My lovely girlfriend is a gigantic Doctor Who fan, so for her birthday I decided to make her a gift acknowledging our shared geekery. I edited the fantastic lasercut TARDIS design posted on Thingiverse to suit my needs a bit and got to work!
Blue spray paint and non-toxic shellac worked very well for the color and seal.
For the final version I scuffed the LED atop the box to diffuse the light a bit.
Yes, a Baby Orangutan is a little overkill to make an LED blink, but it’s what I had on hand. A reed switch in series with the battery and glued inside the lid matches matches up with a small magnet inside the body of the TARDIS. When the lid is placed in the correct orientation, the switch closes and turns on the LED.
The gift was well-received, particularly as I filled it with her favorite M&Ms.
Now that we’ve wrapped up Technique 2012 (the latest edition of MIT’s yearbook – you should buy one!) I’ve started collecting all my old photographs from the yearbook servers. There are lots of events that I never properly examined, so it’s been a fun experience to go through four years worth of images and find all the old gems.
For a start, here are some shots from when I was a Lab Assistant for 2.007 – that’s MIT’s introductory design and robotics course for mechanical engineers.
This past Thursday featured an event called A Day in the Life of MIT – an event I helped organize. The photographers uploaded nearly 3000 pictures (as of this afternoon) documenting all facets of MIT life.
In keeping with the theme of photographic exploration, I decided to experiment a little with bokeh photography. After a brief test with an extremely boring triangular aperture, I quickly moved on to a much more aggressive cut:
I got some interesting stuff, in spite of the fact that it was literally impossible to focus with that cap in place. I didn’t have the tripod or the patience to remove the cap, focus, and replace the cap before taking each picture, but you can see what I managed below.
I received a puzzle box as a gift a few years ago, and I liked it so much that I’ve been trying to make my own. My word-working skills are fairly rudimentary but luckily my lasercutting skills are top-notch!
This box is about as simple as they come; it’s a modified version of Bruce Viney’s Cubey box that is double the size but still uses 1/8″ plywood.
So I cut the box out, glued it all together, played with it – good times, but as I already have plenty of hidey-holes it was a little purposeless. Last night, however, I realized that with classes starting again I needed a new place to stash my alarm clock to prevent my AM-self from turning it off too quickly and falling back asleep.
It’s a little cruel to early-morning Nick, but that guy’s a jerk.
The double-whammy of not much sleep and a blood donation left me fairly loopy this afternoon. Once I determined I was incapable of completing any actual work, I decided to mess around with the etching capabilities of my lab’s laser cutter (as an alternative to the time-consuming but very distinctive etching I’ve done before).
My friend Laura is a biology major who loves gifts and keychains, so I went for a threefer!
Stay tuned for more experimentations with varying power and etch depth.
This Memorial Day weekend I travelled down to Shippenville, PA, as the semi-official photographer for a wedding! I say semi-official because I made no claims as to my talent, and was in fact volunteered by my friend (and daughter of the groom) Laura.
Self-effacement aside, I think I took some very wonderful pictures. I’ve included a few of my favorites below, and you can see the rest in this Flickr set.
I’ve had these 3/8″ acrylic disks sitting in my cruft boxes for a few years now – they were the excess material from a waterjetted 2.670 robot part, and naturally my packrat nature kicked in when the professor offered them up for free. I immediately had the idea to etch patterns into the surface that would glow when the disks were edge-lit, but lacked a dremel or any workable knowledge of g-code to make the CNC mills do my bidding. My alternative effort to use a hand drill with an ordinary drill bit as dremel failed spectacularly, so I shelved the project.
Recently, however, I discovered that the CNC mill at the hobby shop can take DXFs directly! Thus, my CNC DIY etched lighting lives again. I’ll eventually make 5 or 6 of these and string them along my walls for ambient lighting, but I wanted to show off the first two out of the etcher.