I'm a web and graphic designer with a special interest in Wordpress development. I'm splitting my time between Toronto firm work, and Niagara freelance - the best of both worlds.
To say I'm a man of many hats is an understatement. My friends and family will be the first to say there isn't much I can't do, and do well. Don't be surprised to find me writing about some offbeat or otherwise unexpected subjects.
Fonts come packaged in such a way that makes them easy to install. Simply double click to install, or drag and drop into the font manager of your choosing.
Except for when they’re not
Windows will spit out an error when trying to install from a selection of fonts one might find on their Mac. Something like:
"Cannot install Font Name.ttc - The file 'D://Font Name.ttc' does not appear to be a valid font."
This error stumped me for a few minutes, and through a few Google search results. With a bit of digging I found a tool called transfonter that unpacked my Mac fonts and made them work on my Windows machine:
This is not an official guide, and the following is offered as a free online article for entertainment purposes only. I accept no responsibility or liability for your actions after reading this text.
You can be seriously injured in almost any workshop
The glass studio can be a very dangerous place, but it doesn’t have to be. With proper respect and care, a lampworker can spend hundreds of hours behind their torch without incident or injury. To ensure such a positive track record, a few rules and guidelines must be adhered to at all times.
The most obvious risk to a lampworker is a burn. I am often asked, “isn’t it hot?” And the short answer is, “yes – very!” Our torches burn a flame many thousands of degrees (1980*c, 3590*f) in temperature. Incidentally, our workspaces, tools, and work can be very hot indeed. Some torches produce so much heat, that they require assistive cooling devices to prevent from overheating and melting themselves.
With all of the hot, dangerous things in our shop – it’s a miracle we aren’t burning ourselves at every turn. There are a few simple techniques to reduce the chances of being injured in the studio.
20 Helpful Safety Tips:
Assume it’s hot! First and foremost, always assume that anything in the studio that could be hot to the touch; is. Most items on your bench, and near to your workspace will absorb radiant heat as you work. This radiant heat can make your bench, tools, materials, and anything else within line-of-sight of your torch flame hot to the touch.
If you are unsure of whether or not something is hot, use the back of your hand to sense the radiant heat by placing it close but not touching the suspect item. A burn on the back of the hand will restrict work less than one to a fingertip or palm.
Never accept a piece of passed glass overhand! What this means is when someone passes you a piece of glass, always grab below their hand on the handle away from the perceived hot end.
Never catch falling glass! Let the piece fall to the floor or bench, and then pause. It may be necessary to stand back as to prevent the glass falling onto your foot. Grab your nearest pinching tool (tweezers) and use those to pick up the item. Do not panic, do not rush, and do not reflexively dive for the falling work piece.
A broken piece is better than a burned palm or sliced digit. There are lampworkers who can no longer practice due to injuries sustained from catching falling glass. This is a very serious risk!
Dress appropriately! Your clothing is your second layer of defense, should an accident happen. Your first line of defence is this safety training, use it well and you will not need your clothing to protect you from a burn. Do not dress as if planning on burning yourself.
Foremost, dress for comfort. Heat stroke and dehydration are very real risks while working behind a torch. Dress for the weather and the workload you will be undertaking. Working in 40* heat while wearing a full mylar suit is a surefire way to black out.
Proper attire can include:
Approved Safety Glasses
Close toed shoes
Loose fitting pants that fit over the cuff of your footwear
Short sleeves, or a long sleeved shirt with tight fitting cuffs
Hair ties for long hair
Additional safety equipment like insulating gloves, vambraces, or hoods are worn in specific situations – though not required for most flame work.
Grab tools by their handle! Graphite, and brass tools can absorb a lot of radiant heat as well as hold onto heat absorbed through contact for a long time. Accidentally grabbing a tool by the working end is a fast way to a burn.
Do not force the glass! Glass if fragile, and using too much force can and will break glass in your hand. Be patient and allow for the heat base to soak into the glass before trying to make it move.
Melt stringers and spikes back into balls! If you pull a thin thread of glass, or create a spike – take another second to melt the string back down into a ball. Thin threads and spikes create a puncture hazard, and can even break further when inside the body.
Bubbles should melt – not pop! If you are blowing a bubble, stop before it becomes paper thin. When thin, the glass is weak and can pop under the pressure of your lungs. This wafer thin glass is light, and floats on the air. It’s colloquially known as bubble trash, and is an unnecessary respiratory hazard. If you blow your glass too thin, put it back into the flame to gather before popping the bubble within the flame.
P before O or up you go! When lighting your torch, begin by opening your gas valve slightly and igniting a pilot flame. Only when this pilot flame is burning, should you introduce oxygen. Doing so in the opposite order can create explosive conditions and is very dangerous. The obverse is true as well: when shutting off your torch, shut off your oxygen before your gas.
A handy acronym for remembering the on/off order is P.O.O.P. – Propane, Oxygen, Oxygen, Propane
Install Flashback Arrestors! Flashback arrestors prevent a dangerous situation wherein the flame moves backwards into the torch and through the gas lines creating an explosion within the lines.
Ventilate your workspace! Our flames and the fumes from melting glass can be harmful in both the long and short term. Ensure adequate air exchange to prevent exposure to these harmful gasses.
Keep tanks outside! Unused tanks of compressed gas should be stored away from open flame, and out of doors in an easily accessed area. In the event of fire, it poses a great risk to firefighters and anyone within the building to have compressed explosive gas cylinders inside.
Keep your workspace clear of flammable or combustible materials! Lighters, aerosol cans, wood, and other flammable materials should be kept well away from your torch and work to avoid the risk of an unintended fire.
Keep a fire extinguisher nearby! I hope this needs no further explanation. While glass doesn’t burn, anything flammable it touches while workable can.
Anneal your work! Leaving stress trapped in glass is a great way to let it break randomly. Annealing releases trapped stress and allows for glass to be used safely.
Do not put glass inside of someone else!* Jewelry, sex toys, and other objects intended for insertion into the human body must be properly annealed and checked with a polariscope! If you do not have access to a kiln, and a polariscope – DO NOT MAKE SEX TOYS OR ANY OBJECT FOR INSERTION INTO A HUMAN!
Stretch! Take it easy! This is exercise and involves many repetitive motions. Warm up before you begin, and take many breaks along the way. It’s easy to injure yourself, or spur along a strain related injury by lampworking. Listen to your body, and take care of yourself.
On inhaling: glass blowers often puff air into a hollow vessel to expand its walls. It’s also possible to contract the walls of the vessel in much the same way. Suction should only be applied in situations where the risk of pulling hot vapor or fumes into your mouth is negligible.
On treating a burn: Stop lampworking immediately. Glass burns can be terrible, but are often less severe than a similar sized burn from metal or another material. Glass being a poor insulator can save you from a more serious burn if quick action is taken.
Treat burn wounds quickly as directed by a healthcare professional.
Keep a first aid kit on hand. Cuts, burns, scrapes, and other injuries can almost all be addressed by the contents of a standard first aid kit. Keep one on hand in case of emergency.
There are more rules and guidelines that can help you in the shop, but I’ve just not thought of them yet – if I’ve missed something obvious to you, leave a comment and help me improve this article!
Melting solid glass into liquid, and balancing it long enough for it to solidify again – maybe puffing in some air to inflate the bubble – this is lampworking.
When you think of glass blowing, you likely think of grand furnaces with workers dipping steel handles into large vats of molten glass before puffing, shaping, and working the molten glob into a form or vessel. That’s called furnace work, or hot shop – as I’m sure you could guess – the environment is more than warm!
While working on a recent customer project, I hit a roadblock using the Motopress WordPress plugin. I couldn’t get the widget, Getwid block, or shortcode to dump anything into the content section of my page. The solution was simple, though not obvious without reading their docs.
I tried a few different things, including posting a ticket to Motopress support.
In the end, the solution was simple and two-fold.
A little bit of a suggestion first: use the Gutenberg/Getwid block, as it has a sidebar interface and is simple to use. Otherwise, use the shortcode [mphb_availability_calendar] – though the shortcode requires a few additional parameters to do anything!
See the example below for an example that outputs a 2 month calendar, of availability for the Accommodation Type ID 123:
First: Ensure you are referencing the Accommodation Type ID in the options panel, found in the sidebar. The ID corresponds to one of the accomodation types that you have set up in the Motopress Accomodations settings. You can find the ID by opening the specific Accomodation Type and looking in the URL bar to find the ID.
You can find the ID of your specific Accommodation Type in the URL found in the address bar of your browser while editing that Accommodation Type i.e. 457 as seen in the URL below:
This step may or may not be necessary for you. Due to the simplicity of my customers booking arrangements, we needed to check another setting in the backend in order to show availability on the calendar.
If you have added the Accommodation Type ID, and in some cases ticked the Skip Search Results option on, you should see the calendar of availability output on your page.
If for some reason, it’s still not working – or your calendar is empty, you may need to generate accommodations or complete other steps of Motopress Setup.
Problem: Puffco Peak Does Not Charge via Micro USB Port
Our Puffco came to us defective, from a friend: it wouldn’t charge. My first task was a disassembly, which you can read about here. I determined the charging circuit in my puffco was defective, and set out to solve the problem.
I reached out on Reddit after my teardown video to see if anyone had more information. Reddit user MAXVapor710 posted this:
With that information, I knew I didn’t have the right tools to do a surface mount rework of the chip.
I opted for bypassing the internal charger altogether in favour of an external third party charger. There are a few choices here, and this is one of those times where you get what you pay for.
I learned from MaxVapor that this evaluation board is the correct replacement for this hack. It uses the MP2615 and has large pads to solder to, and charges the Puffco battery the exact same way that the factory circuit that has died used to.
Option 1 (Good) – DC Wall Wart aka Dumb Charger
Do you have a bin of abandoned wall adapters in a closet somewhere? Perhaps under the stairs or in the garage? Go find it and look for an AC to DC converter rated at 7.5 volts and 1 amp. Slightly higher voltage and amperage may work, but I wanted to err on the side of caution.
One of these multi-voltage adapters should work, but again mind the specs – I don’t know what might happen if the rated amperage is too high.
If either the voltage or amperage is too high, you can damage your device and the batteries – potentially leading to a fire and a new paperweight instead of a fixed Peak. Please be careful, and only proceed if you are confident in your decision.
I only suggest this solution if for some reason you already have a AC-DC adapter of the correct specifications, or cannot acquire a smart charger.
Option 2 (Better)- Smart Charger
With a smart charger, the risk of overcharging or damaging your batteries goes down a lot. These chargers measure the voltage of the battery, adjusting the amount of energy delivered to both maximize the lifetime of the battery and the safety when doing so.
I use a fancy charger like the one above, but this one from Amazon should work too. You will need to make an adapter to go from the charger to the barrel connector if the charger doesn’t come with one.
This is different for every charger and whichever connector you choose to add.
A representative of Max vapor is the user who reached out on Reddit with the information about which component failed. I have no other affiliation, or business experience with them – but I recommend MaxVapor based on my limited interactions so far.
The 3D Model
Based on measurements I made, this model was designed over the course of a few days. It can still be improved upon, and I will happily share my working files with anyone who requests. Grab the 3D print files from Thingiverse:
The thingiverse page has two .stl files, the second file being the bottom cap for the base.
There are a few areas that require support for printing, but your printer will be different than mine – so adjust accordingly. I printed using PLA and have not had any issues with my base in the months I’ve used it.
The screw posts in the model ended up weak in my print, and eventually snapped off. This wasn’t an issue, as the tight fit of the base cover plate allows it to snap in place easily.
Step 1: Disassembly
You will probably want to watch my first video on how to get into the Puffco body.
Step 2: Add Wires to the Positive & Negative Pads of the Main Board
Once inside your Puffco vape, it’s a simple process of adding a positive and negative wire onto the pads found on the main board. This is done using solder and a soldering iron to make a strong electrical connection.
The red wire, coming from the battery is positive (+) and the black wire is negative (-). It’s important that you lay the wires flat against the circuit board to solder them, otherwise they will be in the way when you attempt to close the case back up.
Step 3: Reassemble your Peak with Wires Sticking out the Bottom
With the wires attached to the main board, you can close the plastic back up and route the wires down through the rectangular opening that remains. Do not reinstall the fancy metal plate on the bottom of your Puffco. Store it in a safe place, you don’t need it if you’re using my .stl files for the 3D printed base.
Step 4: Attach the 3D Printed Base Using Double Sided Tape
Using some double sided foam sticky tape, you can affix the 3D printed base to the Puffco and feed the wires into the housing.
Make sure you use double sided tape that has a nice puffy foam core. My .stl files are not tight enough tolerance to get a great stick with thin double sided tape.
Use heat shrink around any soldered connections to prevent dangerous short-circuit conditions.
Step 6: Test Your Fixed Puffco Peak
With the DC jack connected and installed, you can test your work to see if your battery still charges. I tested mine by soldering the pack directly to the board, and plugging it in to charge – only proceeding once I verified the fix would work.
This faulty Puffco Peak vaporizer came into my possession within the last few weeks, via a friend of mine. I was told, “It doesn’t charge – it’s broken.”
These devices are simple, and with that in mind; there shouldn’t be too many ways for the device to fail. I just needed to get inside and start probing around with my multimeter.
The teardown video is up on Youtube now:
Step by Step Instructions: How to Open a Puffco Peak
Let’s assume you don’t need a hand in figuring out how to remove the glass from your puffco. We’re starting off with a standard Puffco Peak base – glass removed.
Step 1: Remove the Atomizer & Surrounding Components
Begin the disassembly process by removing the atomizer, bucket, and surrounding components. This can be removed as one whole piece, or disassembled and removed piece by piece. If you have done this before it makes sense, otherwise: read on.
The first piece to be removed is a silicone and ceramic ring. It will lift off, and may require a twisting motion or a small amount of heat if it feels stuck.
Next is the bucket. It should lift right out. If it feels stuck, apply a small amount of heat and try again. Do not force this out. The bucket rests directly atop the heating element – extract can glue it in place – and tugging on the element can damage it’s fragile connecting wires.
Unscrew the metal housing for the heater by turning it counter clockwise several times to disengage the threads. Lift the entire component out of the silicone well.
Step 2: Pry the Shiny Metal Piece Upwards
Place your fingers above the USB port where the shiny material and silicone meet and pry upwards on the shiny metal/plastic piece that surrounds the Puffco Peak. This piece is glued in place, and requires a small amount of force to lift. Be careful and go slow. You may use a guitar pick or some other soft plastic prying tool to start the job if your fingers can’t get in there.
Step 3: Remove the Silicone Boot
Using your thumbs, press outwards from the center on the base of the Puffco Peak. The silicone will lift out from under the shiny metal base of the Puffco. Work your way around, breaking the seal and releasing the silicone from the bottom of the Puffco. Once the silicone boot is loose the the bottom, pry upwards from below the USB port and remove the silicone sort of like a sock, where the atomizer connection is the toe.
Note: In my video, I perform step 5 before step 4 – and it really doesn’t matter in the end, but I feel it’s easier in this order.
Use your fingers or a pry tool to peel the metal disc off of the bottom of the plastic Puffco Peak base. It may help to warm this area with a hair dryer or gently using a heat gun. The adhesive is fairly strong, and so some force is required to remove this piece.
Step 5: Unscrew 3 Security Screws
Use a screwdriver set like this one from Amazon to remove the three screws holding the plastic assembly together. One of these screws is below a security sticker, revealing silver ‘VOID’ markings when removed. Remove all three screws, and your Puffco will almost fall apart in your hands.
Step 6: Open and Inspect
That’s it, your Puffco Peak is open before you. In my case – I did some poking around with a multimeter and determined that my battery was not putting out a high enough voltage. I still have some detective work to do to determine why my Puffco Peak doesn’t charge.
What’s Wrong with My Puffco Peak?
The Puffco lights up, and indicates it’s taking a charge when plugged in to USB. When removed however, the battery is completely dead and the Puffco shows no signs of life. Checking the voltage supplied to the battery while plugged into USB showed only 4.5v – too low to charge a 7.4v battery pack – unless there were a buck converter somewhere on the battery pack I have yet to find.
I suspect that there is an onboard boost converter that steps USB voltage up to above 7v, and it is defective. I assume that this is the case, because when I apply 7.5v to the battery connection leads – the battery charges and holds its charge. It’s only on USB power that the device fails to charge.
Next steps are to poke around a bit more, and see if rescuing this battery back above it’s rated voltage is enough to keep it working. If that isn’t the case, I’ll be adding an external battery pack to make up for the lack of internal charge circuit.
Ideally, finding out which component has failed; and swapping it for a working one is best – but my electronics skills are limited. If anyone has input, questions or ideas – I would love to hear them in the comments below or on the Youtube video linked above.
While it may be old news, late is better than never. Prior to the release of the new Mad Max: Fury Road release, my sister – Elysse Melo – and I were tasked with transforming cars off the streets of Toronto into Mad Max inspired dusty works of art.
I designed and made the graphics for set decor, installing and accenting the set with custom crafted props. The whole day would have been a flop had it not been for a few clever decisions in our planning stages.
The intent originally was to fill squirt bottles with vegetable oil, and lightly coat vehicles so that SFX dust could be sprinkled onto the vehicles. We settled on pressurized cans of canola oil cooking spray. Pre-filled and consistent, the cooking spray cans were ideal for fast and controlled application.
Sprinkling the dust was wasteful and left an uneven layer which was difficult to work with. Throwing the paper-dust at the oil-covered car worked better still, and so an idea was born.
Drawing from my knowledge and background working with air brushes, I designed and built a custom dust cannon. Our first prototype was a simple water bottle with a dip straw and air inlet in it’s side. Slow to fill, and easily jammed – it proved the concept, paving the way for version two.
The new dust cannon was not only a huge improvement in speed, but also efficiency as well. With a multi-valve setup and shop compressor – my tool was ready to make mini dust storms on queue. It looks pretty cool too.
Here’s the SFX dust cannon, made of ABS and copper:
To further speed the project along, I partnered with DWS Creative Imaging to craft a set of stencils and other tools to speed up the dust-painting process. With my direction, we were able to exceed all expectations – decoration far more cars than previously thought possible.
“I use gmail for Enterprise, and I have the option to create quick e-mail aliases in my admin account. I love this feature, and was curious about it’s availability in standard, tradition gmail accounts. Turns out, you don’t actually have to create or setup anything for an alias. Just enter an email address in this format:
Any e-mail sent to gmailusername+Notes@gmail.com is actually being sent to email@example.com.
This becomes super-useful when you then create a simple filter in your gMail inbox to move any message sent to gmailusername+Notes@gmail.com to a specific folder, likely called Notes. Or just apply a specific label to these messages, whatever you prefer.
Here is the official Google article – https://support.google.com/mail/answer/12096?hl=en
Just a quick entry until I get the chance to do a full writeup – this is the tool I’m building. Basically a search engine that uses a popular social media website to get the most relevant fresh content. In conjunction with another API we gather and serve images all in an infinite scrolling gallery. This is all custom tailored through an intuitive user interface.
After contacting the developer of the plugin, the whitespace issue must have occurred during file transfer or during some other mysterious occurrence. The whitespace is not in the original development code, and so not only are my line numbers all wrong, but this shouldn’t be an issue for anyone else.
While working with the plugin My Calendar by Joe Dolson I encountered a small issue. Whenever I tried to view my calendar as a list, the event list would become hidden on page load.
I had to identify the offending script that was hiding my events on me. Using Chrome’s debugger I was able to identify the offending script as “../wp-content/plugins/my-calendar/js/mc-list.js” which included:
Which directs all children that aren’t the date to be hidden. The issue arises when WPautoP does it’s thing and wraps the date in a <p> paragraph tag. While the .event-date will remain visible, it’s parent <p> becomes hidden and in turn hides .event-date.
The solution is to modify “../wp-content/plugins/my-calendar/my-calendar-output.php” at line 2563 to remove the unnecessary line breaks.
I’m going to get in contact with the dev as this is the second time I’ve run into issues because of whitespace in the source code.