Upgrading a LEGO Power Brick

Do you remember the good times of LEGO? Or even LEGO Technic? Turns out that LEGO is a timeless classic and still very much fun. What is not timeless however, is battery technology. Several old LEGO models are powered by 9 Volts via six 1.5 AAA batteries. This proved to be cumbersome, because the batteries…

Building a Laser Cutter: Part 5 – Bearing Upgrades

After two years of usage, the x carriage of my laser cutter became rather wobbly. Wobbling! My old nemesis! What should I do? First, I tried to use different bearings. I bought some DryLin PTFE self-lubricating plastic bearings: https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B01M328GIR ~5€ But they were no use in my configuration. They tended to bind, and what’s worse,…

Pimp My 3D Printer

Adventures in tuning my Anet-A8 3D Printer. About a year ago, I purchased a rather inexpensive “DIY” 3D printer kit directly from the country that sells everything; China. My model of choice was the “Anet-A8” printer, due to its low price and big online support community. Not only the price and support led to my…

A DIY Handbrake for Simracing

Of course, there is always a Need for Speed in racing simulations. But sometimes, there is also the Need for Smooth Drifting Around Tight Corners. And pressing a button on my steering wheel controller just doesn’t cut it in terms of control and realism. So, I set out to acquire a handbrake controller, but quickly…

Postcards From the ISS

Sometimes, the folks over at the International Space Station (ISS) send greetings to earth, postcards encoded as SSTV images – transmitted at 145.800 MHz FM. Of course, I wanted to receive some. And in April 2018, I managed to. Hardware and Software I used the same hardware receiving stack as I used for receiving NOAA…

Receiving Meteor LRPT Weather Maps

After much success receiving weather maps from the NOAA satellites, I wanted to receive more satellites. While the NOAA satellites are US-based and are relatively old, the METEOR-M2 are of a more recent make, operated by Russia. However, the LRPT signals sent by the Meteor satellites are digital and somewhat harder to decode. But thanks…

Receiving NOAA APT Weather Maps

After building a satellite antenna, I was able to receive and decode the weather maps sent by three US-based legacy satellites operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Hardware As mentioned, I used my own antenna. To get the signal into my PC, I used the excellent and low-cost RTL-SDR stick V3 by…

Building a Weather Satellite Antenna

During my adventures with SDR (software-defined radio), the need for a proper QFH antenna arose. This type of antenna is used to receive signals that are circularly polarized, such as APT weather maps sent by the NOAA satellites. I used a PVC pipe and a standard shielded coax cable from the local hardware store, and…

Building a Laser Cutter: Part 4 – Tests and Stability Improvements

The laser cutter is finally ready for testing! After securing the aluminium base plate (before that I had used carton) I powered up the system and sent my first gcode. Improving the Y Carriage Unfortunately, the lasered lines were rather wobbly. This was because the y carriage was only supported by one shaft. So, I…

The Beer Crate Boombox

A few years ago, in 2017, I attended a rather large music festival. Apart from the music and general camping experience, one thing particularly got stuck in my mind: Someone wearing a beer crate as a backpack. While one could argue this not being an unusual sight at a music festival, the thing that impressed…