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22
Dec

Clevedon Pier on a Cloudy Day

I took a really quick shot of Clevedon beach and pier yesterday on my iPhone and it’s amazing how it came out.

Clevedon Pier

Clevedon Pier

Click on the image for the full sized version

18
Oct

Lego Superhero’s picture

I needed some pictures for my new office and I was inspired by other peoples Lego minifigs in a picture frame.  It didn’t take long, but I loved the result.Lego Superheros Picture

18
Oct

Raspberry PI in a Lego/Megablocks Porsche

I’ve not really had a chance for doing any modding for some years, but I couldn’t resist the urge to pick up a raspberry PI a while back.  My intention to was have a play and try to make a nice case.  What I did in the end is use a Megablocks Porsche as a basis for the case.  I had to do a bit of tweaking and drilling to get the cable routing, but it was very quick in the end.

Raspberry PI Porsche Case

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

The process was quite simple, strip out all the extra bricks and create some kind of mounting for the board.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

 

Cable routing was a pain, but I just managed to squeeze it into place.  I plan to run it headless, but if I need to connect anything up I just open the doors.

 

SONY DSC

 

The Raspberry Pi is an awesome bit of kit.  I added a wireless card and some nice blue heatsinks.

SONY DSC

You can see how I mounted the board.  I used some plastic standoffs glued into 2×1 lego tiles with a central hole.  Works perfectly and allows the board to be removed in seconds.

SONY DSC

 

The Porsche was on offer at only £9.99 so was a bit of a steal.  You can see it here on their website:  Megablocks Porsche

11
Oct

More pics of the Kawasaki Z650

A couple more pics of the bike.

Kawasaki Z650

Kawasaki Z650

13
Sep

Ercol Desk with Hairpin legs

So it’s time for more of what I’ve been working on to be posted. It’s not many posts ago that I wrote about my previous my desk build. Now I really liked that desk, but we have now moved house. The new house is much older and full of character. The black office furniture is too dark for the room really and it needed to be dealt with.

I had lots of plans for what kind of desk, it started with a lego desk, then onto scaffolding boards. Finally in a complete rash purchase I ended up buying an Ercol dining table on eBay. My wife had refurbished an Ercol coffee table and I loved the shape and wood. Looking for larger ones there was one locally for an amazing price so I bought it.

Ercol Table

I set to work sanding the top to remove the dark stain. It took a few hours work but it came out very well. I loved the grain underneath.

Ercol Desk top

 

Once the table had been sanded back, the next step was to remove the original legs.  These were too bulky and designed for a dining table not a desk.

Erocl Desk

 

I then needed to decide what to do for the legs.  I had lots of different ideas, but in the end I went for a Hairpin leg.  These are beautifully designed, but are very sturdy.

 

Hairpin Legs

 

They looked ace in the bare steel, but would rust over time.  I therefore painted them red.  This required lots of coats, but the end result was superb.

Red Hairpin Leg

 

Mounting the four legs in place required some perfectly size screws, but went well. I kept the Ikea cable tidy from my previous desk to hide all the cables inside.  Long term I want to paint the tray red to match the legs, but for now it will be grey.

Ercol Desk with Hairpin Legs

 

The last job was to get all my kit setup on the desk.  I’ve a vesa mount for my Apple cinema display which I screwed onto the desktop.  I’ve still got many more jobs in the office to do, but the desk is up and running.

Ercol Desk with hairpin legs

 

12
Aug

Kawasaki Purchase

Well it’s been a bit slow round here.  I’ve got a few fun projects to add to the site over the next few weeks.  First up though is my first motorbike.  I bought it last week and I’m very pleased with it.

 

Kawasaki KZ650 Arrives

Kawasaki KZ650 Arrives

It’s a 1978 Kawasaki KZ650, though its far from standard.  It’s had the front and rear of a ZXR400 added so has much better handling and braking.  It’s also got Ducati monster exhausts for added sound.

I plan on modernising and simplifiying the bike, with the aim of making it more cafe racer styled and losing some of the bulk.

First off I’d like to clean up the bar area as it’s currently got lots on.  I’ve a wish list of parts including the following

Motogadget M-Unit

Motogadget M-Unit

Motogadget M-Unit

This will clean up the tired wiring and make the whole thing much more simple.

Next will be a new speedo

Motoscope Mini

Motoscope Mini

Motoscope Mini

This is a tiny digital speedo, that will clean up the bars.

m-Switch

M-Switch

M-Switch

I think with these dream items I can clear the bars up a ton and clean up the current wiring a fair bit.

20
Mar

How to Add an instapaper button to the firefox toolbar.

I’ve been a great fan of Instapaper for a long time now.  It’s a superb way of saving great articles for later reading.  I am also a user of Firefox.  I’ve also been using that for some years and I have customised it to fit my needs.  I’ve tried switching to Chrome or Safari, but they have never fit my needs perfectly.

I used to use the great instasaver addon for firefox, but sadly it no longer works in the current version of firefox.  I’d given up ever having a simple one click button in my toolbar for saving to instapaper.  However I discovered a great addon called Custom Buttons.

Custom Button for Instapaper

Download and install the addon on from firefox.  (I used the latest developer release from here.)  Now right click on your toolbar and choose add button.

You need to add a name for the button, I chose instapaper, along with an image for the buttons icon.  I used the favicon for instapaper.

 

Now in the code section of the custom button window you will need to add the following:

loadURI("BOOKMARKLET HERE");

You will need the code for the instapaper read now bookmark.  I just copied and pasted mine where it saves “BOOKMARKLET HERE”.  Hit Ok to save the button and you can now add it to your toolbar.

Any questions grab me on twitter

19
Aug

A router to go with an Apple Airport Extreme

Up until last week, I have always had one model or other of a wireless netgear router.  I’ve found the netgear routers work really well and are easy to manage.  However with my purchase of a 11in Macbook Air, I needed someway of sharing files without my Air being at home all the time.  I’ve used various NAS drives and even an HP Mediasmart server for this role, but I’ve never found something that fits my needs.

I’ve always looked at the Apple Airport Extremes as a nice choice, but the price has put me off in the past.  However I bit the bullet on one to get the best Wifi speeds I could with the Air’s Wifi only specs.  I thought I would try it out and try out sharing using it for a week and see how it went.  I was most impressed.  However it has one major downside.  No integrated ADSL modem.  I was using my existing Netgear router for that, but it seemed overkill.  So I picked up a 2nd hand Netgear DG834 wired router off ebay.  I had it in my mind that I would use this in addition to the Airport Extreme.

Whilst I was waiting on the router to arrive, I got to thinking that it would be nice to have some that matched my Airport Extreme or at least didn’t take up more space.  I hit upon an idea, what if I put the routers circuit board inside a matching hard drive enclousure?

I’ve had an old Lacie Mac Mini Companion drive in the loft for a while and thought it may work.

After taking apart the router and the lacie mini I tried for the first time to fit the circuit board of the DG834 into the space.  It fitted to the milimeter. I couldn’t believe my luck.

I then took some plastic standoffs and glued them in place using hot glue.  These would hold the router circuit in place.  I next needed to expand the holes at the back of the enclosure to allow the cables to exit the router.

It is a bit rough and ready, but does the trick.  It won’t be seen from the front anyway.  I then built the enclosure back together.

With that done it was time to put the router in place and see how it worked.  You can see in the above shot, that I put some extra spacers above the board.  They give the board more support when the lid is in place.

It sits underneath the Airport extreme very nicely.  It required a bit of tweaking of cables, but it now stays in position perfectly.  The hard drive next to it is the one I store all my films/music/etc on.  The added bonus of doing this is that the Airport extreme and Netgear DG834 seem to run much cooler.  They are shut in the cupboard 24/7 with no issues.  So finally my fast silent way of sharing files is done.

20
Feb

New Desk Completed

Well it took me a bit longer than I thought. Mainly because the stain took far longer to dry and needed more coats that I planned. I’ve now had the desk in place for nearly a week and it’s great. It is a little bigger and much more sturdy than my previous one. I feel much more relaxed having a giant Apple Cinema Display on top of it.

Ok so how did it come together. After staining the desktop, and the shelf along with some wooden shelving brackets. I cut the shelf down a little bit so that I didn’t hit it with my knees. I then brought all the bits into the house for the final build. (It was far to cold outside for trying to do it in the garage!

I had some issues along the way, firstly the desktop had bowed quite a bit in painting. I assume this was because I left it drying on a workbench. This didn’t support the desk as widely as maybe it needed. I was thinking that I would need some strengthening struts to fix the bow, but in the end the metal supporting strips could be adjusted. I got the whole family to stand on the desk whilst I loosened and re-tightened each one. Fun for all the family!

Desk with Legs in Place

Desk with Legs in Place

The next step was to attach the legs, then decide where to mount the shelf. I decided to follow the lead from my previous desk, which meant shortening the shelving brackets to make them fit.

Shelf in place

Shelf in Place

Sorry for the poor pictures, I took them in bad lighting on my phone.

The next job on the list was to add some mounts for the power strip on the shelf and add the cable cage to store all the cables out of sight.

Desk cable system in place.

Desk cable system in place.

With the cable tray in place it was time to get the old desk out and new one in.  I had to remove the legs to get the new one in, but I had planned for this.  I then spent ages getting my kit back in and tidying cables.  With the desk in place no cables can be seen underneath and only the iphone dock one is visible on the desk.

A blank canvas

A Blank Canvas

In the next day or two I will try to take some new shots with everything in place. I need the tripod to get better shots than I have already.

13
Feb

Desk progress

Well progress on the desk has been slow. Mainly as it is so cold in the garage. Because of this the stain is taking longer to dry. Most of it is now done so hopefully there will be some building happening this week.

Here is a quick shot of the shelf drying.





This second shot is the desktop drying.