Home Technology This Ring digital camera hack helps me maintain a detailed eye on my most harmful tech

This Ring digital camera hack helps me maintain a detailed eye on my most harmful tech

This Ring digital camera hack helps me maintain a detailed eye on my most harmful tech


David Gewirtz/ZDNET

In medication, the time period “off-label” is used when a health care provider prescribes a drug for a purpose or in a fashion not particularly supposed by the producer nor appoved by the FDA. When medical doctors prescribe one thing off-label, it is often as a result of they suppose the drug can be profitable in treating a situation that does not have already got a very good answer with a special drug.

Additionally: How I used ChatGPT and AI artwork instruments to launch my Etsy enterprise quick

I am not a health care provider, 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 supposed for this product, but it really works rather well.



Ring Stick Up Cam Battery

Battery-powered Ring digital camera that may be positioned nearly anyplace.

Watching over a laser and a spinning wheel of demise

The off-label downside I wished to unravel was watching my Glowforge laser cutter and Inventables X-Carve CNC whereas they have been working to verify nothing unhealthy was occurring. 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 hundreds of revolutions per minute.

Additionally: Fingers-on: Constructing the following era X-Carve CNC (construct log)

So, yeah. In a single room I’ve a robot-controlled laser beam that may slice by way of most supplies, and in one other, I’ve a robot-controlled spinning wheel of demise. My spouse is so very tolerant. I’m so very fortunate.

Usually, the most effective observe when utilizing both of those machines is to stick with them whereas they do their work. That method, if one thing goes mistaken, you possibly can see it occurring and shut the robotic down. Sadly, it is wildly disagreeable to be within the room with both of those machines. 

Regardless that I’ve a air flow fan that exhausts the Glowforge fumes proper outdoors, the small room the place it is positioned turns into full of fumes that persist lengthy after the chopping course of completes. 

And regardless that I’ve mud assortment with the CNC, there’s loads of very high-quality particulate matter despatched into the workshop air that I might relatively not inhale. Each machines are additionally insanely noisy, particularly with the add-on air flow fan.

Additionally: One of the best air sensible air purifiers you should purchase

Putting in a digital camera is the following neatest thing to being there. By means of a distant digital camera, I can watch these gadgets on both my telephone or laptop. If there’s a problem, I am only a room away.

Why the Stick Up Cam Battery

I considered 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 digital camera again after they despatched me one in all their Alexas to overview, and it was sitting on the overview shelf, ready to be put to work.

Additionally: Raspberry Pi will get picture and video capabilities with digital camera module

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 might probably watch a home for about six months on a single cost. The battery is straightforward to come out of the digital camera and connect with any micro-USB charger to offer it a fill-up. 

It additionally comes with the Ring app, which permits for stay viewing both in a desktop browser or on a telephone. Whereas I did not want many of the Ring ecosystem options (like movement detection and two-way audio), the essential performance and stable 1080p video high quality have been a win. Plus, setup was a quick five-minute job, which is a large win, particularly in comparison with what it could have taken to attach a webcam to a Raspberry Pi and set up a customized model of Linux.

Additionally: Amazon now has over 100 million Matter-enabled Echo gadgets

However there was one downside: the sector of view, particularly under the digital camera, wasn’t adequate to look at my harmful little robotic buddies. I wanted to mod the digital camera.

Designing a customized digital camera mount

I did a fast check with a chunk of cardboard and located that whereas growing the angle of the digital camera did assist, that slight angle did not assist practically sufficient.


Testing the digital camera at a slight angle.

David Gewirtz/ZDNET

To get the digital camera to see totally contained in the Glowforge and to see the mattress of the CNC, I wanted the digital camera tilted at 45 levels. Sadly, that a lot tilt resulted within the digital camera toppling over. So I wanted to make one thing to maintain it at 45 levels.

Additionally:  get into 3D printing with out breaking (too many) issues

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 digital camera 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).


Reduce-away view of mannequin design, with area for digital camera and counterweight.

David Gewirtz/ZDNET

The design has three foremost options. On the left is a tube, into which you slide the digital camera. On the precise is an oblong space the place you possibly can slide in a 1-2-3 block as a counterweight. In case you’re not acquainted with 1-2-3 blocks, they’re cheap instruments that measure one inch on one aspect, two inches on one other aspect, and three inches on the third aspect. They’re heavy precision metal and have loads of makes use of within the store and lab. I acquired two from Amazon for $18.


David Gewirtz/ZDNET

Here is what the ultimate mount appears to be like like after it got here off the 3D printer. 


Here is the mount itself. I added some rubber toes to it so it will not scratch the glass floor of the Glowforge.

David Gewirtz/ZDNET

The third characteristic of the design is a hook that lets me hold it up when it isn’t in use. It suits very properly on my pegboard.


David Gewirtz/ZDNET

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 answer works rather well. As you possibly can see, it sits properly on the nook of my Glowforge. As a result of the digital camera 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 digital camera so it does not intervene with the lid opening.


David Gewirtz/ZDNET

It does an ideal job monitoring the lower. Though you possibly can’t see the precise laser beam doing the chopping, here is a screencap of the Stick Up Cam’s video feed that was taken whereas the laser was burning the plastic materials. To make sure, if there’s ever a fireplace within the chamber, I will have the ability to see that — and act on it instantly.


David Gewirtz/ZDNET

I can see what’s occurring with out having to breathe within the noxious odor — and that is with a customized air flow fan venting to the skin. I can not think about how tough that is for laser customers who do not have outdoors air flow.

Additionally: 5 very helpful instruments and devices for higher 3D printing

The battery power is kind of good. After doing a 15-minute lower, the battery stage within the digital camera was nonetheless at 98%. This implies I can most likely do 20-50 initiatives on the laser cutter on one battery cost (though, in observe, I will most likely cost it up as soon as it drops under 50%).


Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET

As a result of this rig is moveable, I can put it on something I wish to monitor. Here is the unit sitting on my CNC.


David Gewirtz/ZDNET

So there you go. The Stick Up Cam Battery makes for an ideal monitoring digital camera, particularly when paired with an affordable weight and the 3D printed holder. If you wish to make one your self, you should purchase the digital camera 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 totally free. 3D printers aren’t very costly, so even when you do not have one, you would possibly take into account getting one for initiatives like this. Here is ZDNET’s checklist of cheap 3D printers you would possibly wish to take into account.

You possibly can comply with my day-to-day undertaking updates on social media. Make sure you comply with me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz, on Fb at Fb.com/DavidGewirtz, on Instagram at Instagram.com/DavidGewirtz, and on YouTube at YouTube.com/DavidGewirtzTV.


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