Desktop Power Supply Hack

I received this wooden tool chest as a bonus for buying some old furniture from an out-of-business machine shop. It was sitting around for a while and I didn’t know what to do with it. I had the idea that it would be cool for something and, in full pack-rat mentality, I’d hung on to it for several years.

A fair amount of my recent projects have been what you might call stupidly-attentive-to-detail. I’ve usually obsessed about having every wire cut to length and soldered perfectly. I have delayed a project while I waited for that one perfect $2.00 part to arrive in the mail. I realized this was queuing up my project list and creating quite a bit of frustration. I was actually not getting any enjoyment from side projects. So, I decided to have a little hack project and get something running in a single evening.

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American Sign Language Recognition System

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This project was part of my Carnegie Mellon University graduate coursework. The project spanned two courses: Computer Vision and Machine Learning. I worked in a team with Justin Farrell and Matt Eicholtz. Our Matlab code is available on my GitHub page. Feel free to use it and take what you need. If you do we only ask that you reference our efforts (and the effort of those who we relied on). You can get some more information from our poster.

Poster
GitHub repository
Paper (for Machine Learning course)

Machining and Anodizing

To use the CMU machine shop full time, I had to take a small course on machining. The class was straight forward, and I knew about 75% of what was taught. I did learn a lot though and picked up some new tricks. We learned the main concepts through two small projects, a pencil holder and a plumb-bob, performing the cutting operations ourselves. Once the skill was demonstrated, we moved on, so most people didn’t finish the projects. However, I spent a little time after class putting the finishing touches on the parts. I’ve machined a million parts for previous jobs but never had the opportunity to display them. While these two parts are pretty basic and not a good indicator of my skill level, I thought it would be fun to “do it right”.


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CMU Mechatronics Project: Multi-shot Cannon

The challenge
Design and build a machine that fires Nerf foam balls and hits static and moving targets with great accuracy and speed.

The team
Four engineers joined forces to accept the challenge.

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Justin Farrell (firing), Melvin Rayappa (vision, coding), Jason Atwood (system integration), and Rachel Jackson (loading, aiming)

The machine

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Figure 1. Depiction of overall mechatronic system with key components highlighted.

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