Tuesday, December 8, 2015

LED RGB Stars

It is nearing Christmas time again.

Last year, I was in an apartment that was doing a Christmas Light Decoration Competition. The first three winner received a discount on the next months rent.

So I decided to order some RGB LED strips from banggood.com and make some really cool IR controllable stars.

The process was simple, if not a bit tedious...

First, I measured the length of the smallest section I could get from the LED strop. Then I made a pattern, on a regular sheet of paper, that would give me the angles and length for each point in the star.

Then, I traced the angles on a piece of cardboard, cut the star out, and placed the sections of LED strips, to make sure everything fit.

Here is a picture of the star, the template, the tools I used, and the LED strips in place.


Now all that is left is to solder all the LED segments together.
This was by far the most tedious part.



And here it is all lit up.



And, why only make one when I can make three!

So Here is our final apartment balcony.

Click to view on YouTube

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Floodlight on Tripod

I recently acquired an LED flood light to help shed some light on my projects. I found that it works best if it is mounted up high. To do this, without putting holes in the wall, I used my tripod. It has a quick release attachment that I find very useful.


This quick release mechanism is designed to be used with a camera. However, the concept is pretty simple. In the image above, the left is the empty quick-release housing. By moving the lever on the left up, it makes it possible to insert the camera mount pad (center). The mounting pad is simply a square piece with beveled edges.

Now, How to mount the floodlight to the tripod? This is where I had the idea of creating another mounting pad that would mount to the floodlight using the existing hardware. I decided that is would be easiest to just 3D print the part even though it very well could have been made from wood or other materials with a little more effort.


As you can see, I simply duplicated the mounting pad and extended it. This allowed the nuts and bolts that hold the legs onto the light to also hold the mounting pad.

Now I can put my light on my tripod with just a flick of a switch.

And a big thank you to my brother for drawing up my idea and printing it.



Friday, November 21, 2014

3D Printed Custom Name Plate



I wanted to put my name to my cube and do it with style.


I'd like to thank my brother, Jon Kackstaetter, for lending me his talents in
3D CAD design and 3D Printing. Check out more of his work at www.tangibletec.com

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Free Xbox Games with Gold workaround

EDIT: Now you can start building your Xbox One games library from your Xbox 360. Just go to "Games with Gold" from the Gold tile on Home.

For a while now Microsoft has been giving away free games to their Xbox live gold members twice a month. When the Xbox One came out they included the same deal. You can get Xbox One games for free as a gold member. Originally I thought that you had to own a Xbox One to use this benefit. But one day I discovered that you can "purchase" these free games through their website (http://www.xbox.com/en-US/live/games-with-gold).


This is awesome because I don't own the Xbox One, yet. So Twice a month I visit xbox.com and claim my free games for the Xbox One. This way when I finally have enough saved up enough to buy it, I'll already have plenty of games to enjoy. I just wish I discovered this sooner, because I haven't found a way to go back and claim the free offers I missed.

Note: This also works for those that don't have enough hard drive space for all their games. You can still claim your free game and just wait to download it.

Here are instructions on re-downloading online purchases content. (http://support.xbox.com/en-US/xbox-360/downloadable-content/redownload-content)

Friday, August 1, 2014

LED Desk Lamp Hack

Here you can see all the components used in the lamp. It originally used E14 small screw 40w incandescent bulb. And has been modified to use 8 bright white LEDs.

The circuit is pretty simple. I'm using the innards of a 120V AC to 6V DC transformer in series with an 8.2 ohm resistor to power the LEDs. The original 120V AC power cord and switch is soldered onto the 120 V input of the transformer. 
Then I made my own LED grid using 4 white LED pairs in parallel. Then soldered some long wires to feed down through the tube to the transformer. And finally, soldering the LEDs and the 8.2 ohm resistor to the 6V DC output on the transformer.




I used a water bottle lid to separate the LED grid from the metal arm that used to hold the old bulb. This is to ensure nothing would short out.

The final result is a nice warm white light that is just right for illuminating my desk.

NOTE: I had all of this stuff laying around I thought I'd put them to good use. It really isn't necessary to use a 10W 8.2 ohm resistor.

UPDATE: I've since replaced the internal electronics with just a 5V 400ma 120VAC tranformer with no resistor. While it worked before, It was a little too dim for use at my workbench.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Circuit Board Art - Functional Clock




So I did find a clock, that wasn't in use and the mechanism was just a tad bit too big, but I made it work. I think it turned out well. Now it is functional art.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Circuirt Board Art


While Cleaning up I came across some hardware that I'm sure I wouldn't be using in any project. So I decided to make my own bit of art.