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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Re-purposed electronics and a bonus

     This afternoon I was clean up around the shop at my day job.  One of the items I found was a front loading dryer that caught on fire at a client's house a few months ago.   It was smoke damaged and partly fried.   There was no longer a need to keep it, so off to the recycle yard.
      But, before I loaded the dryer on to my truck, I pulled out my screw gun.   I wanted to part out the push buttons and LEDs from the front face of the dryer.   After I took off the cover, I uncovered the printed circuit board where the buttons and LEDs were attached.  To my surprise the entire PCB was covered in 1/2" of epoxy.   So, saving the buttons are out the question, but I will be able to recover about a dozon LEDs.  They will just have shorter that normal leads.

      I loaded the dryer in the bed of my truck, but before I lifted the tailgate I noticed something staring me in my face. . .  
     One of my favorite new websites is Relax Shack/ Tiny Yellow house.  I found this Video Blogger, Derek “Deek” Diedricksen, through the Makezine video podcast.   (check out iTunes).   He is a funny, entertaining guy who is leading the movement of tiny temporary living/get-a-way/fort structures.  So what does this have to do with what was staring me in my face.

    Well, back to my story. . . what I was looking at was the circular door of the dryer and it reminded me of this video from Deek in his video series "Tiny Yellow House"

      As you will learn in upcoming posts, I am working on plans to build a tool shed to store my lawn equipment so I can move them out of my workshop.  My goal is to build the entire shed out of recycled materials.   Therefore, this circular dryer door will be added to my collection.
       Right now the current status of materials for the build is the dryer door and some 2x4's.  I still have a ways to go before I can begin the build.   Although my shed will not be tiny as some of Deeks' projects, I hope to include his spirit of construction into my project.

The beginning

     All my life I have been constantly watching and learning everything around me. Some skills I remember, others I easily forget. I feel that I try to do everything at least once so that I become well rounded and experienced in many facets of life. Somethings I do once and never do again. Somethings I do once only to pick it back up later in life.
     Right now I am at a point in my life where I feel I am comfortable in knowing who I am and my likes and dislikes. A reoccurring theme of my likes are building with my hands.  My main education has been in the field of home construction, but in the past few months my electronics interests have been rearing its head from the dark depths of my soul. It started with learning more about computer repair but lead to DIY electronics building, and hacking.
     I am fortunate to have a dedicated shop that serves as my base, my experimental lab. Where creations are built or lost mechanical souls are repaired. I followed a few websites which lead to listening to a podcast which lead to many podcasts. Now my head is full of ideas and projects that sit waiting to be completed and many more waiting to be started.
     I have recently started learning more about open source electronics, including hardware and software design. That idea is intriguing on many levels but what draws me to this area is the community that builds around different open source projects. That is what has brought me to create this blog. I do not have a direct purpose or theme but I have a general idea of what I want to include in it, thus I will let the blog's theme take shape on its own.
     I want to put my thoughts down in this blog about primer ideas for projects that I would like to do or details of projects that I am currently working on.  I want a place to write down my ideas on "paper" so that I can make room for other ideas swimming around in my head, but also spark ideas in others as other people have sparked in me. Writing is not my strong suite, but I have read from other author that to write a book or a blog you have to put your thoughts down everyday.
     Just as the old saying goes. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. That same philosophy is applied to writing this blog. How do you write a blog? One word at a time. And regularly.
     I have many fun projects that I am working on. So I plan to begin writing about those projects as I continue to build on them.  Although I have not figured out the theme of this blog, I felt it fitting to call it 'Garage Engineer' because that how I see myself and all that I do.