Apr 24

Projects… Too Many Projects.

I don’t know if anyone reads this blog of mine except googlebots and the like, but anyone who might would know I don’t post much. Anyone who knows me personally may or may not know why. I’m a very quiet person, I rarely say anything and pretty much never call anyone. This is not because I don’t like them and certainly not because I don’t care about them. Even my poor family rarely hear from me and whether or not they know it I do care a great deal about them. The reason is I never feel like I have anything good or interesting to say. For some reason I feel I need to have something REALLY important in order to tell anyone about it. Just how I am. Even making this post is a huge step out for me, I’m doing it because I’m starting to feel like I need to get myself out there more. I’m 42 and still working low-end jobs because I’m no good at talking myself up or “Selling” myself for exactly the same reasons.

The other reason people don’t see me much is that most of my spare time is consumed in many little projects and that too is something I need to focus on, not the projects themselves but the number of them and their priorities. I basically have so many in my head right now that it causing issues in itself. Part of writing this post is to start getting myself to communicate better and more often, to get my project listed and managed into priorities, to track them and their progress better as well as show and record all the things I can do. Purely for myself and my own reasons but if anyone else gets something out of it then even better.

So I’m going to attempt to make some lists of Projects I’m working on and also have completed over the recent time. I want to document their progress, make available where possible any hardware or software references as well. I’d like to see if there are any WordPress plugins that may provide some sort of Project Tracker or the like as well. Have to see what’s out there.

Off the top of my head right now, and this list will need fleshing out:

  • Current priority one: The work shed – aka Man Cave or Geek Shed. (Will explain in another post) (in Progress)
  • Version 3 of the Automated Tracking Telescope. (will also need its own post)
  • Private coding project involving embedded android – specifically U-Boot coding. (in Progress)
  • Hardware camera and image processor for the telescope using an FPGA.
  • Rebuild my home web-server that hosts this and other Blogs.
  • Design and build a Pick-n-Place machine – possibly based on the OpenPnP Project. (in Progress)
  • Design and build Version 2 of my own 3D-Printer.
  • “The Game” MMORPG game I was working on previously (on Hold)
  • Sort, clean and recode my large collection of videos/photos/music/e-books.
  • Build a pergola onto this house – then build it into a “Qld room”.
  • More TBA…

Some projects I’ve completed – some need to be documented:

  • The Chook Cage & Coup.
  • A portable chook pen.
  • Version 1 of my 3D Printer. (and lots of prints…)
  • Versions 1 & 2 of a tracking telescope.
  • Rebuilt the controlling hardware and software inside a “cheap” 40W CO2 Laser cutter. (still have more ideas in plan but it is working enough that I could leave it as is).
  • Back end work for various WordPress Blogs and Forums for my partner and some of her groups.
  • other various things

That will do for now. More will come later.

Thanks for reading.

— Radan.

Jan 04

M31 – The Andromeda Galaxy

On a recent trip to Hawaii I went to a star party hosted on the northern part of Hawaii at the Dillingers Air Base.

One of the main astronomical items I wanted to see while in the northern hemisphere was the Andromeda Galaxy. Since it is very low on the horizon where I live and unless I find a tall viewing point with clear views north I don’t get the chance to see it yet alone take images.

At the star party I did get to see it, along with a fantastic view of the night sky, it was so clear the number of stars visible was amazing.

As for imaging it, all I had was my DSLR (Canon 550D) with a 50mm f1.8 lens on a basic tripod. I took quite a few images but many had star trails from too long exposure with no tracking so I managed to pick about 16 reasonable frames, cropped them down and stacked them. The result was pretty ok considering:

M31 Andromeda Galaxy

M31 Andromeda Galaxy

If I’d known it’d work so well I’d have taken lots more and stacked for a better result.

Still inspiring for me.

Need to process all the other photos from the trip and add them to a gallery…



Apr 16

New Project

Hi all,

Yet another project on my current list, or two….

Been building a CNC machine for a hardware project I’ll be working on with a friend. Currently a 3-axis machine controlled by LinuxCNC system, eventually it will accommodate a machining tool, a pick and place tool and an extruder (for 3D Printing). I’ll also be building an embedded stand-alone controller so it can operate independent of the computer.

It will machine parts for me.

it will print parts for me (like new gears for the telescope mount).

and it will build circuit boards for me!

Speaking of the telescope, yes it needs better gears, current ones were hacked together so its not smooth or linear enough for me, also I plan to re-do parts of the code to improve its handling.

I really have too much to do in my spare time, need to win the Lotto so I can work on them full-time… 😛

Anyways, here’s some pretty pictures of the machine until next update 😉
20130401_214949 20130403_215924

Feb 26

DIY Telescope progresses once again…

Hi again,

Long time no see? 🙂 …

After a long delay due to high workload over xmas sales and having to move house (again), the telescope goto mount progresses.

The man-cave is now mostly setup as a workshop and various projects begin once again.



*A-hem* back to the project 🙂 …

Programming the PIC Micro goes into gear with the motors now controlled by an interrupt service routine. The timer is on about a 5ms tick. each tick it tests the speed setting of each of the 3 motors. If the motor is within 10 degrees of the aim the speed is set to slow by the main routine else it’s fast. The ISR will either tick the motor over every interrupt on fast, or every 4 ticks on slow.

Perhaps a tad rough but its a start and it works 🙂 (well after much debugging and swearing as usual ).

With only 5ms per tick I needed to keep the ISR code as simple as possible, my first attempt had it too slow and there wasn’t enough time for the LCD code in the main routine to work!!!

Also I found the motors turn much smoother and stable with the ISR control. Though I’m not convinced the steppers I chose will be strong enough for the end design but at least they are easy to swap over.

For those of you who may be interested in the code just let me know in the comments, if needed I’ll clean it up and post it.

So onward to sleep 🙂 back again soon I hope!


– Radan.

Sep 16

DIY Astronomy Progress!

Greetings, work on my DIY Telescope GOTO mount continues again.

ET-Base40 Proto board with PIC16C877 cpu, 2-line LCD Display, Stepper motor and driver board. Wired up for first test.

After several attempts re-learning ‘C’ to program the pic, I have the motor on a swing with the rotation on the LCD display.

Unfortunately due to working on it late at night a couple night ago, I managed to fry one driver chip and destroy a motor. Oh well, progress is not without some costs. (about $7, not really a concern)

Here’s a youtube shot of the action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIUbCfqXFwA

Time to get back into it, more work to be done!