How to: make mechanical models with SketchUp and Sketchy Physics

I’m working on a new project, slowly but surely. In the process, I’m learning how to use a physics plugin for SketchUp called Sketchy Physics. To be honest it’s kind of crap, but once you get your head around its quirks it is pretty useful too. I’m documenting my learning process with an ongoing series of tutorials:

How to: build your own MIDI controller

MIDI controllers are a popular DIY project as they are relatively basic: a suite of buttons and knobs wired to some kind of controller and mounted in a case. Instructables user Fuzzy Wobble has put together a fantastic tutorial on how to build your own MIDI controller, including good tips on laser-cutting your enclosures and front panels.

How-to: design a laser-cut project box

Here’s a write-up on how I use SketchUp and Inkscape to model my DIY electronics projects in 3D and then design laser-cut acrylic enclosures for them.

How-to: laser-engraving and filling technique

Here’s a quick tutorial I wrote on how I finish the laser-engraved labels on my project enclosures.

Arduino code snippets

This week I’ve been working on an interesting project with an Arduino at it’s core. The design is for the Briefcase Project, an exhibition which is opening in Wellington on August 8th. I’ll share more details closer to the date, but for now here are some little code snippets that I’ve found really useful, and maybe not so well documented elsewhere. Click here to read more »

Electronic Audio Hardware

I’ve been reading Handmade Electronic Music by Nicolas Collins and it’s possibly the most informative electronics book I’ve ever read. It presumes absolutely no prior electronic knowledge of the reader, starting with the most basic introduction to circuit bending (think wet fingers inside open radios). He focuses on maximal fun for minimal effort and it’s late in the piece before he starts explain circuits of any appreciable complexity. For the most part these circuits are incredibly clever and pack a lot of functionality into a few components. I’ll be working through some of his suggestions and posting my progress here. A simple project that caught my eye was the DIY spring reverb (guitar amp -> cheap audio transformer -> piezo -> slinky -> contact mic -> amp). He also has a lot of helpful information on using CMOS logic as the basis of synthesisers and signal processors (something I’ve been reading a lot about lately).
Click here to read more »