My Pandemic Projects

On March 16th, 2020 my workplace started our first day of “remote operations” in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This was supported by New York State recommending that folks self-quarantine as long as possible. Like most folks, I leaned hard into my hobbies in an attempt to stay somewhat sane while trapped at home with my family. Here's what I created! These aren't listed in any particular order because honestly I don't know when I finished most of these…

Jen and I gave Max a resin 3d printer for Christmas. Really I gave it to myself! Max couldn't care less. Anyway, in honor of the pandemic toilet paper shortages I printed one of these for myself and my co-workers. I painted them all white but I used mine as a fidget toy for months so I've worn the paint off it.
I love Gaslands! Since I had lots of time I decided to dig into the pile of cars I bought to convert! The black car is pretty straight forward kit-bashing from my parts bin but the blue truck is special. I modeled the propane tank and the 2 dumpsters on the back. Along with the crew (in the dumpsters and in the driver's seat) I printed these on the 3d printer. I also used a hairspray technique (that I've never done before) to do the rusting on the body of the truck. Next time I'll use a more rust colored paint, rather than the red I used here. Still looks pretty cool on the table!
Continuing in the Gaslands theme. I decided to make new scatter terrain. The setup I was using at the time was real rocks along with construction insulation rock pillars. As seen here! The plan was to make terrain that was lighter and more durable. Following, loosely, a tutorial on Youtube I made a rocky tunnel and 6 or 7 outcroppings. The tunnel is actually 3 pieces so it can used in different ways and disassembles for easy travel. While not realistic per se it matches the vehicles pretty well!
The Canary! Some time ago I donated my old Raspberry Pi to work and set it up as a monitoring system for the generator. If I want to see if the generator is operational during a power outage I visit this page and the webserver tells me the up-status of the Canary. (The magic isn't actually the Canary. It's just plugged into a wall outlet powered by the generator. The webserver has a very short BASH script that checks to see if it's still powered up.) When our server room temperature monitoring system died, I decided to add to the Canary's duties. For $6 I added a temperature sensor to the Raspberry Pi. I then wrote a Python program to query the sensor once a minute. It then calculates the 5 minute average temperature in the room and alerts me via Slack and SMS if the room is too hot or too cold. The log is here if you want to see!
This is the first of my vinyl projects. I borrowed from Canton Free Library their Cricuit machine. For Christmas, I decided to give my mother a set of bellows to replace augment the old and heavy bellows. The old bellows were hand painted by my Aunt many years ago and I wanted to similarly decorate this one. Rather than do a clone of the old artwork I created new artwork incorporating and S for Sansone (like the old set) and a H for Henry. This was my first vinyl cut and of course I feel I could do better now but it was wrapped and gifted.
Due to the increased amount of internet traffic in the house I upgrade our old router to something a bit more robust. In the interest of keeping things clean and tidy I built this hanging networking center. It's really satisfying to have my messy network junk not so messy.
I love “pimping out” my board games. I love Bin'Fa but the pieces were very low budget. So this was a prime candidate! In this case, I modeled the mountains since I couldn't find any I liked. The General figures I created in Hero Forge. And the treasure chests I found on Thingiverse. I then 3d printed and painted them. Really improves the experience of the game!
OK! One of my Covid projects is the”Bathroom Occupancy Monitor”. The ground floor bathroom is part of the “mother-in-law” suite so the rest of the family generally goes to the bathroom upstairs. That’s fine. However, if I’m watching TV in the family room and decide I need to use the facilities I have to walk all the way upstairs only to discover there’s a teen in bathroom taking. their. own . sweet. time. So I walk down and back to my chair and try again later. ONLY to discover there’s a different teen in there already. I’m tired of walking up and down the stairs just to see if I can get into the bathroom. First world problem for sure. So I solved it in a first world way. I ordered 2 Micro:bit controllers. These microcontrollers are cool because they have LED screens, a compass and radio frequency (RF) transmitter and receivers built in. So in the first picture is the transmitter. When the door closes the Micro:bit senses the magnet on the door, lights a single LED and sends a radio signal. The second picture picture is the display. It senses the radio signal and puts an X on the screen. I programmed them myself (which sounds cooler than it is because the language these use is Scratch… so it’s drag and drop thing like Legos). I had to 3D print the green bracket to hold the door sensor device. I have no idea how long the batteries on these will last but there are rechargeable in there now. So there you go… I over engineered my way out of getting exercise climbing stairs!
I bought this “stash box” a while ago to hold The Duke and all its expansion and the stand alone Jarl. To further play with vinyl cutter I decided to label the box. I designed this label in Affinity Designer with a font I found on the internet and images from I'm very pleased with how it turned out. I need to do something with organization inside the box. Anybody have laser cutter they'd be willing to loan me for a while?
I started this project early in 2020. I pulled the image from and then created a 3d version in Tinkercad. I specifically ordered this translucent green resin for this project thinking it'd make a cool necklace for Jen. After many test prints in grey resin, this final one is great! I'd hoped to make it fully transparent but never managed to get to that point using several different techniques from the internet. Jen created the necklace part from spare parts we had kicking around.
Using the same image as the necklace (from I used the vinyl cutter to create this sticker for this container. Jen uses it to store jewelry.
  • Last modified: 05/13/2021 19:27
  • by chuck