MWH Projects LED Foam Core Sign!

Happy New Year: Clean up time!

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I spent the last weeks of 2016 and the first weeks of 2017 cleaning up my electronics and projects storage areas. I’m happy with how most of my areas are now, especially my soldering work station pictured above. I moved the power supply from the main work table to the shelf above so now I have lots more room to work on. Of course, it would be nice to have more but it is what it is.

First project of 2017: MWH Projects Sign!

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I came up with this rather quick project for my first project for 2017. It would be a basic sign for my MWH Projects “brand” or whatever you may call it. The idea was to have nice clean lettering on a base with some LEDs. To make the letters, I printed out an outline of the MWH Projects text in Photoshop, taped it on some foam core, and carefully cut away at it.

The “MWH” was very easy since it’s all straight lines and large letters. The smaller “Projects” text was a little more difficult. I didn’t like the jagged rough edges so I soaked them in white paint. It gave the letters a rough texture but cleaner corners and curves.

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The base was a simple box made out of black foam core board. I hot glued on the “projects” text before working on the LED circuit.

There are three WS2812B LEDs in this project which are controlled by my Attiny85 breakout board. For power, I’m using 3-AA batteries and a step-up converter to get it up to 5V. I’m not sure if the step-up was necessary but, at the time, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be using 2 or 3 AA batteries.

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All of the parts fit nicely inside of the box, except for the battery holder which is stuck onto the back of it.

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And that’s it! I think it looks pretty nice, although the holes for the LEDs could be a bit cleaner.

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Speaking of the holes for the LEDs, I actually used a drill bit the size of the WS2812B round PCB modules. Leaving it like that, it wasn’t putting enough light on the letters so I cut a little more around them. I wasn’t sure I liked how the lights were showing on the letters but, after a while, I got used to it.

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I’ve been finding myself stuck on project ideas so I’m super glad this project worked out well.

Thanks for reading!

Sledgehammer Model Build

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Sledgehammer has been my favorite ride at Canada’s Wonderland ever since it debuted in 2003. It’s a fun ride, but, for me, it’s an extremely interesting piece of machinery and engineering that I enjoy just watching and listening to.

One evening, I decided to dive into my small stockpile of foam core boards and try to build me my own miniature model of the ride. It’s the first time I’ve done a model, or this much work with foam core.

Use the photo above as reference as you go through the build photos!
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There wasn’t much planning with this project. Most of the parts cut out were simply sketched out directly on the foam core, then duplicated by tracing the first part cut out.

After some cuts, I got the arms and their central piece together.

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My plan was to make the model posable. At this point, it was with the help of pins.

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Unfortunately, it didn’t stay as cooperative as the build continued. Eventually, I gave up on making it poseable and glued it into this position. At this point, I had cut out and put together the entire top half of the ride. I used wooden dowels as the guide columns and hydraulic piston.

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To make the tower, I took a piece of foam core and made even slits down it which allowed me to bend it into a circular shape.

 

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The gondolas were the trickiest part of building the model. Each one is made up of several small parts that had to be duplicated for all six gondolas.

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After a while, they started coming together pretty good. I made a small support stand to keep things together as I glued the pieces.

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Once I got them into place, the ride took shape…

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… And once some color was added, it really started to look good.

For my next model, I will definitely paint the parts before they’re put together, even if I may have to go over them with a second coat since there will probably be some scrapes and visible unpainted glue in the process. It was difficult to paint this model, especially when trying to navigate a paintbrush between the dowels in a tight space.

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Even with the difficulties painting the top half, it was about as hard trying to figure out how to paint the lower half of the model since it doesn’t have such a straight forward paint job there. I don’t consider myself to be very talented when it comes to painting so I needed some time to figure it out. You can see the checkered red and white pattern covered up by the yellow paint…

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In the end, I used a marker to draw out the outline of where I wanted the paint, and then broke up a sponge paint brush so I could have finer control over the painting. From afar, it looks great, but it gets a bit more cartoony and rough as you look closer. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the way this project came out and am looking forward to doing another one again!