Raspberry Pi Fax Server Using Twilio

The weather here in the Midwest has been brutally cold and snowy, which has been preventing me from getting much work done on my woodworking project I mentioned a few weeks ago. I normally use my garage for cutting larger pieces of wood, but my garage has frequently been below freezing and often covered with salty sludge.

But I have at least finished one project: I needed to come up with a way for my wife’s new office to receive faxes even though she switched to Twilio SIP for phone. The solution I came up with uses a Raspberry Pi, custom Node.js code, and Twilio Programmable Fax for a (very) low-cost fax server that both receives incoming faxes and has a web interface for sending faxes.

The final result is available on github. Installation is a multi-step, manual process. And received faxes are stored in a Maildir format so that multiple computers can access the files through POP3 (which is probably not how everyone wants to retrieve received faxes). But the code is open-source and easy to modify, so it could be tweaked to meet your requirements if you need an inexpensive way to send and receive faxes without an actual fax machine connected to an old-school phone line.

Fax server web interface
Example web interface for sending a fax.

If you install it for yourself, let me know what you think!

Building Again

I finally have some free time again to spend on fun personal projects! I decided to try something a little more ambitious with woodworking, and I just bought all the wood I need.

Red oak plywood and boards.

The lumber yard pre-cut the larger pieces for me, so I could easily fit it all into my car. But since I was not sure of the exact final dimensions, I will still need to trim many of the pieces to an exact size before I can put anything together.

I have already started working this project, and I’m enjoying using my tools again! Stay tuned for updates on what I’m making!

Back to Making

I know, it’s been a while since I’ve been around here. In fact, it’s been a while since I’ve been able to spend any time making things at home. I have been busy with work, and that has prevented me from spending any time on the hobbies I love.

The biggest problem over the last six months has been my commute. Traveling an hour each way to work is bad enough. But it has also thrown off my sleeping schedule, so I feel tired when I actually find some free time. And if I’m tired, then I’m not motivated to do much.

Fortunately, that will change in the very near future. Within the next month, I plan on switching to a 100% remote work situation. The hours I’ll gain back each week will be great, plus I’ll actually be well-rested and motivated to start some new personal projects.

To get a small taste of my old maker hobby, I decided to browse Thingiverse for a 3D model to print. And I ended up printing this:

Click for full-size image.

This poseable model of the Robot Devil from Futurama was a lot of fun to print. And to make painting the eyes easier, I printed out this improvement from another Thingiverse member.

I look forward to having more time to make things on my own again. Although I enjoyed printing and putting together a pre-built model, I miss designing and building things from scratch.

Make a Dice Tray For Under $10!

Do your dice keep rolling off your table? You need a dice tray! Watch to see how you can make one for less than $10 of materials!

To make your own dice tray, you will need the following materials:

  • Quarter-inch by 6-inch hobby board, at least 18 inches long (I bought a poplar board at my local big box store)
  • Peel and stick felt lining (I bought a sheet at my local hobby store, but you can also buy a 10-pack from Amazon)
  • Glossy spray paint (I used black)

You’ll also need some tools:

  • A miter saw or other way to make simple, straight cuts
  • A router and a straight bit, to add a small grooves to the side pieces
  • Clamps to hold the tray together after gluing the pieces together

Let me know if you make your own!

Fixing My Garbage Can With 3D PRINTING

My garbage can has a design flaw — and I used 3D printing to fix it!

Watch as I model, print, and install spacers to the bottom of my garbage can to prevent it from tilting and scratching up my wall.

 

Finishing the Firefly 3D Printed Prop Pistol

Remember when I 3D printed the pistol from Firefly? I finally revisited that project and finished the 3D printed pieces, turning the plastic-looking parts into a fully assembled, realistic looking replica of Malcolm Reynold’s pistol!

Watch the video to learn how I transformed 3D printed parts into my first replica prop gun!

Sanding

I spent a lot of time on this project sanding the 3D parts smooth. I found the best way was to start with 80 grit sandpaper to get rid of all the print lines. Then I moved up to 180 grit to refine the finish. And finally, I moved to 240 grit or even 400 grit to really smooth out the surface. Continue reading “Finishing the Firefly 3D Printed Prop Pistol”

Should You Get a 3D Printer?

This is the last of my three-part series introducting 3D printers! Learn how other people are using 3D printers and whether you should buy one for yourself!

Building a Simple Teleprompter

Learn how I built this simple and inexpensive teleprompter from plywood, oak, and glass!

When I make YouTube videos, I spend a lot of time memorizing what I’m going to say, recording a lot of takes where I screw up what I’m going to say, and then even more time going through all those recordings to find the good takes.

So, to help cut down on the time it takes to make these videos, I built my very own teleprompter! Continue reading “Building a Simple Teleprompter”