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…

Building a Laser Cutter: Part 3 – Electronics and Control

After completing the machnical construction of the laser cutter, it was time for the control circuit. I used a perfboard PSB and soldered headers for the Arduino and stepper motor drivers to it. On the bottom, I connected everything up. The limit switches needed some simple debouncing and smoothing on their signals, because the cables…

Building a Laser Cutter: Part 2 – Mechanical Build

After designing my laser cutter, the next step was to order the parts and assemble the machine. Because Actobotics parts are made and sold from USA, they are hard to come by in Europe (unless you want to pay high import taxes and shipping). In the end, I found an Italian shop (steplab.net / servocity.eu)…

Building a Laser Cutter: Part 1 – Idea and Plan

In 2016, I built a CNC laser cutter / engraver. I always wanted to document the whole process, but never got around to do so – until now. Enjoy a multi-part series on how my build went! Before I start, a word of warning: Lasers can be very dangerous to your health, eyes and general…