July 19, 2017 AUTHOR: Donald Bell CATEGORIES: News Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

LEDs For Your Face [Maker Update #43]

This week on Maker Update, LEDs for your eyes, talking to your lamp, a new marble machine, the poor man’s table saw, and a giant super soaker. This week’s Cool Tool is the Kreg Rip-Cut.

Show Notes


LED Eyes by Ruiz Brothers

LED eyebrows
GIF and project by the Ruiz Brothers.

Smart Lamp With ESP8266 & Amazon Echo by bekathwia

IoT lamp
Project and photo by Becky Stern.

Marblevator Air by gzumwalt

Photo and project by Greg Zumwalt.

Cool Tools Minute

Kreg KMA2675 Kreg Rip-Cut
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B007K5HIFS/ctmakerupdate-20

Kreg Rip Cut circular saw guide
Photo by Donald Bell.


New Cool Tools Channel

Best portable soldering iron comparison

1/4″ Audio Jack Key Holder by jbenodin

Project and photo by jbenodin.

World’s Largest Super Soaker with Bob Clagett Mark Rober

Maker Faires

Maker Faire Singapore
Kingsport Mini Maker Faire
Wichita Mini Maker Faire
Dublin Maker (http://www.dublinmaker.ie/)



This week on Maker Update, LEDs for your eyes, talking to your lamp, a new marble machine, the poor man’s table taw, and a giant super soaker.

It’s Wednesday, July 19th, I’m Donald Bell, and welcome to another Maker Update. I hope you’re having a great summer so far. I’m already aware that the clock is running out on my summer to-do list, but stuff is getting done and I can’t complain.

There are a lot of projects to cover, so let’s get into it, starting with my favorite project of the week.

On Adafruit, the Ruiz brothers have a cool guide on creating these creepy LED sequin eyes.

It’s a totally cyberpunk look that’s actually a pretty low tech project. There’s no Arduino or microprocessor involved. The real trick is to make something lightweight enough that you can stick it to your face without it being uncomfortable.

To do this, Noe and Pedro took these tiny, individual LED sequins and wired them together using strands of thin, enameled copper wire. They used two sets of 5 leds, and powered each of them up from the same 3v coin cell battery pack, which has a built in switch.

A simple 3D printed enclosure for the battery board allows it to be clipped to your shirt behind your neck, with the LED strips reaching up and around to your face. A couple bits of medical tape hold the LEDs above your eyebrows without hurting your skin or making a sticky mess.

I think these would look great as part of some Blade Runner themed Halloween costume.

There’s also a new project up by Becky Stern, showing how to use an Adafruit Feather board to bring Amazon Echo voice control to an old lamp. The project uses elements from of Becky’s Internet Things class on Instructables. It’s essentially an internet connected relay switch that uses an Arduino library called fauxmoESP to emulate a Belkin WeMo device.

And while IoT projects are a fairly common sight on Instructables, what I love most about Becky’s is the video, where midway through she walks us through how she mashes up the code between two sketches to get what she wants.

This, to me, is 90% of what I do with Arduino, but mine looks more like fumbling around in the dark. It’s rare to see sketches mashed together like this on video by some who knows what they’re doing and can also explain as they go. It’s worth a watch.

Finally, Greg Zumwalt blows my mind for the second week in a row, this time with a project called Marblevator Air. This 3D printed marble machine uses a geared DC motor to raise marbles up a column and then drops them in such a way that it bounces between 3 platforms before landing back in the feeding chute. Each of the three platforms have adjustment knobs so that you can dial in the perfect position to get it working. The whole thing is a novelty, but I totally want to see one in person.

For this Cool Tools review I’m going to show you the Kreg Rip-Cut. It is a $32 guide for a circular saw. It’s great if you have a small workshop, or no workshop. And if you pick one up using the Amazon link on the video description, you help support my videos and the Cool Tools blog.

If you have a table saw, there’s probably no reason to buy this. But if you have a small garage like mine and you don’t want to surrender the space and money to have a table saw, this and a circular saw are an effective way to accurately break down sheets of wood.

It comes in two pieces. One is a universal adapter that can mount onto just about any circular saw — including left handed ones. This just screws onto the existing plate, and I just leave mine on all the time.

The other is this L-shaped aluminum ruler designed to hug and slide against the straight outside edge of your wood. You latch the adapter plate onto the ruler, measure out where you want your cut, and make it happen, using the edge of the board to guide your cut.

Now, there are two obvious limitations on this. One is that the aluminum guide only extends out up to 24 inches. The other is that you’ll need some kind of spoiler board if you want to cut all the way through your material.

Alternatively, you could buy a long metal guide track or even use a long 2×4, and clamp it down wherever you want and let that guide your cut. But, using the Rip-Cut, there’s no limit to the length of your cut, especially with a battery powered saw. Also, if I want to rip another, identical section, there’s no setup. I just move back to the beginning.

Even more important for me, I don’t have to store a big, long, metal track in my workshop. This thing just hangs out of the way, and it’s small enough I can just throw it in my back seat if I need to take it somewhere.

So that’s the Kreg Rip-Cut. It’s available on Amazon, and if this video was helpful it would be great if you could use the link in the video description to pick yours up, which kicks a little money back to me. And remember, you can see thousands of reader recommended tools like this at Cool-Tools.org.

I’m also happy to announce that the Cool Tools YouTube channel is officially up and running. They have my tool review segments from this show over there, along with other tool reviews of mine you haven’t seen yet, including a portable soldering iron comparison video. I encourage you to subscribe. You’ll find a link in the description and at the end of this video.

For some other tools and tips. I came across this Instructable by J BenOdin on using audio jack connectors for key holders. Probably not the most practical solution, but I am a sucker for the tactile feeling of plugging in a guitar cable, so I may use this.

And I have to mention this collaboration video between Bob Clagett and Mark Rober on making this giant super soaker water gun. What I like most about it is seeing how Bob went about scaling up the super soaker design, taking the original dimensions, plotting it on a grid, and then scaling it up on plywood. It got me excited for making the Halloween props and decorations on my summer to-do list.

Maker Faires! There are three happening this weekend, including Singapore, Kingsport, Tennessee and Wichita, Kansas. Plus, you’ve got Dublin Maker in Dublin Ireland. So go out and see cool stuff, and maybe learn something.

And that’s it for this week’s show! We reached 7,000 subscribers this week, so thank you everyone for support, and your likes and comments. My plan is to just keep going and hope you hang in there. Be sure to check out that link to the Rip-Cut, if that’s something you could use. And that’s it. Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next week.

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