Tag Archives: MECHANICAL

Cigar Box Creepster Assembly Details

automated-cigar-box-openI’ll go over the electronics/program in an upcoming post, but mechanically, my sound-reactive cigar box that I introduced a few weeks ago wasn’t too difficult to make.  I’ll outline the assembly details in this post, starting with how I got the idea for such a crazy project.


The whole thing was inspired by someone giving me a cigar box, and then me thinking about how I could use it for a few months.  After working on something quite different for Hackaday.com involving a LED strip and microphone, the idea for this device was hatched.  I actually had all of the components I used in my garage, so that was definitely good budget-wise.

Part of what I wanted to do with the strip was to make the box virtually Read more »

The Even More Useless Machine

the even more useless machine with door closed

Yes, this box does something. No, it's not useful.

So this machine I came up with is useless, but unlike the original “useless machine“, it’s not only useless, it’s not even that clever!  All it does is open a lid on a box when a button is pressed or when the lighting changes around it.  On the other hand, it’s quite inexpensive to make, and it works automatically; so it’s got that going for it.

All you really need to make this is a Glade Sense and Spray unit (see my previous post about taking these apart), some sort of battery holder, and a small box available at a dollar or hobby store.  All this should be under $10.  Here’s a video of the “machine” in action, I’ll discuss how it was made and show an early prototype later in the post:

Even more useless machine fully open

Box is functional here, but not yet finished.

As can be seen from this early prototype shown to the right, there’s really Read more »

Making CAD Drawings Look Better on the Web (and Other GIMP Filter Uses)

If you’ve ever tried to put a mechanical drawing that you’ve saved as a .gif or other format on the internet, you’ve probably noticed that the lines don’t generally come out that well.  Depending on your CAD package there is probably some way to fix this with a line weight selection, however, I’m going to focus on how to darken your lines after the fact.

To accomplish this, I used the free GIMP photo editing package and it’s set of filters.  While experimenting with this in GIMP, I also discovered that the “filter” menu in the main window can do some really cool effects as well.

"COVER" mechanical drawing

Before filter

cover after applying "cartoon" filter

After "cartoon" filter











The images above are simple examples of how the “cartoon” filter in GIMP can enhance a mechanical drawing.  In some circumstances, this may be helpful.  If you want to try this yourself, Read more »