Introducing the FPV StrandMaus


If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you have seen my various iterations of a remote-controlled vehicle based on Theo Jansen’s StrandBeest. My latest version is much smaller, so I’m calling it the “StrandMaus” (Beach Mouse, instead of Beach Beast). Check it out walking around in the video below:

I plan to explain how it works in further detail in another video or post, but what really sets this apart from my other versions is that I’m using thrust bearings from Servocity*, along with shaft collars, which allow the legs to be tightened more than the loose configuration I tried before. Also, the gear train is partially based on something I saw on Twitter from Jo!, using gears instead of linkages to transmit power between the central shaft and the legs.

Probably the most visually obvious feature of the FPV StrandMaus is the GoPro camera (a tiny Hero4 Session – Amazon) attached on a Servocity Pan/Tilt system. I used this on my first StrandBeest model which was neat, but was never able to walk on its own. In theory, one could log onto the StrandMaus’ camera and view it remotely while having it walk around it’s environment. Certainly I’ll have to experiment with this further in the future!

Until then, Read more »

Disassembly of a Broken Sub-$50 Android Tablet

ChromoI recently purchased a “Chromo” Android tablet for another project for less than $50 on Amazon. I was pretty excited when it arrived as it was nicely packaged, and looked like it could be useful for at least displaying saved videos for my son on car trips.

Besides, according to the description, it’s supposed to sell for $169.99 – a huge savings!

Initial Problems

When I initially turned this unit on, a program called “speed booster” or something similar popped up. Stupidly, I allowed it to activate, and it immediately asked for a huge amount of permissions. Not wanting my information sent directly to China (or wherever) I deactivated it (I think).

I then went on to install music streaming software that I needed, which sort of booted up, but never worked quite correctly. Even browsing web pages was painfully slow. I set it aside until I had an idea to use it as a viewer for my GoPro cameras (my current favorite – Hero4 Session on Amazon).

More Problems (and More Fun)

Unfortunately, when I tried to install the GoPro software, the screen made a strange noise with strange colors. After cycling the power, as seen below, it still did the same thing. Kind of interesting, though this tablet was now pretty much useless unless I wanted to use it as some sort of Cyberpunk prop:


On the other hand, it’s usually interesting Read more »

Engraving a Yeti Rambler Lid

20-Yeti-Lid-EngravingAfter my wife received a Yeti Rambler drink cup as a gift, I started borrowing it “occasionally,” and decided to buy my own. Despite being quite expensive for a cup (around $30), the quality is amazing, and it really does keep ice in it for an incredible amount of time. Millions of fraternity members can’t be wrong I suppose. Now I just need to get a “Salt Life” sticker.

The simplicity of its design really adds to it’s appeal, however, having two identical cups that my wife and I often use can cause some confusion. Engraving the sides of the cup would be an ideal solution, but the curves of the glass would be difficult for my CNC router to accurately mark. Fortunately, the lids have a flat surface, and they’re available for around $5 each from Yeti directly, or for a generally higher price from Amazon if that’s your preferred vendor.

The Problem

The problem with engraving the lids Read more »