Making your own positives in the face of negatives.

Things have been rather up and down for me lately. Overall, on the up side luckily, but still too much up and down for what I like.

Ups:

  • I have a writing project that is nearing completetion that I will talk about soon.
  • At work, I am on a new client project that is challenging and has engaged my mind. Always a good thing.
  • I’ve continued to enjoy my reintroduction to woodworking, and have made great strides in cleaning up the shop.
  • The team that I helped put together is both awesome and supportive in the trouble that the project (below) has encountered.

Downs:

  • Vegas After Midnight, is a project that I have been working on in my head for years, and had assembled a great team recently to bring it about had to be shut down. If you want more details on that, I talked about it on http://vegasaftermidnight.net.
  • My deck continues to be a struggle to start. Today I finally am able to have someone over to dig the holes for the footings, and… it rains.
  • My 3D printer still has not arrived. The Eventorbot Kickstarter shipping is still happening, so I know that I will get it eventually. It’s just when that eventually is going to happen that is the most frustrating.

As I said, more ups than downs. I’d like things to be a bit more up, but life is life. I’m moving on with it and looking forward to making more up times.

When I have completed the edits and sent them into the editor, I’ll let you all know more about the writing project. I will tell you it’s up my alley with one of the things I am known to tinker with.

Once the holes are dug, I will be getting the building inspector out to look at them and then setting the footings for the deck.

Since Vegas After Midnight isn’t going to be happening, I have some other thoughts in my head to do.

I haven’t forgotten about the laser cutter either. I got the laser in, and I need to wire up a control circuit to turn it on and off using the Arduino. Once that is done, I’ll do some test cuts and post them here. Assuming success with that, I have the base of a larger version already started to allow me to make larger sized cutouts.

So again, things are up. The rain has let up, and the diggers are back at work. I’m going to go downstairs and help my daughter with a very tricky video game problem in Lego Star Wars. So if you will excuse me, I’ll be working on one of those high points in life.

The perils of DIY

Given how long the economy has been repressed as it has, a lot of people have turned to doing it themselves (DIY). The DIY ethic has been rekindled here in the United States in a big way. With sites like Instructables, Makezine, and Thingiverse helping to push things along.

As you are probably aware, I too have been bit by the DIY bug. For much of my life, I have been a tinker, a builder, an enthusiast. Within the past few years though, those desires in me have been pulled to the fore.

My latest endeavor? Building a deck for my house. It’s been an eye opening experience. From designing, getting the building permit, laying it out, and now, drilling the holes for the support posts.

I’ve come to the conclusion that many DIY’ers have come to on some projects. We can’t always do it ourselves. Even with my wife, Erin, helping me, digging the holes has defeated us.

The design was interesting, working with several deck designers that I had to find ways of connecting corners that the software didn’t want connected. The building permit was even more interesting, with having to deal with who Erin and I call “Moe, Larry, Curly, and Frank”. Layout was finicky, but not hard.

IMG_20130728_135536Then came the digging. I’ve known, from previous experience, that the soil around our house is hard, and sometimes rocky, but I was not prepared for the solid clay-like soil that we have been trying to drill through.

See, while we can’t do it ourselves, that doesn’t mean that DIYer’s can’t do it at all. We looked around, searched Craigslist, and we’ve found some help. So this week, we’ll have some people over to look at the yard, and get us an estimate. It’s not like going to a big box store and having them do all the work. It’s hiring someone local, who knows what they are doing, and asking for help when you need it.We rented an auger, a one person model that I have used before. We started 12 holes, nearly all of them only about 12 inches deep before we got the 2 person model. One day, and one nearly complete hole later, I’ve called in the cavalry.

IMG_20130728_135528

We still intend to do the rest of the deck ourselves, carpentry is something I am familiar with. Though we are looking into having our concrete premixed and poured for us. Again, we know when to ask for help when we need it, and I’d rather have someone else mix several hundred pounds of concrete, and save my arms for the actual building.

Inspiration

As I am embarking on new creative endeavors, and rekindling older ones, this comes along at just the right time.

Neil Gaiman – Inspirational Commencement Speech at the University of the Arts 2012

Create. Write. Make. Do. Be.

DIY Laser Cutter from spare parts.

Test Aperture Science logo

Here’s a little project I have been working on, a DIY laser cutter. I’m waiting for the laser, so right now I’ve tested it with a pen.
Major credit goes to this Instructable: http://www.instructables.com/id/Pocket-laser-engraver

It’s been a fun build, and improved my soldering skills for future projects.

I plan on using it for cutting out vinyl templates to etch glass with.

IMG_20130701_143718[1] IMG_20130701_143713[1]