Tabletops, Vases, Voltmeters and Guitar Pedals

Prepare for another multifaceted update

1) Tabletops

Much searching around Auckland for the required 25mm sheet of plywood took a week of unanswered emails, unhelpful sales staff and staff who claim to have stock until you turn up to find that they’re completely out. When calling one store to ask if they had the product in stock one really “helpful” sales guy even replied “If my staff spent all their time running around the store seeing if we have stuff in stock they wouldn’t have time to do their proper jobs”. Considering that the store solely sold plywood and if they had it in stock I would have brought it I’m not exactly sure what the staff was doing that was more important than making a sale. Thanks non named plywood merchant located in Penrose…

All that aside eventually a sheet of plywood was located and then cut into three sections with a blunt handsaw to fit in the back of the car. This then had the outline of the table top drawn and cut out of it. Next step will be cutting out the hole for the LCD and mounting it to the cabinet. Aside from that the control panel braces and a couple of air / speaker vents are all that will be left on the wood working front. After that a final bog and sand before painting.

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2) Vases

I’ve also started to experiment recently with thin wall 3D printed objects to see how well the printer did printing large single extrusion objects. The main concerns that I had were related to the piece glooping down because it didn’t have time to cool or the layers not lining up, which when printing with a .35mm nozzle is quite important. Aside from a few artifacts on one corner the parts printed quite well however, I’m happy enough with the result at the moment although ill probably fiddle with the density of the walls at some point to make them more solid.

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One interesting discovery I did make however was a strange translucent goopy liquid that started leaking out of the hot end after a while of printing. It’s possible to wipe this off before a print and even after 2.5 hours of solid printing it’s not really an issue but I’d still like to work out what is happening. Seeing as it looks similar to the stuff that ends up inside the V2 nozzle between hot end services I’m inclined to believe that it’s either a result of the temperature settings not being quite right and so the filament is doing something weird when melted and separating somehow or the filament has absorbed too much moisture and that is what is separating out when it is heated. As near as I can figure this is leaking out of the hot end where the nozzle threads on and is then oozing out between the nozzle and the heater block.

3) Voltmeters

Over these next two weeks ill need to spend some time preparing the shopping trolley for Eastercamp. Thus far I’ve replaced a button mount that has snapped off with a beefier version and finished off the Lo-Jack code on the GSM and Comms Nanos. Now sending the correct string to a cellphone number will cause the trolley to TXT you back a Google maps link to its position as determined by GPS. At the moment the number to reply to is hard-coded to one cellphone number but the long-term intention is to have it reply to the number that queries it.

Additionally I’ve added a couple of voltmeters in a printed enclosure to the front of the trolley. These are completely separate from all of the rest of the trolley electronics, connected directly to the batteries via a toggle switch to power them on and off. Testing with a multimeter confirms that their reading are accurate.

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(Mount in the middle without screens)

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(and Screens)

Still remaining on the to do list is an investigation in to the throttle code (sometimes the trolley takes off on its own) which I suspect will require the addition / modification of a greater dead spot for All Stop. Sometime next week one final yet to be unveiled cosmetic change specifically for Easter Camp will also be completed.

4) Guitar Pedals

Recently a friend asked me to look into making a cheap copy of a midi controller / guitar pedal to control a Strymon Timeline “some-sort-of-multi-effect-/-looper-pedal?”. The original controller pedal can be brought online for approx $150 US but that is before shipping from the States and any import taxes etc. I’m afraid I don’t have any photos of this project as it was completed in two days but the concept is as follows.

On the top of the pedal there are three foot switches evenly spaced across its width with an LED above each. The left and right LEDs light up with the switch below is pressed whilst the center LED is an RGB one that changes color to indicate the mode that the pedal is in. Pressing the center foot switch cycles through the modes changing the function of the left and right buttons. In each different mode a press and/or hold and/or release of the button sends a MIDI message out the 5 pin DIN port on the back. Pressing and holding the center switch sends a particular message independent of the mode. An Arduino Nano inside is the brains of the lot

The most “fun” part of the project was fiddling around with the differentiation between a press and hold especially considering the foot switches had a lot of bounce that needed to be programmatically taken care of. The basic functions presented by the controller pedal include scrolling through the Strymon presets, controlling the looper record and playback functions, bypassing (something) and controlling the “Tap” input and “Infinite Repeats”. In the end the project was a success however coming in at around half the price (before shipping) of the pedal available online.