Homebrewing a Tool Box with LEDs!

Some times you just want to make stuff with no real practical purpose! Some call it art. I call it fun. I have wanted a toolbox with LEDs inside so it’s easier to find stuff in the dark. So I set out to make as ‘unique’ (that’s being gentle!) a box as I could using…

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Prototyping Workflow using the Silhouette Portrait

Long the tool of choice of scrapbookers and wedding invite makers, the humble electronic tool is finding itself more and more a part of industrial design workflows. Known to many as a Cricut machine (Cricut being a company that manufacturers these tools, think Kleenex versus tissues or Windex versus window cleaner) these “CNC knives” are very…

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PCB Milling Workflow

After months of trial and error, I am finally getting decent single-sided PCBs milled with X-Carve.  I am currently using 5 apps: EagleCAD, Pixelmator, SuperVectorizer, AutoDesk Graphic and Inventables’ Easel.  Here is the workflow I am using from my MacBook: EagleCAD to draw up the circuit Edit > Net Classes Width to 0.04 inches or…

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Don’t Reinvent the 3D Printed Wheel

  3D printing has unleashed the product designer bug in many of us. Now more than ever, a mere few mouse clicks let’s one go from idea to tangible item in no time. Whether your 3D modeling skills are still under development or you just need a quick prototype, sometimes we don’t have the time…

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Do You “IoT”?

Unless you’ve been sleeping under the rock for past few years, you’ve heard the term “Internet of Things” or IoT. It is a polarizing topic of conversation depending on the circles you travel around.  If you did just wake up, good morning! Now brush your teeth and then check out this article about IoT that…

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Wearables Prototyping: Digital Compass Glove

I am admittedly a better electronics hacker than I am a seamstress.  But I firmly believe that wearables is going to be more than a fad, eventually.  So I figure I better at least get enough skills to be able to design prototypes, as I have done with straight up electronics for the last 17…

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Making Snail Mail Cool Again!

I have a new article over at Mouser Electronics Bench Talk for Design Engineers blog!  Click here  to go right to the article. See what magic you can make happen with some TI MSP430s and a TI LaunchPad!   Hint:  Snail Mail Gets a High Tech prototype!  You don’t have to be an engineer to enjoy…

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Expanding Your Horizons … And Your Ports

One frustrating aspect of designing a project around a microcontroller is the realization that you don’t have enough GPIO pins to drive all the all components you want to include. If you are lucky there are larger chips with the same architecture you have chosen (think going from and Arduino Uno to an Arduino Mega)….

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More Phidget Phun

I have been playing with Phidgets more and more lately. Mainly because it is forcing me to go relearn good OOP programming skills, it’s also serving to push me to learn Python. As a hardware guy, it’s always a challenge to get motivated to learn yet another new programming language. But so far, so good….

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Android and Arduino Made Easy

I did a post a while back for Mouser Electronics about controlling an Arduino-based LED strip via a Bluetooth-enabled Android app.  The app had three sliders, each controlling one of the three colors used in an RGB LED strip.  The code necessary to drive the LED light strip on the Arduino side was especially complicated,…

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