Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Camper Build VII

The latest work on the camper have been on the windows. I am going with a sliding widow design. The basic window is made using the "like wood" plastic trim material from Home Depot. You can see the size of the 1 foot square window relative to our cat below. I am using a plastic slider guide I found HERE . I will document it in greater detail when I get the tinted acrylic panels working in the slides.

The door is progressing as well. I am using a standard screen door handle for the latch. I had to make a longer pin for the outside handle to inside lever assembly and longer bolts but otherwise unchanged. I will be insulating the door and installing a optical peep on it too. Below is a current walk around.

I will begin the surface preparation soon for paint, but there are many small details I need to work on, but it is getting close.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Camper Build VI

I have been continuing on the camper and have finished the left and right side frames.

I decided to go with a one foot square window based on the available space in the panel. Here the camper is folded out with both sides now.
The small lawn mower wheels I was using have now been replaced with larger 10" Harbor Freight Worry Free Tires. They feel like pneumatic tires but use foam that makes them perform similar to a pneumatic wheels. The larger size helps since the folded camper is getting close to 200 pounds (estimate -I will weight it at some point).
Next will be building the doors, window and skylight.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Folding Camper Build V

I have continued to work each weekend on the camper build. Here is the progress now in a animated GIF:

The insulated bottom section is now attached to the hinged top and front. The door in the front has been framed out as well as the skylight on the top. Next are the sides.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Folding Camper Build IV

Last weekend I finishes the insulation and support structure.
This weekend I finished the decking. It feels stiffer now and heaver too. The floor is now approximately 1 inch thick. Notice I support it now on the frame in three places. I may experiment with going back to two bars.
Hopefully the rest of the build goes faster. The walls don't need to support any significant weight so the framing will be lighter and should got fast. I intend to build the front wall with the door next then the top and sides.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Folding Camper Build III

Over the last two weekends I have continued to work on the camper floor. The first 3  feet will likely have the 6"X6" matrix since this it where I will be stepping into the interior. I have completed 2 feet of the insulated floor panel and am prepared to do the next foot next weekend. Here is the first foot.

And here is the second foot.
Once the third foot is completed I will use a spacing like this for the last five feet.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Folding Camper Build II

This weekend I got the bottom runners installed on the base. It took longer than I thought.

After all four runners were install and the glue set over night, I put it on the conduit frame. This frame will have more height but I was interested in looking at the bottom flex. I am reconsidering the 6"X6" matrix in the floor in favor of just 8 cross runners 90 degrees to the bottom runners. The floor does not need to be that strong particularly in the rear very narrow section since there would be no way to stand there at all. In the picture you can see the four runners on the bottom and on the left a set of removable wheels to move it around easier.

Maybe a non-linear framing pattern will be used. This will provide plenty of strength by the door where I step to hold my weight by having them closer together and then getting farther apart as they move to the rear.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Folding Camper Build I

I started the build of my folding camper last weekend. Starting with the base. The base is 4X8 feet using 5mm plywood and 1X6's around the perimeter with 2x2's in the corner. All joints are glued and screwed.

Here is the initial fit check and clamp up.
Here after the 4X8 rectangle was built, I glued the 5 mm plywood on the bottom. I screwed it every 6 inches or so but needed addition clamping force from various other weights. 

The bottom being only 5mm (<1/4 inch) thick is not strong enough to support any significant weight and will provide little insulation. The bottom will be further built up to form a sandwich of  two 5mm panels, foam and thin wood strips forming a Structural Insulated Panel (SIP).  Below I am constructing a 1 foot square test panel. I needed all my clamps for this glue up. This panel has a 6"X6" grid formed with 1/4" X 3/4" wood strips and 3/4" thick foam insulation. This insulation is the type with a plastic moisture barrier on each side with one sided silvered. I got mine at Home Depot HERE.
Below is the cross section of the test panel. The arrows are showing the 3/4" thick foam insulation from the corner that I cut off. I used this panel to validate the strength. It was tested with a load of over 150 pounds spanning 12" and had minimal deflection. There will also be runners on the bottom of the base to protect it and add more strength.

Now that I know the panel will be strong, I need to build this out on the base panel. The wood grid will have 128 squares in the foam matrix since the wood strips are spaced every 6 inches. This will take some time to do but seems to be worth it in term if the strength and light weight properties. The walls and roof will not need this grid and will be lightly framed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Aerial Photography using a Pole

I was looking for a low cost way to create a Aerial Map of my backyard since the resolution on Google Maps was not high enough. I thought about using a balloon as outlined in this article --> HERE. Then I though maybe I could use one of my telescoping antenna supports to get a small camera in the air and use the same methods. I think I could have gotten Mapknitter to work for me but I stumbled on  Microsoft Image Composite Editor (ICE). I made the below image by putting my old iPhone 4 on the end of a 20 foot pole and turning it while capturing video. This software can do many other things and is worth a look. The best thing is that the application is free!

I am using a cheap wide angle lens on the iPhone (clip on type), this helps since it is not very high in the air and allows it to "see" more of the ground. I simply just twisted the pole while capturing video.

Once you bring the video into ICE, you can select the start and stop time of the video to do the processing on. The video segment I used was only about 8 seconds long. The application takes all the images in the video (e.g. >15 frames per second) and matches them up and stitches them together to form the larger composite image... magic!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

VMWare 6 Home Lab II

I have now successfully cloned VMs and trouble shot my vMotion issue. I have vMotioned a running WinXP VM from one ESX host and back. The WinXP VM is running with minimal performance but does run. HA tests are next. I really would like a system with 32 GB and a Solid State Disk (SSD).

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

VMWare 6 Home Lab

I am working on a VMWare Home Lab running on a old Dell Studio XPS 8100. This is an i5 processor and I have increased the memory to 16 GB.

The approach is nested visualization.I have Win7 installed as the base OS, with VMWare Workstation.
Under Workstation I have created the following virtual machines (VM):

1.) Windows 2008 R2 Active Directory Services and DNS
2.) FreeNAS [Linux]
3.) VMware vCenter Server Virtual Appliance (vCSA) [Linux]
4.) ESXi Host 1
5.) ESXi Host 2

Now with in the nested lab environment I have built a couple of VM's on ESXi host 1:

1.) Damn Small Linux (DSL)
2.) Windows XP

I hope to be able to successfully perform vMotions between the ESXi hosts and then configure and test High Availability (HA) and Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS).

I took several days to build the lab and today I finally got the Windows XP VM setup with VMWare Tools.

I am up against the memory limits of my hardware but it is pretty amazing. We will see how far I can go with this configuration.

Folding Camper Build

I did a wood joint test using Gorilla glue. These joints will be glued an screwed. I will be using some light weight materials so the design is dependent on glue bonds on the wood skin. The test article is made with 1X4's jointed with a 2X2 and skinned on one side using 1/4" luan plywood.

After it is fully cured I will do some load test on it but it appears very  strong.

Sunday, March 13, 2016


I stumbled over a cool app (manything) that allows you to turn you old smart phone (iOS)  into a security camera. Seems like a good service but costs if you want storage.

I captured the following based on motion in the frame.

If you couple this app with IFTTT you could use it to alert you of activity and set off an alert or send you an EMAIL or both, etc.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

DIY Tacoma Bed Rack

Since I will be needing a bed rack system for my folding camper I came up with a low cost DIY method using mostly Home Depot parts.

The key piece to the system are the T-slot nuts that you can get from Amazon HERE.

The rest of the parts are the following:

  • 1 inch long 3/8 inch bolts for the T-slot nuts
  • 3/8 inch washers
  • 3/8 inch lock washers
  • 1 1/2 inch U-Bolt
  • 3/4 inch conduit
  • Superstrut 2-Hole 90 degree Angle Bracket - In Electrical section

That is two of the 90 degree bracket next to each other. So  each side needs two brackets, two t-slot nuts, two bolts and a U-bolt.

Here is another view with the bracket in position on the rail from below. Once everything is tightened up it becomes very strong, of course I provide no guarantee of safety, etc. use of this information is at your own risk. This system could also be used for mobile antennas :-) - 73

Monday, February 29, 2016


I have been experimenting with techBasic for the iOS environment. It has it's ups and downs but is very comprehensive and well documented. It is the most expensive app I have ever purchased however the price is cheap considering what your getting. All the development is done on the device, e.g iPhone or iPad, I ended up getting a Bluetooth keyboard for my iPad, but it is cool coding on your iPhone directly.

Using the examples I was able to create an app that sets two dim levels over WiFi using UDP to a simple server running on my PC. There is a lot of potential and this barely scratches the surface of what techBasic can do.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Teensy 3.1 DSP Functions

I was inspired by this recent SolderSmoke Blog post --> ZL2CTM Teensy SDR about using a Teensy Microcontroller as a software Intermediate Frequency (IF) stage for a direct conversion receiver.

I had seen some of the DSP capabilities of the Teensy and have done some simple tone generation test but that is it. I noticed that the PJRC site has been updated HERE and there is a very nice Audio Tutorial that I watched and enjoyed.

Just to start out, and to look at the filter capabilities, I used the web-based Audio Design Tool on the PJRC site to create the following:

This is just to have two Audio Sine-wave sources and a noise source in an attempt to experiment with the Biquad filter. I then take the output of the teensy audio shield and feed it into a PC with a audio spectrum analyzer to see the shape of the filtering. So far I have not built a sharp skirt filter but it is possible per Charlie ZL2CTM.

When I get more time I would like to duplicate Charlie's results using my NE612/Si5351 DC receiver.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Folding Camper Design II

I continue to work on the initial design of the folding camper using SketchUp. Have not bought any wood yet but very close.

I came across a folding camper design that has given me many ideas for my above design and helped with some decisions. I could only find bits and pieces of it online. It was from the Popular Mechanics issue from May 1964.

For whatever reason Google Books did not have that issue available scanned. I did find a copy on ebay and scanned the pictures and OCR'd the texted of the article for further reference  HERE --> Inspiration for Camper Design

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Folding Camper Design

I am working on a folding camper design and drew the basic design in SketchUp.

In order to visualize the interactions of the pieces better I made a balsa model since I am still learning SketchUp. The balsa model is not to scale but is allowing me to figure out how the walls will work in this design. The idea is to have it fold up into a flat package when not in use for easy storage and transport but provide a solid wall enclosure for camping.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Art Project - Moai

This is a paper model of a Moai statue, like the ones on Easter Island. It is simplified for easy construction. The intention is a make a 5-6 foot high concrete version for my friends ranch