Darren's Shop

Darren Wright

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A few years back I posted on here about my dust collection solution that was a work in progress. It's worked quite well for my center bench/table saw area, I don't even have to think about turning the collector on when at the table saw or using my planer. It has drastically cut down on the dust in the shop from me forgetting to turn on the DC in the first place.

After some time of using it, I've learned a few shortcomings of the setup and wan to improve upon them. The circuit that has my radial arm, band saw, and drill press is also on the one for my office. The current solution works off of some sensors on the main panel sensing usage on the circuit and toggles the dust collector on. This has been problematic with the addition of the laser, 3d printers, and when I'm doing soldering, which all seem to trigger the DC to run. I've got a physical kill switch at the controller and also have the relay power coming from my lights in the shop, which won't allow the DC to be turned on if the lights are off.

I'm wanting to automate the gates also for the tools being used. The cost of electronics and sensors becoming cheaper and cheaper has made this quite affordable. My first step is to build a little network of devices that can work together and sense when tools are being powered on. I was able to do a proof of concept this week to test this, but I still need to work on the timing a bit.

Here the left microprocessor is acting as the server, it's LED will come on when power is sensed on the processor on the right, mimicking my relay. These are talking wirelessly and can respond almost instantly to any tool coming on/off. They can also talk bidirectionally, so I can use the child nodes to open/close gates at the tool. The current solution runs the DC for about 10 seconds after all the tools turn off to clear out the lines, so will keep that feature on the new one.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAW5efp4CDE

I've also got a web server that a mobile phone can hit to toggle the DC on/off manually or can manually from any node using physical switches that are connected. Nice thing is that I'll be able to move tools and new triggers as I need to without having to re-program or open up my panel, everything should be pretty modular to make the setup easy.
 
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Bill Satko

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Washington State
Darren, I finally figured it out. You don't sleep and that explains how you are able to accomplish so much. Although I don't post much, I still check in to see what everyone is doing.

Of course there is the alternate theory: you have been cloned and there are two of you doing all of this.
 

Darren Wright

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Ha, I don't as much as I should, as matter of fact Brent has asked me that recently.

Many of my side projects I keep working on when time permits, some of my better ones I keep improving on as I find new hardware or get ideas.

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I would get that big blue or black thing out of my shop. That would be the first thing. What the heck is that thing in there for anyway?

Then, I would rearrange the shop to best work in it.
I saw a National Geographic special on those big metal animals with the rubber feet that are sometimes found squatting in usable workshop areas. Seems they plague shop-folks from sea to shining sea. Scientists studying the problem have determined that the best way to keep them out is to not open the big door when they are known to be near. Apparently the symbiots that often infest these creatures notice the open space and call it to the animal's attention. The beast will then return to that space when they find it uninhabited. Once established, this behavior pattern can be difficult to alter.
 

Darren Wright

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I saw a National Geographic special on those big metal animals with the rubber feet that are sometimes found squatting in usable workshop areas. Seems they plague shop-folks from sea to shining sea. Scientists studying the problem have determined that the best way to keep them out is to not open the big door when they are known to be near. Apparently the symbiots that often infest these creatures notice the open space and call it to the animal's attention. The beast will then return to that space when they find it uninhabited. Once established, this behavior pattern can be difficult to alter.
Lol, Sadly there isn't room for the poor fella anyway with all the old kitchen cabinets waiting on new homes.

This week I've been piddling with making automatic blast gates. Got one assembled tonight and tested. Needs it's own voltage, but can work that out.



Printing up parts for 3 more.

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Darren Wright

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I think so. My biggest fault in having the dust collection is forgetting to turn it on, even for just a quick cut. This not only makes a mess to clean up, but I purchased the 1 micro filter for a reason. Having it turn on/off automatically has really helped in keeping the shop clean and made a healthier situation. I don't intend to go into business making these controllers, so once I work out the kinks I'll probably publish the code and design for anyone that wants to use it.

iVac is already making a system that is wireless and has automatic gates to add. It's probably about as cheap to just pick their system up, but I like piddling with this stuff, so going to keep plugging away at it.
 

Darren Wright

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The last few times I've been up to the shop it's been getting darker and darker in there as more of my fluorescent lights go out. Most of the ones in the back are not even coming on, the rest take a good 10 minutes to finally brighten up. Most of the fixtures are ones the previous owner hung up and aren't worth changing over to the LED bulbs, then the placement of them isn't exactly where I really want them either. So I figured that it is time to do some updates in this area and ordered some new LED fixtures to replace the old units.

These are inter connectable, each having a power outlet on the end opposite of their cord. I shouldn't have to change any wiring as the existing ones run from outlets on the ceiling. I do plan to change the direction they are hung and get them better positioned over my work areas.

61dmfqZNIvL._SL1001_.jpg
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BGTVY4T/
 

Vaughn McMillan

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I like the idea of linkable fixtures. :thumb: I need to improve the lighting in my shop...I'll keep any eye open for something along those lines. (Don't have room for a 10-pack of 'em, though.)
 

Ted Calver

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I have a few of the Feit Costco fixtures that are link-able hanging over the benches for task lights. Not bad for the price when they periodically on sale. Also just got some similar fixtures that had a motion sensor on them from Costco on-line. I wasn't thinking when I had lighting installed in the garage and the switch is all or nothing, so when the missus goes out there to get something out of the freezer the whole place lights up and can be seen from space. I strung the motion sensor lights so they light the path from the man door to the inner door and the freezer area. They stay on for ten minutes or as long as motion is detected.
 

Darren Wright

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I like the idea of linkable fixtures. :thumb: I need to improve the lighting in my shop...I'll keep any eye open for something along those lines. (Don't have room for a 10-pack of 'em, though.)
Ha! They do sell them in smaller quantities, but if you have fixtures in decent shape, led bulbs may be a cheaper option. Most of the sockets are broken or cracking on my old ones. Most of the new bulbs use 110v and you can eliminate the ballast.

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Vaughn McMillan

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Ha! They do sell them in smaller quantities, but if you have fixtures in decent shape, led bulbs may be a cheaper option. Most of the sockets are broken or cracking on my old ones. Most of the new bulbs use 110v and you can eliminate the ballast.

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Cool...I hadn't really looked into LED replacement bulbs/tubes. I didn't realize I could bypass the ballast. I'll do some research and see what I can dig up.

I also like the motion-detecting ones Ted linked to. We currently leave a single CFL bulb in a clamp-on reflector on 24/7 in the garage/shop just so we can pop out there and grab something without having to turn on the lights.
 

Ted Calver

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I bought LED replacement bulbs for the T-8's that are my main lights in the garage. Found them at Lowe's not too long ago, after many of the normal T-8's had burned out. They are GE 6500K color temperature (daylight) that work with normal T-8 ballasts. I couldn't tell the difference between them and the normal T-8's and they are drawing half the juice.
 
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Ryan Mooney

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Cool...I hadn't really looked into LED replacement bulbs/tubes. I didn't realize I could bypass the ballast. I'll do some research and see what I can dig up.
Couple of notes:

If you have electronic ballasts its generally cheaper/easier to just buy ballast compatible bulbs (the ancient magnetic ballasts generally won't work well). If you get into the (slightly) more complex reconfigurations its usually cheaper to replace the fixtures for shop grade but cheaper to bypass for fancier builtin fixtures so it varies some.

Its a good idea to buy the (super cheap $0.14-0.25 per) stickers to put on bypass fixtures so someone doesn't put a fluorescent bulb back in one accidentally. The places that sell bulbs pretty much all sell these.

Check if your tombstones (the connectors on the ends) are shunted or not (explanation: https://www.1000bulbs.com/land/when-to-use-shunted-vs-nonshunted-lampholders-with-your-t8s), if they're shunted then you are looking at tombstone replacement which drives the cost up ($6-10 per bulb) to where replacement starts looking like a better idea on the cheap fixtures. You can get shunted compatible bypass bulbs but it starts to reduce your options a lot (and last I looked they cost more but that might have changed).

After researching it, I've been just going with full fixture replacements as my T12's run out because it ended up being cheaper for the simple hanging shop lights. For the handful of T8's I'd put in before LEDs were reasonable I've been replacing bulbs with ballast compatible bulbs.
 

Darren Wright

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Good info Ryan. :thumb:

Just an example of my lighting situation, the two fixtures that are still working are at the front and a third over my wood stove finally came on after it got up above 45* today, the back half of the shop doesn't even light up at this point.
2019-02-23 12.29.58.jpg2019-02-23 12.29.53.jpg

The shop is quite a mess right now, mostly been a dumping ground for house projects these past few months. Today was spent trying to make use of some of the old kitchen cabinets where I could. I found homes for all of the upper cabinets, the two lower ones I have left are both blind corners. I may chop those parts off and make these work somewhere, but most likely will just break them down and burn them. I've got quite a build up of old scrap that either needs to go to the trash or burn. I could spend another couple of days out there just getting tools picked up and put away in new homes.

Before:
2019-02-23 12.30.44.jpg

After...doesn't seem like much, but had to shuffle a lot of stuff off shelves and back into cabinets.
2019-02-23 21.55.25.jpg

I removed some shelving and put a set of upper cabinets over the reloading bench, which should help keep things a little cleaner in that area until I get a room built out.
2019-02-23 21.55.54.jpg

I replaced the two single cabinets over my main bench with a combination of cabinets. The lower section is going to be updated with my miter saw (where the shorter cabinets are), planning to widen the top to use the same fence with my RAS.
2019-02-23 20.37.00.jpg

I'll be moving stuff that is at the area where the miter saw is going, to the cabinets I installed a couple of weeks back. I got some plywood tops on today, will be trimming out the edges with some 1 x 2's, one of the single cabinets was hung to the right of the window, the other will go over by my welder for supplies to go in.
2019-02-23 21.56.18.jpg
 

Darren Wright

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Almost forgot, this is the new servo controlled dust gate I've been working on. Need to work out a little geometry on the arms to fully open the gate, but is closing just fine. It's binding a bit a the the end of the opening stroke. Just need to extend the lower arm a bit and change the curve of the longer arm to hopefully get it working.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRRU4HLblrQ

I used a nodeMCU, nodeMCU motor driver board, and the Blynk app/library to do the testing of the servo. I used the same app/library a while back to make a little wifi enabled tank track car, which was a fun little project.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSuBPFiYKkg
 

Ted Calver

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Awesome! You are almost there on the blast gate and the arm looks strong enough to take the repetitive use. I have three gates that could use one of those. If you have more than one, are they individually addressable? The little tracked vehicle is very cool. Do you think it could carry a small camera for remote inspections? I could see it doing a crawl space check. Very cool stuff!:thumb:
 
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