Making isn’t always glamorous

While all of us makers love to create awesome things, sometimes what we’re making is far more mundane. In fact, I’d guess my own mundane creations outweigh my awesome ones 2 or 3 to one.

Cases in point: I recently build a simple plastic reel holder for my 3d drawing area out of a couple of 1x2s. Hardly glamorous, but it’s functional and provides easy access and some much-needed space to my shelves and desktop.


Another example is an old section of countertop I recently repurposed into a desk using a leg set I bought off Amazon.

The underlying theme is that making has its roots in thrift as much as it does awesome. The endeavor should contain some of both.


littleBits based temperature and humidity monitor

2015-03-23 15.18.06One of my active projects is a temperature and humidity monitor based on littleBits and a DHT22 sensor from Adafruit. Currently, the project actively monitors the temperature and humidity and displays it on two number displays. Eventually, the project will do those things, plus report those values to the cloud, turn an oscillating fan on or off, and report the fan power state to the cloud. I would also like to add data logging to a local web server as a capability somewhere down the road.

The current payload for the project is:

Future payload will include:

  • 3 littleBits cloudBit modules
  • 1 littleBits Wire module
  • either 1 Proto module used for interfacing
  • 1 Pololu 12 volt relay module (along with other supporting hardware)
  • or 1 littleBits IR transmitter module (from the Smart Home Kit)
  • and 1 littleBits Split wire module
  • and 1 littleBits AC switch (also from the Smart Home Kit)
  • (the IR setup may not be suitable for the environment the setup is intended to operate in)
  • 1 cheap plastic storage container for use as an enclosure

Additional payload may also include:

Once I get the code for the Arduino cleaned up, I will add it as an update in a future post.

You can find out more about all my projects via my Projects page. I will be adding a littleBits page and associated projects as time permits.


Dry erase paint work table surface

2014-12-31 13.14.42I have a few old, cheap folding tables I use as work tables in my studio. While working on another project, I discovered I had a surplus of dry erase paint, so I decided to paint the table surfaces as an experiment.

The surface turned out better than I expected. It took about six thin coats of paint applied with a foam roller to cover them, though there are still pits the dry erase marker can get into. Also, I’m not sure if it is a function of the paint or the surface, but they seem to be a little prone to ghosting. I’ve managed to overcome that so far with liberal use of dry erase board cleaner and shop towels.

If I do it again, I will definitely prime the surface first. I think a good latex primer would fill in a lot of the surface texture and produce a better finish for the dry erase paint.

Nevertheless, not bad for a spur of the moment experiment.