Notifications
Clear all

Workshop revamp  

Page 1 / 2
  RSS

byron
(@byron)
Reputable Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 353
2020-08-27 6:49 pm  

@dronebot-workshop

I read your workshop update and Mr Murphy has sure been giving you some stick.  My eyes lighted on

" building a really cool developers workstation for working on multiple microcontrollers and microcomputers simultaneously."

Now, young Bill, if Murph has now had enough of you we may be seeing is soon.  But just look at my bench,  barely enough room for a cup of tea. 

IMG 0462

And now I've probably got to make room for a super developers workstation. 🤨  Strewth Bill, you know how to load up an old fellows to-do list.  Please get this out to publication soon and suggestions as to where to put my cuppa when all this is done should accompany your video. (no I will not be sticking it there 😎)


Quote
Robo Pi
(@robo-pi)
Robotics Engineer Moderator
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 1790
2020-08-27 10:06 pm  

@byron

Your workshop looks immaculate compared to mine.  Take all the stuff you have on your benchtops, double it,  and scatter it all over the floor with very narrow paths only wide enough for a single footprint.  That's my shop. 🤣 

I've been trying to find the time to clean it up, but I have so many other chores to do I can't find the time.  I was walking through my shop carrying laundry baskets on the way to the laundry room and I have to be careful not to step on any of the electronics parts on the floor.  It's disgusting!

The isn't just with finding time, but also finding room to put everything in a way that it can be easily assessed.  This requires building, or buying, cabinets to hold everything.  Buying cabinets right now is not an option.  To many other survival projects need money tossed a them too!  Money I don't even have.

So the only option is to build the cabinets.  I have a beautiful woodshop for building cabinets, and plenty of wood.  But that's where the time element comes into play.

Besides, to add total humiliation to my already embarrassing status, my woodshop is pretty much in the same condition.  I have the same type of problem going on there too.   Too many toys and not enough planning ahead of time.   When I buy a new toy or tool I don't even think about where I might put it.

So your shop looks like a dream come true to me.  At least your floors are bare! 😊 

 

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


ReplyQuote
byron
(@byron)
Reputable Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 353
2020-08-28 12:23 am  

@robo-pi

Well I'm definitely one up on you on the woodwork shop.  I've just spent 4 weeks throwing out offcuts of wood (that I just know I would have found a good use for in the future, but needs must), putting all my tools in their place, sharpening the chisels and planner blades, hoovering all the sawdust and checking the saw-benches etc. for being true and square.   Now even spiders don't dare to weave their webs in there.   

But it wont last long, I've just found a new saw mill thats starting up just a short distance away and I'll be getting some nice oak planks soon.  I've got quite a few cabinets and cupboard to make too, but sadly not for my electronics workbench as yet as SWMBO has other priorities for me.   A revamp of the workshop is planned soon though. I expect this blinking @dronebot-workshop developers workstation will mean the revamp may be rather bigger than anticipated.   


ReplyQuote
Robo Pi
(@robo-pi)
Robotics Engineer Moderator
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 1790
2020-08-28 12:56 am  
Posted by: @byron

But it wont last long, I've just found a new saw mill thats starting up just a short distance away and I'll be getting some nice oak planks soon.

I bought a sawmill a few years back.  It's paid for itself several times over in the amount of lumber I've cut.  Although I should add that I'm very lucky to own 10 acres of land in a forest with very nice Oak, Maple, Cherry, and White Pine with a few other species mixed in here and there.  Lots of Beech too I almost forgot to mention.  I also have both Red and White Oak.  So a really nice variety of woods to choose from.

Sawmill (1)

In fact, I've been cutting quite a bit of lumber this summer.  I made new garage doors for my garage.  I cut white pine lumber for the internal walls.  I do it all with tongue and groove.   Just using hand-held routers for now.  But I have a system that goes pretty quickly.

I also cut up some oak logs for a new hardwood floor in my bathroom.  I've cut all the boards, and planed them all down.  The next step is to tongue and groove all those.  But those are smaller boards and I'd like to do that on a table router because it's much easier and faster that way.   So I need to get busy and build the table router.  I already have some really nice routers to install in the new table when it's finished.   The table will hold both routers.  One set up for tongue and the other set up for groove.   It should go pretty quick when that double-router table is finished.  I'm hoping to do the kitchen floor next so building the routing table will be well worth it.   I'm sure I'll continue to use it for other jobs as well.

In fact, I'd like to use it to build some doors and cabinetry too.  So just like tongue and groove, I'll be using matching bits for that too.   But I guess they call those rail and stile or sometimes frame and panel.

I've actually been working out in the woodshop today.  CLEANING UP! 🤣 

I have to get it cleaned up a bit before I start any new projects.  Me bad!

I have too many unfinished projects laying around.  That's a major part of the problem.  I get distracted from one project onto another.  I think I have that hyper disorderly conduct syndrome or whatever they call it.

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


ReplyQuote
codecage
(@codecage)
Member Admin
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 738
2020-08-28 11:53 am  
Posted by: @byron

 barely enough room for a cup of tea. 

But I do see that cup 'o tea tucked in there neatly on the Apple's mouse pad.  Just be careful and don't knock it over.  Now off to find my cup o' coffee somewhere here on my bench!

SteveG


ReplyQuote
codecage
(@codecage)
Member Admin
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 738
2020-08-28 11:58 am  
Posted by: @robo-pi

Your workshop looks immaculate compared to mine.  Take all the stuff you have on your benchtops, double it,  and scatter it all over the floor with very narrow paths only wide enough for a single footprint.  That's my shop. 🤣 

I resemble that remark!  I have an enclosed single car garage that sounds exactly like your shop and now I have 'creeped' on to the dining room table with my Jetson's and Robo Car work while watching Paul McWhorter YouTube videos.  It is really great to have such a wonderful and understanding wife (of 54 years!) that let's me get away with that and actually encourages me to keep it up.  With just the two of us we rarely ever eat at the dining room table.

 

SteveG


ReplyQuote
byron
(@byron)
Reputable Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 353
2020-08-28 12:17 pm  

@robo-pi

A very nice setup you have there, and a lovely location.  If I had the same sawmill capabilities I don't think I would get much time left to play with anything else and may have to sacrifice my morning nap.

I have a small wood which I mainly just leave alone for the wildlife.  I had a tree surgeon visit to give a quote for felling a dead tree and whilst he was at it he gave the rest of the wood a quick once over.  Sadly he reports another 3 Ash trees are goners.  On a casual glance they looked ok but they were hollowed out.  No good for planking but I'll be in firewood for a year or three.

@codecage

Ha, the same here.  My dining table is still covered with boxes not tidied from our house move over 5 years ago (I will be getting round to do those cupboards soon I hope 🙄 ).   We now always eat from a lap tray whilst sitting in front of the telly.  Actually I think I would now miss eating my food that way when I eventually excavate the detritus to uncover our dining table again.


ReplyQuote
DroneBot Workshop
(@dronebot-workshop)
Workshop Guru Admin
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 627
2020-08-28 7:34 pm  

@byron @codecage @robo-pi

Here is a quick look at the development workstation, I apologize for the quality of the images as the lighting is great for humans but not for point-and-shoot cameras!

IMG 0782

It consists of the following:

  • An Asus "barebones" Intel I3 computer with 16GB of RAM and 2 SSD drives
  • An HDMI video monitor
  • A wireless keyboard and wireless thumb ball
  • A 4-port KVM switch with HDMI and USB
  • A 4-port Gigabyte Ethernet switch
  • A 4-port USB3 hub with switchable outputs
  • A 3-outlet power block with 3 USB power connections
  • A second 3-outlet power bar on eth side
  • An antistatic work surface, as well as an antistatic strap, all grounded
  • A pair of dirt-cheap speakers

 

The KVM switch allows me to switch between 3 microcomputers and the ASUS workstation (the ASUS is that small black box beside the KVM switch).

IMG 0778

The first three switches on the KVM switch are color-coded red, yellow, and blue.  Each leads to a set of cables that are also, surprisingly, red, yellow, and blue!  These are retractable and can be retracted when not in use. In the current images, I have an 8GB Raspberry Pi 4 (in a cool blue case with a fan and an HQ camera) on the Red cables and an NVIDIA Jetson Nano (in an equally cool Waveshare case with a nice camera) on the Blue cables. The Yellow ones are not being used in this image.

IMG 0771
IMG 0779

Here is a closer look at the end of a microcontroller cable, with the HDMI, USB, and Ethernet connections. You can also see the 4-port Ethernet switch (I find the front-mounted activity lights very handy) underneath the 4-port USB3 hub, which is connected to the ASUS workstation.

IMG 0774

The Hub has switches, which is great for "turning off " the ports instead of unplugging them. This means I can work on more than one microcontroller and control its connection and power with these switches. It's an active hub, so it provides lots of power for ESP32s and others.  You can see an Arduino and a solderless breadboard on there right now.

IMG 0769

Here's another view, you can see that I've strung an LED strip above the keyboard tray to light up the keyboard and thumb ball.

IMG 0781

This will really help with my efficiency. Prior to having this, I developed most of my code on the main workstation in my office. I save it on a NAS, so I would go to the workshop when I was finished and load it onto that machine and try it out. Inevitably I would need to make changes, and this resulted in a lot of back and forth between the office and workshop. A distance of about 4 meters, but still it involves getting off my butt!

It will let me leave things running so that I don't have to put them away to film my videos!

Now I can write all my code on this workstation, the little ASUS is actually pretty powerful despite its meager specs. And I can have up to three microcontrollers at a time, which means that I have a semi-permanent Raspberry Pi and NVIDIA Jetson Nano to play with and room for one more (like the Khadas VIM3 Pro that I bought last year and still haven't even powered up!).

The power block at the back, which is currently powering the Pi and Nano, also has three USB power outlets. I mounted an additional power bar on the side as the transformers block the third outlet on the block.

And the speakers are connected to the monitor's headphone output, so all the microcontrollers and the ASUS can use them.

And, to top it off, the whole affair is powered using a 1350 watt UPS, so I can even work during power failures (for a short while anyway).

😎

Bill

"Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window." — Steve Wozniak


Spyder and Robo Pi liked
ReplyQuote
byron
(@byron)
Reputable Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 353
2020-08-28 9:57 pm  

@dronebot-workshop

Bill, thats a great project and some good food for thought for me.   I often have bits of projects or just a variety of small things cluttering the desk to test or experiment with something, all on the go at the same time and needing to be connected and disconnected at my whim.  

I think I will be constructing something similar and have at least a rpi and an arduino type board (probably and ESP32) permanently hooked up and also have a ready means of connecting additional boards depending on the current project that I can leave connected for the duration of the project with simple on/off power connections.   A switchable power usb hub  that can have a variety of leads permanently attached ( usb-c, usb-micro, etc) will very handy for this. I would also like to have some power jack plugs as well... mmm, more thinking to do 😀 

You've as inspirational as ever and I look forward to the stream of videos your new set up will produce.


ReplyQuote
DroneBot Workshop
(@dronebot-workshop)
Workshop Guru Admin
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 627
2020-08-28 11:36 pm  

@byron @robo-pi

I like the power supply idea, I need to add a USBC power supply to this (a permanent one, not the one I'm currently using with the Pi 4) as I think that will be the way that more equipment will be powered going forward, especially as USBC offers voltages other than just 5-volts.

I set up the Pi4 here with the Arduino IDE and it works fine, however, if you're planning to use it as the workstation computer I'd suggest looking into the new 64-bit Raspberry Pi OS or Ubuntu so that you can run 64-bit apps. I'm specifically thinking about Platform.IO, but there are others as well (like XOD fr example) that won't run on a 32-bit OS.

Another thing you might look into other than the Pi is one of the barebones systems like I have. Although I like the Asus I also bought an Intel NUC (Next Unit of Computing)and I totally love it. I bought a high-end one to replace my desktop, an Intel I7 which I added 32 GB of RAM to. With a Samsung EVO SSD, it is super fast. I bought a barebones one and added the memory and SSD myself, they can also be purchased preconfigured. And it's not much bigger than a Raspberry Pi, it's smaller than the Jetson Nano.

They make NUCs at every level, including some with Celeron processors that wouldn't cost much more than an 8GB Raspberry Pi when you factor in things like a case and power supply.  You could add a lot more memory and even run Windows on it if you want to (I have no intention of doing this, but it can be done, in fact, high-end NUCs can also run as Hackintoshes). It runs Ubuntu beautifully.

My workshop computer is the next one I'm due to replace, and it will definitely be another NUC, probably an I5. The build quality is great, I expect I'll still be using them a decade from now as long as I last that long!

As for your cup of tea, I have a small table that is on wheels in my office that I put my tea and water and lunch on, it's great because it rolls under one of my tables when I'm not using it. I also use it to put stuff like the projects I wire on breadboards for my videos (I bring them into the office when I document them), I can also use it to write on or put a notebook computer on.  I picked it up at Amazon, I like it because I don't like having water or tea near my computers and it hides away when I don't need it. And I don't permit myself to take drinks into the workshop at all.

That actually looks like a very nice work area you have, at least what I can see under al the components!  You look like you have windows and ventilation and possibly get to see the sunlight, something I don't have here in the basement.

Posted by: @robo-pi

I bought a sawmill a few years back.  It's paid for itself several times over in the amount of lumber I've cut. 

And I thought that I had some interesting stuff! I didn't even know regular people owned sawmills, I always pictured them as big building-sized things. Saying " I bought a sawmill" to me is like saying "I just picked up a small nuclear reactor" (which admittedly would be pretty cool, even cooler than a sawmill and much more threatening to your neighbors).

Any chance you can saw me up about two dozen 8-foot 2x4's and ship them up here?  I need some wood to build a wall!

😎

Bill

 

 

"Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window." — Steve Wozniak


ReplyQuote
JoeLyddon
(@joelyddon)
Reputable Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 331
2020-08-28 11:37 pm  

@dronebot-workshop

 

AWESOME!

 

Great job!

 

Have Fun,
Joe Lyddon

www.woodworkstuff.net


ReplyQuote
Robo Pi
(@robo-pi)
Robotics Engineer Moderator
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 1790
2020-08-29 2:40 am  
Posted by: @dronebot-workshop

I didn't even know regular people owned sawmills

No mystery,... Simple solution,... I'm must just not be a regular person. 🤣

Posted by: @dronebot-workshop

Any chance you can saw me up about two dozen 8-foot 2x4's and ship them up here?  I need some wood to build a wall!

I hear ya!  I go through 2x4's like crazy here.  I use them up as fast as I can make them.  The problem is that, even if I wanted to give you a dozen 2 x 4's for free, you could probably buy them for less than what it would cost to ship them to you.  This is a problem for me as far as trying to sell any finished wooden products.  I pretty much need to sell them out of my yard because it costs too much to ship them anyway.  Got to still with the really small stuff like jewelry boxes, etc.  Something that doesn't cost an arm and a leg to ship.

I'm trying to save money on some chain sprockets for my robot base.   I'm actually building two bases and I need 8 large sprockets and 4 small ones.  I decided to make my own.   Even buying fresh metal for blanks has proven to be too expensive.  So I cut out a bunch of metal blanks from an old farm hay rake I had.  I cut them using a plasma cutter and a home-made circle cutter.  So they don't have nice edges.  I currently have them in the lathe preparing to cut off the rough edges and bring them all down to size.  However, this has proven to be a very difficult lathe operation for my small lathe.  In fact, it's not working out very well at all thus far.  I'm going to see if I can sharpen up some high-speed cutting tools and maybe get things to go a bit better.

It's a bummer having to cut corners on everything because it takes up so much time.

Here's a shot of the roughed out blanks in the lathe:

Sprockets (3)
Sprockets (4)

It looks formidable right now, but if I can clean these up and make them into sprockets I will have saved myself over $100+, so it's worth a shot.   If I can save $100 on every little thing that can add up quickly. 😊 

Before you know it I'll have a $5,000 robot for cheap. 😎 

Nice job on the development workstation by the way! 👍 

 

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


Spyder liked
ReplyQuote
Spyder
(@spyder)
Prominent Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 828
2020-08-29 8:08 am  

@dronebot-workshop

I see you've decided to stick with the "Neat & Orderly" motif on your new work station

All things considered, I don't suppose I'll EVER personally find out if that system works, not without building a new room anyway

The NUC sounds like a good idea. I've run into a few applications that demand win10, which neither of my desktops are capable of handling. I've even tried VMs which also wouldn't work, although I did manage to get win10 "running" on an 8G Pi4, but I don't think it actually counts as "running", more of an extremely sloth-like slow crawl is more like it. If there are indeed reasonably priced NUCs available, that sounds like my best solution

@byron

I've found a cupholder for you

@robo-pi

I can see now why you don't care about getting a 3D printer... Why use plastic when you can have actual metal ?

<dreams>the things I could build with your workshop...</dreams>


ReplyQuote
Robo Pi
(@robo-pi)
Robotics Engineer Moderator
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 1790
2020-08-29 8:43 am  
Posted by: @spyder

I can see now why you don't care about getting a 3D printer... Why use plastic when you can have actual metal ?

Absolutely!   Not only that, but even plastic sprockets are expensive!  I love my little Lathe/Mill combo.  But it would be nice if I could work with some clean stock instead of having to cut out blanks with a plasma cutter.  I'm having trouble cutting into the plasma cut-offs.  I think the heat and rapid cooling tends to harden the metal there.   I'm thinking of setting up a small arbor outside and spinning the blanks and using a grinder to at least get them all nice and even.

Another thought is to heat them all up in a fire and then let them cool down very slowly.  That might soften the parts that were hardened by the plasma torch.   One way or another I'm sure I'll get it done.  I pretty much stick to things until I make them work.  Even if I waste half my life away in the process. 🤣 

I'd love to put the sprockets and chains on the chassis so I can start hooking up some motors.  At this rate I'll still be working on the sprockets for who knows how long?  After I get the blanks all machines I still need to cut the sprocket teeth.   That's going to take some time too.  But I can't complain.  It's either this or no sprockets at all, because I'm certainly not going to buy them at the prices they go for.  So I'm chipping away at this old hay rake metal like a cave man. 🤣 

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


ReplyQuote
DroneBot Workshop
(@dronebot-workshop)
Workshop Guru Admin
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 627
2020-08-29 12:53 pm  
Posted by: @robo-pi

No mystery,... Simple solution,... I'm must just not be a regular person. 🤣

Yes, I think that's an understatement!

Posted by: @robo-pi

even if I wanted to give you a dozen 2 x 4's for free, you could probably buy them for less than what it would cost to ship them to you. 

My problem here is that I can't buy them at any price. For some reason I don't completely understand the COVID-19 crisis has inspired a building boom around here, and there is a major shortage of framing lumber.  I can't find a single 2x4 for delivery on any of the major hardware store websites, or 2x3's for that matter. I can still get 2x2's, at least a few stores show stock now.  I think some of the issue is that the lumber suppliers were hit by the crisis and have not been producing enough.

Seriously though it would be nearly impossible to ship them from the US to Canada, our two countries have been fighting about lumber for years and both have imposed huge tariffs on lumber. I'd probably end up paying over a hundred bucks apiece!

I'm going to have to get creative with the framing, the rest of the wall components still are readily available. There doesn't seem to be a shortage of drywall (I need two layers of it) and stuff like sound insulation and soundboard and green glue are fairly specialized so there isn't a huge demand for them.

Posted by: @spyder

I see you've decided to stick with the "Neat & Orderly" motif on your new work station

"Neat and Orderly" sounds much nicer than what I call it, which is "Organized Clutter". 

If it makes you feel any better at this moment one of the workbenches in my workshop looks a lot like what @byron posted.  I'm setting up all of this IoT stuff and tomorrow my new Mesh WiFi system will be delivered, so the workbench is crowded with light bulbs, plugs, and a video doorbell whose motion detector keeps going off every time I walk into the workshop.  I'll also be drilling a few holes in the workshop to run some cables, as I'm putting one of the mesh units in the workshop (to give a strong signal to the doorbell, which is right above me).

Posted by: @spyder

The NUC sounds like a good idea. I've run into a few applications that demand win10, which neither of my desktops are capable of handling. I've even tried VMs which also wouldn't work, although I did manage to get win10 "running" on an 8G Pi4, but I don't think it actually counts as "running", more of an extremely sloth-like slow crawl is more like it. If there are indeed reasonably priced NUCs available, that sounds like my best solution

I've seen Celeron-based NUCS that are already configured with some memory, an SSD, and Windows 10 installed for under 200 Canadian dollars (which is about 150 USD).  Personally I prefer the barebones ones as I'm using Linux and like to choose my own hardware, but I was considering a similar, higher-powered one with Windows 10 on it that I could reconfigure as a dual-boot. There are some apps that you just need Windows to run.

😎

Bill

"Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window." — Steve Wozniak


ReplyQuote
Page 1 / 2