Feb 20

Making Making Making

I’ll be honest, I really keep thinking if I blog what I’m doing now then that will be it, and I won’t have any content for next week. Hah!

Every week just reminds me how many things I end up putting myself into so yeah, I just need to stop worrying about having content and just keep making content.

I’ve been trying to do YouTube videos and blah, it sucks. It’s super hard to create content like that for me. I’m getting better at it, but it just ain’t clicking lol.

What I did these past two weeks?

Well I did setup the Ikea Lack Rack!

This setup is a beast and is taking up so much room. I have no use for it anymore, but it felt good “completing” a task I had on my todo list for years.

New GBA Flash Carts!

So many years ago I tried to do some DMG and GBA homebrew development. I didn’t get far but I had always wanted a flash cart and to be able to run my own code on a Gameboy!

Well, in 2021 there are now homebrew flashing devices, because all of the pirated / reproduction games out there are actually just really cheap 16MB reflashable cartridges!

A secret santa sent me some games a while ago and a few of them ended up being pirated (The E and Nintendo logo are too thin!) carts. I picked up a GBXCart reader/writer and now I can flash my own games to the carts!

Raspberry Pi Press

I’ve had these books on my sights for a while now, but I just never bit the bullet. And to be honest, it’s been hard to be motivated to read lately. BUT I’m going to fix that. I’m going to read. My goal is to finish both of these books by the end of July.

Next week I’ll have some more new videos ready. Did something cool with my coworker on my CNC machine to help his D&D campaign, and one of the Kickstarters I backed delivered their console, so I hope to have an unboxing done by then.

Have a good week all!

Feb 10

Projects!

Hey All,

Last post I talked about completing projects…and I’ve got an update on my First Order Stormtrooper helmet!

99% done! I just need to do a little more touchups, paint the vent silver, and add the lenses!

Here’s what it looked like as I was touching it up:

Hopefully in another week or so I can finish it up!

Chip Coasters

Last week on Twitter I saw Eben Ubton and @jasoncoon_ talking about etching CPUs into slate coasters, so I had to try it myself.

I made a video of the creation and etching process. Hope you enjoy!

See y’all next week πŸ™‚

Jan 31

2021 Obtainable Goals

Hey All,

So, I’ve been reflecting on the past year and the past month, the things I’ve made and the things I haven’t. I’ve come to the conclusion that for this year I only want to put my energy into projects I know how to complete or have the capability to do.

I know that sounds wishy washy but I have a TON of unfinished projects on my backburners, and I needed to tell myself I will NEVER finish those. So it’s time to move on, clear the clutter, and finish the projects I can finish, and start the projects I can complete πŸ˜€

On Deck To Complete

My First Order Stormtrooper helmet. I’ve been working on this thing since 2017. I love the look of the helmet, and I’ve printed about 4 different complete ones but they always never felt good enough. The finish wasn’t good. I didn’t know how to sand well enough, etc. Excuses.

Primed, badly sanded, sitting on my shelf…

I’ve had this dude sitting on my shelf for 6 months. I started this when the pandemic started, and then got discouraged after I saw the imperfections and mess ups. So this weekend I said screw it. I’m going to finish it, imperfections or not. I will use what I gain from this one to make the next helmet even better!

Here’s how the weekend went:

First coat of black spray paint!
Second coat!
Lots of trial and error with masking.
First coat of white over the masked elements.

I think I got pretty far! Painted black as a first coat, masked, then painted over white. I’m going to do the second coat tomorrow then expose the masked area.

My masking attempt is not great, but I can only just touch it up. Perfect is the enemy of good here. I also saw an awesome technique on how to make the eyes: Document folders! They are a great source of dark see through plastic. You cut it out and tape it to the inside of the helmet and BAM! Instant visor!

Stepmania Raspberry Pi Dance Pad.

This is something I have no idea how to finish yet, BUT I have an idea on where to start. Using FSRs works. The prototype works. But I want to build something nice. I think I am going to try to make some custom FSR PCBs and install them into 2020/1515 aluminum extrusion.

IKEA Lack Table Server Rack

I have an old xServe Mac 1U server, and a bunch of home lab equipment sitting in my garage. I’ve wanted to revamp my home network and move everything outside a shelf in my closet and “properly” set it all up.

I’m thinking of using the IKEA Lack Rack project as my base.

While this is definitely low priority for me, it would make me feel better having it all in some semblance of an organized mess.

2021 Maker Faire

I’m currently going through some thoughts and idea for what will hopefully be Maker Faire Orlando 2021. 2020 got shelved due to COVID, but I’m hopeful 2021 will be on.

I’m looking forward to tackling my projects this year, and hey, actually completing things.

Have a good week all!

Jan 24

IPS LCD Upgrade for a GBA SP

Hey All,

Well this has been a week! Here’s to hoping President Biden can usher in some new progressive policies and finally have a government that takes the Coronavirus Pandemic seriously. All I want is my vaccination ASAP!

Tryign to take my mind off everythign I’ve been throwing myself into lots of projects that I KNOW I can complete. One of those was to upgrade one of my older GBA SP AGS-001 consoles with an awesome IPS LCD screen.

The difference between the original frontlit screen versus the new one is night and day!

This is a time-lapse of me refurbishing and upgrading a beat up original Japanese imported GameBoy Advance that used a front-lit screen.

I take it apart, clean it all out, then replace the screen with a back-lit IPS LCD and new casing for the screen.

The actual hardware swap took less than an hour including soldering the LCD brightness control wire and then me messing up and forgetting to put in the hinge locking screw the first time around.

The screen (and new cases) are easily found on eBay – https://www.ebay.com/itm/V2-IPS-GBA-SP-Backlight-Backlit-LCD-For-Game-Boy-Advance-SP-Pre-cut-Shell-Case/184107831403 – That’s the one I used!

I also found some awesome shiny “silk” green PLA filament and printed this giant Bulbasaur!

It came out so great!

Finally, the Raspberry Pi Foundation released a new board! The Rasberry Pi Pico! Their first microcontroller!

I haven’t had much need for advanced microcontrollers like these, a regular Arduino is plenty for the little hobby projects I work on, but for $5, I’m definitely going to see if I can swap these in at some point.

Have a great week all!

Jan 16

Happy Birthday To Me!

Hey All,

Sticking to my new years resolution. Another week, another post. This was kind of a rough week, as it’s the first week of classes. My team just released a new version of our software, on a new platform, with new automation tools, but there’s only so much testing you can do before you just have to hit that go button and see what happens. 6 months of hard work paid off. Proud of my team and our students.

On a more personal and awesome note, this week it’s my Birthday!

My wife made me an amazing birthday cake!

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So. Much. Frosting! I loved it!

My little guy also enjoyed it very much πŸ˜€

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I treated myself to two fun gifts. I saw my local retro game store advertising a complete in box Pokemon Trading Card Game for the GameBoy Color. Except it was the Japanese version! Now I have both πŸ˜€

I also picked up the Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game physical release from Limited Run Games. I have fond memories playing this game on my Xbox 360. I can’t wait to get it in my hands!

Switch Limited Run #94: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game

In my downtime this week, I’m working on modding my GBA SP to have an IPS screen, but while I wait for the screen to arrive, I started doing a deep scrub and clean of the original parts. Nothing like 20 years of grime to make you realize kids are gross πŸ˜‰

Anyways, after I finished cleaning I got an awesome candid of my son inspecting the device and turning it on and playing his first GBA game! Time to get him a Kirby game I think…

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Have a good week all! Missed y’all!

Jan 09

KANO Computing DIY Mouse and Webcam

Hey All,

I’ve been a big supporter of Kano Computing since they did their original Kickstarter for the build it yourself computer kit featuring the Raspberry Pi and awesome wireless keyboard (that I use on almost every project. That thing has been a lifesaver at every Maker Faire I’ve participated in!)

Amazon.com: Kano Computer Kit – A Computer Anyone Can Make: Toys & Games

One of the Christmas gifts my wife bought me this year was a Kano Computing webcam and build-it-yourself mouse!

I’m going to be brutally honest: There is no way I can use the Kano mouse as my daily driver. It is way too small for my normal sized hands. I can also see it being a tad too difficult for a kid to put together by themselves due to one step in the instructions.

You have to route the USB cable inside the case and around some plastic pegs, but the cable is just a tad too thick to make it a non-frustrating experience. Once it’s pushed down the rest of the process is pretty straight forward.

The idea to make the top shell magnetic is also super cool. I find myself pulling the top off just to hear the magnetic click over and over again.

All in all – An excellent first attempt. If I was a kid again I would be loving this mouse. I remember taking apart one my favorite mice years ago and switching out the LED to be blue so it would glow throughout. Having a DIY mouse kit brings a smile to my face. I hope the next version is made to grow with the users – hopefully with some hardware hacks available along the way!

The next piece of kit I got was the Kano Webcam! Who would’ve thought I would be excited by a webcam… but this is what 2020 has made of me lol. With the shortage of webcams last year, and both my wife and I working in the education sector, seeing an inexpensive and new take on the webcam made me quite happy.

Two cool features of the webcam include a “macro lens” (really just a magnifying glass) and a flexible but fixable position cord. You can position the webcam in any direction and it will just stay there!

Now, to be perfectly realistic, this is a 2.1mp fixed focus lens and only costs $29.99. I am not expecting the picture quality to be impressive. It is 100% adequate for Zoom use, whether it’s in a classroom or a meeting.

The feature that does make it shine is it’s “macro mode” though. Simply move the lens cover over and you are ready to take close ups.

I am going to really enjoy the macro mode for my electronics projects, and the flexible cord for my Octoprint 3D printer time-lapse videos.

That’s it for this week! Happy New Year! Hope it’s treated everyone great so far!

Jan 01

Happy New Year! Hi 2021! Go Away 2020…

Hey all.

Happy New Year!

This year I resolve to blog once a week again. Every Friday I will post what I’m working on. I’ve become creative again (I think…) and I want to put out to the world what I’m working on.

Raspberry Pi StepMania Dance Pad

Right now I’m working on a CNC’d StepMania dance pad for the Raspberry Pi. I can’t wait to get it complete but so far we have the FSR’s working with the Arduino connected to the Pi.

LEGO

I’ve been building a few LEGO sets with my toddler these past few months. Mainly I build them and he does QA I should say πŸ™‚ It’s so much fun watching him get better and better at putting stuff together. I love it!

3D Printing

Last print of 2020 was of course a Bulbasaur. My favorite starter PokΓ©mon!

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I backed Naomi Wu’s 3D PrintMill “infinite Z” printer on Kickstarter which should hopefully arrive in a few months. I know how many 3D printers have failed on Kickstarter before, but this is a collaboration between Naomi and Creality, and they already have the printer built, this is more of a way to how many they need to make for their factory. And I get that. It’s a great use of Kickstarter. I’m excited to buy vast amounts of filament for this thing!

Conveyor Belt 3D Printers : Creality CR-30 3DPrintMill

That’s it from me for this week. Here’s to an amazing 2021!

See ya next Friday!

Nov 17

StepMania on the Raspberry Pi 4!

For anyone that knows me, Dance Dance Revolution and StepMania were a large part of my life years ago. It’s how I lost a ton of weight.

6 years ago was my first attempt to get StepMania running on a Raspberry Pi…and it was a horrible experience.

Today I’m proud to say that StepMania runs GREAT on the Raspberry Pi 4!

I’ve hosted the shell script / step by step instructions on how to compile and run StepMania on your own Pi4 as a GitHub Gist:

Just run these commands in a terminal on the Desktop GUI version of Raspberry Pi OS and you will be up and playing StepMania in about an hour.

Enjoy!

-Shea

Nov 16

Things I did in 2020

So, like my last post stated, I did some things while stuck at home.

My absolute favorite project was this:

I followed this guide (https://github.com/geaz/simplyRetro-D8) and built this awesome 3D printable desktop arcade cabinet. It of course uses a Raspberry Pi running RetroPi and uses an awesome readily available 4 x 3 LCD screen!

And of course my little guy helping me build and test it πŸ˜€

I got a small CNC machine in January and hadn’t had time to use it until recently but I have been having fun making some videos of it in action.

That’s a 3040T CNC Machine. You can find a lot of them on eBay and various other importing sites. More fun hobbies that involve turning one thing into another thing πŸ™‚

On that note, I repurposed my 4k LED display for a lot of statements this year!

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My house got egged for one of those statements. Worth it.

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I edited and 3D Printed a mini Dreamcast case for the Raspberry Pi! Did you know you can play Dreamcast games at 60FPS on the Pi4 now? No? WELL YOU CAN! Using Redream it’s totally possible! You can download the case files here https://thingiverse.com/thing:4539273.

And we got a new kitten!

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Say hi to Dash. Our Manx kitty. He’s kinda awesome.

If you’ve gotten to this part of the post, all I can say is thank you! It’s been a year. Please stay safe out there. Wear a mask. Keep on making. I’ve missed y’all!

-Shea

Nov 16

I feel creative again!

Hey all,

It’s been a long 4 years. I’m so glad Biden won. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. That I’m not just trying to survive the next news cycle, but also prospering and looking forward to the future.

It had taken its toll when every day you expect the worst and you are spending all your energy just getting through the day.

But now…

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel (and it’s NOT the headlights of the oncoming train).

This past year while we have all been quarantining I have been building and making things to pass the time. Nothing big enough to warrant it’s own post, but enough that I can update this blog, and hopefully again more and more for 2021.

I missed y’all. Heres to the next 4 years.