Homemade rocking horse : assembling and finishing

Third and last part on my homemade rocking horse project (part 1| part2)

Once every pieces were properly sanded, it was time to do the dreaded step : the assembly. I first started with a mock assembly with clamps to make sure everything was alright.

Mock assembly with clamps, it does look like a horse !

I decided to glue and screw the different pieces together, I could have used other techniques but with this one I knew that I would limit the amount of bad surprise.

assembly of the body and the head
Assembly of the skids onto the body

Those were the steps where I was worried a lot because I realized everything was very straight.

Then after some more adjustments and sanding I added the seal and the bar for the hands. Every hole was covered with wood paste. I finally put 2 coats of varnish.

Varnish drying

To finish it up I used a sewing machine to make a small cushion for the seal (leatherette and cushion stuffing) and decorative reins.

making the small cushion with leatherette

I’m rather happy with the final result, could have been better but still a beautiful gift which pleased my sister (and my niece) a lot.

Final result

Homemade rocking horse – The skids

In Part 1 I explained how I created the first pieces of my home-made rocking horse. In this article I will talk about the skids which are a very important piece of the project.

The first version I did was made by drawing half of the profile on cardboard. Cutting it and having a pattern to have a perfect mirrored skid. However my design was too flat.

First version of the skids … way too flat

To design better skids I decided to come back to the basic : what is rocking ? And the best way to achieve it is with skids shaped like circles. Now I have to find the radius of that circle. For that I based it on the dimensions of the original rocking horse made by my father.

Dimensions given by my father

I first tried to calculate the radius using simple maths and these numbers. That was a good occasion to realize that I was not that good at maths … So I chose a simpler solution. I drew a 3-points-circle on Fusion 360 and measured the resulting radius. I then tied a pencil to a rope of that length to draw portion of circle and the wood. Once cut here comes the result :

New version of skids (you can notice the heavy use of wood paste on the right)

The slot in the middle was cut at the same time on the two pieces. I also did a lot of sanding with the two pieces together to have them almost identical.

The skids assembled

Now there is one big thing left to do, assembling everything. That will be for next article.

Empire State Molding

After my trip to New York I wanted to creating my self a unique souvenir. Initially I wanted to created something around the Chrysler building by night (I’m still working on it but i’m not sure it is going to come through).
To make it illuminated I used some optic fibers. I’m not 100% proud of the result but I think that it is a good start with this technique.

Here is the video explaining the process in details :

The technique of silicone molding was already used by my wife (and I helped here to do it ) when she created her Etsy store and with objects like this in concrete :

Concrete lamp, Candle holder and planters in concrete

Here is a link to her Etsy store : CréaPons. I will probably make an other article about this in the future.

Homemade rocking horse – Part 1

When she was little, one of my sister used to play a lot with a wooden rocking horse that my father made for her. A few years ago, I promised her that I would make one for her when she will become a mother. That day has come and here is how I made it.

The rocking horse made by my father

The rocking horse made by my father

My father sent me several images including this one above to help me. I started sketching some parts on Fusion 360 (a free CAD software for hobbyist like me).

Shape of the leg designed on Fusion 360 copied on the wood

The idea was not to design the whole horse but rather to sketch the general shape of the most complex parts to decide of the exact proportions I wanted.

Shape of the head before being cut

I then cut every pieces using a jigsaw.

First pre-assembly of the horse

I was then able to assemble everything together to see what I looks like.


Ender 3 and stepper damper

Here comes a quick article on a quick (and ugly) fix on the Ender 3.
I recently bought one and I’m very happy with it. However it is incredibly noisy. In order to fix that, one solution is to buy cheap dampers for the X and Y steppers.

On my version I could not remove the belt gear piece and I noticed that I wasn’t not the only one (thread on reddit).


Stepper motor with fixed belt gear

On other version you could unscrew it, put the damper and then put it back in place. On mine it is fixed. Instead of trying to remove it and maybe break the stepper and i took an easy and (sorry) very ugly solution : using a file and a rasp to remove enough matter so I could pass through it.

It worked perfectly for me, and I didn’t notice any drop in print quality. However the Y Stepper being bigger it reduces slightly the Y-range so I had to move the endstepper on the Y axis (about 1 cm) as you can see on this picture :


That’s it quick fix, not a lot of details but I hope it will help other people who are stuck the same way I am.

Yet another alarm clock

What ? Yet another alarm clock ? Aren’t tired of doing that ?

Oops, I did it again. Actually it is more of a second version of the first one I created (here to know more about the first version). It fell down on the floor so I decided to remake one. It took into the account the defaults that I saw with my first one.
The biggest flaw was that the led display was too bright at night so I decided to switch to the simple TM1736 module (same as in the NanoClock project).

This was also the occasion to use a lot of the leftovers I had at home. I already had all the components : I just had to buy the wood board which costed me 4€. Otherwise I estimate the total cost of about 20€ (Virtual Private Server excluded of course).

As I said in this video, what I really liked about that project is that it was a mix of two different things that interests me : Arduino/electronics & wood (kind of like with an other clock, I promise it is the last one : wordmap clock).

Most of the source code is available here : https://github.com/abartben/smartclock2

Components :

Other links that might interest you :



Waterspout spotted in Cannes

This a very short post to talk about a very interesting and natural phenomenon that I had the chance to spot few days ago : waterspout. It is like a tornado and water but usually way smaller.


It is not the first time I see this, however it is the first time that I see more than one at the same time. It is also the first one that I could take a photo of.

There was no damage reported this day.

If you wish to learn more about the subject : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterspout


Homemade wood & wedding

I’ve haven’t been active on my blog recently but I have a good excuse : I just got married.

This article is about the two different items that I crafted my self in wood.

The box for the rings

The idea was pretty close to what I’ve done for the proposal. I used the same material : oak and also the same technique. The dimensions are different and I had to make room for the locks on the side.


The box closed with the locks in place

The idea behind the locks is that both of us were accepting to get married, as you need two keys to open it.

The keychains were made by an embroidery in Toulouse (I tried to look on Internet but you usually need have to buy 100 of them or plus …). Instead of the classical Remove before flight it says remove before KISS. And there is the date of the wedding on the other side.

The inside was made with leftovers from an other project. The tissue is made of felt and I used a sewing machine to make it nice and clean. The inside is stuffed with polymer fiber (the same you use to put in stuffed animals for instance).

I’m pretty happy with the result. The only detail that I didn’t like is that the lid is not straight enough when opened. But otherwise I feel like I improved since my last creation made of wood. It is also a good souvenir that we will keep with us.


The box opened during the ceremony


The donation box

The other project that I made in wood was the box used for donation. It was to help us to pay our honeymoon so I made it in the shape of an aircraft. The wood is pine.


The back of the box was closed with plywood and nails and I had to tear out once the wedding was over.

It was the first time that I used a plane (the tool not the airplane) to have a better finish. I used woodpaste to hide the screws even if you can still see it.


So that’s it ! I hope you liked and I also hope that one day this will give some inspiration to someone else.


As Air Traffic Controllers we are sometimes being notified by pilots about events. Sometimes it can be a fire, or a boat in distress. But when calling the competent rescue service it is not always easy to communicate accurately the position of the event.



Dash 8 and Trackers S2T at Cannes

In aviation we are using nautical miles, a unit that a firefighter will never use (expect if it is for sea rescue). That’s why I created a small tool called BalthaSAR (the name is a pun, SAR stands for Search And Rescue).

The principle is simple, the website converts position of starting point (can be an airport, a VOR or an NDB) heading and distance to coordinates of the reported point.

This can be easily measured on a radar screen.

The point is showed in red on a map, the squares that you can see on the pictures or DFCI coordinates (which are French coordinates used by fire fighters and sea rescue)


The text is in French, and it contains only coordinates for French airports and Navaid (from the openaip database) but can be easily adapted for an other country.

The website is hosted on Github and can be seen here : https://abartben.github.io/balthasar/

The source code is available here : https://github.com/abartben/abartben.github.io/tree/master/balthasar

The work and the website it self was not hard, it is more a compilation of different libraries (mapbox, bootstrap, coordinates converter …) than coding it self.

I hope this will be useful in the future !


Esterel & Lérins

I haven’t posted on my blog recently and yet I took a lot of pictures. Fall is here and is progressively giving its place to winter (but don’t worry winter in the French Riviera is easy to support).

Two pictures were taken during a flight around Cannes in a brand new APM30 (nice light aircraft by the way).
Two others pictures were taken from the Lérins Islands. Those are small islands near Cannes, you have to get there by boat. It is a little expensive but totaly worth it. However if you want to get there I would recommend to not do it during summer.

Finally the two last photos were taken at the Mt Vinaigre (the highest moutain in the Esterel, but only 614m high, nothing compared with the Alps).

If you like my pictures you can find all of them in High Quality on my Flickr account