(From The Gallery of Gadgetry, Art and Craft), an ongoing collection of needy and fun items made by Chris Gray.

This album will develop over the next year. Photos will be selected from as many as over 200 devices and art works, and a few photos otherwise.

 

 

To 1996:


 

Bay Window Curtains. Made for a council flat I had and used since. An hour of stitching every night for a month.

 

 

Lamp design. Shaped to stand on a speaker. 

 

 

Book Rest. Relieved me of aches when reading on my sofa.

 

 

Ingredients Scales (from 1991). Hidden reed switch in the plank and the circuit sounds a tone when the weight applied pushes the top plank down.

 

 

Clock Surround #1. Paper, painted, on balsa and with bought cheap clock with alarm. There is an aerial below the fish.

 

 

'Bedroom Clock'. Shown in action in my video 'Interesting Clocks by Chris Gray'.  

 

 

Custom design for motorbike, a Honda CB125RSD. 2nd air horn compressor added a year later and 'Honda' hand painted on each side of the tank. It was treated roughly in garages at times and got more attention than bikes ten times its engine size. 

 

Oars for rubber dinghy. They use copper pipe section at the joins and work very well.

 

 

Signal Generator for electronics.

 

 

Clock Surround #2. Bought mechanism, stronger than 1st one. 

 

 

Floor layout design tool. Made while studying a building course.

 

 

Engine Stethescope. Not finished and wasn't needed.

 

 

'Dryer'. This evolved from the top timber piece and fan. Lamps, dimmer control, fan speed control, frame and shelf were all added later. Almost all timber used is from an old wardrobe. It has been used to dry fruit, gloves, boots, paint and others. Photo taken during painting. Still in use.

 

 

'Chris's Cup'. Lettering hand painted onto a cup, in response to working as a cleaner for 30 months and wanting the company to be creative and constructive rather than machine-like.

 

 

 

 

1997 to 2000:

 

 

3rd Clock (design on bought clock). 

 

 

Geophone. Piezo transducers weighted to respond to low frequencies, shrouded prods and amplifier. 

 

 

Motorbike Panniers, if the bike hadn't been stolen. 

 

 

PC Microphones and Amplifier, moulded plaster.

 

 

Tent Power Supply.

 

 

Oi! MKIII. A vibration sensing device drawing attention to a university dissertation.

 

 

Lightning Alarm. Responds to fast changes in light and triggers a warning.

 

 

CAD for Skeg. A primitive data logger which wasn't completed due to basics of the design being inadequate - static charges. Only top PCB shown, two lower ones were at least partly made, from stripboard and were full of logic chips and wiring.

 

 

Home Security Phone Dialler. This connects the phone switches and then a memory button, to dial that number. The sound in the room can be heard over the phone.

 

 

 

 

2001 to 2004:

 

Video Operator. Controlled two VCR units, recording, stopping and rewinding automatically. Could be controlled over a network. Sound was mixed from all external and all internal cameras.

 

 

Structural Temperatures program. Shows temperature gradient and dewpoint (condensation temperature) gradient through building compositions, custom.

 

 

Driving Instruction Aids, drawings. A set of drawings for quickly describing situations when I worked as a driving instructor. One is shown here. 

 

 

Wall and Pier design. A decelerating rotation of the slabs, mimicking the existing pier silhouette. There isn't a centre slab and the octagon had the be at 22.5 degrees rotation. 

 

 

Sealed Mortar Mixer for coloured or composite mixes of powder. Was used for the pier above.

 

 

Cobble Fire Surround. It uses the original metalwork and a hearth made from a stone slab. 

 

 

'Tower of Mog'. A multi-storey pet bed, registered design. 

 

 

Mains Controller. With PC program for controlling timings of electrical appliances but mainly lights. Sensing method was a tone over the house wiring, which was easy to sense from the Neutral lead.

 

 

Sauna. Plasterboard enclosure and lined with foil, with two fan heaters blowing hot air in. It wasn't sweaty, presumably because of the high air flow. 

 

 

Seat. This was for the sauna and then for a piano/keayboard.

 

 

Doorbell. Part of an automation system which includes a nine channel stereo differential amplifier. Each room is switchable, allowing audio to be played. When the doorbell button is pressed the audio is paused for communications between the system and external microphone, so the caller's voice is sent over the rooms instead. Also the switching integrates alarm clock sounds to interrupt the audio playing. Program screens and amplifier not shown, most aren't on this page.

 

 

High sleeper bed. A bought bed assembled in a different configuration and added to by most of the wood it uses. The ladder is formed with two of the three outer uprights. It has electrics for a lamp and for another underneath, and on the shelf is also a phone. 

 

 

Garage design.

 

 

US to UK car lights conversion, Pontiac Trans-Am, mid-Eightees. Included a circuit to control the lamps which needed replacing. The circuit controlled the pop-up motors and headlamps, from three miniature push-button switches used for radios etc.

 

 

Automation System, not completed due to technology advancing. Parallel and some serial, and I learned how to build ISA cards for PCs at this time, but they were phased out so I went on to begin a USB version. This one used audio systems, movement detectors and custom control of the lamps, continual video recording (via a PC), logging of movement detector events to then play back the video files, control of lights and some sockets.

 

 

Digiclock. Only a display of time and a number of alarms. The digits are decimal and have their binary composition below. Includes a link to a text-to-speech program for making alarm files.

 

 

Cuddly Leggy Lovelies. A calendar of spider photos I'd taken. 

 

 

Water Cooled Amplifier heatsink, design. Not made, only drawn for a nice picture.

 

 

 

 

2005 to...:  

 

 

Bin opening event alarm. To see who was opening my bin while it was out on the footpath before I got home. Fizzy drink cans were put in at times, leaving a sugary mess. It turned out to be an unemployed mothers group and their child mothers. It worked with the automation system at the time, sending a radio signal to the receiver, operating a VCR or PC recording. The camera faced out of a window and also caught a watch positioned to read off the time.

 

 

Doorbell extender. Transmitter operated by doorbell circuit, received clipped to a belt for working in garden etc.

 

 

Pop-up Lights Controller. For the Trans-Am stated above. The miniature switches were built onto an original switch housing. 

 

 

Chart Recorder replacement pen/magnitude circuit. Existing circuit was faulty, needed replacing.

 

 

Stamps Calculator. Knowing the value of postage required and the price of stamps, this program allows creation of correct postage amounts using between 0 and 9 1st class stamps, varying the number of 2nd class. Important that a letter wasn't covered with "2nd Class" which would be offensive. Awkward calculation for a person, easy for a PC. Online postage is the easiest way I find now. 

 

 

Nine Channel Stereo Amplifier. Using network cables, twisted internally to balance signals when working with the differential amplifiers. One speaker for each room, a single input from the PC line output, excellent sound quality with the cables routed near mains cables throughout.

 

 

1st In-Car Video Recording System. Made for a journey around the Irish coast. I'd used a camcorder on a tripod while recording the British main coast, prior to this. The VCR was adapted to record when the blue switch was pressed and stop when pressed back. This meant I had to take the VCR to Ireland, not buy one there. I forgot to tell the customs about it, and when I opened my bag to set it up I found a large dent in it! Bomb searching no doubt, but the circuitry was damaged, fuzzy starts to each recording clip.

 

 

Plant Waterer. Made for easy watering of small plants in pots on a balcony - easy to reach them and without hurting my back. Water turned on and off at the handle, no mess. It was fed by water in a suspended beer barrel.

 


Audio System for Automation. Capable of playing audio to different rooms simultaneously, sounding audio alarms to selected rooms (pausing the music), and playing doorbell audio from a microphone to select rooms (pausing alarms and music).

 

 

Concrete Speaker Enclosures. Includes microphones. Each has a complete ready-made amplifier encased behind the speaker, but this didn't work because of magnetic induction from the speaker coils. They need more packing than I used, and sound tinny. 

 

 

2nd In-Car Video System. Controller was built into the ash tray compartment of a hatchback car. A main electronics unit was sited below the dashboard area. A speaker and muting unit was centrally behind the front seats, and a laptop ran the system and recorded the video. Feedback and status are in speech (text to speech). It was very driver-friendly, I have it rigged up now for display purposes but have used it since selling that car. Once the laptop program was running, the driver could forget that and rely on the speech and large lit switches, and the 7 segment display. Available modes are shown by those lit switches for example from standby - Record, Adjust Photo Burst Rate, Single Photo (time spoken, when pressed). There is a page here showing the device and a YouTube video (among others here).

 

 

Dual Function Video Recording Program. This is the program for the above recorder, it also works as a continual video system for home security, recording in one-hour clips for a fortnight, then overwriting again. It has three voices and addresses the user by their name.

 

 

Video Operator. This has two modes - events and continual. It stays on a shelf and controls a VCR or cinema system recording, having learnt the signals from the handset for that device. Adjustable record and rewind times for continual mode. For events, the unit responds to radio signals from a transmitter (not shown on this page), recording immediately and then counting down from 1-9 minutes after the event has stopped, such as a signal from a movement detector.

 

 

Electronic Handkerchief. Up and Down buttons to select a number of flashes, for the user to remember important things (the modern way!). Non-volatile memory.