Christmas card

The last posting of 2016 is the annual Christmas and New Year card that i make.
Card 2016 front
Card 2016 inside

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 31/12/2016

2" Helical focuser

These are the last focusers i made as a prototype. Till now i made several models and are testing them for function and feel.
Dual speed crayford focuser
This is a helical type focuser. It functions due to a set of bearings that are positioned at a slight angle. By turning the tube the focusers will go in or out.
Dual speed crayford focuser
Travel per turn : 15 mm
Angle of the bearings : 9 degrees
Weight : 45 gram

The PVC tube is used for pressurized pipes. Because of that the tube is twice as thick are the standard ones but also much sturdier.
PVC tube
Outer diameter : 60 mm
Inner diameter : 50 mm
Lenght : 65 mm
Weight : 75 gram

I also made a low profile version.
Dual speed crayford focuser
This model is really easy to make. It took me just one hour to make this one. It has a very nice feel. It can hold a high load and still turn very smoothly.
Dual speed crayford focuser
Travel per turn : 2.7 mm
Angle of the bearings : 2.5 degrees
Weight : 36 gram

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 17/12/2016

2" crayford focuser

The 1.25" focuser i builded earlier is fine but to accommodate the larger eyepieces i need a bigger focuser too. Because of this i made this 2" crayford focuser. With the use of an adapter it's also possible to use the smaller 1.25" eyepieces.
Dual speed crayford focuser

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 16/12/2016

Dual speed crayford focuser

For the telescope i am making i need also a focuser. I bought a 1.25" rack and pignion style focuser but it turned out that the model was quiet large. The model is also hefty with a weight of 390 grams. So could i do better?
I had several options to try. Most online designs where to flimsy or to complicated to make with the handtools i have. I descided to go for a crayford style focuser and see if i could make one and to see how it behave.
Dual speed crayford focuser
This design is a low level focuser with a dual speed option for fine focusing. The speed ration between the two spindles is 2.5 to 1. The total weight , including then wooden backboard is 110 grams.
Dual speed crayford focuser

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 12/12/2016

Truss telescope

Truss telescope
I made good progress with the build. Here i have assembled the parts to see if there are any design flaws. Sadly i found a few issues that i didn't like. I have to remake a few corner clamps that hold the trusses but for the most part i am pleased. Still a lot of work to go.

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 07/12/2016

Harvest

Jam making
I finaly had the time to turn all the summer fruits that where in the refrigerator into jam. I made a few pots of black current jam . The rest i tossed all together and made a summerfruits jam containing black berries, tayberries, logan berries, strawberries, raspberries and figs.

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 04/12/2016

Truss telescope

At the moment is am working on a telescope. It will be an 8" (200mm) F4 truss dobson that can be disembled into a small box. Here you can see a few parts stacked in the case.
Truss telescope
The case itself is also a part of the telescope. The bottom will hold the altitude bearings which in turn will hold the main mirror. The top ring holds the secondary mirror. The two mirrors are kept apart by carbon fiber trusses. For this i am planning to use arrow shafts. I made these quick release brackets for easly attaching the trusses to the top ring. Bracket
Here's an other image of the stacked items in the bottom box this far. On top you can see the mirror cell that will hold the primary mirror. Truss telescope

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 02/12/2016

Spider

Spider
A small experiment with epoxy. I found the leftover of a spider. I made a small mold and encased this spider in expoxy and transformed it into this nice hanger.

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 28/11/2016

Spotting scope

Spotting scope
This 35 year old zoom telelens was in my drawer collecting dust. Since i didn't had the camera body any more i had no use for it. While wondering about the optics i realized that this could be a good spotting scope for archery. I ordered an eyepiece and a 90 degree zenith mirror to be able to look comfortable into the scope. I had to disassemble the telelens partially to get everything correct within focus.

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 10/11/2016

Walnut season

Walnut cake
It's walnut season again. Now it's the time to collect and taste these great nuts. I could get my hands on 5 kg of these fine nuts and they are delicious. I made this small cake to celebrate the start of the season.

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 02/11/2016

Penquin

Olive penquin
Nice things doesn't have to be always expensive or grand. Joy can also be found in the little pleasures of live such as food. Just a small twist with a few olives and cheese and you got a smile as reward.











 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 24/10/2016

Mesh controlled LEDstrings II

The AZ Mesh controlled garden lights are up and running. If you want to have a go with it then you can find the files here. I changed the default ESP Mesh example to a version that uses security and it will give state back on most calls so you can speed up processing.
To get this INO to work you need the following libraries
FastLED from http://fastled.io
SimpleTimer from http://playground.arduino.cc/Code/SimpleTimer
ESP826AZWifiMesh found here ESP8266AZWiFiMesh

The mesh node INO
AZ Mesh node
And if you need the additional webserver then get this one
AZ Mesh router

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 12/10/2016

Mesh controlled LEDstrings

This was a fun project to do. Exploring new tech and wishing things would go smoother. But what is it?
AZMesh_node is a way to control LEDstrips via WiFi even when they are outside the range of your WiFi signal. Yes, your right. WiFi goes where no WiFi has gone before.
All Mesh nodes are connected in there own secure mesh network. If there is any path from the first to the last node then your commands will get there. If a node drops out but there is an other route further in the network then that path is automatically taken. This means that your first and last node can be several hundred meters apart and you will still be able to control them.
LEDstrings controlled via a mesh network
Each node is also a LED strip controller. AZ_Mesh node, as the controller is called can drive up to 10 meter LED strips each with it's own control. It can display any RGB color, pulsating it or cycle through rainbow colors at different speeds. Each LED strip has it's own ID and the mesh network can accommodate 255 ID's. The controller can also be activate with a motion detector (NC). When that happens the last command that the node received will be used and activated with these preset values.

Node control can be done two ways. Each node can be controlled via a serial connection. By just sending a ASCII string with all the commands in it and it will be distribute automatically in the network. Is a serial connection is problematic or not even possible then a AZMesh_router is the solution. This router is a webserver that takes commands via a webpage, constructs the serial commands and send it to the node.
Mesh interface
However, this AZMesh_router must be within range of your WiFi to be available as entry point for the mesh network. You can also send HTTP commands to the mesh router (wbserver). So it's possible to automate your commands.

This is how it work in a more graphical way.
Inner working of the AZMesh network
You want to turn on led string with ID 9 but that one is out of range for your local WiFi.
The command is send into the mesh network via the Mesh router and each node sees if it got the ID. If not then the message will be forwarded to ALL nodes that it can reach. If the message arrives at a node that got the right ID then the message isn't forwarded anymore and will be executed. If a node receives a message that it already had processed by forwarding it or executing it then the message isn't forwarded anymore. This is to prevent that a message will hop endless around. The command it receives is stored locally so when a motion detector is connected to the node the stored settings are used to activate the light pattern. The code can handle call back messages such as notifying back to the WiFi AP that a motion detector has triggered. However for now i don't use that functionality because i don't have need for it.

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 26/09/2016

Bluetooth typewriter

Bluetooth typewriter
Finaly finished his project. For years i wanted to make a typewriter style keyboard but i never could find the right keyboard to salvage nor the right parts. However recently i found this bluethooth enabled keyboard, a Trust Veza wireless touchpad keyboard for less then 15 Euro in a discount box. The keypresses feels right and for that price it's worth to give it a try. At first i wanted to make the keys with buttons but i could not find enough of the same type and they are rather expensive. So i descided to make the keys myself and cut them from a sheet of aluminium. After a lot of trial and error (see posting below) i finaly got the keyface i wanted.
Bluetooth typewriter build
Next there was the issue of how to get the keys raised without to much effort. Making the spacers myself was out of the question because i don't have the tools to make 87 identical spacers. Then i found some rivets and those are well suited for the task. I glued the rivets on the keys with epoxy glue. Next i put the keyboard on a scanner and printed the result. With this print i was able get every hole in the felt that cover the original keys in the right place. On top of the rivets i glued the key faces. Bluetooth typewriter











 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 09/08/2016

Making keys

Keyboard keys
These are the results of the search for making the perfect keyboard key.
A Aluminium disk after pressing it from the sheet.
B Aluminium disk cleaned up.
C Printed letter.
D Cup filled with silicon kit.
E Glued the letter to the cup and thin layer of DIY LiquidPlastic (see recipe below). Thhis didn't went well because de solvents also dissolved the toner of the print and smeared the details out.

For the next tests i covered the print with a thin layer of wood glue to prevent dissolving of the toner.


F Filled with LiquidPlastic. This time a lot of bubbles appeared.
G Same with a higher temperature.
H Cup filled with wood glue only.
I 2-comp. epoxy glue. Again bubbles and not transparent enough.
J Filled with Glitsa, a laquer used for stairs. Got many cracks.
K Transparent epoxy specialy for pouring. I did a thin layer over the cracks of test J and it covered them nicely. A good test.
L Filled with transparent epoxy specialy for pouring. This is the way to go.

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 07/08/2016

DIY LiquidPlastic


LiquidPlastic, as how i call it, is a nice product for coating and waterproofing objects, paper and such. When applied in a thin layer it is still flexible and it stays transparent.
This is how you make it
You need this:
Styrofoam - (packaging material) Make sure it's clean and dust free.
A solvent like aceton or paint thinner will do.
Mason jar.

Pour a inch or so of the solvent in the mason jar.
Break small pieces of the stryofoam and put in the jar. Watch how the foam dissolves. Keep adding more and more foam in the jar and keep the lit on it while disolving to prevent wasting solvent. Keep adding foam till it takes 5-10 minutes to completly disolve the foam. The liquid is now as thick as sirup.
Your LiquidPlastic is ready to use!

P.s. Do a small test before applying LiquidPlastic to anything to see if the solvent residue that's still in it won't effect the item where you want to apply it on. Use this at your own risk!

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 24/07/2016

Wooden gear clock

The clock is up and running now and entered the fine tuning phase. From time to time the clock stops due to friction between the parts. Wooden gear clock Rewinding a few tooths, a little sanding and let it run again to see if it passes the heavy spot this time. All the gears may turn well, mesh each other nice and smoothly but under load things change. The minutes gear must rotated 2 turns and then the first tooth of the pinion that drives it meshes again at the same location where it started. The escapement pinion drives another gear and that gear must turn 9 times before it's back at the start.

According a quick calculation i did the clock must run for 13 hours to return all the teeths back to the same starting location. In the meantime, teeth that did mesh nicely can get to much friction at a different position. And if the sum of the total friction is too high the pendulum doesn't get an hard enough push to restore the energy it's lost in the swing and the clock slows down and will stop in the end.

Wooden gear clock
Some details
The tools use to make this are a drillpress, a jigsaw, vile and a few other hand tools and lots of sand paper. I used no plans or whatever, just an idea, trail and error and some luck.
I started with 2 gear sets

Wheel 1 = 60T
Why? I don't know but 60T seemed to me a nice number to have for the minutes gear.



Wheel 2 = 46T and a pinion of 8T that drive wheel 1
The escape wheel is a pin wheel with 38 pins and has a pinion of 9T that drive wheel 2
So this gives the gear train a gear ratio of 38.3
Wooden gear clock
Time in seconds for the escapement to make one rotation is then 93.9 seconds. This results in a pendulum period of 2.5 seconds for a tick and a tock. To get this time i needed a pendulum lenght of about 152cm (59.7")

The weight needed to run the clock is 1 kg. However i use a block to double the time that the clock will run on a winding. To compensate for that the weight needs to be 2 kg.







Wooden gear clock


























































 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 08/07/2016

Owl

Pine cone owl
A little fun thing i made from a pine cone and styrofoam














 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 04/07/2016

Stair lights



Finally finished this project. The lights will go on from the side where you enter the stair and lit up the steps in the direction you go. I divided the steps into 3 sections that lit up after each other. This is done with one RGB controller where each color controls one section. All is controlled by an Arduino. I've used a HS-SR04 ultra sonic range finder for activation at the lower end of the stair and a pressure mat at the top end.

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 01/07/2016

Wooden gears clock

Wooden gears clock
I made some progress with the wooden gears clock that i am making. I have made the gears and they mesh well when turned by hand. However when used in the clock they also deal with friction. Although the tooth seems to mesh well they can get stuck. To fine tune the gears i test only two gears at the time and see if all teeths mesh well under load. I have to do this for multiple rotations because the gears have an uneven number of tooths. Due of this they mesh everytime at a different position to provide an even wear. After 46 rotations of the small gear they finaly mesh again at the same position.

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 23/06/2016

S55 Display

S55 Display
Obsolete phones still contain some useful parts such as this multi color LCD display salvaged from a Siemens S55 phone. I placed is on a piece of PCB and wired it to up to some pins to make it breadboard friendly.
Now let's make some more experiments with this..

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 07/06/2016

Greenhouse monitoring

Greenhouse monitoring
Just another fun project
Adding some monitoring to my greenhouse and push the data into my domotica system for further processing.
The heart of the system is a Wemos D1 R1, an Arduino Uno like board with an ESP8266 module intergrated for wifi connections. With a DHT22 sensor i monitor the temperature and humidity. Soil moisture is measured with sensors and each sensor reports when the soil is to dry. Because i grow my tomato's and melons in bags i can monitor each plant separately
Greenhouse monitoring probe
A soil sensor pulled out of it's protected shell.
I power the Wemos board with a 12V car battery which is charged with a solar panel. Because i use this power source also for other things i don't want it to be sucked out to low. For this i made a small voltage monitor on the powerline and added the result to the analog input of the Wemos. This way i can monitor the battery condition with my domotica system

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 31/05/2016

Wooden gear clock

Wooden gear clock
Many times i started to make a clock but never really finished one. This time i make some real progress. I made the gears and i am in the process of tuning things. Especially the escapement is under fire here. At first i wanted to make a clock with a flying pendulum but i couldn't make that work reliable enough so that will probaly have to go.
Wooden gear clock
It's not a big deal because i design the whole clock myself to learn more about clocks.
Here's a picture of the ratchet and winding mechanisme to lift the clock weight back up again.

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 24/05/2016

Garden speaker

Garden speaker
For some time now i got this garden speaker set. They survive an occasional rain shower and the sound is oke. I've hooked them up to my domotica system to stream music and announcements to them. However they have a big downside and that is that when you switch them OFF and ON again they reset. This means you can't use motion detection to turn the speaker on because they reset to default settings. The only way is to keep them powered on all the time. The thing is when you plug them in you have to press the ON button. Then you have to press the volume UP button several times because the volume defaults also to the lowest level. To solve this I was thinking of adding an ATTiny to the buttons to simulate keypresses at power up but it didn't feel right, to much over engineered.
So what do i want?
I want the speaker turned on when the power goes on and retain the previous sound level when turned off. Nothing more then that. Waterwheel
The power on button controls a relay on the PCB to switch the power to the rest of the board. I made a wire bridge over the relay contacts and now the speaker goes on when power goes on, great! Step one ticked off.
Next the volume problem. The whole volume control is done by one IC (PTC5266). So audio is going into the chip at 0db. Some magic happens in the chip and the audio comes out at a lower level again and is send to the amplifier.
Waterwheel
So why not by pass the chip?
I soldered 2 wires to the PCB. One at audio IN and one at audio OUT and connected a potentiometer to the wires. Now the audio input is directly connected to audio OUT (which goes to the amplifier) and the volume can be preset with the potentiometer.
Job done. Works just as planned now.

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 27/04/2016

Waterwheel

Waterwheel
A few years back i made a folley in my garden shaped as a big waterwheel. The wheel itself was made of a discarded plastic pond. While it did the job is always looked a bit out of place. Recently someone i know removed his hardwood fence. Such a shame to throw it away so i took it with me and placed it in storage till now. I worked out a design for a wheel with a diameter of 1.30 meter (about 4 feet and 3 inches)
Not only did i recycle the wood i also kept the RVS screws because in the end i needed 275 of them. Waterwheel
Waterwheel

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 20/04/2016

Grafting

Grafting
Last season i tried grafting a lot and this spring is the time to see the result. Will i have my failures too this one seemed to be succesfull. This is an Aprimira (cross between plum and apricot) graft made on a Opal plum tree.

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 10/04/2016

Bowl of leaves

Bowl of leaves
Dry leaves everywhere. I collected a few handsfull of nice looking leaves to make this bowl. I greased a 20 cm bowl and glued the leaves layer by layer on to it with waterproof wood glue. Packed the whole thing in with an old cloth to press the leave together and let the glue dry. Due to the grease the bowl was remoeved easily.

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 05/04/2016

Seeds

Seeds
Last year i started several experiments with sowing all kind of seeds and to my surprise nearly all seeds germinate. After the winter this is the result. 14 yellow kiwi's, 9 almond seedlings, 5 pomegrantes, 16 lonquat, 8 peaches and 9 blue figs.

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 02/04/2016

Stramien sheep

Stramien sheep
At the moment i don't feel well and to distract my thoughts i need to focus on something else. My wife make many things using stramien or plastic canvas and wool. I cut out the shape of a sheep and stiched with wool this small sheep that can be used as a key hanger.

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 24/03/2016

Extra sealed

Extra sealed
This mason jar has an extra lit added to it to make it a more suitable dispenser for powders, seeds and such and still have a easy way to fill it quickly.











 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 16/03/2016

Bulb flower

Bulb flower
An old light bulb, an $1,- LED imitation wax candle with remote control and some paper. I heated the bulb with a torch to make a flat surface to it so it will standup more firmly. The bulb is cleaned out and the circuitry from a LED wax candle was added. By using 2 AA batteries i added some extra weight to the bottom so it will stand up more securely. I extended the multi color LED and placed it in the heart of the paper flower and moved the IR sensor to the rim of the bulb. On top of the LED i placed a plexiglass butterfly for extra bling. The LED can be turned on and controlled via the remote control. Lastly i added the IR control into my domotica system for some extra attention for my wife.

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 02/03/2016

Folding doll house

Folding doll house for a dollhouse
Maybe you know the problem. There is a doll house with nice rooms, furniture and dolls but the dolls themself doesn't have anything to play with. That's where the folding doll house for a doll house comes in play (no pun intended). This doll house is a miniture recreation of the full seize folding doll house created by Eleanor McCulloch Smith for the McLoughlin Brothers company in Jan 30th 1894. The design of this miniature version was done by Elizabeth Plain and was found here

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 30/1/2016

Stairlight

Stairlight
Those low budget shops have all kind of goodies that are cheap for hacking and thinkering. If your experiment fails then it won't cost you an arm or a leg so to say. I found this LED light strip which is controlled by an IR remote.


Stairlight
Since it only has 4 controles it was easy to grab the IR codes with a IR reader made on a breadboard and an Arduino. For the IR receiver i just desoldered the IR receiver element. After reading the codes i extended the wires and attached the LED strip underneath the wall board of the stairs. I added two mini PIR sensors for movement detection and wired all to an Arduino for control. I just kept it simple and added a IR LED to the Arduino that it bound together with the IR receiver element to control the whole thing.

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 30/1/2016

Z-Wave plug

Z-wave plug
I had a KlikAan-KlikUit module that was defect and ready to thrown away. Then i saw this Z-wave enabled lamp fitting for a low price. I thought 'would this Z-wave module fit inside the KaKu casing?' I ordered one to try it out and it fitted like a glove. For Euro 15,- i got myself a Z-wave enable 100W plug. Not bad at all.

 

  • By: A.A. van Zoelen
  • On: 23/1/2016
Postings in 2015