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DIY Powder Coating Oven Gets Things Cooking

พุธ, 09/10/2014 - 08:00

[Bob] needed an oven for powder coating metal parts. Commercial ovens can cost thousands of dollars, which [Bob] didn’t have. He did have an rusty old file cabinet though.  And thus, a plan was born. The file cabinet’s steel shell would make a perfect oven body. He just had to remove all the drawers, sliders, and anything combustible. A few minutes with an angle grinder made quick work of the sheet metal. The drawer fronts we re-attached with hinges, allowing the newly fashioned door to swing out-of-the-way while parts are loaded into the oven.

The oven’s heating elements are two converted electric space heaters. The heating elements can be individually switched off to vary power to the oven. When all the elements are running, the oven pulls around 2000 watts, though full power is only used for pre-heating.

[Bob] used a lot of pop rivets in while building this oven, and plenty of them went into attaching sheet metal guards to protect the outside of the heating units. To complete the electrical equipment, a small fan was placed on top of the oven to circulate the air inside.

The most important part of the build was insulation. The entire inside of the oven was coated with aluminum foil and sealed with heat proof aluminum tape. On top of that went two layers of fiberglass matting. Metal strips kept the fiberglass in place, and the stays were held down with rivets. One last layer of aluminum foil was laid down on top of the fiberglass. Curing powder coating produces some nasty gasses, so [Bob] sealed the gaps of the oven with rolled fiberglass matting covered by aluminum foil and tape.

[Bob] was a bit worried about the outside of the oven getting hot enough to start a fire. There were no such problems though. The fiberglass matting makes for an extremely good insulator. So good that the oven goes from room temperature to 400 °F in just 5 minutes. After an hour of operation, the oven skin is just warm to the touch.

If you need to find [Bob], he’ll be out in his workshop – cooking up some fresh powder coated parts.

 


Filed under: tool hacks

Mood Lighting with LEDs and an Arduino

พุธ, 09/10/2014 - 05:00

Regular candles can be awfully boring at times. They can only produce one color and the flicker is so… predictable. They can’t even be controlled by an infrared remote control, not to mention the obvious fire hazard. Now, however, [Jose] has come up with an LED candle that solves all of these problems. (Original link to the project in Spanish.)

The heart of the project is an Arduino Pro Mini, which is especially suited for this project because of its size. [Jose] put the small form-factor microcontroller in the base of a homemade wax enclosure and wired it to a Neopixel WS2812b LED strip. The strip can produce any color, and has some programmed patterns including flicker, fade, rainbow, and fire.

The artificial candle is controlled with an infrared remote control, and all of the code for the project is available on the project site if you want to build your own. [Jose] has been featured here before for his innovative Arduino-driven RGB lighting projects, and this is another great project which builds on that theme!

 

 


Filed under: Arduino Hacks

Retrotechtacular: There’s More Than One Way to Escape a Submarine

พุธ, 09/10/2014 - 04:00

And this 1953 United States Navy training film describes two ways to do so: collective escape via rescue chamber, and individual escape using SEAs.

The film first follows a fellow named [Baxter] and his men in the aft torpedo room.  His sub has failed to surface as scheduled. There are no officers present at the time of distress, so [Baxter, Torpedoman First] is in charge. His first directive is that [Johnson] extinguish his Chesterfield. There’ll be time enough for smoking on the rescue ship, [Johnson].

[Baxter] releases a marker buoy because it is daytime and the weather is fair. Had other conditions prevailed, [Baxter] would send up flares and bang on the hull to provide a sonic beacon for rescuers. Next, he checks the forward compartments. If they are clear, he leaves the hatches open to give his men more air. He checks the air purity and engages [Brooklyn] to pull down some CO2 absorbent.

[Baxter] and his men will be okay for a while. They have plenty of drinking water, food, juice, supplemental oxygen, and CO2 absorbent. Their best move is to take it easy and wait for the rescue chamber. That way, they’ll avoid drowning, exposure, and CO2 poisoning.

Elsewhere in the forward torpedo chamber, there’s a chlorine leak and it can’t be stopped. These nameless sailors have to work quickly to escape the noxious gas. First, they pass around the SEAs and turn them into respirators. Soda lime will filter out the chlorine gas from their lungs and eyes. They too will release a marker buoy, but the first order of business is to move to the escape trunk.

Communicating through gestures, the lead man assigns three men to break out the life raft. The men move to the trunk with the buoy, raft, ascending line, and a divers’ knife. They also take a battle lantern, hand tools, and spare SEAs, but leave their shoes behind. After equalizing the pressure in the trunk, they can get going on their escape. They open the hatch, float the buoy, and tie it off. Now the raft can be floated up the buoy line. Since they are 100 feet down, they send a man every ten seconds up the buoy line and he is to move approximately one foot per second. First man to surface inflates the raft, and Bob’s your uncle. Now, they just have to prevent sunburn and tell stories until the rescue ship finds them.

Retrotechtacular is a weekly column featuring hacks, technology, and kitsch from ages of yore. Help keep it fresh by sending in your ideas for future installments.


Filed under: Retrotechtacular

A T-Shirt at Amalthea

พุธ, 09/10/2014 - 03:00

Personnel Transfer Vehicle HM-6YK was thirty two hours out of Ganymede station en route to Amalthea when the alarm went off. Captain Peter Cole was awake in a bunk, staring at his tablet, waiting for the alarm when Bill Friars, the rookie pilot came down. ‘Hey, cap! We got a problem here.’

‘Wha?’ Pete feigned he was just awoken. ‘What’s up?’

‘Our terminal guidance radar is out, and we’re less than three hours from approach. I reset the system, and it’s looking like a hardware problem.’

‘That’s impossible. We were just checked out on Callisto a month ago.’ Pete headed up to the flight deck and minutes later the subordinate’s assessment proved correct.

‘Coulda been a meteor.’ Bill sheepishly suggested, displaying the requisite amount of self-doubt required of his rank.

‘If it was that we’d have more problems on our hand than a broken radar. We’re gonna need this fixed quick. Suit up; I’ll go dig the spare out of the locker.’

6YK was a small ship, barely three hundred tons. Her nuclear drives propelled her around the Jovian system, usually transporting cargo between the far-flung outposts around the inner moons. This trip, she was carrying twenty three researchers to the Lyctos base, retrieving 5 tons of cargo, six pax, then heading off again to Ganymede station. The entire trip would take 52 hours. This was Bill’s first run.

‘Just get out there and replace this module.’ Pete had eight thousand hours logged in the system, and three thousand on this run alone. Bill had done his EVA training at Deimos station, but for both men the sight of the swirling ivory, reds, and subtle blues of the crescent Jupiter invoked the fear of an ancient and angry god. For Bill, knowing he was only protected from the radiation by his hard suit and the improbably thin beryllium glass visor, this god became even more frightening.

The stubby, box-like ship glistened with octathiocane picked up around Io’s orbit. The radio crackled ‘Lotta dust out here, Pete.’ Bill slowly made his way to the radar assembly, latching carabineers from handgrip to handgrip. ‘Looks like it’s just gone’ Bill looked at the familiar antenna mount. ‘Metal fatigue or something.’

‘I don’t care what happened.’ The insertion burn was just two hours away, and their target was approaching at seventy kilometers per second. ‘Just get it fixed.’

Bill removed the remaining sliver of metal from the base and tossed it aside. The new feed horn fit comfortably in its socket. If nothing else, these ships were easily repairable. ‘We have guidance.’ The radio cackled. ‘Why don’t you get back in here?’ Bill reversed his steps around the ship.

As the airlock repressurized, the engines started their long burn for capture. ‘Good work, kid.’ This was the first indication of approval the captain had given since leaving the station. Helmet and gloves off, Bill struggled to unlatch the polycarb hard suit.

Bill reached into the locker and pulled out the t shirt he’d been wearing on the bridge just an hour ago. The gold logo was nearly the same color as the octathiocane dusty dirtying the airlock.
Filed under: news

Intel Releases Edison, a Computer Slightly Larger Than an SD Card

อังคาร, 09/09/2014 - 23:28

Announced at the beginning of this year, Intel’s Edison is the chipmakers latest foray into the world of low power, high performance computing. Originally envisioned to be an x86 computer stuffed into an SD card form factor, this tiny platform for wearables, consumer electronic designers, and the Internet of Things has apparently been redesigned a few times over the last few months. Now, Intel has finally unleashed it to the world. It’s still tiny, it’s still based on the x86 architecture, and it’s turning out to be a very interesting platform.

The key feature of the Edison is, of course, the Intel CPU. It’s a 22nm SoC with dual cores running at 500 MHz. Unlike so many other IoT and micro-sized devices out there, the chip in this device, an Atom Z34XX, has an x86 architecture. Also on board is 4GB of eMMC Flash and 1 GB of DDR3.  Also included in this tiny module is an Intel Quark microcontroller – the same as found in the Intel Galileo – running at 100 MHz. The best part? Edison will retail for about $50. That’s a dual core x86 platform in a tiny footprint for just a few bucks more than a Raspberry Pi.

When the Intel Edison was first announced, speculation ran rampant that is would take on the form factor of an SD card. This is not the case. Instead, the Edison has a footprint of 35.5mm x 25.0 mm; just barely larger than an SD card. Dumping this form factor idea is a great idea – instead of being limited to the nine pins present on SD cards and platforms such as the Electric Imp, Intel is using a 70-pin connector to break out a bunch of pins, including an SD card interface, two UARTs, two I²C busses, SPI with two chip selects, I²S, twelve GPIOs with four capable of PWM, and a USB 2.0 OTG controller. There are also a pair of radio modules on this tiny board, making it capable of 802.11 a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0.

The Edison will support Yocto Linux 1.6 out of the box, but because this is an x86 architecture, there is an entire universe of Linux distributions that will also run on this tiny board. It might be theoretically possible to run a version of Windows natively on this module, but this raises the question of why anyone would want to.

The first round of Edison modules will be used with either a small breakout board that provides basic functionality, solder points, a battery charger power input, and two USB ports (one OTG port), or a larger board Edison board for Arduino that includes the familiar Arduino pin header arrangement and breakouts for everything. The folks at Intel are a generous bunch, and in an effort to put these modules in the next generation of Things for Internet, have included Mouser and Digikey part numbers for the 70-pin header (about $0.70 for quantity one). If you want to create your own breakout board or include Edison in a product design, Edison makes that easy.

There is no word of where or when the Edison will be available. Someone from Intel will be presenting at Maker Faire NYC in less than two weeks, though, and we already have our media credentials. We’ll be sure to get a hands on then. I did grab a quick peek at the Edison while I was in Vegas for Defcon, but I have very little to write about that experience except for the fact that it existed in August.

Update: You can grab an Edison dev kit at Make ($107, with the Arduino breakout) and Sparkfun (link down as of this update never mind, Sparkfun has a ton of boards made for the Edison. It’s pretty cool)


Filed under: news

Welcome to the Old School: Restoring Antique Radios

อังคาร, 09/09/2014 - 21:01

Before the second world war Radio was a revolution in mass-communication much like the internet today. Fortunes were made and lost, empires built, epic patent battles ensued, all of which resulted in the world being more connected than ever before, which makes for a really great story (and a great Ken Burns documentary).

Last month we showed you how to modify a vintage radio to play your own audio source through it while re-using the existing electronics and maintaining its functionality. In this post we will show you how to restore any vacuum tube radio. You will learn basic repair/restoration procedures from a different era when it was actually worth repairing consumer electronics. Plug into history and get your hands on the most influential technology of the first-half of the 20th century!

In the early days radios were very expensive consumer devices costing as much or more than an automobile or a house in some cases. For this reason many listeners resorted to building their own. Edwin Armstrong developed the heterodyne receiver that used frequency multiplication to shift the desired signal down to an intermediate frequency where it was filtered and detected resulting in reduced costs and increased access to radio technology. Heterodyne receivers cost significantly less than the previous architecture known as tuned radio frequency (TRF), where the radio was simply a very large tunable bandpass filter (3 or 4 sections typically) with amplifiers between each section that had to tune across the entire AM broadcast band. TRF architectures are expensive because to maintain a narrow 10 KHz band pass filter across one full octave is challenging and requires more precision than using only one fixed filter that can be mass-produced and is at a lower frequency.

Danger, Danger, High Voltage!

Be very careful when working with old radio equipment. Yes, these radios have very high voltage potentials inside. Many even tie the hot end of the line directly to their metal chassis (known as Hot Chassis radios), notably most of the post-war table top radios.

How-to

Antique radios can be functional statement pieces, showing both your appreciation for the old styles and your ability to repair just about anything. This hobby is well within the reach of anyone with basic electronics skills. Follow these general steps to restore your radio:

  1. Do not power on your radio. You could cause damage if you power it on before replacing the capacitors. There are several flavors of capacitors but the ones that typically decay with age are the electrolytics (usually found in power supply and on audio output circuit) and the wax-paper coupling capacitors.
  2. Find a service manual. Most are available online.
  3. Replace all electrolytic and paper capacitors with new ones of similar value and same or better voltage rating.
  4. Examine closely and replace anything that looks damaged, such as burned up resistors.
  5. Test the radio using a dim bulb tester, which is a 60 to 100 watt lightbulb wired in series with your radio’s line voltage. If the bulb glows dim after a while then there are likely no shorts across the B+ lines within your radio. You might even hear a crackle or some signals coming through.
  6. If it passed the dim bulb tests then try to power it up directly off the line. Most antique radios will work once the capacitors have been replaced.
  7. If it does not work then signal trace through the circuit by injecting a signal at the IF or RF, replacing resistors or occasionally a tube where needed. Old resistors have a tendency to increase in value with age. Often a bad stage in a tube radio is due to a resistor that has increased in value to the point of biasing the tube into cut-off. Tubes are usually not what caused the radio to be put out of service. The quickest way to find bad resistors is to probe the tube pin voltages. There will be a tube pin voltage chart in your radio’s service manual given a specific volt meter impedance. Wherever you find a voltage out of tolerance (greater than 10%), then check the resistors connected to that pin or to other circuits connected to that pin.
  8. If the stations are too weak then perform an alignment following the procedure in the service manual.
  9. Turn on the radio. It should work!

These basics are well covered in the video series that starts with this video:

RCA Radiola 18

Here is a fine example of a late 1920’s TRF receiver restoration. The power supply capacitor was replaced as well as a small number of paper coupling capacitors. Dust and grime were cleaned off. The wood enclosure was cleaned and waxed. For many TRF receivers like this one, an alignment is not needed. Performance was surprisingly good for a very sensitive receiver.

Silvertone Model 4686

Here is an example of the iconic American Console Radio. This radio, manufactured in 1937, was witness to much history: the Great Depression, the Second World War, and probably the Korean war War as well before it was put out of service. This generation of radio was the first to leverage heterodyne receiver architecture. For this reason, these radios tuned across a massive frequency range. Not only could they tune the standard AM broadcast band, they also covered shortwave frequencies from 2-18 MHz. Restoring these radios is not difficult. Millions were made. They are inexpensive to buy at flea markets and radio shows. If you can not find the right part buy another one and salvage it.

Zenith K725

By the 1950’s radios were everywhere. FM broadcasting started to gain popularity with its high fidelity. Table top radios such as this one provided both AM and FM broadcast bands in a compact package with 1950’s styling much like automobiles, jet aircraft, rockets, tail fins and chrome, and other exciting technologies of the day. This radio in particular uses negative feedback in its audio output providing booming high fidelity audio. Unfortunately, it is a Hot Chassis radio, where the line cord is tied directly to the metal chassis inside so an isolation transformer must be used in-line with the power cord while servicing.

Learn About History By Repairing It

Time to hit the flea market and pickup a few old radios to work on! Teach yourself the skills to repair vintage electronics and get in touch with the past. Learn unique troubleshooting skills that will enhance your daily career. Tubes or transistors, a seasoned engineer is capable of working with technologies from today and yesterday.

References Acknowledgment

My cousin, Juliet Hurley, MBA, MSF, MAC for type editing this post.

Author Bio:

Gregory L. Charvat is author of Small and Short-Range Radar Systems, visiting research scientist at Camera Culture Group Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, co-founder of Hyperfine Research Inc., Butterfly Network Inc. , editor of the Gregory L. Charvat Series on Practical Approaches to Electrical Engineering, and guest commentator on CNN, CBS, Sky News, and others. He was a technical staff member at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, where his work on through-wall radar won best paper at the 2010 MSS Tri-Services Radar Symposium and is an MIT Office of the Provost 2011 research highlight. He has taught short radar courses at MIT, where his Build a Small Radar course was the top-ranked MIT professional education course in 2011 and has become widely adopted by other universities, laboratories, and private organizations. Starting at an Early Age, Greg developed numerous radar systems, rail SAR imaging sensors, phased array radar systems; holds several patents; and has developed many other sensors and radio and audio equipment. He has authored numerous publications and has received press for his work. Greg earned a Ph.D in electrical engineering in 2007, MSEE in 2003, and BSEE in 2002 from Michigan State University, and is a senior member of the IEEE, where he served on the steering committee for the 2010, 2013, 2016 IEEE International Symposium on Phased Array Systems and Technology and chaired the IEEE AP-S Boston Chapter from 2010-2011.


Filed under: classic hacks, Featured, repair hacks

THP Hacker Bio: John Costik

อังคาร, 09/09/2014 - 18:00

A surprising amount of entries for The Hackaday Prize are medical devices, and the regulatory problems associated with that domain. [John Costik]‘s Diabetes Data, Everywhere is one of the few projects that is perfect for a world where the words ‘hack’ and ‘FDA’ simply cannot be found in the same sentence.

[John]‘s son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at a very young age, and very early [John], his family, and the school nurse have had to deal with the nearly innumerable tasks that type 1 diabetes management entails. A Dexcom continuous glucose monitor is a big help, providing a wealth of glucose logging in a small, wearable device.

This monitor, however, is relatively locked down; the stock device is unable to push data to the Internet. [John] reverse engineered the protocol for this glucose monitor, enabling [John] to monitor his son’s blood glucose levels from anywhere on the planet.

There’s a huge community of people waiting for the technological advancements of the last thirty years, like the Internet and portable, networked devices, to make it into medical devices. [John]‘s project has already gotten a bit of local news coverage, and is a perfect example of expanding the capabilities of existing devices to make his and his family’s life more convenient.

Bio/interview below.

Music, singing specifically – I’ve had the opportunity to play amazing roles in several musicals locally; recently I was honored to be Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. I received a “Theater Arts of NY” (TANYS) “Outstanding” award (their highest honor) for the part.

It is a wonderful contrast to a life focused on very technical tasks (work or type 1 diabetes)

I am old-time gamer, having lived in Japan as a teenager, about the time of the Super Famicom release… video games still get my attention, though it is mere minutes a day, if that.

I am currently employed as a Programmer/Analyst, past jobs focused on systems engineering and software engineering

My family. I adore them and look forward to fewer “full” days and more time with them

Inkjet printers. Maybe because I once worked for Kodak’s consumer inkjet group, but no matter the brand, they’re all pretty horrible, expensive and unreliable at best.

I’m pretty agnostic on this, and aim to be that way with most technology – whatever platform or tool will help me accomplish my goal, I’m going to use it.

Pretty new to the actual bench work, but a solid soldering iron and a dremel (to carefully dissect with)… those are up there on the list.

Again, perhaps showing my lack of true hacker cred… or, like the rest of life, I go after whatever will make our world a bit easier to live in, whatever is most useful at the moment; in that case,  it would be a Pololou Wixel.

I have a fondness for C for keeping me pretty honest, Java & C# for quick work.

  • DIY artificial pancreas
  • Carbohydrate scanner
  • Cure for type 1 diabetes

We needed it. The ability to remote monitor the single most important piece of information that informs my son’s immediate and long-term health is priceless. All of the parts were sitting on the table, I needed to put them together and rob type 1 diabetes of any victories it ever thought of claiming.

Time management and task prioritization; I tend to get listless or distracted, so getting things done can be an issue. I have spurts of incredibly fast and productive work, but I spend far too much time drowning in a sea of tasks and ideas.

Great! I will continue to refine my personal system and design through the competition, with a heavy focus on data aggregation and some exciting open-source hardware integration projects to support that.

The biggest issues tend to be with divergent designs. Since much of my code is already widely being used, there are several branches that are missing, what I would consider, hard requirements for reliability and safety. But that’s really on me, – I need to work closer with the wider community to help guide those decisions based on nearly 20 months of experience with this system. Again, it comes down to time and task management, with a full-time job, diabetes-dad duties (~300+ tasks a day), and the need to spend time off the grid with my family… well, it becomes very challenging to get it all done (it hasn’t happened yet!)

A big thank you to the enormous community of users and developers that have given rise to a wonderful, much-needed tool for thousands of families. I am proud to have supplied the initial code, and love seeing so many good and loving people driven to do more, freely and openly.

I have thousands of ideas churning, and hope to help find even more ways to make the lives of type 1 diabetics and their loved ones better.


Filed under: The Hackaday Prize

Adding I/O to the Rasberry Pi Models A & B

อังคาร, 09/09/2014 - 15:01

The Raspberry Pi has been the basis for many cool projects. Even so, Models A and B have been criticized for having only a handful of GPIO pins available. Sure, the new Model B+ has a 40-pin GPIO header but what if you want to use your old RaspPi with a bunch of in and outputs? [Steve] is one of those guys and has done something about it by creating a pretty neat solution he calls the PiMagic. It’s a Pi Plate that has an on board ATMEGA328 running an Arduino bootloader. The RaspPi and the Arduino communicate via UART as [Steve] felt it was a bit simpler than going the SPI or I2C route.

The RaspPi GPIO’s run on 3.3v and the ATMEGA328’s like 5v. To solve this, the PiMagic has a Level Shifter that keeps the I/O of the two boards happy. Older Pi’s had a problem burning out PCB traces when supplying too much current on the 5v supply line. [Steve] threw in a fuse that will burn out before the Pi does to ensure that no Pi’s were harmed in the making of this project.

Now that a bunch of I/O are available, how do you physically access them? Well, the PiMagic has female headers in the typical Arduino layout. This way any Arduino Shield will plug right in. [Steve] made all his source files available for those who want to make one themselves. Find an assembly video after the break.


Filed under: Raspberry Pi

A Detailed Look at the 7805 Voltage Regulator

อังคาร, 09/09/2014 - 12:00

We’re quite sure that all hobbyists have used the 7805 voltage regulator at least once in their lives. They are a simple way to regulate 7V+ voltages to the 5V that some of our low power projects need. [Ken Shirriff] wrote an amazingly detailed article about its theory of operation and implementation in the silicon world.

As you may see in the picture above such a regulator is composed of very different elements: transistors, resistors, capacitors and diodes, all of them integrated in the die. [Ken] provides the necessary clues for us to recognize them and then explains how the 7805 can have a stable output even when its temperature changes. This is done by using a bandgap reference in which the difference between transistor base-emitter voltages for high and low current is used to counter the effects of temperature. As some elements looked a bit odd during [Ken]‘s reverse engineering process, he finally concluded that what he purchased on Ebay may be a counterfeit (read this Reddit comment for another opinion).


Filed under: hardware

Unbricking a BluRay Drive

อังคาร, 09/09/2014 - 09:00

All BluRay player, devices, and drives contain a key that unlocks the encryption and DRM present on BluRay discs. Since 2007, the consortium responsible for this DRM scheme has been pushing updates and revocation lists on individual BluRay releases. Putting one of these discs in your drive will brick the device, and this is the situation [stephen] found himself in when he tried to watch Machete Kills. Not wanting to update his software, he searched for a better solution to unbrick his drive.

Every time [stephen] played or ripped a disc, the software he was using passed a key to the drive. This key was compared to the revocation list present on the drive. When a match was found, the drive bricked itself. Figuring the revocation list must be stored on a chip in the device, [stephen] broke out the screwdriver and started looking around inside the drive.

There aren’t many chips inside a modern BluRay drive, but [stephen] did manage to find a few Flash chips. These Flash chips can be dumped to a computer using a BusPirate, and comparing the dump to a publicly available ‘Host Revocation List Record’, [stephen] was able to find the location on the Flash chip that contained the revocation list.

The next task was to replace the revocation list currently on the drive with an earlier one that wouldn’t brick his drive. [stephen]‘s MakeMKV install made this very easy, as it keeps a record of all the revocation lists it runs across. Updating the Flash in the drive with this old list unbricked the drive.

This is only a temporary fix, as [stephen] still can’t put a new disc in the drive. A permanent fix would involve write protecting the Flash and preventing the drive from ever updating the revocation list again. This would be a very complex firmware hack, and [stephen] doesn’t even know what architecture the controller uses. Still, the drive works, saved from terrible DRM.


Filed under: security hacks

A Tale of Two Ring Boxes

อังคาร, 09/09/2014 - 06:00

This is a tale of two hearts, two engagements, and two ring boxes. About a couple of years ago, [curtisabrina] proposed to his girlfriend. Rather than just hand her the ring, he placed it in a locking ring box [imgur link] he custom-made. The box seems normal at first glance, but lifting up the first drawer reveals a complex and ornate gear system. The gears can only be turned by a pair of interlocking heart-shaped keys – a gift [curtisabrina] had given her months earlier. The mechanism is nothing short of stunning – planetary reductions drive a spring-loaded iris which opens to reveal an engagement ring.

[curtisabrina] built his ring box after hours at his signmaking job. The job gave him access to some incredible tools, such as the MultiCam 3000 series CNC. The box turned out great, and he showed his work off in a Reddit thread.

Fast forward two years. [joetemus] was getting ready to propose to his girlfriend, and wanted to do something similar. He didn’t have access to high-end shop tools, but he did have a Shapeoko 2. Using the original box as inspiration, [joetemus] started designing. Over time, trial, and error, a second ring box emerged [imgur link]. Like the original box, [joetemus] started with a rough cut board. Nearly every part, including the aluminum gears, was cut on the Shapeoko 2. [joetemus] also celebrated his accomplishment with a Reddit thread.

[joetemus's] ring box isn’t quite as complex or polished as [curtisabrina's], but he was working with a machine that cost much less than the equipment [curtisabrina] was using. We think both of them are great, and are happy to report that both of their girlfriends said, “Yes!”


Filed under: cnc hacks

Upgrading the Battery In a Wrist PDA

อังคาร, 09/09/2014 - 03:00

No, your eyes do not deceive you. That’s a wrist-mounted PDA. Specifically, a Fossil Wrist PDA, also known as an Abacus, that was sold from 2003 to about 2005. Yep, it’s running PalmOS. [mclien] has had this watch/PDA for a while now, and found the original 180mAh battery wasn’t cutting it anymore. He made a little modification to the watch to get a 650mAh battery in this PDA by molding a new back for it.

The original PDA used a round Lithium cell, but being ten years old, the battery technology in this smart watch is showing its years. [mclien] found two batteries (380mAh and 270mAh) that fit almost perfectly inside the battery.

The new batteries were about 3mm too thick for the existing case back, so [mclien] began by taking the old case, adding a few bits of aluminum and resin, and making a positive for a mold. Two or three layers of glass twill cloth were used to form the mold, resined up, and vacuum bagged.

After many, many attempts, [mclien] just about has the case back for this old smartwatch complete. The project build logs are actually a great read, showing exactly what doesn’t work, and are a great example of using hackaday.io as a build log, instead of just project presentation.


Filed under: classic hacks, wearable hacks

1991

อังคาร, 09/09/2014 - 00:00

I had just finished up the PBX upgrade when the CTO sent out a memo.

‘We need to move the datacentre to New York by next weekend’

We silently groaned and started working. There were purchases to be made and eventually someone would have to fly out with the tapes.

‘No, we’re not purchasing new equipment. We’re moving the datacentre.’

Ten days. Ten days of crawling under the floor, pulling cables, unbolting, unracking, stuffing U-Hauls to the brim, driving 800 miles, and reversing the whole process. None of us had showered in a week.

When we arrived, there was power. Not much else. We had 63 hours until everything needed to be up. We started stripping RG-58. One guy was wearing this shirt. He was faster.

 

0x0b 0x07d ALWV HI WTBF XG HM

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Filed under: news

End Table Kegerator Hides the Tap when You’re Not Looking

จันทร์, 09/08/2014 - 21:01

What’s better than an ordinary end table? How about an end table that can serve you beer? [Sam] had this exact idea and used his skills to make it a reality. The first step of the build was to acquire an end table that was big enough to hold all of the components for a functional kegerator. This proved to be a bit tricky, but [Sam] got lucky and scored a proper end table from a garage sale for only $5.00.

Next, [Sam] used bathroom sealant to seal up all of the cracks in the end table. This step is important to keep the inside cold. Good insulation will keep the beer colder, while using less electricity. Next, a hole was cut into the top of the table for the draft tower.

The draft tower is mounted to a couple of drawer slides. This allows the tower to raise up and down, keeping it out of sight when you don’t want it. The tower raises and lowers using a simple pulley system. A thin, high strength rope is attached to the tower. The other end is attached to a spool and a small motor. The motor can wind or unwind the spool in order to raise and lower the tower.

The table houses an Arduino, which controls the motor via a homemade H bridge. The Arduino is hooked up to a temperature sensor and a small LCD screen. This way, the users can see how cold their beer will be before they drink it.

To actually keep the beer cold, [Sam] ripped apart a mini fridge. He moved the compressor and condenser coils to the new table. He had to bend the coils to fit, taking care not to kink them. Finally he threw in the small keg, co2 tank and regulator. The final product is a livingroom gem that provides beer on demand.

Demo video (which is going the wrong way) can be found after the break.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, Beer Hacks

THP Semifinalist: Stubby, the Adorable Hexapod

จันทร์, 09/08/2014 - 18:01

 

After talking with a few of the judges for The Hackaday Prize, documentation will be a large factor in determining who wins and takes a trip to space, and who is left with their feet safely planted on the ground. Stubby the Hexapod is one of the most well documented projects in the running. There are already two hardware revisions for the walking mechanism, several board layouts for the controller, and more project log entries than you can shake a stick at.

Stubby is the brainchild of [The Big One] (a.k.a. [Wyatt] with [Warren], [Princess Sparkle], and [exot] filling out the rest of the team). The project originally began as an educational robotics project meant for teaching [Wyatt]‘s kids the ins and outs of robotics and electronics. He’s doing this by developing an open source hexapod robot platform, complete with a frame, electronics board, and a lot of interesting code driving 18 hobby servos.

The frame for Stubby’s first hardware revision is rather interesting; it’s able to be reproduced with nothing more than a scroll saw. The latest revision is a complete rethinking of hexapod locomotion using 2DOF legs and a more mechanical gait.

Being completely open source and very well documented, you can already make your own Stubby hexapod with a scroll saw and the files on [Wyatt]‘s site. If 3D printing is more your thing, there’s also a few files to help you with that.

You can check out a few videos of the different Stubby revisions below:

The project featured in this post is a semifinalist in The Hackaday Prize.


Filed under: robots hacks, The Hackaday Prize

Tracking Footballs with Magnetic Fields

จันทร์, 09/08/2014 - 15:01

Official NFL footballs are crafted by hand by a company in Chicago called Wilson Sporting Goods. The footballs that are made there typically range from 11 to 11.5 inches in length and weigh anywhere between 14 and 15 ounces on average. Originally, animal bladders lined the outside, occasionally from the inside of a pig, giving the traditional American football the long-standing nickname of a “pigskin.” Now a days, they consist of cowhide leather or vulcanized rubber with laces that are stitched to the top adding mass. This causes the oblong spheres to be naturally lopsided. This is fixed by inserting extra weight to the opposite side of the football balancing it out. Knowing this, a clever hacker will realize that the balancing spot is a perfect place to subtly add a motion tracking transmitter like this one. Doing so makes it possible to the track not only the position of the ball on the field, but its precise location in 3D space!

Since each football is unique, variations between one ball to another exist. This means that embedding a circuit into a football only modifies the equipment slightly, which is a good thing because sports fanatics tend to be very opinionated about whether or not technology should influence the game. So long as the transmitter and loop antenna added to the air bladder doesn’t pass that threshold of about an ounce (or so) difference in weight, then the football itself really isn’t affected much.

The research for this project was developed and tested at the NC State and Carnegie Mellon Universities with the help of funding from Disney (who owns ESPN). Using magnetic fields was chosen instead of other ball tracking systems that are camera-based because it would allow the computer to recognize the football when pile ups occur. Unlike soccer, the footballs in the NFL are usually hidden from view.

The question now is “will the NFL accept this type of system?” They already have integrated instant replay to the game; and as of the 2014 season, teams have Microsoft tablets on the sideline which are used by coaches and referees for in-between play analytics. Yet, the game still uses the same old ‘stick and chain’ method that was initiated in 1907 to measure downs. Implementing it in high schools or colleges would serve as a prototype. From there, the researchers could try to get into pre-season games before attempting nationwide integration. But will fans like it? Will it take away from the game? It’s up to you to decide.

[via Vox]


Filed under: toy hacks

Infrared-controlled Light Switch

จันทร์, 09/08/2014 - 12:01

If you’re looking for your first electronics project, or a project to get someone else started in electronics, [Vadim] has you covered. Back when he was first starting out in electronics he built this infrared-controlled light switch that works with a standard TV remote control.

[Vadim]‘s first few projects ended up as parts for other projects after they were built, so he wanted to build something useful that wouldn’t ultimately end up back in the parts drawer. The other requirements for the project were to use a microcontroller and to keep it simple. [Vadim] chose an ATtiny2313 to handle the RC-5 IR protocol and switch the light.

The circuit still has a switch to manually control the lights, preserving the original functionality of the light switch. The rest of the design includes a header for programming the board and another header for tying into the high voltage lines. This is a great project for anyone who knows what they’re doing with mains power but is just getting started with microcontrollers. If properly designed and implemented you’ll never stumble across a room to turn the lights out again!

Perhaps mixing high and low voltages on the same circuit board doesn’t spark your fancy or you can’t modify the light switch in your place of residence? Check out this mechanically-switched light switch.

 


Filed under: ATtiny Hacks

Let the Bass Cannon Kick It!!

จันทร์, 09/08/2014 - 09:01

If you’ve ever found yourself immersed in the wild realm of electronic dance music, then chances are you’ve probably heard [Flux Pavilion]‘s dubstep banger ‘Bass Cannon.’ The music video released for the track shows [Flux] and his minion [Doctor P] performing twisted audio experiments on unexpecting research candidates by blasting them in the face with strong waves of sound vibrations, which blew back the hair of the people strapped to the chair. The audio trials took place inside what looks to be a warehouse filled to the brim with speakers, heavy duty subs, and sound boards; making it more like a ‘room of bass’ rather than a bass cannon itself. Yet, it inspired one of Hackaday’s Alum to literally create a bass cannon himself. And as you can see in the video below, his device packs quite a punch.

Most of us know [Adam Munich] as the guy who built this portable x-ray machine that could look through just about anything. He’s also built a nuclear bomb detector and has documented several radiation safety techniques, but every once in a while he decides to make something utterly ridiculous like this! He describes his homemade bass cannon as having a variety of fun and exciting uses including a mobile party on one’s shoulders, a way to frizz your hair, or an electrifying method to scare the neighbors.

[Adam]‘s portable music machine was hacked together from a handheld AirZooka, a pair of voice coils, a class D amplifier, and a few other miscellaneous parts. It even came complete with a see-through plastic sight allowing people to aim the device anywhere they want.

Although [Adam] didn’t write up step-by-step instructions, he did provide a circuit diagram and enough pictures for those interested in developing their own.

In addition, here’s the original [Flux Pavilion] music video:


Filed under: musical hacks

Hackaday Links: September 7, 2014

จันทร์, 09/08/2014 - 06:00

Like Adventure Time? Make your own BMO! It’s a little more expressive than the Adafruit version we saw earlier due to the Nokia LCD. It’s got audio playback too so it can talk to football.

A few years ago, [Matt] made a meat smoker with a PID controller and an SSR. Now the same controller is being used as a sous vide. PID controllers: the most useful kitchen gadget ever.

[Josh] keeps his server in a rack, and lacking a proper cable management solution, this means his rack is a mess. He adapted some Dell wire management arms to his system, using a PCI card bracket to attach the arm to the computer.

[Dr. Dampfpunk] has a lot of glowey things on his Youtube channel

Another [Josh] built a 3D tracking display for an IMU. It takes data off an IMU, sends it over Bluetooth, and displays the orientation of the device on a computer screen. This device also has a microphone and changes the visualization in response to noises.

Remember the pile of failure in a bowl of fraud that is the Scribble pen? Their second crowdfunding campaign was shut down. Don’t worry; they’re still seeking private investment, so there’s still a chance of thousands of people getting swindled. We have to give a shout-out to Tilt, Scribble’s second crowdfunding platform. Tilt has been far more forthcoming with information than Kickstarter ever has with any crowdfunding campaign.


Filed under: Hackaday links

AirLegs Augment Your Cardio by 10%

จันทร์, 09/08/2014 - 03:00

Here’s another very interesting project to come out of the 4 Minute Mile challenge — pneumatically boosted legs.

It’s another project by [Jason Kerestes] in cooperation with DARPA. We saw his jet pack a few days ago, but this one looks like it has a bit more promise. It is again a backpack mounted system, but instead of a few jet turbines, it has a pneumatic cylinders which move your legs for you.

Just watching it it’s hard to believe it makes it easier to run, but apparently after being tested at the Army Research Laboratories last year it demonstrated a whopping 10% reduction in metabolic cost for subjects running at high speeds. It can actually augment the human running gait cycle, and is the only device the US Army has confirmed can do so.

He is already hard at work designing version 2.0 which is lighter and more flexible. There’s a bunch of test videos after the break so stick around to see it in action.

And the new and improved version 2.0

 


Filed under: transportation hacks

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