DrVAX expanding to cover Electronics and Programming


First thanks for participating in the forum. I am delighted that I have been able to sponsor a user community of kind people that enjoy helping each other.

I am excited to announce that I will be expanding the content areas on the DrVAX YouTube channel. Now in addition to a lot of 3d printing and 3d Design videos and a handful of woodworking videos I will be adding programming and electronics videos. We live at a remarkable time. As a “maker” we have access to a plethora of affordable components and technologies that allow us to make things only produced in factories in the past.

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In the first video in this area, I will be teaching how to make a button that when pressed sends an SMS (text) message to any phone. This video features a FeatherS2 single-board ESP32 based development board connected to a button. The code, which I will provide ready to go, connects the FeatherS2 to your wifi network and invokes an API call to a free Twilio account when pressed. The code has extra comments to explain areas that may not be obvious.

The code is in CircuitPythonand the web request library in CircuitPython is more limited than the full Python Request library so a bit of extra work was necessary to get an authenticated PUT to execute properly.

The video, which I will post later this week, will walk through how to wire the board, set up the Twilio account, and load the program onto the board. In this video, I will not be explaining all of the code in detail.

As a gift to the DrVAX community, I am posting a link to the Github repository with the code, which includes a circuit diagram, so you can try this out if interested.

I purchased the FeatherS2 from Adafruit. Here is a URL:

I look forward to your comments.


3D Printing comes with the needs of CAD and once you get the starting hurdles you realize that your home only needs a specific amount of boxes and hooks.

So the projects get bigger and involve LED strips and steppers, which set up another hurdle: programming.

Just recently I designed a circular lamp and I could just add a some LEDs, a power source and a switch, but by just adding a 6 Euro ESP32 developer board I now have a smart, wifi controlled multimedia installation, which not just looks nice, but really cool. :smiley:

So yeah, expanding the videos series with beginners coding and incorporating them into 3D printing (who wants some ugly huge prototype board), this could result into some really cool projects and project ideas.

I have a project in mind. My radio controlled “atomic” clock is acting up, so I’m looking at making an ESP8266 based WiFi clock that will get it’s time from an NTP source. I figure to use 4 LED matrix displays. Of course, a 3D printed case would be part of the project.

I think this might be a good project for you to take on. I found a number of videos on YouTube about such clocks, but none that can truly be called tutorials. An added appeal of the project is that it can start off very basic & then be expanded. Add an RTC module, then automatic brightening/dimming for example. The programming can start off just doing NTP, then be expanded to incorporate multiple time zones, current weather/temperature, etc.

I think I will require a dictionary that translates electronic argo into intelligible English.

Heh, you are more or less describing my prior giant clock project. You can drop the RTC module as NTP gets time from the internet multiple times a day. No need to keep a battery for that, as it just keeps time on power loss. Time zones are already build into the common NTP code delivered with ESP32 OS stuff. External weather is tricky as services want money these days. At least here in Europe. I guess you national weather service is different in that department?

Geit, I’m sure there are many similarities between what I’m describing & your giant clock. But, like the others I’ve seen on YouTube, your project is presented as more or less a finished product, with some progress photos along the way. It’s not a tutorial. That’s not a complaint, just a fact. What I’m thinking here is something more along the line of what Paul McWhorter does on YouTube, but with Irv’s personal touch.

AFAIK, weather info is available from the federal gov’t for free.

It wasn´t critique. Just a surprise that your proposal was that similar to my project. :smiley: The ring light btw is using the same code, just new “render” code. :smiley:

Did you use Arduino or VSCode?


To be honest this hole Arduino stuff is trash. Yeah, people learn how to build stuff, but they all learn the wrong things. They learn to break standards and not to code properly.

.ino files are cpp files now?
#include commands are used all wrong everywhere (but the arduino crap fixes that during compile, so no one learns how to do it right)
and same goes for function prototypes. How should people learn proper programming, when even the examples are just trash?

Beside that, the ArduinoIDE is just terrible to use. In fact even the VSCode IDE is so bloated and it feels like you loose control over your own source code every five minutes. VSCode handles the libraries automatically, so no search and mess with this ugly like hell manager in ArduinoIDE this is a huge plus for VSCode, but unfortunately the only one. VSCode is constantly installing stuff and updating databases. After loading a drawer is takes some time, before you can use it. Well, better before you feel you can use it. Sometimes you need to restart it, which forces you to wait even more.

So in the end I use FlowStudio on my own operating system to edit files remotely over SMB and just push compile in VSCode on linux. Even this “just push compile” is a pain as the compile buttons constantly get moved below the static mouse pointer and the serial debug console gets only active in 70% of all times and I still did not find a way to pause or clear debug output using debug commands (console clear or so), which I consider essential when debugging software. Hell, I couldn´t even find hotkeys to start compiling or Compile+Upload.

So as you can see, it is far less comfort than I am used to, when developing software.

I also did a lamp by using a D1 mini controller board, 3d printed parts WiFi Controlled Desk Lamp by Surrbradl08 - Thingiverse , and used air cookies WLED firmware to flash the D1 mini with GitHub - Aircoookie/WLED: Control WS2812B and many more types of digital RGB LEDs with an ESP8266 or ESP32 over WiFi!

Here is a video of it


The YouTube video about how to build a Magic SMS Button is now live along with an Instructable about the topic.


[video=youtube_share;6pmGBMug_eQ]Use Python to Build a Magic SMS Button - YouTube

Here is a project that uses a TTGO ESP32 board to display dual-time zone NTP clock. Works great! I used the Arduino IDE to program the ESP32 TTGO board. No problems as long as you follow the directions to set it for your location. [LIST=1]

  • [email]SoftwareControlledHamRadio@groups.io[/email]
  • Files
  • PCB For Bruce Hall's (W8BH) NTB Synced Dual Clock [/LIST] Now I need to make a 3d printed case for the board. I found one on thingiverse, but it does not quite fit.
  • Attached files?

    Hopefully the files did get attached, or uploaded…

    ttgo with display NTP clock_2.pdf (901 KB)

    NTP_DualClock_TTGO_V1.3a.txt (21.4 KB)