Author Archives: Pneumatic

Oh No! Not Make!

I was dismayed to hear last Friday about Maker Media ceasing operation. I heard rumors at the last Maker Faire that it would be the last┬áMaker Faire, but I didn’t think the demise was that imminent. The CEO/Publisher of Maker media–Dale Dougherty, is a former boss and acquaintance of mine, and he stopped by my […]

More chip computers

I wrote last year about the demise of, the maker of the CHIP computer inside the gruephone. I thought that meant that all future gruephones would be based on the Raspberry Pi series, mostly the Raspberry Pi 3B or 3B+. So I was astounded to discover that you can still buy chip computers, though […]

Gruebox 2 lives!

I finally got Gruebox 2 (the grue-phone based on the rotary chest phone) assembled and sorta working. It’s put together, but I’ve redone the solder joints between the handset and the speaker and mic jacks several times, and they’re still really noisy and temperamental. I will likely have to pull it apart again for some […]

A cap at a jaunty angle

The box-phones are coming together. Gruebox1 (the touch-tone one) is more or less complete, and Gruebox2 (the rotary one) is almost ready to be assembled, however I’ve noticed that the voice recognition is abysmal, which is strange because when I was using an old computer headset to prototype them the recognition was passable, if not […]

Notes for GrueBox 2 rotary mechanism wiring

This is the wiring block from the rotary mechanism: The connections are as follows with the dial facing down with the wiring lugs at the top, from left to right they are yellow, blue, white, and red. Blue, white, and red are open when the dial is at rest, and closed when the dial is […]

Miracle cure

There’s an old engineering meme about wd40 and duct tape. It’s really true. The dial mechanism on the rotary gruebox was slow and balky–running maybe 1/4 the speed it was supposed to, and one shot of wd40 and it’s running right as rain. Contrary to popular myth, wd40 isn’t a lubricant exactly. It’s mostly a […]

Gutting GrueBox 2

I’ve gutted the rotary chest-phone that I am going to make into the third gruephone. What’s amazing to me is how little there actually is to them: Other than the bell, it’s just a dozen or so discrete components on a simple circuit board, mostly capacitors and resistors, with one transformer thrown in. The rotary […]

Getting the keypad working.

So, if I’m going to have 3 working phones for the Maker faire, I better get to building them. Today’s project is to get the keypad working. Oringally this keypad used a touch-tone signaling mechanism, but that wasn’t necessary for my purposes, so I just cut out all the DTMF hardware to get at the […]

Maker Faire again

I’ll be presenting at the Bay Area Maker Faire again this year. I’ll have a little more to show this year. My hope is to have at least 3 phones working, as well as a fourth under construction at the faire. This is an ambitious goal, and I’m not sure I’ll make it, but I’m going […]