Elevator Challenge

‘Real World’ vs. Simulation

I challenged my boys to think about how a collection of disparate components come together to form a “complex system” which achieves a useful function. In order to simplify the discussion and to keep the focus on the central aspects, we used an ‘elevator’ metaphor as our example. Our first challenge was to use the Scratch programming language to create the elevator virtually, in an idealized simulated environment. Then I challenged them to do it again using real parts in the real world to see whether the experience would be the same or different…

I have more to write on this subject, but here is a teaser (our build log) from the project.

Cyber-Lock Challenge

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I challenged Mason with the task of building a “cyber lock” using an Arduino, Keypad and a Servo Motor to represent the lock. First we mocked it up on Circuits.io (now part of Tinkercad) and then we constructed the actual circuit using similar parts. The complete “specifications” we came up with for the project along with the accompanying code are available below. Continue reading “Cyber-Lock Challenge”

CNC Routers


CNC Routers

I have really enjoyed getting into building CNC routers. They have provided a lot of new capabilities for us in our various project builds by allowing us to custom make parts out of wood and metal that would be practically impossible to make any other way. I have built two CNC routers now, the first a largish table-top design based loosely around the ‘OX’ design put out by Mark Carew and OpenBuilds.


Bigger & Stronger

The second is a full-size 1500x1000mm machine of my own design. The first machine was a lot of fun to build but it had some limitations with respect to materials it could work with. I built the second one to get a bigger cutting envelope and the ability to work with a wider variety of materials.



You can also check out the links in the sidebar for additional projects related to the CNC routers.



First Blog Post

Howdy! Welcome to my new site. There’s not much here yet…. I guess I should probably put up some sort of a picture. Anyway, I got this site so we– my kids and I– can start keeping all of our stuff in one place. In the upcoming months the goal is to start migrating over project logs and albums that we’ve been keeping in other online locations to begin to chronicling our activities in a more comprehensive way. There’s only so much you can do with Google Photo Albums for instance. So we need a better way to start organizing all of these logs and records.

So hello and welcome aboard! Please feel free to follow along and make any comments, ask whatever questions, and do share links to your own projects and ideas. We’re always interested in seeing what other folks are up to.

I suppose I’m a little eclectic in getting updates up. It depends upon how busy I’ve been with work and “Honey-do’s” whether or not I’ve gotten in any time on projects. I try to plan stuff to do every weekend and sometimes it works out 😉 Whenever I accumulate enough progress that it seems like it could be interesting, I put up a new post. So maybe once a week or two on average, I’d say.

Thanks for stopping by!