I haven’t been paying attention to Nerf guns for many years. While they still use spring powered air pistons for many of their blasters (the official term) their product line now includes electromechanical guns. Essentially a pitching machine for foam darts. I decided to buy myself one for Christmas to do some hacking.
Delible Goods, 2015
This was a project I had been thinking about for a while but finally came together last summer. I really like shipping containers and graffiti so I wanted to make a reusable canvas you could doodle on.
I’m older than I was a year ago! I’m now a full-time engineer at Two Bit Circus who I’ve been working with since last Summer. I still don’t own a motor vehicle. Last month I moved to Highland Park. My coworker lives in a 4-plex that he owns and I rent one of the 1 bedroom units. It’s a great spot and only a few blocks from the train station. I moved Hacker Drinkup with me. We’ve got a diverse regular group of people and no one lives in the same neighborhood. I’ve been better in the last year about posting projects here but it looks like I need to catch up again. In a few days, this blog, which gave me my career path, will turn 10 years old.
A couple weeks ago I had a strong desire to get a six legged robot, stick a tiny tree on it, and make it dance… so I did exactly that. The Hexy I started with came from my friend Arko and I took advantage of it being open source to print the new parts I needed. I set the whole thing to the tune of Ginuwine’s Pony since YouTube is chock full of sexy dancing to that song. You can find the video embedded below and my friend Taylor Hatmaker — who loves robots — was able to suss a few more details of the build out of me for her post. Read the rest of this entry »
I got to work on an interesting project for Toyota’s Make Your Mark campaign for the new Corolla. We built 2 robotic turrets with 3 paintball guns on each. The pan and tilt movement is driven by 2 Tormach rotary tables; these usually act as a 4th axis on a CNC mill. The paintball guns already had solenoid driven triggers but we adapted them for remote control. We also monitored the gun ball sensors to determine if a paintball was in the chamber. The guns are driven using G-code like any CNC machine. You can see a video of it in action below where it’s painting every time it receives a tweet. More photos from the event are on Flickr. Read the rest of this entry »
Remember my giant countdown clock? Well, as soon as I got back from Germany, I immediately went back to work at Two Bit Circus to prepare for the STEAM Carnival. The Carnival has a large variety of home built games, carnival inspired activities, and educational fun. Many of the games were built by our summer interns; it’s what I built the spirograph for. The week was full of events starting with our Gala on Wednesday night with a cocktail party, dinner, and a show. Thursday was a hackathon. Friday was our education day with almost 3000 school children coming through to do a workshop and play our games. Saturday and Sunday was the main event with even more people coming through each day. I was demoing Intel’s ConnectAnything one-on-one to kids of all ages. It let’s you change the connections between inputs and outputs on a microcontroller dynamically. The days’ big finale was the Dunk Tank Flambé which you can see embedded below. We’re taking the show on the row next year. Read the rest of this entry »
After Oktoberfest, I headed to Berlin to stay with my friends Astera and Joernchen. I love Berlin. This was my fourth trip there. Here’s why: the city has been through so much in the last 100 years and you can see it. I remember the first time I walked through a low spot in Görlitzer Park and I wondered what that was about; it’s the crater from the original Görlitzer Bahnhof. The photo above was taken in Volkspark Friedrichshain on top of one of the two artificial hills constructed from rubble (yes, there’s a word for it) after the war. This trip we spent five hours walking the path of the Berlin Wall seeing how the city had changed since it was taken down. You can still see East/West Berlin as you navigate the city. The East has broad streets with a great tram system while the West is far more packed and disorderly. You can still see the division from space because of the color of the street lights. We went to the Deutsches Technik Museum which is in two train roundhouses they rebuilt after sitting dormant for many years. I highly recommend it if you’re in the city. You get to see all of the technology on the other side of the war. Finally, Berlin feels like a real 24hr city with transit and food always available without feeling contrived like Las Vegas. You can find hundreds of photos from my latest Germany trip on Flickr.
Last year I sent my favorite Wu-Tang Protect Ya Neck scarf with Pinguino and friends to Africa specifically so they could put it on a giraffe. The moment above was captured by @nousie and the photo has since spread far and wide. Wu-Tang Financial recently reposted it and I had just finished a piece of holiday art which worked out to be the perfect reply, embedded below. Read the rest of this entry »
Another year, another excellent XOXO. This year I went for just the festival pass. You can find all of the conference videos on YouTube. I spent my two conference days hiking with my friend Joe instead. We explored the Columbia River Gorge area which was absolutely beautiful. If you’re ever in Portland it’s definitely worth getting out of the city to check it out; I hope to do it again next year. My friend’s favorite guide book is Curious Gorge.
I’m in Germany right now for Oktoberfest with Chris and Erin. While in Munich, we stopped by the Eisbachwelle, a permanent river wave that is a very popular surfing location. The wave is generated by the pump that feeds the artificial river and people have been surfing it since the early 70’s. I’ve embedded a few videos below of the action. Read the rest of this entry »