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Home Made Lightbulb is a Fun Proof of Concept

ศุกร์, 07/11/2014 - 18:00

Do you ever look at some of the most classic and world-changing inventions and think, “Darn, I totally could have invented that if I was born 100 years ago!”. Sometimes its a lot of fun to try to recreate these inventions making use of period-accurate materials — like this jar-based carbon filament light bulb!

The project is made out of simple household materials that you probably already have. A jar, some pencil lead, a clothes hanger, some nuts and bolts, a bit of silicone, piano wire and a bit of JB weld. The only thing you might not have is some compressed CO2 — unless you have a kitchen fire extinguisher, a paintball gun, or one of those home-made pop carbonation machines… Alternatively you can just buy some dry ice and let it sublimate in the bottle before you seal the bulb.

No fancy tools are needed (except for an air nozzle for filling the bulb), and it’s not too difficult to construct. The trickiest part is probably drilling small holes through the screw, but if you choose nice brass screws it’ll be quite easy to do.

Once it’s all assembled, plug it into a car battery and enjoy your inefficient 1-lumen light bulb! Still — pretty fun experiment!

Filed under: classic hacks

$400 DIY CNC Machine is Surprisingly Simple!

ศุกร์, 07/11/2014 - 15:00

Once you go CNC you never go back — they’re just too darn convenient! [Drez20001] shows us how he made one for around $400. Who needs expensive roller bearings when you can use drawer slides?

That’s right — the majority of the cost of this CNC machine are the things you can’t really get any cheaper — the servos (or steppers), the belts (or leadscrews), and of course the motor controller plus computer interface. Everything else? Plywood, drawer slides, and a bunch of fasteners can be had for next to nothing!

He had wanted to build a CNC for years but was mostly hesitant in doing so due to the cost and apparent complexity of the build, but when he started to look into it seriously, he found it really wasn’t the case! It’s built on the basic gantry system design where the X-axis drives a bridge containing both the Y and Z-axis. It’s not a heavy duty machine by any means (he just has a small dremel-like tool in it right now), but for his purposes it’s more than enough.

One rather creative way he saved a few dollars is with his motor couplers — he’s actually taken rubber gas line and cinched it onto both shafts, which he says works quite well!

If you’re looking to spend a bit more and want a stronger machine, you might want to take a look at this aluminum variation we shared a few years ago — same basic idea.

[via Hackedgadgets]

Filed under: cnc hacks

2014 Red Bull Creation is Under Way

ศุกร์, 07/11/2014 - 11:49

We rolled into Detroit this morning and immediately wanted to know what the teams for the Red Bull Creation were up to. But first thing’s first, what’s the surprise theme? [Brian Benchoff] caught up with [Tyler Hansen] and [Jason Naumoff] who filled us in. The theme is “Reinvent the Wheel”.

The seven finalist teams are competing in a live, non-stop build which started yesterday and continues until tomorrow evening.

Filed under: cons

Party Ready Mini LED Volume Tower

ศุกร์, 07/11/2014 - 09:01

There are many very cool visual effects for music, but the best are the kind you build yourself. [Ben's] mini LED volume towers adds some nice bling to your music.

[Ben] was inspired to created this project when he saw a variety of awesome stereo LED towers on YouTube (also referred to as VU meters). We have even featured a few VU meters, one very recently. [Ben] goes over every detail, including how to test your circuit (a very important part of any project). The schematic is deceptively simple. It is based on the LM3914 display driver IC, a simple chained comparator circuit is used to control the volume bar display. All you really need is a 3D printer to make the base, and you can build this awesome tower.

See the completed towers in action after the break. What next? It would be cool to see a larger tower that displays frequency magnitude!

Filed under: digital audio hacks, led hacks

The Electric Imp and an Easy Hackaday Prize Entry

ศุกร์, 07/11/2014 - 06:01

We’re a little under a month until the first cutoff date for The Hackaday Prize, and there have been a few questions we’ve been answering again and again: ‘what does ‘connected’ mean?’ and, ‘do I really have enough time to build something for The Hackaday Prize?’ Lucky for you, [Matt] from Electric Imp put together a very short demo of a sample THP entry. It’s a ‘HACKING’ light, kind of like an ‘on air’ light you’d find in a TV or Radio studio.

The idea for the project came from a tweet to [Matt] that seemed simple enough to implement. After grabbing an Imp and a breakout board, a LED, button, and resistor were wired up, with power supplied over USB. The code for the device was simple enough, and the Imp makes it easy to make that ‘hacking’ button tweet and serve a simple web page.

[Matt] pulled this project together in an afternoon, and although it’s not nearly as complex as the 3D printers, CNC machines, and freakin’ tricorders that are also entered into The Hackaday Prize, it meets all the requirements we’re looking for.

Of course, ‘connected’ is a very broad term, and even if you have a project that communicates with LEDs, a serial connection, or even pigeons, it’ll be more than enough to tick that ‘connected’ check box.

There’s still a few weeks until the first cutoff date for The Hackaday Prize, so get moving.

[via Bearded Inventor]

Filed under: The Hackaday Prize

Vote or Be Sorry — Round 2 of Astronaut or Not

ศุกร์, 07/11/2014 - 03:01

Have you voted in the second round of Astronaut or Not? You’d better get in there by Friday at 9pm EDT or miss your chance to win a Bukito Portable 3D Printer in the voter’s lottery.

You must vote at least once per round to be eligible. At the appointed time we’ll draw a random number and look up to see if that profile on Hackaday.io has voted. If so, winner winner (like the Rigol scope that was awarded last Friday). If not, no Bukito for you! This new round just started at the beginning of the week. Your vote quota has been restored, and we tweaked the interface to only show you each project once.

In addition to your own gain, you’re helping us choose which projects deserve a bit of swag. We’re one again sending shirts to the projects who rise to the top of the head-to-head gudgematch.

UPDATE: To clarify, you must vote in the current round to be eligible for the current voter lottery. Your participation in previous rounds has no bearing on the current round eligibility.


Filed under: The Hackaday Prize

[Tom Sachs] Builds His Own Space Program

ศุกร์, 07/11/2014 - 00:00

Born in the mid 60′s, [Tom Sachs] has always been fascinated with space, especially the Apollo program. Just like every kid of his generation, [Tom] imagined himself in Neil Armstrong’s and Buzz Aldrin’s boots, gazing over the lunar surface. He never gave up that dream, and years later as a successful modern artist, he built his own space program.

[Tom Sachs] is a master of bricolage . Taken from the French word for tinkering, Wikipedia defines bricolage as “… the construction or creation of a work from a diverse range of things that happen to be available, or a work created by such a process.”  The term could also describe the junkbox procurement methods we use on many of our own projects.

Both [Tom's] 2007 lunar program and his 2012 Mars program featured his astonishing lunar lander. Built from plywood, found items, and junk, the lander literally made us do a double take the first time we saw it. The attention to detail is incredible. At first glance one could mistake this for a simulator built by NASA themselves. After a few seconds the custom touches start to jump out, such as a “Thank You” garbage door from a fast food restaurant, or a bar stocked with tequila and vodka. The lander’s tools are not just for show either, as the gallery opens with a simulated space mission, which could best be described as a mix of art, improv, and an epic game of make-believe for adults.

[Tom's] installations also include mission control, which in his Mars piece consisted of a dizzying array of screens, controls and an 80′s boombox. Dressed in the white shirt, thin tie, and horn rimmed glasses we’ve come to associate with NASA engineers of the 60′s, this is where [Tom] works. He truly is the engineer of this mission.

Editor’s Note [Tom] and the entire hacker community at large have a chance to go to space by entering The Hackaday Prize!

Filed under: misc hacks

THP Hacker Bio: nsted

พฤ, 07/10/2014 - 21:01


Have you ever wanted to build a robot arm, or even a full robot, but were put off by the daunting task of making all of those articulations work? Moti could make that a lot easier. The project seeks to produce smart servo motors which can connect and communicate in many different ways. It’s a great idea, so we wanted to know more about the hacker behind the project. After the jump you’ll find [nsted's] answers to our slate of question for this week’s Hacker Bio.

Settlers of Catan (replaced Chess), Trading Stocks, Jogging (new).

I wear a few different hats including teaching, making art projects, building technologies, and running a business.

Building robots, especially modular robots that interact through touch…(eg. Grapple)

A specific variable power supply I once knew. Crossing over 7.5 Volts triggered a 40+ Volt spike causing mayhem, confusion and self-doubt for many a day.

OSX – it’s easy and works well.

Weller Soldering Iron – It’s always there for me, like an old friend.

ATmega328p – I like its ubiquity…but I hear ARM calling.

Arduino & C++ – I know many (including HaD) are down on Arduino, but it’s saved me a lot of time over the years.

  1. Moti
  2. Interchangeable 3D printable robot body parts
  3. A robot that can safely and competently wrestle a person


Where are the robots already?! I thought by 2014 we’d be surrounded by them. We’re working on Moti to help people build more robots, faster. Moti is a kind of standardized robotic module for actuation, sensing, communication and basic computing. It’s meant to take care of the low level tasks so you can focus on the interesting parts of robot design such as bodies, behaviours and applications.

I thought Moti would work well for the Hackaday prize because it’s “connected” in a number of ways. You can control them from browsers, mobile apps, and through various APIs. And you can physically connect them to things…like 3D prints. I also wanted to expose Moti to people, get some feedback, and find future beta-testers.

Yes, PID…and control theory in general, but probably not for a few weeks yet.


Likes awesome work, will travel.

I hope that we get some feedback from the judges. And thanks!

Filed under: Hackaday Columns, Interviews, The Hackaday Prize

Homebrew NSA Bugs

พฤ, 07/10/2014 - 18:00

Thanks to [Edward Snowden] we have a huge, publicly available catalog of the very, very interesting electronic eavesdropping tools the NSA uses. Everything from incredibly complex ARM/FPGA/Flash modules smaller than a penny to machines that can install backdoors in Windows systems from a distance of eight miles are available to the nation’s spooks, and now, the sufficiently equipped electronic hobbyist can build their own.

[GBPPR2] has been going through the NSA’s ANT catalog in recent months, building some of the simpler radio-based bugs. The bug linked to above goes by the codename LOUDAUTO, and it’s a relatively simple (and cheap) radar retro-reflector that allows anyone with the hardware to illuminate a simple circuit to get audio back.

Also on [GBPPR2]‘s build list is RAGEMASTER, a device that fits inside a VGA cable and allows a single VGA color channel to be viewed remotely.

The basic principle behind both of these bugs is retroreflection, described by the NSA as a PHOTOANGLO device. The basic principle behind these devices is a FET in the bug, with an antenna connected to the drain. The PHOTOANGLO illuminates this antenna and the PWM signal sent to the gate of the FET modulates the returned signal. A bit of software defined radio on the receiving end, and you have your very own personal security administration.

It’s all very cool stuff, but there are some entries in the NSA catalog that don’t deal with radio at all. One device, IRATEMONK, installs a backdoor in hard drive controller chips. Interestingly, Hackaday favorite and current Hackaday Prize judge [Sprite_TM] did something extremely similar, only without, you know, being really sketchy about it.

While we don’t like the idea of anyone actually using these devices, the NSA ANT catalog is still fertile ground for project ideas.

Filed under: security hacks

Pi-Powered Anti-Cat Trap Soaks Felines and Other Animals

พฤ, 07/10/2014 - 15:00

[Joshua] has a problem with cats. They like pooping in his garden. He decided to take action with this awesome automated and humane cat trap.

Now just to clarify, he did attempt a few other alternatives before going all out in cat defense – the easiest solution would be to get a cat of his own, but alas, he’s not a cat person.

The system uses a Raspberry Pi in a waterproofed housing with a PiCam. He’s written some rudimentary code to make use of the PiCam Python Library which also allows him to record pre-cat-trapping footage, much for our enjoyment. When motion is sensed, the Pi trips a 24VAC solenoid water valve, which turns on the sprinkler and quickly soaks the intruder.

Stick around after the break for quite a few videos catching the furry little buggers in the act!

As for the cat lover’s out there… we’ve also covered a dog version of this which uses an Arduino instead!

[Thanks Doug!]

Filed under: Raspberry Pi

A Simple Commodore 64 Cart Dumper

พฤ, 07/10/2014 - 12:00

While [Rob] was digging around in his garage one day, he ran across an old Commodore 64 cartridge. With no ROM to be found online, he started wondering what was stored in this ancient device. Taking a peek at the bits stored in this cartridge would require dumping the entire thing to a modern computer, and armed with an Arduino, he created a simple cart dumper, capable of reading standard 8k cartridges without issue.

The expansion port for the C64 has a lot of pins corresponding to the control logic inside these old computers, but the only ones [Rob] were really interested in were the eight data lines and the sixteen address lines. With a little bit of code, [Rob] got an Arduino Mega to step through all the address pins and read the corresponding data at that location in memory. This data is then sent over USB to a C app that dumps everything in HEX and text.

While the ROM for just about every C64 game can be found online, [Rob] was unlucky enough to find one that wasn’t. It doesn’t really matter, though, as we don’t know if [Rob] has the 1541 disk drive that makes this cart useful. Still, it’s a good reminder of how useful an Arduino can be when used as an electronic swiss army knife.

Filed under: Arduino Hacks, classic hacks

Upgraded Nerf Gun Keeps Track of your Ammo

พฤ, 07/10/2014 - 09:00

[Paul] and his buddy [Jonathan] recently had a zombie themed Larp event to go to, so in the spirit of making the experience more realistic, they decided to upgrade their Nerf N-Strike Stryfe gun.

They started by cracking open the gun and making note of the available space for a few bells and whistles. Luckily, thanks to traditional plastic injection molding practices — there’s lots of room!

Upgrades include a magazine sensor, a jam sensor, a trigger sensor and a voltmeter to make the gun a little bit smarter. A knockoff Arduino Pro Mini takes in all these inputs and outputs it to a 7-segment LED display for easy visibility. Our favorite part is the ammo sensor, which keeps a tally of how many shots you’ve used. It’s simply an IR photo-diode and IR transistor in a Darlington configuration, connected to the GPIO interrupt pin on the fake Arduino.

It’s not an overly complex project, but very nicely executed — Maybe Nerf should adopt something like this in the future! Still waiting on an automated sentry turret though…

And if you’re curious about ZombieLarp, you can find out all about it here!

Filed under: Arduino Hacks, toy hacks

A Most Impractical Gear Position Indicator

พฤ, 07/10/2014 - 06:00

A few years ago, [Pat] sent in a really nice gear position indicator for his Suzuki V-Strom. With a single seven-segment display , a small microcontorller, and wires tied right into the bike’s ECM, it’s more than enough to do its job, and is much cheaper than aftermarket gear indicators. A simple, elegant solution that does one job well. How could this possibly be any better?

‘Better’ is a relative term, and depending on what you’re optimizing for, a more complex solution can easily be superior. [Pat] figured tripling the value of his motorcycle is a worthwhile goal, so he replaced that seven-segment display with an oscilloscope. It’s the world’s only oscilloscope based motorcycle gear position indicator, and now [Pat] needs a really, really long extension cord.

Like the earlier, more practical version, This build reads the voltage off the bike’s ECM to determine what gear the bike is in. The current gear is then displayed on a Tek MDO3000 with two PWM pins on a microcontroller. Practical? No, but it does look cool. Video below.

Filed under: transportation hacks

ServoBender, The Electronic Pedal Steel

พฤ, 07/10/2014 - 03:00

You’ve most certainly heard a pedal steel guitar before, most likely in any ‘old’ country song, or more specifically, any country song that doesn’t include the word ‘truck’ in its lyrics. Pedal steels are strange devices, looking somewhat like a 10-string guitar with levers that change the pitch of individual strings. Historically, there have been some attempts to put a detuning mechanism for individual strings in normal electric guitars, but these are somewhat rare and weird. [Gr4yhound] just nailed it. He’s come up with the perfect device to emulate a pedal steel in a real guitar, and it sounds really, really good.

The imgur album for this project goes over the construction of the ServoBender in a bit more detail than the video. Basically, four servos are mounted to a metal plate below the bridge. Each servo has a spring and cam system constructed out of 3D printed parts. The detuning is controlled by an Arduino and a few sustain pedals retrofitted with hall effect sensors. Simple, really, but the effect is astonishing.

[Gra4hound]‘s contraption is actually very similar to a B-Bender where a guitarist pushes on the neck to raise the pitch of the B string. This setup, though, is completely electronic, infinitely adjustable, and can be expanded to all six strings. Very, very cool, and it makes us wonder what could be done with one of those freaky robot guitars, a soldering iron, and a bit of code.

Video below, because you should watch it again.

Filed under: musical hacks

Light Pen Draws on LED Matrix

พฤ, 07/10/2014 - 00:00

Who needs a 1920×1080 OLED display when you can have an 8×8 matrix of LED goodness? That’s the question [Kathy] asked when she built this LED matrix light pen project. It looks simple enough – a 64-LED matrix illuminates as the pen draws shapes. But how does the circuit know which LED is under the pen? Good old fashioned matrix scanning is the answer. Only one LED is lit up at any time.

[Kathy] used a pair of 74LS138 3-to-8 line decoders to scan the matrix. The active low outputs on the ’138 would be perfect for a common cathode matrix. Of course [Kathy] only had a common anode matrix, so 8 PNP transistors were pressed into service as inverters.

The pen itself is a phototransistor. [Kathy] originally tried a CdS photoresistor, but found it was a bit too slow for matrix scanning. An LM358 op-amp is used to get the signal up to a reasonable level for an Arduino Uno to detect.

The result is impressive for such a simple design. We’d love to see someone use this platform as the start of an epic snake game.

Filed under: led hacks

THP Entry: TOME, The Portable 3D Printer

พุธ, 07/09/2014 - 21:00

Alright, 3D Printers exist. They’re machines you can simply buy for a few hundred dollars, set them on your desk, and have them start churning out plastic parts. A little pedestrian, isn’t it? How about something you can take into the field for a client, and print out some new parts right there? How about sending a printer to the latest humanitarian crisis? After all, all those humanitarian uses for 3D printers we’ve been hearing about won’t do any good without a 3D printer.

TOME is [Philip]‘s attempt at portabilizing a 3D printer and also his entry into The Hackaday Prize. The preliminary goals for TOME are the ability to print for four hours on a single battery, an auto leveling bed, and an accessible hot end that’s easy to replace.

Already the design for TOME is rather interesting. The astute printer aficionado will notice there is no stepper motor on the X carriage. The task of moving the head in the X axis is taken care of by a stepper in the base, with a square shaft and set of gears moving everything back and forth.

With this odd yet ingenious motor setup, the entire printer is able to collapse in on itself, allowing it to be installed in a waterproof plastic case. That’s something you’re going to need if you’re taking a printer on the road.

The project featured in this post is an entry in The Hackaday Prize. Build something awesome and win a trip to space or hundreds of other prizes.

Filed under: The Hackaday Prize

The Future Of Distraction, Right In Front Of Your Face

พุธ, 07/09/2014 - 18:00

Say you’re meeting someone new, and instead of communicating like a normal person that wasn’t born in a barn, they play with their phone the entire time. How about a cashier or sales person who is so insufferably distracted with the Facebooks you’d guess they had a side job in the QA department of some developer? All these things will soon be a distant, horrible memory, because now you can play Flappy Bird on Google Glass.

[Rich] has had his Glass for a while now, and has been meaning to write an app for it. It took a little bit of inspiration, but when the idea of using the eye sensor to control everyone’s favorite 8-bit bird, everything fell into place. It ended up being an interesting use for the Glass, and something we actually wouldn’t mind trying out.

The bird is controlled by a double blink. In the video below, you can see there might be a little bit of latency depending on how [Rich] put the video together. Better grab that .APK while there’s still time. [Rich] says it’s a free download for anyone who’s already overpaid for a Google Glass.

Filed under: Android Hacks, google hacks

CD Drive CNC Machine Steals Matt Groening’s Job, Says ‘Ha Ha’

พุธ, 07/09/2014 - 15:00

DIY CNC Machines are fun to build. There are a lot of different designs all over the internet. Some are large and some small. Some are made from new material and others from recycled parts. [Leonardo's] newest project is at the absolute far end of the small and recycled spectra. His CNC Machine is made from CD Drives and can draw a mean Nelson.

First, the CD Drives were disassembled to gain access to the carriages. These were then mounted to a quick and dirty wooden frame. Notice the Y Axis carriage is mounted with bolts and nuts that allow for leveling of the bed, not a bad idea. A Bic pen mounted to the Z axis carriage is responsible for the drawing duties.

[Leonardo] does something a little different for generating his g-code. First he takes a bitmap image and converts it to monochrome using MS Paint. The image is then imported into Cadsoft Eagle and using a modified import_bmp.ulp script. The bitmap is converted into what Eagle considers wire traces and then outputted as x and y coordinates for each wire complete with a command for lifting and lowering the pen.

A PC sends the move commands via USB, through a PL2303HX USB-Serial TTL Converter, to a PIC16F628A which, in turn, sends step and direction signals to the three Easy Driver stepper motor drivers. The stepper motor drivers are connected directly to the original CD Drive motors.

Check out the video after the break….




Filed under: cnc hacks

Old Laptops, Modems, And The Hackaday Retro Edition

พุธ, 07/09/2014 - 12:00

We haven’t been getting very many submissions of extremely old computers loading up the Hackaday Retro Edition in a while. For shame. Thankfully, [alnwlsn] is here to pick up the slack from the rest of you with his latest accomplishment, getting two old laptops on the Internet with some old telecom equipment.

The first is a Toshiba from about 1995, Pentium processor, 12 MB of RAM, and a 10 GB (!) hard drive. [aln] had a PCMICA modem sitting around, and with Windows 95 and IE 5.5, he was able to slowly connect.

Pentium class machines are okay, but the next one – a Zenith Data Systems laptop from about 1987 – is awesome. 80C88 CPU, two 720k floppy drives, and the exact amount of RAM in that quote falsely attributed to [Bill Gates]. [alnwlsn] is connecting with a 28.8k modem, but the serial port only supports up to 9600. It’s a computer so old, even the retro edition’s main page times out. The about page, though, loaded fine.

[alnwlsn] used a modem with both of these laptops, but he doesn’t have dial-up or even a landline. This forced him to make his own line simulator that requires plugging in the phone line at the right time, manually ringing a modem connected to another computer, and letting PPP take it from there. It’s a crude circuit, but it works. slow, but it works. Video below.

Filed under: classic hacks, Featured

Break Your Frames? Print Some New Ones!

พุธ, 07/09/2014 - 09:00

When [Aaron Porterfield] accidentally broke his glasses frame, he saw it as an opportunity, rather than an unfortunate event. He decided he was going to design and print new ones to fit his prescription lenses!

The trickiest part of taking on a project like this is designing the glasses around the pre-existing lenses, because typically, lenses are cut to fit the frame — not vice versa. This is why we’re particularly impressed with the project. [Aaron] was able to 3D scan the lenses using his camera phone and Autodesk’s 123D Catch software (free) to create the lens model! Once he had the lens outline, he scaled it properly by measuring its maximum dimensions with calipers.

Now this is where it gets a bit tricky – designing the frames. [Aaron] is using Rhino to do the design work, and he’s actually laid out the steps quite nicely for anyone who wants to attempt something like this. He describes in detail matching the curvature of the lenses, designing the frame around it, and of course actually fitting the lenses in place.

There is a small caveat to this entire project — The frames were printed on a nice Stratasys polyjet 3D printer — due to the geometry, it might be a bit tricky (or impossible) to print on a traditional hobby FDM machine. Regardless — making your own glasses is some serious geek cred. Nice work [Aaron]!

Filed under: 3d Printer hacks

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