Pomodoro timer

Oak wood Pomodoro timer

It feels smooth.

It smells good.

And, hey, I can push it! When I do, a little bright spot in the center of the button lights up, and stays so for 25 minutes.

It’s gotta be the most complicated Pomodoro timer ever built by human kind, but it was a hell of a ride.

It’s made of these components:

Here’s my very arguable motivation to build such a complicated thing for so little return:

  • Using my phone as a timer is less than ideal: the screen goes black and I have no immediate way to see if the timer is running or not. I have to touch the phone every time the doubt insinuates my thoughts. Very distracting.
  • I wanted to build something nice and that I’m proud of, as a (very weak) extrinsic motivation to keep using the timer.
  • I wanted to play with Arduino a LiPo batteries.

And these the requirements:

  • Should be nice and sturdy. An important object of its own right. People should walk by my desk and go “What the **** is that?”
  • Can’t be thicker than 4 cm because that’s the size of the wood I have in stock. And that’s already too thick.
  • It needs to hold a charge, warn me when I need to plug it in, and plugging it should not disrupt the functionality.
  • Nice to have: when it’s plugged in, there should be an API running on USB that allows magic things to happen with a proper companion software on the PC.

The ability to be charged safely and monitor the state of charge quickly drove me to the rather nice SparkFun Battery Babysitter module, that does everything one needs. Because of the limited voltage of a single-cell LiPo battery, the choice of the Arduino is limited to 3.3V. Finally, because of size requirements, large boards were out of the discussion, so I was left with an Arduino Pro Mini 3.3V and a separate USB module, from Adafruit.

The design of the object quickly converged to a wooden octagon, simple enough to build by hand. I used a table saw to make the external shape. Then I made a circular hole using a router attached to a jig made on purpose to rotate the router along the proper circular path. Then I carved the inside using a drill and finished it with the router. The wood was then finished using oil.

Packing the electronic components inside the wooden case was more of a challenge. It took several hours of modeling using OpenSCAD, to make a parametric design that I could tweak and think through as I went. I ended up writing about 600 lines of code to get this:

I the used the Ultimark II 3D printer to print the holding structure, which I fixed into place using screws a bit of glue.

Ok. Now that I have my timer, I can finally go back to work! 🙂

Game box

I made a box to hold a laser cut Carcassonne set that I have previously made.

I used the mitre saw to cut mitre joints into a piece of wood. Then I used the circular saw to cut slots for the top and bottom multiplex boards. After gluing the box together I used the circular saw to separate the lid and chiselled out holes for the fabric hinges. These were glued in and covered with some of the removed wood. Finally I added some dividers to organise the pieces inside the box and laser engraved a logo which was inlaid in the lid.


A Lazy Susan / Chessboard

I made myself a Lazy Susan (turntable) with a veneered chessboard on the surface. It is great for board games and serving food.

The end result

I used a variety of tools at the Makerspace to complete this project. This was the first time I have used veneer in a pattern on a surface.

The top and bottom pieces of wood were roughly cut into circles. Then made round and channels added using a router. Dividers were made on a scroll saw and holes drilled for marbles. A bolt holds the top and bottom together. Veneers were cut into squares and the edges sanded before applying them to the top. More veneer was added to the top before sanding it flat. After a few repairs to the top surface the turntable was varnished and felt feet were applied to the bottom.


Engraving with the big CNC macine

Small sign made of hardwood — using a simple 2 euro ‘V shaped’ cutter from the bargin bin at the Gamma.

The machine used for this is our large portal CNC machine. The font was simply a windows font; and I cheated a bit by first routing the outline of that font, inner and outer with a normal 3mm ball-nose endmill; and then run the v-cutter along the same path.

The letters where then painted black.

Queen of the garbage bin.

I enjoy making weird animals or figures.
Browsing through the bins at the Makerspace gives you lots of things to work with 🙂

Resin project with computer parts:

Resin art
Resin computeparts figure
Left over wood slice, old tool and branches from my garden.


Sandblasting glasswork

By combining the use of the venyl cutter with the sandblasting cabinet you can create great artwork on glass. By sandblasting glass you give the glass a rough surface that reflects light differently than the clear glass.

create your image in Inkscape (or similar)

First you need to make a mold on the venyl cutter. You can do this with any vector-based drawing program. We prefer to make use of ‘open source’ software so Inkscape is a good starting point. When you have created the lines that difine the shape of your artwork you can send it to the venyl cutter, which cuts it in special sandblasting foil.

Cut it with the venyl cutter

Then peel off the parts that you want to sandblast, which is easier said than done. Especially if your object is rather small.

Then you put it on a transfer foil and stick it to the glasswork that you want to sandblast. Cover all the parts where you don’t want the sand to roughen the surface.

All that’s left to do is to sandblast in the designated cabinet. Make sure that you blast all the uncovered parts of your object. Easy peasy…;-)

Laser Cut Icarus

The first week of April we cleaned and realigned the optics of our Lasersaur. It works like new now. The first trial I did was an Icarus Automaton. It’s based on a Cupid Instructable by robives.com . My pupils at school are working on an Icarus/Daedalus assignment an I thought: “Why not make an Icarus myself”.

Edited design of the Cupid by Robives
The finished automaton

And this is how it looks, when it moves
But of course a trail also brings some flaws to light. The Laser cutter still needs some tweaking of the optics… as you can see on the photo’s of the front and back of the cut plywood for my automaton

The front, it seems to have worked properly
But on the flip side, you can see that the laser hasn’t totally cut through all parts.

I worked with plywood 3mm with a base coat white paint.
The lasersaur was set to speed 1000 at 40% powerit worked good on most places, but there is a zone close to 0 that loses power through alignment problems. Were almost there though… And my project was finished in no time!

Reclaimed Jatoba wood flooring table

This extendable table has been built with reclaimed flooring wood. This table has been built in the course of a year in the space.

(finished product first)

Jatoba built, reclaimed wood and 60s look.

colorful coffee table

This is my coffee table made from American walnut (gray), Oak (white) and Padouk (red). These colors are natural. This Padouk has a rare grain pattern, the white ‘clouds’ are sap-wood, which are normally not mixed with the older red tinted wood. I love finding these rare woods and combining them into beautiful tabletops. The table is a simple and lightweight design, finished with Skylt polyurethane finish.