Working with wood

I have recently started toying witth the idea of creating stuff using timber. Previously, due to lack of space and for the shake of my marriage, I refrained from working with timber. No matter how I tried to spin it, there is not enough space in an one-bed flat for wood-working… Now I have a workshop, so I was finally able to experiment with wood.

 

My first creation was a simple shoe rack. Nothing really fancy, but functional. The aim was to simply take the necessary measurements and come up with a decent design that we could use for the shoes that pile up on the door by the conservatory.

(Design photos)

 

The actual construction was simple. I used screws to hold everything together, instead of proper joints, but for the purpose it will fit, it does the job.

(Photo of shoerack, no paint)

 

After I finished putting the pieces together, I started thinking about the colour. I bought a few products and tried them on small pieces. I don't think I used all products properly (i.e. I did not do multiple coats and proper application) and I found that the easiest product to handle as a beginner was the varnish:

(Photos of samples)

 

In the end, I got a beech colour varnish to finish off the job. This allowed me to have a great finish:

(Final result)

 

As an add-on, I put together a simple umbrella stand, which can be added to the side and create a simple, custom-made solution to the problem we had in our conservatory.

(Umbrella stand picture)

 

With the umbrella stand, I only used glue to put the pieces together.

I only used an electric jigsaw to cut the pieces to size. Te cuts were not as clean and straight as I would have liked. I have now ordered a circular saw, which will hopefully help me get better results in my next project.

In my next project, I intend to create proper joints to keep the construction together. Baby steps…

dashing.io

This is just a note to thyself about a fantastic project I stumbled upon by chance today.

 

dashing.io

 

This project allows the user to build nice and user-friendly dashboards easily. I'll be using it soon for a couple of projects I have in mind.

DS1307 RTC chip from Adafruit

RaspberryPi is a great budget computer. To keep the cost of the unit down, there is no real time clock. This is usually taken care of by the software: the operating system gets the accurate date-time automatically from one of the time servers.
When a RaspberryPi is kept offline but accurate time keeping is needed, an RTC is required. I needed one for Theodora's music box, as I wanted it to play a Happy Birthday tune on her birthday. To do this, I added an RTC module from Adafruit.

I got this unit from Oomlout.co.uk. It's a simple kit, which only takes a few minutes to solder together. Read the adafruit instructions carefully. Note that the resistors are not required for the RPi.

Using the unit in linux is surprisingly straight forward. You can basically read and write the time to this unit from the command line.

The battery should last for at least 10 years!

 

Theodora’s Music Box

This is a short video of a project I completed last month: a music box for my goddaughter.

This music box was put together using a Lego storage box, a raspberrypi B+ and a speaker, along with a few MP3s of original music box sounds and lullabies.

Python and a few bash scripts took care of the software side of things.

I’ll add some code at a later stage.

Python and PDF

Here is an example of how to merge the first pages of a number of pdf pages into a single file.

I wrote this script, because I needed to print the first page of 200 individual files and I didn’t really want to open each one manually…

 

import os.path, pyPdf
from os import walk
 
output = pyPdf.PdfFileWriter()
original = "c:\\original\\folder\\"
f = []
 
for (dirpath, dirnames, filenames) in walk(original): f.extend(filenames)
 
for eachfile in filenames: 
	ffile = original + "\\" + eachfile
 
	if "pdf" in eachfile:
		pdf = pyPdf.PdfFileReader(open(ffile, "rb"))
		output.addPage(pdf.getPage(0))
	print ffile
 
outputStream = open("c:\\out.pdf", "wb")
output.write(outputStream)
outputStream.close()

Simple File Rename script in Python

import os
indir = 'c:\\datafilepath\\'

for filename in os.listdir(indir):
	if filename.startswith("xyz_"):
		newname = filename.replace("xyz_","abc_")
		try: 
			os.rename(indir + filename, indir + newname)
			print "[NEW]", filename, "-->", newname
		
		except:
			print "[OLD]", filename, "-->", newname