Monday, February 9, 2015

Blog update

Well, college has started back up, and I'm busier than ever. (literally!)
I'm trying to keep something of a balance between social life and hobbies and studies and work.

Some of my friends may be interested to know that I'm taking a communications class. It's pretty easy so far, (unlike my other classes!) we'll see how it goes. It's also more fun so far.
I'm really busy this semester (so why am I posting on here?) I know, but at a certain point my brain tells me it's had enough math for a while, and if I want to stay sane I should do something else for a few minutes. So I'll take an opportunity to breath a little life back into my severely neglected blog.

Anyway, the blog broke 5000 views, yay!

Per request, stats, all time:

Clearly, looking at the pageview popularity, and then at what I'm posting, I'm not chasing pageviews enough ;) Anyway, I think it's interesting, and this is mostly just something I can look back at.

What's slightly interesting is that the Project Redwall blog has only been up for about a year, (wow, it's been a year already!?) and it has more views than this blog. It is updated a bit more regularly though, so that helps, and if you're interested in CG there's some useful / interesting stuff there.
We're getting some large-scale mock-ups that are starting to look pretty decent. Grass is a problem right now, but other parts are coming along, if slowly, and we have new ideas to test for grass too.

Quick speaker update: both sides are on, with handles, now the main thing to do is get the tweeter module built. I have some photos, but they're not accessible right now. I may insert those here later.
It sounds pretty good at this stage of construction. I've been running it with one tweeter while I've been working on it, and with a sub and EQ it's doing pretty well. Looking forward to getting it finished and giving it a workout outdoors. Now I just need to find people to pay me to use them...

In other news, I'm running the sound for CRU this semester! By the end of the semester I should have enough practice to be pretty decent. I'm also going to be overhauling my church's audio system soon, so that will be fun. Those are both volunteer positions / jobs though. I wish I had some photos from CRU to post here. I have some from an event last semester, but CRU already posted those. I'll have to see if I can start taking some at the general meetings.

That's all for who knows how long.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Speaker Progress 04

Long post coming. I took a lot of photos.
Something interesting to note about this speaker is that it sounds really quite good with EQ, even at this stage. Maybe I just didn't know how to equalize the other speaker, but I remembered it sounding much more harsh or tinny. The new speaker I could run full-range in a pinch. I'll have to do a side by side comparison sometime.

 Marking the side(s) for cutting. I wish jigsaws could cut straight...
I'm going to have to use a lot of elbow grease and sandpaper to get things straight.
I did just get a rasp, maybe I'll try that to save a few sheets of sandpaper.

Testing on a scrap piece of plywood first.

Tracing handle outline.

Measuring cutout

Routing cutout.

Routers make a lot of sawdust! These pictures don't even really capture how much.
That's the real reason safety glasses are a necessity. The router was blowing clouds of sawdust towards my face at times, without the glasses it would all have ended up in my eyes, and that has a tendency to stop progress for a while... Afterward I had to clean the glasses, they were really dirty.
Also, that was a blue jacket underneath all that sawdust...

Handle fits!

Nice even pilot holes.

I only put in the side screws because I'm not putting any weight on the handles yet, and I'll have to take them off again when I paint it.

For scale :)

I put most of the photos at the smallest default size to economize on space. Click for full size.
Again, I'm really looking forward to giving my system a chance to breathe outside with some decent volume. Even running the DR250 as a full range speaker I haven't gotten past 1V, and that was plenty. On my regular speakers (Polk Monitor 40's) I used to put a spare analog meter on them, and I would typically run up around the middle of the 5V range. There's a big efficiency difference!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Speaker Progress 03

The back of the speaker is on! It was something of an exercise in frustration, but I finally got everything glued and clamped up. Below, pre-bending in progress. I set it like that and left it for a day before I bent and glued it flush. It bent pretty nicely, I probably didn't need to pre-bend it, but it didn't hurt.

Next, actually gluing! (and nailing and screwing...)

In the bottom photo it's actually glued in place. I figured I'd leave the straps on until I get it trimmed up some more just for safety. 

Next: sides and tweeter module!


Figured I'd combine a few posts here.

A little late, but Christmas lights!

Classic warm white is my favorite type of Christmas light. I'm not a big fan of LED Christmas lights. There are some good ones,  but they're hard to find. Flickering electric blue really just isn't the feel I want for Christmas. Sorry for the poor quality photo, little handheld camera without a tripod, so I had to boost the ISO a lot to keep it from getting blurry. It's a pretty good point-and-shoot, but shots like this need a tripod. Good OIS is a wonderful thing, and my camera does have that.

Speaker progress:

Sides are on. Now I just have to make the front tweeter module,
cut, bend, and mount the curved back pieces, and put the sides on.
Crossovers are wired, (need to be rewired though) separate high pass and low pass. I've already been wiring it up just for fun, and it's very efficient. A Walkman can drive it to a comfortable general listening level with ease.

Computer stuff:

When a GPU doesn't fit... I think I'm going to build an external GPU box for it so it's not exposed. Another option would be cutting a slot in my hard drive cage so it would fit, but I only have 5 hard drive mounts, so I don't really want to give up any.
(There's usually 4, and I don't even want to think about how many partitions...)
Or I could get a new case, but I like this case, so I don't really want to do that.
I've been running external GPU's a lot recently simply because for various reasons, mostly because they're just too big and don't fit. Note the PCI-E (2.0) extender.
Why hasn't NVIDIA released a single slot 750 Ti ? It would be perfect for a multi-purpose server.
Dual graphics cards are great. I can set one to render, and one to display so I can do other things while it's rendering, and it hardly slows down any! Or if I want maximum speed I can set them both to render. for recent work.

The shed's almost done. Waiting for a thaw.

Speaking of snow and cold and all that, I usually don't mind cold much, but 30 degrees and 15mph constant wind can get cold really fast when you're not dressed for it. At work two rooftop heaters went out the other day, and I had to go up and check things out, also replaced the filters while I was up there. The snow and ice had gotten into something, so once things warmed up they came back... Seems like that's how things often work.

Break has been good, but I'm looking forward to getting back to college and seeing my friends. My schedule is going to be tough though. I have classes at 08:30 every day, and I'm not a morning person... Oh well, I'll survive.

In other news... How does a battery terminal get that corroded !?

When I was cleaning it up, the clamp was so corroded it just snapped, and I had to replace the whole thing.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


I don't draw much as I'm not very good at it, but every once in a while...

Playing around with Krita and a Wacom

And then I went crazy and tried all the brushes just for fun :)

Speaker Progress 02

Made some progress on the speaker, more photos:

Internals together:

Back braces. Bending plywood to fit this section is going to be interesting.

Glue applied, ready for a side.

Both internal sides on :)

Looking forward to having a matched set of mains. These will be awesome set up properly outside.

Shed Construction 01

Some more photos from construction of the shed:
Lots of lumber!


2x4's were a lot easier to unload than the plywood/pressboard/siding.

This is about a week behind, so I have a good bit more to come soon :)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Speaker progress 01

As mentioned recently, one of my projects is building a horn loaded speaker.
The design is a BillFitzMaurice DR250. (SPL charts)
I have one DR250 already, and once I finish this one my sound system will be much more complete.
Right now I'm running 2 Gemini 1204's (Cheap 12" mains) They put out sound, I won't say good sound, but adequate for most people's taste.
The DR250 sounds far better though, and if I didn't need to run in stereo I would use the one I have instead of the two others. It's also noticeably more efficient, which I care about more than most. For more on that, here's one of my favorite technical writers who can explain it much better:
He has many other good articles too.

Anyway, I've been taking photos, and I've got a few here:
Sorry for the terrible photo quality, I left my good camera at work, 
and while I really like my cell phone, its camera is not a strong point.

Lots of tweeters! I'm not a big fan of pizeo tweeters. They usually sound awful, but I'm using them because 1, they actually sound pretty decent when arrayed and properly EQ'ed. And 2, the horizontal dispersion is worth it. I have at least a 160 degree field of coverage on my working DR250 with no noticeable high frequency loss. My other speakers beam like crazy, probably covering 40 degrees.
I'm not really that unhappy with my mains, considering what I paid for them, I knew what I was getting, and they've held up reasonably too.

Custom jig to cut the tweeters:

 Marking the speaker mount for a center point. Pretty symmetrical.

Speaker mount finished cutting. I had to make a router jig for this too, as you can see in the photo below.

All marked up and ready to cut!

Partly cut, just need to get the middle section.

Figured I'd go with the scroll saw, it's easy to drill a hole big enough for the blade, and I think it actually cuts straighter than our jigsaw.

One more piece finished! Hopefully there aren't any mistakes, I don't want to have to cut this piece again!

This post probably wasn't of as much interest to other readers, but I wanted to have it on here kind of like a journal entry that I can look back at.

Just Projects

I'm glad to have a break, but I have plenty to do over the break.
My breaks always seem to be doing something else instead of not doing... Not that that's necessarily bad.

A couple of my projects:
Build a shed, 3 wardrobes, a horn loaded speaker, and A guitar tube amp.
Besides working on the Redwall Project, cleaning up my lab, and work.

I actually have some photos, so here are two:

Can anybody familiar with a compound bow spot the problem?
Second unrelated photo just because. It's my blog, so I should probably put some more photos of myself on here every once in a while, and I happened to have that one on hand.

More posts soon. I'll probably do one on the speaker next.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

My Backpack (contents)

So, after my first college semester, I thought maybe I should clean my backpack out, and while I'm at it, why not take a picture?

Just for fun, (I mean, now I actually have time to do this sort of thing...kind of..)
Here's a list

(Click for larger)
  1. Graphing calculator (Ti Nspire non-CAS)
  2. secret invention prototype demo in case
  3. Ethernet cable
  4. Velcro ties
  5. Fishing line
  6. VGA cable
  7. 1/8" to RCA cable
  8. Swimsuit
  9. Goggles
  10. Spare scantrons
  11. Laptop
  12. USB power plug
  13. Broken combination lock (used on a project as a weight)
  14.  Dual screwdriver
  15. Outlet strip
  16. Econ textbook
  17. Headphones (Sennheiser HD280 Pro)
  18. Cable tester
  19. HD video camera
  20. Non-graphing calculator
  21. Whiteboard pen
  22. Spare laptop battery
  23. Automatic wire strippers
  24. SPL meter
  25. Scissiors
  26. Slide rule (yes, I have used it in class on a test :)
  27. Flashlight
  28. Radio
  29. Traffic cone (goes on flashlight for directing traffic)
  30. spare AA batteries
  31. Dynamic mic
  32. Pencils
  33. Compass case
  34. Compass
  35. Spare cell phone battery
  36. Computer mouse
  37. Alligator clips
  38. Bible
  39. Notebooks (you can't tell, but there are 4, and one has three sections)
  40. Granola bars
  41. An inch worth of old tests, notes, etc.
  42. US Constitution, Declaration of Independance, and the Articles of Confederation
  43. Antenna
  44. SDR (Software Defined Radio)
  45. USB power plug
  46. USB current meter
  47. 16GB USB 3.0 flash drive
  48. Sharpie
  49. Deodorant
  50. Laptop charger
  51. Another spare cell phone battery
  52. Clear demo lock
  53. Rugged, waterproof 64GB USB 3.0 USB drive
  54. Pen I got at orientation that I use for all my notes
  55. Earplugs
  56. Charging cables and headphone splitter adapter
  57. Calculus textbook
I usually also keep a rechargeable bluetooth speaker in my backpack, but on an average day this is about what I would have.
On the list, items 33 and 34 should probably be combined, as should 35 and 51.
And the little dot above the compass I forgot to label is a 1/4" to 1/8" stereo adapter

Overkill? Yeah, maybe, but it's nice if I need something, I usually just have it right there...4 layers down ;)
Oh, what does it weigh? Not sure exactly, but around 30lbs, so maybe half what a standard military pack would weigh. I must say though, when I take it off, I go a little quicker, especially up stairs ;)

Happy Holidays everyone!