Quick Builds #3

9th Jun 2022

Making Things Electronics Arduino 3D Printing Woodworking

Welcome! Today I'm going to talk about a few smaller projects I've done over the past few months. Firstly we are going to talk about an Arduino controller camera slider I built, this was a fun one and works really well. I will then talk about a 3d printer RC boat I built and finally we will wrap up with some woodworking I have done.

As always, if you like this content and would like to support me making more of it, you can help me out over on the Patreon page.

Camera Slider

Camera Slider

This project was a fun one. I started out trying to figure out a use for a small stepper motor I had lying around. I'm not sure where the inspiration came from but I decided to make a camera slider. It's a really basic one in that it only has a single axis of movement, unlike the professional ones that usually can also move the camera angle to keep focused on a single point. My design can only do sweeping shots, but it works really well. It is also the perfect use for my magnetic PerchMount phone holder. The magnetic base for the phone holder stuck on really well to the carriage of the machine.

The electronics were really simple; an Arduino Nano, DRV8825 stepper driver and a PS2 thumb stick module for the controller. One of the most interesting parts of the design for me were making something that runs on extruded aluminium using v-wheels. I had never done this before and was happy with the results. I got a really nice smooth running fit. Another interesting part was 3d printing a timing pulley. This is again, something I had never done before. I had a few timing pulleys lying around but unfortunately the motor shaft is only 3mm and all the pulleys I had were 5mm. I did some googling and found out that a plugin for FreeCAD called FCGear had built in methods for creating a GT2 timing pulley with as many teeth as you want. Using this I was able to make a nice drive pulley with a tight compression fit onto the 3mm motor shaft.

If you want to see more, you can find a short video I made here. You can also find all the 3d files here.

Air Boat

Air boat

If you have followed my work for a while you might know that I had been working on a 3d printed quadcopter drone. The original project went well but with some of my learnings from that prototype, I decided to move on and build a V2. This project seemed to be cursed from the start, I built out a new chassis which I was really happy with. However, from there loads of things went wrong, I won't get into it but basically I ended up killing the project. So, I was left with some motors, RC components, a battery and some props. So I decided to do the next logical thing and built an RC air boat!

This project went a lot smoother and I have to say, the RC air boat actually works pretty well all things considered. There was some trial and error to get the hull design just right, but once that was solved the rest went together really easily.

You can check out a video I made here. Again, you can also find all the 3d files here.

Chopping Board

Chopping Board

This was a fairly simple project but was challenging for me because I had never done this kind of wood working before. The biggest challenge was in getting the final fit and finish. The initial process around making it wasn't too bad, roughly getting hard wood strips to size on the table saw and laminating them together with wood glue and clamps. If I owned a thickness planer, the next parts would be really easy. Just pass the wood through the planer until smooth and level. Unfortunately I don't own one, so I was relegated to plaining the uneven surfaces by hand. It took a while, and required a bit of sanding but I got there. A final treatment with some conditioning oil and it was good to go.

With knowledge gained from making this one, I plan to make more. If you are a friend of loved one, expect one as a present!! If you want to see me making the first one, check it out here.

Plant Propagator

Plant Propagator

This was a quick one and a special one. My girlfriend loves plants. She has especially taken to taking cutting and propagating plants to gift people as presents. Our house is full of so many different cuttings and baby plants getting ready to be given as presents. I think her plan is to attempts to spread her love of plants to the world! To help her endeavour, I spent a couple of hours and knocked together is propagation station out of some nice wood I had and some test tubes I bought on Amazon. It's perfect for what it does and looks nice. It was as simple as cutting some lengths and gluing and nailing them together. The only tricky part was the hole pattern. I carefully marked this out and cut it on my drill press with a forstner bit. Took some care and patience, but worked a treat! Pro time, tape and glue the nice piece of hardwood to something to avoid blow out on the back side of the piece from the forstner bit. In my case, I wanted little dips in the bottom piece to seat the tubes into. So I taped and glued the two length together to achieve the effect with it all lining up and avoiding the blow outs too. I used to drill press depth stop to make sure each cut was consistent.

Cat Toy Box

Cat Toy Box

Last but not least. It was my cat's first birthday not long ago (awwwwwwww). To celebrate, I made her a little toy box. Not only is it adorable, but we also have a place to tidy up some of her many many toys which she only plays with periodically anyway. It was a simple project but man do I LOVE making boxes. The final adornment was a CNC'd paw which was the first useful thing I used my DIY CNC machine for. No, the cat does not put away her own toys... yet!

What's Next?

I have a few electronics project coming up. I bought a cheap oscilloscope and signal generator kit that I plan on assembling. I also have a PS2 wireless controller I want to integrate into some Arduino projects and I am planning on building a two wheel balancing robot, so, lots to keep me busy!

Keep on making things!
- Ian
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