Building a Delta 3d Printer Part 1

So I have always been interested in delta printers and I have finally gotten my Mendel Max 2 working well enough where I can begin to print parts to build one. I spent some time on and Thingaverse and decided to go with the following topology:

For the frame I chose the Kossel Alt. LM8UU bearings have worked well for me in the past with my Reprap Prusa, but I like the aluminum extrusion frame used in the Kossel. The Kossel Alt frame on Thingaverse seems to be a good incorporation of both designs. I used 20mm extrusion from Mitsumi.
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Posted in Eletronics | 2 Comments

Mining on an R9 290 in Linux

Picked up a couple of the newer R9 290s to add to my mining rig recently and encountered a number of problems with the latest AMD/ATI drivers as well as cgminer.  It seems to be fairly common for the latest drivers to cause issues on both Linux and Windows .
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Posted in Linux | 22 Comments

Drawing Lissajous Curves on a Oscilloscope

Lissajous curves ( are two dimensional figures where the points (x,y) are defined by sine functions with different coefficients:

x = sin(t)
y = sin(at+b)
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Posted in Eletronics | 1 Comment

Element 14 XL_Star Review

Last week I received an Element 14 XL_Star board from Farnell/Newark. My condition for receiving this board was that I do a review. I must admit that I have been on a quest for the perfect controller board for a very long time. In my journey I have gone though pic microcontrollers, Parallax Basic Stamps, Arduinos and Arduino clones, TI MSP430s, mbed rapid prototyping and last the LeafLabs maple controller.
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Experiments With Audio Vacuum Tubes

Previously I tested a El84 using series of 9 volt batteries to generate the high B+ voltages. While it was very simple by nature, it still fell short of the desired voltages that are required to make a useful audio amplifier. Normally the solution to this problem is to use a step up transformer and rectify the mains current.  These transformers are not cheap, very heavy, and costly to ship, but above all I did not have one at the time. Another option is direct rectification of the mains AC. This technique has been used in radios of the past and is extremely dangerous! Without a fuse this circuit will draw as much current as you house will deliver.  Also the ground of the circuit will be directly coupled to the neutral of your home. If you use a non polarized plug or there is a mis-wiring of your outlets, the ground of your circuit would complete a direct 120v path with the “ground” of another circuit. So for initial testing I decided to go with a boost converter.
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Home made 555 timer from NPN and PNP transistors

Before the 555 contest was announced I was reading the free online book 50 555 Circuits from talking electronics. I was very amazed with how much could be done with the 555 timer. So I decided the best way to understand the 555 would be to try and build one. First I looked at some generic block diagrams and also the schematic diagram published in the National Semiconductor datasheet. After I understood the theory, I tested it out in my favorite circuit simulator by Paul Falstad. This program should be up to the task of simulating at a very high level.
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Posted in Eletronics | 5 Comments

Testing an El84 Vacuum Tube with 9v Batteries

I  have always been interested in vacuum tube amplifiers, however the high voltages from the mains has always kept me from experimenting with them. About a year ago I played with an low power tube the 1t4 in a regenerative receiver.  The B+ was set to 45V powered from an array of 9v batteries.  I decided to revisit an old guitar amplifier project I started in high school using an EL84 power pentode.
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Posted in Eletronics | 1 Comment

Laser Modem with an Arduino Microcontroller

This started when I ordered an IR led and phototransistor pair from Spark Fun along with some spare ATMega168 microcontrollers. I first experimented using the IR led to transmit 2400 baud serial to the phototransistor. I programmed my Arduino Diecimila with the sample serial program altering the baud rate and allowing it to run in a continuous loop.
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Posted in Eletronics | 4 Comments

Fractal Mountain Generation with Qt and OpenGL

The purpose of this project is to create 3d mountain terrain using a recursive midpoint displacement formula. For this project I decided a GUI would be useful, that way manipulations could be seen in real time. Continue reading

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Using a packet sniffer to track games/applications phoning home, and how to block them via the routing table or the hosts file

The other day I was trying to play an old game I bought some time ago on my LAN. I was just trying to enjoy a little cooperative bot killing fun with my buddy, but for some reason, the game kept telling me my ‘master key’ or something along those lines didn’t check out. Needless to say I wasn’t happy with it… I bought this game… and maybe I wasn’t supposed to play it on two machines at once… but at the very least I certainly didn’t want it phoning home for a simple LAN game, a game mode where no master server or internet should be required.
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Posted in Freedom | 2 Comments

Encoding an image to sound

The purpose of this project is to encode an image to a sound that can be viewed with a spectrogram. For some time I have known that musical artists have encoded pictures into their music. Most notable of these is artists is Aphex Twin. Luckily I had a copy of Windolicker and a great visualization program Sonic Visualiser. After looking at the images I decided it would be cool to try and encode my own images. I saw a few programs available, but decided it would be a better challenge to write my own program from scratch using Perl.
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Posted in Linux, Programming | 11 Comments

Class Serialization in Perl

Serialization in Perl is the process of saving a class with multiple data types to a scalar (string of bytes). This can be used to save objects to a file or to transmit objects across the Internet. For this article I am going to describe the basics of creating a class in Perl and serialize it using the following packages: Data::Dumper, FreezeThaw, PHP::Serialization, and XML::Dumper.
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Posted in Programming | 4 Comments

Data encryption in Linux using Truecrypt

Personal data security is often overlooked by many computer users today. As people use their computers more, they never stop to think about how much personal data is accessible on their hard drive. I have been looking for a safe and convenient way to deploy cryptology in Linux. So far Truecrypt has been the best choice. It is very convenient and cross platform. This story will show how to use it on Ubuntu Linux along with some basic data safety principals.
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Basic Stamp tokenizing and flashing from the Linux CLI

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Basic Stamp, its a small microcontroller available from Parallax. It runs at a whopping 20Mhz and has a full 2K of storage on board for instructions. Although it may not sound like much, its more than enough to program the stamp to do some interesting things. The Basic Stamp is programmed in PBASIC, parallax’s version of BASIC the stamp interprets.
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Posted in Eletronics, Linux | 1 Comment

AC Motor / Generator Project

This project started one night while I was lying in bed trying to visualize how an AC motor worked. I knew that it was different from a DC motor as in it did not require brushes and the speed was controlled by frequency instead of voltage. After some research I came up with this project to better my understanding of AC motors.
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Posted in Eletronics | 11 Comments