Monday, March 31, 2014

Custom Battlestation Computer Desk Design

This is a design that I previously submitted on Imgur / Reddit.


As with most of my designs this was the result of my annoyance with existing products on the market.  I wanted a much larger desk than most as I like to put a lot of stuff on it, and I wanted a keyboard tray wide enough to accommodate my CAD mouse and a super large mouse pad.  While I was at it I stuck in some integrated cord management and a little shelf for my active studio monitor speakers.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Darker than Black Hei's Dagger Replica Project

Metal Version Rev 2.5 + Sheath

Blade:  440C stainless steel, hardened, sharpened
Handle:  6061 aluminium, black anodized
Sheath:  3D printed (SLS) polyamide, spray-painted black

Rev 2.5 incorporates some minor feedback I had for my supplier on Rev 2; the core design remains the same.

This is an extra that I'm considering selling for around $400.  Just shoot me an email or something if you're interested in purchasing it.

This is probably the only blade that I'll make available for sale to the general public, and one of only four that I've had made so far.

Note that the tip on this particular blade didn't end up quite as sharp as the other blades I received.  It's still very pointy though.

My Shapeways Shop:  You can order a Nylon 12 / Polyamide 3D print here - this is my recommended material for the prop version thus far - note that you will need to sand and paint the part yourself which takes some skill.  (It seems that recently as of 7/8/2013 Shapeways is starting to refuse to print the actual dagger itself since it looks like a weapon even though they've printed it for me before.  You may need to take the model to another printer if you want one.)
My eBay Items:  I've currently sold all of the extra prop versions that I had laying around, but if I get additional requests I may get some more to list up here.

Project Overview
Not to be satisfied with other creations I've seen online, I set out to model Hei's dagger from Darker than Black with CAD so that I could have it accurately fabricated for me and easily reproducible.

Here's a rendering of the model I made - I used various screenshots and scans from the series as reference to make it look as authentic as possible.  The layouts that Volphin provides on his website were also a big help, though I did not follow them exactly and you can see the profile in my rendering is a bit different.
Photobucket
I am making a prop version that would be safe for bringing to events as well as a battle-ready metal version that Hei himself could use.  I've made the prop version an open design and anyone who wants it can download the model in .stl format at my shapeways shop.  If you want it in another CAD format shoot me an email and I can export it for you.

The metal version I made more or less exclusively for myself but if there are about 5-10 people that can commit to purchasing I could potentially make a batch order with my machinist.

Please post any thoughts you have in the comments below!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

HTC One Car Dock from ProClip

I was looking for a good car dock for my new HTC One to use in my 2008 BMW 328xi (E90) and came across the ProClip website:  https://www.proclipusa.com

You choose a mounting base that is custom designed for your car, in my case part number 853598.  This guy clips right on top of the AC vent and is incredibly easy to install.  Whether or not it'll be easy to remove in the future is another question but I won't need to worry about that for a while.

Another customized holder for your phone screws onto the mounting base, in my case 511524 for the HTC One.  (note that you can also choose options with integrated charging)

Once you have everything installed it looks like this:
 photo IMG_20130703_113631_zpsc54f0739.jpg

 photo PANO_20130703_113651_zps2da60b42.jpg

The grand total for both of these parts was $78.63 shipped which is quite pricey but at least in the future if you get a new phone you only need to buy the phone holder part.  The plastic used is extremely solid (feels like polyamide) and the phone is held very well while driving.  The mounting location is also almost perfect for me as it's easily within arms reach but doesn't block any of my view through the windshield or any of the buttons on the dashboard.

Overall this is a great product and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a nice phone car dock.  They have all sorts of solutions for nearly everybody so take a look at their website.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

ODAC Output Switcher

Yangorang's ODAC Output Switcher album on Photobucket
I wanted to use my ODAC as my central PC audio device so I needed it to be able to output to either 3.5mm (to headphone amplifier) or RCA jacks (to active monitor speakers), but I didn't want it outputting to both at the same time to prevent unnecessary loading. I ended up implementing a tiny little board that simply routes the audio signals through a 3PDT switch to either output jack. You can see what it looks like in the image gallery above. It doesn't exactly look elegant as I more or less just glued the board to the top of the ODAC case, but it gets the job done.

Monday, April 8, 2013

DIY OVC3860 Bluetooth Receiver / PKB-PCBA Evaluation Board

Introduction
Continuing on my quest to get good audio from my phone to my car's aux in I started playing around with bluetooth receiver modules.  The ElectroDragon PKB-PCBA caught my eye as a fairly easy to implement solution that offers potentially good quality for the price.  It uses the OVC3860 IC which I've heard good things about and also features a SGM4917 headphone amplifier IC which appears to be a fairly handy part with both integrated click/pop suppression and charge pump circuitry to generate it's own negative rail for producing a ground referenced output.  Many of the other similar boards I've seen use a basic opamp with a single supply and bulky capacitors at the output to get rid of the resulting DC offset.  I believe this is the main reason for their poor performance.

As with all of these Chinese made modules English documentation is sparse at best for the PKB-PCBA and ElectroDragon support was utterly useless as well when I tried to ask for more specifications.  Fortunately whoever designed the board had easy implementation as a goal and pretty much all you need to do to use this thing is just feed it power and get your audio output from it.  I don't know the exact schematic of the board but it probably looks similar to this application circuit for the BLK-MD-SPK-B which looks fairly solid to me.

If I wanted a more audiophile grade solution I could try to lay my own PCB using a Roving Networks / Microchip RN52 Bluetooth Audio Module with a TPA6138A2 from TI driving the output, but I don't have the equipment or experience needed to take measurements for optimizing the layout/performance of such a design and it's really just too much work for me.  My approach of using a highly integrated module saves a lot of time and still yield respectable performance.

Note that I tried the Griffin Technologies BlueTrip Aux (it is one of few commercial products low profile enough to plug-in inside my car's center compartment) before pursuing a DIY solution and found that the BlueTrip outputs a low volume signal with completely non-existent bass.  My music simply sounded so terrible that I returned the BlueTrip immediately after testing it.  The funny thing is that I was contacted by another BMW owner about my Amazon review who had the same issue with the BlueTrip so I know it isn't just me.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Mediasonic HFR2-SU3S2 RAID Enclosure Review & Fan Replacement

Introduction
The Mediasonic HFR2-SU3S2 is a nice little USB3.0/eSATA HW RAID box that's perfect for various storage applications. Personally I use it in RAID5 mode over USB3.0 with 4x SAMSUNG EcoGreen F4 ST2000DL004 2TB hard drives for backup and media storage.  It has been working for almost two years now without a single hiccup and even when a hard drive died it proceeded to reconstruct my array with a replacement drive without any problems.

The Mediasonic HFR2-SU3S2 has a reasonable MSRP of $199.99 but can often be found on Newegg with a rebate or promo code (or even both) which brings the price down to around $129.99.  This is a great price for a plug and play USB3.0 hardware RAID box.

Manufacturer Page: http://www.mediasonic.ca/product.php?id=1358153144
Newegg Page: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816322004


Yangorang's Mediasonic HFR2-SU3S2 album on Photobucket