Wall sconce spacer/shim

Wall sconce spacer/shim

On the wall and ready to go.

This past spring we bought new wall sconces to install on the exterior of our house. Unfortunately, the one in the back didn’t sit flush against the wood siding, due in part to the mounting tabs on the electrical box in the wall.

I wanted a spacer that would put the light a little further from the mounting plate, and have a cutout for part of the electrical box that was outside of the edge of the light. I also wanted to ensure it would stay in place.

The diameter of the plate that attached to the wall was measured, along with the inside height and width of the light. Additionally, I measured the outside width and height of the light and added a little buffer – this would form the shelf that the light would actually sit on.

A small notch was left in the bottom so that any moisture that might get behind everything could drain. Another notch was left in the top to accommodate the bracket already on the wall.

After cutting everything on the laser cutter, it was assembled with some Gorilla Glue, and then painted.

Everything fit as planned, and the large gap in the top was sealed with outdoor caulk.

Fundraising keychain prototypes and variations

Fundraising keychain prototypes and variations

Laser cut keychain prototypesNova Labs will soon launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the new space. As part of the team preparing for it, I created several prototypes for laser-cut acrylic keychains to be offered as backer rewards at the lower levels. In not much time, I was able to make several variations on the Nova Labs logo, including engravings, cut out parts, different shapes, etc.

In the end, we decided to go with the more practical (and more durable due to fewer cutouts) version that includes an engraved ruler on the back.

These were cut out of 1/8″ acrylic, purchased from Delvie’s Plastics.

Check out the campaign, due to launch in early March, 2015!

Laser engraved keychain tag
Engraved Nova Labs logo keychain tag.
Keychain tag ruler
Back of the keychain tag, showing a ruler with mm and imperial scales (1/8″).

Office ‘privacy please’ sign

The Doc sign closeupOur office recently converted a small room for making phone calls (given our relatively open floor plan) into a space called “The Doc”. Here you could video-chat with a doctor or RN in lieu of going to your general practitioner for basic diagnoses.

We added frosted window film to the door for privacy, but the sliding barn-doors didn’t have a lock. A double-sided sign with some velcro tabs was created to indicate if the room was occupied or not, but it wasn’t terribly attractive.

The Doc original 'privacy' sign
The original sign created to indicate if the room was occupied or not.

I was inspired by the way a porta john or airplane lav has a visible ‘occupied’ indicator. Mine would be circular to match the look of the logo for the company’s wellness program, with a cutout for some fun text to say ‘come on in’ and ‘unless you want to see my rash, stay out’ (ok, not exactly those words).

As you can see from the file below, I tried to make a complicated detent to lock the indicator at each end of its travel. In practice, there was plenty of friction between the layers of material to not require this. Also, after about 2 months of being in use, part of it broke allowing the dial to rotate past ‘Privacy please’ a little bit. I eliminated this detail on the extra four I made for our other offices.

The crescent shape was glued between the solid back circle and engraved/cut top circle.

The center axle was a push pin stuck through the back and word/dial layer, which then had the plastic part cut off with a Dremel. I had laser cut tiny circles on each of those two layers so I knew everything would line up.

The Doc artwork and pieces.
Art files used for The Doc privacy sign, and the 4 cut components. Zoom to see the over-engineered detent for locking the dial.
The Doc sign installed
The Doc privacy sign installed.
Signs for other office locations
Four signs for other offices made a few months after the prototype. The detent system was eliminated as there was enough friction to hold the sign steady.

Camera Slider Controller – Sneak Peek

Camera Slider - In ProgressFor several months, I’ve been working on creating a controller board for driving a stepper motor along a single-axis. AKA, a motorized camera slider!

While the overall project is over 2 years in the works at this point (it started being driven by a Lego Mindstorms NXT), this is a quick preview of its current configuration.

Stay tuned for much more on this project!

Christmas Tree cut outs – decorated version

Finished Christmas Decorations

The big plan for the Christmas Trees from early December was to let my kids decorate them. We later decided to give them to all of the grandparents for Christmas; I was able to snap a few photos before we wrapped them and hit the holiday road.

Here they are. I’ll let you guess which one the toddler decorated, vs the 4-year-old!


Finished Christmas Decorations Finished Christmas Decorations