Make Canada Free Again

Carved today from two pieces of leftover tongue & groove oak flooring that I glued together. Pocket carve with a 1/8 inch 1-flute downcut bit. A 1.5 mm downcut bit was used to pocket cut the words outside of the maple leaf and to contour cut the outside of the word “Canada”.

All cuts to 1 mm depth on my Genmitsu 3018 PROVer, designed in Carbide Create. This was a prototype and if I make any more, I will probably a little deeper as I was just barely getting through the top layer of wood.

Receiving ADS-B on my RPi

ADS-B is a signal that commercial aircraft transmit that indicates their speed, position and heading, among other things.

To receive it you need an RTL-SDR receiver and some decoding software. I recently bought at dongle from NooElec, the NESDR SMArtee. One end plugs into a USB port on the computer and the other end attaches to an antenna.

It came in a bundle with some cheap antennas for listening to broadcast radio as well as one that’s tuned to 1090 Mhz where the ADS-B broadcasts are located.

I installed software called dump1090 on my RPi 4B which decodes the signals from the aircraft and plots them on a map (see below). Pretty cool.

I also installed PiAware which connects to the FlightAware website and transmits the data received to them, which they use to track aircraft all over the world and display on their website. In exchange for feeding them data FlightAware offers a free premium subscription.

I had a problem with the PiAware installation and I don’t have it working properly yet, so I’m not able to connect to FlightAware. But I have noticed that my data is more up to date than what is displayed on the FlightAware website.

But you can see from the screen capture below that I am getting some good data from the aircraft in the area. We live in a busy air traffic area, so this should be interesting.

Pi OS 64 bit

Raspberry Pi’s new 64 bit operating system (OS) was released about a week ago. Today, I decided to upgrade my RPi 4B to the new 64 bit OS.

While the RPi 4B is a 64 bit machine, the previous version of Pi OS was 32 bit. I was having some issues with my 4B occasionally freezing up, especially when surfing the web with the Chromium browser. I installed Firefox-esr to see if it worked any better, but it was only available in ver. 78 and some sites didn’t render properly, notably Amazon.ca

After installing the new 64 bit Pi OS, I noticed a significant improvement. Performance wise, the RPi seems a bit faster, but most importantly the freeze-ups are non existent!

And I was able to install an up-to-date version of Firefox. Web browsing is greatly improved.

I will continue testing, but I think I’m going to be happy this version.

One of the reasons, I bought the RPi 4B was to try different Llinux distributions, known as “distros”. I will give some of the other 64 bit distros a try and I’ll post about the ones I like or don’t like.

A Custom Cutting Board

This cutting board was made with a custom logo.

Cutting board
custom cutting board

The board is laminated maple and the logo was provided by my customer. I traced it into Carbide Create and created two toolpaths for the CNC machine.

The first toolpath was a simple pocket cut with a 1/8 in downcut endmill. I only took it down 0.5 mm. The second cut was an advanced V-carve with a 90 degree V-bit and it went around the outside of the logo cutting to a maximum depth of 1.3 mm. It added a nice edge. Finished with my mineral oil and beeswax mixture. The customer was happy with it and that’s what counts!

Freedom Convoy 2022

This is my tribute to all the truckers who stood up for our rights in the Freedom Convoy 2022.

Freedom Convoy 2022

Carved into a piece of laminated maple 14 inches by 7.5 inches. Pocket cut is about 265mm x 160 mm and was done using a 1/8 inch single flute downcut endmill. The detail cut was done using a 1 mm endmill.

Two coats of polyurethane were applied then the truck detail was painted with a black acrylic while the maple leaf was painted red. After sanding, a couple more coats of poly finished the job.

As it came off the CNC machine
  • Cut on my Sainsmart Genmitsu 3018 CNC.
  • Photos taken with my phone and edited in GIMP.

Another Pi

A while back, I posted about my new Raspberry Pi 400. I was so impressed with what this all-in-one single-board computer could do, that I wanted to explore other options.

Raspberry Pi’s are available in a number of flavours from the Pi 4B, Pi 400, Pi 3B+, Pi Zero 2W and even the miniscule Pi Pico. That is, if you can find a retailer with one in stock. They can be hard to find in these days of chip shortages and supply chain stress.

The Pi4B is the latest from the Raspberry Pi Foundation. It comes with either 2Gb, 4Gb and 8 Gb of RAM. I was able to get a kit with a Pi4B with 4Gb from PiShop.ca so it is functionally the same as my Pi400.

The kit included a case, a power supply, an HDMI cable and some heat syncs. I wanted a cooling fan too, so I ordered one of those separately.

HighPi Fan

The case that came with my kit wasn’t configured for a fan, so I had to do a bit of customization. I measured the fan diameter and used my CNC machine to cut an opening in the case lid to match. I also CNC drilled 4 holes for the mounting screws.

The fan is a 5V DC PWM fan, which means it can be controlled via software. The red wire is connected to one of the Pi’s GPIO 5V pins. The black wire to a Ground pin and the blue wire to GPIO Pin-14. That pin can be used to control the fan. I set my fan to come on when the CPU temperature reaches 60 Deg C. It then runs until the CPU temp drops to 50 Deg and then shuts off.

I bought a wireless keyboard and mouse combination from Amazon.ca to complete my setup.

So far, I have been using the Pi4B as a desktop computer, connected to my LG monitor – the HDMI image is beautiful. I’ve been using Chrome and Firefox to surf the interwebs, and open-source programs like LibreOffice for word processing, spreadsheets and presentation, and GIMP – GNU Image Manipulation Program photo editing software. I’m used to Photoshop, but GIMP looks like a great alternative.

I have set up CNCjs so I can use the Pi4B to control my CNC machine.

I have also installed Filezilla so I can transfer files via FTP or SFTP to the websites I manage or to other computers on my network.

I will probably eventually set up this Pi4B as a NAS – Network Accessible Storage, but I need to learn more about that. I currently have 2 drives attached to the Pi4B, a 2 Tb and a 200 Gb HDD that I salvaged out of an old laptop. So using this as an NAS makes sense.