies.
We make fools of ourselves.
We make up.
We make movies.
We make up stories.
We make excuses.
We make amends.
We make wine.
We make beer.
We make breakfast.
We make lunch.
We make dinner.
We make clothes.
We make guesses.
We make decisions.
We make it worth while.
We make out.
We make babies.
We make love.
We make war.
We make peace.

We make.

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TechShop Pittsburgh Open House

TechShop Pittsburgh had their open house tonight, and I took my two boys. It was packed, but they seemed to enjoy it. It looks like they still have a lot of items to move into the shop, but I was definitely geeking out on what was there already.

Plus, they were letting people do some MIG welding. My boys suited up and tried it out.
Read the rest of this entry »

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I’m a Loyal Scot…..So Now What?

If you’re an alumnus/a of Carnegie Mellon or a student/administrator/faculty, you’ve probably heard of the Loyal Scot program. It’s a program designed to increase alumni participation and outreach. To become a Loyal Scot, you must:

  1. Update your contact information to stay informed
  2. Get involved (volunteer, attend events, etc.)
  3. Give back, i.e. donate some money
  4. Show your pride by wearing the CMU logo, liking CMU on Facebook, etc.

Once you’ve done all this, you’re a Loyal Scot. And what does that get you?
Read the rest of this entry »

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You will be DELETED!

Here’s a costume I built for my son for Halloween. It’s made of EVA foam. I used Pepakura and the videos from the awesome TheHeroTutorials videos on YouTube put up by user Stealth from the RPF forums. The design files came from user unheard on www.405th.com. Many, many, many thanks to these two individuals for their videos and design work.

Here’s a video of the voice-to-led function that lights up the mouth piece when he talks.

And here are some pictures:

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Why not Pittsburgh?

So there’s this.

Alcoa is one of the entities supporting this, but there’s no mention of Pittsburgh. They’re opening a TechShop in Pittsburgh, and you’ve got places like Pitt and CMU nearby that are working on pretty high tech stuff.

So…..why no Pittsburgh?

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Popcorn Form

If Jenn sent you here, here’s a scan of the popcorn form you can download. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, never mind.

Right click on the link and select “Save as….” to get it.

Popcorn Form

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Make Your Kid Work Day

So I was unable to take my son to “take your child to work” day (or whatever it is technically called) on the actual day. But I told him that if things worked out, I’d do it another day at our lab. Well, things worked out. Read the rest of this entry »

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