Friday, October 3, 2014

squirrel launcher prototype

I figured a good option for my pneumatic cylinders might be a bit of garden protection, particularly with the cooler weather coming up, when the squirrels are going to be digging away.  A little help from an arduino and an inexpensive pressure sensor, and I've got a pretty decent proof of concept!

test video!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Some of you may have seen that Chinese amazon/eBay competitor Ali Baba had its IPO this week. Coincidentally, I decided about a month ago to see how good their hardware deals really were. About a month and $30 (including shipping) later, I have 3 of these little pneumatic cylinders and solenoid valves. They seem to work great, and one cylinder alone would have cost me more than $30 at any other vendor I know of. Anyway, the "get cool parts cheap" thing worked out awesome. Any suggestions on what I should DO with these little guys? Once I get the right hose barbs, they should be pretty powerful little actuators...

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cold smoker update

I had mentioned a while ago that I wanted to try using my smoker as an offset firebox, feeding a cold smoking cabinet.  Well, a while ago I got around to giving it a shot.

I built a cabinet out of old wood paneling that used to be in my living room  I drilled a bunch of ~1.5" holes in the bottom, and then layered a couple sheets of aluminum foil over the outside of the bottom, to protect it from the heat of the smoker.  After the first tests, I had to drill a few more holes, but otherwise it works great!  Only current downside is that it's very hard to refill the wood chunk bowl, so you have to make sure you load it up enough for your full smoke run at the beginning (which isn't a huge issue, really).

Here are a couple pics of the setup in action:

and here are some deer and hog sausages I made and smoked (for about 8 hours at 120*F)



Also on that topic, here is the sausage stuffing plunger I made to replace the one that came with my kitchenaid meat grinder:

It works MUCH better than the stock version.