October 4, 2017 AUTHOR: Donald Bell CATEGORIES: News Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sky Sketching [Maker Update #54]

This week on Maker Update, a vintage GIF cam, a fidget spinner art machine, sketching the sky, using a flap disc, black hot glue, and MagPi 62. Our Cool Tool is this Sanding Flap Disc.

Show Notes


Retro Raspberry Pi Tumblr GIF Camera by bekathwia

Photo and project by Becky Stern.

IFTTT Tumblr settings

Spiral Art Fidget Spinner by JON-A-TRON

Photo and project by Jonathan Odom.

Sky Sketcher by mikeasaurus

Photo and project by Mike Warren.

Cool Tools Minute

Sanding Flap Discs 80 Grit

Photo by Donald Bell

Previous Cool Tool Review by Aaron Nipper


Read-Only Raspberry Pi by Phillip Burgess

Drill Press Drum Sander by Mikeasaurus

Photo and tip by Mike Warren.

Black hot glue for sealing out light by Ben Krasnow via Gareth Branwyn

Applied Science Tips Video

Black Hot Melt Glue on Amazon

EMSL Sale and Shopwarming

MagPi #62 is out

Maker Faires

Cincinnati Mini Maker Faire Cincinnati, Ohio
Greater Hartford Mini Maker Faire Farmington, Connecticut
Thalia Mini Maker Faire Hamburg
Maker Faire San Diego San Diego, California
Randolph Mini Maker Faire Randolph, Vermont
Galveston Mini Maker Faire Galveston, Texas

East Bay Mini Maker Faire (Oct. 22nd)

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This week on Maker Update, a vintage GIF cam, a fidget spinner art machine, sketching the sky, using a flap disc, black hot glue, and MagPi 62.

It’s Wednesday, time for another Maker Update, I’m Donald Bell and welcome to this week’s show. I’ve got a lot of fun projects to share with you and all of them this week come from staff at Instructables – Becky Stern, Mikeasaurus, Jon-O-Tron. If you like what you see, make a point to follow them online.

We’ll start it off with this Retro Raspberry Pi GIF Camera that posts to Tumblr. Becky brought this one out to World Maker Faire and posted a lot of great GIFs from that weekend. But the Instructable for it just went up.

Becky challenged herself to turn an antique camera housing into a digital camera that could stitch multiple shots into a single animated GIF.

To do it, she’s using a Raspberry Pi model A+, a Pi camera, WiFi dongle, a pushbutton, some LEDs, and a USB battery pack. There’s a Python script to install and configure with your Tumblr credentials. And even if you’re new to Tumblr, you can just setup a simple account and use a free system like If This Than That to automatically send GIFs to your preferred service.

It’s a cool project, and as someone who loves seeing these old cameras at thrift stores and garage sales, it’s neat to have a way to breathe new life into them.

From Jonathan Odom, aka Jon-A-Tron, we’ve got a practical use for fidget spinners — or at least artistically useful.

Jon shows you how to repurpose the bearing into a new 3D printed shell built for Post-It notes. A separate 3D printed stencil is used to carve out a hole for the center. Pop it on your custom fidget spinner, introduce some markers, and you’ve got a hand held spinning art machine.

I know the spinner craze has peaked out, but while they’re still out in the bargain bins, maybe you can scoop up a few and turn them into art machines. The effect really is nice.

Finally, Mikeasaurus has one of those projects that you just can’t believe doesn’t already exist as a product. He calls it the Sky Sketcher. It’s a headrest with a sheet of clear plexiglass held out in front of you, so you can trace cloud shapes and doodle over them. There’s even a little holster for dry erase pens off to the side so you can quickly switch between different colors. It’s such a simple idea, and I love that it’s just there to help harness the free association you already have looking up at clouds.

Links for all these projects are included in the show notes. Be sure to give them a like, and a follow, and nice comment.

It’s time for another Cool Tools review. This time I’m going to show you what’s so great about using a flap disc on an angle grinder. I got a 10-pack of these for just $15. If you want the same ones, using the link in the show description helps support my videos and the Cool Tools blog.

An angle grinder is a cheap, effective tool for cutting and shaping metal. Typically you use a cutoff wheel to cut through stock, and a grinding wheel to shape it. But a grinding wheel is pretty hard and unforgiving. For something with a little nuance, there’s the flap wheel.

This is a wheel of overlapping strips of sandpaper. This particular one is 80-grit, but you’ll commonly see them as low as 40, or sometimes up to 120 for metal finishing.

The sandpaper here is typically an aluminum oxide blend made specifically for working with metal. And unlike a grinding wheel, there’s a little give to it which helps it conform around the metal a little and is less likely to gouge it.

I use these for taking the paint or finish off of metal, and as a last step in any kind of welding work. Because even the worst looking weld can look a lot prettier after being ground down and then finished off with a flap disc.

These are a beginning welders best friend, though I’ve met plenty of experienced welders who swear by them too. They just smooth out metalwork for a more professional look.

So those are angle grinder flap discs. You can grab these same ones using the link in the description. And remember, you can see thousands of reader recommended tools like this at Cool-Tools.org.

Some more tips for you this week. Over on Adafruit, Phil Burgess has a guide for making your Raspberry Pi project read-only. This means that instead of both reading and writing to the memory card, it only reads from it and stores temporary files on internal RAM.

The upshot of this is that you can just unplug your Pi project or set it up on a timer without having to worry about corrupting your memory card. The downside is that it can’t be undone. For installation projects though, it could be a very useful tool.

On Instructables, Mikeasaurus shares a tip on how to turn a drill press into a makeshift drum sander. A great idea for those of us with small workshops.

From Gareth Branwyn’s Tips of the Week column on Make I learned about this Ben Krasnow video from two years ago that shares a bunch of useful tips. The one that struck me is the idea of using black hot glue for creating a light-blocking seal on your LED projects.

For fans of Evil Mad Scientist, this Saturday they’re having a shopwarming party for their new Sunnyvale, CA location. It’s an open house. They’re also having a sitewide sale through Saturday. You can take 10% off using the coupon code CELEBRATE.

Finally, MagPi issue #62 is out. It’s their Lego issue, with a bunch of great projects. If you can’t find it locally you can download a PDF of the magazine for free.

Maker Faires! We have a bunch this weekend including Cincinnati, Ohio; Farmington, Connecticut; Hamburg Germany; San Diego, California; Randolph, Vermont; and Galveston, Texas. And don’t forget East Bay Maker Faire in Oakland is happening October 22nd. I’ll be there hanging out and giving a talk.

And that’s it for this week’s show. Be sure to subscribe, give this video a thumbs up, or leave me a comment. I also send this show out every week over email with a couple bonus project links. If you want to sign up for the email list, you can find it at MakerProjectLab.com. Alright? Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next week.

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