And yet another year goes by that I say I’ll document all my projects as I go, and I don’t. Documenting progress is a full time hobby in itself.
The Greenhouse – As described in a previous post. I am more than satisfied with it for the $850 dollars I paid, I’ve probably paid more in that in materials for it (dirt + shelving supplies + containers / etc). The winter freeze last month killed my Prickly Pear Cactuses I had in there (I thought they’d be hardy to 0, but they weren’t)
I wanted pannier bags for my bike, so instead of buying them, I bought a sewing machine and a bunch of used fabric from thrift stores and just started making bags of the same size, about 5 or 6 of them. When I was confident in making those, I started going for the bigger dimensions of the panniers. I tested those, like what I had, then got some Cordura fabric and made this pair. I’m still not very confident on handles, and my zipper sews are really terrible, but that’s something to work on I guess! I tried making a copy of a hoodie I like, but it came in a bit small, and that discouraged me a bit. It’s another hobby to hop back into later at some point, but I feel like I’ve learned a lot already – I’ve mended a ton of clothes so far.
LEDs – I setup the corners of my living room with WS2811 LEDs a few years ago for ambient lighting and it’s been great. I was riding my bike with a friend in the dark, and I got a bit ahead, and he said he couldn’t see me. That gave me the idea to light up my bike with them. I started just zip tying them to the frame. They are christmas light type, instead of the more common tape style – waterproof tape style would probably work better for the frame, but it’s not worth me redoing it yet. I had a lot of issues with shorts the first few times, bumps would often turn off the lights, or reset them – but lots of hot glue has fixed that. Eventually I remembered I had an LED matrix, and incorporated that into the setup by using hot glue sticks to diffuse the lights. It works great.
WLED, the software controller I use for my bike and living room lights, is a good piece of software. It runs on an esp32 which can be had for about $5-7 dollars, and works with most addressable LEDs. I’ve used it to retrofit these gooseneck lights with addressable LEDs – one use is for backlighting on a monitor, I use the USB power on my monitor to power them and then by using the power switch on the monitor, they turn off at the same time as the monitor.
Solar / Home Assistant / ESPHome – After building the greenhouse, I wanted to have the temperature show up somewhere as a graph. I already use Home Assistant to automate things around my house, and I discovered ESPHome, which lets you connect sensors to esp32 devices to Home Assistant. I went a little crazy with it, and ended up building 5 of them. There’s one in my greenhouse – it doubles as a sort of sun meter, it’s attached to a big solar panel which goes to an automotive fan and USB outlets. It only works when there’s enough power from the sun – which is bad for a temp gauge, but perfect for a way to measure the sun. The rest of the temp gauges are normal, and in places like my carport, kitchen, living room, and mudroom. It’s good information to know.
vending machines – I bought a few card / sticker style vending machines with no real idea what to do with them. One idea was making a sort of “fortune” machine with tarot cards, but common sized cards don’t fit my machine. Pokemon cards seems like the most obvious idea, they seem to be everywhere, but I’m not sure I like that idea very much, there’s so much more that can be done with these machines. I’ve still got a lot more testing to do with the machines – I swapped out some of the 25c coin mechanisms for ones that will do up to $1, now I need to clean up another one I bought. I don’t really expect to make any money off it, but I think I might be able to fund buying a bigger machine with them – I think a snack style machine that sells electronics parts and kits might be a good idea. I feel like Radioshack components bins are something that’s still needed, URS electronics in Portland is the only place in the metro area that’s similar for electronics hardware, unless you want to wait a few days for shipping from amazon or a month+ from proper electronics places.
Godot engine – I’ve been using Godot a lot lately, an engine for making games and interfaces with a language similar to Python. I have a lot of experience making generative art with Python, and it seems easy enough to migrate the ideas to Godot. Right now I’m trying to cross a match three game with a shoot ’em up like Gradius, basically a shooter where you find tokens for moves on the match three game, then you get Powerups for the ship from the match three game. It seems like it’d be a decent gameplay loop that I haven’t really seen too often.
Recipe Printer – I wired up an ESP32 to a receipt printer and made a very basic API, then I set that up in Home Assistant, so now I can automate making recipes for some reason. I think originally I wanted to make a little automated newspaper, like once a day print the previous days top 3 headlines. Another work in progress, I guess.