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When I got my puppy in a box I didn't want him to be cooped up in only one box so I taped a few boxes together with "doors" from one to the other. From this I got the Idea to create a real miniature condo for my puppy. Since I've been working with electronics for years I had to incorporate them into the project.

The condo is equipped with a Spark Core to handle all the WiFi connectivity. For the lighting I used WS2801 LED strips so I could programmatically address each section of LEDs. The condo will also incorporate a few motion sensors, a camera, temperature sensors, a fan & whatever else I can cram into it.

Follow along as I create this awesome little condo! But if you're curious to see the final product then head to the end & view the images!

Thanks for viewing!

Step 1: Material/Planning

Material:

50~ 3/8th inch wood dowels

1 Sheet 1/8" Project Board

1 Sheet 5/8" MDF

WS2801 LED Strip

Spark Core

CAT5 Wire (use as separate wires)

3-4 Sheets of 24"x18" .093" Acrylic Sheets

Wood Glue/Liquid Nails/JB Weld/Super Glue

Paint

Tools:

Mini Table Saw

Shapeoko 2 CNC (Optional but I'd highly recommend)

C-Clamps

Palm Sander

Planning:

Before I started I did a little stress tests with the glues to see which one was the strongest & JB weld was the winner. After making sure that the glue was a good choice I opened sketchup to start modeling the condo so that I could make sure that all the pieces would fit perfect with just cutting them once. The video that is attached is an early render of what the condo was gonna look like, I ended up going with something simpler. The reason I went with the frame & the walls was to reduce the weight & so I could run wires through the wall. After I spent a good while on the model I started the construction.

Step 2: Frame

For the construction of the frame I referred to my Sketchup model to get all my dimensions spot on. Each floor is 10" tall so I cut all the 9 1/4" "studs" as they would be called in a real wall. After every piece I would cut I would file down the frays on the sides & give the ends a good texture for adhesion. I would put a dab of glue on the end of the dowel & use a piece of aluminum to square them off to make sure the top of the wall would fit correctly. At first I was hand cutting them by hand with a hacksaw until I walked into harbor freight & found this awesome mini table saw (http://www.harborfreight.com/4-in-mighty-mite-table-saw-61608.html). Then I was cooking with gas! I cut & assembled all the walls them I moved onto cutting the floors.

Step 3: Floors

The floors were probably the easiest part of this build, I just followed the dimensions from my sketchup model & cut them out with a jigsaw. To cut the inside cuts I just drilled holes to get the blade through.

Step 4: Windows

To construct the windows I didn't want the window(Plexi) to be moving around so what I ended up doing was using the mini table saw to cut the frame & after I cut the frame I would cut a slot out of the inner part of the frame. I did this by constructing a stop that would cut a slot out of the dowel a bit at a time. While I was cutting the slots in the window framing I tried running the wood backwards and that wasn't a good idea, thumb right into the blade. That didn't stop me though, I continued cutting the frames after I made what I like the call the thumb saver 5000. I used it to push the dowels through over the blade so I wouldn't have a finger over the blade ever.(Should've done it before the accident happened) After all the frames were cut I used my shapeoko to mill the windows out plexi a little bigger that the size of the window so I would sit in the slots. After some filing to get the plexi to fit perfect I used super glue to hold them together before they went into the walls. Then I moved onto creating the stairs.

Step 5: Stairs

For the stairs I wanted them to look nice and be functional so I started with the angles. After modeling them in sketchup I exported an .STL so I could drop it in MeshCAM to create the GCode. When the GCode was ready I sent it to my shapeoko to have all the pieces cut out of acrylic. When all the pieces were done I didn’t like how you could see straight through them, also they looked dirty with fingerprints & dust. What I did to make this better is take some sand paper and scuff all the pieces to make them opaque. I liked this better so I started assembling the stairs with plastibond. After the stairs were done I moved to the walls.

Step 6: Walls

Since my shapeoko was too small to cut the walls for me I had to take a jigsaw to all the pieces. After I cut all the outside of the walls they fit on the shapeoko. I went back to sketch up to make all the windows and the door shapes so I could use the CNC machine to them. After the windows & door were cut it was time to start putting the walls on! I found that liquid nails was the best option for a seamless surface. I applied the liquid nails & used C clamps to keep pressure on the walls while they set. After the walls were all on and ready to go it was time to move to the electronics! The fun part!

Step 7: Electronics

Now for the awesome part! Since my shapeoko isn't big enough to fit the floors on it I had to create templates in sketchup that would work with my dremel. I measured the distance from the outside of the dremel routing cover to the bit & made a two templates: one to cut the channel where the LED's would sit in & one for the plexiglass over would sit on. To make sure the LED's weren't gonna be crooked I made little triangles in the templates to align to the measurements I made on the floors. When all the channels were cut I used the dremel to connect all of them together so the wires could run through them. Then I put all the wires into a project box on top of the condo.

Soldering LED's

After all the wood working was done I cut segments of 5 LED out of a roll of WS2801 LED's & laid them into the channels. While they were chillin in the channels I would measure wires to the distance that the LED's were from each other & solder them together. Then I would take the connected LED's & lay them back in the channels to make sure the distance was correct. After each section was soldered in I would test them with an arduino to be positive they were working.

Covering the wire channels

When all the wiring was done & I was happy that all of the LED's were working I removed all of the LED's & wiring from the floors. I did this so I could paint the inside of the LED channels white & let them dry before putting them back in. When the paint was dry I laid all of the LED's & wires back in their correct position & started covering the wire channels with wood filler. After the wood filler was done drying I use a palm sander to shave away the top so it would be flush with the rest of the wood. When all of this was done I painted over the sanded spots & you would never know they were ever there.

WiFi

Since I wanted to have the ability to know when my puppy came in or out of his house & more, it had to be WiFi capable. For this reason I chose to use a Spark Core. For the LED lighting I have them all wired in series so I can use Ajax to send function requests. When the rest of the sensors come in, the house will be able to let me know when my puppy walks in or out & eventually I will add a camera when the funds are right.

Step 8: Software

Spark IDE

The first thing I started with is getting the WS2801 LEDs with the Spark, since you can't just include a library like the arduino IDE. What you have to do is create another file within the Spark IDE & add the Adafruit WS2801 library content to the proper file & include the .h file in your .ino file. Using the Spark function in the IDE I made a function to work with javascript on the server side to differentiate the different ID's from the HTML for the different sections of LEDs. With a few switch case's, if's & function's, it all worked out. If you are interested in the code feel free to contact me! I'd be more that happy to let you check it out! & maybe even get some changes!

Web App

I didn't want to always have to manually send commands to the Spark so I wanted to create a really simple little app to change light colors & brightness. Also, I wanted friends and family to be able to play with it. So first I created a layout in photoshop of the top & bottom floors. When the image was done, I created an image map go over all the light sections(black bars on the graphic). With the aid of JQuery I created a little popup window that I can choose colors & brightness when I click any of the sections. I also created a popup that I can specifically choose any LED in the condo & the color.

This description isn't really too in depth about how everything works but feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Step 9: Touchups & Paint

Sanding/Filling

To finalize the little condo I used wood filler to fill in the edges & parts that were not seamless. After the filler dried I took a piece of sand paper to make everything perfect. On the windows there was a little gap so I also filled them & sanded them.

Paint

I painted all the floors, the sides of the floors & all the walls. After putting a few coats it was ready to go, check out the final product on the next step!

Step 10: Finished Condo

This is it! After all the days of hard work it all paid off!
 

I'd love to discuss the app functionality with the LEDs along with camera implementation. My email is rob@thetenderbone.com
You're my freaking hero! Amazing design! You've got one lucky pup!
<p>Now it just needs a home cinema. First movie hotel for dogs ;)</p>
How did you get the app to work with the lights
If you have the dimensions email me them at Connermontgomery27@gmail.com
<p>I want to build this, i got a question, could u send me the dimensions (if you got a 2d building plan like thing that would be perfect) i REALLY like the desing of the house.</p><p>I&quot;d like to keep the proportions the same but change the sizes (got a bigger dog so)</p><p>hope to hear from you</p>
<p>WOW! What's the rent, and when can I move in?? </p>
<p>My dogs want to come live with your dog! Wonder if he'd use a ramp/slide attached to the outside? (I enjoy dogs on slides!) Great job! </p>
<p>Superlative Build! (And adorable dog!)</p>
<p>how much was it all??( with out the tools)</p>
<p>Awesome. And I mean that. I know a lot of folks start crying &quot;OMG Brilliant!&quot; every time someone wraps duct-tape around a pencil around here, but this is just over the top... </p>
<p>It's going to be a shame when he out grows it. Unless, however, you're planning on making a newer, bigger, more-improved version...:)</p>
<p>SO cute! wish my puppy was still small enough for something like this... wonderful job!</p>
<p>Nice I-Phone</p>
<p>What?? No plumbing??(lol) Fantastic. I made a diggie duplex for a couple of mutts i had (RIP) but nothing even close to this. Great Work!!</p>
<p>You are the most dedicated to his/her pet person I have ever seen!!</p><p>This is amazing!</p><p>Especially the first image, at the start, I thought it was photo shopped or something, it looked way too cool. Then I realised that it was a real 5 STAR puppy condo! That was wi-fi controlled?!</p><p>Voted in the pet contest.</p>
<p>I will never allow my cat to see this.</p><p>Her 'Cat Mahal' seems to be lacking some of the niceties.</p><p>Looks like she will be &quot;movin' on up&quot; in the near future now that i have an excuse to hit Harbor Freight.</p><p>It's her cat and now I can justify the expense.</p>
Lol cats are evil
We a little over 3/4 acre, and it is all Hers.<br><br>She took on a German Shepherd last week that decided to bed down under the Solar Panels.<br><br>He went home rather suddenly. All he heard was a mad cat screaming in his ear when she jumped him.<br><br>She stayed on for about 10 feet.
Actually, this feline is a spayed female rescue cat.<br><br>She IS IN LOVE.. with me. <br><br>I named her Shadow because she follows me more than the dog does. Open the hood on the car and she's right there wanting to help.
Well then that's a good cat! Lol
I love this idea. Just one thing the wood you wrapped the exterior with won't hold up long when it gets wet So I would recommend some kind of siding and lifting it up of the ground so the flooring one your first floor won't rot away I don't say this things in a negative way just want a project like that to last a good long while
Varnish works good but yeah you're right! It wouldn't be nice for it to rot away
<p>That is one spoiled dog. She even gets her own Wi-Fi?<br>THINK OF ALL THE INNOCENT CATS WHO GET NOTHING! THE HUMANITY!</p>
<p>Almost makes we want to get a little cute dog to make a cool dog house like this for!. Well done, looks grand!</p>
You should! Thanks!
I voted in every category! So cool!! You have the luckiest dog ever.
Thank you much!!!
<p>You should repair your phone</p>
<p>You should add solar panels.</p>
<p>Solar panels, wind generator, and an air well! </p><p>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_well_%28condenser%29</p>
Yes!
<p>This is an awesome project &amp; so cool since it's for puppies! You really did a deluxe job of fabrication &amp; assembly. It's great to see another dog lover work so hard for his pup. I hope your puppy isn't going to outgrow his fabulous condo. I bet you could sell these to other dog lovers with excess disposable income.</p>
Thank you!
Awesome!
Thanks!
<p>I love this! It would be so much nicer to look at than the wire cage my puppy sleeps in now. I was wondering what the puppy needed wifi for though - and then I realized it's for you : )</p>
Haha yes the wifi is so I can have some fun with it too
<p>I would like to share an Idea. As I saw your genious idea I thought that you should make area sensors so that when the dog go to sleep the lights shut down, and when the dog go to feed area, lights are on (if it'd night time, also).</p>
Yeah I thought about that with motion sensors but I'm waiting on the sensors, I gotta get to it!
<p>Putting a section of leds on the plexiglass would be nice too ;)</p>
<p>This is RAD! Question though, would it be pheasable to make the roof or even a side of the condo moveable (i.e with hinges or something) if it needed to be cleaned our sanitized? Or did I miss that part? </p>
It's not permanently together, the walls &amp; the roofs can be taken off
<p>Your dog must be in doggy heaven. Have you furnished it? How does he use it?</p>
Yeah he has his little bed &amp; food stuff, he does sleep in there &amp; he knows that his food is in there so when I ask him if he wants food he already knows where it's at
<p>Fantastic Condo. Love it</p>
Thanks!
<p>Nice Iphone controller u have there..</p>
<p>The house looks very nice. Is that a Dremmel in the CNC machine? </p>
<p>Thanks!! &amp; yes it is!</p>

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