Reflow Toaster Oven powered by Arduino (Library included)

The BoxFishOven controller supports multiple reflow, annealing, curing and drying profiles selectable from the LCD display and a design that makes it easy to add new profiles.

The target oven has two SSRs controlling the top and bottom elements (although we only turn them on/off together), a relay to control the oven's convection fan, and a PWM controlled blower that forces room air into the oven to cool it down rapidly.

Built to run on an Arduino Uno or similar with the Adafruit LCD shield and a MAX31855 thermocouple board, plus transistor/mosfet drivers for all the relays.

A built-in simulator allows the program to be tested and evaluted without any special hardware (thermocouple or relays or an oven).

All files available here:


  • LCD button faceplate for 3D printing ( )

Required Libraries:

Included libraries:

  • BoxFishUI (a simple menu driven interface to a 2 line LCD display that uses MenuBackend)
  • PIDSeq (a simple PID operations sequencer that uses the Arduino PID Library)

PID Tuning:



Ultimaker 2 3D Printer Enclosure - CAD files

A simple enclosure for the Ultimaker 2 which has a magnetic side cover to allow easy material changes. Front and back door for easy access during normal operation. Multiple fan mounts for different installations. Allows for safe printing of ABS or other materials indoors with externally ducted ventilation. 

Internal dimensions to inside of extrusions is: 357x498.5x640mm

All CAD files available on GrabCAD.

  • All sides are laser cut from clear, 3mm acrylic
  • Duct mount and magnet mounts are 3D printed in ABS or PLA.
  • Sides made from 6 lengths of 1m OpenBeam extrusions cut to: 4 x 357mm, 2 cut in half. Assuming 3mm kerf on saw -
  • 2 x Hinges -
  • 2 x Door handles -
  • 16 x 16mm diam x 2-5mm magnets required.
  • 1 x 92mm fan -
  • 1 x fan guard -
  • 1 x 100mm flexible duct - from hardware store
  • 8 x Rubber feet -
  • 2 x Cable grommets -


Adding an IMU, WiFi and tether management to the OpenROV

To make the most of the amazing work done by the guys at OpenROV, I decided to upgrade my ROV to include a few things to make it work better.

First things first, the tether, it has to be managed. I used this great idea using parts found locally. I took this a step further.

TP-Link battery operated router, this gives me a wireless link between my tether and my laptop. I have noticed some hick ups in the connection once in a while. I'm not sure if this is because of the WiFi or the ROV CPU. More investigations needed.

IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit). Installing it was pretty easy, just follow the instructions here. This adds a whole lot of great info to the OpenROV cockpit. A fantastic addition especially if exploring beyond visual range. What wasn't included in the instructions for this was how to mount it to your ROV, so I've added some pictures to show how I've installed it.

Exploring the deep

Since learning what amazing views I can get from above, I decided it was time to fulfil a long standing desire to explore below the sea too! I chose to start with an open source ROV from It's taken me a few weeks to get all the bits and pieces together but now she is ready for her first dive. 

Cycle Touring with a DJI Phantom Quadcopter


Getting unique angels from above is something just not normally possible on a cycle tour. Adding a quadcopter with HD video has allowed a new and unique perspective to my latest bike tour. Here is a list of the equipment used on this trip:

- DJI Phantom quadcopter. 

- AeroXcraft 2D brushless GoPro gimble.

- GoPro Hero3 action cam. 

For this trip, I was 'flying blind' meaning that I was not able to see what the camera was seeing while in flight. For the next trip, I will add a so called 'FPV' or first person view. This system will allow me to get better quality footage.  Watch this space for details of that setup.


The batteries last about 7 to 10 minutes each which is enough to get a few good shots. I carried two batteries which allowed me to get it out twice a day more or less.  Charging takes about 1.5 hours from the mains, I don't think it would be practical to charge the batteries with a solar charger though I may look into this in future if I go to a more remote place.

Flying the thing:

It doesn't take long to get used to flying this quadcopter. It is GPS stablised and will return to home if it goes out of range or looses contact with the transmitter. So far, this has not happened. There are several other flight modes but I have not found them very practical. 

The angle of the camera is adjusted with a lever on the back of the controller, this is the most difficult part of using the thing when you can't see what it is seeing, I often ended up with a low angle that was not ideal. Adding the FPV will solve this problem. 

The Camera: 

The GoPro takes very high quality video for a thing that small. I had some problems with vertical banding in the over exposed areas. I am working on getting it replaced as I think this is a manufacturing fault. I have found that the best mode is 1080p - Med at 60fps. This allows you to slow down the footage and the Medium field of view gets rid of the props or skids in most shots.

The biggest problem I found initially was forgetting to turn on the camera! Stupid mistake but it cost me some great footage. I do recommend putting the GoPro on one touch mode which starts recording as soon as it is turned on.


I packed the copter and controls in my backpack on the back rack. This workd great, I found it easy to access and quick to setup. It was protected from the weather by the rain cover and allowed me quick access when a train was coming or the perfect light come out of the clouds.


An Iris in the Window

The idea of a friend was to make a large iris window shade for the round windows in his house. After drawing up the design in SolidWorks we set about cutting each of the 12 leaves with a laser cutter. Pivots were spots welded on and a car electric window motor connected. After some trial and error with the mechanism, we were able to get it to open and close smoothly. An Arduino micro controller was thrown in to make it light sensitive so that heat could be saved during winter. There are plans to make it controlled using a smartphone possible.

Racing Heart

All went well! After a trip to the airport in a fire car, we were escorted onto the runway by airport security where a private jet awaited us. With a handshake from the pilot, out gear was loaded on. A large suitcase with all surgical instruments required and two chilly bins with special liquids in were taken. I placed my temperature monitors in the box to see what the actual temperature was for the heart during transport.The plane was given top priority for take off and soon after we were cruising at 800 km/h at 35,000 feet. 45 mins later we landed in a terrible storm. A car waited for us which took us directly to the national hospital where the donor was already opened and two surgical teams were already in place, one for the liver, one for the kidneys. The chest was already open but the heart sack still in place. Our surgeon quickly got to work to remove the heart which was stopped using a special solution. Once the clamp was placed on the aorta the clocked started, 6.30 am. I had been awake since 1 at this stage. The heart was placed in three sterile bags before being placed into the chilly bin (or cooler). We quickly changed out of our scrubs and rushed to the waiting ambulances which rushed us to the airport. Half way, however, our ambulance died, the engine overheated and we had to pull off at a petrol station and wait for a replacement. Soon enough we were back on the road and the plane was already loaded and engines on when we arrived. Doors closed and we were off into the clouds. Sandwiches and drinks were on pilot as we cruised, flying directly over my work as we went. The plane came to a stop where the fire car and airport security were waiting. Outside the police waited to escort us at full speed with lights and sirens to the hospital, we arrived and rushed the heart up to the Thorax department on the 7th floor. Scrubbed up and went in where another surgical team had prepared the patient for the heart, his chest was opened but his heart had not yet been removed. A vein had already been operated out of his right leg to be used for a bypass which was required because of a problem with the donated heart. Once we were in place, his heart was stopped and he was transferred onto a mechanical heart lung machine. His heart was clipped out and the task of sewing in the new heart began, at 10.28 am, the clamped was removed and blood again flowed into the coronary arteries. 2 hours later the final connection was made and the bypass was in place, he was weened off the heart lung machine and his new, now beating, heart was able to provide his body with the blood flow it needed. An exciting day for me, and hopefully even more for the recipient, it was quite an amazing experience to see the entire process, mind boggling really. I learned a huge amount for my project and got the input I was looking for. Now I will analyse the temperature data recorded along the way.

Getting upstairs - The MAGIC lift

My unwell father was suddenly unable to get upstairs in his own house, so we needed a lift but where to put it? Under the stairs of course!

First the beautifully hand crafted stairs were removed with a saw and taken to the workshop to be straightened up and repaired after the cutting. Hinges were attached and the soft adobe walls were scrapped back to allow them to freely lift.

A hydraulic pallet lift was purchased and installed, it just happened to fit perfectly under the stair opening. It had to be modified to work with an electric hydraulic pump in place of the original foot operated pump. This was not easy as little information was available about the inner workings of the system. A pump was ordered and work continued.

The stairs were reinstalled and a lift cage was built including switches to stop the hydraulics at the top and bottom.

A simple remotely operated power socket was used to control the pump and return valve. When the lift reached the top of bottom, these switches were reset by the switches in the cage.

Final touches of a door and cut out were added and there it was, a fully working magic lift. Watch the video to see how it really works. If you didn't know it was there, you'd never notice!

Wheelchair Recumbent Bike

The problem: My brother uses a wheelchair and just one leg. How can he bike AND have his wheelchair along with him?

The solution: A folding recumbent bike based on his wheelchair as the seat and the wheels as the front wheels for the recumbent bike. The design is quite unique as the bike can be converted back into a wheelchair in just a few seconds as you can see above. The additional challenges were that the brakes had to be integrated into the wheelchair wheels but remain in place once the wheelchair is removed. All operations must be possible with one hand including front and back braking as well as gear shifting and steering.

What I was doing while everyone else was out partying

At the tender age of 15, I decided it was time to tame the vast mud flats in front of our family home, and what better way to do this than to build a hovercraft of course!

My Dad suggested a model as I was quite into model boats at the time, I turned that idea down and went straight for the real thing. With not a clue about hovercrafts, but plenty of confidence that I could work that out, I set about on a 1.5 year mission to construct such a thing.

I ordered plans from Universal Hovercraft and set about acquiring the parts that I would need to make it happen. I was hugely supported by local companies who happily gave me huge discounts on high priced items. Support came from all directions, including my first ever trip in one—a year after construction began—from the legendary Rudy Heeman, since famous for building a ground effect vehicle from his hovercraft - see here.

Things were going really well until the failure of some support struts which went through the propellor at high speed and destroyed the back end. 6 weeks of hard work later and a lot of help from Pacific Hovercraft, and I was back in action.

After heading off to university in 2001, I didn't have much time to use or work on the hovercraft, so I decided to sell it in 2004. I have not heard anything about it since.