Author Archives: bkbiggs

About bkbiggs

Been a hobby woodworker for several years. Professionally a software systems architect I use both for physics, but the woodworking lets me do more hands on. I also enjoy electronics (though I've been idle for 6 months this year) and photography.

Halloween is coming…

Yimg_8359es, I’m still around, just haven’t been doing updates here. Hopefully I will get restarted. In the mean time, I’ve been prepping some stuff for the holiday decorations around the house. This first setup is a combo of projects that are available from Steve Good at definitely worth looking at. I took the primary and merged it with his candle lit pumpkins project to get this setup in place!

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Optune “add on”

Parts.jpgOk, I’ve found another change that I’m including in this BIM thing. In addition to the sound being issued, I’m going to put in a parallel yellow LED to be flashed as well. Then I should be able to reinforce the condition when the optune TTF field generation isn’t able to run. And I got to demo the device on the Adafruit show and tell episode last night. Check’em out at Optune “add on” (the page)

Now just tuning…

  The little battery kept a charge almost all night long. I had turned off the “Brian’s Idiot Monitor” (like that name?) and just let the battery hooked to the charger board. The external battery charger i disconnected and plugged into the wall to reload.

Today i noticed that when i was outside in sunshiny weather, if i had the bag in yhe sun and the ttf still off, it didnt detect it. Just shading it a bit brought the BIM beep back on – so i plan to monitor the values frim the sensor to see if i can tune it better. We shall see!

Tommorow I’m teaching a chip carving class, so i may not get to play with this again until later. I can try to build a wood container to hold this device, if my student(s) make good progress. I can carve the case to personalize it while on my duke checkpoint early next week.

Although, I’m programming arduino from raspberry pi so i can take the little set with me to duke university’s check point… Hmmmm 

Yep, my Optune is on, almost complete

Well, I reduced the size of theIMG_4362 unit over all. Then because the 9V lasts about 3/4 a day, I put on a remote power supply. You can see the RavPower supply as the primary power box (it also plugs into the wall and charges while it keeps running. And inside the “tube” where I tried to fit the kit is a small lithium battery to keep the unit running when the I replace the external power. The red button on the top of the tube is the on off switch for the detector. And of course, it doesn’t all fit into the plastic tube for the pen kits I had, so I’ll have to work up something else in that regard. However, I think the power supply may be sufficient to carry on for a bit. We’ll see… meanwhile the video is here.

Just FYI… Is my Optune Device “on”?

So this isn’t a woodworking item, but it’s back in the electrical stuff. Yep, I still am being IMG_4347monitored for GBM4, although so far nothing has shown back up. I have now been on Optune for nearly 3 months. I’m trying to keep things on and running all the time but have had a couple of setbacks. When my device is turned on with power cord or battery, it boots up, then settles into a “ready to go” mode with a single beep. Sometimes I forget to hit the “GO” button (or hit it just  a bit too soon) and don’t actually turn on the treatment. So to accommodate this, I’m trying to build a little device that runs independently of the Optune, but just pays attention to the “GO” status. A rough video showing this behavior is here.


The two “computer” parts are the arduino microprocessor board and a color sensing reader. I put some code together to read the sensor, and detect when the blue lights dropped below what I considered to be “on”. I’ve added a little piezo electric buzzer to make a sound when the blue lights seem to be off (in other words – an alarm that says CHECK IF I’M ALL THE WAY ON BEFORE YOU GO!) And as you can see, I’m migrating the build from the large stuff, to a smaller rendition, so it’s lighter, the battery lasts longer, and I can incase it in a pen tube from the shop to protect it.

Fun Stuff for me…

Well I’ve taken to the next steps in life in general – I’ve started up (sort of) a new project at work, and I’ve built my first chair! Last year I had signed up for building a chair but as some of you are aware I had a issue that prevented my participation. However the class was offered one more time and I was able to get in. 3 days of seriously quick steps to 1) introduce you to the pieces parts 2) get you familiar with the process flexibility and 3) to actually get a chair done (but not with finish on it) after 3 – 8 hour days. Actually it was 2.5 8 hour days, but who counts 🙂

The class starts with the turned spindles pre-turned, the seat form cut out of 8/4 glued wood planks, and lots of regular spindles to be cut to length and trimmed with the spokeshave. Chopping, carving, sanding and trimming are basically the order of events. Drilling holes as dictated by the wood in the condition you have means that many holes are drilled by angles determined by eye – with primarily only the 4 leg inserts guided by a template. Once the four legs are in, the curved back, and the center back spindle determine where the arm spindles get mounted (and determine their angles). Most of the cuts are done with spade bits, to allow for more effective cuts. All the cutting and fitting is done just before assembly (PVC glue in this class) and since we’re inserting spindles into circular “mortises” we split and wedged the end points to ensure firm fits.

As you can see, I did finish the chair, but have also been swamped in classes and demo’s recently which surprised me, and kept me from posting! I’m trying to get back to 1-2 times a month going forward.


Pen Making (abuse)

There are two cool basic IMG_3727 models of pens that have the sensor tips for use on tablets/phones that I really like. I thought at first from the catalog shots that one version was better for males and one for females. Since I have had such a strong correct feeling all my life I was pretty sure I was wrong again – and was proved so by the folks that were receiving the pens. So, I make both types available and let receivers choose. I had backordered about 30 pens so I set down to do them in sets of 10 – however, I ended up ordering 40, and did a set of 10, a set of 15 and a set of 15. More or less. I distributed pens during the creation, but used the time to focus on prep and finish to optimize my production. And like the sex choice – optimize is not the right word here. Continue reading

Bottle opener without the lathe II

I kept making different shapes and trying different approaches to making the bottle openers using simple approaches. The following two actually did use the lathe to provide the body shape, but could have been done with a scroll or band saw (or any other curve cutting saw). The focus on these two is really on Christmas – so I used the basics for the idea – a snow man and a tree.
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