My hardware/software projects that survived and died in 2021


I made some stuff in 2021

Here’s a breakdown of projects and outcomes.

Your Diagram TitleHardware → Projects started: 7Projects started → Alive: 6Projects started → Dead: 4Alive → Not ready yet: 4Software → Projects started: 3Alive → Open-sourced: 2Cat water bowl filler → Hardware: 1Giant vending machine → Hardware: 1Grafana e-paper → Hardware: 1Statlord → Hardware: 1Thermal printer → Hardware: 1Kegerator flow gauge → Hardware: 1Home inventory → Hardware: 1Shitbanker → Software: 1Omni → Software: 1Librarian → Software: 1Cat water bowl filler: 1Cat water bowl filler: 1Giant vending machine: 1Giant vending machine: 1Grafana e-paper: 1Grafana e-paper: 1Statlord: 1Statlord: 1Thermal printer: 1Thermal printer: 1Kegerator flow gauge: 1Kegerator flow gauge: 1Home inventory: 1Home inventory: 1Shitbanker: 1Shitbanker: 1Omni: 1Omni: 1Librarian: 1Librarian: 1Dead: 4Dead: 4Hardware: 7Hardware: 7Software: 3Software: 3Alive: 6Alive: 6Not ready yet: 4Not ready yet: 4Open-sourced: 2Open-sourced: 2Projects started: 10Projects started: 10


Here’s all the projects I abandoned over 2021.


This was a long-running project I used in 2019 to teach myself Django. The idea was to display a bunch of graphics across many distributed screens. It still has some canvas math that I refer to from time-to-time, but 2021 was the death knell for this project.

Giant Vending Machine

I sunk a TON of hours into this.

Imagine a giant vending machine that can vend items out of your home inventory.

That was the promise of the mechanical inventory, AKA Giant Vending Machine.

giant vending machine seeker

The motors, belts, etc were recycled from a 3d printer. The idea was to create many stationary “racks” (similar to the rows in a vending machine), and “spool” items off by aligning the seeker head with the stationary rack.

Eventually, issues with reliably positioning the seeker head made me give up on this project.

I’ll pick this back up if I can find a simpler hardware design!

Grafana e-paper

I rendered grafana onto a 12in epaper display using puppeteer. It only works reliably on Raspberry Pi 4’s.

Code is here, and you can buy the display here

This project died because it’s hard to accurately tell when a grafana dashboard is finished rendering. This is important, as you need to wait for puppeteer to grab a complete DOM snapshot before sending it across the wire to the epaper display.

I also swapped out grafana for Datadog in my homelab, so this project became less important.


Here are some of the interesting projects that survived

Flow rate widget

I hooked up a flow rate widget to the seltzer line on my kegerator! It has faithfully measured the amount of water I drink, and alerted me when it’s time to change kegs / lines.

The hardware is an esp32, pimoroni 240x240 1.3" lcd, and a barbed flow sensor. Code is here


Librarian is a viewer and OCR for PDFs and images.

It also ended up being a great learning tool for a mentee learning Python + Django.


TODO - need photos

Shitbanker / pf-ingest

TODO - maybe just show UI?

Thermal printer

TODO - need photos