May 24, 2019

Travel Tip: Save google map routes to IOS Notes in 3 steps!

Having walking or train/bus directions on your iPhone or iPad is almost essential while traveling to a place you've never been. At any time, you can pull up directions to a location and you're on your way.

Sometimes you know the starting point and destination in advance. For example, you'll be traveling from the train station to a hotel. With a tiny bit of effort before you arrive, you can store a link to a google maps route in IOS Notes. On arrival, just open Notes and click the link... BOOM! Instant directions.

Get Directions

On your i-device, open google maps and type in the destination or starting point, and click on the blue "Directions" box. Then, enter the other location.

If you want to see turn-by-turn directions, click on "Steps".


Click on the "hamburger" (3 dots in upper right corner); then, click on "Share directions".

Store in Notes

Choose Notes as the share.

Optionally enter some descriptive text so you can easily find the directions in Notes again. Also, when you open your Notes to search for the entry, there will be a google maps graphic next to the Note. 

When you reach your travel destination, simply open your saved directions Note and click on the link. 

Quick and easy!

Mar 4, 2019

Garage Door Monitor

Check your garage door from the office, kitchen... or anywhere!


There are lots of garage door monitor projects on and other Maker sites. Many are single-purpose solutions. I wanted a project that would be extensible, to build on the skills learned for future IOT projects. In fact, I already had a project in mind, a general notification platform called the Kinetic Courier. That project could include a garage door monitor as an example notification trigger.

Also, I wanted a platform that was well-documented and well-supported. Adafruit's cloud service for Makers,, fit the requirements. In addition, I was motivated by personal need. My nice neighbors had, once too often, called late at night to remind me the garage door was open ;-)

This is largely inspired by and based on the Adafruit IFTTT Door Detector project by Todd Treece for Adafruit, and other work as mentioned on reddit , with a few code tweaks and add-ons. 

Where my project is different:

  • GarageDoorMon doesn't use a battery, it's powered by a 5V adapter; you'll need a long wire from the door and place the Feather Huzzah near a mains power source
  •  Logic is reversed, a '1' is sent to when the garage door is open, '0' when closed(SHUT)
  • Added: raspberry pi zero W runs a system service to monitor the door status, shows on 4-digit display
  • IFTTT is not required! Of course, you can use it if you like, in addition or instead. 
  • The pi zero W uses MQTT subscribe directly from feed, via python cllient code.

  • Overview
    An Adafruit Feather Huzzah checks whether the garage door is open/shut via a magnetic switch, then sends the current status to an feed. Inside the house, a Raspberry Pi Zero W with a 4 digit alpha display subscribes to the feed via MQTT and displays the current status. You can also get a notification on your phone from IFTTT.


    There are two versions:
    Option 1:
    About $20 USD, build an Adafruit Huzzah status checker and send Notifications to your phone with IFTTT (free, sign-up required)
    Option 2:
    About $40 USD (includes Option 1 cost), build Option 1, and add an LED status display with a Raspberry Pi Zero W 


    Easy. About 2-3 hours, depending on Options.



    • sign up for an account, if you don't have one; create a feed for the garage door
    • download the GarageDoorMonitor.ino from github
    • solder up the Huzzah and personalize/upload the sketch GarageDoorMonitor.ino
    • wire up your garage door with a magnetic switch and test that the feed is working
    • set up IFTTT to monitor the feed
    • download latest Raspbian and install on pi zero W
    • on the pi zero W, git clone GarageDoorMon and install other software (especially Adafruit Python LED Backpack)

    Build It!

    Option 1
    Use the Adafruit article at Using IFTTT with Adafruit.IO to Make an IOT Door Detector up through the Adafruit IO Setup section.  Via links, this will walk you through signing up for and getting the project going. Create a feed called GarageDoor.

    Huzzah with External Resistor Network attached

    Magnetic Switch Sensor installed on Garage Rails
    The Adafruit project is mounted on an interior door frame and is battery powered. Mine has the sensor on the garage door frame with long wires from the switch to position the Huzzah near a 5V wall power source. Mount the sensor on the garage door when the door is open, with the sensor aligned to its magnet

    How this works!
    The magnetic switch/sensor is NO ("Normally Open") when away from the magnet. When the magnet is close enough, the switch will be "closed". The Adafruit Door Detector post expects an open door to be a rare event. The Adafruit Arduino code does no notification whatsoever if the door is closed!

    Adafruit's Code
    The following talks about how the code works as written in the article. My code is different, and it reverses the logic so LOW (connect to GND/closed switch) is sent to the Huzzah pin for an open door!

    How does the Huzzah detect an open or closed door? Magic!

    Well, the magic of resistance. The magnetic switch is wired to GND and a pin that is "pulled up" by a significant resistance (10K Ohm) to a +V. If the switch is closed (in the presence of a magnet), there's little to NO resistance on the GND side, but high resistance on the pin side. Using the path of least resistance, this registers as a "LOW" condition and no notification. 

    But! If the door opens, and the sensor is pulled away from the magnet, the resistance on the GND side can be thought of as virtually "infinite". Since the resistance on the pin side (tied to +V) is something, but less than infinite, this registers as a "HIGH" condition. The code for door_open (and only door_open) runs and a feed to takes place. 

    See the great Adafruit tutorial on pullup/down resistors for more info.

    External pullup resistor wiring, image: Adafruit

    There was a problem on my build - kept getting floating values even though a pullup resistor was set in code. I used an external pullup resistor network of 10K Ohm and 100 Ohm resistors on a protoboard - fixed that!

    The Adafruit code also uses a little trick to run periodically. All of the functional code is in the void setup routine - the main loop has no code! With wiring to the RST pin on the Huzzah,  the setup routine resets based on the value (in seconds) of a SLEEP_LENGTH variable (3 seconds default). The setup routine runs each time reset is run - no need for loop code!

    My Code - differences from Adafruit 

    This Garage Monitor:

    • runs from wall power instead of battery - no battery charge checking code as in the Adafruit version
    • runs continuously from void loop, doesn't reset at timed intervals
    • sends a new feed value when the "state" (either OPEN/SHUT) changes
    You should monitor your feed rate if you have an Adafruit free account - capped at max 10 feeds, 30 feeds a minute. The feed rate is much lower when you only send a feed on state change. 

    Why did I change the door logic in the code? Simple - the switch would be closer to the power source when open, less wire was needed to hook it up. 

    Use the Arduino Code section from the article for set-up and loading the Huzzah, but load the Garage_Door_Monitor.ino sketch from github, with its required config.h file. Don't forget! Change the config.h file for your username and key and supply your wifi SSID and password.

    Position the magnet and the sensor carefully on the garage door. You want the magnet and sensor to be aligned horizontally about 6mm apart when triggered. Place the sensor on a fixed part of the door, and the magnet on the moving door itself. Be careful that there are no obstructions when you operate the door that will dislodge the magnet. Set up your Huzzah per the instructions in the Adafruit article Wiring Section:

  • Pin 13 to one side of door sensor
  • GND to opposite side of door sensor

  • I soldered female jumper wires to the long wires. To connect to the Huzzah, use male-to-female jumpers - female to Huzzah, male to long wires. T
    est it by operating the door and monitoring your feeds from a web page

    When the Huzzah and are working together, follow the instructions to set up IFTTT to The Adafruit article sends an email message. The images below show how you can send a notification to your phone:
    IF Service

    Choose "Any New Data" Trigger

    Choose "GarageDoor" feed

    Finalize by clicking "Create Trigger" button

    Choose Notification Service

    Choose "Send a notification from the IFTTT app"

    And, click "Create Action".

    Option 2
    Step 1: Raspbian Stretch Lite
    • Download Debian Stretch Lite
    • Install to micro sd card. This is a good set of instructions.
    • Two files need to be added to the /boot directory on the new sd image card.
    On Windows, create an empty file called ssh and a file named wpa_supplicant.conf with the contents shown (second box) below
    For Linux/Mac:

     sudo touch ssh  
     sudo nano wpa_supplicant.conf  

    And for Windows/Linux/Mac, enter and save the following, changing ssid and psk to your router's ssid and password:

     ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev  
     ssid="Your network SSID"  
     psk="Your WPA/WPA2 security key"  
    After getting Raspbian configured, run headless (no monitor/keyboard/mouse) - insert the SD card into your pi and power up. Allow a couple of minutes for the pi to fully start up. If you are running Windows, download the putty terminal emulator to connect to the pi with SSH. You should be able to find the IP address from your router's web page. And, to SSH in from a Mac/Linux terminal:
    ssh "" -l pi
    Where "" = your pi's IP address (without quotes). The default password is raspberry. Be sure to change it on first login. You should also configure other settings, via:
    sudo raspi-config
    • Network Options/Hostname (I named my host GarageMon)
    • Localisation Options
    • Advanced Options - Expand Filesystem 
    After completing the config, reboot. When you sign back in, update packages and set up git:

     sudo apt-get update  
     sudo apt-get upgrade # This step takes a long time!  
     sudo apt-get install git-core  
     git clone
    Cloning this github repository will create a new directory under /home/pi/GarageDoorMon. This GarageDoorMon directory contains all the assets needed for this project, including setup scripts and code.

    sudo shutdown -h now
    To prepare for Step 2.

    Step 2: Display and System Service
    Solder the 4-digit AlphaNumeric display per the instructions on Adafruit. Adafruit has a wiring diagram here.

    While powered off, install the wires for the display:

    • Connect display + (power) to Raspberry Pi 3.3V or 5V power (red wire). 5V is brighter but if you have other devices on the I2C bus its better to go with 3.3V
    • Connect display - (ground) to Raspberry Pi ground (black wire).
    • Connect display D (data/SDA) to Raspberry Pi SDA (orange wire).
    • Connect display C (clock/SCL) to Raspberry Pi SCL (purple wire).
    • If there's a Vi2c or IO pin, connect that to 3.3V as well

    From a terminal connected to the raspberry pi zero W, run the following:

  • Follow the Adafruit instructions for Usage to install software for the 14 segment display - scroll down a bit to find the sample script ( to test the display under 14 Segment Alphanumeric Display
  • git clone
  • cd ~/GarageDoorMon
  • modify for your username and key; run it with python3 and it should display STRT
  • chmod +x
  • sudo cp garage_mon_service.txt  /etc/systemd/system/gmon.service
  • sudo chmod 644 /etc/systemd/system/gmon.service 
  • sudo systemctl enable gmon

  • The display will initially show STRT until there is a change in the data feed. After that, with a slight delay, it should display the current state - SHUT/OPEN.

    Feb 26, 2019

    Butterfly Pin

    This is the baby brother of the Neopixel Butterfly Brooch on and thingiverse.

    Smaller, cheaper, easier to assemble - better in every way! 

    The magic is in the 3D printed case and the right components. And that was a journey. This project started out differently and took some twists and turns. 

    Cost: Less than $20 USD, depending on what tools you have on hand
    LilyPad Battery Holder: Sparkfun, $1.95
    Slow Fade RGB LED: Adafruit, 10-Pack, $4.95
    Magnetic Badge Holders: Amazon, 10-Pack, $7.99

    3D Printer
    Soldering Iron
    Hot Glue Gun

    Effort: Easy!
    3D Printing, about 2.5 hours
    Assembly: solder two joints, glue insert into case, glue battery holder into cover - about 30-45 minutes

    STL files on thingiverse

    Originally, I wanted to make an LED "butterfly" bracelet, with either a round case for a main back-lit butterfly image, or individual links that lit up. And not just light up - actually DO something, even if just fading in and out. NeoPixels were my first thought. NeoPixels draw a lot of current, so a coin cell to power it is not a good choice. My naive thought was to have NeoPixels and either an Adafruit Gemma/Trinket with a small LiPo and charger in the case. Um... no. That's a lot of components in a small space, trying to fit 10 lbs in a 5 lbs sack. If I could fit all that into a "wrist wearable" case, the case would be huge - too tall, and too wide. Then, would still have to design a bracelet for it. 

    How about individual links that look like butterflies? That would be a design nightmare! I'd have to figure out how to put NeoPixels in each link and route wires around. And, there would still be the problem of power and charging and.... see comments above about "a lot of components". I may yet do something like that... just don't know.

    So, what could I do? 

    • Use a round case and make a pin, instead of a bracelet - an object worn on clothing can be a little larger than something on your wrist
    • I could "break the rules" and use a single NeoPixel powered by a coin cell (CR2032) and a dead-bug wired ATTINY85; would probably(?) be OK... -ish [I actually tried this, see photo below]
    • OR... I could KISS and just use an Adafruit Slow-Fade RGB 5MM LED, no MCU required as there would be for a NeoPixel

    Prototype: ATTINY85 with single NeoPixel on LilyPad Battery Switch

    Ended up with pin and slow-fade RGB LED. This was a good choice because it could run from a CR2032 battery, with an estimated 10 hours (or more) of battery life. The NeoPixel did have a height advantage (shorter/straight-on viewing angle) vs. the slow-fade LED. At 5mm diameter, the LED was wider and taller than I liked and, to keep the height of the case to a minimum, I'd have to mount it on its side on a Lilypad Battery Switch. LEDs have an optimal "angle of view" - I didn't know if turning the LED on its side would diminish its perceived light too much. Doing a prototype convinced me it would work just fine.

    I already had a drawing of a butterfly that I could scale to an appropriate size. To diffuse the light properly, print a raised butterfly on White PLA. The design I eventually used has three parts:
    1. A case with a cut-out around the butterfly. That allowed printing of a case in an opaque color to enhance the contrast on the butterfly image
    2. An insert (into the cut-out) on White PLA to host the butterfly
    3. A cover/lid that snaps on to the case, holds the battery switch 
    The LED would shine, diffused, through the white PLA into the wings of the butterfly. 

    Insert and Case

    I painted the outline of the butterfly with black acrylic; didn't even use a brush, just dabbed paint on with a toothpick.

    To make it easy to replace the coin cell battery, I  used a snap-on lid/cover that would hold the battery switch. The instructions for how to design Circular Snap-fit Cases are in this video from Noe Ruiz @Adafruit, highly recommended!

    Making a mount for the battery holder was more of a challenge than I had counted on - hidden "gotcha's". First, I designed screw mounts on the inside cover to fit through unused holes on the battery holder. Test fit showed the battery holder components blocked the mounts. Next, try screw-through holes on the cover. Nope! Ugly and unstable, because I could only use two of the four holes on the battery holder - the other two were used for their intended purpose, as power connections to the LED.

    Finally, I decide on curved arcs as mount points that I could glue the battery holder onto. There was a little "surprise" when I tried those out. The Lilypad battery holders had tiny tabs on two sides, relics of the manufacturing process. I had to design-in minuscule recesses to allow for the tabs, about 7mm W x 1mm H.  

    Detail of Battery Holder - Tab Shown

    Lesson learned (I hope!): Clearances, clearances, clearances!

    To attach the pin to clothing, I added small, round magnets to the cover. These are in two parts, 1) goes on the object to be worn, fixed with foam tape; and 2) the magnets themselves. I cobbled up a holder for the magnets (two required for stability) and 3D printed it. Makes it quick and easy to attach. 

    Battery Holder glued to cover

    • Print the 3D parts. If you want an overall "glow" effect on the case AND the insert, print both pieces in white PLA. For more contrast, print the insert in white and the case in a dark color. Just the butterfly will light up. 
    • Solder the LED flat against the battery holder on the side that says "Lilypad" in script - just two solder points, + for long LED leg, - for the short one. Bend/shape the LED so it covers all but the "L" in Lilypad - this positions the LED for best back-lighting on the butterfly. Test to make sure it works.
    • Insert the battery holder into the mounts, aligning the tabs on the holder with the small mount recesses. These tabs aren't snap-fits, they just sort of "rest" in the cut-outs. If you press down too hard, the holder will slip down past the mounts! 
    • Align the battery holder: make sure the tiny switch on the holder is aligned through the hole on the top of the cover.
    • With hot glue, glue the battery holder to the mounts. Don't add too much glue, or that will increase the height of the cover and it the cover won't fit correctly
    • Position the butterfly in the case cut-out. It's not a snap-fit, just loosely aligned with some edges showing. Glue the insert into the inside of the case with hot glue. 
    • Align the tabs on the top of the case with the recesses in the cover and slowly press down until the cover snaps into place.
    • Attach magnets/receiver to the cover and hot glue magnets into the 3D printed holder. The holder will take a 12mm neodymium magnet, if you don't use the magnets I did.
    Done! You'll need a small pointed object, like a toothpick or pointed tweezers, to flip the switch on and off. An unfolded paper clip works great.

    Jan 28, 2019

    Custom Stars and Hearts Ornament

    Customize this Ornament!

    Create a custom ornament for any occasion: baby's first Christmas, wedding, graduation, job promotion, big wedding anniversary - whatever you want to celebrate!

    This model was inspired by the work of user 3d-decoratie on thingiverse. I brazenly "borrowed" the hearts and stars elements.

    While making personalized ornaments for nieces and nephew, it occurred to me I could make this design easy to customize. In Fusion 360 (F360) , position the sketches that contain editable text near to the end of the timeline. Right after the sketches would be the extrude features, which wouldn't need changing. You'd only have to change two text fields, and generate STL files. Easy!

    The fixed elements of the ornament use these F360 tools:
    • Circle and Rectangle
    • Splines
    • Lines
    • Pipe
    • Mirror
    • Scale
    • Move
    • Polygon
    Text and date are sketch/text extruded.

    Following describes what's in the video.

    These background elements will be extruded at 2mm -

    • Circumference of ornament
    • Ornament hanger
    • Text Frame for name or message
    • Date Frame
    These features will be extruded at 3mm, to stand higher than the background -
    • Decorative features - stars and hearts
    • Text/Date
    Extrude/scale/move are used frequently to size and align the decorative elements.

    • Ornament Boundary: 85mm center circle; offset 2mm
    • Hanger: Use fixed point splines to create a curve for the hanger and sketch/mirror it
      • Draw center circle for a hole to hang the ornament
    • Text Frame: Draw a rectangle in the center of the ornament
    • Use Construction Lines to align features
    • Five-pointed star: connect the vertices of a 5-sided polygon
    • Date Frame: 
      • Use spline/pipe to create outside scroll work
      • Add a rectangle between the splines
      • Add sketch/text and extrude
    The following video details the steps. I completely re-drew the ornament from the beginning using Fusion 360, so it won't exactly match the download on thingiverse.

    Dec 23, 2018

    MiniZ: Tiny Streaming Radio Based on Classic Zenith "Cube"


    This post originally appeared in a different, shorter form on TL;DR: go to the hackster post.

    The Maker’s Journey
    On hackster, you get a little bit of “why” with a lot of “how” - a focus on building. Here we’ll see more “why” things turned out the way they did: the thinking, experimentation, and design goals of the project. Call this “The Maker’s Journey”, a peek inside the Maker’s mind.

    I had wanted to make an internet streaming radio for a long time. I made two in 2014 with the Day & Night Sampler and the Back in Black Boombox. These were simple mpd players. I wasn’t satisfied. Makers never are, really. Everything is a prototype.

    What I really wanted was a replacement for my aging Logitech Squeezebox Boom. It streams internet radio, Pandora, plays podcasts, local music and, with a great plug-in, displays the weather. I love that device, but knew it only survived by the generous support of the Open Source Community. It could fail at any time. I wanted to make something like it, that I could control and customize to my liking. Hopefully, I’d grant it a “second life”, if the Squeezebox ever broke.

    And, I was thinking something...retro! Like a 1930’s radio, with a needle pointer that tuned to a “frequency” (radio station or playlist) on a radio dial. Also, I wanted an “art” aspect to the radio - something that made you think about “User Interfaces” - tuning knobs vs. capacitive touch. 

    Was this even possible? Emulation of a radio dial on a screen, with rotary encoders as tuning/volume knobs? Did a lot of google searches, starting with search terms like “dial software” and sometimes only displaying images of dials, then visiting the source pages for the images. Eventually, I found people had made various dial displays with pi3d software.

    I downloaded the pi3d software and gave it a try. It’s wonderful. Beautiful, immersive 3D landscapes, limited by your imagination. The pi3d community is hugely supportive, tooI studied the examples, trying to learn what made things work. It was new and different. Z-Axis? In a “2D” graphic… Wow! Mind officially blown. Well, first thing to do is make some art.

    Creating the Graphics

    I started with creating a basic image of a Zenith radio tuning dial. My go-to drawing tool is CorelDraw, just by historical accident. Any good vector drawing program, including the free and powerful Inkscape, GIMP or the feature-rich Adobe Illustrator, is capable of making detailed graphics. First get an image of the thing you want and import it into your drawing program. You usually need at least these tools: polygon, circle, rectangle, b-spline, splitter/”virtual segment delete” tool, color fill, and layers.

    • Find a graphic image you like - free, NO copyright. Don’t steal!
    • Import the image
    • Trace with a line, b-spline or similar tool
      • Zoom in to a high resolution to capture all the fiddly bits 
      • Doesn’t have to be an exact copy - just close enough that, when you zoom out, it looks pretty good
    A thing I really struggled with was how to show a “Magic Eye” tuner. This was popular in the 1930’s-1940’s - a vacuum tube that indicated radio signal strength. The signal was tuned when the tube made a complete green circle. I was stuck, couldn’t think how to do this. And I really wanted to do thisSo, I admitted defeat and reached out to the forums. Paddyg, a demi-god of pi3d, replied to me with the conceptual kick I needed. Summed up in a sketch I did, based on paddyg’s reply:

    Magic Eye Tuner Animation
    There’s a base drawing of a circle that is half-green (top) and half “blurred” grey (bottom). Two half-circles (“chords”), also green the same shade as the top, are overlaid with pi3d (higher in the Z axis, 1 being higher than 2, etc.) on the base drawing. These rotate in opposite directions from each other, to indicate tuning/signal strength. These will cover more and more of the grey bottom as the signal strength increases, turning the eye more and more green. The chords may expose some of the top parts of the base, so that’s why the top half of the base drawing is green.

    Base of Magic Eye

    Left and Right “Chords” of Magic Eye Tuner

    Tuning into a Favorite
    So, I had drawn a radio dial, a Magic Eye tuner and also a dial pointer/needle. How to get all these to work together?
    That was a struggle to figure out, but may seem obvious after you read the solution. Read the Egg of Columbus.

    The chords in the Magic Eye turn based on input from a rotary encoder. Frequencies on the image of a radio dial are at fixed locations on a circle. I wrote a quick python script to turn the radio pointer and display the circle degrees of where a given Frequency, say 200M, was located (55 degrees). Then, I could map the circle degrees of that Frequency to a python dict of Favorites (radio/Pandora stations, or playlists). When the rotary encoder turns to a Frequency (say, 55 degrees/200M in our example) that  matches a Favorite in a dict lookup, the Favorite plays.

    The pointer needle and rotary encoders start at known degrees of a circle by default. This can be 0 degrees or any position you’d like to start at on the dial - doesn't matter. Since Frequency locations are known, and the pi3d python program keeps track of the rotary encoder position, the program can tell if it is approaching or moving away from a known Favorite’s mapped location on the dial. Pi3d can then rotate the chords toward full vertical (no grey showing) to indicate a fully-tuned station, or towards full horizontal (grey bottom fully exposed) for an untuned frequency.

    Why the pi Zero W, why not a pi 3? Cost. I wanted to keep costs under $100 USD. A pi 3 would have been $25 USD more.
    But, isn’t the pi Zero W under-powered for some graphical applications? Well...maybe. But, not for pi3d software. Pi3d uses OpenGL routines to work its magic. These are run in the pi Zero W’s Videocore 4 GPU, the same chip used in the Raspberry pi 3. Memory split for graphics has to be increased to at least 128MB for pi3d. Programs running under pi3d run quite will under the remaining system memory of 384MB.

    I did hit a limit on memory usage, though. I wanted to show weather conditions in addition to a radio dial, clock and Now Playing screen. There was a large image for each of about 10 weather conditions, in addition to all the other images the program was loading. And these images were being swapped in and out frequently. Too much, it just hung after awhile.

    Much after the build and hackster post, I built an Art Deco Clock and Weather Display and “may” have solved my memory problem. On the miniz, there were separate drawings which also included a graphic image of the weather condition. For the Art Deco Clock, that changed to a single base drawing, overlaid with a “sprite” (smaller image) of the needed weather condition. Didn’t go back and test it on the miniz, though!
    One early attempt was laser-cut plywood loosely based on a Zenith cube radio, only with two speakers instead of one. I mounted a 7 inch Raspberry Pi Touch Screen on it, had a round cut-out for a Zenith radio dial. I even added a cut-out for the “Magic Eye” tuner that would also be emulated on the display screen, in addition to the radio dial.

    Early Prototype with Magic Eye Tuner
    I wanted to build a good-sized table radio. My wife had other ideas. “You’ve made too many big things that take up too much space. Can’t you build something small?”

    Design constraint 1 - WAF/PAF (Wife/Partner Acceptance Factor).

    About this time, June 2017, I bought the cheap-but-good-enough Monoprice Mini Select 3D printer on a recommendation from my friend John. John and I are like idea curators for each other. Before, with my TechShop San Francisco membership, I made enclosures from acrylics or plywood on a laser cutter, or wood projects with a ShopBot CNC Milling machine. The MP (Monoprice) Select Mini gave me a new platform for Making.

    I started off without a plan, just seeing what I could do with the MP Mini Select. I made some small models, very scaled-down so they could print quickly. The goal was to see a thing in my hand, so I could get a better sense of it. I do a lot of concept sketches on paper napkins to start me off. But, you don’t fully understand a thing until you hold it, see it’s use of space.

    I modeled in Fusion 360, which had a steeper learning curve than the simple 1-2-3-D I had dabbled in. Fusion 360 is feature-rich and modal: the function/context menu you are in dictates how gestures/mouse clicks work. The gestures/mouse clicks may work one way in a given function, then another way in a different function. It’s kind of a memory workout.To learn it, you have to use it. So, I read tutorials and watched a lot of youtube videos. I imitated what was presented, and tried other things I thought I might need, many times. Many, many times. Until I felt comfortable with Fusion 360.

    The first object I modeled was a radio tuning knob. It came out OK, so that gave me some confidence that what I was going to attempt could work.

    First Print! Zenith Radio Knob
    I researched quite a few old radios. Many, like "Cathedral" radios, were very cool looking, but could be hard to print and assemble when scaled up and couldn’t easily fit in all the components: speaker, piTFT display, raspberry pi.

    Test Print of a “Walton’s” Style Radio
    Finally, I settled on the classic Zenith "Cube" 5R216 model. I wasn't trying to faithfully replicate the 5R216. I just wanted something that would suggest the look and feel of it.
    Zenith_Cube_5R216.jpgZenith 5R216 Cube
    The Zenith Cube was also a nice form factor for the components. The piTFT display could be placed at the front with a raspberry pi zero W mounted on it, and it would still have room for a side-firing speaker. The rotary encoders would just barely fit under the piTFT. Not much free space, but possible to fit everything in.
    Plus - the Cube shape would be straightforward to design and print. Or, so I thought.

    Alas, after all that work, the Magic Eye was a casualty. There wasn’t enough room for the Magic Eye Tuner - wire routing for the rotary encoders took up space over the bottom of the piTFT display. However, developing the Magic Eye helped me understand the capabilities of pi3d - so it was a good thing!

    Skill Level

    Advanced - 3D printing, soldering, code installs.

    There's a significant amount of soldering to this project, some a little challenging. The real work begins when assembling the components into the 3D printed case. The case is less than 5 inches/120mm square (if you don't scale the 3D print up). If you have large hands you may have a struggle. If you have a larger build-platform 3D printer, I strongly recommend you scale up the box and face - but you'll have to keep the other dimensions the same.
    Around $100 USD
    Hardware components

    • Adafruit rotary encoder,       On/Off/Volume and Screen Selection,        ×2
    • Adafruit mono i2s amplifier,     Gimme some tunes...,,    ×1
    • GRS 3FR-4 Full Range 3" Speaker Driver 4 Ohm,        Surprising bass and sound for such a small speaker,      ×1
    • BamTack Dark Brown PLA,      Cheap 'n Good!,      ×1
    • 22AWG wire (generic) - various colors,       Wire Adafruit Raspberry Pi Bonnet jumper,s      ×1
    • M2.5 standoffs/nuts/screws - nylon (generic),       Mounts for PI TFT and Raspberry PI Zero W,         4 Standoffs for TFT; 2 for Raspberry PI; 4 screws for TFT; 2 nuts for RPi    ×6
    • Speaker: Steel 4/40 Screws .375 inch long, plus nuts - 4 screws 4 nuts, I used brass "acorn nuts" for that old-time look. I just like 'em! ,     ×4
    • LEFT Angle Micro USB Connector,            To get around the tight fit of the mounted RPi; connect to power,           ×1
    • Adafruit Raspberry Pi Perma-Proto Bonne,t                Wire it up and connect to the pi zero W,    ×1
    • Breadboard (generic)           Breadboard (generic)               Test components as you finish a build step         ×1
    • Adafruit Product 1979 - Raspberry Pi Stacking Headers              Use with perma-proto pi bonnet             ×1
    • Adafruit Product 598 - Female Header       For easy connection to the installed rotary encoders     ×1
    • Adafruit piTFT Plus 3.5 inch Display Product 2441             Touchscreen not used, but need a 3.5 inch display            ×1

    Software apps and online services
    • Raspbian Stretch - Debian 9                Yay! Linux!
    • pi3d - 3D python graphics library       Powers the custom radio-style dial and shows the other screens
    • Logitech Media Server - free, see software config               This is the local music server
    • Squeezelite - free, see software config               This is the music client/player
    • pyLMS               Talks with Logitech Media Server/SqueezeLite to control the user interface
    Hand tools and fabrication machines
    • Soldering iron (generic)   Soldering iron (generic)
    • 3D Printer                                             I used the cheap Monoprice Mini Select, build volume 120mmx120mmx120mm
    • Glue Gun or epoxy, or superglue - glue the case together
    • Optional: XTC-3D Epoxy/Resin       Looks nice - if done correctly!
    • Blue Tack Mounting Putty                  Needed if using custom radio knobs.
    • Neodymium Magnet                            Use for mounting screws with speaker. Usually available at local hardware store, cheaper than Amazon
    Build Time
    2 days, not counting 3D print. 3D print done in two main pieces, 6.5 hours and 11.5 hours, along with 2x 1 hour prints.
    This project would not have been possible without the contributions and support of the Open Source/Maker Community.
    When you're finished with this project, you'll have a working internet streaming radio that's powered by the popular Logitech Media Server(LMS). The client for LMS, SqueezeLite, is installed on the same Raspberry Pi, making a complete stand-alone music system. You'll be able to tune in 5 (or many more, with some minor code tweaks) of your favorite Pandora channels, internet radio stations, or playlists, using the tuning knob. You can also use a supplied web page to control the music, or use IOS/Android Apps. The PI TFT display will simulate a radio dial that works with the tuning knob. The tuning knob will also let you select different screens: an art deco clock, or cover art for Now Playing. A tune button press will toggle pause/play, cycle through display screens and restart the SqueezLite player. The other knob will turn the device on and off, and control volume.

    If you want to use Pandora, you must have a paid account.
    How it Works
    The pi3d graphical software draws the radio dial and needle, as well as an art deco clock and Now Playing art. When the tune knob turns the needle, its location (based on degrees of a circle) is looked up in a dictionary. The pylms software is a python wrapper for LMS commands. If a Favorite is in the dictionary at a pre-mapped location, pylms sends a play request to Logitech Media Server (LMS). LMS then sends a request to the SqueezeLite player to play the Favorite.
    The tuning knob is also a push button. A short press toggles pause/play through pylms. A long press triggers a screen change to the clock or Now Playing art, or back to the radio dial. Pi3d displays the clock. The Now Playing art and track title is passed from LMS to pi3d to draw. Turning the volume knob up/down sends a request through pyLMS. The volume knob has a push button, too. It can trigger a safe shutdown/power-on/reset. See the Operations section below for more details.
    Once a Favorite was tuned, how to actually tell SqueezePlay to play it, control the volume and so forth? There is a CLI available for this, and also commands can be sent with HTML and either of those would work. But they both seemed...verbose, cumbersome. I’d use ‘em if I had to.

    Some google searches turned up pyLMS. This seemed a bit more elegant. At least, it looked a more “object oriented”. Plus, the mainline of the python script was less cluttered.  Whatever! I liked it better.

    About pi3d:
    If you haven't seen this powerful  software in action, check out the intro on YouTube. The miniz project uses only a trivial amount of its capabilities. Pi3d can draw detailed, immersive, moving 3D landscapes. And, because it uses the Raspberry Pi GPU, it even works on the PI zero.
    Test the hardware/software modules while building to make sure everything is working properly, Here's the workflow:
    • Download/configure/test the required software
    • Solder the components and test. Back to software. Repeat as needed.
    • Print the 3D parts. Post-process to taste
    • Test the completed hardware before final assembly into the case
    • Assemble hardware in the 3D case
    • Finally - great joy listening to radio station K-YOU (W-YOU East of the Mississippi)
    Step 1: Raspbian Stretch Lite
    • Download Debian Stretch Lite
    • Install to micro sd card. This is a good set of instructions.
    • Two files need to be added to the /boot directory on the new sd image card.
    On Windows, create an empty file called ssh and a file named wpa_supplicant.conf with the contents shown (second box) below
    For Linux/Mac:
     sudo touch ssh  
     sudo nano wpa_supplicant.conf  

    And for Windows/Linux/Mac, enter and save the following, changing ssid and psk to your router's ssid and password:
     ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev  
     ssid="Your network SSID"  
     psk="Your WPA/WPA2 security key"  
    After getting Raspbian configured, run headless (no monitor/keyboard/mouse) - insert the SD card into your pi and power up. Allow a couple of minutes for the pi to fully start up. If you are running Windows, download the putty terminal emulator to connect to the pi with SSH. You should be able to find the IP address from your router's web page. And, to SSH in from a Mac/Linux terminal:
    ssh "" -l pi
    Where "" = your pi's IP address (without quotes). The default password is raspberry. Be sure to change it on first login. You should also configure other settings, as gerrelt recommends, via:
    sudo raspi-config
    • Network Options/Hostname (I named my host miniz)
    • Localisation Options
    • Advanced Options - Expand Filesystem and Memory Split
    • For Memory Split, change the value to 128 (needed for pi3d, later)
    After completing the config, reboot. When you sign back in, update packages and set up git:
     sudo apt-get update  
     sudo apt-get upgrade # This step takes a long time!  
     sudo apt-get install git-core  
     git clone  
    Cloning this github repository will create a new directory under /home/pi/miniz. This miniz directory contains all the assets needed for this project, including setup scripts and documents.
    Step 2: Prepare Initial Hardware
    Solder the raspberry pi stacking header to the pi zero. This will connect the mono amp and speakers, via a breadboard, to the pi for sound installation testing. Be careful of orientation. The pi Zero header pins will be inserted into the back of the piTFT. So, all the pins on the pi are upside-down and backwards! This is confusing and can cause errors hooking things up.
    This diagram should help. Turn the pi so the back of the pi is facing up, with the large silk-screen of the raspberry facing you:
    Insert the stacking headers so the female headers are pointed up, facing you. Fasten the headers down with blue painter's tape or blue tack. Make sure they are fully inserted and 90 degrees to the board. Turn the pi over to solder.


    I have a minor, very specific version of what is called “right-left confusion”. When looking at a circuit board upside-down, I get confused by what is supposed to be left or right (chirality) and mix them up. This also happens to me when watching myself, mirrored, in a video stream like Hangouts. Symmetric placement of parts reduces this, but sometimes there is an asymmetrical arrangement. It’s really easy for me to make a mistake in those circumstances. Compound that by teeny-tiny female headers and bad lighting, and a wire is soldered in the wrong hole.The drawing above mapping out the pin headers was as much a guide for me during the initial construction, as it is for someone trying to reproduce the build.

    I found soldering the stacking headers difficult. I had to re-do several bridged solder pins and some that had poor joints. My suggestion is to go slowly and carefully, first soldering the inside pins, then the outside. Work in a single direction, finishing one row of pins at a time.

    Next, set up the mono amplifier, a quick soldering job. Adafruit has a complete write-up on the amp at Follow along in that tutorial and complete all the sections from Overview through Raspberry Pi Test, but Raspberry Pi Setup is essential. To complete the test, you must have your speaker soldered up with two lengths of wire at least 3 inches/80mm long. Heat shrink applied over the joints offers good strain relief. Remember that you have to run the setup script twice!
    When the mono amp is attached to a breadboard, you may experience some crackling noises. That's because the jumpers may be loose in the breadboard. Try pushing/holding the breadboard wires and you may get cleaner sound. This will be fixed when you have proper solder connections to the bonnet. Also, note that the Adafruit tutorial says to "Solder in both pins with plenty of solder!" on the amp speaker connections.

    I chose the GRS 3FR-4 speaker from parts-express because it had mounting holes and good sound frequency range. It mounts directly to the 3D case with screws and nuts, to keep the vintage look. Won't be confused with audiophile quality, but enjoyable to listen to.

    Check the alsa sound controller:
    sudo alsamixer
    It should look like this:
    To get the rotary encoders to fit properly into the case, cut the side mounting tabs and carefully bend the solder pins parallel to the base:
    Wire up the rotary encoders, using 2 black wires (GND) and 3 different colored wires for the other pins on each encoder. The different colors will help you tell which encoder connects where, when the encoders are mounted out of sight below the piTFT. Cut the wires about 7 inches/18 cm long. Tin both the pins and the wires with a good amount of solder. For each wire, press the wire into the pin with your soldering iron until solder flows. Remove the iron and continue holding down the wire with your other hand until solder cools. Helping Hands are your friends.

    I used heat shrink for strain relief.  Gently bend the wires up at a 90 degree angle away from the encoder shaft to fit into the case. Keep your thumb on the pins to prevent the pins from breaking while you make the bend.

    Be careful handling the encoder wires after bending! I broke a pin off from rough handling and had to re-do an encoder.

    I used different colored wires between the two encoders for the final build. This helped me know when I was hooking up the left-front rotary encoder vs. the right front one, when the piTFT is installed over the encoders and you can’t see what part you’re working on. See ‘Chirality” above. 

    Your finished encoders should look something like this:
    The bend was just a kluge i came up with for fitting the encoders in the confined space. Maybe there’s a more elegant solution to this. I think soldering the encoders to a piece of cut-down perf board would be more robust. But, this worked.

    There's a test program included in the miniz directory, Connect the encoders to the pi female headers according to the pinouts in that program (TUNE and VOLUME).
    To test:
     cd ~/miniz  
    Step 3: Setup Music Software
    The original source for the following scripts is poster gerrelt. Gerrelt has written excellent posts on installing Logitech Media Server (LMS) and Squeezlite.
    Gerrelt said Spotify was a possibility on this setup. Alas, Spotify support for LMS ceased on July 19, 2017.
    Use the scripts in the /home/pi/miniz/scripts directory (created by the git clone) for LMS and SqueezeLite installs (run these one by one):
    cd ~/miniz/scripts  
     chmod +x *.sh  

    The miniz uses a different sound device from the gerrelts tutorial. The Adafruit install software will set up the mono amplifier as an audio source, specifically dtoverlay=hifiberry-dac in the /boot/config.txt. The default hifiberry-dac  works without the changes gerrelt needed. HOWEVER: You need to comment out a line in one of the gerrelts scripts to get squeezelite to run. Also, UNcomment the line for SB Server as shown below. Make these changes for the LMS/SqueezeLite to run properly:
     sudo nano /usr/local/bin/  
     ##but make sure this line is COMMENTED out like so:  
     # Be sure to UNcomment this line and add your pi IP address, keep the quotes!  
     #Then restart the service with:  
     sudo systemctl restart squeezelite  
    Before configuring Logitech Media Server, you need to create a directory to store your music. You will be asked which directory to use when you enter the web page. I simply created one called 'music' at the root level, on the miniz:
     cd /  
     sudo mkdir music  
    Copy some music to this directory to test out the interface in the next steps. Filezilla can copy files, with clients for Windows/Mac/Linux. for playlists:
     cd /music  
     sudo mkdir playlists  
    To add music from a remote share, such as a NAS unit or a Windows Share:
     cd /music  
     sudo mkdir /music/NAS  
     sudo chmod 777 /music/NAS  
     sudo mount -t cifs //192.168.0.xx/music /music/NAS -o user=username,pass=userpassword 
    where 192.168.0.xx is the address of the remote server/share if you would like this as a permanent share, remaining after reboot:
     sudo nano /etc/fstab  
     # add the line below at end of fstab  
     //192.168.0.xx/music /media/windowsshare cifs guest,uid=1000,iocharset=utf8 0 0
    Step 4: Configure Logitech Media Server
    LMS serves an html page for configuration and control. Connect to it from your favorite browser. Use the IP address of your raspberry pi, followed by :9000, eg. -
    On first run, LMS will prompt for a email and password. Apps like Pandora, TuneInRadio (free streaming radio stations), SOMA and Podcasts require you to create an account on More on that later. For now, click "skip" at the bottom of the page.

    On the next page, navigate to /music (directory created above) and press "Next". Choose a folder for playlists - we created playlists. Click "Next" and then "Finish".

    Choose a player from the pull-down in the upper right corner. It's the hostname of your new pi. This should show up automatically if it is your only Squeeze player.
    On the left pane, navigate to My Music/Music folder, and hover your mouse over a song or album you want to play. Still in the left pane, but on the right side, three icons will appear. Click on the Play icon to start.
    Hey, look at you! You're playing music.
    Step 5: Apps
    If you'd like to use Pandora or the other Apps I mentioned earlier, you need to sign into and click on "Create an Account". Save your account information - you need to enter it into LMS after your apps are set up. Once you create an account and login, click on "App Gallery" at the top of the page. Pick an app from the list and click the blue "Install App" button at the top right. After that, click Configure.
    • For Pandora, enter the username and password you use for Pandora.
    • Click on Player Settings. Your player name should appear in the list.
    • Set Status to Enabled and set Home to "Display on home menu".
    • Don't forget to click on the blue "Save Changes" button at the bottom of the screen.
    Logoff from and go back to the LMS web page. At the lower right pane of LMS, click Settings. Click the tab on the next page and fill in the username and password you used to create your mysqueezebox account. When done, click Apply, then Close in the lower right of the screen.

    Almost done! Click on Settings again, then the tab for Plugins. Scroll down and make sure there is a check mark next to the Pandora app (or whatever app you set up). Click Apply. As an added check, in the "Author" column for Pandora to the right, there should be a link to Logitech. If you click on that, and you are properly set up, the link will open again in the configuration dialog for Pandora. You can close that and click on Close for the plugin page.

    Go back to the LMS Home Page; click on My Apps. You should see Pandora, or other newly-added apps under My Apps. If you don't see it, try refreshing the web page. If that doesn't work, try restarting the logitech media service:
    sudo systemctl restart logitechmediaserver  
    Setting up Favorites
    The radio dial will automatically start playing Favorites if they are linked in a favs dictionary in the program.
    # format below is degrees:fav_number  
     # see separate guide to LMS for setting up favorites in  
     favs = {82:0,57:1,30:2,8:3,352:4,333:5}  
    Favorites can also be played from the LMS web page.
    Here's an example for TuneIn Radio Favorites. The TuneIn App in LMS will guide you to selecting a radio station by several criteria. This example uses:
    Home > Browse > By Location > North America > United States > California > San Francisco > By Genre > Classical Music
    To create the Favorite, hover your mouse over the heart icon at the right side of the left pane, and click it to save as a Favorite.
    Go back to the LMS Home page (you can just click on "Home" seen in the image above). You should see the new item added at the end of your list of Favorites.

    Note: A Favorite for "on" is always added in this list. The list is zero-indexed based. So, the new Favorite created here is number 6.
    Step 6: piTFT
    Setup the 3.5 inch piTFT for OpenGL using the Adafruit tutorial. Although this is written for Raspbian Jessie, it works for Stretch.
     curl -O  
     sudo bash  
    When the starts, choose "4. Configure options manually", and input the following values at the prompts:
    Do the piTFT 3.5inch setup using the manual config operation, with HDMI Rotation option 4 and TFT rotation 2, 90 degrees. This will orient the pi zero, when attached to the piTFT, so its power connector is at the lower right.

    To suppress text messages on the screen before the miniz service starts, do:
    sudo nano /boot/cmdline.txt
    And add:
    quiet splash loglevel=0 logo.nologo
    To the end of the existing text. Also change:
    Step 6: Setup Python Libraries
    Run this to setup all the libraries:
     cd ~/miniz/scripts  
    This is what the script is doing - a lot! Will take awhile.
     # run installs with sudo!  
     sudo apt-get update   
     sudo apt-get upgrade  
     cp .distutils.cfg /home/pi/.distutils.cfg  
     sudo apt-get install python3-pip  
     sudo pip3 install pi3d       
     sudo apt-get install python3-pil  
     sudo apt-get install python3-setuptools  
     sudo pip3 install pylms  
     sudo cp /usr/local/lib/python3.5/dist-packages/pylms/  
     sudo apt-get install python3-numpy  
     sudo pip3 install RPi.GPIO      
    There's a documented problem in the pylms module. The line in the script above:
    sudo cp /usr/local/lib/python3.5/dist-packages/pylms/ 
    Should fix the problem. Tinkernut recommended the solution gilyes had to the pi "clean shutdown" problem. It's very elegant. Set it up to work with the volume button:
     cd ~/miniz/scripts  
     sudo ./  
    Finally, to get the main UI/radio dial installed:
     cd ~/miniz/scripts  
     sudo ./  
     sudo systemctl restart zdial  
    Step 7: Preparing the Case
    My 3D printer is the small/slow/cheap Monoprice Mini Select. I split the body of the case into two parts - face and case - due to the long print times involved. Here are Cura simulations of the face/case prints and also optional custom knob (2 required).

    The blue areas are support structures, necessary for speaker grille holes.
    There are Cura print settings included in the miniz/docs directory, as well as the STL files.
    Finishing the case:
    • Remove the support material
    • Sand the edges to be attached for face and case
    • Use blue painter's tape to hold them together
    • Glue in 4x M2.5 standoffs in the mounts provided on the inside of the face. Apply superglue to the threads and the bottom of the standoffs, sparingly. Be careful you don't get superglue into the standoff, will plug it. A little masking tape over the standoff screw hole can help.
    • Hot glue the inside - use a steady bead of glue for a neater seam
    • Option: Finish with XTC3D
    • Option: Print custom Z-logo knobs and bezel
    I found removing the grille support challenging. What worked for me: start by pressing down firmly on the entire length of a single grille support to separate it from the case. Then, alternately press/pull the center of the support strip, gradually increasing your force. At times, I thought I was using so much force I might crack the case. Eventually the grille work pulls off in a large chunk. Clean nubs on edges with a diagonal cutter and a thin nail file. The side grille support on the case took about 20 minutes to remove.
    Gluing the face to the case:
    The case is ready to assemble at this point. I did a little extra, coating the case with one application of XTC3D, and two coats for the face. This is a good product, and the results can be nice - but there are issues:
    • Clean your model with dishwashing liquid and make sure it is absolutely dry
    • Use in a very well-ventilated area; has an odd odor
    • Use nitrile gloves, eye protection and protective clothing like long sleeves
    • Working time about 10 minutes
    • XTC3D is somewhat self-leveling, but that means it can flow in places you didn't expect - try to keep your coated model horizontal, or vertical over a catch tray, and watch your hand movements!
    • XTC3D can flow to edges and curved surfaces. During the working time, I used a toothpick to keep the XTC3D from building up in rounded grille edges
    • The results were nice - shiny and smooth. But there were some tiny bubbles and dust inclusions
    • Curing time is usually 2 hours. I touched the model when I thought it was cured and left a fingerprint in the case.
    Spray paint the optional knobs black. For the Z logos, dab water-based gold metallic acrylic paint on with a very fine brush or a pointed toothpick. The paint will flow just a bit, so watch the edges. Water-based acrylic paint cleans up with a damp rag if applied quickly. I spray painted the bezel with gold metallic and sanded, two applications each. Finally, I applied XTC3D on the knobs and bezel. That really made the gold POP!
    Step 8: Final Soldering
    Adafruit has produced another great perma-proto board in the bonnet. However, due to the layout of the raspberry pi, pins may be in an awkward location for your particular application/use. Connecting the mono amp, for example, requires pin 18 on one end of the board and pins 19 and 21 on the other. Some thoughtful routing is required!
    There's a pin mapping document in miniz/docs for reference.
    Split female header into (2) 3-pin pieces and (1) 4-pin piece. There are tips on how to do this on the Adafruit product page.
    Solder the wires in this order:
    • Double 20 pin male header, short end soldered on "TOP" in diagram
    • Female Headers inserted on "TOP" side from diagram
    • GND/5V jumpers on "TOP"; the jumpers for #19 and #21 will cover the solder joints for these
    • "BOTTOM" wires
    The finished board should look something like this:
    At this point, it's a good idea to do a final check on the hardware components, before stuffing everything into that tiny case.
    • Mount the pi to the piTFT display
    • Plug the bonnet into the pi
    • Insert the rotary encoder wires into the female headers
    • Screw the speaker wires into the mono amp
    Should look something like this:
    Power UP!
    If everything is rosy, you should see this, after about 2 minutes to allow for things to start up:
    Okay, you've had your fun. Now take everything apart again so you can put it in the case.
    Step 9: Install into the Case
    • Install rotary encoders first - turn them about a 45 degree angle to the case to allow clearance for the wires around the piTFT
    • Route/organize the wires so they won't block mounting the piTFT or the speaker. The tune knob wires will run underneath the piTFT and the speaker
    • The Adafruit encoder knobs work fine. The custom knobs need a tiny bit of blue tack in the shaft to give enough travel to the push button. Works.
    • Screw the piTFT into the mounts with M2.5 screws
    • Insert steel 4/40 screws into the speaker holes, screw heads on inside of case. I used small (12mm D) Neodymium magnets to hold the lower screws in place until I could mount a nut on the outside. To remove the magnet, hold a finger firmly on it and slide around the speaker frame until free.
    • From the outside of the case, tighten 4 brass 4/40 acorn nuts to the screws
    • Attach the LEFT angle USB Micro cable to the pi. No space to connect this power cable after the pi is installed
    • Mount the pi to the piTFT. Strong light is helpful. Tilt the pi slightly away from the case wall, enough to see the alignment on pins. Make sure the pins are aligned properly and press down slowly.
    • Mount the bonnet on the pi, same technique as the pi to the piTFT
    • Screw in the speaker wires to the amp
    • Insert the encoder wires to their pins and ground
    Ready to Rock...
    • Play/pause: hold down tune knob for slow count of 1-2, but first move the needle away from a Favorite. Otherwise, auto-play will keep overriding pause
    • Toggle screens: press tune knob down for slow count of 1-2-3-4-5. Will cycle from dial, to clock, to Now Playing and back to dial again
    • Restart SqueezeLite: press tune knob down for over a count of 10. SqueezeLite produces distorted audio after 6-8 hours of play, reboots fairly quickly. I leave mine on all the time and fix the audio this way....
    • Volume: Up/Clockwise; Down/Counter(Anti-) Clockwise
    • Power: Volume button press > 3 secs triggers safe shutdown. When off, shorter (3 secs) press turns pi on. When ON,  3 secs press does a REBOOT
    • Now Playing Art: Pandora supplies this automatically. For local music, copy an album cover image named folder.jpg or cover.jpg into the album directory, followed by a rescan (Settings/Basic Settings/Look for new and changed media files). If a local album is missing art, a default image will display.
    • The screen, viewed straight on, is colorful and detailed enough. But the display doesn't have a wide viewing angle, so can look washed out from other angles
    • Now Playing presents rectangular cover art in a round porthole. Square peg, meet round hole...
    • Without the bezel, you can see the edges of the screen
    • Shutting down the pi does not kill power to the display - the screen will be dark but you can see light bleed around the edges as seen from the back of the case
    • The PWM pin (#18) for piTFT backlight control is used by the mono amp
    UPDATE 2018/01/13:
    Added piTFT to Things/Parts List. Thanks for the catch, ChromeBlue!
    UPDATE 2018/07/28:
    Recommended that you assign a static IP address instead of letting your router assign a DHCP address. The IP address is hard-coded in two scripts:
    • - executed by the service zdial
    • SB_SERVER_IP in /usr/local/bin/
    It's possible that your router will assign a different DHCP address if the miniz is off for some time.
    If you get a blank display:
     sudo systemctl stop zdial  
     cd ~/miniz  

    Will take awhile to start up. Check for errors that may appear.
    UPDATE 2018/07/29:
    Fellow hackster Danny Martin sent pictures of his own miniz build. Looks great!Thanks, Danny!