3D Printing, Maker, Woodworking

I Built a Shoe Cabinet

Our front entryway usually looks something like this:

Those are bins to hold shoes; they’re uncharacteristically empty in this picture, but with as many as seven kids in the house at any given time, they’re usually overflowing (and not nice to look at).

We decided to get a shoe cabinet to keep the shoes (and their smells) hidden. Ikea’s HEMNES shoe cabinet was our top choice:

but it wouldn’t be quite big enough, and it wouldn’t make productive use out of all of the space by the door. I decided instead to build my own custom version of HEMNES.

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API, Programming, WordPress

Share an iPhoto Library on the Web with WordPress

I recently needed to publish the contents of an iPhoto library online, so I wrote a script that converts the library to a WordPress site using WordPress’s REST API.  The script is available in my iPhoto-WordPress-Export repository on GitHub. Check it out, and then run it like this:

$ ./iphoto2wordpress.php --library=/path/to/photo/library --wordpress=https://www.example.com/

After prompting for a username and password, it will upload all of the library’s photos to the specified WordPress site. For each event in the library, it creates a post that includes a gallery containing all of the images from the event.  It will also convert any albums into categories, categorizing the photos themselves, not the posts. (For this to work, you will need to enable categories for attachments.)

If the script stops for any reason, you can restart it, and it will pick up where it left off. Depending on what it was doing when it stopped, you may have an orphaned attachment in your Media.

Posts are created as drafts and left for you to publish at your leisure.

I used this script to create DavidTewes.com.  (For back-story on what that site is and how it came to be, see this post.) Because the site is image-centric, I chose a photography based theme called Silvia, and I made a few adjustments to it:

I could have had the script automatically assign a featured image to each post, but I chose to make that decision manually. Here’s the end-result:

Let me know if you have any questions, and if you use the script, leave a link to the site you used it on in the comments below!

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Camera, Photography, Programming, Technology

Putting 1940s Kodachrome Slides on the Web

When my wife Christina and I were cleaning out her late father’s garage, we came across two cases of Kodachrome slides that included nighttime shots of downtown Minneapolis in the 1940s and 1950s, pictures of daily life in nearby Hutchinson, Minnesota, and some World War II photographs, like this one of a group of soldiers celebrating on Attu Island in Alaska on V-J Day.

We determined that the photographs were taken by David Tewes of Hutchinson, Minnesota, Christina’s first cousin twice removed. He died in 1991, and her dad had likely come into possession of the slides then. They sat untouched in his garage attic for twenty-five years.

I wanted to scan the slides so they could be preserved and shared, but we had to get them back home to Oregon first. Fun fact: if you pack cases of slides in your carry-on luggage, your bag will get special attention from a TSA agent since the X-ray machine can’t see through the slide case.

Internet research showed me that there are generally two ways to digitize old slides: either use a slide scanner, or get a macro lens and take a photo of each slide at 1:1 magnification. I couldn’t find a slide scanner in my price range, so I paid $40 to rent a macro lens from LensRentals.com and set up a rig for “scanning” all of the slides.

The slide holder is three pieces of hardboard sandwiched together with a cut-out in the middle for the slide to fit into.

I back-lit each slide with a very bright lamp, and I added a paper shade around the slide to prevent my eyes from getting burn-in from the lamp bulb.

Here’s an example of what one of the slide photos looks like, overexposed so you can see the labeling that David added on each slide.

I took four photos of each slide at decreasing shutter speeds (in raw format) and then chose the best one. I cropped and captioned all of the photos in iPhoto and organized them into events matching how David had organized them in his slide cases.

In order to get the slides from iPhoto to the Web, I wrote a script that uploads an entire iPhoto library to a WordPress website. It creates a post for each event and then adds all of the event’s photos to a gallery in the post. I will publish a standalone post soon with details about that script.

The result of all this work is DavidTewes.com. It contains 650 photos organized into 51 posts, with dates ranging between 1944 and 1955. All of the photos are licensed under the Creative Commons – Attribution license, meaning that they may be used for any purpose (commercial or non-commercial) and derivative works may be produced, as long as David is credited as the photographer. If I understand U.S. copyright law, the photos will enter public domain on January 1, 2062.

Some of my favorite albums are Attu, Alaska, This is Minneapolis, and Santa Monica. In each of those albums (and in most of the others), David created a title card, sort of like a scrapbook page that he photographed to introduce the photos.  For example, here’s the title card for the photos from his trip to China Town.

There were 81 title slides; you can view them all here.

Although some of the slides were labeled with a date, many were not. For those, I’ve estimated a date but marked them as such. If you’d like to help narrow down the dates for any of those photos, you can see them all here.  Leave a comment on the photo or on the photo gallery post with any information you have, like this comment on a photo of cars from the Minneapolis Municipal Gardens.

My favorite photo out of all of them is this shot of feats of strength at Muscle Beach when it was still in Santa Monica. What’s yours?

 

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3D Printing, CNC, Maker

Functional Print and CNC Carving Mashup: Mini Air-Hockey Pucks

In today’s Don Rickles news, I 3D-printed and CNC carved some mini air-hockey pucks.

We were given a mini air-hockey table this week, but it didn’t have any pucks, and after buying some at Walmart, we learned that the table didn’t use full-size pucks. After five minutes in OpenSCAD and half an hour of machining, I had two replacement pucks ready to go.

The question I know you’re dying to ask: which one is better? According to the kids, the plastic puck has a more satisfying sound, but the wooden puck glides better.

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CNC, Maker, Woodworking

I Made the Bower Power Industrial Tripod Fan

My wife came across this DIY tutorial from Bower Power on how to make your own industrial-style tripod fan, and she loved it. Of course, what my baby wants, my baby gets:

I cut the tripod center on my CNC router because I still need to justify its purchase.  Leave a note in the comments if you want the Inventables Easel design for this.

I should have made the spokes wider because the one that has the grain running across it perpendicularly broke off less than five minutes after assembling the fan for the first time. If it breaks again, I have some ideas about an alternate method for attaching the legs that will be much less fragile.

The tripod assembly before staining.

The tripod assembly after staining. I used 2×6 hangars because the hardware store didn’t stock the long 2×10 hangars. This fan was originally white, but I disassembled it and spray-painted it with oil-rubbed bronze spray paint, although the color looks more like wrought iron.

The finished product. It really blows!

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Backyard Chickens, Maker, Woodworking

Building a gravity chicken feeder (for gravity feeding, not gravity chickens)

It’s not that I don’t enjoy feeding our chickens every day, but when they started pecking at my toes because their food dish was empty for too long (a.k.a. more than five seconds), I decided to build a gravity-powered feeder that would keep them fed for weeks at a time.

Here’s the finished product. Note the happy chickens who are not pecking at my toes.

There are two main aspects of a gravity feeder. One: a hopper that you can empty feed into, and two: an opening at the bottom that is big enough for the chickens can eat from but small enough that it doesn’t continually spill all of the feed onto the ground.

With this in mind, I free-handed a chute design on some half-inch exterior plywood left over from building the coop.

The rest of the feeder is just rectangles of plywood.

It was hard to get a photo of it, but I also added an angled piece of plywood at the bottom of the feeder to divert feed towards the front. This reduces the amount of feed that needs to be added to the feeder before the chickens can reach it.

I added a hinged cover for the bottom of the feeder in case we decide to restrict the hens’ feeding times. For now, I just lifted it open and held it up with a screw.

The lid is another piece of plywood with a basic handle and guides on the bottom to fit it into place.

Tada! The total build time was about an hour plus another 20 minutes for paint. We’ll see whether I need to make any modifications, but for now, it’s working as expected.

Update: The chickens were spilling a lot of feed while they ate, so I added a lip to the front of the trough so they have to reach in to eat, and the amount of wasted feed has dropped to almost zero.

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