Just a few months back I made my own adjustable mic stand with a shock mount to hold my Rock Band mic for podcasting.
Mostly I’ve been using a sock to cover the mic to stop both air and pops from being recorded. However, I am sick of trying to find clean small socks around the house when I need one. Solution? A quick and cheap way to make a pop filter. Multiple sites around the net recommend using a needlework hoop with some nylon. After that, mounting is completely up to you.
My parts include:
1x 4″ Needlepoint Hoop – $1.49
1x Sheet of Black Felt – $0.29
1x Metal Coathanger – FREE
I chose to use felt over nylon straight up for the fact that I did not want to purchase ladies nylons at the store. Also, felt is cheaper, stiffer, stretches just as easily and is less see through. I really feel that nylon is not exactly the right fabric for a DIY approach. Then again I could be wrong.
After placing the felt in the hoop and tightening it up, the felt was already smoothed out. I knowingly purchased felt due to the fact that it does have quite a bit of give. To finish step one, I cut away excess felt. Step two is harder as it involves cutting metal. I basically broke the cheap wire cutters my grandfather left behind and I had to bend the wire to complete the break. I also bent the wire with two pliers to break it at the other bend. Both cuts were made at the bends, but I suggest giving yourself a little more to play with.
I looped one end of the wire so that my thumb nut would cinch down on it. With the wire sticking straight out and threatening to poke my eye out, I place the loop’s screw over it and began to position it. I made one bend to stop it from sliding back and then looped the wire over and behind the filter. At this point, I had some excess wire and a slight problem. There was no way to stop the filter from being pushed in the mic either by humans or adjustments. So I bent the remaining wire so that it would contact the frame of the filter in two places, holding it away from the mic.
I’ve yet to paint the hoop black. I would suggest doing this first as not to clog the felt. I might go back and color mine with magic marker. Tests with Skype show a drastic reduction with air noises and I will test further with a podcast I am guesting on tonight.
The final pictures are below, showing both the support wire and the final look.
For a while now, I’ve been wanting to use an adjustable arm to build a mic stand. It wasn’t until Lifehacker posted a build from Ikea Hackers that I decided to go full bore. The clincher was the fact that Lifehacker also posted a link to Instructables on how to build a suspension mount. The mounting is the reason I had not built one sooner, I just couldn’t figure out what to use to hold my Rock Band microphone in place.
After some quick perusing at a local Goodwill, I was able to find a nice lamp for $5 ready for me to modify. It’s not quite the same as what the article shows. There are no springs holding this in place, only clamps at the joints to limit movement. However the price was right and it was coming home with me. Once in the car I started to pull the lamp off the mounting to see what I would need to put the shockmount in place. The lamp had a basic plastic shaft clamped in place.
My next stop was my local hardware store, after all I would need to at least get a pvc coupler. I chose a basic white 3″ pvc coupler for $1.69. Moving towards the Hillman section (Nuts and bolts for those with different suppliers, but Hillman is the best!) I set about trying to find a piece of threaded rod that was about the same size as the plastic shaft. Bingo, 5/16″ threaded rod at 2″ in length is a perfect fit. Added to this I purchased: 1 wing nut, 1 stop nut, 1 washer, and 1 lock washer. My idea was to simply drill a hole in the pvc, put a stop nut on the inside along with a washer and then use a lock washer and wing nut on the outside to hold it in place.
Following the instructable, I cut four notches across the top and bottom of the pvc, and then following my own steps, I drilled a hold slightly off to the back of the pvc in between where two notches would be. This way I could account for the weight of the microphone and for the path of the binders. After the notches were set, I raided my fiancee’s drawer to steal 4 black hair binders and put them in place to make sure the depth of the notches was enough to hold them in place. Success! Nobody likes the white color of pvc, so I took the piece outside (now free of burrs and sitckers) and coated it with a nice black coat of H20 spray paint. (I find the product best for spraying on plastics.) This was probably the longest part of the build as the paint takes about an hour until it can be handled.
Now for the results, the arm looks and works great. I’ve placed it on a cheap riser I use for my monitors, and it seems to hold in place nicely. I’m able to lower it and pull it out far enough to be able to sit comfortably while talking into the mic. Now all I need is a mic cover to dampen breathing noises (I was told an athletic sock works perfectly and have tested it during the 20 Sides of Nerd podcast I was on.) so I might have to make something that fits in with the arm, both space wise and color wise.
So what do you think? This is a sub $8 adjustable mic stand fit for podcasters everywhere. Also, it just happens to be Ikea free, but if you need to; Ikea has an adjustable lamp for $8 and Walmart Online has one for $14. Best of all, I no longer need to lean really far in speak into the mic while it is taped to my desk lamp!
LEDs are a part of most geek’s life, in one way or another. It could be changing the color of the LEDs in a Xbox 360′s ring of light, dressing up your PC with LED case lights & LED fans or that neat LED binary watch you just bought. And what true geek wouldn’t love bragging about the all LED lighting in his (or her) humble abode?
LED lights have a few things going for them besides the “cool” factor. They greatly beat the efficiency of incandescent lights and meet or exceed the efficiency of fluorescent lights. They have a long lifetime and, unlike fluorescent lights, LEDs contain no mercury. LED bulbs are available to replace the bulbs in your standard incandescent/fluorescent light fixtures or your can go with a custom LED light fixture. Here is a look at a few of the available options.
This is why Ben Heck is still the coolest geek with whom I would like to hang out.
Behold, the fully functional, real-time, see-through Portal shirt:
Not only is this an incredibly creative endeavor, the execution is great as well. With a LCD screen strapped to the front, a camera in the back, and a battery pack tucked in his pocket, he is sure to win any Halloween contest he might enter. Looking at the pictures, it seems as though the camera could stand to be zoomed out just a touch, but who are we to complain?
If pictures aren’t enough, you can see a video of the build at Element-14.com.
A RF dummy load is quite useful when working on transmitters. It allows you to test and adjust the transmitter without an antenna, eliminating interference to other radios on your test frequency. It also presents your transmitter with a proper 50 Ω load so as to not cause any damage to its final RF amplifier stage.
A recent project required me to modify and align twelve UHF transmitters. The transmitters had a 25 watt output and the alignment session on each would be short. Rather than buy a dummy load for this project, I decided to build my own.
The central part of the dummy load is a resistor (or resistors) with a total resistance of 50 Ω and a wattage equal to or greater than your transmitter. The resistors also must be non-inductive which eliminates all the common wire-wound power resistors. Acceptable types of resistors include carbon composition and thick film.