Monday, April 4, 2016

Mouse Trap Challenge!

It appears we have a slight mouse problem. Some sort of new "Brain Mouse". <Insert Starship Troopers reference here> This mouse has evaded all attempts to be captured. He has no interest in any of our conventional mouse traps which leaves us thinking outside the box for a more unconventional trap. Fortunately enough we seem to have a think tank of STEM students in need of a good engineering challenge. Who can come up with the best mouse trap and rid us of our sneaky little uninvited guest? The volunteering students at a local middle school will be submitting their built designs to their teacher and delivered to me to be placed around my home. The student who designs and builds the best mouse trap will be named champion and receive a brass mouse trap trophy. The student's designs will be judged based on originality, functionality, and how well their design amuses me.

Updates and pictures after the jump!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

New ATX Bench Supply, Importance of fresh multimeter batteries

A few years ago I converted an old PC power supply into a fixed voltage, bench power supply. They are very handy to use considering the common voltages they produce. But I have been in need of another one due to me leaving my old one on my bench at a friends house. So about months ago I procured an old ATX supply, an enclosure, various parts to mount onto the face and back, and a new tool to add to my collection called a "nibbler". Unfortunately, after wiring everything up and flipping the switch, nothing happened. I started probing everything I could and snipping wires hoping to break a short that occurred someplace. I felt like I failed and shoved everything aside, telling myself I would deal with it later. It sat up there on the graveyard for 3 months. The graveyard is what I call the top shelf of my bench. It's where projects go to die. It sat up there taunting me until my friend and I needed to purchase a higher wattage supply for our server we were building. So, figuring that the problem was with the ATX supply, I took it back down from the graveyard and started fresh.

Hit the jump for more.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Short Circuit Pinball

Short Circuit Pinball

I have made a new blog dedicated to building my pinball machine. The theme of this pin, if you haven't yet guessed, is Stargate SG-1. Or more precisely, Stargate Command. The military installation at the bottom of Cheyenne Mountain that houses the interplanetary doorway known as the Stargate. I have been thinking about this project for so long, and I plan for it to consume most of my time at my bench. So if you have any interest head over to Short Circuit Pinball and follow along. I would love to have your input and support in the design process of this project. I will also be traveling around the Chicago area playing various pinball machines, so if you would like to join me, send me a PM. Thanks.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Xbox, Super Nintendo, Playstation, Cyclops Hybrid!!

Or more accurately, I gave a 360 controller a better D-pad. I have recently started playing more local coop games on my with a friend and was in need of a controller so I could sit back and play games from my steam list without needing my mouse and keyboard. And let me just say, Steam Big Picture mode is fantastic for this type of experience. So of course, being so naively seduced by Valve, I purchased their new Steam Controller. I tried really hard to defend my purchase for awhile but finally had to admit that it is a total piece of luh-suh garbage. Now the 360 controller was a treat the first time I grabbed it and still feels as comfortable as ever to me. The problem with it however, is the D-pad. your finger has the tendency, when moving between the left/right pads, to trigger either the up or down pads. This design flaw can often be the deciding factor between victory and defeat. The Playstation's D-pad however, was Just right. The actuators were separated and could easily be navigated by the players thumb. This was my motivation for giving the controller the superior D-pad. As for the eyeball where the Xbox logo is supposed to be, I don't know. Found it on ebay. Thought it was neat.