Did you know that if things go just wrong enough, you can create blue canola oil? I didn’t either until the other day when I decided to make some fries to go with some burgers I made.
It was going to be a delicious meal. Some big Idaho potatoes were into thick fries (the best kind when you make them at home). I was making sliders with ground beef and just a little bit of sausage. I had fresh buns, salad greens, Vidalia onions, and spicy mustard all ready to go. The fries were timed just right with the patties so that everything would be ready to go at the exact same time. It was going to be perfect. I grabbed a metal colander to scoop out the fries (I couldn’t find a slotted spatula), dipped it in to grab my deep fried potato prize, but suddenly my cooking oil turned a bright turquoise.
I scooped out the fries and laid them to cool on a paper plate. The color change had gotten to the fries. They were contaminated. I wasn’t sure what caused this horrific turn of events, but something told me that these were inedible.
Unless it comes with the suffix -berry, I’m hesitant to trust blue food.
I was stymied. What could create blue canola oil? I knew it had to be linked to the metal strainer, but how? I always thought the strainer was steel, had it magically turned into copper? Even if it did have copper in it, how did that suddenly dissolve into canola oil?
And then the solution hit me:
Remember a few posts ago when I was going over my Model M mods? You know, this one. Remember how I dyed my keycaps blue? Yeah…. about that…
It seems that I somehow mixed in my crafting colander with my food-safe cookware. The iDye Poly I used for that project was formulated to dye polymers. Most polymers a craft oriented person would want to color are hydrophobic in nature. It follows that a very hydrophobic liquid (canola oil) would dissolve the dye quite readily.
Since this little event, I have separated my metal strainers in a more obvious manner. Accidentally using lab ware for human consumption is no joke. Now the real question: what do I do with all this blue canola oil?
After I got hooked by the allure of 3D CAD, I decided to practice my skills by making a 3D modeled keyboard cap. I started working on something using OpenSCAD, but it proved difficult to get the sort of organic curves I wanted. I wanted to get some experience using a GUI based-program, rather than just scripting. Instead, I decided to try a program called Fusion360. This program is a free variant of Autodesk for personal and low-impact use. It sadly does not have a Linux build, but I have had luck with it on my Windows box (it has the more powerful gaming GPU’s on it anyway).
I based my design on the classic caps you would get on retro units, like the Commodore. A modern variant is available from Signature Plastics (PMK) known as the SA profile. At the time I originally made this model (April 2015), there weren’t any of these models freely available. This should be similar to the SA keycap dimensions but not quite the same.
The Real World Versions of my 3D Modeled Keyboard Cap
I decided to have these 3D printed from a commercial vendor, rather than trying to print it on a home printer. I wanted to get some better detail.
The height is somewhere between Signature Plastic’s DSA and SA row 3 profiles. You can compare the shape and size in the picture below of my 3D modeled keyboard cap to a DSA (left, in black) and an SA (right, red) profile cap:
I’m glad I did this test run. The stem shrank in a way I didn’t expect, and the cruciform is a bit too big. It slips on and off the stems too easily. This is an easily fixable problem.
I made a new version with a tighter cruciform. I added some text on this one. Nothing like a little American Psycho quote to brighten up a keyboard. I ended up giving this to a colleague as a gift.
If you would like to use this file, feel free to do so. Check it out:
This is a 3D render, play around with it!
And here is a download link.
I decided that I should do my own IBM Model M mod. In early March of 2015, I bought a Model M from a Geekhack user on the cheap.
The keyboard was bolt modded, had a wonky membrane, and no cable. I did a few mods to it.
I dyed the caps aqua colored utilizing Jacquard iDye. I boiled water and used an old metal colander to submerge the caps. I oriented the caps in the same direction in the bath, and that gave them a nice gradient.
Since few new computers come with AT-DIN connectors any more, for this IBM Model M Mod, I wanted to add a USB. The original connector of this board was a hard-wired DIN connection. I removed the old connector and added a Teensy for USB capabilities. Desoldering the wires was easy enough, but I actually went through a few Teensys in the process. I had a Teensy 2.0, but while soldering it I damaged one of the resistors/capacitors and the socket. I did some work on it with the Teensy 2.0+, but I am going to use that for another project. I bought a Teensy LC, but the ARM processor was giving me problems. So I finally went with another 2.0.
I’m pretty proud of the usb connector. I took the old DIN socket and ripped it all to hell with my Dremel. I made little slots so the teensy board would slide in and super glued it to that spot. I filled in the open area with epoxy clay so it looks fairly clean.
I also desoldered all of the old ugly green LEDS and resistors on the breakout board. I put in their place some bright blue LEDs and appropriate resistors for them. Now everything looks bright and color coordinated.
The Artisan Keys
I have a BS compatible Brobot from [Ctrl]Alt as the escape key. This picture is nice because it really shows off the color gradient on the other caps.
I also have a pair of glorious multi-shot Krap bonus caps on the pause and scroll lock buttons.
Now I have a very attractive IBM Model M Mod.