Summer Projects

I’m not a student anymore so I don’t really get summer vacations, but I work in higher ed so I at least know when summer vacation starts and ends – well, that and I live in the Central Valley, so it usually starts when it begins to get unbearably hot outside.

Summers are my most memorable seasons because I usually associate the time with a boost in productivity and shenanigans, probably because that’s how I spent most of my summer vacations growing up. Now, as a working adult, I still try to use the start of summer as an excuse to rally myself and boost my motivation to get stuff done and make memories, not because I suddenly have a plethora of free time, but because it’s a tradition (I guess).

The past few summers have been rough, whether I’ve been dealing with drama or impending homelessness or whatever, but that’s all behind me now; my life now is pretty stable, predictable, and drama-free, and I’m content with where I’m currently at in life. This summer, I’ll have the resources, funds, time, and environment to knock out some projects I’ve wanted to get done, and I’m really excited to blog about them in the weeks to come.

Garage Workshop Build

My project for this month is to convert my garage into a workshop. I’ll be turning half of it into a place where I can make stuff, tinker with things, be messy, and use caution-necessary tools and materials in a safe and controlled setting; the other half will be used for parking of a car.

I got some mats put in so that I can be more comfortable working there for longer durations of time, and I’m currently finishing assembly of a workbench where I can store and organize my tools and stuff, as well as having a stable surface for work, of course. I’ll be bringing in another desk to use for just 3-D printing and post-processing, and I’ll also be bringing in a shelf to store all sorts of materials. I have a foldable table that I currently use as an improvised table for my 3-D printer setup, but its instability doesn’t give it much of my faith; I’ll be repurposing that table as a general “dirty” work surface.

I have a workhorse in there that I’ll have to clean up before I can use it for projects again. The entire garage could use some decluttering; I’ll say goodbye to some old projects I haven’t touched in years (and won’t touch again) and tidy up some boxes that’ll come in handy when it’s moving time. I’d like to get back into bicycling, so I’ll try to find some area to set up a bike repair stand.

After a chair or two and some changes to the lighting system, I think I’ll have a great new workspace that I can use for a-

Semi-Autonomous Hydroponics Garden

My project for June is to start a semi-autonomous hydroponics garden. I’ll be cleaning up the backyard, doing some light landscaping, and then using my new garage workshop to fashion a semi-autonomous hydroponics garden. I’d like to be able to develop a full hardware and software stack to automate as much of the process as possible, from the monitoring to the feeding and more. To be totally honest, that’s the source of my primary interest in this project in the first place.

I don’t really know much about hydroponics yet, so I’ll have to pick up a book or two on the subject. I’m thinking of growing peppers since I love heat and I’ve heard that they’re great crops to beginners. With my pre-existing background in sensors and microcontrollers as well as wireless sensor networks, I think I can crank out something interesting!


In June, I’ll also be building a homelab. Nothing too fancy. I’ll probably just be getting an old Cisco switch off of eBay, re-doing the copper run from the garage to upstairs, and re-doing the copper runs from the switch upstairs to the individual rooms. I’ll be setting up a Proxmox server for some services I’d like to self-host, including a NAS. I’ll also be setting up a pfSense/OPNsense firewall and further securing my home network.


Well, those are the three big things I want to get done this summer! I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew, so I’ll keep my goals simple and see where they take me. I’m excited to blog about them in the weeks to come! Next week, I’ll be publishing a guide on LoRa demodulation for someone in the IrisCTF Discord server, but the week after, I should be done with the first project so I’ll be blogging about that. Until then,

Happy trails!