Older blog entries for The Swirling Brain (starting at number 63)

I tried to make a stirling engine this weekend, but I never could get it to work, so I gave up. :-(

16 Aug 2005 (updated 16 Aug 2005 at 03:34 UTC) »

Well, I went and did it. I signed up for a booth at a local arts and crafts fair to sell rolling ball sculptures. The booth fee was $50 and I needed to have a Federal Tax ID. So, I went down to the state comptroller's office and got one. So now officially The Swirling Brain is my official company. So anyway I've been making a bunch of small ball trails and listed some on ebay. Two of the the three I've listed already have bids. I have a few others made up already. I'm hoping that within a couple of months I can have a gob of them made up to show at the booth.

At church I've been helping out with sheet rocking the fellowship hall. It's a big project. Since I've been out of a job I've been able to put time into it. The Youth Minister and myself have been a pretty good team. He holds the sheet rock in place and I screw it in, or vice versa. I've taught him all I know about sheet rocking and now he seems to have enough confidence to do it without me. Sometimes I'll arrive and he'll already have a sheet on the wall up and screwed! He's really gung ho about it and excited to have learned something new.

With my recent playing around with PIC chips again, my mind has been swirling on what all I can make with them. However, with all my current projects, it's sort of getting pushed to the back burner. :-(

My finances are really going downhill quick. Still no luck finding a decent job. I guess I'll have to learn how to say, "you want fries with that?" if something doesn't present itself soon. I'm really hoping my new metal sculpture business will help some.

28 Jul 2005 (updated 28 Jul 2005 at 01:33 UTC) »

I went to Church camp last week. It was a blast. I think as a whole all of the teen group are closer to God and each other. I took gobs of pictures which I'll try to assemble and make a slideshow DVD so we can show it Sunday night at church. Also, I took a bunch of pictures with my 3D camera. Most of those turned out great! I'm trying to convert them to red/blue type 3D so they'll be easier to see than trying to cross your eyes sort of thing.

This week I also went to Tanner's Electronics and bought a bunch of stuff to build an electronic analog clock. I finished the electronics part this afternoon. It's running on a pic16f84a with a uln2803a driving two stepper motors and it also has two buttons. One stepper motor runs the clock second hand, although I probably won't display a second hand only a minute hand and hour hand by gearing off the second hand. The other stepper will run the elevator for marbles. Hopefully it will be able to drop a marble down a track once an hour. I'll try to build the gears and the ball sculpture all out of copper wire. I'm hoping this will be a cool clock and rolling ball sculpture. One button allows someone to advance the time. The advance rotates slowly at first then slowly speeds up the longer you hold it. The other button will be at the bottom to detect when a marble reaches the bottom and will turn on the elevator for about 16 seconds and shut off so the marble will make it back to the top and wait for the next hour to be released again. I put all the electronics in a nice little black project case and so far the electronics part looks great.

Still don't have a job yet, but I'm not trying that hard either. I guess I should but I'm having too much fun with making and selling rolling ball sculptures. Although, they've sort of slowed selling lately. I'm not sure why. I figure as it gets closer to Christmas and people go back to buying frienzie mode I sell a lot more. Summer's probably a slow selling time for a lot of things. The grandfather clock rolling ball sculpture hasn't sold yet and right now it's listed for about half of what I first listed it for. I've been getting a lot of emails about it, so I figure it'll probably sell at the price it's at now. Here's hoping anyway, nothing's for sure.

Our church has begun a remodel. I've tried to help a few hours here and there. This first phase is the demolition and it's going rather well. I'm really surprised there's so many church members actually showing up and doing work!

Hopefully, I can get back to posting on robots.net really soon.

17 Jul 2005 (updated 17 Jul 2005 at 19:35 UTC) »

I'm going to Bogg Springs Arkansas church teen camp with the teens this week (Monday - Friday). Yes, I'm 40, but going with the teens makes me feel young. So anyway I won't be around next week to post any articles so steve will be the only posting for the next few days. See yall next week and pray for us that there will be lots saved and lots rededicated!

I've sort of given up on the job search for now. I guess I've been too bummed after leaving my last job. Instead I've been making and selling ball trails on ebay. I do have a few ball trails listed on ebay right now. My userid is swirlingbrain on ebay so search for them and check them out if you get a chance and perhaps buy one if you want. I checked out going to the cottonwood festival here in Richardson to show my ball trails, but they stopped taking applications July 1st so I missed out for this time. Even if I did try they have a non-refundable $30 application fee and also a $300 booth fee if they approve your application. Of which they get like 800 applications and only approve about 100 of them so chances would be pretty good I'd lose my $30. I'll probably go to the festival and check it out to see if I feel I'm up to snuff for their next show in May. I think I'd sell a bunch of ball trails if they'd have me. It's fun to dream anyway.

See yall in about a week!

Well, I've finished the Grandfather Clock Rolling Ball Sculpture and have listed it on ebay. I hope it sells. I've sold a few ball trails on ebay now. Do that and other odd jobs has kept me going while I've been out of a job. It's not totally making the bills but it nearly is and it sure beats working at my last job by a mile. Anyway, take a look at it.

To read bvdborgh's Robot trade show info in English:

  1. Copy a url link from bvdborgh's diary posts.
    (right click on a link and choose copy shortcut)
  2. Go to babelfish.altavista.com
  3. Paste the link into the babelfish's web link field
  4. Choose translation language "Dutch to English"
  5. Click translate web page

And voila, you get to see the web page in terrible broken english, but at least you get a vauge idea of the what the pictures are about and what great fun he's having there.

Thanks for the great pictures and info bvdborgh!

Well, lost my job today so it looks like I have time to post entries on Robots.net again. :-) Hire me before someone else does!

I've been working on the grandfather clock project. I found one handmade clock on ebay that used a spring technique for making the gears. It's pretty cool, so I made all of the gears that way (actually the gears are only partly done so far). The trouble I've been having is getting escapement gear to work properly. It does the tick- tock thing, but it binds in one place and stops at that place every time. I need to redo the bushings so it won't stop at that place. So after I get that prefected, then I'll go on to assembling the gear box. Several times I've wanted to give up and just get a cheapo AA clock movement. I really want to get this working so I'm trying to be tenancious. It's quite a learning experience, and I'm enjoying it even if it has been a little frustraiting. I'm hoping to make it where it will drop a marble every hour down a ball trail to the bottom and thereby ringing a gong on the hour. My confidence that I can get it working is like a roller coaster, up and down, but mostly up.

Still havn't sold the flower vase ball trail but I'm hopeful it will sell eventually. I sold the Java Duke ball trail for $76! woo hoo! The Jesus Saves ball trail I'm trying an expirament of listing it for 99 cents and see how high the action goes. So far it's up to $10.50 but it has a few more days left. I'm hoping it will go on up to something more reasonable before it closes but expiraments involve a risk.

Big Red's head gasket is no further due to the rain and hot weather. I'll get to it hopefully. Not too excited about it.

Well, I sold another rolling ball sculpture on ebay! I wish it would make enough for me to quit my job, but I don't expect that will ever happen with about anything I do. The problem is insurance. I have diabetes and my daughter has CF. So I'm forced to at least have a job that will provide lower-cost insurance than what I can get myself. I'm wondering if I can work part time and do this as much as possible because I really hate my current job. I've made a small ball trail and listed it on ebay that is a cross and has the words JESUS SAVES as the track. Hope it sells. Anyway, my next project will likely be a grandfather clock rolling ball sculpture. It'll take a while, but it will probably bring in more money than the smaller ones would.

My dad's helping me change out the head gasket on my Big Red Isuzu Trooper. It's going to be a lot of work and a lot of dirty fingernail days. I'm guessing with the short amount of daylight I get it'll probabaly take a couple weeks or more. But, I guess it's cheaper than paying to have it done.

I'm still working on the termites. They seem to be slowing down now. They say that March through May is swarm season so perhaps I'm just seeing fewer swarmers. The good news is, I haven't seen any mud tubes going through the areas that I've put the premise down. So hopefully my efforts are working! I still have a lot yet to do.

Daily my wife and kids and I all talk about Disney World and what a great vacation we had. We all really want to go back. There's so much that we didn't get to do that we still want to go back to do. That was such a great vacation! It was wonderful. I'd like to live near there and get season passes and go all the time.

Well, I've listed my next rolling ball sculpture on ebay. It's a 6 red rose flower vase. It looks pretty cool. I hope it sells.

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