Tagged: coding

Pickup Winding Obsession – My New Machine Pt. 1

October 8th, 2016 Permalink

To get this blog up to speed, I’ve been obsessed with pickup winding since about December of 2015. I build a winder from Jason Lollar’s plans and I’ve been winding furiously since. I’ve been taking a little break from winding the last few weeks, largely because I realized that I’m going to need to upgrade […]

To get this blog up to speed, I’ve been obsessed with pickup winding since about December of 2015. I build a winder from Jason Lollar’s plans and I’ve been winding furiously since.

I’ve been taking a little break from winding the last few weeks, largely because I realized that I’m going to need to upgrade my winder. The one I build from Jason Lollar’s plans is great for winding by hand, but the cam-driven auto-traverse mechanism is kind of problematic for my purposes. For one, the nature of the cam’s motion causes the wire to pile up on the sides. I’ve been able to make it work by feathering the speed control, but the sides inevitably have a few loose winds here and there. Secondly and thirdly, it doesn’t give any real control over the thread spacing nor am I able to accurately repeat any results I get from my builds.

After some investigation, I decided to take it upon myself to design and build an Arduino-driven winder with an stepper-controlled auto-traverse. Despite never having worked with Arduino, I found that this route should work well for me, mainly because I’m pretty good with learning computer languages such as JavaScript, PHP and ActionScript, etc. The Arduino code is supposedly based on C+, which I know nothing about, but really most computer languages I’ve come across work from the same basic concepts – objects, functions, variables, loops, etc. After reading up on it a bit, I’m seeing that I’ll be able to work with it no prob.

I stopped Bruce Johnson’s place a few weeks ago and he gave me some advice about making the traverse really work – specifically, I’ll need to make a device that will advance the traverse a given distance per revolution of the winder. Running from one motor, Bruce’s machine does this mechanically and it basically makes getting a nice, even wind pretty much 100% foolproof. He was really recommending and pretty willing to help me go the mechanical route. I think that the mechanical route has a lot of advantages, such as simplicity, longevity and reliability. However I’m much better with writing scripts and working with computers than I am building mechanical devices. I’ll give this a shot and see how it pans out. If this works, the machine will have a smaller footprint which will be better in my really limited space.

The first step was getting the winding motor. I got an 18v DC motor for $15 on Amazon, along with a nice pre-made speed control. It works great.

Next, I made an optical tachometer and counter with the Arduino board and IR LED and photoresistor. The picture is lousy, but you can see the two components if you look closely. The code and instructions I found on YouTube. There’s a gazillion optical tach tutorials out there – I just picked one that used the same parts I have on hand. The interesting part about Arduino is that you have to get both the code and the electronics right. It’s kind of fun. I’ve done tons of coding and built quite a few stompboxes, so it was really no prob. The mess of wires below is the assembled tach.

Lastly, here’s me holding the motor up to the tach. It’s another bad photo. I just put a flag made from electrical tape on the end of the shaft. I had to hold it between the LED and the photoresistor. As the flag breaks the IR light, the photoresistor sees it and sends a pulse to the Arduino. I got it up to 5000rpm before the tape flew off.

BTW, turning this into a wind counter is super easy. At one point I created another variable that didn’t reset every second and displayed the result on the LCD. It worked no prob.

From here I’m going to build the stepper motor control. The script is a little more complicated and I’m going to have to do considerably more than just cut and paste like I did today. I also have another LCD screen that’s a little more sophisticated and uses fewer pins, so I’ll have to wire that up at some point as well. Once I do all that, I’ll mount the wires more permanently on a piece of stripboard. I think that this will be the hardest part only because I’ll have to design a functioning parts layout. The carriage will just be a base that holds a couple of pulleys and the stepper.

Lastly, I have some more parts on order. They should be coming within the next few days.

BTW, the cost is going to run about $125-$150. I could have done this much more cheaply – for one, I ordered the Arduino Basic Kit, which was not really necessary. I was really expecting that there’d be a good manual included, but most of the info was based around the super basic projects that came in the box. That being said, I don’t regret the purchase only because it comes in a really beautifully designed package. Secondly, I could have scoured my local thrift stores for an old cordless drill and an inkjet printer for my motors, steppers and some of the pulleys. I just decided that for me, it would take more time to scavenge than it would just buying the parts on ebay and stuff. I just wanted to focus more on the design than searching for used parts.

April News

April 26th, 2012 Permalink

So I guess I haven’t posted to the blog for a while – there’s been plenty going on that is post-worthy, but I’ve been working on an epic web project for a client and it has been taking up a lot of my time. The site prototype looks great and should be complete sometime next […]


So I guess I haven’t posted to the blog for a while – there’s been plenty going on that is post-worthy, but I’ve been working on an epic web project for a client and it has been taking up a lot of my time. The site prototype looks great and should be complete sometime next month.

The biggest news I have is that Amelia has started her own blog and has been reviewing restaurants in the Ventura and Los Angeles areas. You can see her blog at ispygoodfood.wordpress.com. Definitely worth checking out. I took some portraits for the site which was pretty exciting for me because it’s pretty rare that I can get her to sit still long enough to have her picture taken.

Amelia Aparicio - Fillmore's food critic at large!

Amelia Aparicio - Fillmore's food critic at large!

Speaking of photography, Amelia got me an X-Rite Color Checker Passport for my birthday last month. The X-Rite Color Checker Passport is an invaluable color calibration tool for the photographer. It’s basically a Pantone-calibrated color chart that come with some super-cool software to create camera profiles in Lightroom. I shoot a close up of the subject holding the chart before or after the shoot, create the profile and voila! Awesome color in Lightroom. This is really cool for people like me who shoot with the otherwise super-awesome Panasonic Lumix GH2. I love my Lumix – it’s a great camera, the lenses are superbe, but sometimes the stock color profile leaves me a little uninspired. Taking a little extra time and using this tool has pretty much erased any dissatisfactory color issues that I may have experienced with my Lumix. Thanks, Amelia!

The Xrite Color Checker Passport

 

My Freekmagnet books are coming along. I made a slight improvement with the binding by adding a layer of bookbinder’s cheese cloth in the gluing process. I think it add a lot of strength to the final product. My next step is to make improve the way that the spine is attached to the cover. I’d like a little of the glue to wrap around to the first and last page of the book. I’ve been looking at other perfect-bound books and they seem to follow this design. I think that this will be more of an esthetic choice as opposed to a structural advantage. In the end I think that the trick will be to get the glue to wrap around consistently.

I do have three copies of Freekmagnet for sale. They will be sold for $85 and for now, can be ordered from me directly. I will have some nice images of the final books posted soon.

Freekmagnet binding method.

Lastly, in a effort to begin working on my own new website, I’ve taken on the challenge if scripting HTML5 Canvas backgrounds. Not having the skills of a super genius web engineer, I’ve been playing around with paper.js. Paper is a pretty cool little script library for knuckleheads like me to work in HTML5 Canvas. So far, I’ve managed to modify some of the demo scripts to my liking. I have a little sample here to post until I finish something else.

paper test