Volume Control Knob and Start/Stop Button Accessory

After signing up for Spotify Premium, I found that I often needed to stop and start songs to concentrate on various tasks, as well as adjust the volume. My keyboard had shortcuts built in, but as seen here the ergonomics weren’t exactly to my liking.

What I needed was something that had start and stop buttons, and a knob to control the volume. That way I could do these tasks without moving my mouse or trying to stretch my fingers to hit the function key and whatever else was required. What I came up with can be seen in the video below, using an encoder to indicate which way is turned by the knob to the computer. Along with a button, this should give me all the control I need:

To interface with the PC, I chose a Trinket board from Adafruit (also available here on Amazon). After a very brief amount of searching, I found that someone else had already thought of this, providing code and schematics. Originally, I thought I’d use a series of resistors in order for me to use multiple buttons, but this was easier said than done due to the way the board is made. I instead settled for pretty much their exact setup. Here is my very lightly modified code.

Given this, I could have done away with the yellow button, and just used the one built into the encoder. For whatever reason I kept it, and it did make for a nice display in the end. In order to get the button to stick out just a little bit, I put a piece of scrap MDF under it before soldering everything, making the world’s worst Read more »

New Romaxx CNC Router Setup

After using a Zen Toolworks 7″ x 12″ CNC router for several years, it’s finally time to upgrade to something bigger, a 3′ x 2′ router from Romaxx. The size of this “WD-1” model means that I’ll have roughly 10x the work surface that I had before, and, incidentally costs in the neighborhood of 10x what the little router did.* The device can also handle an “actual” wood router, instead of the smaller spindle I was using before, so I attached a Dewalt 611 to it (Amazon).This is a fairly small router as far as handheld models go, but works well for this application. Plus it has a light on the bottom, which is neat to help view the workpiece when running.

You can see me setting everything up in the video below, importantly attaching the wire from the router motor itself to the hose from the Shop Vac. This should keep things from getting tangled up, necessary if I ever want to take my eyes off of it, even for a second!

The video’s not exactly a “review,” but more of a “how I set this up.” The bearing damage seen there was inconvenient, but after changing it and tightening up a bearing on the opposite side, it seems to be working very well. The good thing about dealing with any problems that arise is that I can actually reach out and talk to the founder of the company, who is featured in the video after the “read more” link. On that note, he pointed out that the cooling feature of my router may be interfering with my vacuum as set up in the video. Perhaps I’ll have to examine that for “rev 1,” but if you feel like copying/modifying my design, you can find the DXF file here.

As for the build, Read more »

The ClearWalker Comes to Life (Part 3)

If you’ve been following along here, or on YouTube, you’ve certainly noticed that I’ve been working (yet another) Strandbeest. This time, I decided to go with clear polycarbonate, lights, and Bluetooth control. The results, thanks in a large part to excellent film work by PJ Accetturo, are nothing short of spectacular, as seen in the video below:

This has been my biggest undertaking to date, and, though the body was generously cut out by Cook Manufacturing Group, actually assembling the ClearWalker and figuring out the various mechanical difficulties I hadn’t thought of, as well as the electronics, took quite a bit of work. Still, I’m really proud of how it turned out.

Also, a big thanks to ServoCity, which generously provided many of the control components. You can see more about the control scheme, and how to control a ClearWalker/Strandbeest/tank this way in this Instructables article.

And finally, thanks to all of you that have checked out this project, or even provided encouragement along the way. Though this project is “done” for now, as with any project like this, I do have a few more ideas on improvements, other uses. Be sure to check back here, or even subscribe on YouTube to see what other crazy project I come up with next!