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Archive for 2015

Tricks for fast Bluetooth LE data transfers

I’ve been using the Adafruit LE friend to do some data transfer tests. With the basic setup, I was sending 1 kB of data in about 9.5 to 10 seconds. That is horribly slow! About 100 bytes per second.  I did some research and found a couple of good links. This link about BLE discusses using the Nordic nRF chip and mbed to send data to a peripheral (i.e.: from the computer to the device). This link about sending data from the peripheral has some good tips when going in the other direction.   I gave up trying to get the Adafruit LE friend to be... [read more]


Adafruit Bluetooth LE SPI “Friend” with data loss and stalls (infinite loops)

I’m working on adding bluetooth support to my LED cyr wheel.  A long time ago I picked up an Adafruit nRF8001 breakout board — I was worried it was too big to fit in my wheel, and once I started working with it I realized it sucked. Specifically, the API was limiting; you couldn’t even set the peripheral’s name to something longer than 8 characters! Luckily they now have an “Bluefruit SPI Friend”, so I got one of those. Well, I ended up accidentally getting two. The first one I had sent via USPS, and it took 3 weeks to arrive!... [read more]


Utility sink counter top: The Sculpin IPA Counter

I wanted to touch up some of the areas next to my newly remodeled bathroom, and the laundry room needed a new utility sink. The plastic piece of crap I had was junk and I couldn’t find anything that would fit in the space I need. So, I made a custom cabinet, and planned on a nice concrete counter top similar to my last one.  This time I decided to do a more complex mold: I did a 3D design in Sketchup and made a template to go off of (based on my real top). The above shot is what... [read more]


The Electric Bug Chronicles: Yeah, those skid marks on Highway 85 are mine…

Oh boy… My bug needed new brake pads. I go through them crazy fast, as I drive down the famous “Highway 17” on a daily basis and my car doesn’t do any re-gen braking. This means I “ride the brakes” the whole way down. About a month ago the car started pulling hard to the left, so I popped the front tires off and the front right pad was way worn down. I ordered a new set from CIP1 (accidentally ordering the wrong ones first…) and put them on one evening 30 minutes or so before I had to go... [read more]


The Electric Bug Chronicles: Cops.

Stories from the driver’s seat. I have been pulled over at least ten times by the cops. It has become less frequent the past two years, although part of the reason is probably because I didn’t get to drive the bug a lot for the past year due to transmission trouble. I can recognize when it is going to happen, and let me share some of my favorite stories.   One time I was driving home on Highway 85 in the carpool lane. A cop pulls in the lane behind me, and starts tailgating me. Now, his lights aren’t on,... [read more]


The Electric Bug Chronicles: You’re kicked out!

Stories from the driver’s seat. So, this happened about three years ago. I was driving the bug to the Summit Store in the Santa Cruz mountains, and pulled into the parking lot. It was a hot day, and my “air conditioning” is just a matter of rolling the windows down. Some guy was staring at me as I pulled in and gave a yell: “HEY! That doesn’t sound right — they are going to kick you out of the VW club!”. Hah! Yeah, vee-dubs have a distinctive sound and my car lacks it. I still plan to add a jetson... [read more]


The Electric Bug Chronicles: Hey, Don’t Pull Him Over!

Stories from the driver’s seat. In the past four or five years I have been pulled over by cops a lot. I always get set on my way without a ticket; so far I haven’t been caught for speeding.   One day, about two or three years ago, I was driving along on Highway 85 in the carpool lane. A cop pops behind me, and I know the drill before it happens: they are going to turn on their lights and pull me over. They do. As soon as they walk up to my window I hand them a little... [read more]


The Electric Bug Chronicles: F – You

Stories from the driver’s seat. This is something that happened about four years ago, and the picture below is from 2011.    The California HOV white stickers: the privilege to drive solo in the carpool lane during rush hour is very mjuch coveted by EV drivers. Back in 2011 it was a time when the yellow hybrid stickers had already expired, and people would only occasionally see a Tesla Roadster, and even less frequently a boxy EV RAV4 (unless your last name is Adelman). So, I was driving solo the carpool lane on Highway 85 one day, and a motorcycle... [read more]


The Electric Bug Chronicles: Window down

Stories from the driver’s seat. It was quite chilly out as I was driving home on 17 yesterday in the fast lane. I was surprised to see a guy in a red BMW with his window fully rolled down driving in the right lane and zipping past me a bit. He slowed down, and cranked his head out the window, pointing his ear at my car as I passed by. He then sped up and gave me a big thumbs up. He must have saw my carpool lane stickers, and was leaning out to “hear” how quiet my car is!... [read more]


Bathroom Vanity / Remodel

A “walk around” video of my vanity: I’m super happy with how it turned out! A nice eco friendly concrete countertop:


Aqua Coat water based wood finish on my utility cabinet

The next project after my bathroom vanity is a small utility sink cabinet made out of hard maple. Serendipitously I got a message from Aqua Coat asking to review their water based coating right when I had just finished putting the cabinet together. I am a big fan of water based coatings because they are eco-friendly. When you spray traditional coatings they emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which are bad for the environment and highly volatile. Water based coatings like Aqua Coat won’t combust, and are generally safer for the person who has to work with them. Aqua Coat sent... [read more]


Bathroom Vanity: Completed!

My bathroom vanity is complete! This is a picture before I fixed the sink on. I originally had a different more square sink, but it was simply too white. This sink is an off white basque / biscuit / almond type of color, and doesn’t stand out as much against the light green counter top. Things are now done and it is working well! That’s me in the mirror. I’ll post a walk around video soon.


New domain for cyr wheel stuff!

I now have http://www.rouecyr.org that redirects to my Circus/Cyr Wheel blog section. Cool!


Purple Unicycle

My friend Patricia wanted a purple unicycle to match her brother Scott’s frame. Scott has my old KH26 that I painted purple back in 2010. Just like last time, I did a coat of Chrome, and as soon as it was out of the oven I shot it with purple and put it back in for 20 more minutes.  


Plug Bug: Try 3 with the transmission

I really miss driving my electric bug. It has basically been out of commission for an entire year. I probably squeezed out around 1000 miles on the rebuilt transmission I got late last year, but as I mentioned on  y last post I’ve been having some trouble. The general gist I get from people is that the alignment of the main input shaft with the motor is off. This causes the shaft to vibrant around and make the main shaft seal leak oil. So I pulled the motor/transmission from the car (yet again — something like the 5th or 6th time... [read more]


Bathroom Vanity: Counter Top (part II)

Some pictures of it roughly installed:    THE SPROCKET EMBEDDED!


Bathroom vanity: counter top

The project continues with a nice counter top. I wanted to go for concrete as I’m fascinated by it, and got two concrete counter top books by Cheng and some premixed stuff from his website (more on this later) Based on the books, I built a template – but I used cardboard since I had it laying around: I built a mold based off information from the books. Sprayed some sticky stuff on it, and tossed down a bunch of aggregate that I also got from Cheng’s site. Notice the custom side inlay on the far side; a bike sprocket piece!... [read more]


Custom Dragon Unicycle – powder coating and lettering

My unicycle friend Dragon has just started college at UCSC and needed a 29er to get around. I fixed up an old 29’er that I had around. The frame was chromed steel, so I did some easy cleanup on it with acetone and a wire wheel: el I put on some high temp tape and printed out DRAGON on some paper. I taped it over the high temp tape: I carefully cut it out with a sharp exacto:    Then peeled the tape away:   Sprayed it with powder and did a gradient fade:     I baked it and... [read more]


Tesla OS 7 has serious usability problems combined with a hit from the ugly stick

October 15th, 2015: Tesla released their OS version 7 – featuring Autopilot. A self driving car, who wouldn’t want to update? Well, I wish I hadn’t and I want to downgrade. The instrument panel is now very difficult to get the information I care the most about. Here is a screen shot of the car stopped at a light behind another car:   I get it. Tesla is trying to make the car the center of the universe and show you your surroundings. The side lane indicators turn from the a light gray to a white to indicate when you... [read more]


Bathroom vanity: woodworking/finishing completed

I’ve had the bathroom vanity completed, and I’ve been behind on posting progress. Some of the finishing setup: After finishing, I screwed the drawer fronts on: It is now sitting in my bathroom and I’m working on a concrete counter top!


Bug transmission down again :(

Sadly, my transmission saga continues. My rebuilt transmission from MOFOCO was slowly leaking oil from the main shaft. I had took it out…and tried to see if there were any problems. A few months ago before vacation I made sure the pilot bearing was in the right spot (or where I thought was the right spot), and put it back together. It still leaked oil, but I just continued to drive it. Right before my last trip it started slipping — this was no surprise, as I knew the clutch pad would eventually get some oil on it. So, back... [read more]


Photography: Portovenere window (v1)

Some windows in Portovenre, Italy. The first of two. The framing is cool.   


Photography: Classic Manarola, Cinque Terre

When people think of Cinque Terre they frequently get an image of the town Manarola. I’d like to cleanup the lens flare in the pictures below, especially the second. The day had few clouds, so the contrast isn’t as striking as I’d like. The hike to here was lots of fun, and quite challenging.    


Photography: Vernazza Italy

 A view of Vernazza, in Cinque Terre Italy. This isn’t an HDR; it is a single RAW file that I manipulated a bit to make it look more vibrant and pleasing. I enjoy how the town is jetting out to the center of the photo, but also like the flag that sort of takes your eye away from the background. There is some slight lens flare around the castle on the peninsula that I need to clean up.


Photography: Boats in Portovenere, Italy

Here are a set of boats in Portovenere, Italy. A wonderful town that wasn’t as touristy as Cinque Terre, and not as bustling as the much larger La Spezia. We had taken a train from Camogli to La Spezia and then a boat over to Portovenre. While walking along I thought the boats would make a great picture; but the sun was too bright, and casting too many shadows over the town itself. An HDR can help pull out details from the shadows, but I decided to give it a blue overtone and make it feel more wispy.  The first picture... [read more]


Photography: Cinque Terre Boats in Manarola, Italy

I decided to go old-style with this boat photo from Manarola, Italy — one of the “Cinque Terre” towns on the Italian west coast.   


Photography: Camogli Beaches

The beaches in Camogli are small round rocks. I really enjoy them more than sandy beaches. I hate how sand gets everywhere. It gets in your shoes, your shorts, your hair and just feels gritty. The small stones aren’t as comfy to lay on, but I really enjoy not having to deal with sand.  In the first picture you can see some faux whale/dolphin animals that were made for an upcoming communication festival.    


Photography: Camogli, Italy – View From the Castle

I’ve been visiting Camogli quite a bit with Costanza, since her family has a history of vacationing in the small Italian seaside town. I captured quite a few pictures that I’m happy with, and here is the first of a series. Camogli, as seen from the castle. I climbed up a dilapidated set of stairs that led to a long ago bricked over door, and took this hand-held HDR picture composed of 5 exposures.


New Geared 36 unicycle wheel build

My geared 36 unicycle was breaking spokes nearly every ride. I’ve rebuilt the wheel with the same spokes quite a few times over the years. I would have to rebuild it when the hub failed or had some problem that caused me to send it back to Switzerland. Or simply because I was learning how to build wheels myself, and didn’t really know what I was doing (that was the first wheel build). Here is a time lapse taken with my iPhone 6 of me lacing the wheel:   I also replaced the brake pads with a new organic pad... [read more]


Bathroom Vanity: Sanded, and starting to finish

I finished up the drawers. I used the Bessey clamps to keep things straight and tight, and also to pull close any gaps on the end: After that, some still had some tiny gaps…I mixed some sawdust and glue together and filled them with that. Then everything was sanded with 150 and 200 grit paper: And the first coat of water based polyurethane: I was having trouble getting it to spray to the thickness I wanted. I think I’ll let this first coat dry overnight and sand it down with 200 to knock off high spots.



(c) 2008-2017 Corbin Dunn

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