Computer cases have come a long way from the ugly beige boxes of the early 2000s. Still, if it was going to sit on his desk, [MXC Builds] wanted something with a little more class. His custom Ironbark ITX PC seems to fit the aesthetic nicely.
The case’s outer shell is ironbark wood cut at 45 degrees and joined for a beautiful waterfall edge (the wood grain seems to flow uninterrupted). The power supply was heavily modified to take a thinner but larger fan, and a new cover and intake grill were 3D printed. As there were no mounting holes on the bottom of the power supply, he printed a bracket with spring clips to hold the PSU securely. Next, he routed a PCI riser cable to the other side of the internal panel so the GPU could mount on the back. He cut custom cables to match up the lengths needed for every run. Finally, rather than placing the power button on the front or top, it was on the side in a custom bracket.
It’s an absolutely gorgeous build that packs some respectable hardware in a tiny space (7.9 L or ~482 in3). The use of 3D printed parts and careful planning results in an incredibly tidy computer that most would proudly display on their desk. It is an open-air case, and if you’re looking for something a little more enclosed, perhaps this mid-century PC might whet your appetite.
We’ve said many times that while woodworking is a bit outside our wheelhouse, we have immense respect for those with the skill and patience to turn dead trees into practical objects. Among such artisans, few are better known than the legendary Norm Abram — host of The New Yankee Workshop from 1989 to 2009 on PBS.
So we were pleased when the official YouTube channel for The New Yankee Workshop started uploading full episodes of the classic DIY show a few months back for a whole new generation to enjoy. The online availability of this valuable resource is noteworthy enough, but we were particularly impressed to see the channel start experimenting with AI enhanced versions of the program recently.
Originally broadcast in January of 1992, the “Child’s Wagon” episode of Yankee Workshop was previously only available in standard definition. Further, as it was a relatively low-budget PBS production, it would have been taped rather than filmed — meaning there’s no negative to go back and digitize at a higher resolution. But thanks to modern image enhancement techniques, the original video could be sharpened and scaled up to 1080p with fairly impressive results.
That said, the technology isn’t perfect, and the new HD release isn’t without a few “uncanny valley” moments. It’s particularly noticeable with human faces, but as the camera almost exclusively focuses on the work, this doesn’t come up often. There’s also a tendency for surfaces to look smoother and more uniform than they should, and reflective objects can exhibit some unusual visual artifacts.
Even with these quirks, this version makes for a far more comfortable viewing experience on today’s devices. It’s worth noting that so far only a couple episodes have been enhanced, each with an “AI HD” icon on the thumbnail image to denote them as such. Given the computational demands of this kind of enhancement, we expect it will be used only on a case-by-case basis for now. Still, it’s exciting to see this technology enter the mainstream, especially when its used on such culturally valuable content. Continue reading “Norm Abram Is Back, And Thanks To AI, Now In HD”→
Editing video tends to involve a lot of keyboard shortcuts, and while this might be fine for the occasional edit, those who regularly deal with video often reach for a macro pad to streamline their workflow. There are plenty of macro keyboards available specifically meant to meet the needs of those who edit a lot of video, but if you want something tailored for your personal workflow you may want to design your own keyboard like this wooden macro pad from [SS4H].
The keyboard itself is built around an STM32 microcontroller, which gives it plenty of power to drive and read the keyboard matrix. It also handles an encoder that is typically included on macro keyboards for video editing, but rather than using a potentiometer-type encoder this one uses a magnetic rotary encoder for accuracy and reliability. There’s a display built into the keyboard as well with its own on-board microcontroller that needs to be programmed separately, but with everything assembled it looks like a professional offering.
[SS4H] built a prototype using 3D printed parts, but for the final version he created one with a wooden case and laser etched keys to add a bit of uniqueness to the build. He also open-sourced all of the PCB schematics and other files needed to recreate this build so anyone can make it if they’d like. It’s not the only macro keyboard we’ve seen before, either, so if you’re looking for something even more esoteric take a look at this keyboard designed to be operated by foot.
We’ve always known, in theory, there are ways to bend wood, but weren’t really clear on how it worked. Now that we’ve seen [Totally Handy]’s recent video, we’ve learned a number of tricks to pull it off. Could we do any of them? Probably not, any more than watching someone solder under a microscope means you could do it yourself with no practice. But it sure made us want to try!
All of the techniques involve either water or steam, but we were fascinated with the cuts that make the wood almost into a flexible mesh. There are several tricks you can pick up, too, if you watch carefully. In “wordless workshop” form, there’s no real audio or text, just watching this guy make some really interesting wood pieces.
It looks like you could do some of this with pretty ordinary tools, although he does use a table saw, a router, and a few types of sanders. There isn’t anything too exotic, although we weren’t entirely clear on how the steam tube worked. If you have a cheap CNC machine, those usually can do a pretty good job on wood, and we wondered if you couldn’t pull off some of these tricks that way, too.
While some people are happy with a simple coffee table to hold their snacks while watching Star Trek reruns, others want their furniture to go where no furniture has gone before. [Olivier Gomis] has definitely satisfied this need with his Wormhole Coffee Table. [YouTube]
The complicated shape and curvature of a (3D representation of a) wormhole isn’t easy to create, but [Gomis] managed to carve one without the aid of a CNC or 3D printer. Starting with walnut planks and maple veneer laminated together, he created a grid stackup to replicate the common representation of spacetime as a 2D grid. Using various arrangements of these grids, he built up the central section of the wormhole which looked like a low poly vase before he put it on the lathe for turning.
The lathe work on this build is simultaneously impressive and terrifying. Turning down the central portion of the wormhole required working between two large spinning squares of walnut, which [Gomis] admits was “scary.” Multiple custom jigs were required to keep parts flat and deal with the extreme curvature of the inside of the wormhole’s opening. If that weren’t enough, if you look down the wormhole, he has installed a set of LED lights that show the spacetime grid continuing on to parts unknown.
Headless instruments relocate the tuners to the body of the instrument, and [Qian] had to do a fair bit of trimming and whittling on the body to make the tuners fit just right and still be operable via four scoops cut into the sides. After some initial troubles with the amount of friction on the strings produced by the mandrel, she replaced it with a set of ball bearings and a holder she machined out of aluminum.
We love how [Qian]’s extensive build log goes through the entire process of making this diminutive instrument from trimming dead walnut branches to building a playable instrument. Little details like the maple strip in the neck and the cocobolo accents really take this far beyond the cigar box instruments that start many down the path of luthiery.
Standing desks (also known as sit-stand desks) are somewhat polarizing. The height is adjustable, but the idea is that you move between sitting and standing while you work. Hundreds of manufacturers are out there, but they’re all the same. Two metal legs that extend and one or more motors to move the legs up and down. [JAR Made] tried to make something slightly different for their standing desk with an extending curved surface.
The build started with some gorgeous alder that was milled into square with a track saw and a planer — no jointer was required. However, he wanted long boards and was debating how to butt join the pieces together and decided on pocket holes with dowels to try and clamp the boards together while the glue dried. The resulting product was one that [JAR Made] was unhappy with. He pivoted on his feet by switching Baltic birch plywood for the main desk surface. Which was bent using a kerf-cutting technique (though just using a track saw rather than a CNC bit).
Here is where you can see him learn from his earlier mistakes. He routed a half lap in the plywood for the butt joint to give it more strength and devised a clever clamping mechanism using CA glue and painter’s tape to get good clamping pressure. The alder from earlier came in use to serve as a front edge for the plywood and a groove to hold the sliding piece of plywood that extends and retracts as the desk goes up and down.
Regular old standing desk legs screw into the underside of the desk and allow it to move up and down. Overall, it’s a wonderful build of a gorgeous desk. We love seeing people make mistakes and then pivot and learn from them. Perhaps the next step is to automate the desk to move on its own.