So I bought one of those SHARP IR Optical Range Finders and mounted it on a servo:

Picture of robot tank with IR finder and wixel

Close up of IR distance sensor mounted on servo

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So here I was, trying to make an air pusher cart.  Think of an air boat on wheels.  I kept looking on-line at how all the R/C’ers make their airboats, and the linkages, etc. seemed finicky, the rudder size was trial & error.  I wasn’t happy.  But now I had several DC motors and a selection of propellers.  What to do?  Well, I’d been reading posts about the Tokyo Maker Faire, and specifically, about the home-made light-flyers.

I gots to make me one!

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IMG_0140I was curious: could I bend balsa wood strips?  I had some left over balsa strip from an experiment (failed) and decided to try.  I cut the balsa strip into smaller strips—not terribly successfully.

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A useful thing I made: a 9-volt battery adapter hooked up to alligator clips.  Makes a lot of things very easy like testing the direction of a motor or test powering up a circuit.

Picture 10

So I cut my first circle in Sintra™ (Expanded PVC)


Not bad, eh? HAHAHAHA!

Oh man, cutting a straight line, let alone a circle, in 6mm Sintra is really hard with a Dremel.

Luckily I have more Sintra where that came from. :-)

imageI drove out to a small industrial warehouse complex in Surrey over the Christmas break.  At home, cooling my heels, and it occurred to me: “I can finally go pick up some Sintra™ board!”.

Expanded PVC board, the generic name, is the PVC version of polystyrene foam, but PVC is wickedly rigid.  It’s comes in a variety of colours and thicknesses up to 6 mm (about ¼ inch thick).

It cuts easily like wood, but is pretty resistant to many chemicals and water.  It’s as hard and strong as a piece of plywood but for a lot less weight.

It also costs over $100 a sheet.

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When I was 14, I got my first 30-in-1 Electronics kit.  Within 24 hours, I burnt out my first transistor and burnt my finger tip.  Since that day, I have been on-and-off again hacking electronics, software and making things, but I mostly let it slide until this past summer when I get an Arduino and my first issue of MAKE magazine.

I then went on a spending spree buying tools I always wish I had.  Quickly spent several hundred dollars, and discovered some really useful stuff and some very useless stuff.

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