Better, faster, stronger, wiser

7 April, 2013

Wisdom Exchange upgrades!

1) Improved the penholder. The previous brass thingumebob* was a) too tall, so it got in the way as you wrote, and b) blatantly a piece of plumbing. (Not everything brass is steampunk.) The new version is the same thingumebob the other way up, decorated with a milled-out escutcheon**.

In the process I discovered that working with brass is delightfully easy. It’s not much harder than wood, and you end up with a workshop covered in sparkly golden glitter. No wonder all the cool kids used it.

And with that, I have run out of Sugru. Now how am I going to fix impossible things into place?

That’s better.

2) Added a USB port, for easy reprogramming and an alternative power source. It’s hidden behind another escutcheon***. I procrastinated over this one for a while because I didn’t want to take a drill to the side of the box.

That gap there? That is what happens if you take wood from an 80% humid Irish basement to a 0% humidity desert.

Perfectly normal.

That bit of stripboard took an embarrassing number of attempts to get right.

Behind the scenes.

3) Improved the Bin of Hindsight and Regret. It is now less obviously a cocoa tin. Still needs a label of some sort, though.

Mmm, cocoa.

Still, fundamentally, a cocoa tin.

And then, Mum, I *washed the brush*.

Staining varnish. Not just for wood.

4) Reinstated the slicer. Getting the slicer to slice was straightforward (it’s just a motor) but getting it to stop reliably in the right place was not. It slices at different speeds, and thus stops in different places, depending on whether it’s powered by fresh batteries (6V), USB (5V) or flat batteries (4V). A slicer stuck in the wrong place jams the paper, but no slicer makes it hard to get your wisdom out. Battery power requires more thought and probably a voltage regulator, but now I can run it from USB that’s not a priority.

With that, and maybe a bit more decoration if I get around to it, the Wisdom Exchange is ready for the Dublin Mini Maker Fair. Onto the next project!

* Plumbing term.

** Easily one of my favourite words.

*** Oh yes.


  1. Your posts always make me laugh admiringly. And then ask “WHY ….??” Thos x

    • Why do you play the fiddle?

  2. Wonderful – do you fancy varnishing some old radios….

    • The varnish I used is a bit shinier than I expected; I wanted a finish more like your crystal set. How is that done? (Ok, it’s probably not made of plywood and pine, to start with…)

  3. […] last Wisdom Exchange upgrade, also for the Faire (which just happens to involve making friends with TOG’s CNC milling […]

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