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The color mix master

A while back a friend asked me if I could build a custom toy for a little guy called Oscar. She said something in the lines of ”The little guy is crazy about knobs, button, switches and blinking lights. You know, the same stuff that you like.” Of course I could not pass up an opportunity to lead a new requite towards the world of electronics so I accepted. Now it’s finished and the Color mix master is born. Operation The basic function is that the six RGB diodes on the top is controlled by the knobs, switches and buttons…

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T-1000c, Killer robot chickens from the future

This easter the city has placed two giant chickens made from twigs outside my house as an innocent easter decoration. I however immediately recognized them for what they were; T-1000c:s, killer robot chickens sent back from the future! All I needed to complete the transformation was the telltale red glowing eyes. I set out to complete the transformation. Since I did not expect to get what ever i built back again, I decided not to use any expensive components. I also wanted the eyes to turn off during the day to save battery. What I came up with was a simple circuit, where a…

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Hypno-Jellyfish

I have always wanted to use an accelerometer in a project, so when my daughter Beatrice was born I knew exactly what to build; The Hypno-Jellyfish! The Hypno-Jellyfish is a jellyfish-shaped toy filled with RGB LEDs that changes color when you move it. So if you have just become a father, (or want to give someone else a very personal/strange gift), this is the project for you. Design requirements When designing a toy for a baby you need to understand the intended users modus opperandi. 1. If it fits in the mouth, it will go in the mouth. Has to…

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Vacation project, a time laps panning rig from an egg timer and a bottle.

A positive thing with being on vacation is that you have more spare time than usual. A negative thing with being on vacation is that you are far away from your lab and tools. Luckily, creativity is not confined to any particular place and there is always something that you can use to build something. During one of my spare time moments, my eyes fell on an egg timer, and I remembered seeing someone using an egg timer to make a time lapse panning rig. This seemed like the perfect vacation project! Two plastic bottles, a board, a screw, a few minutes…

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A dirt cheap DIY digital microscope

When I first saw this instructable by Yoshinok on how to make a microscope using a lens from an old laser pointer, I knew that I had to build one. The first attempt turned out pretty well, but I did learn some things from the build. If I was to build another one, I would make sure that I positioned the lens between the two threaded rods that holds the sample tray, rather than towards the edge of the plexiglass. The only structural support the sample tray has are the two wing-nuts that is used to adjust the focus with. This makes it sensitive…

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The Circlon machine and the pen test.

After seeing a video by Robert Howsare, showing what he calleds ”a drawing apparatus” (built out of two turn tables and some wood), I was fascinated. The urge to find out what the design was capable of, was so great that I decided to build one for myself. Mine is built with two stepper motors instead of turn tables. Stepper motors are not as cool as turn tables, but they do give you the opportunity to control the speed and direction very precisely. One thing that anyone who as ever built a drawing machine realizes, is that to get quality results you need a quality…

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Teaching a laser cutter to draw

A few weeks ago I went to the mini maker faire in Stockholm and I wanted to show of the laser. Due to safety concerns I couldn’t run the laser out in public, but to be able to show of the CNC capabilities I built a penholder. It is a quite simple build made out of wood, some plastic from an old cutting board, a few screws and a 9g servo. The servo is controlled by an Arduino, when the signal that would normally turn the laser diode on is high the servo is set to an angle that pushes the pen…

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Stockholm Mini Maker Faire 2014

Here are some pictures from the Stockholm Mini Maker Faire 2014. I didn’t have much time to look around during opening hours so most of the pictures are taken before the faire opened on Sunday morning. The most impressive build by far was done by Jonny Eriksson with his creation popmaskinen (The pop machine). Popmaskinen is an electromechanical one man band. Not suprisingly Jonny Ericsson was awarded maker of the year 2014. Jonny is a musician/electrician/furniture carpenter and building Popmaskinen was a way for Jonny to put all his skills to the test. The heart of Popmaskinen is the spinning metal…

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StippleGen2

Today I have been trying out StippleGen2 by Evil Mad Scientist. Stippling is when you create an image from little dots of the same color but with different sizes and with different density. StippleGen2 is built in Processing and uses an algorithm written by Adrian Secord. To try it out I used this classic picture of Louis Armstrong playing the trumpet. Once you load the picture you want to stipple the StippleGen2 starts crunching numbers and the algorithm continues to refine the result by applying the algorithm over and over again and the resulting image gets better and better. After…

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Laser cutting a ”ME” stamp

Ever since I built my little laser cutter I have been trying to find different uses for it. Today I decided to see if I could laser cut a stamp out of EVA foam. Step 1, Prepare the image for laser cutting. I decided to let my narcissistic side run loose and choose a picture of me to make a stamp out of. If you want more details about how to make a stencil from a photo check out this tutorial. Step 2. Generate the g-code from incscape using the laser plugin and cut the eva foam. 3. Glue the…

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How to repair a Samsung LE40M87BD LCD TV

The other day my TV suddenly turned itself on. I turned it off again, but sure enough after about 30 minutes it was on again. It didn’t take long before the TV was unable to start at all. When I pressed the power button, the TV started to click and the red status LED flashed. I suspected that it didn’t get enough power to start. To me this sounded like some kind problem with the power supply, probably a bad capacitor. Sure enough, after opening the TV, I found three capacitors that were in bad shape, and after replacing them…

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What can you cut with a 300mW DIY laser cutter?

I built this laser cutter after being inspired by this laser cutter and the design is almos identical, there for I will not go into details about my build but will instead focus on what you can do with it. Since the diode (LPC-826) I have used is from a DVD burner and have an output power of 300-400 mW, it can’t be considered very powerful when it comes to cutting lasers. It should not be confused with a CO2 laser which have an output power of 50W, which is the type of laser that is normally is used in professional laser cutters. The…

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Ketosense – An Arduino based ketosis detector

In this post I will go through the hardware and software of the instrument I have made. If you are curious to why I have made it, I would recommend that you start reading the other posts I have done about this project and work your way forward. Just click on Ketosis detector under categories. Introduction The instrument´s purpose is to detect the amount of acetone gas that is present in a persons breath. By measuring the amount of breath acetone gas present in a persons breath, it should be possible to determine wether or not a person is in a state called ketosis. Ketosis…

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El-Wire

Yesterday I received some EL-wire I had ordered. If you don’t know what EL-wire is it is a plastic coated flexible wire about 1 mm thick that glows with a neon glow and runs of a small battery pack. I have not figured out what to use it for but I was curious about it and decided to get some and figure out what to do with it later. I took some nice long exposure photos of it to start with.

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DIY graphene videos

In the recent days videos from people who actually made some DIY graphene has started to pop up on youtube and in this post I will introduce you to a few of them. Robert Murray-Smith One of the very first people who I think deserves a mentioning is Robert Murray-Smith. Robert is a MacGyver of DIY chemistry and he would of course not be doing something as trivial as buying graphite oxide when you can make it your self from graphite. Robert has posted a whole series of movies where he makes graphite oxide and components necessary for making your own DIY super…

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Calibrating a Figaro TGS822 sensor, by drawing…

After consulting with the boys and girls at chemicalforums.com about how to produce an ethanol gas with a 300 ppm without having to buy a lot of fancy gear and thus finding out that it was more difficult then I initially thought I have reluctantly decided that I don’t think I will be able to pull it of. There for I have decided to work with what I got. What I got is air and a datasheet. The data sheet provided by Figaro for the TGS822 only goes down to 50ppm, however the graph looks pretty logarithmic linear to me so…

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Hi, I’m Ketosense

During the weekend I have managed to put together a first very early prototype of my ”Ketosense”. It does register when a person is blowing in to the ”gas chamber” where the sensor is located and something that feels encouraging is that my wife gets significantly higher readings then me. Since I’m still a carbohydrate junky and she is not that is exactly what we want. However we do have some hurdles to cross before this thing is useful. To-do-list Calibrate the sensor Determine sensor characteristics for gas concentrations between 0-50 ppm Build a better moth piece Calibrating the sensor Calibrating the sensor…

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Measured sensor characteristics MQ-3 and TGS822

The 48 hour burn in of both sensors has now been completed and I have been able to do some initial measurements of the sensors characteristics. So far both the sensors does seem to react to acetone but that is not rely surprising. The sensor resistance range (Rs) does vary a lot between them, the TGS822 has a span of 300Ω – 78 kΩ while the MQ-3 has a more narrow resistance span of 22.6 – 1.5 kΩ. Since I am interested in low concentrations of gas I want to have as wide range as possible and have therefor selected to go…

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DIY Graphene

I came across a much inspiring video about some scientists at UCLA who successfully made some graphene and using only commercially available equipment doing it. After watching this I just had to look in to what it would take to make some graphene and perhaps a super capacitor or two of my own. Graphene is a fascinating material and I believe there are hundreds of uses for it yet to be discovered, but again to be able to discover something to use it for I need to have some. So what do I need to rustle up some graphene? Shopping list for DIY graphene Graphite oxide Light…

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The sensors has arrived

Yesterday the sensors I had ordered arrived, I had ordered the Figaro TGS822 and the MQ-3 from Hanwei Electronics. Since this type of sensors require a burn-in of 24-48 hours I wired them and applied some power. I had a suspicion that the sensors were actually going to be identical in function but perhaps I was wrong since they do actually use different amounts of current. The TGS822 sensor draws 117 mA while the MQ-3 draws 102 mA. It might just be that different individuals use different amount of current, further experimenting will tell if they also measure differently. One thing that I didn’t expect was…

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DIY IR-filter

Almost all digital cameras are sensitive to both visible light and infrared light. To prevent images to be contaminated with IR-light camera makers install an infrared blocking filter in front of the sensor in their cameras. The filter blocks out almost all IR-light but since it doesn’t filter out 100% of the IR light it is possible IR photographs with a normal digital camera. This is done by using another filter that blocks out as much visible light as possible but lets IR-light through and then shooting with long exposure time to let enough IR light though to go through the IR-blocking filter and…

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Sensors

There are a bunch of different sensors out there, based on price and sensitivity I have chosen to buy two different sensors the TGS822 from Figaro sensors and the MQ-3 from HANWEI ELETRONICS. If i wasn’t on a budget I would also have ordered a WSP2110 –  air polution detection since I believe that a combination with on of the TGS882 or MQ-3 with the WSP2110 could be a good match where the WSP2110 is has a sensitivity range between 1-50 ppm and the other two has a range between 10-1000 ppm. So the combined result of both could give us a more granular scale at lower concentration…

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Expected aceton concentration

After doing some Google searching I found several different studies on the concentration of acetone in a persons breath and here I will look in to some of them. Study 1 I found a Study published in the paper ”The American Journal of clinical nutrition” where the concentration of breath acetone was measured after every hour for persons while eating a ketogen diet for 12 hours which states. ”Changes in breath acetone, plasma acetoacetate, plasma β-hydroxybutyrate, and urinary acetoacetate over the 12-h dietary study period are illustrated in Figure 1⇓. By the end of the study, breath acetone increased 3.5-fold (from 33 ±…

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What am I looking for?

Based on Steves posts it looks like it is actually possible to detect if a person is in a ketose state or not by analyzing that persons breath. But what are the signs of ketosis? After doing some researching on Wikipedia I concluded that what we are looking for is acetone. Properties Molecular formula C3H6O Molar mass 58.08 g mol−1 Appearance Colorless liquid Odor Pungent, irritating, floral Density 0.791 g cm−3 Melting point -95–93 °C, 178-180 K, -139–136 °F Boiling point 56-57 °C, 329-330 K, 133-134 °F log P -0.042 Vapor pressure 24.46–24.60 kPa (at 20 °C) Acidity (pKa) 24.2 Basicity (pKb) -10.2 Refractive index (nD) 1.35900 Viscosity 0.3075…

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Steve’s newsgroup post

Steve also published a post at a newsgroup were he presented some more details about his ”KetoFlute”. He also included a picture of his creation. Date: Jun 12 2012 21:12:02 Gang… I’ve been silent for the past week while I’ve been pushing to  get a prototype ketone breathalyzer finished I’ve never worked with USB at the hardware/software level  before. So I didn’t appreciate that the USB HID (Human Interface  Device) was inherently low-bandwidth, or at least low polling  rate… fixed at a minimum of 16 milliseconds per packet  exchange. Since my whole effort has been toward determining as quickly as  possible…

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Ketone detector – First research

This all began when I heard of Steve Gibsons work of building a ”KetoFlute” and I decided to look in to if I could build one as well. I use this blog as a note book for my initial research. From what I have found Steve talked about his ”KetoFlute” twice at the Security now! podcast. From the transcript of theSecurity now! podcast ep 356,  June 6, 2012. STEVE: That’s the little prototype for the ketone breathalyzer. LEO: [Laughing] You madman. You’ve done it. Does it work? STEVE: It’s on its way. LEO: He’s breadboarding a ketone analyzer. Well, it’s about…

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