Print your own Graph Paper

diy graph paper generator

Ever need graph paper for a project, but can’t wait for Amazon Prime? No problem, this free online tool lets you generate graph paper on the fly. Multiple types of graph lines are available and each are fully configurable. Once done, you get a clean PDF of graph paper to print.

Here’s a short run-down of the graph paper types available:

  • Squares
  • Triangle and Hexagons
  • Circular and Polar (Think Smith Chart)
  • Asymmetric
  • Note Taking

Check out the free graph paper generator at

Huge archive from Project Apollo now on Flickr

October 2015

Years of hard work, curation, and archiving have brought the Project Apollo Photo Archive to a Flickr album. Kipp Teague writes,

“This new Flickr gallery would have not been possible without the support of Mike [Gentry], Steve [Garber], and Eric [Jones], and many others.”

In this note, he corrects a misconception that this archive itself was an NASA undertaking. While the photos come from NASA, the archive is an independent effort.

There is also a Project Apollo Archive Facebook page, in addition to the photos on Flickr.

Elegant and cheap storage solutions for your shop

lattice as shop storage

Picture via

The article caught my eye because I’m about to make a move, and I’ll be setting up my shop soon. Seeing these clever alternate uses is already giving me some ideas.

The perfect shop doesn’t need expensive storage options. While there are stores dedicated to containers, they to tend to run on the expensive side. A workshop, may not need the most expensive storage gear. Especially if it gets as dusty as mine! This Make article offers 5 Simple Shop Storage Solutions.

Another resource for shop hardware is Episode #92 of The Engineering Commons podcast, “Garage Gear.”

How Arduino digitalWrite Works – and why AVR is Faster

Crash Bang Prototypes

Arduino digitalWrite speedPreviously I looked at the speed difference between digitalWrite and direct port manipulation. It was a chance to check out a Saleae Logic Analyzer. Andrew at !Crash-Bang Prototyping took the analysis a step further. He broke down what is going on inside of digitalWrite().

This study is useful. When you’re ready to move beyond the Arduino IDE or the core functions, you can decide if you need your own version of digitalWrite().

Check out !Crash-Bang Prototyping’s “How Arduino digitalWrite Works – and why AVR is Faster“.

EngineerDog explains why stressed plastic turns white


Polymer Crazing via

Polymer Crazing via

Ever notice when you over-stress plastic, the stress points tend to turn white? The color or type of plastic doesn’t seem to matter, does it? So what is going on? This awesome post from EngineerDog explains why stressed plastic turns white.

If you’re starting to work with ABS on your 3d printer, it will help to understand what is happening to the polymer chains. It’s a process called crazing.

One good reason to learn about crazing is there is a way to fix it. So check out EngineerDogs’ explanation for more.

Corner Case: 90-deg turns for WS2812
NeoCorner from

NeoCorner from

If you’re working with the WS2812B and need to turn corners, you’ll want to check out this NeoPixel Corner adapter PCB from It’s a pretty simple board. I came across it as a solution for an upcoming lighting project.

In josh’s example, he used a CNC to mill the PCBs. If you’re using one-sided FR4, that might work well. You’ll want to double-check thicknesses if you want to use OSHPark or similar.

You can check out the full write-up here or the NeoPixel Corner Board project GitHub.

On a related link, this document explains differences between WS2812 and WS2812B.

Makers keep your eyes out for these 8 “Trash” Types


computer-in-the-snowDumpster diving can be a rewarding experience for a maker. You never know what components you might be able to recover from electronics otherwise discarded. What can be hidden inside of an “obsolete” box? Motors? Sensors? Capacitors?

Older technologies like VCRs and Scanners can be a treasure trove of stepper and servo motors. Under-powered, by today’s standards, computers probably have cables that can be re-purposed into your current project.

Be on the lookout with Make Magazine’s list of 8 types of “trash” you’ll be lucky to score.

Check out the 240p Test Suite


Learned about it in this video from the YouTube Channel My Life in Gaming. Some of their videos are a bit more technical than the general “retro review” style, which is why I started watching.

In their RGB 300 Video Series, they covered a homebrew project called “240p Test Suite.”

This project includes a number of test graphics and patterns to help in adjusting the settings of a modern TV. Even more impressive are the systems it covers:

  • Nintendo Wii
  • NSuper Famicom / SNES
  • Nintendo GameCube
  • Sega Mega Drive (Genesis)
  • Mega CD (Sega CD)
  • Sega Dreamcast
  • PC Engine (TurboGrafx-16) / PCE Duo

Check out this wiki page which lists all the tests and download it for your retro gaming platform.

CD-based systems are pretty easy to run since most of the era didn’t have copy protection. For the cartridge systems, you’ll need something like an EverDrive / SD Card reader for ROMs to make it work.

I’ve got mine on order…

Control a Rigol Scope with Linux

qrigol on GitHub

qrigol waveform plot

The Rigol DS1052E digital oscilloscopes are very popular for both hobbyist and professional engineers. These are very affordable scopes that pack a lot of value. Most of the software tools offered from Rigol only run on Windows. Al Williams has fixed that with the the qrigol project on GitHub.

From the readme file:

  • Uses USB communications with Scope
  • Allows keyboard to be unlocked so you can use both the panel and the software
  • Allows easy reading of all measurements as well as logging of all measurements
  • Control of common scope functions
  • Saves waveforms in CSV format
  • Integrates with external plot software like gnuplot to qtiplot
  • Diagnostic mode to send raw commands to scope

There’s a couple of limitations, but I want to draw attention to one. If your region uses a comma (“,”) as a decimal point, you might run into issues. For more information, you might want to check out the qrigol thread on the EEVBlog.

DIY Battery Powered Apple Watch Charger

guypl on Thingiverse
Apple Watch Charger on Thingiverse

Apple Watch Charger on Thingiverse

Using an Adafruit Charger Board,  a cut-up magnetic Apple Watch Charger cable and some 3d printing, guypl has created a DIY battery-powered charger for the Apple Watch.

The cool thing about the design is that the 2000mAh battery he used, can be recharged with a standard micro USB cable. As someone who travels often, this setup is ideal for me. One less cable to carry and a self-contained charger for the Apple Watch.

Check out the full project on Thingiverse.