RasP.iO Breadboard Pi Bridge

The Breadboard Pi Bridge is a neat way to connect the Raspberry Pi to a breadboard for prototyping. I preordered this kit in March of 2019 from RasP.iO after I’d seen Alex Eames release some cool kits there before. It shipped less than two months later, but it took me until February of 2021 to assemble it. Then it sat on the shelf until now when I finally did the testing and put together the video.

The build was simple with only having to solder some headers to a circuit board. I look forward to using this when I make some projects based on Pis.

Miter Saw Cart

I picked up a new Ryobi 10″ miter saw.

The used 12″ Delta had served me well, especially after all of the improvements I did:

Not having a blade guard always made me nervous and features of newer saws made me jealous. Things like a slider, positive angle stops, and a cut line are really nice to have. This new saw is beautiful and was definitely the right price!

Due to the sliding feature, I needed a lot more depth in my space to use the saw. I also knew I wanted a mobile cart because the stand from the other one always stayed where it was, which was often in the way. I had saved the two side cabinets from the bathroom vanity and still had a wide drawer from the kitchen desk I removed.

I combined the cabinets and added reinforcements all over to give more stability and connection points because the cabinet walls were so shitty. I made a base, replaced the toe kick, added casters, attached the drawer, and whipped up a little cubby.

The base of an old treadmill has been sitting in my basement, which was a decent piece of MDF. I removed the plastic and chopped it up to make the top of my stand.

The final thing to do was make a riser to the left of the saw for more support while making cuts. The cart turned out great and is so easy to move around.

I took the opportunity to clean the shop and do some rearranging. I moved the drill press out of the dusty area and pulled the band saw in. I also moved the jointer out since it doesn’t get used much and is an awkward size, so it was also in the way. It feels like I have a whole new shop and being able to move the miter saw around is going to be a huge improvement to my workflows.

Electric Toothbrush Shelf

With the counter of our new vanity not extending to the wall where the outlet is, we wanted a dedicated spot for our electric toothbrushes. I outlined the base of one charger and then made a rough model with cardboard and hot glue.

After a successful test fit with the brushes, I moved over to wood and used all scraps since it was getting painted.

It was a simple build, a lot of fun, and definitely a functional one.

Making Things in 2022

It was a continuation of 2021 in terms of making, with a lot of home projects. After the kitchen I was pretty burnt out and took a break during the summer.

January

February

March

June

September

October

November

December

I’m currently working on a full bathroom remodel and then that’s the end of large home renovation projects because just about every room in the house has been done in the last few years. Hopefully in 2023 I can get to some neat projects I have planned and catch up on some electroncis stuff.

Homemade Christmas Ornament – 2022

Our second Christmas means our second ornament (see 2021). It was a year full of Star Wars, from watching everything in order to building a lot of LEGO sets (The Child). So for this year’s ornament we made a model of a panel that you might find next to a spaceship door.

The main building materials were polystyrene and plastic cement from Hobby Lobby and I already had an assortment of paints (spray cans and acrylics). As we were getting started, I pulled out a bin of random plastic parts we might be able to incorporate, but they were all too big. Brandi asked if we had any extra LEGO pieces. We sure did, so we used some of those.

I forgot to get a picture during the initial assembly, but here’s the piece after a coat of gray primer.

Then it was all about adding colors. The delicate type of painter’s tape was used when masking off areas was needed. Little bits of color here and there made each area stand out.

A few coats of spray lacquer locked in the painting done so far. It looked too crisp and new at that point though. Weathering with acrylic paints was the final step and made it look like a real thing that had been used and abused.

After final coats of spray lacquer we hung it up.

If you’re like to learn how to do panel modeling like this, I highly recommend checking out Adam Savage Demonstrates Miniature Spaceship Paneling or Adam Savage’s One Day Builds: Kit-Bashing and Scratch-Building on YouTube.

Toilet Paper Holder and Towel Holder with Shelves

Last month we remodeled the small bathroom on our main floor and we’ve been living without some important things in the room, toilet paper and towel holders. The roll of TP has been sitting on the floor and a towel has been draped over the edge of the sink. Time to change that.

When I remodeled the living room, I bought some railroad spikes with the plan to incorporate them in to some designs. I didn’t use one. As we talked about ideas for the bathroom we thought it might be neat to use some of the spikes. Brandi found these examples on Pinterest for inspiration.

Of course I would make my own versions, especially since these cost $98 and $104 respectively! When I milled up the black walnut for the ladder, I did a second board to make these holders. To see the grain I had rubbed some water on the pieces.

The big challenge was attaching the spikes to the wood. Since I like to learn new skills I wanted to see if I could bolt them together. I cut the spikes to length and sanded the ends square-ish. Then it was over to the drill press to put a 13/64 hole in each end. Things weren’t perfectly straight, but the spikes are far from straight anyway, so it was fine. I finally got to use the tap wrench I received for Christmas a few years ago, which was just big enough to fit a 1/4-20 tap. It worked and I was so excited!

I used different bolts with washers in the final assembly but didn’t get a picture. After cleaning them up the spikes with a wire wheel on a bench grinder, I drilled some holes in a scrap piece of wood, mounted them, and spray painted them black.

I drilled a hole near the heads where I used epoxy to put in a pin which would keep the rail in place. I didn’t get a picture of this, but I do have one at the end of the post to show how the TP holder works. Meanwhile, I had cut all of my pieces of walnut, drilled holes for mounting and assembly, rounded the edges on my router table, and sanded through the grits.

To keep the finishing stage simple I sprayed on 4 coats of lacquer from a rattle can and applied a coat of Linseed Oil & Beeswax Polish.

The bathroom is finished and fully functional.

If you’re curious about the sign, I bought it on FB Marketplace about 2 years ago. Yes, toilet paper definitely goes over.

Decorative Ladder with Shelves for Rungs

Several years ago I thought about making a ladder to hang blankets on next to the fireplace. Then last month Brandi asked if I would make a ladder she could also hang our Christmas stockings on. I’ve had some black walnut on my lumber rack for a couple of years and this seemed like a perfect project to use some. I hadn’t done much woodworking this year, so it was also a great project to over-engineer the design and try some new things. Here are some pictures taking during the build.

The feet of the ladder are cut at a 10° angle, which provided the opportunity to experiment. In order for the rungs to have the option of also being shelves, they needed to be attached to the sides at this same angle as well as have the long edges cut at a bevel. For strength and ease of assembly I decided to cut dados in the sides of the ladder at that 10°. This was all new to me and the method I used produced amazing results.

First I used an angle gauge to mark lines on each side for the top of each rung. Then I clamped a straight board down, put the rung up against it, and clamped another board snugly against the rung. From there I was able to pull the rung out and use a router with a pattern bit to hog out the dado. All 10 ended up so perfect that I had to use a rubber mallet to disassemble it after my dry-fit.

After a ton of sanding and the glue up, the ladder was plenty strong enough, since it would never be used as an actual ladder. I knew I didn’t want to add screws to the joints and even though I didn’t need to, I decided to add dowels for the practice and the look of the contrasting oak. I made a little jig to line up and drill out holes in to the edge of each rung. Everything got finished with three coats of Minwax Wipe-on Poly and a coat of Linseed Oil & Beeswax Polish.

This turned out to be one of the nicest pieces I’ve ever made.

Kitchen Remodel: All the “Small” Things

Six weeks ago I said progress would be slow going since I was back to work. I wasn’t wrong, but we’ve been knocking out odds and ends, mostly on weekends. Small changes can make a big difference and always seem to take two to three times as long as you’d expect.

I put in a bullnose on the stairs to the basement, we painted trim and the door, and rehung the door. Of course the door no longer fit after all the paint, so that turned in to a 2+ hour headache!

We painted the sides of the island to match the walls. Then painted trim and quarter round for the base and nailed it up. Our inspector Ninja had to approve the work.

I installed a banana hook under the cupboard, which folds up out of sight when not being used. The island got an IKEA towel rack and I replaced the outlet with a white one.

We did the trim around the sliding door, put in the floor transition pieces, and mounted a curtain rod.

We put a couple of floating shelves from Menards in the corner. I love the old recipe box Brandi found at an estate sale!

We patched up the old floor trim, cut new toe kicks under the cupboards, did all new quarter round, painted everything, and installed it around the entire room. The brown really is different; I call it “chocolate milk.”

There were ugly gaps around most of the cabinets, which really stood out with the new colors. We found some simple trim at Lowes, which was only $3.06 for eight foot lengths. Since the white is a close match there was no need for paint. It took me a bit to figure out how to deal with the odd face frame corners, but it turned out really nice and made a huge improvement. There are still a couple of pieces to install after the backsplash is done.

The trim around the big window had a similar problem at the edges. We decided to use the same stuff there. It really adds a decorative element with the triple color combination. This is all that could be done until the backsplash is finished.

It didn’t feel like we were making any progress at all over the last six weeks, but as I selected pictures for this post and started typing it really was a lot of small projects that add up. Now it’s time to work on the backsplash; the final step of the project and one we’ve been talking about since it all started. This weekend I’ll be mocking up test pieces and we’ll hopefully decide on the direction we’re going. Stay tuned!

Another Maker in the House

I’m excited to say a second maker is emerging in the house. 🙂

In addition to helping with our 2021 Christmas ornament. Brandi wanted to make a few holiday decorations. First was an old sled that was her mom’s. She sanded off a pineapple and some wording, gave it a new paint job, and added some accessories. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of what it looked like before she started.

She also wanted some type of tall sign, so she grabbed a piece of twisted pallet wood from my scrap pile and sanded the rough edges. We found this barn red stain at Ollie’s Bargain Outlet for $4, which was perfect.

She wanted to paint the word “peace” on it and I’ve been looking for an excuse to buy a Cricut, so I made the purchase and we created custom stencils. I love the use of a tree for the letter A. After a little spray paint and some hinge clips we had ourselves a place for Christmas (and my birthday) cards.