Arduino, Do It Yourself (DIY)

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Santa brought my son this super cool Arduino powered DIY Gamer kit by the folks at Technology Will Save Us.  Naturally, I had to check it out for myself.

It comes in two models, soldered and unsoldered.  We got the soldered one because my son asked Santa to do all the hard work.  Wink!  Wink!

We put it together in about fifteen minutes and began loading the fun little games from their Gamer library.  You got some mad coding skills Santa!

There’s even an tool that you can use to build animations like this crashing wave (see pic).

DIY Gamer Fun

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Do It Yourself (DIY)

MindCub3r is worth it’s weight in Mindstorms

Let me start off by saying, I’m not “into” Legos, robots or the Rubik’s cube.  My son is, however, so that makes me an honorary fan.  He’s seven years old and just recently discovered the Rubik’s cube.  He loved it so much that he couldn’t stop watching all the various solving videos on YouTube.  Then he came across the ultimate solving video, a Lego robot solving the cube, a.k.a. MindCub3r.  If you don’t know what MindCub3r is, prepare to be amazed.  My son loved it so much he insisted that I build one.  Well.  I just couldn’t let him down.  Luckily, the instructions and software for MindCub3R are all online at mindcuber.com.  I bought the Mindstorms EV3 kit from Lego and we set out building this thing with very little knowledge of Lego Technic and the Mindstorms software tool.  The instructions were easy to follow.  And once you get a hang of the software, it’s pretty simple as well.  David Gilday, the MindCub3r designer, was also ready to help, if we had any issues.  Lucky for us, we were able to resolve them.  The mutual cooperation and problem solving was a great father/son bonding experience.

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Do It Yourself (DIY)

DIY Chalkboard Sign – 1st Attempt

Here’s my first attempt at making a chalkboard sign.  It was for my daughter’s preschool spring carnival (cowpoke theme).  Naturally, I had to do things the “easy” way.  Why go out and by a chalkboard when you can make one yourself.  wink! wink!  No seriously, when one of the parents brought it a piece of plywood (for reuse), I jumped at the idea.  Everything I needed was available at the hardware store (see materials below).

Cowpoke Carnival Sign 2015

Once I got home I started spreading the “plastic wood” over all the holes and cracked in the plywood.  When it dried (about 1-2 hours), I started sanding it down with a hand held electric sander.  Then I sprayed 1-2 coats of primer and then 1-2 coats of chalkboard paint (letting it dry after each coat of course).  The result was a smooth slate-like chalkboard surface.  I wasn’t expecting this, but was definitely pleased with the outcome.

As for the design, I basically followed the theme of the event flyer (western, cowpoke, etc).  I used regular chalk to create the background and chalk markers (Crafty Croc from Amazon) for the lettering.

There are plenty of other chalkboard designs to check out on the web.  I posted my favorites to my Pinterest site.

Materials:

1 pint of “Plastic wood” to smooth out the deep cracks and holes in the wood.
1 can of enamel spray paint (preferably white)
1 can of Rustoleum chalkboard paint
1 pack of colored chalk
1 pack of chalk markers

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