Saturday, April 22, 2017

Find Older Projects Faster With Nine New Blog Pages!

The last few days I have been going over the layout of my blog and have come up with nine new pages so that everyone can find older projects easier and faster.  The pages are broken down into different category's  to make finding projects simpler.  Here is the full list of the new pages.


Designing

Miscellaneous Projects

Blender 3D Projects

Woodworking Projects

CNC Projects

3D Printing Projects

Fiberglass Projects

Drawing Projects

Miscellaneous Blog Posts




Pick one of the category's (Shown above is one project from 3D Printing Projects) and in it you will find a listing of all the posts that have been done on the blog about that project.  Also where it has been possible I've included a photo of the project from that category so you can find what interests you even faster.  Under the photos are links to all of the posts that relate to the project.  Select a link and it will take you to the post about the project.  Much faster than trying to find what your looking for from the date listing on the blog. 




The new pages can be found on the blog home page as illustrated in the image above.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Learning New Processes To Make New Things

I learned a few new things over the past couple of days while working on some projects for myself and my sister.  I own a piece of equipment called a " Tooli " made by Toolbotics.com from Australia.  For those of you who have never heard of a Tooli it is a machine that does a number of things rather well.  It's a plotter, a vinyl cutter, an extruder, an air brush machine just to name a few of it's capabilities.  This week I have been trying to figure out how to have my Tooli machine cut vinyl decals.  I have never worked with this type of material but always felt it would be fun to be able to design and make decals for the projects I build.  So this was the plan for this week.

To explain what I had in mind or should I say what my sister Velma had in mind was that she needed a set of decals for a restoration project that she is working on.  She had come across an older Radio Flyer wagon that she decided to restore.  It has a wooden platform instead of a steel tub and wooden side rails with the name " Radio Flyer " printed on them. The restoration of the wooden parts did  not come without a challenge but the Radio Flyer name on the sides would be gone if she repainted the wagon. So decals would have to be either purchased or remade.  I did some research for her only to find out that the original design and font for the name was no longer available.  So I decided that I would try and see if I could make new decals for her.  It would help her out and get me started in learning how to make decals too.


Here's the what the original Radio Flyer artwork looked like before restoration had started.  My sister had shot this photo as reference for me so I could get the scale correct for the project when I was setting up the new decal. 
From the photograph I was able to create a new drawing for the decal using Corel Draw software.  A simple process of tracing over the original photo to get what I needed.  I tried to find the correct font for the lettering but could not track it down online so I manually had to trace out each letter to get what I wanted.  Again not a hard or long process.  With this step completed I figured I was pretty much home free. This was not the case. 


I had never even seen the hardware used to make vinyl decals until I purchased my Tooli machine.  It was all new to me and I did not have a mentor to instruct me on how to set everything up and get what I wanted made.  Case in point is the strange looking device that is pictured above.  This is actually the vinyl cutter for my Tooli machine. It is only a couple of inches long and believe it or not the blade that is inside of it is sticking out of the rounded off end on the right of the picture.  It took me weeks to find out any information about how to make this little gadget work and set up properly to be able to make vinyl decals.  
  Inside of the device is a VERY small blade that protrudes out of the end of the hollow center of the cylinder. The blade is adjusted using the knurled brass locking ring and knurled aluminum adjustment knob.  The blade only sticks out of this cylinder a very small distance.  Get this..... It only sticks out half the thickness of a credit card!  I'll give you a link at the end of this post to show you the procedure for that one.  
  Anyway after working with the blade mount for a bit I did get it set up correctly and was encouraged to move forward and try and make some decals. 

I didn't want to try and make the wagon decals starting out as I thought I should try something a lot less critical as my first attempt at making decals.  So I decided on this image of Snoopy.  I wanted something fairly simple to make that I could put on just about anything I wanted.  If I couldn't get it to be cut correctly out of vinyl the first time I could try again until I got my machine dialed and or I figured out what I was doing wrong in the first place.  



I lucked out right out of the box and here is where the decal landed. This is my sketch book that I use while working on projects and being as it has a totally white blank cover Snoopy was the place for it. Now I thought I had it made when it came time to create the decals for my sister's wagon project. 

Wrong again.

I got my files together for the cutting of the wagon decals only to find out that my "Tooli" machine was now acting up.  Things were not setting up nicely as it had when I create the Snoopy decal.  I contacted Toolbotix and by this morning I had gotten the answer to my hardware problem with the machine.  I had an adjustment out of whack with the machine and after ten minutes everything was back in order once again. Whew!



I ran the files to make the Radio Flyer decals and here are the results.  They turned out better than I had hoped.  Not flawless but for a first attempt at something this detailed I am happy with the effort.  The photo above would be similar to looking at the decals from around six inches away.  Considering that you will look at the decals from probably at least five or six feet away these will do nicely for the wagon restoration project.

  So with the making of the Snoopy and Radio Flyer decals I learned how to correct some minor problems with my vinyl cutter/plotter if they should happen again and how to design decals in the future that will be cut more accurately which in turn will be easier to clean up when the decal is set up to be transferred from the cutting table to the finished project that it will go on to. So lots of new lessons learned this week. 


Here are the links from Toolbotix.com and USCutters.com

Info about the "Tooli" machine.

How to set up a vinyl blade holder.



Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Planet Express Stealth Ship Blender 3D Inspiration

As most of you already know I am a big fan of the TV show Planet Express made by Matt Groening the creator of the Simpsons.  I've created a previous lighted display of the Planet Express spaceship weeks back when inspiration hit me. This again was the case this past week while watching another episode of the show playing on my Roku.  In the episode the Planet Express crew needed to save the world by flying a small one man stealth spaceship to destroy an invading death sphere spacecraft that was headed for earth and destroying planets along the way.  Professor Farnsworth the 180+ year old that is always inventing crazy things builds a one man stealth ship to be sent out to destroy the invader.  


I liked the design of the little stealth ship (shown above)  so much that I thought it would be a great project to try and model in Blender 3D as if it was a real spaceship and not just a cartoon.  Shown also in the image above are the complete cast of the Futurama show.  Starting on the right going left is Dr. Zoidberg (kind of a crab like alien), Bender (a girder bending robot), Hermes (the bureaucratic accountant for Planet Express business), Philp J. Fry ( a delivery boy from the 20th century who is now in the 30th century), Leela (Planet Express's pilot/captain and Amy Wong  who is standing behind Hermes (an intern to Professor Farnsworth).  Professor Farnsworth is standing on the platform just above the stealth ship.  To the left of the spaceship is Zapp Brannigan (wanna-be space hero).  Also pictured to the left are two secret service agents and the head of Richard Nixon in a jar.  You'd have to see the show to understand that one for sure.


(Click on the image above to get a full screen view)

Here's the end result of my efforts to recreate the stealth ship in Blender 3D.  I was originally going to only model the spaceship just by itself and thought I would go a bit farther with this project and put the ship in the hangar as shown in the original picture.  I also included Bender the robot with the ship just so I could give it some scale and as Bender was another good subject to try and model I thought it would work out nicely.  I did not count the number of hours I spent working on this latest creation as I was more concerned with getting everything  to look the way you see here rather than bother about it.  Bender himself was a challenge to get his features set up to match what is shown on the show so I was happy with my efforts to come very close. 

As for the stealth ship I got several different images by shooting them with my DSLR directly from my TV screen.  The one thing I noticed after reviewing the images was that the stealth ship kept changing in the episode of the show.  I did not notice this while watching but it sure showed up while comparing all the photos side by side.  I put as much detail into the small spaceship as I could and then worked with the little details that I could see within the hangar itself.  After I was satisfied with that aspect of the modeling I kept playing around with different lighting until I was happy with the scene.  The end result turned out very well so it will hold a place of honor in my Blender portfolio  along with the rest of my creations that I've put together  over the years.  Thanks for checking out my latest Blender 3D effort.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Motorcycle "Fast Glasses" Project Is Dialed In And Completed!

I was happy to find in my mailbox yesterday the smaller Neodymium magnets that I had ordered about a week ago.  I did not expect them for at least another week.  So with a happy grin on my face I got back to work on refining my motorcycle "Fast Glasses".  For those of you who just found this post and have not seen the previous news I had posted about this project I have been working on designing and building an easier way to wear glasses when I ride my motorcycle.  I cannot wear contacts and do not want to get eye surgery but I still wanted and easier way to wear glasses when I had my helmet on.  To put my regular glasses on once my helmet is on is a hassle to say the least and after a couple of hours riding become uncomfortable on top of it all.  So this project was born.   The idea was to design a new set of glasses mounts that hold the glasses to the helmet instead of my face.  Here is the final design.



All of the plastic components for the glasses I designed and made on my 3D printer. The glasses are held into my helmet using Velcro mounting straps and in turn the glasses are held securely into the mounts using very small Neodymium magnets.  The glasses are standard prescription glasses that I had set up for my eyes without any arms on them so that they could be mounted to the side frame mounts using small wire clips that I bent into shape by hand.  These mounts also hold mating Neodymium magnets that allow me to quickly and easily put on or take off the glasses after I have put on my motorcycle helmet.


I went through several different designs of the "Fast Glasses" to get the bugs worked out of them.  On the design previous to the final one I was happy with the mount (shown above on the left) worked but was to thick and caused an effect when driving like having "Blinders" on.  Distracting and not good at all.  I went back to work and refined the mount to use the smaller (1/8" x 1/8" x 1/2") Neodymium magnets which did the trick.  The new mounts (shown above on the right) are only 1/4" thick now and with no "Blinder" effect when wearing them.  The new magnets are also plenty strong as each will hold a pound of weight.  More than enough to hold my glasses in place while cruising down the road.




Here you can see my happy face as I model the new specs with my helmet on.  I worked on a few minor changes to the mounts all day yesterday and finished up with what you see here this morning. The glasses are very comfortable and are solidly mounted inside the helmet now instead of being smashed against my face when I am wearing them with the helmet. It takes me less than a second to put the glasses on or take them off so I've succeeded in accomplishing what I've set out to do.  With no "Blinder Effect" now I'm all set to do some comfortable cruising instead of some uncomfortable cursing as I go down the road. 


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

New Pages Added To The Blog!

I got a brainstorm during the middle of the night about the blog and thought it would be a great idea if it was easier for everyone to be able to see some of the more interesting videos that I've put together over the years.  These videos cover a large variety of projects that I've designed and built and also some tutorials on using Blender 3D modeling software. So with this idea in my head I got to work this morning and added a couple of new pages that will help everyone to easily find the videos faster.  The two new pages are titled "Tinker's Workshop Project Videos" and "Blender 3D Tutorial Videos".  As with all the videos that I've posted on the blog if you'd like to see a large view of the video just click the YouTube icon and it will pop up for you.  The image below shows where you can find the new pages so enjoy!


3D Printed Action Camera Chest Mount Project

I picked up a small action camera similar to a Go-Pro some time back on Kickstarter and in the process have been thinking up ways to use it.  This in turn pointed me in the direction of how to mount the camera to things like my motorcycle and of course myself.  My action camera is called a Mokacam and shoots in 4K and only cost me around $100. The price was right and it was a few steps up from a Go-Pro so I just had to have it.  The only drawback with the mounts that I found for an action camera was that almost all of them are set up for a special mount that only a Go-Pro uses.  Useless for my little camera.  The Mokacam uses a standard camera mount that you would find on a regular camera and a good camera tripod.  This actually made things simpler to design a chest mount for the camera that I thought would be interesting to try out on my motorcycle. 


I originally thought that I would use nylon webbing and plastic clips to hold the mount to my chest.  I wanted to keep the cost down and complexity of the mount as simple as possible so instead I planned on using double sided Velcro straps.  This type of Velcro I had used a long time back and had some small pieces of it laying around in the shop so I knew what I needed.  The Velcro has one side that is fuzzy and the opposite side has the sticky loops that make Velcro work. Pictured above is the setup for the chest mount. One strap would go around your chest and two more straps that would go over your shoulders. The only reason that the straps in the images above are red is so that I could more easily illustrate how the mount looks and works.


The only real task in designing a mount for the Mokacam is to have a small platform that the camera would be mounted to and a way to strap it to my chest.  Pictured above is the CAD design that I came up with.  At the base of the mount is a small hand wheel that holds the 1/4-20 bolt that screws into the base of the camera.  On the back plate are four slots to receive the strapping that would be used to hold the mount to my chest. 


The chest strap is fed through one vertical slot on one side of the mounting plate and then again through a matching slot  and attached to itself on the opposite side.  Sewn to the upper slots on the mount are the two mating Velcro tabs to hold the shoulder straps in place when the mount is in use.  Shown above you can also see where the shoulder straps are sewn to the chest strap at the back. 


This is another good view of the Velcro straps and how they are attached to the camera mount.  The mount was designed so that the camera is positioned far enough away from the vertical back plate to allow the chest strap to easily fit when fed though the mount for use.



In the photo above you can see the actual 3D printed camera mount with the attached Velcro straps already mounted to it.  Next to the mount is the small hand wheel that is used to secure the Mokacam to the mount.  This was an easy part to create.  I designed the hand wheel so that it would hold a standard 1/4-20  half inch long bolt.  The head of the bolt is recessed into the handle to keep it from spinning freely and is held in place with a small amount of silicone rubber so that the bolt will not fall out.


This is how the Mokacam chest mount looks when you wear it.  Rather than see me with the chest mount standing in my back yard or my kitchen I thought it best to show it off in an area where the camera could actually be used.  Thanks to a some fancy photography work and Gimp software the photo is just a bit more interesting.  (I wish this was my real backyard!) Anyway the Mokacam chest mount is easy to put on or take off and works great. It will be interesting to use this summer on my travels. The Velcro strapping I found at my local builders store and I have plenty left over for future projects. Total cost for the chest mount the best I can figure with the Velcro and 3D printing material only came to around $10.   A great price for a nice accessory that should help me make some interesting videos. 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Motorcycle Fast Glasses An Overwhelming Success But Still Room For Improvement.

I'm finally getting caught up on a couple of projects this week with the arrival of my new prescription glasses for my motorcycle helmet.  This project I posted about a few weeks ago and I was able to test the design and fabrication I call "Fast Glasses" yesterday.  To help those who have not read the earlier post get caught up I have been working on a new setup for my motorcycle helmet which makes it easier to wear glasses when I ride.  The big problem I have when getting ready to ride and even during the ride itself is having to put on glasses as I cannot wear contacts and do not wish to have eye surgery to correct my vision.  To put on regular glasses is a pain both figuratively as well as literally. So with all of this in mind I worked out a design so that my prescription glasses could be attached magnetically to the inside of my helmet. Instead of having my glasses placed on my face this new design allows me to make the process of putting on, wearing and taking off the glasses faster, as well as easier.


This is the design that I came up with for my glasses that I tested.  The glasses are held in place with mounts that are attached to the inside of the helmet using Velcro strips and magnetic mounts.  Attached to the glasses themselves are the mating magnetic mounts to hold the glasses in place while riding.  I was able to test the new setup yesterday and am happy to report that the design works perfectly. The glasses only take about a second to painlessly put on or remove and are as comfortable to wear as not having to wear glasses at all as there are no frames sandwiched between my head and the padding on the inside of the helmet.   For long rides this will be a huge advantage and will make riding that much more enjoyable.  I was also very much impressed by this and the fact that there is no additional vibration or maybe even less vibration than wearing regular glasses when riding.


There was only one flaw that I could find with the design and that is the current problem to solve at this point.  The mounts are very stable and secure but a bit larger than I wanted as it made my side vision kind of like wearing blinders. Not completely blocking my view but just enough to be distracting.  Not a good thing on a motorcycle so back to modifying my first attempt of this design on this project was called for.



I first off tracked down some smaller magnets for the mounts.  The original magnets are quite small already but not small enough to solve the side vision problem.  I did some searching online and found some neodymium magnets that are only 1/8" x 1/8" x 1/2" in size. I have used similar magnets in other projects and they should be plenty strong for the task at hand. This will help a lot in reducing the overall dimensions of the mounts that are on the glasses.  You can see a big difference in the photos above. The new mounts are quite a bit smaller and will reduce the side vision obstruction by one half.  The original mount is 1/2" thick as the new mount is only 1/4" thick.  A vast improvement.


Here's a view of my new glasses with the old and new magnetic mounts on them.  You can see a big difference in size between the new mounts.  The clip that holds the mount on the left side was not trimmed yet in this photo as I only set it up to show you where I am headed with the design.


The top view of the glasses with the mounts show very little difference in size but I am more concerned about the thickness not the width of the two.  There is more than enough room for the new mounts inside my helmet once the glasses are in place for riding.


Here you really can tell the difference in the two mounts.  The new mount is much smaller than the old mount so it should solve my side vision blinder problem rather nicely.  I also have refined the smaller mount further by decreasing the cavity for the glasses mounting arm to eliminate any vibration or slop in the mount.  The new mount feels much more solid and secure with these modifications.


This is how the new glasses will look once I get the smaller magnets installed into the setup.  All I have to do now is wait for the mailman (mailperson?) to deliver the new parts and I'll have everything ready to assemble.  I also tracked down some simple clip on sunglasses for the new Fast Glasses yesterday that work with the new lenses so I will have that covered as well.  I'll post again with final result once I get what I need. But with what I've learned so far it looks like this project will be an overwhelming success! Have a good one.



Monday, March 27, 2017

My 1951 Chevy Blender 3D Pickup Truck Is Completed!

After a couple of marathon sessions on Blender over the past few days I am happy to report that I've completed my 1951 Chevy pickup truck model that I have been working on.  The truck alone took 58 hours to complete and would have taken even longer if I had put in the time to model the interior.  Something to think about at a later date.  But for now here is how it all turned out.


I had to do research online to find the 90 plus photos I needed for the modeling of the truck.  This included photos of everything from tires to windshield wipers.  I then had to work out all the little details that I wanted that I had never worked on before in making a vehicle like this.  One thing that comes to mind was the tire sidewalls.  It turned out to be one of the simpler tasks I needed for this model but in the long run makes it just that much more detailed and I learned some new along the way for future vehicles.


With all of my vehicle models I play around with the lighting a great deal and this one was no exception. With the truck I had two ways to go with the how I also wanted to model it.  I could have made it in stock form as well as a custom hot rod.  With it being a custom it made things simpler as I could do whatever I wanted with the truck as far as wheels, paint or even the tail end as you see here.  Also if I want to put in the interior that it could be anything I like and want to dream up.  So it just made things simpler in the long run.


Here is another image that I had in mind when I started modeling the truck.   Weeks back I made a tutorial on how to put people into Blender 3D using Makehuman software.  So this is my first attempt at doing just that to tell a bit of a story rather than just showing off the truck. I knew I wanted the lady in the picture and then I had to figure out if I wanted a guy along with her and then how would I pose them?  I thought about it a while and came up with this image of a guy taking a photo of his lady friend sitting on the running board of his truck.  The tough part in the image for me was getting the grass put in and then matching it to the background.  After that I continued tweaking the lighting until I was happy with the final picture. 

I'm not sure if I am done with this image yet or not.  It took me an additional 8 hours to create the outdoor scene picture and I'm still thinking of ways to improve upon it.  Maybe a picnic blanket, cooler, pop cans etc. to fill the story of the picture in a little more for the viewer.  For now I am happy to have gotten this far along with the truck to show you how it all turned out. Another vehicle on my wish list that I probably will never own other than in my artwork.  No matter what it is far cheaper than the real thing and I have already many hours of enjoyment in creating the images you see here. I also still have bragging rights when people see it.  So it's a win-win in my book once again. Enjoy the images.

Friday, March 17, 2017

1951 Chevy Blender 3D Pickup Progress

Over the past week I have managed to squeeze in a few more hours on my 1951 Chevy Blender pickup model that I've started.  I thought all of you would like to see how it's progressing and find out some of the plans I have for this project.


As you can see from this first image the truck has really started to take shape.  I'm very pleased with how I managed to get the body looking pretty proper in shape and proportion.  I played around with several different colors and thought the green was the order of the day.  I had originally thought of a red truck but I have already done way more red vehicles lately so it was time to create something just that much different.  Besides the truck in green seemed to be just the ticket.


There is a lot of work to do yet with the model but the body is pretty well dialed in.  I got the tires and rims put together this morning but still have to work on tread and sidewalls if I am going to use the image (or something like it) that you see pictured above.  I like to experiment with different looks when it comes to backgrounds and lighting so I cannot promise you that the final render of this truck will be anything like what you see here.

I do like the lighting that I have here but like all of my Blender vehicle models or any Blender model that I work on I am constantly tweaking the things here and there until I feel it is just right.  This is a good start and so I will keep moving forward with the project and refining it.  I think the back wheels need to be wider especially being that this is supposed to be a street rod. I did lower the body just a bit as the stock version stood a bit higher than what I have here.  The look was improved greatly because of this small change.

A lot of little details will still be needed to complete the model not even considering putting an interior into the vehicle.  This in itself is a lot of hours work to get just right.  I have collected a large amount of reference images from the net to figure out these little details.  That is what makes a big difference in modeling a vehicle like this.  The little details add a great deal to the overall look of any vehicle so it is worth the effort.

I was asked this past week why I create what I create on Blender.  The best explanation I could give this person was that to me working with Blender is like putting together a puzzle on your table.  Piece by piece you put it together until you have the finished picture that you want to see.  But in my case instead of the puzzle being in cardboard and the finished image being a 2D image I am working in the computer and creating something that is 3D to make that final image.  Add in all the other factors like color, texture, lighting and such bring the complexity of this 100+ hour puzzle up many more notches compared to a table top 2D puzzle.  Plus the fact that at the end you have the distinct honor of saying " I made this myself on my computer and it's not a photograph. "  This makes this kind of project very rewarding and gives me hours of enjoyment that cost me nothing but some of my free time.  Worth every hour in my book to be able to create something like this and enjoy it all at the same time. 

I'll post more on my Blender Chevy pickup as I progress to it's completion. Total hours in the project so far is close to 21.5 hours and I'm loving every minute creating it as I do with all of the projects that I work on.  







Saturday, March 11, 2017

1951 Chevy Pickup Truck Blender Model Project

In this posting today I want to show you a new Blender vehicle model that I have had on my mind for some time. This being a 1951 Chevy pickup truck.  Another favorite vehicle that makes me drool every time I see one either in photos of at car shows.  So I thought it was just the right time to model the truck in Blender 3D. 

If you have been following my blog over the years you have seen my progression with Blender 3D and what I have managed to create with this great free software.  My goal from my early days of trying to learn Blender was to be able to model cars.  I am very happy with what I can create now but am still learning new things and this is the case with this truck model.  I have picked up a lot of pointers over the years but I still consider myself to be an intermediate modeler in Blender. 

Recently I received from Christopher Plush at CGMasters a copy of his latest training DVD on how to model a Jeep Wrangler.  This is his second training DVD. This first version he taught how to model a Chevy Camaro in great detail.  This helped me a great deal in learning the proper way to model a vehicle and with the second version he has stepped his training up a few more steps already and I am no where near completing the training that he shows in the new DVD.   I will supply a link to his site later on in this posting so you can find out where to get it and check it out for yourself.

So back to the new project of the truck here are a few images of what I have started to create so far.


This first image of my Blender work screen shows the front of the 1951 Chevy ready for modeling.  Through the training DVD I was able to get the truck put in by itself without any background around it which actually makes things a bit easier when laying out the various parts of the truck.


This time the side view which is scaled to match the front, top and back of the truck as well. 


Working with the views of the truck I started laying out the different parts as shown above.  This is where the DVD training has helped out greatly to get everything looking right and to scale. 



For this Blender model I thought it would be interesting to see exactly how long it will take to complete the model.  So I have a stopwatch on my desk to keep track of the hours that I put into the modeling of the truck. So far with what you see here with the front end, fenders and cab the tally is up to 8.5 hours.  Sounds like a lot of time but this is just the start as most of my other vehicles that I have created like the VW Bug or Triumph GT6 the hours ran up to 100 hours plus depending on if I decided to also add a complete interior to the vehicle.  All fun stuff and that is the point for me in using Blender in the first place. Being retired I have all the free time I could ever wish for so why do something that is not fun right? 

I will post more on the Chevy pickup Blender model as I progress further.  In the mean time check out Chis Plush's latest car modeling and texturing DVD for sale at the link below.



Sunday, March 5, 2017

"Fast Glasses" For My Motorcycle Helmet

This past week I have been able to make some really nice progress with my motorcycle helmet eyeglasses mounts project.  Let me first explain a bit about what this project is and why I am at this point very focused on getting it right.  As many of you already know I drive a motorcycle and have done so for many years.  With those years I now have aged to the point where I need to wear glasses. I cannot wear contacts and do not want to get Lasik eye surgery.  The problem I have with wearing glasses especially when I wear my helmet is putting the glasses on or taking them off once I have my helmet on.  To say that this simple task is a pain is no understatement in either the literal or figurative sense. So I've decided to create magnetic mounts for my glasses that will attach to the inside of the helmet and eliminate this hassle and speed up the process of putting my glasses on or taking them off when I want to ride my bike.


Here is where I started as you may have already seen in my last post.  I created the image shown above of a guy wearing glasses that are mounted to the inside of a motorcycle helmet.  A nice picture but not a lot of details were learned from this image at this point as to how to make this idea even possible to work.  This entire past week or more has been spent working out some of the bugs to the idea and I think I have it pretty well ironed out.


I started with my every day glasses and took careful measurements to get just the frame where the lenses are installed into my computer design software.  This was the simplest part of the project.


Next I laid out a simple framework that would be mounted to my motorcycle helmet.  Again a simple step but no real answers at this point.  More brainstorming was needed.


The first version of the magnetic glasses looked pretty good.  I had found some small magnets in my workshop and again went to work on the project using my design software. After some research online I pretty much gave up on the idea of 3D printing the frame that holds the lenses. It would be far simpler just to make a design that used the existing frames with mounts that attached to them. This design idea started to look doable at this point.  The square blocks at the rear of the frame would be mounted to the interior of the motorcycle helmet using Velcro straps which would be fed through the blocks to secure them.  Magnets would be also mounted on the face of the blocks to hold the glasses mounts. The glasses mounts that you see above have a round magnet in them and a slot that allows the glasses to be adjusted in or out so the glasses are the right distance from my eyes. Not to close or not to far away.  A key feature that needed to be addressed.  This looked good but I wanted the entire assembly to be more streamlined and lighter looking. To bulky looking at this point.


I continued on and took the design to the next version by removing some of the material at the face of the glasses mounts.  This again looked pretty good but being me I was not yet happy with the look of the design.


In the next version I changed the magnets to be smaller and be about the size of a watch battery. There would be two magnets in each of the red helmet mounts and another two in each of the now corner shaped glasses mounts. The streamlining was starting to take shape at this point.


Here you can see the magnet layout for the assembly in the two red helmet mounts. I also removed the  corner brace that I had in the now "L" shaped glasses mounts.  Also in the photo you can see the screws that would hold the glasses to the "L" shaped mounts and the Velcro straps that hold the helmet mounts in place.


Having found different magnets I came up with this similar design that uses not eight tiny round magnets but only four rectangular ones instead. This made the "L" shaped glasses mounts a little bit longer in the process but eliminated parts along the way. This layout was also rejected as it did not fit well within the area that I could use inside of the helmet.


This is version number six. I got rid of the "L" shaped glasses mount and turned the section that holds the magnet in place to a vertical orientation. This in turn allowed more room in the helmet and the red mounts only needed to have the matching orientation set up to have the assembly work properly.


At this point I was able to start 3D printing parts and testing out the placement and installation into my motorcycle helmet.  Here you can see the helmet mounts that are held in place using Velcro strips. The Velcro strip worked perfectly to hold the mounts securely in place. The photos show the 3D printed parts being kind of shiny.  The magnets were held in place using clear tape at this point. This is only because I did not want to permanently mount the magnets into the 3D printed parts until everything was designed and working properly.


This is the way the assembly looks with my glasses magnetically clicked into place. The screws that hold the glasses to their mounts were replaced with simple wire clips that I modified from paperclips. The paperclips I used have a red plastic coating on them.  I removed some of the coating to allow the wire to easily be installed through the mounts as well as the screw holes where the arms for the glasses would normally be.  (The arms were removed as the were not needed in the assembly).


I took the eyeglass assembly out of the helmet and then put it on.  I then grabbed the middle of the eyeglass frame between the lenses and brought the assembly to my face.  With one single click the glasses popped into place perfectly.  Comfortable and secure my idea worked! I was tickled with the results as I knew that I had the answer to my motorcycle glasses problem.  But as before I continued to tweak the design to iron out one last little bug.


The eyeglasses mounts and helmet mounts worked like a charm but they were still a bit to bulky for my taste. I wanted something a bit more refined, lighter, and smaller. Also I did not like how the setup partially  blocked my side views while wearing them in my helmet. Not that the side views were like wearing blinders but they still restricted my views enough to be a distraction.  On to design number seven.



With this latest and hopefully final design I once again cleaned up the look of the project. The glasses and helmet mounts would still use the small rectangular magnets but instead would keep the glasses mounts at only 1/2 inch thick instead of one inch from earlier concepts.  The magnets would be mounted to the outer face of the yellow mounts and the blue helmet mounts would hold the mating magnets on the inner face so the glasses could once again be clicked into place quickly and easily.  These changes allowed for the square area of the helmet mounts to be thinner at the rear and still keep the helmet mounts the same 1/2" thickness as the glasses mounts.


Here's a good shot of the new mounts in my helmet.  With the square block at the rear of the mounts being thinner than before they are no longer visible out of the side views when I put my helmet on.  I only see the 1/2" tall magnet mounts sticking out on each side of the helmet.  This is a much cleaner assembly and does not block my side view as it did with the larger mounts that I had in an earlier version.


This is how the assembly will look once I get it ready to be installed into my helmet.  It is a nice clean design that I now will look forward to use when I put my glasses on or taking them off when I want to ride my bike.  Total time to put my regular glasses on while wearing my helmet took me at least a minute or more. Way longer than it should ever take.  With this new setup my glasses now go on in about a second.  Click and their on and I'm ready to ride!  Works for me. 

I am due to get new glasses in the next week or so.  Perfect timing for this project to be sure. I will use my old frames for this project and get new ones with my new glasses and new lenses for my new motorcycle "Fast Glasses". (Catchy name don't you think?) Once I get the new glasses I will make final tweaks to the fast glasses mounts and I should be good to go. I'll post another update when I get the final assembly put together.  But at this point I see no real issues with the design that would cause a problem with completing this project.  Stay tuned for further developments. 😀