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January 31, 2013

Site Of The DayToday and tomorrow, Sindono is “Engineering Site Of The Day”  on EEWeb: Welcome Visitors!

Here you can read about things I make and things I like. Making things makes me happy and allows me to learn new skills. Sharing it may inspire others to make and hopefully flatten the learning curve a bit.

“Teach what you know, learn what you don’t”

The most recent project is a full-size virtual pinball machine: putting a beefy PC with a large HD LCD and a bunch of electronics into a pinball cabinet to create a realistic pinball experience allowing you to play many famous table on one single machine. Including force feedback and flashing lights! A little sideproject is the development of a Arduino-based power controller for the pinball machine.

If you want to follow along you can subscribe to the RSS feed, like the facebook page, follow @sindono on twitter or check the Flickr Photostream.

 

Not sure what it is, or why, but somehow minimal living spaces really click with me. Especially the ones that are (ridiculously) cleverly designed. Maybe it is because they are custom made and designed, satisfying the maker in me. Or maybe it has to do with “lean everything”. Less baggage = more happiness?

That is exactly what the LifeEdited project is about. Treehugger.com‘s founder Graham Hill gave this riveting TED Talk on how less stuff, means more happiness. Those who like camping know exactly what he means: you have almost nothing with you, but you enjoy your life the most! With that in mind, he started to figure out a way to turn a 40 square meter (420 sq. ft.) New York apartment into a “full size” house. Check out his 5 minute TED Talk here.

In May 2012 the (wrecked) apartment he shows in the talk, had been transformed into this gorgeous house with a home cinema, living room, office, guest room, kitchen and bathroom:

 

 

 

Contactor and flyback diodeThe contactors that came in yesterday needs two modifications before they can be put into the pinball cabinet:

1. add a flyback (aka snubber) diode to each contactor.
2. make the clicking sound louder when the coil is energized

This post is about the first mod: adding the “flyback” or “snubber” diode. So what is a flyback diode? Wikipedia puts it as follows:

 

A flyback diode (sometimes called a snubber diode, freewheeling diode, suppressor diode, or catch diode) is a diode used to eliminate flyback, which is the sudden voltage spike seen across an inductive load when its supply voltage is suddenly reduced or removed.

When the contactor clicks, it means the coil inside is charged by applying power to the A1+ and A2- terminals. When you remove the power from those terminals, the energy still present inside the coil will flow back damaging the circuit. The diode prevents that from happening and damaging other components in the circuit.

There are various threads on the HyperSpin forums about contactors, I found the “All About Contactors” thread particularly helpful. However, I did not really like the aesthetics of the most common solution: soldering two pieces of wire to the diode and put it in both screw terminals (A1+ and A2-). I know this sounds stupid, since those things will be inside the machine, but I guess that must be a mild form of OCD ;-)

This is the solution I found, which has a cleaner look to it I think:

First, get a contactor and a 1N4007 (datasheet) diode. Also have needle nose pliers and a small flat-head screwdriver at hand:

Then, pop off the beige top plastic plate by pressing the three tabs on either side of the contactor. Then remove the screws on terminals A1+ and A2-:

Next up: fit the diode inside the small space on top of the black exposed plastic and bend the legs downwards onto the metal plates that the screws for A1+ and A2- screw into:

Next put the screws back in A1+ and A2-, pushing the legs of the diode onto the metal plates. Finally put the beige top plate back on and marvel at your accomplishment!

Easy and looking good I think! Just a few minutes work and no soldering iron required, which is nice after soldering hundreds of connector pins over the past few days.

 

pinballinnovationsThe Verge published a very nice post on the life and death of the american arcade. Go see it, it’s a must and includes a short documentary on the subject. Very nice!

Arcade and pinball machines have not been as big in europe as they were in America, but I remember very well spending many quarters in a local arcade on arcade games like Mortal Kombat, Manx TT, Sega Rally Championship, Area 51 and pinball machines. I especially remember The Addams Family machine where I once was able to have Thing come out and grab the ball!

Sindono in 2012

January 11, 2013

Last year I read the phrase: “Teach what you know, learn what you don’t” on this Adafruit post last year and it has stuck with me. While I am mostly learning, by sharing the experiences it may teach or inspire others to give it a try too.  Making is a lot of fun and writing about it enables me to share and communicate with likeminded people.

This blog is very small of course, and although there are not many comments/discussions, I quite liked looking back to the statistics because they show there are people looking at these pages :-)

I was triggered by an e-mail I received from wordpress about this blog over the past year. Here are some highlights:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 12 years to get that many views.

How is that! Makes it feel like quite an accomplishment :-)

In 2012, there were 38 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 68 posts.

2012 Visitors Worldmap

That means the amount of content on the blog more than doubled this year. Most of that was written about the pinball machine build, but the most popular post was DIY Dubstep.
But what surprised me most is that people from 123 different countries visited the site, that is you too (see the worldmap below, people from the yellow/orange/red countries visited this site in 2012). Thank you so much!

But these are only the statistics (not lies *wink*). What this does not tell is the amount of fun I have had making things, learning new skills, discussing in forums and sharing the results. The pinball machine for example would never have become a reality if it wasn’t for the wonderful communities at the HyperSpin and VP forums. People who shared their knowledge and (more importantly) failures and learned lessons have given me the confidence to try this myself. And I honestly hope other makers will find interesting content here that inspires them to make and share their results!

This year will bring more new content and new projects; new skills; more shared knowledge!

Thank you for visiting, please come again!

Groningen Mini Maker Faire

Groningen Mini Maker Faire

For several years Make Magazine’s Maker Faire has been a growing hit in America. First in San Francisco’s Bay Area, later also on the east coast in New York. And more recently the Mini Maker Faire is becoming a phenomenon, which takes the Maker Faire outside of the US as well.

Since this site is ran by a few dutch makers, we are especially delighted to see the first one in the Netherlands! On friday october 20th, Open Lab Ebbinge and Theater De Machinefabriek will host the first annual Groningen Mini Makerfaire (in dutch here) where many makers will show their creations, teach you how to make your own projects and get in touch with fellow makers from the area. There will also be 30+ free Maker Talks and workshops for visitors to attend.

So, if you are a maker, want to be a maker, or want to see what makers are all about, go have a look in Groningen next friday, between 12:00 and 18:00.

Groningen Mini Maker Faire

And we’re back!

October 14, 2012

We have done some maintenance on the site which meant the site was not viewable. Sorry about that, but we are back now. All is in place, backup was done and now we are ready to move on!

The pinball machine has been painted and is almost ready to start wiring, but I plan to do a separate post on that soon!

DIY Dubstep

September 22, 2012

Dubstep is all the rage these days, and I personally quite like the large, heavy, screaming amounts of noise. So, I quite liked seeing some dubstep video’s on the Make Magazine blog tonight. Apart from the video above, make sure you also check this video below of a device that uses a laser to scan everyday objects and turn them into sounds to use in a dubstep track:

Warning Dubstep!

Warning Dubstep!

Stressed is Desserts spelled backwards

Stressed is Desserts spelled backwards

[Update] Let’s dedicate this post and picture to Merthe Weusthuis, the girl how forgot to tag her “Sweet Sixteen” party as private, so now there are a few thousand people crashing the village of Haren in Holland. There are fireworks, alcohol, police, lots of media (even CNN), and the whole thing is even livestreamed using a UAV drone (no stream online anymore).

This fake queen of Holland tweet summarizes pretty the sentiment a lot of people in Holland seem to have right now:

Translated: What a situation. “What is bad for the country is good for the papers”.

 

Adam Savage (@donttrythis) is co-host of the popular Mythbusters show. And a large part of that show consists of the Mythbusters making all kinds of devices and contraptions in order to test the myths. So it probably comes as no surprise that Adam Savage considers himself to be a maker, and not just on camera, also in his spare time.

This video was recorded at the 2012 Bay Area Maker Faire  and shows Adam Savage exploring and explaining why we make. It is an inspiring talk which rang true on many levels with me. I think he is able to put in words the feeling and emotion that many makers have when they make something. And maybe those are similar reasons why travellers have to travel, why you really love that hobby you do.

What do you think, can you identify with this?