Saturday, July 30, 2016

More Coasters

Two more coaster things. First, a Wonder Woman I'd done a while back in marble, but never got around to doing any treatments on.

Not horrible, but the lines dividing the parts of the Ws didn't come out cleanly.

Then another Corian experiment. Rather than the 2.5d engraving I did on previous coasters, this was full 3d, using a design I found on Thingiverse, scaled down suitably.

Two colors of sparkly India ink on this one. Not bad, though I was off by a millimeter or two on the size of the stock I was using. I'm considering filling the carved area with clear epoxy to make a flat surface over the whole thing.

Friday, July 22, 2016


Earlier this summer, I got a few samples of Corian, the countertop material, from an artist friend to try in the CNC machine. How'd it go?

Quite well. It carves easily and cleanly, and it neither eats bits nor burns out my motor like stone does. The above piece has a small problem with some drifting along the Y axis, but that's a problem with the hold-down solution I was using. Would use again.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Definitely The Light Side

So this was fun. Start with a design from Thingiverse, use netfabb to slice it into bits, print, and paint. The "blade" is a simple separate design, sized to fit in the hilt piece and made from glow-in-the-dark blue filament.

But the pommel? It comes off. It stays quite snugly on the USB plug.

 And I'm sure you can see what's happening.

That's a pair of UV LEDs powered by the USB drive. And since it's the glow-in-the-dark filament, it keeps fluorescing gently for a while after the drive is unplugged.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Where No Drive Has Stored Before

Another little thumb drive.

The design should have some familiar elements. The disk on top, the nacelles along the sides. Pretty standard original series Starfleet stuff, right? Cute.

Now, let's plug it in (and dim the lights, since this is a new camera which I haven't figured out entirely yet).

This is my first foray into not just casemodding, but actually messing with the electronics. The core of what's going on behind the scenes is in this diagram:

If you look closely into a USB plug, you'll see that there are four contact strips in a row. The two in the middle are where the data comes in an now. The outer ones provide power you can use for your own applications. They're the reason you can charge your phone through the same socket you might use to get upload/download data or plug into accessories. But what I wanted here was to light something up. Unlike earlier drive cases I've made, this one has actual infrastructure, looking a bit like this:

Internally, the case is hollow and divided into three compartments. The center is about the width of the drive itself but a bit longer. The nacelles are hollow as well, just wide enough to accommodate some 3mm LEDs. There are walls dividing them, but I thinned them out where the arrows are in the diagram above, leaving gaps for wires to pass through. Using wire glue (rather than soldering; I'm not a steady hand with the iron and don't want to inadvertently fry the electronics, I connected the "hot" contact to a resistor and the resistor to two wires leading the the LEDs in the nacelles. The ground-end leads from the LEDs were long enough that I could bend them to where they'd make contact in the middle (using a slip of paper to insulate the drive from the bare wires above) and then run a single wire to the ground contact. Took a bit of doing to get everything to work in the tiny space allowed, but, hey, lights.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

More Drives

It's a frivolous thing, but I like putting thumb drives in unusual cases.

Both have 3d-printed cases, with assorted gears, nails, and other components added on, and the one on the left has a window for the drive's integral LED. More interesting than the rather drab plastic boxes they come in.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Wind-Up Thumb Drive

Not really, but it looks like it. I do enjoy doing cases for thumb drives.

The main body of this steampunky little number was 3d printed, then painted and various parts applied. The "hub" has an opening down into the body of the drive so you can see if its integral LED is blinking.