• I wanted one of those fancy rail systems for my DSLR camera so I can do some more video work with my band. Turns out they cost a LOT of money, and I'm not down with spending a lot of money (especially when I can make all the parts myself and have the same thing - only better) :) Read More
  • I was looking for tablet holders that my wife could use in the kitchen to display her recipes while she was baking and I found a few nice one's but they were way too expensive. So I thought to my self "I can make that myself for a lot cheaper" - that's pretty much what I say to anything LOL Read More
  • Here's a look at the Monster in a Box Halloween prop that I made. It uses a Parallax Propeller prototype board as it's "Brain" to control several different things - Check it out! Read More
  • I've been wanting to mill out a circuit board for a while now - finally got around to it! :) Read More
  • I had made a tailstock for my 4th Axis a while back and it recently broke (it was made from MDF LOL) so here's how I made my new 4th Axis Tailstock that I made with my homemade Reprap 3D Printer! :) Read More
  • Well in seeing how tough the previous 3D printed gears were, I broke them :) so they were not that tough! LOL So here's version 2.5 of the gears - I made everything beefier and also put two stages of planetary gears in there for more torque, less backlash, and just all around coolness :) Read More
  • I wanted to try and print some planetary gears to try and make my 4th axis work better. Read More
  • Here's my journey of building a Reprap 3d Printer. Took about two weeks to get to the point where I was printing and I am still tweaking things to get good prints but it's working well enough to share :) Read More
  • Here's how I made my own bandsaw bearing guides from aluminum tubing and regular skate bearings - for like $20 :) Read More
  • Using a Parallax Propeller Proto board and a Pololu Stepper Driver - I've built a home made power feed for my lathe / mill / drill - Check it out! Read More
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Welcome to BackyardWorkshop.com!

Backyard Workshop is a site for my various hobbies, including my homemade CNC machine, Reprap 3d printer, metalworking on my Enco 3-in1 machine, woodworking, aluminum casting, electronics, and more that I do in my garage in Clearwater, FL!

Please check out the most recent projects above and below you can find my blog posts. On the right there's a list of my most popular posts, or using the menu you should be able to find all that I have on here. if you have any questions - feel free to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Check out my photo galleries and free downloads :)


Animatronic Zombie Head

Hey everybody I'm back with another video :) two in one month! one week even! :)

In this video I'm going to show how I wired up this animatronic head with the Propeller Activity Board - The Parallax Propeller Activity Board is my new favorite go to board! :)

New DSLR Rail System

The first rail system was made with wooden dowels, and then I found some aluminum rods at the big box store so I decided those looked a little more "pro" and remember it's not about whether you win or lose - it's how you look playing the game ;) So here's a look at the new and improved DSLR Rail Rig

In the picture you can see my home made DSLR rail rig and also the homemade tablet holder mounted on the tripod - Using an app for controlling the camera from the tablet, I can face the tablet and camera towards me and see if I am framed in the shot or not - that's really helpful for my low budget DIY videos where I am the camera man AND the actor LOL

My camera rig consists of

  • Canon T4i DSLR Camera
  • Samson Zoom Microphone (actually have several mics to use for various occasions)
  • Zoom H4 Stand Alone Recorder
  • 3D printed Follow Focus (the red stuff in the picture) - the Follow focus allows me to focus the camera by turning the red knob rather than have to try and focus by turning the lens ring which is just awkward
  • Hot Shoe mount LED Light ring - In the picture I have this mounted below, not actually on the camera shoe because the light would be behind the sunshade - but I can mount it either way for different needs)
  • Two 1/2" aluminum rods (found at your local hardware store)
  • Custom designed / 3D printed Camera Mount
  • Custom designed / 3D pirinted Shoe Mount
  • Custom designed / 3D printed Matte Box / Sunshade holder (the matte box came with a rail mount adapter but it did not fit my rails of course)
  • Matte box / Sunshade (ebay - $15)
  • Viewsonic GTab Tablet - this one is nice because it has a standard USB port so I didn't need to get a special cable to connect it to the camera - lucky win!
  • Custom designed / 3D printed tripod mount tablet holder (the blue stuff in the picture) - I have another article with some details on that one
  • The rods are held together and there are couple caps on the end with custom 3D printed stuff

OK so here's a picture - sorry the picture is taken with my phone because the camera is mounted on the rail system! LOL


It's October! And you know what that means... That means I'm working on Halloween projects :) I have three props that I'll be working on this year and I will post videos and articles on all of them. So stay tuned and check back in a few days for the first video / article / update! :)








June! Holy Smokes it's already June!

Wow I can't believe we are halfway through the year already - time flies!

I haven't been doing a whole lot lately - printed a few minor things, but nothing extraordinary. The CNC machine hasn't been fired up in months either - I guess I'm in a slump LOL I'm sure it'll come around ;)

Propeller Activity BoardI did buy the new Parallax Propeller Activity Board and started playing with that - it's by far the best Prop board I've seen with built on Analog to Digital and Digital to Analog converters, built in 1'8" jack for audio playback, built on 3 pin headers for servos and such, built on SD card slot and last but not least jacks for the XBe wireless module - oh! and a nice little bread board section too - very cool board and I probably will buy a few of them for my projects! Get yours here!

Also in the Propeller arena - I've started working in the new SimpleIDE and programing for the Prop in C - since I program all day in C# it's a lot more familiar than SPIN for sure - still got a few quirks to work out but I think it'll be tons better! Expect to see the Monster in a Box Halloween prop reprgrammed in C on the new Propeller Activity Board! :)

 and last but not least I started listing all my excess electronics on eBay - so please support the site and check out my auctions HERE :)

Cheap DIY Camera LED Ring Light

I wanted to get a fancy ring light for my DSLR, but all the ones I could find were not built for my lens (18-135 STM) and they were too expensive - and so I've had to make my own! :)

First I ordered some LED ring lights that are *meant* to be used in a car interier, they are 12V DC and in my mind - ready to go for my project!

I got the ones that I needed from here (search for the sizes you need)

Then I orderd a LED dimmer, the dimmer is supposed to be used with the LED strips but it worked perfect with the rings too - I go mine from eBay - Like this one

and finally I designed and printed the holder that will fit the rings and also fit on my lens' hood ring part - I have provided the STL file in my Downloads section - if you have a 18-135 lens then it will work for you :)

Here's some pictures and a video of the light dimmer working - in the pictures there are some with the light ring, and some with the flash, and some with no flash - the best one's (to me) are the one's with the ring light :)

Check out the video on my YouTube Channel (I embedded the video here but Flash's "I got to be on top" was messing with my pictures! LOL


Homemade Tripod Mounted Tablet Holder

Have I mentioned that I LOVE having a homemade 3D printer? :)

I am making some videos for my band Big Moon Rocket and I am using my Canon T4i DSLR to record the video - You may have noticed my DSLR rig in the featured posts above (if not check it out)

Well, on with the story... I have an 8' camera crane, and the last time we filmed with the crane it was a pain to try and see what was on the little DSLR screen when the crane was up in the air. So I figured out how to connect my Canon T4i to my Samsung G-Tab tablet - Using the DSLR Connect app and a regular USB cable (The Samsung G-Tab has a regular USB port - it's like the only one of it's kind I SO lucked out and didn't have to buy an adapter!) - anyway I'm set up to use the tablet as an external monitor that can show the crane operator what's on the camera - it can even start and stop the video and change settings and everything - it's AWESOME! :)

Weeeelllllll Now I need some way to mount the tablet on the tripod... Of course there are things you can buy for that... but I am not down with that LOL Not when I have the opportunity to design and print anything I want!

Without further ado - here's my custom homemade 3D printed tripod mounted tablet holder :) (say that 3 times fast LOL)

Homemade Filmmaking Gear

Weekend Fun

Homemade 3D PrinterSpent Saturday of last weekend at the Oak Grove Middle School First Lego League Tournament. I set up my 3D Printer there for the kids to check out and was bombarded with questions all day long (not just from the kids)  it was great that all the kids showed a lot of interest in the printer, made me feel that it was worth going for sure.

A couple of the kids sat there and watch it print objects nearly all day long - it really can be quite mesmerizing! LOL

The printer worked pretty well all day, in the morning the 24V Power Supply I use for the heated bed blew (sparks and smoke even!) so I had to run everything off of the one 12V power supply - and that means that the bed doesn't get quite hot enough - but it all worked out OK. At nearly the end of the day the plastic was running out so I was trying to feed in another spool and broke the piece that provides tension on the plastic to feed t though - so that was it - we were down! Good thing it was nearly over anyway! :)

 Sunday of last weekend was spent milling some aluminum for a Taig milling machine on my Homemade CNC machine :) sorry no picutres of the work but the homemade CNC machine held up great and plowed through the aluminum better than I anticipated

So that's it - just a quick update - carry on


Happy New Year!!!

First post of the new year!

As always one of my new years resolutions is to post more projects :) Let's hope I follow through this year - although last year wasn't too too bad, I still think I can do better

This year starts off with a project that I made for a Christmas present. I'm calling it a "Executive Tablet Stand". As usual I saw something in a catalog somewhere and thought to my self "Man! They want a lot for that! I can make that myself for a lot cheaper" - that's pretty much what I say to anything LOL - so check out the article above and check out the pictures :)

In other news... Nothing LOL just getting back from vacation and settling in the new year - I should get busy soon though :)


Making Large Styrofoam Letters

I was asked a few months ago to make some large letters for the Tampa Bay TEDx Youth event that happened December 2nd. I made the biggest styrofoam letters on my homemade CNC machine that I could - which put the letters at about 3 feet high. Here's a photo gallery from the TEDx event and the letters can be seen in more than a few of them. Thanks to Terri Willingham from Learning is For Everyone (and numerous other organizations) for giving me the opportunity to help out with the event (even in the smallish scale that I did) :)

check out the pictures here


More Articles...

  1. Homemade Pens
  2. New Workbench
  3. Parallax Propeller + stepper motor + 8 relays
  4. Orlando Mini Maker Faire
  5. New 3D Printer!
  6. Moving Unrelated Stuff!
  7. 3D Printed Drum Mic Clip
  8. Moving Development Posts
  9. Featured Engineer? :)
  10. 3D Printed Wobbler Engine

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