Tag Archives: projects

PIC Programmer & Experiment Board

A few weeks ago I reignited my electronics hobby by purchasing a couple of “put it together kits” that were on clearance at RadioShack. The first kit I tackled was the Velleman K8048 PIC Programmer & Experiment Board.

Velleman K8048 PIC Programmer & Experiment

Velleman K8048 PIC Programmer & Experiment

I’ve played with microcontrollers/PICs in the past, specifically the Parallax BASIC Stamp 2.

Its an exxcellent kit for the novice at a reasonable price.

Parralex BASIC Stamp Activity Kit

Parrallex BASIC Stamp Activity Kit

Soldering the components on the Velleman K8048 board isn’t that difficult. If you don’t have experience soldering I highly recommend that you watch a few YouTube videos and practice with a few wires.

TIP: Solder likes to flow toward the hottest area.

After I had completed the kit I went to my drawer of power supplies to locate a 12v unregulated or 15v regulated DC output power supply. Out of the 20 or so power supplies none of them met the requirements. I figured I could either buy a new one or have some fun in building a variable output power supply.

My next posting will be part one of several covering my experiences with designing and building my power supply.

 

 

 

Shelf Over Washer and Dryer

This isn’t a major project but very useful. The shelf is a 1×10. I used my sawhorses and Porter Cable 7-1/4″ circular saw to cut it to length. I offered to stain it but my wife liked the natural color.  I didn’t want the shelf to be permanent nor do excessive damage to the drywall so I used #12 2-1/2″ finishing nails around the perimeter for the board to sit on.

Simple 1x10 shelf

Simple 1×10 shelf

Raised Flower Bed

When we moved into our house the fenced-in backyard was in rough shape. There were two large bare areas each about the size of a 4×8 sheet of plywood. I spent one afternoon working garden soil into the areas and reseeded the yard. I watered the yard each day for the next 3 weeks and nothing was growing in these bare areas; not even weeds. My wife and I brainstormed our options. We both hypothesized that the area must have been contaminated by construction materials so whatever we did it we would want a little separation.  Therefore we came up with the idea of creating a 5×9 raised flower bed.

5x9 raised flower bed w/o flowers

5×9 raised flower bed w/o flowers

Building the flower bed wasn’t hard with the help of my wife to hold the frame up while I attached the boards together. I bought 3 – 2x10x10 pressure treated boards. I cut 1 board in half and cut off 12″ from the other two. Used 3-1/2″ exterior wood screws to secure the corners of the boards. Once all four corners were secure I used scraps of 2x4s approx 16″ long to brace the corners and keep everything square. Additionally the braces double to up to accommodate for the uneven ground thus keeping the top of the boards level.

Finished Product

Raised Flower Bed with Flowers

Raised Flower Bed with Flowers

Recent Picture (08 July 2013)

Picture taken 08 July 2013

Picture taken 08 July 2013 – We have squirrels and chipmunks/ground squirrels so I added the corn platform.

 

Outtake

Working in the Rain

Our spring weather has made certain projects challenging.

 

Sawhorses

Growing up in Iowa I took part in many useful actives such as gardening, farming, metal working, fixing mechanical items, etc. However, woodworking/carpentry was one area that I didn’t explore. I don’t know why. I had the opportunities to learn from the best. My uncle, Randy, is an incredible and respected craftsman who has been in the carpentry business over 35 years. He’s done it all. Anyways, I figured now would be a good time as any to start this journey and why not start with something simple, useful, and fundamental – sawhorses.

Helpful Tools

  • Sawhorse plans – A Google search will turn up several hundred results. I chose the I-beam simply because I liked its looks.
  • Saw – I chose to purchase the simple and versatile 7-1/4″ circular saw (Porter Cable)
  • 15 amp extension cord
  • 3″ wood screws
  • Square
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Phillips screw driver – I chose to purchase a cordless drill (Porter Cable 20v)
  • Eye and ear protection

The amount of wood is dependent on the plans. The trick is to plan your cuts ahead of time so you can minimize the waste and costs.

Tools and Materials Used

untreated 2x4s, cordless drill, ear and eye protection, plans, pencil, 3″ wood screws, 7-1/4″ circular saw, 15 amp extension cord, square

Finished Product

Finished Sawhorses

Set of sawhorses using untreated 2x4s

Postmortem

If anyone is looking to jump into woodworking I highly suggest starting with sawhorses. It’s a small project that can be finished within 90 minutes. Additionally, it’s one of those projects that if you make a mistake it’s not a costly one. A 2x4x10 even pressure treated is less than $5.

There are two small items that I will change the next time I build a set. The first one is to make sure the plans are for stackable sawhorses. The other item is to adjust the height of the sawhorses to match my height vs the average height.

Lastly, once you have the sawhorses built you can graduate to larger projects, such as a flower box, that will put your sawhorses to good use.