A little carpentry never hurt anyone.

The wife wanted a shelf on the counter top for spices and such. And while I was at it could I remove the Lousy Susans and put a shelf there too?

Sure! Why not. Doesn’t have to be fancy and doesn’t have to impress anybody. I can do that.

DSC03287 Problem number 1 (Lot’s more where they came from)

DSC03288 Problem number 2 (stuff always falling off and jamming the carousels)


DSC03290 DSC03289 Always good to have a plan. Grid Paper
Not that I’ll use it much.

I’ve got my dimensions and have a solution. Time to get wood and go to PaxSpace!


DSC03291 I purchase some cheap pine at Lowe’s. Could have bought red oak, which would match the cabinets, but at $50+ per board? No thanks. Could have sawn some red oak in the back 40, but would have to wait 6 months or more for it to dry. Wife won’t wait that long. So, cheap pine it is.

DSC03292 I got my first pieces cut. Jim Shelton (former President of PaxSpace) walked over and asked perplexed “You cut that with a hand saw?” (notice the table saw in the background?)

Yes, Jim I did. Why? Because I can! It helps to keep rust from building up on my trusty Craftsman handsaw.


DSC03293 So I don’t forget. It helps to know this.


I made my marks for my dado to give a little more strength to the shelf.



DSC03295 I was going to hand saw and chisel the dado, but I forgot my chisel. I’m on a tight time frame here! (not really) So, adjust the table saw to correct depth. 1/4″ looks about right.


DSC03296 A bunch of passes over the saw blade yielded this.

DSC03297 And then this.


DSC03298 DSC03299 My first shelf built.


DSC03300 So the next shelf needed two short legs.
I cheated and used the 12″ band saw to cut the legs (because I can)
and I’ll hand saw for the final big length cut.


DSC03301  I have a set of drill/countersink bits for several size wood screws. Of course when I want to countersink the holes to do this project I couldn’t find the right one . While I was at Lowe’s I was going to buy another bit or even a kit like last time. I have at least 5 of everything (no, really), but am lucky to find one when I need it. Lo and behold Lowe’s didn’t have any! BUT, they did have a nice HSS(High Speed Steel) counter sink set !

DSC03307 These are designed for counter sinking into metal.
I have a lathe. I have a mill.
I could put these to good use down the road. And I can use them for wood too!


DSC03302 Second shelf done.

From the time the wife said “I want” to the time I took them home from PaxSpace: less than 3 hours.


DSC03303 DSC03304 Wife cleaned out the cabinet and I removed the Lousy Susans and it’s ready for the shelf.


First shelf set on the counter. Wife likes it, but could I recess it back further? Forgot about the granite back splash.


DSC03305 Back to PaxSpace (because I can). Mark once.

DSC03306 I cut once. Let’s hope it’s right.


DSC03308 Don’t forget to clean up! Housekeeping. It’s not just for maids any more.


Back to the house I go and…


DSC03334 That looks better.

   DSC03335  And that makes her happy as well. Then we can all be happy!

Now about those bird houses the kids wanted to make…

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Adjustable Dado Jig

I have a walk-in closet which recently underwent a rapid unplanned disassembly of sorts:

To avoid future problems, I am going to replace the wire closet shelves with some sturdier shelves constructed mostly from 3/4″ plywood. My plan for construction involves joining the sheets of plywood at right angles using dados.

Dados can be cut in wood in a variety of ways. One method is to use a set of special dado blades on a tablesaw to cut a groove of the correct width. This can be unweildy however for making dados across the width of a long sheet. Another option is to use a router guided by a straight edge to machine the groove into the board. 3/4″ plywood is often actually 22/32″ thick. Specially sized router bits are sold that can in theory make the correctly sized dado in one pass. This method requires lots of careful measurement and setup of the router guide and can lead to cutting mistakes if the router drifts away from the straight edge for any reason.

In order to make my task easier, I decided to build a simple router jig to cut dados across a 2′ wide sheet. I began by ripping some scrap pieces of plywood on the tablesaw.
Ripping router guides

I made two guide pieces by screwing the thin strips of plywood to the top of wider base pieces. The thin strips will act as a guide for the base of the router when cutting dados.
Guides complete

Next, I put a 1/2″ straight router bit into the router and ran it along each of the guide strips, trimming the edge off of the wide base pieces.
Trimming the router guides

A perpendicular cleat was attached to each end of one of the guides with some screws.
Attaching the cleats

I drilled a set of holes in each of the cleats to form a slot. The other router guide was connected to this slot with a T-bolt and hand knob. This allows the second router guide to slide along the cleat to adjust the width of the dado.

To use the jig, you can place your board in between the guides, push them together, and tighten the knobs to lock the dado width in place. Then, you can place the jig on your workpiece and align the opening to exactly where you want the dado to be and clamp it in place.
Using the completed jig

By running the router with the 1/2″ straight bit up one guide and down the other, it will cut a dado to exactly the right width and in exactly the right spot with minimal measuring and with less chance of error than the other dado cutting methods. Hopefully this jig will save me some time and effort throughout the rest of my closet building project. Stay tuned for updates!

IR Lap Timing Project for FPV Quadcopter racing

I made some progress on the Quad Copter lap Timing system this past week.  I have completed the Transmitter portion, see the pics below. What you are seeing is a long Start bit followed by 0b0010000 plus parity. Modulation is at 57.6 Khz

 I have started working on the Receiver and I think I have the base code to receive the ID from the Xmtr. But now there are a lot of architecture options on how to proceed forward and I would like some PaxSpace input. I will be there tomorrow night for Micro-Controller Monday and show what I have done so far and we can discuss the way forward.
My initial architecture is as follows:
  1. There will be 4 or more receivers talking to a base station
    1. A 5 wire ribbon cable is used to connect the Base Station to the Rcvr
      1. +5v, Gnd, SDA, SDC, Time Sync
  2. Base station is either:
    1. Arduino talking to a laptop via USB/WiFi
    2. Raspberry Pi to a laptop via USB/WiFi
  3. I2C is used to talk to the Base Station from the Rcvr
    1. The Base Station is the slave and the Rcvr are the Masters
    2. Each time the Receiver registers a Xmtr reception it transmit or I2C to the Master
    3. Each Xmtr sends the ID and the time of the event
  4. Time synchronization Options:
    1. A time sync pulse is sent once a minute or less to sync the Rcvrs. A internal timer counts milliseconds between sync pulses
    2. The sync pulse is sent at 1 Khz and a way is figured out to embed a reset pulse.
    3. An IRIG like time stamp is sent over the 1 Khz pulse train
I need some help creating the circuit boards for this project. I have done it in the past, but I think my methods are a little out dated.


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