How I modded an Amazon Ring digicam to observe hazardous tech in my workshop
In medication, the time period “off-label” is used when a physician prescribes a drug for a motive or in a fashion not particularly meant by the producer nor appoved by the FDA. When docs prescribe one thing off-label, it is normally as a result of they suppose the drug will probably be profitable in treating a situation that does not have already got a superb resolution with a distinct drug.
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I am not a physician, and I do not even play one on TV. However as a techie with a penchant for engaged on uncommon or special-purpose initiatives, I typically use electronics and software program in off-label methods. That is what I did with Amazon’s Ring Stick Up Cam Battery. That is not what Amazon meant for this product, but it really works very well.
Ring Stick Up Cam Battery
Battery-powered Ring digicam that may be positioned nearly anyplace.
Watching over a laser and a spinning wheel of loss of life
The off-label drawback I needed to unravel was watching my Glowforge laser cutter and Inventables X-Carve CNC whereas they had been working to verify nothing dangerous was taking place. In spite of everything, the Glowforge is a robotic laser — it shoots an precise laser beam — that burns materials to chop or engrave it. The X-Carve is a robotic chopping machine that spins a metal cutter at 1000’s of revolutions per minute.
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So, yeah. In a single room I’ve a robot-controlled laser beam that may slice via most supplies, and in one other, I’ve a robot-controlled spinning wheel of loss of life. My spouse is so very tolerant. I’m so very fortunate.
Usually, the very best follow when utilizing both of those machines is to stick with them whereas they do their work. That manner, if one thing goes improper, you possibly can see it taking place and shut the robotic down. Sadly, it is wildly disagreeable to be within the room with both of those machines.
Despite the fact that I’ve a air flow fan that exhausts the Glowforge fumes proper outdoors, the small room the place it is positioned turns into crammed with fumes that persist lengthy after the chopping course of completes.
And despite the fact that I’ve mud assortment with the CNC, there’s a whole lot of very high-quality particulate matter despatched into the workshop air that I might fairly not inhale. Each machines are additionally insanely noisy, particularly with the add-on air flow fan.
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Putting in a digicam is the following neatest thing to being there. By means of a distant digicam, I can watch these units on both my cellphone or pc. If there’s a problem, I am only a room away.
Why the Stick Up Cam Battery
I thought of utilizing the mix of a Raspberry Pi and webcam to observe my 3D printers, however I did not need all the additional wires (and the few hours of complexity configuring the customized monitoring Linux distro). Extra to the purpose, Amazon had beforehand despatched me the Stick Up Cam Battery digicam again after they despatched me one among their Alexas to assessment, and it was sitting on the assessment shelf, ready to be put to work.
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If that was all it was, I may not have chosen the Stick Up Cam. However the system comes with a hefty battery. Amazon claims it may well watch a home for about six months on a single cost. The battery is simple to come out of the digicam and hook up with any micro-USB charger to offer it a fill-up.
It additionally comes with the Ring app, which permits for reside viewing both in a desktop browser or on a cellphone. Whereas I did not want a lot of the Ring ecosystem options (like movement detection and two-way audio), the essential performance and strong 1080p video high quality had been a win. Plus, setup was a quick five-minute job, which is a big win, particularly in comparison with what it might have taken to attach a webcam to a Raspberry Pi and set up a customized model of Linux.
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However there was one drawback: the sphere of view, particularly under the digicam, wasn’t ok to observe my harmful little robotic associates. I wanted to mod the digicam.
Designing a customized digicam mount
I did a fast check with a bit of cardboard and located that whereas growing the angle of the digicam did assist, that slight angle did not assist almost sufficient.
To get the digicam to see absolutely contained in the Glowforge and to see the mattress of the CNC, I wanted the digicam tilted at 45 levels. Sadly, that a lot tilt resulted within the digicam toppling over. So I wanted to make one thing to maintain it at 45 levels.
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Since I used to be already working with a CNC and a laser cutter, I made a decision to spherical out the desktop fabrication trio with a 3D-printed digicam mount. I modeled it up in Fusion 360 utilizing parametric values (which let you simply change dimensions) and have the design recalculate and lofting (which creates a mesh between two objects, and is how I acquired the angled swoop to work).
The design has three most important options. On the left is a tube, into which you slide the digicam. On the appropriate is an oblong space the place you possibly can slide in a 1-2-3 block as a counterweight. Should you’re not conversant in 1-2-3 blocks, they’re cheap instruments that measure one inch on one facet, two inches on one other facet, and three inches on the third facet. They’re heavy precision metal and have a whole lot of makes use of within the store and lab. I acquired two from Amazon for $18.
This is what the ultimate mount seems to be like after it got here off the 3D printer.
The third function of the design is a hook that lets me hold it up when it is not in use. It matches very properly on my pegboard.
Proud as I’m that I remembered to place a dangling gap in it, there’d be no level if it did not do the job. Let’s have a look at the way it does.
Utilizing the Stick Up Cam Battery to observe my gear
This resolution works very well. As you possibly can see, it sits properly on the nook of my Glowforge. As a result of the digicam is each wi-fi and battery-powered, there are not any wires to intervene with utilizing the laser. The one factor I’ve to do is keep in mind to maneuver the digicam so it does not intervene with the lid opening.
It does an excellent job monitoring the lower. Though you possibly can’t see the precise laser beam doing the chopping, this is a screencap of the Stick Up Cam’s video feed that was taken whereas the laser was burning the plastic materials. To make certain, if there’s ever a hearth within the chamber, I will be capable to see that — and act on it instantly.
I can see what’s taking place with out having to breathe within the noxious odor — and that is with a customized air flow fan venting to the surface. I can not think about how tough that is for laser customers who haven’t got outdoors air flow.
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The battery power is kind of good. After doing a 15-minute lower, the battery stage within the digicam was nonetheless at 98%. This implies I can most likely do 20-50 initiatives on the laser cutter on one battery cost (though, in follow, I will most likely cost it up as soon as it drops under 50%).
As a result of this rig is moveable, I can put it on something I need to monitor. This is the unit sitting on my CNC.
So there you go. The Stick Up Cam Battery makes for an excellent monitoring digicam, particularly when paired with a cheap weight and the 3D printed holder. If you wish to make one your self, you should buy the digicam and 1-2-3 blocks straight from Amazon. I’ve posted the .STL file for my 3D design on Thingiverse, so you possibly can obtain that free of charge. 3D printers aren’t very costly, so even when you do not have one, you would possibly contemplate getting one for initiatives like this. This is ZDNET’s checklist of cheap 3D printers you would possibly need to contemplate.
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