According to Pete - The Adventures of Little Dude


On today’s episode of “According to Pete,” SparkFun Director of Engineering Pete Dokter takes a break from discussing basic electronics principles to visit a recent project. Pete shows us his loving side with a Valentine’s Day project for his wife! I’d describe it further but honestly, it’s hard to explain. I’ll just say it involves motors, pulleys, Bluetooth connectivity, and a small plastic figurine affectionately known as “Little Dude.” Check out the video:

As always, please leave any questions or suggestions in the comments section below. We hope you enjoyed this edition of “According to Pete” and we’ll see you again in a few weeks!

A quick note from IT: Want to help with transcriptions of According to Pete videos? See the GitHub project here.


Comments 36 comments

  • Hot glue!

  • Cute project, buy hey, whatever happened to that Uncertain 7-Cube tutorial you guys promised?

    • It’s written and about to enter our brand new tutorial review process. I’ll do what I can to speed things along!

  • Nice work Pete! I’m glad your wife enjoyed the project; I know how much work/time these things can take.

    • Thanks much, duder. Lil dude got to the bottom of the string and she said “isn’t it going to say something?”

  • Hey Pete, thanks for the Project. What kind/Brand of lead pencil are you holding when you point to the Little Dude? Thx.

  • Pete- awesome, as always. The personal touch is most touching. Not all engineers are soul-less, bland, corporate bores. You and Little Dude prove that we’re all at least a little bit human. And to have your boss publicly acknowledge his support for all of the time you spent on the project - great commentary on SparkFun’s culture.

    • None of the engineers at SparkFun are soulless bland corporate bores. Pete screens those candidates out before they even get interviews.

      • And I would never imply otherwise. You clearly do a better-than-average job of choosing employees. Soulless is probably OK, but you really never want bland.

    • …yeah, a fair amount of not-at-work time went into it, as well. But yes, we definitely see the benefit of indulging the h8uman side from time to time.

      • Don’t get us wrong, the human side is being obsolesced as we speak. But we’ll remain legacy compatible, there are still rare use-cases for humanity.

        By the way, resistance is futile.

  • FYI, a cured hot glue bond is easily broken with isopropyl alcohol no matter what materials it’s glued to. Makes assembly and teardown easier.

  • Has anyone used aniPhone app to interface to the Bluetooth radio? What where you using in the video?

  • Pete I want your office/work bench!! SO much stuff!! SO many tools!!!

  • Why not use a solenoid to open the door?

    • In general, they tend to require a bunch more power than I need. Also, their actuation is something of a step function. Opening the cabinet door in anything like a subtle fashion ain’t gonna happen with a solenoid.

  • Does it look like it to anyone that during the intro, Pete is soldering on a breadboard? Little dude project, not bad.

  • Hot glue gets a bad rap (I even read a pretentious artist once claim that if you used hot glue, you shouldn’t call yourself an artist… imbecile)

    I used to prefer binary epoxy, but you know what? I love hot glue. I think people get the sense that hot glue, elmer’s glue sticks, etc are things that you ‘graduate’ from but… they’re totally rad adhesives for everything from crafting to prop-building and repair.

    Plus, a high-temp hot glue gun is nothing to turn your nose up at, it’s a GUN that shoots MOLTEN GLUE. That’s hardcore in my book, some of the worst burns I’ve gotten were from hot glue.

    Anyway, way to rep the hot glue. And sweet project.

    • Hot Glue has its place. I just used to get upset when they used to advertise them for things like furniture repair. That and using dremel tools for fine sanding. Used to watch shows and read wood working articles where someone had to scarp off all the hot glue to try to fix something the right way.

      So folks glue guns don’t mess up projects, people using them incorrectly mess up projects. :-)

      Oh love glue sticks for sticking paper patterns right to the wood. Just bought some.

      • Hot Glue has its place.

        Attaching googly eyes to things, for example.

      • It also works shockingly well for acrylic, especially if the object has to take a beating. CA and Plastiweld work well, too, but they’re too brittle for stuff that’s gonna get handled a lot in my experience.

  • Did anyone run the idea of Pete telling stories about “his little dude” past HR !

  • Couldn’t watch it with the sound up and I had to jump to the end (shh I’m at work) but that arm to open the door seems over engineered. At first I though you wanted to open the cabinet door all the way like to 90 degrees.

    For that little amount of travel, your large servo with a 2 or 3 inch arm with a small wheel at the end could have probably done it easier. You could have then put a small screw eye on the arm to act as a pulley.

    Maybe I missed something I’ll have to watch when the boss is gone. :-)

    ETA: OK it watched all the way and I’m pretty sure the large servo with an arm would have opened the door. Doubt there is that much torque at the end of the door.

    Could have also used a continuous rotation servo for the rappel. Uses a lot less pins 2 instead of 6 or so.

    • Yeah, I coulda done it that way (and it might have been cheaper, too)… but I didn’t. It’s funny, but for a guy that’s so far into RC stuff, I don’t always go for servos when I need something to move. Maybe it’s too simple? Dunno. I do like to play the Rube Goldberg card from time to time.

      • Cheaper?!?

        As Director of Engineering I just figured those parts um kind of fell off the back of the shelf. ;-)

        • Well… I’m not saying I don’t get a discount. But when I’m talking about the cost, I’m speaking in terms of what somebody else might have to pay for stuff. It’s all cheap to me, but I’m less likely to use something if it’s going to cost a lot for a non-SFE person.


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