Archive January, 2013

Mobile Robot Platform

31 January, 11:58, by Mark Zander Tags:

Who doesn’t like to play around with robots? Make them do cool stuff.
So when I saw a six-legged remote control bug (called an N.S.E.C.T) at the thrift store I thought; that would make a cool base for a robot. The NSECT is supposed to be remote control but this one did not come with the controller. But otherwise was complete and worked. Along with walking on six legs it has a front pincher and a rear six shot gatling gun.

First thing I did was take the entire thing apart. Here is a good page with a description and pictures.
The legs are moved with a complicated set of gears and cams by 2 DC motors. One motor from the left, one for the right. Perfect for something like a motor driver chip to handle.
I already had a Arduino Motor shield from Adafruit. But after some investigation I realized I’ll need something else. The Adafruit motor shield max’s out at 600mA per motor. The NSECT’s motors took 800mA+. I toyed with the idea of making an H-bridge motor controller from scratch but then saw a 2A motor shield from RobotShop in Quebec.
I ripped most of the NSECT’s guts out and wired in the motor shield and Arduino.

DIYode now has a good Robot Platform we can use to experiment with robots!
I plan to add some IR sensors so the robot will be able to detect objects. Plus a biggie is to get the pincher working, and I won’t forget about getting that gatling gun working!

Robot 2

Vacuum Former Idea

28 January, 00:21, by schwartzsb

Here is a link to a good page with information on building a Vacuum Former:

A lot of good information.

I would prefer to build one out of mostly metal, with the heating elements on the top, so the frame with the plastic sheet will just have to be dropped down onto the mold.


Wood Bending with Steam!

24 January, 09:00, by Mark Zander Tags:

Erin and Andrew needed to build a circular crown for their yurt. So they decided to steam bend it in a wood streamer they put together one day at DIYode.

Steam bending

After 3+ hours of steam the wood planks were bent around the form.
You need lots of muscle and quite a few clamps!

steam bending

More Steam Bending pictures and some video.

DIYode Glows in the Dark

23 January, 23:32, by EvaB

Last Wednesday, I was reading through the morning’s DIYode IRC chat when I ran across an article that Jamie had mentioned.  Someone had made a very attractive faceplate for LED light to shine through, similar to the control panel on some electronics. What had made it special was the high heat paint sprayed onto the acrylic beforehand, which produced a sharp, clean image. The site is here:

I got thinking that it would be interesting to make it wearable, like a necklace that glows. I asked the body of IRC chat people in our room what logo to use, and an answer came through just as I thought of the same one:  OUR LOGO!

I assembled the pieces, sprayed the paint, and enlisted the help of Mark Zander to help laser our logo onto small ovals.  He also completely laser etched an oval to act as a diffuser.  Mark worked on getting an itty bitty LED and an itty bitty resistor into the side of the etched oval.  Something wasn’t quite right.  We worked on it (well, mostly Mark worked on it) until about 9 that evening.  The prototype was still not done.

I went looking for “edge lit LED signs” in Google and found another site that was doing more or less the same thing .

I had some LEDs at the house given to me by Dan O’Connell from Kwartzlab in Kitchener.  I went to an electronics store to get a 3 Volt button battery, and tested the LEDs right in the store.  Lo and behold, the green LED was just right, as our logo is green (sometimes).

My plan was to use an unpainted acrylic oval, sanded on both sides, between the logos to act as a light diffuser.  This was similar to the one Mark had been working on.  Based on the second website, I thought that sanding both sides would produce better diffusion than laser etching for the sandwich layer, and it did produce a cloudy, whiter surface.  I put it between the logos to test, and it seemed to work well.

The LED got sanded and flattened with a Dremel tool.  After cutting out a well in the top, I put the logos back to back with the cloudy layer between them to make it reversible.  Sticky copper tape went around the perimeter, the LED got glued in with hot glue, the wires got soldered on, electrical tape went between the soldered ends, and then I popped a glass pony bead onto the exposed legs to hide them.

And voila! LED DIY on mechanged

Danny Dobbs happened to be in, and I used him as a model for the up close version:LED Diyode logochanged

All in all, this was a fascinating project.  I’ll happily be wearing it to several events soon.

Here it is in the daylight:

LED pendant



More Toys Erm. I Mean Tools!

21 January, 01:26, by Verdi Tags: , , , , ,

A couple days ago, a whole list of new tools have arrived in the shop! This means an end to our big ticket spending. Thank you so much Ontario Trillium Foundation   for the money you have provided us with to spend on new tools and equipment around the shop. It has made a great addition in our shop and added to the collaborative team building spirit around our shop.

The list of tools which have just arrived in our shop is a little long and overwhelming but here is a brief summary to some of the tools which have just come in:

3 in 1 40 in. Sheet metal machine


  • Slip roll
  • Press Brake
  • Shear

Sharpening system 3000

Never again will you have a dull chisel with this nifty tool.

24 in. Dovetail jig

Makes a perfect dovetail joint every time!

Colt Palm Router


A full and complete list of all the tools we have ordered will be available soon. If you’d like to get up close and personal with our new tools, come by the shop on Mondays at 9. New people always welcome.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation is an agency of the Government of Ontario.


18 January, 15:22, by EvaB

DIYode recently got a shiny new cherry red plasma cutter!

Our President,  Simon,  gleefuly made short work of an available spare 1/4 inch metal disc we happened to have around.










…which is now threatening our very existence…







Matt’s Wood Bowl

13 January, 20:20, by EvaB

Recently, Alex Ciccone did a series of wood lathe workshops.  Several lovely bowls and pens were turned.  This inspired Matt Harding to get started on his own project.

With a few types of wood he found at the shop, he sawed, planed, glued, clamped and glued again to make a solid multi-toned block  from which he turned this bowl.

Notice how the grain shows up particularly well in the light wood.

Looks great Matt!  I’m sure your new bowl is being enjoyed in its new home.

matt's bowl









Thank you to those that keep all the tools at DIYode working!  Thank you again to Alex Ciccone for the loan of the wood lathe, and thank you also to Alex Storey for the loan of the wood planer.

DIYode helps with Trees for Tots

13 January, 14:27, by Mark Zander

DIYode members were on hand Saturday January 12th to help out with the Trees for Tots Christmas tree pickup in Guelph.
We were one of 40 teams tasked with picking up 1500+ trees from across the city. Each team was given a list of pickup addresses and a map. Most teams had a pickup truck or trailer. DIYode went one step further by using our member-use pickup truck and a 6×12 trailer.
Here’s a picture during our first tree drop off. There are 30 trees in there somewhere!

Trees for Tots

At the end of the day DIYode collected 56 trees and $614 in donations!
While the suggested donation for each tree picked up was $5; the average was over $10 per tree.
There were some people who donated significantly more!
Thanks to everyone for their donations and to the Childrens Foundation of Guelph & Wellington for organizing this event.

What’s happening down at Diyode? – January 2013

10 January, 03:02, by Verdi Tags: , , ,

The Diyode community never ceases to amaze in it’s ability to push forward. Let’s take a quick look at some of the current events going down at Diyode this month:

  • New Space! – Diyode has just acquired some new square footage in it’s current building. We are now working on renovating and organizing the new space to best suit our needs and maybe we’ll get some new equipment along the way. Please, if you’re interested in the new space and have some ideas for what could be used for, come join us for our weekly Monday night meeting. 
  • Diyocracy Haiti Project – Diyode is continuing to progress on the Diyocracy project. For more information, check out
  • Kwartzlab Codeshield Workshop – We are currently in the works for setting up and running a Codeshield workshop at the Museum in partnership with Kwartzlab sometime in February. If you have not yet to checked the Codeshield

Come box with us! This Saturday, January 12th.

08 January, 23:39, by Christoph Kesting

Our second BoXshop is coming quick!  Like a cold block of blue steel – at 11am this Saturday Paul our superman eco-contractor from Toronto will begin instructing us in the art of framing & mounting.

*  Goal 1.    Mount the external insulated wall onto the outside of the box.
*  Goal 2.    Frame & install sweet french doors.
*  Goal 3.    Process (pull nails) the rest of donated lumber
*  (Goal 4.)Use donated lumber to begin framing second story.

This second constructional workshop is all about measuring and cutting wood to frame in the super sexy windows & doors.  Time permitting we will begin framing the mysterious second story of the container.  (Very exciting indeed).  Bring weather appropriate clothing, a mug for tea, a spoon for vegetarian chili, a few bucks to donate towards the instructors & some friends.  Music, friends, food & lots of work: 

Not only do I need your helping hands to build this, I know there’s a ton of value in learning how use the tools we have in a friendly group setting! 

  • get outdoors & get your weekly hands-on experience in the natural craft of homebuilding
  • receive instruction from a green building instructor, Paul Horrigan.
  • make new friends over a meal provided by the Woolwich Arms (stellar vegetarian chili)
  • dress warm. work clothes.  $12 donation requested
  • bring a friend & any questions? call CK, (519) 831-1012
  • 11am – 5pm @ diyode, 71 Wydham St South, Unit B
  • shipping container is in rear parking lot
come box with us