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Mitosis: Anatomy of a Custom Keyboard

อังคาร, 06/06/2017 - 06:00

Ergonomic. Wireless. Low-latency. Minimalist. Efficient. How far do you go when you design your own open-source keyboard? Checking off these boxes and providing the means for others to do so, Redditor [reverse_bias] presents the Mitosis keyboard, and this thing is cool.

The custom, split– as the namesake implies — mechanical keyboard has 23 keys on each 10 cm x 10 cm half, and, naturally, a custom keymapping for optimal personal use.

Upper and lower PCBs host the keys and electronic circuits respectively, contributing to the sleek finished look. Key caps and mechanical switches were ripped from sacrificial boards: two Waveshare core51822 Bluetooth modules are used for communication, with a third module paired with a Pro Micro make up the receiver.[reverse_bias] spent a fair bit of time attempting to minimize the power consumption of the keyboard so it could be powered by a pair of coin batteries, giving it an estimated six month lifespan of daily use.  These are pinched between the upper and lower boards by little dabs of solder and the slight spring tension of the boards themselves. However, a bit of de-soldering is required to change the battery.

Laser-cut adhesive neoprene adorns the base, proving a comfortable springiness, grip, and protection for the pins as well as cushioning from any debris on the desk. The final product has almost zero flex, has a low enough profile to negate the need for a wrist rest. If you’re interested in building your own, [reverse_bias] has linked all the relevant files here.

Of course, one could always go the opposite way and opt for a more heavyweight option.

[Thanks for the tip, Tyberius Prime!]


Filed under: hardware

Hackaday Prize Entry: Sub Gigahertz RF

อังคาร, 06/06/2017 - 03:30

For all the press WiFi and Bluetooth-connected Internet of Things toasters get, there’s still a lot of fun to be had below one Gigahertz. For his Hackaday Prize entry, [Adam] is working on an open source, extensible 915 and 433 MHz radio designed for robotics, drones, weather balloons, and all the other fun projects that sub-Gigaherts radio enables.

The design of this radio module is based around the ADF7023 RF transceiver, a very capable and very cheap chip that transmits in the usual ISM bands. The rest of the circuit is an STM32 ARM Cortex M0+, with USB, UART, and SPI connectivity, with support for a battery for those mobile projects.

Of course, you can just go out and buy an ISM radio, but that’s not really the point of this project. [Adam] has come up with an excellent board here, all designed in KiCad, all while flexing his RF muscle. There are RF shields here, too, so it’s far more than just a design challenge, this is an assembly and sourcing problem as well. It’s a great project, and an excellent example of what we’re looking for in The Hackaday Prize.

The HackadayPrize2017 is Sponsored by:
Filed under: radio hacks, The Hackaday Prize

Exposing Dinosaur Phone Insecurity With Software Defined Radio

อังคาร, 06/06/2017 - 02:00

Long before everyone had a smartphone or two, the implementation of a telephone was much stranger than today. Most telephones had real, physical buttons. Even more bizarrely, these phones were connected to other phones through physical wires. Weird, right? These were called “landlines”, a technology that shuffled off this mortal coil three or four years ago.

It gets even more bizarre. some phones were wireless — just like your smartphone — but they couldn’t get a signal more than a few hundred feet away from your house for some reason. These were ‘cordless telephones’. [Corrosive] has been working on deconstructing the security behind these cordless phones for a few years now and found these cordless phones aren’t secure at all.

The phone in question for this exploit is a standard 5.8 GHz cordless phone from Vtech. Conventional wisdom says these phones are reasonably secure — at least more so than the cordless phones from the 80s and 90s — because very few people have a duplex microwave transceiver sitting around. The HackRF is just that, and it only costs $300. This was bound to happen eventually.

This is really just an exploration of the radio system inside these cordless phones. After taking a HackRF to a cordless phone, [Corrosive] found the phone technically didn’t operate in the 5.8 GHz band. Control signals, such as pairing a handset to a base station, happened at 900 MHz. Here, a simple replay attack is enough to get the handset to ring. It gets worse: simply by looking at the 5.8 GHz band with a HackRF, [Corrosive] found an FM-modulated voice channel when the handset was on. That’s right: this phone transmits your voice without any encryption whatsoever.

This isn’t the first time [Corrosive] found a complete lack of security in cordless phones. A while ago, he was exploring the DECT 6.0 standard, a European cordless phone standard for PBX and VOIP. There was no security here, either. It would be chilling if landlines existed anymore.


Filed under: radio hacks

Designing Products With Injection Molding in Mind

อังคาร, 06/06/2017 - 01:00

3D printing is a technique we’ve all been using for ages at home, or via Shapeways, but if you are designing a product, 3D printing will only get you so far. It’s crude, slow, expensive, and has lots of limitations. While it’s great for the prototyping stage, ultimately products manufactured in volume will be manufactured using another method, and most likely it will be injection molding. Knowing how to design a part for injection molding means you can start prototyping with 3D printing, confident that you’ll be able to move to a mold without major changes to the design.

The 2017 Hackaday Prize includes a $30,000 prize for Best Product as we seek products that not only show a great idea, but are designed for manufacturing and have thought through what it takes to get them into the hands of the users. Some of the entries seem to be keenly aware of the challenges associated with moving from prototyping to production. Here are some examples of best practices when prototyping with future injection molding in mind.

SnapBloks – Reusable molds

SnapBloks is building interactive modular blocks that each have different functions, from power to temperature monitoring, playing sound, turning on LEDs, and moving motors. The blocks snap together with magnets. Having a modular block-based system like this means many products to build and stock. This means a lot of inventory and parts to source. It could also mean many different injection molded pieces. One thing SnapBloks did well is to have the same top piece for each of their blocks, differentiated by color. Running the injection mold with one color, then switching to a different color gives the look of a different product without having to do additional expensive molds.

One mold, multiple products. Reuse your molds if possible.

Wherever possible, try to reduce the number of molds you need. SnapBloks may still need a lot of molds for their bottom halves, but reusing the top is a good plan.

SnappCat – Simple molds

SnappCat is a device that takes pictures of your cat, a sorely needed product in an age where there are not enough cat pictures on the Internet. A simple mold will open and close and eject a part without resistance. This means the part can’t have any features that would “lock” the part into the mold, like a side hole or overhang.

If side features are required, this is accomplished in the mold with a slide, which is a third piece of the mold that slides in from the side and then comes out before the part is ejected. Slides can be expensive, but side holes are still a necessity in enclosures. The way to do that is to have your holes be at the union of the front and back of the enclosure, so that each side of the enclosure has 1 or more sides of the hole. SnappCat’s design has that built into their 3D printed mold. Notice that 3 sides of the hole are in the purple part, and the back part will cover up the final side, making a complete hole without a complicated mold.

3 of the 4 sides of the holes are on one part, and the 4th side is on the other plastic part. Braille Compact Printing Press – Use big tolerances

The title of this project is pretty descriptive; It’s a small printing press for Braille. One can put together a note in Braille, then rub paper over it to emboss the paper. It doesn’t have to be done in mirror, though, like a printing press would. What’s important to note is that the sloppier the tolerance in a part, the less warping matters, and the more success you’ll have.

[haydn jones] learned his lesson about this the hard way when he 3D printed with the tolerances too tight, and the pieces didn’t fit together well. If your part demands .001″ tolerance for the parts to assemble properly, then the factory is going to throw away a lot of failed parts (or regrind them) and you’ll have to pay for that effort.

If your parts allow for some variability, everybody is happier and the parts are cheaper. With the Braille compact printing press, they use simple parts, there are only 6 different designed parts, and the placement doesn’t need to be perfect, so the tolerances can be fairly large.

Bigger tolerances make this product easier to use, don’t affect function, and ensure manufacturing will be successful. Other Design Considerations

In 3D printing, draft is not an important concept, but in a mold it is essential. This means that all walls will slope gently so that the part can be ejected from the mold easily. Parts should plan for at least 1 degree of draft, and you should make sure the draft goes in the correct direction so that the part isn’t locked into the mold.

No draft (left) causes wear on the mold and other problems.
Appropriate draft allows the part to come out of the mold easily.

Consistent wall thickness is another important design guideline. 3D printing will just fill in a large area with a pattern so that it retains shape and strength, but there is no such equivalent in injection molding, so a large cavity will end up with a lot of plastic. When it cools, this plastic shrinks, leaving a feature called a sink mark (and wasting plastic). It’s best to have all the walls of the plastic be the same thickness, and any features like bosses (for screws or holding a piece in place) should be away from the wall and connected with ribs.

Consistent wall thickness, bosses offset from wall with rib.

Use different colors, or the same mold, for outside parts. Color matching is difficult, and between runs is almost impossible. You don’t want to have a white piece right next to a slightly-not-white piece because the molder made the two halves at different times on different machines. The way to solve this problem is to design it so that parts are intentionally very different colors, or do a family mold which contains both parts in the same mold, so that they both get the same color plastic at the same time.

The Hackaday Prize Best Product competition is heating up, and we’re excited to see which products will rise to the top. We want to see the design, manufacturing, and business decisions you’re working on that will take your project and make it a product! Enter your product now.

The HackadayPrize2017 is Sponsored by:
Filed under: Hackaday Columns, The Hackaday Prize

Formlabs Announces a Desktop SLS 3D Printer

อังคาร, 06/06/2017 - 00:07

Formlabs have just announced the Fuse 1 — a selective laser sintering (SLS) 3D printer that creates parts out of nylon. Formlabs is best known for their Form series of resin-based SLA 3D printers, and this represents a very different direction.

SLS printers, which use a laser to sinter together models out of a powder-based material, are not new but have so far remained the domain of Serious Commercial Use. To our knowledge, this is the first time an actual SLS printer is being made available to the prosumer market. At just under 10k USD it’s definitely the upper end of the prosumer market, but it’s certainly cheaper than the alternatives.

The announcement is pretty light on details, but they are reserving units for a $1000 deposit. A few things we can throw in about the benefits of SLS: it’s powder which is nicer to clean up than resin printers, and parts should not require any kind of curing. The process also requires no support material as the uncured powder will support any layers being cured above it. The Fuse 1’s build chamber is 165 x 165 x 320 mm, and can be packed full of parts to make full use of the volume.

In the past we saw a detailed teardown of the Form 2 which revealed excellent workmanship and attention to detail. Let’s hope the same remains true of Formlabs’ newest offering.


Filed under: 3d Printer hacks, news

DIY Grid Eye IR Camera

จันทร์, 06/05/2017 - 22:31

Tindie is a great place to find uncommon electronic components or weird/interesting boards. [Xose Pérez] periodically “stroll the isles” of Tindie to keep up on cool new components, and when he saw Panasonic’s Grid_EYE AMG88 infrared sensor, [Xose] knew that he had to build something with it. The awesome find is an 8×8 IR array sensor on a breakout board… the hack is all in what you do with it.

Already taken by “LED fever,” [Xose’s] mind immediately fixated on an 8×8 IR array with an 8×8 LED matrix display. With a vision, [Xose] threw together an IR sensor matrix, a LED matrix, a small microcontroller, a Li-Ion battery, a charger, and a step-up to power the LEDs. What did he end up with? A bulky but nice camera that looks fantastic.

While commercially available IR Cameras have thousands of pixels and can overlay a normal image over an IR image among other fancy stuff, they are sometimes prohibitively expensive and, to quote [Xose], “waaaaaay less fun to build”. Like any engineer, [Xose] still has ideas for how to improve his open source camera. From more color patterns to real time recording, [Xose] is only limited by the memory of his microcontroller.

Moreover, [Xose’s] camera is inspired by the Pibow cases made by Pimoroni and this is only one project in a series that uses a stack of laser cut pieces of MDF and acrylic for the project enclosure. What’s not to love: short fabrication times and a stunning result. Want more project enclosures? We’ve got plenty.


Filed under: digital cameras hacks

Hacking On TV: What You Need To Know

จันทร์, 06/05/2017 - 21:00

It seems to be a perennial feature of our wider community of hackers and makers, that television production companies come up with new ideas for shows featuring us and our skills. Whether it is a reality maker show, a knockout competition, a scavenger hunt, or any other format, it seems that there is always a researcher from one TV company or another touting around the scene for participants in some new show.

These shows are entertaining and engaging to watch, and we’ve all probably wondered how we might do were we to have a go ourselves. Fame and fortune awaits, even if only during one or two episodes, and sometimes participants even find themselves launched into TV careers. Americans may be familiar with [Joe Grand], for instance, and Brits will recognise [Dick Strawbridge].

It looks as if it might be a win-win situation to be a TV contestant on a series filmed in exotic foreign climes, but it’s worth taking a look at the experience from another angle. What you see on the screen is the show as its producer wants you to see it, fast-paced and entertaining. What you see as a competitor can be entirely different, and before you fill in that form you need to know about both sides.

A few years ago I was one member of a large team of makers that entered the UK version of a very popular TV franchise. The experience left me with an interest in how TV producers craft the public’s impression of an event, and also with a profound distrust of much of what I see on my screen. This prompted me to share experiences with those people I’ve met over the years who have been contestants in other similar shows, to gain a picture of the industry from more than just my personal angle. Those people know who they are and I thank them for their input, but because some of them may still be bound by contract I will keep both their identities and those of the shows they participated in a secret. It’s thus worth sharing some of the insights gleaned from their experiences, so that should you be interested in having a go yourself, you are forewarned.

All TV competitions are a fix

It has been a universal experience of the competitors I have encountered, that all the competitions in the shows they appeared on had something of the fix about them. This is not to say that the outcome of the show is decreed in advance and all competitors are merely actors, but that the producers will identify favoured candidates and tilt the odds in their favour. If you think about it, this makes sense from the point of view of the producers, because they are not in the business of running a competition but of making good TV. If a particular team or competitor makes a better prospect for ratings then of course they will lend them a helping hand. This is a private competition for the benefit of the TV company rather than an open and fair sport run by a governing body, and you need to be aware of that before you enter it.

Events on-screen don’t happen quite the way they did for real

Another universal experience when discussing shows has been the on-screen portrayal of an event being entirely different from what really happened. Usually this involves technical assistance being required to make something happen, but which would fall outside the on-screen “rules” of the show. If you need an unobtanium screw to complete your build and the producer will not get the episode in the can without one, then the cameras will stop rolling while one is found at all costs, and the viewers will be none the wiser. Sometimes this will favour a single competitor or team over others, as you might gather from the previous paragraph.

Prepare to be the bad guy

TV producers like heroes and villains. Personal conflict makes good TV. So they will do anything to create such a narrative, even if that means completely fabricating it. One contestant I encountered found himself cast as the bad guy and given trash talk lines to deliver. He did so, but in his most wooden acting, and constantly breaking the fourth wall. There is an upside to being the bad guy though, it’s a good strategy if you want to appear in more than one episode. Ideally for the producer, the final episode will be an epic battle between you and whoever they picked to be the good guy, with of course the good guy prevailing. See the earlier paragraph about competitions on TV being a fix.

Prepare to be set up to be laughed at

If the viewer can be persuaded to see themselves as better in some way than someone on their screens, from the producer’s point of view it makes good TV. An easy way to do this is to have the viewer seem more sophisticated and socially able than the competitor, so on shows drawing from our community you should expect to find competitors portrayed as socially inept and unstylish geeks. If you think of Big Bang Theory‘s [Sheldon Cooper], you can instantly see a fictional example of this kind of character, so you should try to avoid the stereotypes that might give yourself the same fate.

Your property is their property

TV producers like free stuff. Hell, everyone likes free stuff! To a TV producer, everything that comes in front of his camera is a prop, and props can be abused and destroyed at will, because that makes good TV. If you own something – like, say, a fighting robot, just to name one example cited by many former contestants – and bring it on TV, make sure that there is a black-and-white signed contract stating that the TV company is responsible for any damage. Because they will damage it, of that you can be certain. If it’s yours, and they don’t have to pay for it, your precious may be worth more dead than alive.

Don’t trust them when it comes to money

While a short appearance on a TV panel show or similar might be something you could view in the same light as a day’s outing for pleasure, the type of shows we are often asked to participate in will usually require a significant commitment. You will have to give up days or even weeks of your time, and often you will have to travel a significant distance to the filming location. Make sure that anything that puts you significantly out-of-pocket is adequately compensated in a black-and-white contract, and not on some vague promise of future payment. If there is any question of your having a budget within the show to buy parts, make sure that you hold them to the sums they promise, and make sure that you are compensated for any personal expenditure. And finally, if you do win, ensure that the prize money promised does eventually come your way. Several of the former contestants whose stories went towards this piece related experiences of TV companies attempting to short-change them. Given the amount of cash that floats around that industry, it is simply not acceptable to be shorted.

You might read the above paragraphs and conclude that I’m trying to tell you to never go near a TV show in your life. But that’s not exactly the case, it was a fairly universal reaction from the former contestants that they’d enjoyed the experience and might even do it again. In truth, at least one of them had done just that, and appeared on more than one show. However forewarned is forearmed, and you will need to be aware of the pitfalls, such as they are, before you fill in those forms.

There is one final warning. TV nowadays is a thousand-channel medium, so at any given time in the next ten years or so that episode with you in it is going to be on repeat somewhere in the high-numbered satellite or cable channels. Make sure it’s not going to have something you’re embarrassed about in it, because everyone you know is going to be constantly seeing it.


Filed under: Featured, Interest, slider

Starship One: The Ultimate 90’s Synthesizer

จันทร์, 06/05/2017 - 18:01

We’ve seen some crazy music production stations over the years. But this synthesizer system may just take the cake. Starship One is the creation of [Marc Brasse]. At first glance, this music battle station looks like it belongs on the bridge of the Enterprise. The resemblance is not entirely unintentional. [Marc] himself says “Commander Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation might actually (have) like(d) it if he did not have such a conservative taste in music.”

At the core of Starship One are two underappreciated synths from the 90’s. The Technics WSA1, and a Gem S3 turbo. Both were keyboards ahead of their time. The WSA1 is a modeling synth, a sound generation trend in the ’90s which sounded great, but never quite caught on. The other strike against it was that it was built by Technics, who had a reputation for building HiFi equipment and home keyboards. Professionals just didn’t pick it up.

The Gem S3 had a similar story — built by a company called General Music, the keyboard was a great design with incredible piano action, but never quite made it. [Marc] wasn’t turned off by the lineage of these two synths. In fact, he embraced them. [Marc] explains more about his philosophy in creating the Starship One in this PDF document.

[Marc] combined these two instruments with Fatar MP1 bass pedals, a ribbon controller, and more additional components than we could ever hope to name here. The frame of the synth is built from a discarded retail CD sales rack. Extruded aluminum pieces came from a sun slat curtain. Just about every part was reused to build one beast of a workstation.

If you’re wondering what the strange keyboard layout is, it’s a Janko keyboard adapter [Marc] custom made. Instead of 88 notes, there are 264 keys, arranged so that every chord has the same fingering, regardless of the scale being played.

Want more modulation? Check out this ARM based FM synth, or this monster post of open source synths!


Filed under: musical hacks

Sun Ray Thin Client Becomes Raspberry Pi Workstation

จันทร์, 06/05/2017 - 15:01

One of the great predictions of desktop computing from the mid 1990s was that we would all move to so-called thin clients, stripped-out desktop computers containing only processor, display driver, and peripheral interfaces, that would call up their applications not from a local hard disk but from a remote server. It was one that was never fulfilled in quite the way its proponents envisaged, but a business thin client hardware market did emerge for the likes of Citrix sharing of Windows applications. In a sense we have reached the same point through cloud-based in-browser applications such as Google Apps or Office 365, though even with newer thin client hardware such as the Chromebook these are still largely used on more traditional machines.

Even though thin clients never took the world by storm, it is still not unusual to encounter the hardware once it has outlived its usefulness. A surplus Sun Ray 270 all-in-one thin client came [Evan Allen]’s way, and to make something useful from it he converted it into a Raspberry Pi workstation.

The Sun Ray 270 has a MIPS processor board integrated into a 17 inch monitor. [Evan] was fortunate enough to find a generic HDMI controller board for its LCD panel, so was able to dispense with the MIPS board entirely and couple the controller with an automatic HDMI switch. This allows him to use the device both as a Raspberry Pi and as a monitor.

This may not rank among the most epic hacks ever, but it has delivered [Evan] a useful computer and it’s reminding the rest of us that these thin clients can be repurposed. So if one lands on your bench, look at it with fresh eyes.

Of course, if you have a Pi in a thin client, you could always take it full circle and use it to run a thin client.


Filed under: Raspberry Pi

ESP8266 MQTT Remote Gate Entry

จันทร์, 06/05/2017 - 12:00

Do you live in an area where you (or your car) are locked in by a gate? If so, you may know how [Alexander Else] feels about letting his guests in and out constantly with a remote control — it’s just not convenient. [Alexander] could have just purchased some extra remote controls and passed them out, but they aren’t exactly as cheap as party favors. Not to mention it wouldn’t make sense to hand one out to every single visitor anyway. Because the gate is a community gate, hacking the actual gate system was not an option. There was only one thing he could do — hack the remote control!

Like just about every other hacker, [Alexander] had a spare ESP8266-based board lying around. [Alexander] also had a couple of spare relays which he used to control the two buttons on his designated ‘sacrifice’ remote — one relay per button. After throwing these parts together with a couple of supporting bits of electronics, the hardware was done.  Now [Alexander] can just set up HTTP Request Shortcuts on each trusted visitor’s smartphone. From there on out they can open/close the gates themselves!

Originally, he was using IFTTT to trigger the string of events that make it all happen, but there was a delay of about 8 seconds (from trigger to relay action). [Alexander] was not having this so he turned to the HTTP Request Shortcuts app. When he made this change, the delay disappeared.

That’s pretty impressive considering the near-dizzying amount of software components involved in this project. There is the firmware on the NodeMCU board of course, and there’s everything else: CloudMQTT, Python, Flask, AWS Lambda, Zappa, HTTP Request Shortcuts. If you want to see how all of this ties together to make his system work, check out his GitHub page for this project.

Looks like he’s not done yet. [Alexander] updated this project with a couple of improvements, which he put on a separate Hackaday.io page which we’ll have to keep our eye on. We have just one suggestion for this project — it could use some security. [Alexander] does mention adding some kind of authentication/security later, so that makes us feel a little better.

There are surprisingly few electric gate hacks around here so if you have one, send it in! Need a little inspiration? This gate was hacker-created, while this one was hacker-hacked.


Filed under: home hacks

Hackaday Prize Entry: Safety Glasses Are Also Hands-Free Multimeter

จันทร์, 06/05/2017 - 09:00

It seems like the multimeter is never easy to see during a project. Whether it’s troubleshooting a vehicle’s electrical system and awkwardly balancing the meter on some vacuum lines and the intake manifold, or installing a new solar panel and hoping the meter doesn’t fall on the ground while the leads are in both hands, it seems like there’s never a good way to see the meter while actually using it. Some meters have a small magnet and strap that can be used to hang them temporarily, but this will only get you so far.

[Alain Mauer]’s entry into the Hackaday Prize looks to solve this glaring problem. Using a heads-up Bluetooth display mounted to a pair of safety glasses, a multimeter can be connected to the device in order to display its information directly to its user. Based on his original idea which used a normal pair of prescription glasses as its foundation, [Alain]’s goal is to reduce safety hazards that might arise when using a multimeter in an awkward or dangerous manner that might not otherwise be possible.

The device uses an Arduino Pro Micro to connect to the multimeter and drive the display. [Alain] notes that the real challenge is with the optical system, however. Either way though, this would be a welcome addition to any lab, workspace, or electrician’s toolbox. Be sure to check out the video of it in action after the break.

The HackadayPrize2017 is Sponsored by:


Filed under: The Hackaday Prize, tool hacks

Hackaday Links: June 4, 2017

จันทร์, 06/05/2017 - 06:00

Quick question: what was the first personal computer? We love pointless arguments over technological history, so let’s just go down the list. It wasn’t an IBM, and the guy who invented the personal computer said he didn’t invent the personal computer. The Apple I is right out, and there were some weird Italian things that don’t quite count. Here’s an auction for, “The first personal computer”, a MICRAL N, released in 1974. There’s an 8080 running at 500kHz with 16kB of RAM and ‘mixed memory’. This is an important bit of history that belongs in a museum, and the auction will start at €20,000. The starting price might be a bit high; recently an original Apple I sold at auction for €90,000. This is a pittance for what these things usually go for. Is the market for vintage retrocomputers dropping out from underneath us? Only time will tell.

In Upstate NY? There’s a Hacker con going on June 16-17. You can get 20% off your ticket to ANYCon by using the code ‘HACKADAY’.

Colorblind? Hackaday readers suffer from colorblindness at a higher rate than the general population. [João] created this really neat tool to differentiate colors on a screen. Windows only, but still handy.

Everyone’s excited about the $150 3D printer that will be released by Monoprice sometime this summer. Here’s a $99 3D printer. Yes, it’s a Kickstarter so the standard warnings apply, but this bot does have a few things going for it. It uses actual NEMA 17 motors, and the people behind this printer actually have experience in manufacturing hardware. The downsides? It’s entirely leadscrew driven, so it’s going to be very, very slow.

What do you call the dumbest person with an EE degree? An engineer. It’s at this point where you should realize the value of a tertiary education is not defined by the most capable graduates; it’s defined by the least capable graduates.

Here’s your Sunday evening viewing: [Bunnie] gave a talk on RISC-V and the expectations of Open Hardware.

Hey, OpenBuilds has a new Mini Mill. It’s a basic CNC router designed for small ~1HP Bosch or Dewalt laminate trimmers. Small, but capable.

Kerbal Space Program, the only video game that should be required study materials at the Air Force Academy, Embry-Riddle and for everyone working at NASA, has been acquired by Take-Two Interactive. By all accounts, this is good news. According to reports, the original dev team left for Valve a few months ago, reportedly because of terrible conditions at Squad, the (former) developer of KSP.

The Stratolaunch carrier aircraft has rolled out of the hangar. It’s two 747s duct speed taped together.


Filed under: Hackaday Columns, Hackaday links

Impression Products V. Lexmark International: A Victory For Common Sense

จันทร์, 06/05/2017 - 03:01

A few months ago we reported on a case coming before the United States Supreme Court that concerned recycled printer cartridges. Battling it out were Impression Products, a printer cartridge recycling company, and Lexmark, the printer manufacturer. At issue was a shrinkwrap licence on inkjet cartridges — a legal agreement deemed to have been activated by the customer opening the cartridge packaging — that tied a discounted price to a restriction on the cartridge’s reuse.

It was of concern to us because of the consequences it could have had for the rest of the hardware world, setting a potential precedent such that any piece of hardware could have conditions still attached to it when it has passed through more than one owner, without the original purchaser being aware of agreeing to any legal agreement. This would inevitably have a significant effect on the work of most Hackaday readers, and probably prohibit many of the projects we feature.

We are therefore very pleased to see that a few days ago the Supremes made their decision, and as the EFF reports, it went in favor of Impression Products, and us, the consumer.  In their words, when a patent owner:

…chooses to sell an item, that product is no longer within the limits of the monopoly and instead becomes the private individual property of the purchaser, with the rights and benefits that come along with ownership.

In other words, when you buy a printer cartridge or any other piece of hardware, it is yours to do with as you wish.

This can only be good news for our community, as so much of the work we see involves the modification or reverse engineering of products that might fall foul of such licences were they to be allowed to be used without restriction. The EFF go into more detail including on the other parts of the decision in their write-up, and if you’d like some background you can read our original report.

[Image Source: US Supreme Court Building by CJStumpf CC-BY-SA 3.0]


Filed under: Current Events, hardware, news, slider

A Retro Car Stereo With Arduino Inside

จันทร์, 06/05/2017 - 00:01

For some car enthusiasts whose passions run towards older vehicles, only originality will do. [Darkspr1te] for instance has an RA28 Toyota Celica from the mid 1970s for which he has gone to great lengths to source a pristine center console to replace a damaged original.

There is only one problem with the center console on a 1970s Toyota, it doesn’t have a DIN cut-out for the standard-sized car radios that have become universal in the decades since its manufacture. Instead it has a cut-out for a Toyota-specific radio in the old style with holes for volume and tuning knobs to either side of a protruding center unit that would have contained a tuning dial and a slot for cassettes or maybe 8-track cartridges.

His solution is an interesting one, he’s put together his own car stereo in an enclosure suitable for the Toyota cut-out. Inside the radio there is an Arduino Mega controlling the breakout boards for an Si4703 FM tuner and a VMusic3 MP3/USB music player, and a PT2314 audio processor. For display there is a set of retro LED seven-segment modules, and an MSGEQ7 spectrum analyser. The result is a modern radio with FM, line-input, and MP3 player, with all the functions you’d expect. There is no onboard amplifier though, but this function is fulfilled by an external unit.

The finished unit is topped off with a very professional front panel, which you can see in his demo video below the break.

We’ve had very few car radios from scratch here at Hackaday, but we have had more than one bluetooth upgrade or addition of a line-in port.


Filed under: car hacks

Gimbal SDI Camera Mod

อาทิตย์, 06/04/2017 - 21:01

Sometimes when you need something, there is a cheap and easily obtainable product that almost fits the bill. Keyword: almost. [Micah Elizabeth Scott], also known as [scanlime], is creating a hovering camera to follow her cat around, and her Feiyu Mini3D 3-axis brushless gimbal almost did everything she’d need. After a few modifications, [Micah] now has a small and inexpensive 3-axis gimbal with a Crazyfire HZ-100P SDI camera and LIDAR-Lite distance sensor.

At thirty minutes long, [Micah’s] documenting video is rife with learning moments. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: “just watch it and thank us later.” [Micah Elizabeth Scott] has a way of taking complicated concepts and processes and explaining things in a way that just makes sense (case in point: side-channel glitching) . And, while this hack isn’t exactly the most abstractly challenging, [Micah’s] natural talent as a teacher still comes through. She takes you through what goes right and what goes wrong, making sure to explain why things are wrong, and how she develops a solution.

Throughout her video, [Micah] shares small bits of wisdom gained from first-hand experience. From black hot glue to t-glase (a 3D printing filament), we learned of a few materials that could be mighty useful.

We’re no strangers to the work of [Micah Elizabeth Scott], she’s been on the scene for a while now. She’s been a Hackaday Prize Judge in 2015 and 2016 and is always making things we love to cover. She’s one of our three favorite hackers and has a beautiful website that showcases her past work.

Video after the break.

Thanks to [Morris] for sending this in!


Filed under: digital cameras hacks, robots hacks

Arduino and Encoder form Precision Jig for Cutting and Drilling

อาทิตย์, 06/04/2017 - 18:01

“Measure twice, cut once” is great advice in every aspect of fabrication, but perhaps nowhere is it more important than when building a CNC machine. When precision is the name of the game, you need measuring tools that will give you repeatable results and preferably won’t cost a fortune. That’s the idea behind this Arduino-based measuring jig for fabricating parts for a CNC build.

When it comes to building on the cheap, nobody holds a candle to [HomoFaciens]. We’ve seen his garbage can CNC build and encoders from e-waste and tin cans, all of which gave surprisingly good results despite incorporating such compliant materials as particle board and scraps of plumber’s strapping. Looking to build a more robust machine, he finds himself in need of parts of consistent and accurate lengths, so he built this jig. A sled of particle board and a fence of angle aluminum position the square tube stock, and a roller with a paper encoder wheel bears on the tube under spring pressure. By counting pulses from the optical sensors, he’s able to precisely position the tube in the jig for cutting and drilling operations. See it in action in the video after the break.

If you’ve been following [HomoFaciens], you’ll no doubt see where he’s been going — build a low-end tool, use that to build a better one, and so on. We’re excited to see him moving into more robust materials, but we’ll miss the cardboard and paperclip builds.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, tool hacks

A Mobile Bar In A Trailer!

อาทิตย์, 06/04/2017 - 15:01

Ok, there are some worthy laws in place regulating the sale and distribution of alcohol — and for good reason. For many a bootlegger, however, the dream of renovating an old trailer from 1946 into a mobile bar is a dream that must– wait, what? That already exists?

It’s no mobile workshop, but the bar was initially built to accommodate guests at their wedding. [HelloPennyBar] has shared the reconstruction process with the world. Inside, there’s everything you’d need to serve beverages, including a (double) kitchen sink. In addition to a water tank, a pair of car batteries serve as the central power with electrical work installed for interior lights, a small fan to keep the bartenders cool, exterior lights, a water pump, the trailer lights, and more exterior lights so the patrons can party the night away.

Before you say anything, [HelloPennyBar] says they would need a license to sell alcohol, but alleges that for serving alcohol at private events in their state it suffices to have an off-site responsible serving license. Furthermore, a few helpful redditors have chimed in regarding battery safety and cable-mounts, to which [HelloPennyBar] was amenable. Safety and legality noted, the mobile bar must make for a novel evening of fun.

[via /r/DIY]


Filed under: Beer Hacks, transportation hacks

Building a Self-Balancing Robot Made Easy

อาทิตย์, 06/04/2017 - 12:01

Not only has [Joop Brokking] built an easy to make balancing robot but he’s produced an excellent set of plans and software for anyone else who wants to make one too. Self-balancers are a milestone in your robot building life. They stand on two-wheels, using a PID control loop to actuate the two motors using data from some type of Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU). It sounds simple, but when starting from scratch there’s a lot of choices to be made and a lot of traps to fall into. [Joop’s] video explains the basic principles and covers the reasons he’s done things the way he has — all the advice you’d be looking for when building one of your own.

He chose steppers over cheaper DC motors because this delivers precision and avoids issues when the battery voltage drops. His software includes a program for getting a calibration value for the IMU. He also shows how to set the drive current for the stepper controllers. And he does all this clearly, and at a pace that’s neither too fast, nor too slow. His video is definitely worth checking out below.

There are many different flavors of balancing robots abound here on Hackaday. [Joop]’s uses Arduinos and steppers, but [Renee]’s EddiePlus uses an Intel Edison and Pololu DC motors. Or why not try balancing on a ball instead of on wheels? And to get around DC motor issues with balancing robots, have a look at this open-source ATmega32U4 based controller.


Filed under: robots hacks

Saving A Part-Way-Through Failed 3D Print

อาทิตย์, 06/04/2017 - 09:00

This will be an experience shared by all 3D printer owners; a long print is mostly done, and something goes wrong. Result: most of the print and a heap of plastic vermicelli, or worse still, a print with an obviously offset layer in it.

[Simon Merrett] had a large part running on his printer, and 2.5 hours in to a 3 hour print the nozzle caught the edge of what he had already done, and as a result he was extruding into thin air (He told us in his tip email that his machine build was the likely culprit). Being fortunate enough to see it happening, he was able to hit the stop button in his Repetier software and bring the calamity to a swift halt.

How he rescued the situation is an interesting tale which he’s recorded in the screen capture video we’ve placed below the break, it involved using a spreadsheet to analyse the G-Code and remove the lines for the part he had already printed before inserting a new set of Z-axis dimensions to start the remaining section of print from the bed upwards. A few further fixes, and he was able to print the rest of his part, which he could then glue to the unfinished top of the section he had already printed. He points out in his YouTube description that he emailed the Repetier folks, and they told him a quicker way to deal with the Z-axis: using the G92 command to reset it.

You might ask why if he was prepared to spend this amount of time he didn’t simply reprint the entire part. But he points out, in that event the print could well have failed again at exactly the same point.

If you’re not able to pick up a failed print to finish it, how about recycling your failed prints?


Filed under: 3d Printer hacks

Z80 Based Raspberry Pi Look-alike

อาทิตย์, 06/04/2017 - 06:01

Homebrew computers are the ‘in thing’ these days and the Zilog Z80 is the most popular choice for making one on your own. We have seen some pretty awesome builds but [Martin K]’s Z-berry is the smallest on record yet. As the name suggests, the retrocomputer conforms to the Raspberry Pi form factor which includes the GPIO header.

The Z-berry is designed with a Z80 CPU running at 10 MHz (20 MHz possible) and comes with 32 kB ROM
and 512 kB RAM. In addition to the serial interface, the computer boasts an I2C bus, an SPI bus, and a PS/2 keyboard connector to boot. [Martin K] has a video where the finished system is enclosed in a Raspberry Pi case and has an I2C OLED display attached and working.

[Martin K] has posted a lot of details on how to make your own Z-berry which includes the BOM, schematic and preliminary information. We reached out to him to find out more about the software which is stable and available on request along with PCBs and sample code. Additionally, this project promises to draw much less current than the Raspberry Pi and should prove useful for anyone looking to create a retro solution to a modern problem.

It is interesting to see projects that combine modern techniques with retro technologies. One of the best Z80 projects we have seen is the FAP80 and there are some awesome homebrew computer projects on Hackaday.io for you to take a look and get inspiration.

[Thanks for the tip Matej]


Filed under: classic hacks, hardware