Making, Crafting, Creating... aka Whatcha workin' on?



And, you nailed it - Stephen’s book Computing Across America was a direct inspiration for this version:

…which was my home for four months in 2006 while I pedaled around the country. Not…quite…as elegant or well-designed as his rig (I never did get the deep cycle batteries in the black box to charge properly).

Stephen found me when I linked to his site from my tour blog and bought me a Paypal beer while I was holed up in a motel somewhere in Kentucky, trying to figure out what the hell I thought I was doing.

The TWIKE looks fab! I’ve been looking at some of the electric assist trikes HP Velotechnik is selling…just looking, because $$$$. Also…well, they’re complicated, and “tour simple” is a good thing to live by, I think.


99% there. Deciding whether to leave it high keyed, or tone it down a bit. Something tells me that with Americans’ love for bright color, that might not work in my favor when it comes to selling it.
Any criticism?


Change in plans. I’m still going to do the “brass” pipe Pi case, but the display I have wasn’t right for that project, so it’s going in a wood box. Doing the box with Korean lacquer would be nice, but who’s got a year to wait, right? I’ll hit it with a few coats of Krylon gloss black and hope for the best.

The PVC speaker-to-be on the left has had one test shot of Krylon antique brass.

The next step is to start cutting wood for the Pi ports in the upper right. Since painting the box is the penultimate stage, I won’t be able to permanently mount anything until that’s done.

If BB shows this image rotated, it’s not my fault.


Latest work in progress, edited for more recent image.

I was writing about the “artist’s curse” on another post, and it reminded me of how artists used to use a darkened mirror to look at their art in reverse and to mute colors so one would mainly see values to ensure they are correct.
Nowadays, we just use photo editing apps.

If one can see that the objects in the painting (specifically the faces in this case) are distinguishable in a manner similar to proper shading in a monochromatic drawing, then it can be assumed one is doing a good job of distinguishing values despite the color changes.

Sometimes you have to step out of the painting (snap a photo, or put it away to later see it with fresh eyes) to see that things aren’t as horrible as one thinks because it hasn’t reached a stage of cohesion yet.

Instagram @kellyhicksscreenkiss



I’ve cut the slot for the Pi’s ports on the side, added the phono jacks on the top that the speakers will mount on (alternately cables to real speakers), and I’ve added an old school photo-resistor, so it can tell night from day.

Still to do:

  • Power switch panel.
  • Power input/battery controller.
  • LEDs. Still thinking about that. I’ve been checking the craft shops, hoping for something that would give a glowing gem indicator look, rather than the emergency flood light on the plain LEDs.
  • The display will come off the top of the Pi, and sit on blocks in the center of the oval, connected to the Pi by jumpers. The oval cover that came with the box was glass, so trying to drill holes for the push buttons would probably be a bad idea.
  • Once the wood holes are done, remove everything and give it a few coats of black gloss. Later, some brass trim might be nice.


Not my making, but I was at the Seattle Maker Faire today. If I had any mechanical skills I would join this club:

It’s like … better than meeting the real Artoo since they’re totally computerized. It’s like being in the movie. They have personalities.


I finished making all the holes in the wood that I’m doing for now. (Eventually I’ll probably add an HDMI jack on the back,) I took everything out and gave it the first coat of gloss black. Nice, but the plywood grain look isn’t what I’m going for, so I’ll give it a fine sanding and keep hitting it with more coats until I get a solid glossy black.

Taking pictures of glossy black objects never works well. It’s smoother than it looks:

A tip about the paint, Rust-Oleum Gloss Black: It doesn’t so much spray as fog, and that fog will travel quite a distance before it drops, so lay out a lot more newspaper than you think you need.


I wish I’d read more closely about your project before you used the Rustoleum. :slightly_frowning_face: We’ve used the gloss black before, and may have been able to warn you about the ‘spread’. Looks nice and shiny, though!


Heh. It’s not that the floor has obvious paint on it, it’s that there’s now a startling “clean” square in the middle of it.


Yup! Same thing in our garage. :smile:


(Click to embiggen)
Broke up the old front porch, which was frost-shattered slate with weeds and trees growing through it, removed the old front steps, dug out 35 feet of sod and laid the old flags to create a new front walkway, and resurfaced the porch with 2" Pennsylvania bluestone. I didn’t lift the big stones or mortar up the new front step, I hired a couple of strapping young Amish fellows do that, but everything else is all me.


Something pretty awesome (from my perspective) happened to me this week.
There’s a painter I’ve been keeping tabs on for the last ten years who I’d consider to be one of the top say…250 living/working realism artists today IMHO. Well, I found him on Instagram and started following him, and the next day he liked a couple of my posted paintings and started following me back.
Just so you know, I’m fanboy-ing so hard over this.

Meanwhile, wrapping this one up…just some tiny details left, though I’m still not sure I’m absolutely happy with Christian’s hair. The shape of it, I mean. It feels a little off, but no amount of fudging makes it seem right to me. It might just be the oblique angle that’s bugging me.


And another one. I like this one because even though I was trying for all-out alla prima – big brushes loaded with paint, seeking realism, etc., it still came out very expressionistic.


So… Did you scrub the paint off or did you kick some dirt over the clean patch? (Asking for a friend.)

I sanded down the base coat to a smooth flat black, then applied another coat. It looks very smooth and glossy, and the grain is no longer showing, but I’ll wait until it dries.

Meanwhile, I’ve been configuring various things that I probably want on the Pi2 that’s going in the box.


No, man, we just left it. Our garage is a place to work, and it’s super old, so minor stains on the concrete are no concern.

The solder splotches, though… I do wish Mr. Kidd was tidier when he plays with fire.


Got my car all ready for tomorrow. The eyes are animated using a rear projection. I created the screen by pulling a bedsheet over the windshield and painting it with a clear urethane floor sealant, which made it rigid and conformed to the shape of the window.


Brilliant! How did you keep it from sticking?


So my theory was that applying lots of rain-x to the windshield would prevent sticking. It helped, but not nearly as well as I hoped. After I managed to peel the screen off, I needed to de-gunk some large sections of the windshield with Goof-off. If I were to do it again, maybe I would try using a lot of turtle wax or something. Or maybe use seran-wrap as a barrier.


Yeah, I’ve used carnuba car wax as a release agent for epoxy bedding, but that might also gunk up the sheet. Maybe plastic wrap it and spray it with PAM?


Years ago someone from the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum suggested an interesting exhibit would be a digital theremin using the pentatonic scale so it would be hard for children to make music that sounded bad. I made a simple prototype, but they declined to pursue the project further:

Eventually a musician messaged me on youtube asking if I could make something custom for them, so I iterated through a few prototypes. This first one wasn’t fast enough to create the needed waveforms from the digital output (you can either go very fast, or use an analog output, but without either you’re going ot have terrible artifacts and other limitations):

The next iteration used an Arduino Due, which is both faster and has a real analog output:

Once they were happy with the sound I finished the remainder of the functions. They specifically wanted knobs for selection rather than displays and buttons. I’ve installed it in a junk case for development, but their plan was to use an antique radio, so I didn’t bother to make it look nice, merely functional:

As an aside, is there a reason I can’t make a new topic in this category, or am I just overlooking how to make new topics?