Helpful links #1

So, I recently installed an SSD in my mac mini so that I could switch between windows and osX quickly. I got a mid-sized SSD because I was planning on using it as just a boot disk, and then using my old HDD to store programs (or “apps” as the kids call ’em), and documents. Well, I went to install Inventor, and found that it wanted to put about ten GB of stuff on my boot drive, even though I told it to install on my old HDD.

So I found this post on the AutoDesk site: Out of disk space during installation. I found it supremely helpful, and thought I should share it.

An early birthday gift

wpid-wp-1406862441870.jpeg I found this on my toolbox as I arrived at work the other day. It’s an old school set of Craftsmen radius gages. I’ve been saying for awhile that I need to get a set of radius gages, and so my Dad bought me a set at an auctwpid-img_20140731_155141067.jpgion.

He told me it was an early birthday gift, but I think it may also have been mostly because I keep borrowing his. He kind of confirmed that when he told me to stop borrowing his set now.

Either way, it’s a really nice gift, and one more thing that I don’t have to worry about buying for myself. I was going to cheap out, and get a no-name import set. This is much better, even if I do need to replace a few missing pieces.

Print it up

I’ve been interested in 3D printing for awhile now. After I found out about RepRap I was determined to (eventually) get one for myself. In case you haven’t heard about RepRap, it’s an extrusion based printer that can use PLA or ABS, and is able to be built for less than $500. All in all, it seems to be a great choice for  a 3D printer. While I was trying to figure out how I would come up with the time to build a RepRap I got to looking at other designs for 3D printers. Here’s a short list of the ones I find most intriguing:

  • This was on kickstarter, and received funding. It’s claim to fame is that it’s the first 3D printer to only cost $100. It’s a stereolithography based printer, and as such has really great resolution; on the other hand, the available materials are pretty limited.
  • Plan-B and Focus are 3dp printers; focus is in a pretty early stage of development, and it looks like plan-b is just a, well a plan. These printers are both pretty inspiring, though.
  • Similar to the above.

So, eventually I hope to have one these, or something similar, built and in use in my home shop. Until then, though, I can always use shapeways.

second verse… or is it third… uhm.

So, for the last six months I’ve been attending classes at university, working full time, and working as an engineering intern at a local startup. Not to mention taking care of a family. Needless to say, I haven’t had much spare time in my life; and, alas, this blog was one of the things that got cut out of my schedule. However, the seasons are changing, this is summer, and I have some free time available once again. So, I’m here to resurrect this blog. I’m going to change the format, and focus less on the popular mechanics projects, and more on general DIY stuff. Additionally, I’ll probably rant and babble occasionally about general general stuff. Please bear with me.

Over the next couple of weeks I’m planning on writing up a couple of posts about 3D printing. One of the things I got pretty familiar with at my internship was 3D modeling, and I hope to leverage that experience in making some neat 3D printed projects. I recently got sucked into the world of phone flashing, and so I think I’ll write about my experience with flashing a moto g to Verizion (read page plus).

I hope you’ll join me as I re-re-launch this blog. Thanks!

Back for a bit.

Ok, so The beginning of this semester really broadsided me. Who knew that Calc II would be so tough, and why didn’t they tell me? Well, actually, that’s what everyone told me, so nevermind. Anyways, I haven’t had any time to really work on my Popular Mechanics projects, and so I haven’t been updating this blog. Which should be obvious. I had thought that it would be better to keep the blog on topic, and not post anything; however, after some consideration, I realized that’s a dumb idea. So my new plan for the blog is to update once every week or two with posts that will most likely be related to DIY topics, but that might be about anything that I’m interested in at the moment. Which could be a lot of different things.

To kick off this relaunching of PopularMechanicalMan I decided to post a speech that I delivered in Public Speaking last week. It’s not a great speech, but I think it’s fairly interesting. Maybe. Besides, it shouldn’t take more than a minute to read, so it’s not like it will take a huge investment of time. So, here it is: “Beer is proof that evolution loves us, and wants us to be happy”

Continue reading

Some links, some ideas

So I have been pursuing some projects in addition to my Popular Mechanics experiment. Here’s some info, and some links to (hopefully) interesting stuff:

  • I’ve been trying to learn electronics. Building circuits, arduino stuff, etc. I bought this kit from sparkfun, and I have to say that I was pretty impressed with the kit. Not long after I got the board, I heard an interview with the engineering team at sparkfun, and I have to admit that now I’m kind of a fanboy.
  • Speaking of podcasts, I’ve been listening to The Amp Hour, a podcast that’s all about electronics engineering. The interview with sparkfun was episode #157. Also worth watching: Dave’s EEV Blog, and The Ben Heck Show (this is a youtube channel, so be aware that the videos start playing automatically…).
  • I haven’t done a whole lot with my arduino, but I did follow this excellent instructable. Play the can-can on arduino? Most excellent.
  • I had a motorola Droid II for quite awhile, and I liked it quite a bit; the phone got bricked, though, when I rode through the rain with it in my front pocket… So I’ve been on a search for the perfect (super cheap) smartphone. At the moment I’m actually using a palm Pixi. What does this have to do with D.I.Y? Well, the phone is old enough that it doesn’t have any of the types of apps that I got used to having on the Droid. So I’m learning how to make those apps myself. The two big things that I’m missing are a good podcast player/retriever, and the google play music app. Some links of interest: webos-internals wiki, a great source for working with webOS, and the palm developer site has some good info, too.
  • Oh, I almost forgot. Chris Gammel, from The Amp Hour podcast, has started a program that I would be really interested in joining, if I weren’t working on an engineering degree. It’s called Contextual Electronics, and it’s an online/hands-on electronics course. It sounds pretty interesting, check it out.

A somewhat quick update

Wow, Calc II is tough. Who knew? Anyways, like I said in my last post I will probably be posting less here during the next few months. I’ve got several projects on my list right now, and it’s hard to finish projects when you’re writing about the work you’re doing on those projects… Writing about life from inside life; that’s the writer’s dilemma, I suppose. In spite of all the time lost to classes I have still been able to work on the harp a little, and I’ve made some significant progress. The tuning pins are made, although they need a little modifying, and I’ve actually started stringing the harp!

I had imagined doing all of the work on this project at home, but when I decided to use tapered tuning pegs I realized that I would have to either buy pre-made tuning pegs (the sensible choice), or machine some pegs from brass or hardwood at the shop. I did not choose the sensible option. I drilled out the holes in the harp’s end-blocks, then reamed them to a 2 degree taper. Using some scrap brass from the shop, I setup the HAAS TL-1 to cut some tapers, then drilled some holes on the bridgeport, and voila: tuning pegs! As I mentioned above the pegs need some modifying. When I drilled the hole patterns in the end-blocks I just followed the drawings from the Popular Mechanics encyclopedias. Which would have been fine if I had purchased tuning pegs. However, the material that I found (in the scrap bin) was really a little oversized for the hole pattern. As it turns out I’m having trouble turning the pegs to tune the strings. No worries, though, I think I can simply cut a slot in the ends of the pegs, and use a flathead driver to turn them. Here’s some pics of my progress:

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Blog News

Monday was my first day back in class. What’s that? You didn’t know I was in school? Well, I am. I’m working on a mechanical engineering degree at Wichita State; it’s a four year program, and at the rate I’m currently going, it should only take me another six years to graduate… I’m writing about this to let you know that the (already slow) pace at which I’m able to finish projects will probably be noticeably slower. Now, the purpose that I had in mind when I started this blog was to record my experiences of working through the “Popular Machanics do-it-yourself encyclopedia.” I’m wondering, though, if I shouldn’t start posting about other DIY, engineering, coding, etc. topics. If I were to do so, I think I could probably post at least once a week. Otherwise, I’m not sure how often I’ll update until next summer.

So I thought I would ask. Is anyone out there opposed to a slight broadening of the subject material for this blog? You can post a comment below, or reach me at my email.