Purple Custom Xbox Controller

Its been a while since I’ve posted, so I thought I’d throw up a quick post of a relatively quick project my wife and I did this last weekend.

wpid-IMG_20140302_143936.jpg

Disassembling the controller was fairly easy, the most difficult part was getting out the security torx screws, without a small enough security torx driver. Here’s a tip: you can just use a flat head driver small enough to fit in one side of the screw. There are 7 screws, the 6 obvious ones, and then one under a small label in the battery compartment. That last one can fool you if you don’t go looking for it.

After getting the controller unscrewed, next step is to pull all the electronics out, and wash the plastic. The controller we were using was by no means a new one, so it got a good scrub in soapy water to make sure there was no grease and oil left on it.

I was too impatient to let the plastic air dry, so I fired up my air-compressor to blow the water off them. It makes a short effort of drying everything off.

With the plastics dry, it was painting time. I sprayed a primer on all the parts and then left it out in the sun while we went to the shop to get the colours for the project. Diana chose the colours for her controlelr, a nice purple, and a complimenting pink for highlights. The paints we chose in the end didn’t actually need a primer coat, but It was already done, and shouldn’t hurt things. When choosing your paint, its usually a good idea to get a good quality paint. Its a bit thicker than the cheapo stuff, and covers better usually. You can make do with cheap paint, but you will really want to do use a primer, and you’ll probably need to do more coats.

The paint went on pretty well, if not a bit fast. There were a few bubbles that formed in places, but they were fixed after a quick sand and a second coat.

After letting the controller dry for a couple of hours, it was time to put it back together. Everything just slots back where it came from, and screwed back down, and hey presto! a purple and pink Xbox controller!

Completed Controller

And that’s it. I didn’t think to get any more photos of the process, sorry. Its not too difficult though.

Cat Climbing Tower

Recently, my wife and I embarked on a project to build a climbing tower for our cat Dizzy. After watching a show about troubled cats, we learnt that cats like to sit in high places, and overlook their domain, so we were aiming for a fairly high tower, that you just can’t buy (not without spending a lot of money anyway).

Inspired by the design at http://www.meow-cat.com/2013/02/how-to-make-cat-tree-with-solid-wood.html, I fired up Sketchup, and began working out what would fit best for our needs, and that resulted in a nice set of plans to guide us in construction.

The sketchup design

The sketchup design

we had an idea of what we needed, so off we went to the hardware store to get the timber and some other bits and pieces needed. It was getting late in the afternoon, so we had to hurry to get in before they closed. Returning with a car load of wood and MDF, it was time to get started.

The key to any successful project is good plans

The key to any successful project is good plans

Insert building montage here….

So we didn’t get many pictures between starting, and finished construction, so you’ll need to use your imagination to fill in the blanks. I think I need to work out a way to take time-lapses for projects like this.

From recollection, we went to the hardware store at about 3pm on sunday, and managed to have a standing cat tower by dinner time. I think we did well.

In no time, we're finished

In no time, we’re finished

As we ran out of time for the weekend, we bought the tower inside, and Dizzy got an opportunity to try out the tower unfinished for the week. She likes the 2nd highest shelf the best.

Dizzy trying out the uncovered tower

Dizzy trying out the uncovered tower

The following weekend, we had some more time, so off to the craft store to get everything to finish painting. The wood is painted with acrylic artist paint, and the shelves covered in purple fuzzy fabric. In the picture below you can see Dizzy trying out her new favourite place. We have since sat a pillow on the shelf to make it a little more comfy for her, and its now her place to sit.

Painted, covered, inside. Dizzy approves.

Painted, covered, inside. Dizzy approves.

All in all, I think we spent under $100 for everything we needed to make the tower, it was a fun project to make, and Dizzy loves it. I’d call that a success.

3D animation Assignment

Over the last semester, I’ve been doing an introduction to 3D animation unit as part of my university degree, and it went pretty well.

The course revolves around blender, the free 3d modelling and animation software. I’ve tried to play with blender in the past, but always got swamped with its way of doing things.

But this course, even though it was mostly just tutorial videos, has given me a fairly solid grasp on the basics, and can hopefully utilize its power in other projects I might attempt in the future.

My final assignment was a 30 second video, which you will see below The resolution is a bit low, I’ve been meaning on rendering out a higher res one. If i do, I’ll edit this post so you all can see it in great detail.

And here it is:

Disassembling a Samsung Galaxy s2

Making Fork Phone

So, the home button on my wife’s mobile phone stopped working,

I ordered a new home button from ebay, and a couple of days later it arrived. Buying from an Australian store meant it took less than a week to get!

I figured its only a home button, it should be easy to fix, I shouldn’t have to remove too much to replace it…

Those are famous last words. Before I began, I watched a video online of someone doing it, to know what I would expect. It didn’t seem too dificult. The video was long, but it detailed the disassembly of the whole phone. I was “Only pulling some of it apart”, so wasn’t too fazed by it all.

We got to work, removing screws, unclipping connectors, making our way to the button’s circuit board

Fork Phone

In the end, I had to pull the phone completely apart. They only way I could pull it apart more would be if I got a soldering iron, and started de-soldering  components. You see, the home button happens to be on the bottom of the pile of components. we actually needed to use a hair drier to melt the glue that holds the screen on, which was a little nerve racking, as the video I watched before hand had the helpful not of “don’t worry about the screen as you remove it, as you’ll be replacing it anyway”… Um, no I’m not, I’m just trying to get to the home button underneath.

Eventually, with a generous application of heat, and some nervous prying with a range of tools, including the humble plastic forks, the phone came apart.

At that point, swapping out the button with the new one was easy.

Phone pulled apart

Finally, it was time to put the phone back together. following the reverse procedure to how it came apart, piece by piece the phone went back together, until the moment of truth had arrived.

we installed the battery, and hit the power button. Like magic, the phone came to life, beginning to boot. Once booted, we tested all the features out, the camera, microphones, speakers, made calls, and everything worked perfectly.

The only issue we had was the glue that holds the screen on made the screen sit just a little bit high in one corner. But it worked, and putting the phone into a rubber case meant there wouldn’t be any chance of the slightly raised screen would catch on anything.

It makes me happy when I do things like this, and they actually work! its a great sense of satisfaction, and it means this phone will make it just that little bit longer, and last out its contract! Then we can get new phones!

Cam Caddie Flashner Kit

I joined the Planet 5D forum, as during the month of July, they were having a competition, giving away a camera, and some other bits and pieces. Yes, I know its now October. This post has been on my to do list for a while.

I was lucky enough to win a Cam Caddie Flashner Kit.

Camcaddie Flashner

I wasn’t really expecting to win, but I thought I would give it a shot.

I would like to thank Mitch from the Planet 5D forums for hosting the competition. Hopefully You’ve gotten a bunch of new, and valuable members of the forum. I’ll certainly be hanging about.

And thanks to Cam Caddie for offering the wonderful prize.