Friday, February 20, 2015

The Next Big Thing

I have been working behind my blog scene over the past week or more on the next big thing.... or project or whatever I want to call it this week.  So with some progress finally being made on the new idea I thought I should let everyone know where I am headed with this brainstorm that I came up with.   
  In the workshop all of the walls are painted white.  Looks nice and bright and clean but after a while it gets boring looking at blank white walls.  Sure the tools hanging on a few of the walls helps but I thought I would give my viewers of the videos that I shoot for the blog something a little more interesting to look at while I'm demonstrating how to make something.  So another new project was born. 
  As many of you have already seen on the blog I have shown various drawings and projects that involved my drawing of a 1912 Indian board track racer.  With this famous motorcycle in mind I thought I would put together a large graphic of the motorcycle to hang in the workshop.  So let's get into what I've but together so far. 

First I tracked down on my computer the original drawing that I had made and posted about on my very first post for the blog back in 2011.  I used this drawing to create a lighted Plexi-glass display which turned out very well and I still use to this day. 

Next I took the black and white drawing and added color and a shadow under the motorcycle.  This was added using some great drawing and photo editing software called Gimp.  Gimp by the way is free to download online and does many if not all of the things that Photoshop can do.  So why buy Photoshop?  The price is right that's for sure. 

Here's a photo of the north end of the workshop.  Notice the big bare blank white wall in the back?  This is just screaming for something to be put on it.  So this is where the project will be born and finally be hung in the shop.  

That's better!  Again I used Gimp to create the photo that you see here.  I was able to take the drawing and combine it with the original photo and then with a little shading and tweaking of the lighting in the image I was able to get this photo that gives me a very good idea as to how the finished project should look once I have it all put together and hung up to display.  Adds a bit more color to the shop so it will be a welcome addition to brighten things up just that much more. 

There are a couple of different ways that I have looked at making this project.  I thought originally that I could just trace the line drawing on the wall and then paint it similar to paint by number set that were being sold years ago. (Are they still being sold?)  I kind of shot this idea down because of the effort it would have taken just to try and trace the motorcycle on the wall.  Concrete block walls are far from smooth so it looks to be a bad idea from the start. 

 Then I thought I could make a fiberglass panel and then trace the motorcycle on to it to do the paining.  This would give me a smooth light weight surface and would be easier to paint laying down on the work table and light enough for me to hang on the wall.  The panel would be approximately three foot by six and a half foot in size and so it would have to be pretty light for something that large.  I have a mounting strip already built into the ceiling right against the wall so that is not a problem.  This is a possibility. 

 My brother asked me if I could get a full sized decal of the motorcycle made and then simply apply it to the panel. This would save me a lot of work in hand painting the image on this big piece but I am not so sure it will be at a price that is something that I could live with.  I will have to check this out as well. If I can get the decal at the right price this would be a very simple and fast project for the shop. I will do some research on this in the next coming days and then decide which way to go.  Either way I think it will be another interesting project.
  I will post all the details about how the panel for the display is made and all the step afterward to completion as usual.  So stay tuned while I fire up the shop once again for another interesting project.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Improved Tinker's Workshop Title Sequence Using Blender 3D

For the past couple of days I have been putting in a lot of computer time in to correct something that has been bothering me for some time now.  In the videos that I have been putting together for my blog I have a title sequence of the Tinker's Workshop logo that I created using Blender 3D coming together piece by piece and finally the light bulb in the scene turning on.  I was never quite happy with the sequence as it never turned out exactly as I had planned. This morning I managed to put the finishing touches to the video sequence and correct that problem when I managed to tweak the animation to show a better lighting of the light bulb and to clean up the video in the first place. 

I had to figure out why the animation turned out fuzzy in my videos yet the live action was perfectly clear.  It took me a couple of days to get this worked out.  In the live video everything was shot using my High-Definition video camera or HD for short.  To be more precise the video was shot in HD 1080p format.  What was the problem was that the animation had not been saved in HD so my video editing software (Pinnacle Studio Plus) could only do what it could to make the video and with two different formats it was up for grabs as to if it would render a good video at all.  Thus the reason for the fuzzy animation and good live video.

In this image you can see a the problems in the final frame of the original video. The wording at the bottom of the page is definitely blurred and the light bulb just blends into the white background.
In the earlier build videos I also had problems with the animation sequence showing a good lighting of the light bulb and with the end result looking fuzzy. These problems did nothing to help showcase the blog or what project I was making at the time.  

Here is the final frame of the animation as it will now be displayed in any future videos that I will be putting together.  This is a vast improvement over the my first attempt to get this animation sequence the way I had envisioned it from the start. 

Here's the finished animation that I posted on YouTube this morning.  It's only around 13 second long but I am rather proud of how it all turned out.  It will be a great title sequence to use for my upcoming blog videos.  

If you would like more information about Blender 3D software check out their website.

I have been using Blender 3D for over 14 years now and if you take the time to learn it you can make all kinds of great 3D images, animation and even computer games.  The plus side to all of this is that the software is free and there are tons of tutorials online to help you get started with it.  

Friday, February 6, 2015

A New Green Screen For The Workshop Videos!

For quite some time now I have been wanting to add the capability of a green screen to the video presentations that I have put together for this blog.  This is the process that everyone has seen daily while watching a weather forecast on the news.  The weather person shows you a map of the weather and explains what is going on at that particular moment.  In reality this person is standing in front of nothing more than a green screen and the weather map is added to it either on the spot or later on in production so you can see what it looks like.

  As with anything it takes some time to have all the pieces of a puzzle fall into place and today this puzzle for the workshop videos was completed.  I had all of the materials for filming with a green screen and finally got a new work area next to the workshop completed that will be dedicated to this purpose.  The green screen will give my video presentations just a bit more professional look and hopefully be that much more interesting for everyone to watch.  
  So with all that said I put together this little video demonstration of my new green screen set up and how it all works.  I look forward to using this new tool for my videos and I am sure you will like my efforts too.  Enjoy the demonstration.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

3D Printer ABS Plastic Respooler Project

As most of my readers already know I am a big fan of 3D printing which is very obvious with all of the projects that I have done over the past few years and have posted about here on the blog.  One project that I put together early on in my 3D printing was the project that is on my mind today.  I found that the ABS plastic that I needed for my 3D printer was rather expensive and so I looked for a cheaper yet still quality supplier.  I succeeded in find such a supplier but the spools the plastic came on did not fit my Makerbot printer.  So this problem became another project.

This strange looking contraption is what I call a respooler.  It is designed to remove 3D printer ABS plastic filament off of one spool and install it onto a Makerbot spool. This simple project has been a great tool for my 3D printing and has saved me a bunch of cash in the process.  You mount the full spool on the left of the assembly, feed the ABS filament into the Makerbot spool, crank the removable carriage bolt handle and in 10 or 15 minutes you have the filament on a spool that will now fit the Makerbot printer.
   I put together a short video of how it all goes together but first here is a list of the parts you will need to make one for yourself.

(1) 2 X 4 X 15.75"
(1) 2 X 4 X 9"
(2) 1 X 4 X 9"
(4) 2" long wood screws
(2) 3" long wood screws
(1) 3/4" x 12.5" Aluminum Tubing
(4) 1/4" x 1" bolts
(4) 1/4" nuts
(1) 1/4" x 2.5" carriage bolt
(1) 1/4" threaded rod connector
(1) Empty Makerbot spool
(1) Full spool of new filament
(2) 3D printed spool adapters (see drawing below)

This is the materials list that you will need for this project.

The drawing above is for the two adapters that will need to be 3D printed to work with the Makerbot 3D printer spools. This part could also be made out of wood if you have a lather and can turn it to the size shown.
  Here is the video showing you how the respooler goes together and how to move the filament from one spool to the other.  It's a simple project and is well worth the time to build as it has saved me from having to buy expensive filament only because the spools did not fit my 3D printer.