selected endevours of michael cousins
The clockblock, available for sale at clockblock.me, is a minimalist clock that uses LEDs instead of hands and lives in a beautiful block of Louisiana cypress. It is a collaboration between Wiley Cousins (H. Cole Wiley and myself) and Trig Studios (James Goedert).
We machine a solid block of cypress with holes that go right up to, but not through, the surface of the block. Each of those holes gets an LED that shines through the thin layer of wood that's left. There are thirty six LEDs: twelve arms each with an hour, minute, and second LED.
The leds are controlled by a custom set of PCBs running firmware written in C++. I designed the boards and wrote all the firmware. We've open sourced everything, and it's available at the clockblock github page.
A bulk of the machining is done by CNC. I built models of the block in CAD and generated all the toolpaths that we run on the blocks. It's fun to watch.
fun clockblock facts:
- surface mount components: 67
- through hole component: 36 LEDs (we like surface mount)
- lines of code: just over 1700
- how often I lose my favorite set of tweezers when building a clock: every fourteen minutes
Another Wiley Cousins and Trig Studios collaboration, lamp continues the theme of LEDs and wood. There's a pattern here. For lamp, we've designed a modular electronics package that can sense how it's been configured, allowing us to use the same lighting system in a variety of form factors.
lamp is a product in active development, which you can watch at the lamp github page. The first version to be offered for sale will be available in a variety of configurations, including a wifi enabled version.
I am designing all the PCBs for lamp and writing all the firmware. PCBs and firmware are things I do. In case you hadn't noticed, I am trying to stress those skills. Head on: apply directly to the forehead.
reflow is a shockingly creatively titled circuit board I designed to hack a regular old toaster oven into a solder reflow oven. It's a microcontroller, a thermocouple jack and amplifier (for precise temperature feedback), and a solid-state AC relay. It allows me to work almost exclusively in surface mount components when designing circuit boards.
After using it for a little while, I realized it could be used for any AC heating appliance. After this discovery, I used it to convert a slow cooker into a sous vide machine. I'm working on a new revision that'll make it work better as a generic temperature feedback heater controller.
I've open sourced the designs, and they're available at the reflow github page.
fun reflow facts
- number of board designs lost due to forgetting to push commits and a laptop subsequently getting stolen: 1
- lines of code: about 1300
- number of people food poisoned: none at all
- reflow boards baked recursively (reflow boards baked by an oven controlled by a reflow board): 2
- other boards baked: dozens
svgerber is a little webapp I wrote to convert Gerber files (PCB fabrication files) to SVGs (web-friendly vector images). I've published the business logic in an npm package called gerber-to-svg. The webapp generates the SVGs in the browser, so no sensitive design files end up on any server (in case you're worried about that sort of thing).
In addition to individual layer drawings, the app also creates renders of what the board will look like post-fabrication, making it easy to check that everything is in order.