Samstag, 27. Dezember 2014

Up-cycling headphones

I needed new bluetooth headphones as my old Nokias started to fall apart. 

Seeing old analog wireless headphones in the free-for-all bin in the Munich Maker Lab I looked around for a easy solution to enable them with bluetooth. 

I found the OVC3860 module (5$) which integrates an bluetooth module with HiFi and headset profiles, an headphone amp, lipo loader and even has some pins for easily attachable buttons. 

I've put the module in one side and an old 370mAh lipo with an separate charger in the other. 

Features added: 
- 3 buttons on the side to control Play/Pause, Next, Previous
- NFC sticker to setup up the bluetooth connection 
- Audio port usable as a line out (with volume turn low) or speaker in (with audio module off)

Total cost of the project: around 10€

Donnerstag, 25. Dezember 2014

New insights in my mobile

I have a Sony Xperia Z which I was very happy with until recently.

First, an Firmware update destroyed the battery runtime, then another one fixed this, but the phone was laggy as hell THEN the lens permanently fogged up from the inside with dust (this phone is waterproof, how did that happen??).

I was close to buy the new MotoX, but decided to follow the Self-Repair Manifesto and 'own' this phone. First I installed Cyanogen Mod to make it fast and stable again, then I fixed the lens fogging. I had concerns about that as everything is glued together but it was really easy. You only need a hot air gun and a suction cup.

Anyway, I tried how easy it is to remove the black coating of the back glass... you see the result below. =)

The mainboard was covered by the NFC antenna, so I moved that over the battery.

Sonntag, 9. November 2014

I'm in a wall....

... unbelievable!

Sorry for the lack of posts, lots to do (like this). But two projects are done and I hope I can put them up soon.

Montag, 22. September 2014

Mittwoch, 27. August 2014

Light bowls

The small central corridor of our flat is lit by an old IKEA cable track light with three spots. We got it with the flat and I kinda liked it, but as I stumbled upon shiny white bowls with inner golden coating its day were numbered.

Goodbye, boring lights.
I used the cable track and the original mounts to attach the bowl, which in turn got an 1157 car light socket installed. I wanted to install LED lights and therefore put an rectifier on top to convert the AC from the IKEA transformator to (100Hz pulsed) DC. I used rectifiers about 50x to big which enabled me to use the AC input wires as mounting points (~1mm thick) to hang the lamp from.

One LED is already dead...
The cheap 'warm' LED lights I bought produce a strange ghostly light. Not perfect. And the 100Hz kinda show, maybe I will put some caps on there.

But they look nice in the corridor, I will try to get other lamps to improve the light temperature.

Mittwoch, 20. August 2014

Samstag, 16. August 2014

Un-crap tripod

My girl bought me a Manfrotto 785B over 8 years ago. I liked it because its really light but was stable enough to mount my Panasonic FZ-8 and later my E-P1. That said, it was still ok to use with the E-M5 but I used it a lot with that camera and this showed at the head which couldn't be fixed down properly anymore. 

Being one of the cheaper Manfrotto tripods the head is not swappable, only replaceable with the same one. Nevertheless I wanted to upgrade to a better head and found the Manfrotto 494RC2 with mounting plate which is easily big enough to hold my E-M1 with 50-200 SWD (~2kg). 

I removed the old head and used Plaast (hand-formable thermoplast like Fantastic Plastic) to form an end cap to protect the old thread. After it hardened it was easily unscrewable, so I can mount the old head again.   

Then I turned the lower part of the center post around, unscrewed the original end cap, wrapped an 3/8 inch screw in Plaast and slowly screwed the still soft material in the thread. I fixed the screw down while the stuff was hardening and was already done.

A bit of way on the center post was lost, everything else is great. =)

Married life

Sorry for the lack of updates. I married my kick-ass wife and had not much time to do anything.

Here is a photo of our wedding rings made for us by Karl Pfefferle.  He made them in Mokume Gane fashion from Gold and Palladium and we love them.

Mittwoch, 28. Mai 2014

Lovely Lisas Labels

My fiancée is a big knitter and loves handicraft (as evident here and here).

Thats why for her birthday I designed labels for her pieces. They are real woven textile labels like one finds in bought clothes.
The wool strand in the background came from a shoot I did for a cool handicraft shop in Munich and LeaderBrat helped me with the details. They were made by Dortex.

Montag, 12. Mai 2014

Saurons sister?

I bought a box of Jaxon oil pastels and doodled around a bit.
The colors are really amazing! The glow even more in real life.

Maybe next time I manage something with more form...
Bigger here.

Montag, 5. Mai 2014

Four black lines

I love when structure suddenly appears.

I always hated power lines, maybe they will look different now.

Dienstag, 8. April 2014

Wood, Foam and Tin

As written in my 'About me' I'm not completely subscribing the the geek denominator. But this is going deeply into nerd territory: I made myself a new a new case for my Warhammer 40k miniatures.

My friends and I started playing in the last millenium and it bubbles up again every year for a few weeks. I wanted a new case for some time but the ready made stuff is really expensive (and ugly). I decided to build a case myself and hunted down a wooded keyboard gig case on ebay. Very good quality, aluminum reinforced, lined with felt.

Then I went and bought some foam cut to the millimeter to fit to the case (here) and installed Inkscape to build some vectors for the laser cutter.

The lid is over 5cm deep so I planned to include model storage in there, too. I made a foam coated door out of dibond (plastic/aluminium composite) and hinged it inside the lid. To keep it closed I used a magnet harvested out of an old hard drive (see here).

Finished product:
- 107x36cm outer dimensions
- 6 removable trays
- perforated, configurable foam (for tanks and big stuff)
- lid with glued in grid and own door with magnetic lock (magnets out of hard drive)
- Total cost: around 80€

I now have storage for:
- 140 (lid) + 70 (trays) slots for normal models (5x2.5x3 cm)
- 50 slots for medium models (5.5x4x4 cm)
- 19 slots for large models (7.5x4x4 cm)
- 8 asymmetric slots for walkers (13x4-5.5x4 cm)
- perforated foam (50x34cmx5 cm)

It weighs a ton but as we are playing so little its no big hassle to lug it to the car once in a while. And there is a ton of space left. Should me last a while. =)

Samstag, 15. März 2014

Nexus Q

I've bought a Google Nexus Q. If you don't know it, it's a small Android based music player, essentially a Smartphone (without phone or display) with integrated power supply and amplifier. 

Google announced it in the middle of 2012 and discontinued them early 2013. I knew that but didn't think much of it. I wanted one because I like designy stuff, and the matt-black aluminium sphere with the glowing ring (set in an 45 deg. angle) looked awesome. 

And I wasn't disappointed (yet) when I unpacked it, haptically and optically it's amazing. Only after trying to get it to work that part started. 

When Google discontinued the Q they pulled the plug on all support. That means the Q App does not run on Android 4.4. And they switched off the auth servers, so new users can't register their device (which is necessary to set it up). And to screw the few who have old phones and had their Q already running, they broke the compatibility with Google Play Music after All Access was introduced. The device wasn't even two years old then... WTF?!

All that meant I've had a cool looking paper weight instead of a cool looking music player. 

Not completely happy with the situation I've looked around want could be done... well, praise the Internet and the (comparable) openness of Android, I've found ways to use it as a network music player! 

I came up with the following setup: 

* Cyanogen Mod (I used the SPDIF version) 
* VNC and SSH server for remote management
* XBMC to play music from youtube and my home server
* Cheapcast to work as an Chromecast-like device (play youtube and google play music from mobile)
Not really needing another media center device in our living room, I've wired the Q up to our old Bose Lifestyle 5 in the kitchen - voila, party music center and another design piece parked on our sideboard.


Freitag, 14. März 2014


Made at a party in beautiful Mannheim (in not so beautiful Neckarstadt). 
Bigger here.

Montag, 17. Februar 2014

Rocket engine

Anyone who identifies this as the inside of a rocket motor is awesome. 
Anyone who identifies this as the inside of a Rolls-Royce RZ-12 is crazy and should go out more.

More updates soon, I've been busy founding this

Dienstag, 14. Januar 2014

Freitag, 10. Januar 2014

Burning concrete

I'm fooling around with concrete and here is my second try. A concrete candle stand.
So useful!

Next up: A lamp. (Did you guess?)

Dienstag, 7. Januar 2014

RGB ring clock

Another project done over christmas! A simple LED clock for the kitchen wall. And with short term countdown function controlled by touching the aluminium frame.

red = hour
green = minute
blue = second
yellow = alarm

I've wanted to do a Arduino based clock for some time and had a strip with 60x RGB LEDs with WS2811 controller sitting on my shelf. I wanted to use a external RTC chip to get an exact time and found a cheap DS3231 board on eBay.

The outer and inner rings are made out of 1mm thick, 15mm wide aluminium which I hand bend into shape. The white diffusing front is a 6mm depron piece. Being unable to cut it into the right shape, I've heated up the aluminum rings to 200° and pressed them into the foam. Worked like a charm.

Here is a video of the clock and the operation of the countdown:

Sorry for the dimness, but my cam was overwhelmed by the bright LEDs.

The code and schematics are on github here. I build in two touch inputs (another one to decrement the countdown), but if both are touched at the same time the thing goes haywire and doesn't stop feeling the touch. Only happens with a cheap 5v power brick.

Sonntag, 5. Januar 2014

Disapproving wire lamp

I'm trying out a method to craft 3-dimensional shapes. Cloth over soldered, hand-bend wire pieces.
This is my first prototype. Looks not happy with itself.

The frame took about 20 minutes, real easy.

The cloth took longer, I really have no experience working with that stuff. I found no way to avoid the folds in the sides. I made the best out of it by using them as eyes.

But the method is sound. I think I will try something bigger.

Freitag, 3. Januar 2014

Christmas roast

I didn't really want to go into food blogging... but come on, this is art! =)
Slow roasted at 80° C at nearly 5 hours. Yum!


A bit late, but here is my christmas picture.
I got a Lomography experimental lens kit from the Awesome Other for christmas!

Fun! =)