Binocular Lens Holder with OpenSCAD

In preparation for the October 14, 2023 Annular Eclipse, I wanted to use my binoculars to get a close look at the sun during the eclipse. I could buy premade solar filter lens caps at $50 a piece, that may or may not fit my binoculars. Or I could buy a sheet of solar filter material for $12 and 3D print lens holders that are the perfect size.

For simple shapes, I found that using OpenSCAD is quicker, especially when making the model adjustable with parameters. I also posted this design on (

Remote Firework / Rocket Igniter

Have you ever wanted to remotely launch a model rocket, or some fireworks safely? I know I sure have. So I came up with this method using an RC airplane transmitter, receiver, and an Electronic Speed Controller (ESC). By using the built-in ESC safety feature, that requires the throttle to be raised, lowered and then raised again before powering a motor, I could do just that. For rocket ignition, you simply connect the ESC to the rocket igniter. If you don’t have any of those lying around, some low wattage resistors work well. Essentially by overloading the resistor you cause it to get hot enough to ignite a fuse.

To keep all the electronics safe, I placed them in a hobby box, then added a super loud tweeter as an additional safety feature. That way everyone is aware when the system is armed and active.

Happy 4th of July!

Mega Button Remote – Wireless charger

As a simple upgrade to the Megabutton Universal Remote Mk II+ / Adaptive Universal Remote, here is a simple way to add wireless charging to almost any project.


  • USB Wireless Charger Receiver
  • Wireless Charger

By attaching the wireless charger receiver to your device, you can then use it with a compatible wireless charger. In the instance of the Megabutton Universal Remote Mk III, I carved out a section of the base to ensure the receiver was completely flush, then covered the entire wireless charger receiver with tape to protect it, as it is quite thin. Then I built a tray to hold the wireless phone charger creating a charging station. Now Jacob can slide the Megabutton remote into the charge station whenever the batter gets low.

Pump Sprayer Upgrade

I use this pump sprayer only for water, as it is my water supply for a water bottle rocket launcher. I got tired of constantly having to manually pump the water container when I was already using an air compressor to fill and pressurize the water bottle rockets.

This is when I took on the task of building a threaded adapter that could be glued to a standard PVC coupling. Then I can add pneumatic accessories, like an adjustable pressure valve and a shutoff valve.

Because of the way the threaded adapter was designed, I decided to split it into to parts, so I could print the threads without needing supports. Then by gluing the ABS 3D printed thread adapter parts onto the PVC coupling with PVC/ABS glue, I was able to make a pretty solid pump sprayer pneumatic adapter.

Mark Rober’s Creative Engineering Course

Even though I’m a seasoned engineer, I thought it would be fun to take Mark Rober’s Creative Engineering Course on, to see what his approach was to teaching the principles of the engineering process, and share them with my kids. So I signed up with my brother and dove right in.

Overall, I enjoyed the class even though it was a bit too fast-paced for me, I was only able to finish the first two builds. While the course is designed to be taken at your leisure, and you can go back and watch any part as often as you wish, there are still deadlines to keep the class progressing together and collaborating. It was no surprise, that the course is geared towards a younger audience, who have more time on their hands, and know next to nothing about engineering. So much so, that even though people of all ages paid for the course, Mark Rober essentially ignored the older participants in the class chats. Which was a real bummer! The whole course was also centered around how to make engineering builds for YouTube content. Which makes sense, as that’s what he does, but it made it painfully clear, that most of what he builds for his YouTube channel only has to hold up for a few great shots and then look good on a shelf. Which totally killed the “magic” of his content for me. I always imagined Mark Rober to be some super talented engineer, but I realized that his talent isn’t so much in engineering, but in content creation, presentation, and perhaps marketing. Even so, the material was put together very well, and the sessions build upon each other nicely. I’d still recommend it to anyone wanting to learn the basics of engineering principles and get hands-on experience. I’ve even used some of his methods in helping teach interns at my company about the engineering process in a simple straight forward way.


USB-C is all the rage these days. Most people welcome it, some people absolutely despise it. And I get it, for the everyday user you only need one cable to rule them all, but it is certainly a headache for engineers to have to deal with all the regulations packed into one port.

I find it fascinating how many products jumped to implement this new standard, but many of them aren’t certified, because with everything USB-C can do, it is a huge undertaking to become USB-C certified. And why bother for something that only needs power and doesn’t benefit from all the extra features that come with USB-C.

Which is why it is impossible to find a truly certified USB-C hub. The vast majority of USB-C accessories are adapters to USB 3, like my USB-C to USB 3.1 hub. However, you cannot find any USB-C to USB-C hub anywhere. A true USB-C hub like that would require all ports to conform to all USB-C protocols and standards, which would be quite an undertaking and cost a pretty penny.

So for now, I’ll just have to make due with plugging in a bunch of USB 3.1 to USB-C adapters into my USB-C to USB 3.1 hub, to make a simple USB-C hub. It works pretty well for my needs, just don’t expect all USB-C features to work with a configuration like this.

STEM Consol Section Design

STEM Capsule – First Step

For the longest time I’ve been wanting to build an interactive spaceship console for my kids. My father had built one for me and my brother when we were kids. It has made some great memories (Growing up with a spaceship). This weekend I finally convinced my bother help me design what we are now calling the STEM Capsule.

The idea is to be able to make a full capsule out of 6 sections. While the full experience will be quite large, a single section is all that is need to have loads of fun. Or to compromise on size you can just use 3 sections for a half capsule that can be placed against a wall.

Cardboard STEM Capsule Section
To start, we made a section of the STEM Capsule out of cardboard.

Now that we know the dimensions are right, we will make this out of wood and paint it. Then over the next few months, well design modular console widgets to build up the capsules console. We plan to have TangibleTEC sponsor the development and cost of this awesome project.

Adaptive Universal Remote

Adaptive Universal Remote

AKA Universal Meagbutton Remote MK III

I finally was able to make another revision of the Universal Megabutton Remote. My brother-in-law Jacob has been insisting for some time for me to upgrade his current box. Unfortunately the modification of the Logitech Harmony 200 didn’t hold up to constant use over 3 years. The USB extension cable I soldered on broke off and is now nearly impossible to repair and reprogram.

Harmony 200 remote USB pads torn off
Logitech Harmony 200 Remote Universal remote Hack Failed after 3 years

For the last few months I’ve been able to participate in a 3 person “Dream Team” to assist SupplyFrame in designing and building a universal remote for the non-profit United Cerebral Palsy of Los Angeles (UCPLA) This was part of their 2020 Hack-a-day Prize Contest. While we didn’t win any prizes the project was fully funded by SupplyFrame and their sponsor Digikey.

Delivered 3 Adaptive Universal Remotes

After a few months we came up with, designed, and built a fully open source adaptive universal remote based off the original design. You can get all source files, schematics, and CAD files at our Github Project. We didn’t originally want to go with this design, but in the long haul it was the best option with the limited time and resources we had. You can read about the entire process on Hackaday – 2020 HDP Dream Team UCPLA.