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Wednesday, 29 March 2023

The Call To Action

Today, I have a big ask of you:

Please consider getting involved with PTEC3D. I'll set out what I am and what I hope to achieve, and then leave you with a bunch of links to dig around in, okay? I'll keep this page updated, too. There are always new things going on. 

What I Am

Is obviously a nom du prawn which I adopted because it's more memorable, and easier to one day pass the mantle on. In real life I'm a retired disability pensioner who's disenchanted with a few things and really wants to do something about them.

Yes I'm inside that...
So that's a pic I took a few years ago when those neckwraps were popular, and it was such a spooky thing I memed it. In my own (luckily) unique style . . .

What I Learned

This is the hard bit because it morphs so much. I started three or four decades ago worrying about climate change and waste, and that hasn't changed, except for the increasing levels of pressure and anxiety I feel. 

I had several health scares that made me look into our food system, and the pressure and anxiety rose even further. I started writing - a lot of writing - about food corporations and the bastardry they were getting up to, from contamination to misinformation to food fraud to poisonings, from cheap tricks like bulking meat up with water to shit tricks like burying e coliin that meat. From olive groves producing 150,000litres of oil versus olive oil sales of 250,000litres, which meant almost half of it wasn't OO, to honey producers filtering all identifiable things out of the honey, which made it harder to establish any healing benefits, but made it way easier to just add in filtered glucose and corn syrup... You get the idea.

That also opened doors into corporate hi-jinks of all sorts. Which led to the whole vexing point of energy from fossil fuels, energy market price fixing / collaboration cartels, and - plastics. Which brought me all the way back full circle, only now I knew how much of all these modern defraudings, robberies, and straight up war on customers was being waged. 

And of course, it's also led me right back to Global Warming. 

What I'd Like To Achieve

I want to make everyone aware of what's going on, what these different malfeasances are doing to them, and how they can take action to prevent being assaulted by a things we call corporations thus giving them a "corpus" i.e. a body to make them seem human and yet which are protected by laws that aren't extended to other bodies on this planet. This is one of the more recent outcomes of everything I've been studying, and it's a social process that needs to happen.

I now also want to stop climate change, as directly as possible. So I've been working on ideas (that may well be unfeasible, or need a lot of massaging to make useful) to start fixing agriculture, energy, and waste. There's so much wrapped up in these three things that it's almost impossible to unravel it all, but if we don't, those aforementioned corporations won't.

Despite not believing that we should ever have been made as directly responsible for recycling materials that were developed not for our convenience but for corporate convenience and profits, I also recognise that we will need to clean this up for our future generations' sakes. So one of the things I'm doing is finding recycling things that can be done at home, for fun, community, or profit. Another thing I'm hoping to start is a free open source effort to design machines etc to make all of the above simple. And also to work on the technologies that'll reduce our use of fossil fuels and manufacturing in general to a much lower and more sustainable level.

I don't want us to sink back to the days of ox-drawn ploughs, I want us to realise we are the technological hominid and that we're now smart enough to realise that the Earth is a spacecraft and we've been throwing spanners into the machinery without realising what we're doing. (Much like Elon Musk has been doing with Twitter, actually, just with far more dire effects...) We need to recover those spanners and realise that everything on the planet is an Earthling and we all need the ecosystem life support system. ALL of us. Down to the last microbe. All depend on one another, all have a function. Even us.

What Can Come Of This?

I'm hoping to collect together a group of people that all want to get involved in stuff like this. Activism - only the most genteel and refined activism, of course, as everything else is just sparkling protest - but I am definitely hoping for agitprop, agitators, propagandists, petition starters, petition signers, lobbyists, people with pitchforks and flaming brands, and signs. A lot of signs. 

I'm looking for people that want to write letters to the editor, to MPs and ministers and CEOs and CFOs and Generals and Majors and Admirals and Commodores. People that want to write on one or other of the blogs I currently do all the writing for. People that want to write documentation for revolution, for a new plastic shredder, or a How To Use AI For The Common Good book. 

Ideally there are coders that want to create little bits n bobs to draw attention to our group, or that let us share information among us outside of normal media. Or an API to allow farmers to send climate data in exchange for better predictions. Or for vertical farm management. Scheduling software. Anything - literally, the sky's the limit as long as it progresses the whole organisation, is useful.

Do you have a penchant and skill for making a simple household device recycle cardboard into eco-friendly chicken coop egg boxes? Or anything else like that? Maybe cleanly and safely extract the precious metals from e-waste using an old shaver and a crockpot? A device that'll roll along under it's own steam - and solar power - and clean PFAS out of the soil air and water? I'd love to talk with you and bounce ideas, find a way to get you funds to make prototypes.  

The topic of AI never made it into my plans until quite recently. But there are a lot of edges to that new twist and I'll be adding a section about that. 

Money. I know there are grants out there for these kinds of projects, but I'm not a good grant writer. I'm also not a good bookkeeper. And quite frankly, I'm getting on in years. This is a project that needs dozens of people involved in steering the various moving parts. 

Some of the ideas I present will be worth turning into commercial projects, some will need to be not-for-profit for their entire life. Others will be the sort of thing that can go either way and will need some decisions.

Also - things like Milanote or whatever we decide is a good platform for discussion. I've chosen open source or free so far, because you only have free speech as long as the site provider agrees with what you say and do. If there's a sponsor involved, there's a cost. I'd prefer strings-free grants and private tiny micropayments because that way there's no fiscal hold over the group. 

Getting the idea? I. WANT. YOU. to contact me, join the group email or the Discord server, organise any other means of collaboration you think would work, and to help run such a large widely-spread-out group of activists. 

There. I've said it. It's an activist group, to start putting the brakes on rampant capitalism and authoritarianism, to chain the corporations and stop them destroying our homeworld / spacecraft as it's the only one we have. 

And If You've Read Down This Far

Then I'd better list some stuff here. I'll start with the contact deets:

  • Mastodon. Chat with me.
  • Email. Write to me.
  • Discord. Join the Discord server.
  • Email Group. Join the group and get to read and reply to everyone's messages.
 And then the blogs:

And then some sundry stuff that's less important but you may want:

  • Blog Newsletter Once a week only, get all posts in an email you can then delete at your leisure...
  • Blog Aggregator Bookmark this link if you just want to see a running list of posts om the above blogs.
  • Youtube I have a (little-used) channel
  • Peertube The same content also goes here on an independent video site.
  • Ko-Fi page You can make a one-off or repeating donation here.
  • Paypal Direct Or you can just Paypal me a donation. 

I stress that any donations I currently get are flat out just paying a small part of the hosting and domain name fees, and if we get a group together we can redirect all these donations to a group fund. But for now, even a few bucks a month means I don't have to shell out for hosting, or can actually buy a few parts to keep building projects towards recycling etc.

Also, one of the many docs I've been working on, a freebie Milanote. Basically, this outlines the various facets of attack on all the issues mentioned above. It has cards for ZFF (Zero Fossil Fuel), ENERGY, RCX (ReCycle eXtreme - bear with me, I like acronyms...) FOOD POLITICS, STEWARDSHIP, and More Thoughts. The cards are just outlines of some of the issues to do with each, and very little in the way of solutions. I do have some of those, but they're all just ideas and nothing too closely or deeply planned because - everything is subject to change, alteration, suggestions, and scrapping if needs be. These are things I'd like to throw into the Discord server, or the email group, or whatever we come up with, and let various moderators/discussion participants ruin with or replace with something else that works better. 

And now there are two more topics that I'll be adding - AI and SPACE. Therre's not much we can do - yet - but they'll raise other issues.  So by the time you read that Milanote, it may well have a few more cards... 

So this is it - the start of a Whole New Thing, I hope... Over to you all!

Wednesday, 1 March 2023

Recycling Drinks Containers

Two new alternatives to drowning in rubbish.

First an article with large benefits, and for a wonder I'm not talking about something that "will be initiated following more and more and more damn studies" - this is fait accompli, done, dusted, thank you Victorian State Government for another tick on the list. 

Victoria Bans Single Use Plastics.

As of the 1st of February 2023, Victoria's Single Use Plastics Ban came into effect and it's reasonable, comprehensive, and not a moment too soon. We've been successful in requiring manufacturers of single-use packaging to indicate what to do with their various items for disposal and their triangle code, and that was great but in the steadily-accelerating need to divest ourselves of plastic, it's already a dinosaur and we need to go further.

Some points:

Better to not need to recycle single-use plastics in the first place by replacing them with more durable and environmentally-friendly materials that can be used over and over or have a clear path for the manufacturer to recycle. (That's by the way a thing I think is acceptable, that a manufacturer of food containers - to name the worst culprits in the piles of plastics at out local waste dumps - should take them back by providing at their own expense bins to return their plastic to recycle at their factory. But it would still be better if all the users of these containers could be educated to just not use them from now on okthxbai...)

I'm not sure how the ban will affect milk jugs because this is still one huge segment of the food market and I'll try and find out and report back and either update this article or if the story's worth it, an article of its own. I'm guessing they're classified as not being single-use, but it's also okay with me on the basis that (from my experience) these have their triangle code on them and are generally not PET more generally HDPE or PP, and those are far easier to recycle.

I also bet right here and now that Coca Cola, Nestle, and the other worst polluters of the plastics market will claim their damn drink bottles are re-usable so we won't see much change there either. But milk, fruit juices, and a few others, could probably easily switch over to coated paper tetra style containers. For instance, I'd buy my liquid detergents in a tetra style container, gladly. 

And that would be good because along with take-away coffee and milkshake cups, these materials are now recyclable.

Recycling Beverage Cartons

Some images from the article
Plastic beverage containers can be recycled into building material sheets. This appears to be a material to replace plasterboard and other wall sheet materials and looks fantastic. It's coated (I'm guessing to allow paint to adhere properly) and the offcuts and sheets can be "re-recycled" so this could turn milk and juice cartons, coffee take-away cups and lids and straws, and probably a few more materials, into a material that seems to have quite a few  uses.

Some points:

As I mentioned, many liquids we use and that are packed in odd-shaped PET bottles (why do I need to see the pretty green dye - and have to accept yet another chemical I didn't ask for - in my dishwashing liquid? I just wanted to wash my dishes...) would be just as useful in a plasticised cardboard tetra style pack, and being generally square, those sorts of containers just stack more neatly. Meaning fewer trucks transporting from the factory, more product being able to be stored at the supermarket, more product per shelf inch on the shelves at the supermarket. 

I mean - there's only one real reason for clear PET bottles and fancy shapes, and that's brand differentiation. Brand differentiation benefits manufacturers but does bugger-all for us the consumers other than obscure the product's flaws and shortcomings. The reason manufacturers loathe-hate-detest these sorts of ideas of not using plastic is that their products would have to stand on their merits, and when you come down to it, those merits should be effectiveness, safety, and price. And they HATE having to admit that all their products are actually just the same dog's different legs...

How we can hasten these processes

We need to keep in mind that no matter how good the instructions on single-use plastics are about how to throw away the different components of the packaging, it would be far better to not have to throw anything away at all. Many of those packagings already had their triangle codes on them, but the manufacturers are making it OUR responsibility to recycle a product that exists for THEIR convenience far more than for ours. 

It's their chance to package their product in a container they can almost infinitely customise and convey their identity with and woo your custom rather than having to have quality products. 

It frees them from providing - and possibly, washing and refilling - containers for their products, it frees them to use petrochemicals to manufacture their containers rather than recycle the old ones. (Which is a far more expensive process than just making the containers using new 'virgin' plastic.)

And it frees them from even having to touch their crap again because they've successfully made it OUR problem. 

We can fix this by requesting our governments to do more things like the single-use-plastic ban in Victoria. Many, many more laws to restrict corporations' freedom to generate rubbish products in rubbish packaging and then get us to shovel their rubbish for them.

We can ask governments to place large tariffs on 'virgin' plastic (that is, plastics that have been made by majority use of petrochemicals rather than recycled plastics) and provides incentives for 95% or more recycled plastics. 

Contrary to what has been widely disseminated, plastics can be recycled almost indefinitely. Remember how long plastics can persist in the environment? That's an indication of how 'forever' those plastics really are. If we recycled all the plastic that's been dumped to date, we could build houses - millions of houses - with it, and still have enough left over to provide re-usable containers for every person on Earth, and still have enough left over to make 240gallon IBC totes to transport every product to go into those re-usable containers. 

As far as building materials go, every plastic can be recycled to form new building materials or compose a significant portion of new building materials. There are bricks, the aforementioned construction sheets from drinks containers, and even pavers. Roads can be built using plastic.

Granted, these re-uses of plastics don't get rid of the shedding of microplastic particles, but it's been discovered that some microbes are adapting to break down plastics and also, we should consider any recycling and re-use of plastics as just a way to keep them out of landfill until we come up with a clean way to break plastic down into its base components. 

And that's closer than we may imagine. Because everything will break down into its component parts if you throw enough energy at it, the trick is capturing the byproducts and storing them for re-use in other processes where they won't be as prone to becoming a planet-wide pollutant. And energy is becoming cleaner and cheaper by the day. I know it doesn't seem like it with utility companies hiking prices by 22% while simultaneously enjoying 25% lower generation costs thanks to renewables and sustainables, but it's a spasm, a rictus, the last desperate jaw-snappings of a beast that's on its last legs and that we really should put down as quickly as we can. 

Also, some plastics are harder to recycle because companies add so many other chemicals and compounds to them to colour them, stiffen them, soften them, make them more rigid or more flexible, and these compounds have to be taken into account when recycling/recovering plastics. And most companies don't give that information or put it on their products. We need to ask that plastic additives need to be listed every bit as much as there's a need to list all food additives. The companies will tell you it's too hard but - they have the bloody recipe on the desk in front of them FFS. They lie. 

There's a good solution right off the top of my head - stamp a QR code into things right alongside the triangle code, with a number that can encode every percentage of every additive to the plastic. It can be a ten digit number - which is able to encode any combinations of literally a million additives and their percentages. We should really lobby our governments to get a schema designed and then enforced. Designing the QR code takes a school student level of mathematics (i.e. even a LNP treasurer should be able to come up with it) and enforcing it just takes determination by the world's goverments.

Our Secret Superpower - ALL our votes

Which brings me to another thing. Victoria has undertaken to reinstate government ownership of public utilities, specifically energy companies, but it doesn't hurt if we pointed out that governments were originally appointed almost solely for the purpose of providing public utilities such as energy, water, and waste management. It's time we politely asked them to get back to their roots, too. Email your local MP, email the Ministers for Energy, for Sustainability, for Recycling and Waste Management. They are all required to be made aware of our opinions and requests, and what they do with out requests should also ultimately guide your votes. 

Don't buy a product in plastic unless that plastic has a clear path to being recycled and re-used by the company making it. Don't buy the idea that we're responsible for the plastic tide because of our insistence on quality AND price. Don't forget that the corporations that tell you how high labour costs are, generally quote you the labour prices in a Western First-World country but actually use labour from a third-world country. These corporations routinely triple-dip into our pockets because they put the cost of recycling on us, they don't put money into the labour force here, and they generally don't pay taxes either because they just dance around tax laws.

Government voting

Let me be a bit clear on this - we're not quite at the point of autocratic self-appointed government yet, so our votes are necessary for a party to become the sitting government. Let politicians' actions in relation to saving the planet guide our votes more than the promises to make rainbows shine out of our butts ("oh look! You just missed it. Also you can't see it because it's behind you, but we did make it happen! Honest!") and really really REALLY think about what their policies will do in the way of limiting or liberating corporations from taxes and responsibilities, what their decision to permit or deny another coal mine or cola-fired power station will mean, whether they're here to help you get out of a multiple-bad-idea expensive to run and maintain fossil fuel engined vehicle and into a simple cheap and inexpensive to run EV, etc. 

Here are valid ways to vote. Use them at every opportunity.

Activism voting

And then vote on that. Someone will come up with free open source butt rainbows made from environmentally friendly materials soon enough anyway. Take to the online community, share links to articles like this, chat with your friends about topics like this, put up posters drawing attention to the issues. All of these are a vote that you can put out there for recycling, for shaming corporations that are not doing their total best to save the planet rather than their shareholders. Vote often, there's no limit to your activism votes!

And remember the other Rule Of The Ultimately Fatal Game Of Life - besides your public opinion vote and your government vote, you have one other, far more powerful, means of voting at your disposal - your hard earned cash. Every dollar you spend is a vote. Are you spending $80 - $120 a time filling up your tank? That's up to 120 votes for a fossil fuel company. Use the car less, get the fuel bill down - reduce your vote. 

Dollar voting

Know that the company where you buy your lunch from uses food grown in chemicals and processed in chemicals and presented in a plastic clamshell with 27 serviettes crammed in to hide the fact that the burger is half the size? (AND they forgot the bloody pickles. Again.) - there's a simple answer - bring lunch from home a few times instead. Every meal like that which you pay for, you voted for. 

Is your driving, your fast food burger, that Electrashine Butt Rainbow[tm] - worth the amount of rubbish and toxic waste they generated? Don't vote for that any more. It's rubbish.


Monday, 6 February 2023

The Abject Coder

Locomotive BASIC, Z80 Assembler. If those leave you shaking and in a bit of a dread sweat, you're my tribe. I actually learned on Sinclair ZX80 BASIC and some kind of 4bit homebuilt SCMP (from a Dick Smith kit I think, at any rate I bought it and built it and toggle-programmed it - this is long long ago in a land far far away so I really can barely remember it) but that's so far ago that I think I can be excused for it now, surely?

I never touched a programming manual until I got the cheerful Amstrad spiral-bound pulps on LocoBASIC and their assembler/monitor, and if you've seen them you know that they're great on describing functions but provide almost no "style guides" for coding. This is how you GOTO / JMP, what you do with it is up to you, suckah!

The "book" on the ZX80 was even more sparse, the SCMPthingie had nothing but fanfic if I recall, so my coding skills were always - ... Always ... what you'd call abject.... *ahem* Unique. I hacked until it worked. I have to admit that I wrote a program in BASIC with a machine code block that let me play a Centipedes style game but that played better in attract mode and wiped me off the score table regularly.

The way it calculated centipede motions was some kind of kludge as I remember, and it stored some parameters in a spare chunk of RAM that it then honed to a fine edge over the space of about fifty games, but the actual game played random parameters from time to time so it could never rest on its laurels so to speak and the parameters in memory kept oscillating. That kept the autoplayer from becoming too clever. 

Anyhow. I got to read the handbooks for DEC RT-11 because I got the unenviable task of babysitting a PDP11/03 with several homebrewed 6502-based boards feeding data in. And it regularly needed updates applied and stuff broke and so instead of being the once or twice-a-year visits envisaged, I ended up going there pretty much every few weeks and got good with RT-11 debugging and even wrote myself a program to print out my results sheets from my Amstrad CPC464 at home on the huge teletype printer that was attached to the PDP11, so I didn't have to spring for a printer at home, and could print D&D maps on wide WIDE fanfold paper... 

Are you getting the picture? I got exposed to a lot of the technology, but always by getting chucked in at the deep end without Floaties. As a result I only ever got to swim in a dog-paddle crawl. Not one formal lesson. Then in the 90s I worked at a commercial broadcaster as a tech, and the "new super duper computer" was just being set up by an old guy who went to England to learn how to program the PICK operating system that this huge chunk ran.

I had a whole TWO computers at home, so when - let's call him Roger - went on leave, his offsider took ill, and the system was in jeopardy. Enter the Chief Engineer asking if I could keep an eye on it. That was actually easy because by now I had a bit of an idea of what to do, and knew about the Internet and stuff already, so I kept the huge printer fed with paper - and that was about all that needed doing, actually. When Roger came back I told him that he had set up FTP on the system but hadn't even put a password on it, and showed him me accessing it by FTP from home and being able to download everything including the payroll. 

Roger shat himself, said I'd hacked the system, and I was out of a job. Full stop. But apparently he was so much of an idiot that he didn't even know how to SET a password on his FTP server. Anyhow - no longer my problem. The sad thing is that Roger was using a PC as his terminal to the PICK-OS behemoth and it had far more grunt than that big POS and he could have served the entire broadcaster's offices and all their on-air program scheduling at the time. 

Since then I've bounced around computers and IT before it got wanky, and I also got some small programmable computers (I think AXE or something like that rings a bell? Hang on, I've still got one of the proto kits in the office. . .  Ah yes, the lovely old PICAXE08. Here it is. No, I have no idea what the program on it is, nor what that circuit does, last used about 20 years ago

But then... I saw some cool thing called an Arduino, then a Wemos D1R2, D1 Mini, Arduino Nano, oh and Raspberry Pi and Pico boards, and a few others. I started mucking around with the full size Uno and D1R2 boards, and I still have my first project, a temp/humidity gauge with an LCD screen and some usable print to screen routines and it now keeps an eye on my filament cabinet's weather. 

That was quite a few years ago. Bear in mind I was a late 50s / early 60s old dog by then, so now I have to basically keep the programming PDF handy, and a list of people's hacks and tricks to get stuff working well, and my notes too. Dual screen is not enough sometimes, and even that is a laptop sat next to and plugged into an old monitor. 

And even then my code is still the same clunky dog-paddle construction, and Python's still a very opaque thing to me but I'm slowly getting a handle on it. Then losing that handle again because I stopped mucking with MCUs for a few years while we had other storms in our life here, and memory's a fickle bitch. With me wishing it would take less than 10 minutes to compile a 20 line sketch and let me open a 3D program so I could keep doing useful stuff while I was waiting, even though I know byu the time that's happened I'll have forgotten what I'd just done in the code back, what? - five minutes ago now... 

An artist's conception (well, okay, my and NightCafe's idea)
of what my simple little reticulation and climate monitoring
garden management system might end up resembling. Maybe. . .

But my garden reticulation controller project has got me arced up again and I'm almost back to my former appalling levels of coding. And I've ordered a few more boards that I've never had before, will see what develops hey? So far I've got a basic one channel timer going and a web page, the RTC's next, and then a way to save all the data it collects to SD card (or send it to a webserver?) - anyway, it's taking shape. 

And I still have all the model files for CAN-CNC to work on so that's a farther along the future plan. 

Please Read Down Here Too.

I blog because I like to share. Things you can read about on my suite of blogs (which I'm the sole person creating, researching, writing, and publicising) range over topics like cyber-ethics (AI, sustainable energy, EVs) and 3D printing and recycling plastics and other waste streams, general tech and personal ramblings, environmental and ethical issues, rants about sustainable and eco-friendly tech and bad actors on those scenes, COVID news and opinion, even a recipe blog that has less chit-chat and more recipe..

There are a few others but they're not really my main topics. On top of that I design and make the odd machines and things to help with recycling, my vegetable garden and soon to be reinstated mini aquaponics system, and more. It's a lot to do. I can only manage it because I'm retired on a disability pension. I've included a link below to Chat with me on Mastodon (which is a Twitter alternative without the bitter after-taste) if you think you'd like to write the odd article on one or more of the blogs and help out, or if you have an idea you'd like me to investigate and follow up.

Lastly, if you'd like to help me defray the costs of domain names, server hosting, parts and materials for the show projects, you could donate the price of a cup of coffee - or even make that a monthly donation - by going to my Ko-Fi page, and you could also Paypal Direct.

Chat with me on Mastodon >>

Friday, 20 January 2023

Another Project, Joy...

Had to happen. Because I don't have enough stuff I want to do...

I want to automate the garden. I've worked to move the vege garden and I'd really like to idiot-proof (read "me-proof") it because some days the spoons are in short supply and I don't have the energy to water - and in this climate that's a disaster, yellow leaves, stunted growth, if it happens twice in a row we lose a crop of something.

OTOH, things here get waterlogged really quickly and that can drown plants too. We end up with a lake at one end of the garden. And yep, even the reticulation can do that. Ask me how I know that. 😸 (Spoiler: The temporary mechanical timer I was using at the time got stuck on. For two hours.

Yeah. A lake.
That's a rubber boot
I'm wearing.

Being a bit geeky has advantages. I decided to program up an ESP8266 (D1Mini) as my retic controller, and because I know stuff, I gave it three circuits to manage, and timed them so they run A-B-C-A-B-A in short bursts so that circuit A runs three bursts during the night's run, B gets two bursts, and C gets just one squirt. 

My rationale is that when I water anything by hand, I notice that the first time I water for the evening, water pools but doesn't really spread, so I've always been in the habit of going round twice, and the second time the water soaks in properly. I.e. several short waterings is better than one longer one. 

Caveat: Once soil is conditioned and has plenty of organic matter in it, water "wicks" sideways just fine and you may be wondering what I'm going on about. But before the soil develops the organic component - and, more importantly, after a few days where I hadn't for various reasons been able to water - it develops some water repellant properties. I theorise that the microbes near the surface get killed by heat and their wax does this. 

Solution: Mulch is the key, but it's not always everywhere. Again - spoons, priorities. Also the only mulcher I've been able to get hold of was a complete waste of the money and time I put into trying to recondition it and has since gone on to become spare parts.

Anyhow - several smaller waterings in succession works better for me. It's probably better for most gardens but a pain to do with off-the-shelf reticulation controllers and so I'm making my own. And it means I save water, instead of watering everything for 30 minutes and having water pool everywhere and dry spots, I'll water three separate circuits for an hour, get the right amount of water for each situation (and consume only 1/3 as much water for double the time, saving 1/3 of what would have just been runoff in one watering) and as I'm currently doing this manually using my phone clock and three inline taps, I've already seen how well stuff thrives under this regime.

Hence, watering in shorter bursts. It works really well. Ten minutes on, then off while the next circuit gets a burst, etc. But then a thought hit me. What if I have this all automated - and it's rained that day? I could just put a simple moisture type rain sensor out and latch an input if it got wet that day. (But it wouldn't tell me how much rain had fallen. Hmm... )

Also, checking soil moisture wouldn't hurt. And I could log that stuff and also monitor how much water goes through the system. Temperature. Humidity, as that affects transpiration rates. 

Insolation. If I was going to power this with a solar panel (and who wouldn't, given they already HAD a largeish solar panel and lead acid battery powering other stuff, and that kind of data directly affects plant growth) I could measure how much sunlight we'd get here day by day by season by season. 

Feature creep was in full swing. . .

I decided to ditch the D1Mini and got a NodeMCU Nano form-factor thing and that's arriving in a few weeks. The board is very affordable at Aliexpress. And I've always been a bit of a data wonk, the more I/O pins you have, the more data you can collect, the better you can make things work. And - rainfall figures. . . THAT'S what I'd been thinking about! There are tipping bucket rain sensors out there that can tell me how much rain's fallen!

Tipping bucket rain sensors are cool. A little inverted "T" shaped toggle sits under a funnel with a known surface area. One side of the T fills with water because it always falls to the left or the right, that side fills up - and it tips because that side now has a few ml of water in it. As it tips, it falls to that side, empties, and stays that way because it's overbalanced. And now the middle upright of the T diverts the dripping incoming water to the other side, until it fills up, overbalances to that side, and the process repeats. Along the way, you trip a switch of some kind or ratchet a counter mechanism. In my case, you whiz a magnet past a Hall effect sensor and count pulses, then add them up in the MCU.

Tipping bucket rain sensors are cool. Until you go to the least expensive online site you know of, type in "Tipping bucket rain sensor" - and . . . Expletive deleted . . . When that one sensor can cost more than the rest of the retic system including the solenoids and plumbing, unaffordable, I have to do without it. But. . . I have a 3D printer. And people have made these things, there are models online on all the major model collection sites.

And yet. . . I'm a masochist, I have to DIY.  A couple of hours in Tinkercad and I have my own version. The only bits I really need to print are the bits inside the box. The tipping bucket, mounting, and parts to hold a small neodymium magnet and Hall effect sensor. The box around it and the funnel can be anything at all. 

Here's the secret to calibrating it: 

Here's how rainfall is measured. You make a straight-sided container, and the depth of water that collects in the container (in millimetres) is the total rainfall. For any size container as long as the sides are straight and parallel.

With a gauge, you look at the surface area of the device, work out how many millilitres are required to produce one millimetre depth of water in it, and then test your tipping buckets to see how many clicks it would take to measure that much water slowly poured into it.  Which, if I use a 10cm x 10cm square funnel, will need 10ml to form a 1ml depth of water and I am before having actually printed it, estimating 4ml per bucket so I'll be dividing my clicks by 2.5 to get a reading of 1millimetre depth. 

The point is to know to within a tenth of a millilitre how much water goes through your particular buckets, because then you can put it under any sized collector and work out what you have to divide your total clicks by to get to the millimetres figure once you know the area. You can even put the funnel out somewhere and run some tubing back to your counter. If you do that, remember to provide a way out for the water once it's been through the tipping buckets!

Here are some of the elements of the reticulation system: 

Firstly, I'm only using drip hoses and drip nozzles that produce a tiny low spray around them. That way I can pile some mulch over the drip hoses to keep the water out of the wind and sun, and the drip nozzles can (hopefully) stick up that bit more and spray over the mulch, spreading the water farther. All those sprays and mist sprays are prone to two things, wind drift and evaporation. Fine sprays like that are perfect inside greenhouses and long grow polytunnels but they waste half your water budget due to those two failings. 

Img1: Description below.

Quick description:

Thes relate to the numbered subphotos above in Img1:

  • A - These are the tips I'm standardising on for almost every purpose, and also this 4mm tubing. (As you can see, prices are good compared to our good ole Aussie hardware stores.)
  • B - shows the circle one of these can water. (Hand for scale.)
  • C - this is about the lowest setting I can get from them, handy when watering a small pot, but also slightly hard to get right so I may replace the ones in small pots with a more regulatable version.
  • D - this is a similar tip that's easier to regulate (but not by much) and that I bought a few years ago and am trialling. I think they'll be replaced though.
  • E - is one of the weep holes in the weeping hose. They're spaced 300mm apart and produce a steady drip over a wide range of pressure.
  • F - one other thing, if you can afford it, putting these taps everywhere can be a bonus. They allow you to turn a small section (one raised bed or one series of pots) off to conserve water while you're working on them or even do some really rough water regulation by partly turning them off.

The background is three raised beds and several pots around the south end of the garden after winter but before spring cleanup. (You're looking for the 3rd raised bed, arent you? It's at the extreme right behind the rush screen...)

  • G - One thing not shown is the watering into the worm feeder tubes.

You should probably refer to this older post about point G above. I made some worm feeders that go into each raised garden bed, and they're just 100mm PVC pipe stuck about 30-40cm into the ground with a lid on them. There are holes in the side down the bottom tolet worms in and out, and I toss compost, clippings, prunings, and other worm food down there, then put the lid back on. Worms wander in and out and eat their fill, then wander out - hopefully to the vegetable roots - and leave their nutritious castings (aka worm poo) there for the plants. In the process they also aerate the soil and allow water to penetrate better. 

That was fine but the tubes needed to be opened too many times to add water to keep the worms' tucker moist, and they hate being disturbed. So I used the same line as feeds all the vegetables in pots (they get one or two bursts of watering each night) and drilled a tiny hole in each lid, poked some 4mm tubing inside, and put a red dripper in. Now I can just top up the food (once every few weeks/months) and the rest of the time they have peace and safety down there.


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Monday, 16 January 2023

CANON --- icalCNC Has To Be Reposted

I Don't Know Why.

But these two posts seem to have (eventually, finally) broken this blog's Google Search ranking. I don't know why or how, but the dreaded "Alternative page with proper cano(I'm going to break the word here in just in case)nical tag" error appeared. (No, I had no idea what that meant. I'm not an SEO wonk. It took me an hour of Googling to find out wtf was going on and I still don't really know...)

Apparently it means two of my pages are "cano------nical" versions of one another sort of thing. Now mind you, this blog is on Blogspot.com, a Google property. It does all manner of stuff with my content and spits out a blog page. Whether it decides one version of something in "canon----ical" or not is magic mirrors to me. I certainly don't go whacking (<link rel="cano---nical" href="https://somedamnpage.okay?"> links into the html of the page because I never get to see that html. 

Since I have no control over what Google's pieces of - regrettable code - shoved into those pages, I've decided to put both posts together into a new post and delete the original posts. Can't throw an error if the pages are deleted... Deleting them removes the possibility that somehow Google Search was reading a title as a link rel cano-etc. Stupid as that may sound, I'm out of other ideas. 

Secondly, I'm also going to go through the body text of both posts and edit the cano-word in case Search had that in it's sights. MANUALLY, because the blogger (blogspot) editor doesn't allow search/replace. 

Here (re-)goes:

The Adventure Continues

I've finally printed the draft X - Y motion components I started to mention in this past article. It's a bit stressful here due to some health concerns so I've been doing this more as a way to keep myself occupied than as a serious push to make the machine.

Anyhow - back to the bits. I've designed with cheaply obtainable parts in mind such as four wheel gantry plates, 2020 V slot, and PLA. To make my cunning plans I've also printed at 50% infill and 4 walls rather than the 100% / 4 I'll use for the finished thing. 

I'm also only using 300mm lengths of 2020 because that'll still give around 180x180x(??? Not sure on Z capacity yet but between 40mm and 60mm should be possible) and I don't want too much 'give' in the structure. 

So since I only printed one Y carriage / gantry post, I can only give an approximation of what I hope will be. The post is printed in three parts because it fits more easily on most printer beds that way, and seems to be pretty solid under the loads I've been able to put on it. 

As you can see, the gantry plate runs outside the Y rail. Due to the width of the carriages on the X rails, that space wouldn't be available as work surface anyway, so may as well compact the machine and also reduce the leverage the gantry carriage can exert. Anyway - first, the three parts of the post:

  • Lower carriage (S Carriage) holds the 4wheel carriage plate and lifts the rest of the post up to a useful distance. It can be printed thicker, wider, but preferably not taller so it can be printed on more printers.
  • Upper carriage (CarriageExtn) brings us up to the height needed.
  • Gantry Rail Plate (GantryPlate) goes inside and does two things, it bolts together and stiffens the other two parts, and it has sockets at various locations that the end of a 2020 will fit snugly in.

Eventually, a bracket for a NEMA17 stepper motor will be included in the final print, for now I still need to work out how I want that to go.

You'll see four sockets, at this stage they were semi-randomly laid out because I didn't have a 4wheel plate to get exact measurements. There are two sockets side by side at the top and ditto around 110mm lower. The further apart I can get them vertically, the heavier a spindle I can mount here without twisting in the fore-aft direction due to the angular pressure when lowering the tool onto the work.

Having them left and right means you can print the same GantryPlate for either side. And by placing the rails off to one edge, that also means that the angular pressure transmitted down to the Y carriages is less because the spindle will be more centred. 

The plan is to find the best vertical distance between the two X rails so that the two 4wheel plates can be joined together with some kind of simple aluminium plate that can be manufactured with simple hand tools. (Because I don't have a CNC to machine them yet. . .) The spindle elevator slider will then get mounted onto that. 

Another view, this time from the 'rear' of the machine shows the magnificent 4wheel plates. I was originally going to use the PLA and just mount 4 wheels with the relevant hardware until I tried it and noticed that even with wide washers to spread the load out, the amount of give in the wheel axles was - pardon me - unforgiveable. (I know, I know. . . I'll see myself out. . .)

Things that still need to be designed and done.

I can now come up with some logical distance between the X rails so that standard spindle slides can be used.

I can slightly widen the posts for a bit more strength. The X axis stepper motor can be mounted on one Upper Carriage Ext'n and a pulley on the other with holes for a 6mm T2 timing belt to go through to move the spindle carriage. I'm thinking of once again raiding AliExpress for two angle plates designed for that purpose and preferably able to use the same mounting holes for simplicity. (So that there needs only be one patter for Upper Carriage Ext'n.) While inexpensive, this is still coming out of my pension so when you see the links below to subscribe to the newsletter and maybe also donate one-time or a regular patronage, please consider it. . .

I'll design and print a mounting post that can go at each of the Y rails and fix them to the wooden machine base, with all the bits needed to mount another NEMA17 and some way to get it to drive both sides in sync, so either two servos in parallel or a solid axle and second set of gear.

A mount for the GRBL board, manual control panel, and power supply will come in handy. 

Design decisions, why.

I know that a lot of designs move the bed in the Y direction à la 3D printer, and that does make it far more simple for the Y direction. But I'm up for the challenge (😹 he said, weeping furiously at his bravado and arrogance) and also this does allow me to apply two stepper motors if I need the extra grunt. 

Using PLA was a conscious decision too, not just what I had to hand. Comparisons between PLA and PETG and ABS show that modern PLA is up there with ABS in strength, and as I said I've 'designed' (and I use that term negligently and frivolously) this to eliminate pressure from the tool to the plastic so we'll see how good I was. 

6mm T2 belts. Yeah. This may become one of the first things that has to be upgraded. But I've seen Ivan use belts on some really big machines and they seem to be very accurate and repeatable, and I've seen what abuse a 6mm belt can survive when things went wrong on the Ender3 Pro . . .

Everything being cheap. This is one of my design aims. The aluminium 2020 extrusion was very cheap, and looks lightweight. Hence my desire to reduce stresses on it too. One other result though was that the hole down the middle was a 5mm hole. Generally they're 3mm or 4mm but if you're extruding ali and make that hole bigger then that's a smidgen of material you save per metre... 

That turned to an advantage for me because I could tap it to 6mm and so get a much stronger bolt holding things together. So when you get to yours, either drill it out to 5mmm or tap to the size you have and use thinner hardware. 

You may know that I'm hoping to start a website for people to get into plastic recycling at home and on the cheap, not so much because I think it'll stem the tide of plastics but because it'll raise awareness of just how much of this shit we still use without a qualm. So this has to be able to be made by a guy with old guy eyesight and manual dexterity, on a pension, and then be readily able to make whatever's needed for the recycling project. 

On that subject.

I started looking at plastic recycling after watching a few of Dave Hakkens' Youtube videos on Precious Plastic which is now on the One Army channel. So I may even go to their website with my machines and so forth, not sure yet. At least it'll get some coverage there. 

But as I went along, I discovered that recycling plastic isn't the ultimate goal. Public awareness is. Taking plastic out of the waste stream for a second, third, fourth, and subsbequent life - that is. Because if we can keep some of it out of the waste stream for a few more years, several things will happen:

  • Because people will start demanding that their products are delivered in recycled plastics, or in some other packaging that's biodegradeable.
  • Governments will start clamping down on making 'virgin' plastic, which is plastic made from petrochemicals. Corporations are going to find it cheaper to finally bite the bullet and take their crap back and recycle it. 
  • And other people like myself and maybe yourself will start developing technology to recover plastic out of the environment, recycle it, or break it down cleanly and safely.

The upshot though will be that free range plastics in the environment will decrease.

My other thought on that subject.

So why the CNC machine? My hope is that once a person gets involved they, just like me, will want to do other recycling. Aluminium is the second-most commercially recycled metal on Earth after lead. (I think I recall seeing that somewhere.) But it's also easy to smelt aluminium at home with some basic gear and a lot of care and caution. And aluminium can be milled flat and then used to make molds for injection molding . . . 

Once you can use injection molding you can turn a whole lot of waste plastic into identical products at speed. (i.e. if you wanted to make promotional items or money-making products, this is a quick way to do so.)

And once you're comfortable with that, you can also machine a new print head for your printer that can used pelletised recycled plastic, or a recycling tool to make filament for your printer from recycled plastics. 

Pickle's a bit embarrassed but I have to add this bit to the end:


So please support me. If you can, take a look at my News Stand where you'll see live updated links to everything I publish; or take a subscription to my weekly newsletter where you'll receive the same information in your inbox for free; Or contact me via the webform or directly email me if you'd like to help; or donate either directly or at my Ko-Fi page for the price of a coffee. Or even make a regular monthly donation there. (Check why you should donate here.)


CAN_CNC New Working Title

Thanks go to Canon for making a printer I couldn't use any parts from, ultimately. So now CANO----Nical_CNC has had to become CAN_CNC and I'm kind of glad to use those Canon parts for a laser engraver or something later on. For now I'd like CAN_CNC to get to the point of being a real desktop CNC with enough grunt to cut (or at least mangle) aluminium so I'll be able to make plastic injection molds. 

I started with a draft mode print, horrible layer heights, only 2 walls, 20% infill and some blue PLA made by XingTongZhiLian and obtained from Amazon a while back. Just as well because the first drafts used a fair chunk of the spool, despite looking like this: 

Okay, the first (white) print is a motor mount for using the Canon parts and has now been set aside for another project, but the blue print was a first draft of the left hand side of the desktop CNC, the more interesting side with the most weight on it.

Even that first print consisting of three parts (print bed size limitations) showed right away that there wasn't enough stability in the  lower carriage alone to prevent movement. Needs two carriages, possibly even spaced 50mm apart to provide that kind of mechanical advantage. Also, there was a fit issue between the two tower parts. The first draft stood for ages as the only work to be done, before I got a second wind a week ago. 

Made With Tinkercad.

Yep. I humbly admit that I am a total fumble-arse when it comes to CAD software, and because I started with Second Life building, Tinkercad is a lot more knowable to me. "Start with a prim . . ." works for me and I could build quite well. TC is missing a few features like making solids physical i.e. you can't drop a cube on top of another cube, which is sometimes handy.

Also, using TC leaves a LOT of conjoined parts and sometimes they create odd issues within an .STL. So my plan is to do as I'm doing now and make a lot of draft models first, then replicate each part once I have the final bugs ironed out. I've used this in the past, but a 30min draft print using 20g is a far cry from a 5hr 120g sort of print, that's one tenth of a spool and A) I HATE wasting plastic and B) I really can't afford to recycle it (YET!!!) and C) I can't really afford to throw away filament because I don't sell anything to cover the cost. 

So parts I make are constrained a bit, but as I gain skill with TC and dial in my TC to RL capability this'll improve and so will the parts. But for now, the second drafts are good for honing my skills.

Second Draft.

This is draft 2 and there are a few gotchas that will need to be fixed.

So the second draft has proven really useful. I've spotted a few gotchas and indicated them on that image above. First though, a quick tour of Ca _cNc. (That's "CAN_CNC" with white ant holes  for making a slightly lighter and faster print. . .)

ALSO: I know the filament looks really P I N K ! ! ! but it's actually a purplish colour in real life, it just seems to defeat the white balance on any cameras I've photographed it with. 

We're looking at the left hand tower from the left. Just a bit up and to the left of D is a bushing block for the Y rail that the towers will run back and forwards on. At the moment this is on the floor but there are two blocks that those bushes will attach to, and that'll lift it another 40mm or so. I didn't bother to print those yet because I need to work from the spindle and tool backwards so that I can make sure it'll carry the weight without any give. Looking like a big ask at the moment but I'll get there. 

Now to the points:

A: Around the motor mount, things are really tight. I stepped the top section out at this point to let the X rail extrusions sit aft of the centre of the Y carriage (more on this later) and it's good, but I added all sorts of internal means for stiffening this joint and they're all crap, whereas the stepped-out section is great but could actually be made longer and all the smart-assery with joint stiffeners can be eliminated and that'll make it more rigid too. And leads to:

B: See that mis-matched join? That's why the join bits need to go, this side too needs to be stepped out, and the overlap made longer.

C: This curvy edge is great but needs serious stiffeners. As you can see there's a little stiffener from lower right up and to the left that I cut for lightweighting the draft but even if it were there, it won't have the necessary oomph to hold a 400W 30,000rpm router spindle. Luckily I can add a bit more meat here in the next (and hopefully last) draft. 

D: It's in orange as it isn't a bug, not really. I just didn't attach the second set of carriage wheels as I need to stretch the lower section by another 20 - 30mm as I've decided the Y rails will need to just be 400mm to give me room for more stabilising length.

A further thing is that I still haven't designed a suitably tough belt tensioning mechanism for the other ends of the X and Y - Y belts. 

A Better View

This is a better view, Just orange dots here, A: yep we have cats and yep they have no respect for nice things, so we don't have nice things but instead have cats, which are better anyway. 

B: I haven't worked out the spindle slide yet but may have to just buy one. Some more on the balance of the X carriage (told you there'd be more) is needed here. The spindle motor and slider will need to sit on those two 4-wheel plates and the centre of the motor (and hence the tool) would have sat forward of the CoG (centre of gravity) of the smaller (remember the blue draft?) tower, and that means that it would have sagged forward at rest and been pushed backwards when the tool makes contact with the work and pushes up. 

Moving the X rails back and widening the base of the tower puts the centre of the spindle motor and most of the weight right in between those two 4-wheel plate carriages at the base of the tower. And that means all the fore and aft wobble in the tower will only come about from moving fore and aft, not from the motor and tool weight nor from the force the tools transmits back.

C: These 2020 bushes take up some travel room but also provide some left-right stability, and note the notch in the front faces, these are a feature of both X and Y bushes and allow the belt stopper to slip in and save a few mm of travel. There's also an inverted vee brace that will go from the bottom of the left hand tower to the upper X rail and down to the right hand tower, I won't print this but instead use cheap perforated zinc plated hardware straps from the local hardware and a spacer, which will stop L-R wobble. 

There may also be a second set of braces from the lower 2020 rail. They'll each require a tee nut inside the vee groove at the rear of the  rail, a spacer to allow the carriage wheel axles to pass, and then the two hardware straps down to mounts on the left and right towers. 

D: Still on these two X rail bushes and blocks, a few further mods - have to slightly rework them to strengthen them, make them also project downwards a bit longer for stiffness, and that's about it, they're the second part of this build I'm satisfied with. Oh okay - E: - that's not really the right-hand side of the CNC, it's a jar of sunshine aka vitamin D. It just means I'm happy with progress so far.

End of this stage.

From here on it's going to be a case of iterate and progress. All parts will become much simplified because I'll build each one anew for versions b3.0a onwards. All parts now have a path to final form with just a few redrafts, and then I'll decide a filament to use. Not the material, I'm sticking to PLA, but a colour scheme and where I'll buy it from. 

Okay - here are a few more pics. 

The first blue draft helped a lot to shape the second.

This piece now has a new future as a brass insert setter and PCB drill, it's actually quite strong. I'll print a base for it that'll allow use as either. 

Thanks go to anyone that's been thinking of supporting me, now would be the perfect time to head to my Paypal link or even to Ko-Fi.com to make a donation or monthly donation (much like another craftsman support platform but with less of the membership going to the platform than Patreon) and helping out and you'll get a mention as the first ten monthly patrons and first ten donors, and a spot on the CNC somewhere will bear the first ten monthly supporters' names.

Also take a look at everything, or just take out a news letter, it's once a week so it won't flood your inbox.

Wednesday, 21 December 2022

TTMMGH #00003

(what happened to TTMYGH #00002? It's on one of my other blogs because TTMMGH happen everywhere all the time. Go check out my News Stand you'll see the TTMYGH #00002 title in there.)

You probably know that I pretend to program Arduino and ESP(n) boards. And am reallt great and copy/paste coding with minor edits.

Nothing. Happens. Quickly. On this laptop... Install the latest IDE from arduino cc using Chocolatey - 15 minutes later have the newest version. Excited. Click that icon!

Around five minutes later, the IDE window finally opens. Ooh! Look! It offers to update the libraries automagically!

Five minutes later I can finally type into the sketch panel. Realise it's time to go make dinner, close the IDE and promise to get back to it really soon, okay?

Fast forward to next day. Click the desktop icon just as time clicks over to 12:11. Wait. Wait. Wait.

Is it a bird? No! It's Nightcafe's idea of an RP2040
with bluebird wings flying along, with some extra
elements added by myself and PaintDotNet! This
will mean more when you scroll down a bit.

12:15, IDE opens. Asks if it should auto-update libraries. Yes! Yes! Please yes! The most annoying thing on the old IDE has been fixed!

But wait.

. . .

And wait a bit more.

Can't install NTP because NTP already exists. ???

Delete NTP folder from library folder, now have to do the 'update' manually. BUT WHICH ONE?

I have this memory - "Staub."  Ah yes, there's his NTP library, install that.

By now it's 12:29 and I get a closer look at the sketch panel - why does it have TWO sketches open? Oh, hang on, whatever I type in one, mirrors to the other. Hmmm...


And now - let's close and re-open it now, to see if it'll do another library update or just open a bit quicker seeing it's already run once today. But nope. Four minutes later it finally opens - and asks to update all the other libraries that it didn't do before. Because when you hit one snag with one library, you just give up, right? 

(I've stopped timing it by now. I know when to give up and stop giving myself ulcers.)

Did I mention that I updated all the libraries in the old version less than a week ago. To save time with the upgrade? (hehehehehe snark grumble grump I shouldn't have bothered.) And here it was, it took 11 minutes to auto-upgrade just TWO libraries.

Libraries done, now on to boards. Look under preferences for the traditional URL - blank! Do you know how may sites you have to search before you find the right Boards Manager URLs for ESP(n) boards?  

Where are my dra... Where are my ESP32 and ESP8266 boards now?!! The space is still there to add the URL in Preferences but... - Ooh. Look. Sidebar has an icon I could swear looks like it'd pull up a ... -

Boards Manager! And it does! And boards manager says it has ESP32 and ESP8266 boards already installed. - Umm - okay. So why then does it also have the "Install" button enabled? I leave this alone for now - no telling where THAT could end. For now, I add the RP2040 boards (!!!! OMGWTFBBQ!)  because I've been dying to try the two RPi boards I've had sitting there while I avoided learning Python. Maybe now I can play around with them finally. I

ll get back to you once I've had a bit more of a play with the IDE.


If you can, take a look at my News Stand where you'll see live updated links to everything I publish; or take a subscription to my weekly newsletter where you'll receive the same information in your inbox for free; Or contact me via the webform or directly email me if you'd like to help; or donate either directly or at my Ko-Fi page for the price of a coffee. Or even make a regular monthly donation there. (Check why you should donate here.) I might even be able to afford a laptop that doesn't take 15 minutes to load the IDE one day . . .

Saturday, 3 December 2022

TTMMGH #00001

Looking for a good solid reliable manufacturer with good solid reliable products? Look no further!

It just screams quality.

What could be more appealing? Find an advert online for a product, copy/paste it at crap resolution, add your own brilliant salesmanship, profit!

Unsurprisingly, when you look at the item on sale there's actually a choice of three charging boards. 

Unsurprisingly, none of them is actually this one. 

Unsurprisingly, I actually bypassed this store.

Does anyone know a good cheap little board that'll charge a Li-Ion cell from a 3.3V solar cell? Leave a comment if you have any tips, or @prawntech3d@mastodon.online. 


I find a few Things That Made Me Go Hmm while I'm going about my days, and in the past I've generally posted them on messaging services or just uploaded a graphic, but I reckon maybe this should become an occasional segment across all of my blogs. so TTMMGH #xxxxx will appear on whichever one the ttmmgh is most relevant to. I hope you'll enjoy them as much as I enjoy coming across them and making a short article out of them. 

The Usual Blah Blah Blah

Please share this article, or this link to my weekly newsletter, or make a Paypal donation, or go to my Ko-Fi page and donate. It all really helps.


The Call To Action

Today, I have a big ask of you: Please consider getting involved with PTEC3D. I'll set out what I am and what I hope to achieve, and the...