Perl and Programming
I think it was in the fall of 2001 that I decided to learn some Perl and Perl/Tk.
I had a job moving data around, converting file formats, backing up data, etc.
and having a little Perl in the toolbelt would prove to be useful. But, let's
face it. Most of the little Perl scripts that one writes to find and rename a
bunch of files and make sure they are backed up and logged just aren't that
exciting... But, I also enjoyed making ridiculously useless scripts.

One of the first ones I wrote was called GUI_Cube. I wanted to see if I
could make a 3D object, rotate it and cast a shadow on a ground plane. All in Tk:

Slightly less useless (and actually quite useful to me) is a PLT viewer
For awhile, I was playing with my home-made laser cutter. The laser was
driven by an older Roland XY plotter. This plotter reads HPGL in the form
of PLT files. PLT files are pretty easy to generate, but I needed to see
them to make sure I liked what I saw before I cut it out on the laser.
Here are some screen shots of the

On the left is a stencil I was cutting for my bike shop.
On the right is a cutting file for one of my paper Waves

Another fun one was a script to generate the tooth pattern of round
or elliptical chainrings. This script would output an obj file
which I could then send to my laser or cnc machine. Here's a pic:

Another more useful one is GearCreate. This was actually done in Excel.
One weekend, my primary computer was in the shop, so no perl... But,
I really wanted a way to make some gears that would mesh together.
GearCreate has a bunch of sheets now. There is the entry sheet, on which
you can type your parameters (number of gears, gears per inch, etc) and
there are multiple sheets for your desired output. It will produce
G-code, XY coordinates in inch, XY coordinates for PLT files. Here's some pics:

More recently, I needed the ability to convert a BUNCH of decimal based
numbers to floating point hex. The numbers were getting generated by
one of my other scripts. So I decided to write
On its own, it's just a command line thing, but here's a screen shot:

Here is a list of the more useable scripts - All avail for download from
Please note that any of the perl or perl/Tk requires that YOU have Perl and Perl/Tk installed on your computer.
GearCreate simply requires MS Excel or Open Office. Will it work in Numbers? I dunno...