Dynamic Sketching 2 Class
At the beginning of this year I signed up for the Dynamic Sketching 2 class with Peter Han at CGMA. Previously I already took Dynamic Sketching 1 also with Peter Han. Overall I’m more than pleased with the class layout and the style how Peter Han is teaching.
Short version: if you want to learn or even improve your sketching, I can highly recommend the two classes at CGMA.
The class lasts for 8 weeks. Every week there is new video, with the introduction to a new topic and a new assignment for next week. From there you have another week to accomplish the assignment that you later upload to the classroom. Peter reviews all your sketches and creates a nice video feedback with many tips and tricks for improvements for your sketches.
But the best part is the live Q&A with Peter Han at the end of each week. You can sign in to a virtual classroom were you will meet your teacher and all other students. Peter will discuss the weekly assignment, give additional tips and do some awesome live drawings to the weekly topic. But you’re free to ask him every other related question too. He takes the time to answer all your questions very professionally. Although I had to get up at five in the morning I enjoyed this live Q&A’s very much and watching Peter Han drawing live was always a great inspiration.
The weekly videos are averagely 45min long, personal feedback videos about 5min. A live Q&A last about an hour and if you can’t make it you can still watch the recorded version.
600$ is a lot of money but it’s worth every cent. It really improved my sketching and with Peter Han’s teaching and drawing foundations you’ll be soon able to do a quick sketch of every possible object, situation etc. But either way, you only learn and improve your sketching while you’re actually doing it and that’s what Peter always said to us: mileage.
Lifehacker MacGyver challenge
Reader robogrobo needed a better way to hand his Summer bike tires during the Winter season. His solution? The wire clothes hanger, of course. He bent it according to his handy illustration using the edge of a table to make bending easier. He made the same bends on both sides of the hanger to give him a perfect two-pronged hook capable of holding his tires through the long Winter months.
The title sounds rather techie-like for a toy I built as a gift for our daughter Anna. But I guess it’s better than Pretty in Pink™ Get Movin’ Music Player™. At the end they do both quite the same: play music. But the contact-free jukebox is made out of a fancy Arduino and RFID reader and is controlled by pictures that represent music songs.
Why another music player
It all started when Anna was more and more attracted by our iPhones and really liked to dance the Nikki-Dance (if you don’t have kids, I recommend you not to click, I’m not responsible for any damage). Well anyway, Anna was able to unlock the iPhone and play her preferred song, but the phone - as you might know - is not build for kids, especially not to get smashed on the floor. It was time to build something that looks like a bag, has bright colors, can resist 1,20m drops and is super simple to control.
How does it work
The main goal beside the child-proof ruggedness was the easy music selection for a kid. So finally it was time to build something useful with RFID Tags. I bought some credit card sized RFID tags and glued my animal drawings on them.
Every card has it’s own picture of an animal that represents a song from the “Schlieremerchind im Zoo”. So Anna selects an animal that she likes, picks the card and hovers it over the Jukebox - eh voilà: magically the selected song starts to play.
Well there are two other controls: a big flip switch to on/off the jukebox and most important a volume control (we’re so thankful). And not to forget was the one requirement from Anna: it has to have a handle.
There rest is all hidden inside, so read on if you like.
Ok, it gets a bit more technical (see the full parts list below). We have an Arduino Uno combined with an Adafruit Waveshield equipped with an SD card to play the audio files.
Then there is this super tiny loudspeaker and an ID-12 RFID reader to detect the cards with the animal drawings.
To power up everything I added a 2000mAh 3.7v LiPoly battery combined with a 5V DC to DC Step Up to reach the correct voltage for the Arduino. To charge the jukebox respectively the battery i added a USB LiPoly charger for convenient charging at a computer usb port.
The rest is a perfboard and some wires to connect everything together.
The casing is a wooden box from a delicious “Wiener Sachertorte”. I cut out the needed openings, attached a handle out of plexiglas, painted it blue and added some graphics. At the end I secured the box with screws, so the innards will be save from curious children (I wonder for how long…).
At the end
First things first: it was totally worth to build it after I saw the smile in our daughters face after we gave here the jukebox. She’s so proud to have here own music player.
It’s obvious that you can buy cheaper music players even with barbie or spongebob faces, but do they play the OS X startup chime while switching on? And can you fix them, after they break? Or better: can you program them to play a song only once and block them for an hour to save you from getting crazy? And there is still some space left in the case to add an amplifier.
Make your own jukebox! I added all the needed stuff (parts list, code…) below. Don’t hesitate to contact me: @ruedi.
Parts list and code
- Arduin UNO (Adafruit)
- Waveshield + Loudspeaker + SD Card (Adafruit)
- USB LiPoly Charger (Adafruit)
- 2000mAh LiPoly Battery (Adafruit)
- 5V DC to DC Step Up (Sparkfun)
- ID-12 RFID reader and Breakout (Sparkfun)
- Switch (Sparkfun)
- Perfboard and some Wires
- Case, for example a wooden box
You can find the Arduino jukebox firmware on my github page.
Follow these instructions to prepare the SD card and convert mp3 to wav files.
The drawings were made with the really handy Adobe Ideas iPad app.
Q:Great project. I'm also working with the Ljusa. What size/length machine screws did you use to mount the dynamo on the side with the brass spacers (not the wood side)? What is the length of the spacers? How did you open the flashlight? I cut it apart with a Dremel rotary tool.
the screws are 20mm long. But be sure to buy countersunk screws. Otherwise the handle will touch the screw head.
I opened the Ljusa with a carpet knife. You’ll find at both ends narrow gaps in the red plastic body.
No batteries required
Our daugther has an old toy piano. A few days ago, the batteries started to die and the piano played awful tones that just didn’t sound well. So it was my part to replace it with new batteries or even better get rid of them and add this:
Yes, you’re right, it’s a LJUSA dynamo torch from IKEA and it’s quite cheap. What’s left after breaking it open was this:Attached to the red handle there’s a gearbox combined with a brushless motor (like in your computer hard drive). From there, three black wires lead to the white PCB that has a capacitor (5V, 1000μF), diodes and resistors. The hole thing converts AC current to DC current and stores the energy in the capacitor. The black and white wire are + and - poles.
Well the main part was to attach the gearbox/electronic inside the piano and find a good place for an ergonomic handle operation that suits a two-year-old. I drilled some holes on the back and screwed on tightly the gearbox to the housing. After that I just needed to solder the black/white wire to the corresponding connections found at the now obsolete battery compartment.
After pushing all the wires back inside the housing and tightening the screws, the conversion to a batteryless toy piano is quite subtle, even the handle color is matching with the piano housing.
To be honest: you have to turn the handle for about 30 seconds to play a few tunes. The capacitor isn’t enough powerful to store a lot of energy. But hey, at least it will work forever unless the handle breaks or somebody set it on fire.
I saved for sure some batteries and had some fun moments making it.
Hardware eventually fails. Software eventually works.