Drilling Just the Right 1/2″ Hole: More Complicated than it Sounds!

So seriously, how hard can drilling a hole be? Generally, it’s not much of a challenge, but with a project I’ve been working on I need to get a hole in polycarbonate that a 1/2″ rod can slide though, but not be too loose. This holes have already been cut with a waterjet machine, but need to be slightly bigger.

Just have it cut correctly!

If you’re reading this—and obviously you are—you’re probably thinking, “just have it cut to size.” In an ideal world this would be done, but I was told that waterjet machine generally cuts on the low side, and if there was some variation I definitely wanted the holes too small and not too big. After all, it’s much easier to take material off than put it on. So the parts are slightly undersize, which is a good thing.

I could use a file on these parts to open them up a little, but that’s not exactly a precision method of doing this, and besides, it would take forever. Better to use a drill bit.

1/2 Inch Drill Bit, No Problem!

So if it’s not quite 1/2 inch, then I could use a drill bit. Unfortunately there’s some variation on this as well, and the holes tend to be slightly undersized. As seen here, I can probably force things together, but they won’t move smoothly afterwards.

.501 Reamer

In theory, this should work quite well, and I reamed several parts with my new “slip fit” reamer (Amazon). However, even after attempting to freeze my parts to keep them from melting during cutting, they didn’t Read more »

GoPro Hero5 Black Voice Control Fixture Finished!

As you may have seen if you’ve been following along here or on YouTube, I recently made a new fixture for my GoPro Hero5. The idea behind this is that it can use an audio signal controlled by an Arduino Nano to trigger the Hero5. Originally it didn’t work very well, but after some revisions outlined in the video below, it worked quite well “in the lab,” AKA my garage.

It’s sort of downplayed in the video, but once I took it to the beach, with its inherent wind and noise, things didn’t perform quite as well as I’d hoped. The device would often miss the “GoPro take a photo command.” Although frustrating, I was able to get it to take several panorama sequences, and stitched them together using Photoshop Elements (Amazon)*.

Here’s one I though twas pretty great. On the left side is the other end of the bench, the device is resting on, so I was able to get a roughly 180 degree view of everything automatically. I’m using this as my background on a dual-monitor setup, and I’m pretty impressed with how it looks that way!

Dunedin causeway panoramaI gave a very short summary of the initial build in the video embedded here, but if you’d like to see what went into the prototype, check out this post. Also, the title says “finished,” but is something like this ever really finished? In the back of my mind, I keep thinking that I could put even more holes on the top, or perhaps adapt it to work with my DSLR…Finished seems to be a relative term!

*I’m using PSE 13; 15 is linked there. Hopefully it’s even better.

How to Modify a Servo for Continuous Rotation

modify a servo for continuous rotation

As part of my voice panning fixture—which I’ve been working on and hope to show off a completed version very soon—I had to modify a hobby servo for continuous rotation. This is not a new technique, but it’s something I’ve been putting off learning how to do for quite some time. I was surprised at how simple it was, and after modifying the servo I had for the project, bought another model and made a video of the process.

As seen in the video, doing this mod involved taking out the potentiometer and replacing it with two resistors, basically tricking it into thinking it still needs to move to reach its position. Also, you have to cut out a piece of one of the gears that physically interferes with it moving 360 degrees. Somehow I lost the video where I used a Dremel on it, but at least I had the part where I finished in with a file.

Wired Potentiometer

The first servo that I modded had wires going to the potentiometer, rather than it being attached directly. As seen in the gallery below, Read more »