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.

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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.

Scrapbooking paper shelves

 

Starting at the end, Here is the finished product. Lots of room for paper, with a larger bay at the top for other items.

My beautiful wife needed a place to keep all her scrapbooking paper,  and after trawling through hardware stores and craft shops,  we still couldn’t find a suitable storage solution for the 12×12 inch squares.

I found several shelves and boxes online,  but at $100 each,  they are kind of expensive. I decided to try my hand with making one myself.

problem one was how do cut straight and square. My advice is if you have the choice of a hand saw, and a jigsaw, take the hand saw every time. A jigsaw is made to not cut in a straight line, so trying to cut straight is a bad idea, even when I tried to take my time, and use a straight edge clamped to the wood, I still almost messed it all up.

After making the initial cuts with a jigsaw, I gave up and grabbed my hand saw. a line where you want your cut, and taking your time will see a fairly straight cut. It’s no pro job, but it was by far sufficient to get the job done.

Problem two was how do I mount shelves? usually the way to make grooves would be to use a router and a straight edge, but as I don’t own a router, I couldn’t do it that way. My solution was to use extra pieces of the 3mm MDF, cut 50mm high to the inside of each shelf, with a gap of 3mm for the shelf to slot into.

 

I started at the bottom, nailing a piece onto the side, using another piece as a spacer for the shelf

 

Making the grooves this way, while theoretically uses more MDF, I found that I didn’t need to actually buy more MDF as there was plenty of off-cuts left over to do the job.

So there you go, Close to a $100 scrapbook paper rack, for about $30 in materials. I’m pretty happy with the end results.

Etsy store

I’ve made the first step in my experiment in producing decorative pieces for gifts and for sale. I’ve set up a store on etsy.

The painted butterfly, ready for Etsy.

You can see it here

Etsy seemed like a good place to start, as its like a Saturday market. There is no way I was going anywhere near ebay, which from my experience has lost touch with the individual sellers. being forced into paypal is another good reason. Paypal is handy as a buyer, but sucks so much from a sellers prospective. I want to keep the fees down, so I can sell items at a more reasonable price!

So with somewhere to sell my wares, now I need some wares to sell. So far, I have listed one butterfly. I’m in the process of making a couple more of them, with a slightly different design. I have one in the painting process, and another two about half way through the construction process.

After I finish off these butterflys and get them on etsy, I’ll see how they go, and also see what new ideas I can come up with.

Oh, and I haven’t forgotten about the trains. Progress will happen soon on the tree layout. I thought this Etsy blog was more time relevant this week. Stay tuned for more trains, and other projects!

Scrapbooking Process Video

As my most popular blog post so far, by far is my cricut blog, I thought I’d add a video I’ve made for Uni.

It’s not really a how to, but it was supposed to show the process of something, in this case, the process of making a scrapbooking page.

My lovely wife Diana suggested the idea, and kindly volunteered to be the star. I don’t think she realised that required sitting under hot lights for several hours though.

I Hope you enjoy the video!