Build Projects

Growing up in a D.I.Y house hold from cakes, dress-making, wine or house extensions I saw it all!  As a twelve year old becoming interested in electronics I followed that path into my career, even now - when at home! - I've always a project of some-sort on the are some of them: 
- - - Projects List - - - 
1. Handlebar bag replacement.
2. Matchbox cars display cabinet.
3. The old buckled wheel.
4. Chunky funky shelf support.
5. Panasonic Lumix self-timer extender. 
6. Fuel-bottle holder - 2016 update.

1 - Handle Bar Bag Replacement:
 Having previously used Ortlieb's Ultimate6 Compact bar-bag the flap's front velcro strip was almost worn out.  The only niggly issue I'd always had with the bag was the bag's flap being at the front!  Hence it was time for a change.  Using butterlfy (euro) bars meant a somewhat limited choice of other bags [without] having to use an unsightly bar-bag extender bracket – pushing the bag even further away!

Pondering for a while how to resolve the problem I soon found the answer staring at me from one of the shelves within my garage!!  A Peli Case (the 1150) that had been used for several years as a tool box!..a waste of a product with such high spec; Corrosion-proof, Crushproof, Dustproof, Fully Submersible.  With approximately the same volume as my Ortlieb it certainly looked promising...and the colour matched my bike just perfect!

Next problem was how to secure it to the bars, whilst at the same time making it easy enough to remove.  The case has four moulded feet complete with centre position indents, making suitable for drilling, so from the 2 front feet I decided to use plastic coated Terry-clips, secured via M4 x 16mm screws & nyloc nuts (the Terry clips plastic coating would minimise the handlebars getting marked so quickly).

With the front now mounted securely, attention was tuned to the cases rear.  It was only necessary to simply rest this against something stable, the simplest approach was an 8mm aluminium tube [flattened at both ends] spanning from one side of my bars to the other...

...secured to the bars using rubber-sleeved stainless-steel P-clips.  With the tube cut to length, ends squashed & drilled.. looked like a relatively clean and tidy approach.  I may add some thin foam around the tube prevent any rattling noises on bumpy roads.

Security.  The Case has provision for a lid-locking padlock, and also by use its pivoting handle [while cycling] could pass my bike's lock through it, thus securing it to reduce any 'grab-n-run' thief chances!

2. Matchbox Cars Display Cabinet:
As an avid collector of certain Matchbox cars I wanted to display them in a cabinet.  Deciding to recycle some old dumped bed-slats from a nearby housing estate I got to work.
Firstly removing the curved profile from one side of each slat, then cutting 45' mitres to the end faces, routing the slots [to hold the glass shelves], and a through-slot along the front face of one length [for the glass panel to slide in], then gluing & screwing together.

Taking shape.

Back from the glaziers with no breakages!

Thankfully my measurements were correct, else could prove expensive!

The hardboard rear panel is firstly wallpapered, then the colours begin..

Marking the pattern, based on part of the 70's Matchbox logo.

Decided to change the inner red to a yellow, moving the red to the outer.

Primer / Undercoating the cabinet...still unsure of the finished colour..

With specific models being displayed, the chrome-effect spray was perfect!

I was more-than happy with the result.

All of these models feature big chrome engines, hence the cabinet's chrome effect.  All I had to buy for this project was the glass (6 mm toughened, £32), and two cans of spray paint. The wallpaper was a sample piece from B&Q...You can do it, when ya B&Q it!

3 - The old buckled wheel:
An old buckled bike wheel and a brick-wall tie 

Bottoms cut from 2-litre cola bottles and a few cable-ties...

Cable-tied together..

Awaiting a few more bases..

Testing using one of my old disco framework tripods.

Fixing it in place at 45 degress so it catches the wind  from all's rarely stationary!

4 - Chunky Funky Shelf Support:

Needing to support an electronics test-equipment shelf,  strength was important and also portability.  With a basic idea in-mind, and recently given a few roof-timber off-cuts from a friend a plan was hatched...

My brief was; "no filler on the mitre joins!", to meet that spec. I spent a good few hours setting the chop-saw, making several cuts until I had an exact 45' cut on both faces (a small error in one corner becomes amplified at the opposite diagonal, especially with thick wood.

Perfect!..repeat three times.

To ensure the four mitred faces married perfectly, before screwing together I glued them - thus allowing fine adjusting, using whatever I had-at-hand to apply some force to the sides and top (a roll of lead!).

Holes drilled at a slight angle, countersunk and filled (the only time I used filler).

Using some old emulsion as an undercoat / primer.

Wanting a funky, colourful  finish I bought a few 50 ml (sample) paint pots,

Using a cut down sponge roller to apply said paint.

A very  80's / Habitat look to them.

In situ.

5 - Panasonic Lumix self-timer extender:

About the only negative point on my Pansonic Lunmix LX5 camera being the measly time-period the self-timer gives  - 2 or 10 seconds!! With the latter clearly not long enough to feature in any of my own 'from a distance' photos - something seen on many other peoples blogs - meant time to design something...

My initial idea was to use a small low-voltage 'push type' solenoid, operated by an electronic timer that would [after the desired duration] simply push the shutter-release button (the button one normally presses).
Ordering a push-type solenoid from a Hong-Kong ebay seller, upon arrival I find they'd sent a bloody pull-type!! No good for me and with little time before my tour's departure I had to think quick! 
Having a couple of unused 30-year-old radio-control boat servos proved just the ticket! I should have actually used that approach from the start as the servos rotational control can - through correct circuit design - be controlled very finely, unlike that of a solenoid whereby consequential excessive force on the camera's button could lead to damage / button failure.

Prototyping the circuit on 'breadboard' before committing to soldering to veroboard.  The scalpel blade on the servo's spindle was to simply see how many degrees of rotation I was getting.

This 90' bracket was the correct thickness... 

...for a snug fit into the camera's external 'hot-shoe' (external flash) mount.

Fabricating the servo bracket.

The servo in place, with the arm set a few millimeters above the shutter-release.

The finished circuit on the veroboard.

The circuits may be of use to any hobbyists looking for similar. 

The circuit only draws ~ 40mA so powering from four AAA re-chargeable batteries should last a long while. The two switches are 'On/Off' and '15/30 sec. timer'. To minimize the need of a third switch (Start) the timer count-down simply starts from power-on.

6 - Fuel-bottle holder - 2016 update:

Storage-space on a bicycle can be somewhat limited, of which mounting a standard stove fuel-bottle presents even more problems due to its very contents!  Most tourers mount it on the 3rd water-bottle holder (underside of the downtube) but personally felt this a waste of the very purpose of a water bottle holder.  

The height of my saddle gave enough space to mount mine there (along with the bottle's fuel-pump still in place!) and fortunately my rear-rack's stays (the two metal arms just under the seat-post clamp) are at ~90 degrees to my seat-post resulting in perpendicular placement of the bottle. 

On my Singapore tour the initial design worked well, but, using just a simple round piece of plastic as the mount's base gave no barrier between the fuel bottle and the seat-post clamp, thus both parts suffered from chipped paint - as now seen on the bottle.   
Re-designing I used the lid from an Aldi coffee jar - the inner radius proving an exact fit to the bottle - cutting/shaping the side-skirt to enable easy bottle removal.  

Also the bottle's seat-post bracket was amended to include the elastic cord.  This was made using a small piece of hardwood - both curved faces filed 'roughly' using a half-round file, then finishing by wrapping a sheet of medium sandpaper around the bottle to sand a matching curve, and likewise with the seat-post.  Time to cook!!