Sunday, February 16, 2014 - 14:29faBrickated Makey LEGO Love
Sunday, February 16, 2014 - 10:01Hacking a DVD Recorder
[w00fer] wanted to see if any modifications to a DVD Recorder were possible. Initially, the goal was to upgrade the internal hard drive for additional storage. However, after cracking open a DVDR3570H and finding a service port, he decided to look a bit deeper.
Connecting an RS232 to USB converter to the service port resulted in garbled data. It turned out that the port was using TTL signal levels instead of RS232 levels. This was solved by building a converter using the MAX232 converter IC.
With the converter in place, the service menu appeared. It performs some tests and spits out the results when the device is booted. After that, it sits at a prompt and waits for commands. Fortunately, [w00fer] found the service manual which lists the available commands. So far, he’s been able to generate test patterns, test lights, change the display text, spin up the hard drive, and read device information. However, the next steps include disabling Macrovision copy protection, dumping the EEPROM and NVRAM, and copying data off of the hard drive. If you think you can help [w00fer] out, let him know.
Filed under: home entertainment hacks
Sunday, February 16, 2014 - 07:00Ion Propelled Tie Fighter Now Has a Laser!
[Steven Dufresne] has been playing around with ion propulsion using high voltage lately, and he’s added another spaceship to his experiments — Darth Vader’s TIE Fighter – and as an added bonus, he’s thrown on a laser too!
We originally covered his Ion Wind Propelled Star Trek Enterprise a few months ago, after someone had mentioned that the ion winds he was generating in experiments kind of looked like the warp drives on the Enterprise. Well, someone else pointed out that a TIE Fighter was an even better candidate for this. After all, TIE stands for Twin Ion Engines. So he decided to build one too. The ion winds look even better on this one as he’s turned the entire back of the fighter into the electrode, which creates a wide and very visible arc.
Oh, he also decided to add lasers to it for some extra flare — unfortunately TIE Fighters used green lasers — not red ones. Stick around for the following videos to see the TIE Fighter in all its ionic glory.
Filed under: laser hacks
Sunday, February 16, 2014 - 06:00Tainted Love played by Floppy Disc Drives – now with vocals
Tainted Love played by Floppy Disc Drives – now with vocals.
Sunday, February 16, 2014 - 04:00SMD Soldering on… Hot Sand?
Need to do some SMD soldering? No tools? No problem! Here’s a creative method that could be a handy tool to add to your belt: SMD soldering using hot sand.
[Oliver Krohn] recently released this little video demonstrating how to perform re-flow soldering using hot sand. He’s using a bunsen burner to heat up a ceramic pot of sand to use as a kind of hot plate. It seems to work pretty well, and it’s a very unique way of doing it — if you wanted to get a bit more technical, you could also throw a temperature probe in the sand to get a much finer heat control!
Of course there are lots of other ways of doing re-flow soldering, like using a re-purposed toaster oven, frying up some circuits on a skillet after you’ve had your bacon, or if you want to be fancy, you could even build your own toolkit for it!
Anyway, stick around for the epic video of SMD soldering on hot sand.
Doesn’t that just get you pumped to do some soldering?
[via Hacked Gadgets]
Filed under: tool hacks
Sunday, February 16, 2014 - 01:01Chinese 3020 CNC Machine Gets Some Upgrades
If you frequent any CNC Forums out on the ‘web you’ll find that these Chinese 3020 CNC routers are generally well received. It is also common opinion that the control electronics leave something to be desired. [Peter]‘s feelings were no different. He set out to make some improvements to his machine’s electronics such as fixing a failed power supply and adding PWM spindle control and limit switches.
[Peter] determined that the transformer used in the power supply was putting out more voltage from the secondary coil than the rest of the components could handle. Instead of replacing the transformer with another transformer, two switch mode power supplies were purchased. One powers the spindle and the other is for the stepper motors. So he wasn’t guessing at the required amperage output of the power supplies, [Peter] measured the in-operation current draw for both the steppers and spindle motor.
As received, the spindle speed is manually controlled by a potentiometer on the control panel. CNC Machine Control software, such as LinuxCNC or Mach3, has the ability to control the spindle speed by using PWM. It turns out that the 3020′s control board and spindle motor driver are designed to do this, it is just not hooked up. After some poking around on the board, all that was needed to finish the job was to add two jumper wires and flip one DIP switch.
The control board also has inputs for limit switches that are unused as shipped from the factory. Through some investigation it was found that the limit switch inputs are opto-isolated. Now the machine can be run without worry about unintentionally running out of travel. This and more is documented on [Peter]‘s site, including all of the parallel port pin functions and machine specifications.
Filed under: cnc hacks
Sunday, February 16, 2014 - 00:10How-To: 20-Sided (Pecan) Pie
Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 22:01Generating Embroidery with an Arduino
Want a nifty way to combine the craft of embroidery with electronics? The folks working on the open source Embroidermodder demoed their software by generating an embroidery of the KDE logo using a TFT screen and an Arduino.
Embroidermodder is an open source tool for generating embroidery patterns. It generates a pattern and a preview rendering of what the embroidery will look like when complete. It’s a cross-platform desktop application with a GUI, but the libembroidery library does the hard work in the background. This library was ported to Arduino to pull off the hack.
While generating pictures of embroidery with an Arduino might look neat, it isn’t too useful. However, since the library has been ported it is possible to use it to control other hardware. With the right hardware, this could be the beginning of an open source embroidery machine.
After the break, check out a video of the pattern being generated.
Filed under: Arduino Hacks
Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 19:003D Printering: Making A Thing In FreeCAD, Part II
It’s time once again for another installment of a Making A Thing tutorial, where I design the same part, over and over again, in multiple 3D design software packages.
Last week we took a look at FreeCAD, a free, open source parametric modeller. It’s an amazingly powerful tool, and not it’s finally time to complete our model of a strange object ripped from the pages of an 80-year-old drafting textbook.
Here’s some links to previous Making A Thing tutorials, doe:
- AutoCAD Part I
- AutoCAD Part II
- Blender Part I
- Blender Part II
- Autodesk 123D
- FreeCAD Part I
Read on for the second part of our FreeCAD tutorial
Our Thing, And Where We Left Off Last Time
To the right is the thing we’re making. It’s from an 80-year-old book on drafting.
A few people have asked me for a .PDF of this book. My copy is in dead tree format, and I haven’t yet built a book scanner.
If anyone out there has the 1st or 2nd edition of Engineering Drawing (French, 1911 or 1918), please scan it (its public domain) and post a link.Here’s the Google Scanned copy of the 2nd edition.
In the last installment of this tutorial, we went over installing FreeCAD, the basics of parametric modelling, and drawing a few circles and lines. Finishing off our ‘thing’ is just a process of drawing lines, arcs, and fillets, constraining them, and tearing your hair out at the inability of FreeCAD to show you the one unconstrained element in your sketch oh my god. After a little trial and error, we end up with something like the pic below, a fully constrained sketch of most of our switch base:
Yes, it’s ugly, but it’s accurate. Now it’s time to move on to the third dimension, extruding our thing up 7/16th of an inch. Note that I really don’t care about the absolute dimensions of what I’m designing. FreeCAD is metric only, so I’m designing everything around eigths of an inch. Slicers allow you to scale a print anyway…
Once we have our part drawn and constrained, the Solver on the left hand toolbar will tell us we have a fully constrained sketch. Now it’s time to extrude our object. Click Close on the Tasks bar, and you’ll end up with a few options: Create Sketch, Pad, Pocket, Revolution, and Groove. The tool we use for extrusion is Pad, so click on that. Switch over to the isometric view, set the pad parameters for the correct depth of extrusion, and you’ll get an awesome filled solid. Awesome.
While we couldn’t do the ‘interior’ fillets on our part in the Part Design workbench – the fillet command only works between two lines, not a line and an arc. Now that we’ve extruded our thing into the Z axis, we can finally add those fillets. In the 3D view, click the edge separating the big ‘washer’ of our part and the long flange.
After that, we get a fairly good-looking part. We’re not done, though. We still need to make the other part of our thing, the ‘countersunk flange’, as I like to call it.
Adding Another Part
Right now we have the ‘bottom’ of our thing designed, but we’re still missing the flange with the countersunk hole. To add this, we’ll need to create the outline of the ‘countersunk flange’ part of our thing. Do that by going int the Part Design workbench, drawing a fully constrained part, and extruding it just like we did with the first part. When we’re done, we’ll have something that looks like this:
With that done, it’s time to assemble these two parts. When we go back to the Part workbench, we’ll see something like the pic to the right. Our parts are there, but we’ll need to arrange them correctly and join them somehow. After that, we’ll need to put the holes in our flange. Easy enough.
Arranging The Parts
In the Part workbench, select the flange you just made in the part tree for our thing. There’s a tab at the bottom labeled ‘Data’, and this is where we’ll place our flange at the end of the ‘washer’ part of our thing. Play around with the position until everything’s correct, and we have 90% of our thing done.
Adding The Holes
Select the face on the flange we want to drill our holes into. We’ll need to create two sketches for this; one for the through hole, and a second for the counterbored hole. Sketch the smaller hole, then remove it with the Pocket tool. This tool is pretty much the opposite of the Pad tool; it extrudes “down” instead of “up”.
In another sketch in the face of the flange, draw the larger hole, and Pocket it down to the proper depth.
And there’s a completed part. Export, do some Booleans if you need to, and we’re done.
Wrapping Up FreeCAD
FreeCAD is an amazingly powerful tool, but in making this tutorial I did notice a little bit of wonkiness in the FreeCAD interface; using the middle mouse button to pan the sketch through the current view didn’t always work, adding a line sometimes (though rarely) results in freezes, and there were a few instances where the UX is just… crummy.
Seeing as how FreeCAD is currently in version 0.13, and possibly the fact that I’m using the Windows version, this sort of thing is to be expected. It’s still being improved, and although I believe FreeCAD will eventually become one of the best open source design and modeling softwares out there, it still needs a bit of work.
If you know Python and C++, and you’re looking for an open source project to contribute to, I’d highly suggest helping out the FreeCAD devs. There’s no doubt in my mind FreeCAD will eventually be as popular for mechanical and 3D design as KiCAD is for electronic design in a few years. FreeCAD is still a great package now, but it needs a little bit of work before going mainstream.
That’s it for this Making A Thing tutorial. Next week Hackaday contributor [Rich] will putting up the first part of a tutorial on Solidworks. It’s awesome, and you’ll read it.
After the Soildworks tutorial, I have absolutely no idea where these Making A Thing tutorials are going to go. Between the half-dozen software packages this series has covered so far, We’ve covered just about every method of creating an object to be 3D printed – AutoCAD for traditional drafting, FreeCAD for parametric modeling, and OpenSCAD for scripting 3D modeling.
Writing more tutorials for other software packages would only duplicate what this series already has done with less popular softwares. This means I’m sort of in a bind as to what to write next for these Making A Thing tutorials.
If you have an idea of what this series of tutorial should do next, drop a note in the comments. I’ve also considered getting a Printrbot Simple and showing all the ways a print can fail – and the ways to fix it. If you have a better idea, you’re always able to suggest something in the comments.
Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 18:10Makerland: Three days of Hardware Hacking in Warsaw
Makerland is a new European hardware conference for makers. Attendees will spend three days inside the Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw, Poland, learning, interacting, and building amazing new things. The event features a diverse set of speakers and workshop leaders from around the world, which will give attendees the opportunity to […]
Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 17:56DIY Gami-Bots! #SaturdayMorningCartoons
Howtoons uses comic book style storytelling to give a DIY instructional on making Gami-Bots!
We can all agree that robots are awesome, but building them can be a daunting task. Check out this simple origami robot made from a vibration motor, business card, 3v cell battery, and tape. It is so easy it practically builds itself.
Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 16:01Robot Controller More Fun Than an Actual Wii-U
Okay, that’s probably not fair since we never gave the Wii-U a try at all. But doesn’t this seem like a much better idea for controlling a robot than playing a gaming console?
The photo above is a bit deceiving because the unit actually has quite a bit of depth. Despite that, the cleanliness of the build is very impressive. [Alec Waters] started off with a backup monitor meant for automotive use (we’d estimate 7″). There’s a radio receiver, two analog joysticks where your thumbs line up when holding the controller, and an Arduino to pull it all together. If you haven’t figured it out already, this displays the wireless video from the robot he’s controlling. He’s also include an auxiliary port which lets you bypass the radio receiver and plug in a video feed directly.
Still convinced you need Nintendo’s consumer controller with a built-in screen. Yes, that can be hacked to work with all your projects. But seriously, this is way more fun.
Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 15:0010 Snowy Projects Plus Snow Science, Video, and Art
Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 13:01Garage Clicker Dashboard Integration
Vehicles with the highest level of trim package sometimes come with the ability to learn garage door opener codes. Less costly offerings lack that feature as well as others bells and whistles, leaving blank plates where fancy buttons would have been. [JiggMcFigg] makes the best of this situation by gutting his garage remote and hiding it behind a button blank.
One thing that raised an eyebrow is the coin cell battery holder you can make out on the size-check image shown to the left. But really, these remotes must drain their batteries at a rate nearly the same as an unused battery so why complicate the hack? A holder was soldered onto the board, and jumper wires were soldered to the push button added to the blank plate. This type of utilitarian button is much more satisfying to use than those fancy-pants silk-screen molded-plastic types anyway!
Of course you could go the other way with this hack. [JiggMcFigg] started out with the problem of losing the remotes in the mess of the car. You could retrofit it with a huge button to make it harder to misplace.
Filed under: transportation hacks
Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 10:50Standalone WiFi Fadecandy server
This week, nemik posted a package for OpenWRT that makes it really easy to run the Fadecandy server on a cheap battery-powered WiFi router, the TP-LINK TL-MR3040. I just got my MR3040 in the mail, and I recorded a quick video demo
FadeCandy – Dithering USB-Controlled Driver for NeoPixels:A new collaboration between Adafruit & Micah from Scanline, we are excited to introduce Fadecandy, a NeoPixel driver with built in dithering, that can be controlled over USB. Fadecandy is not just hardware! It is a kit of both hardware and software parts that make LED art projects easier to build and better-looking so sculptors and makers and multimedia artists can concentrate on beautiful things instead of reinventing the wheel. It’s an easy way to get started and an advanced tool for professionals. It’s a collection of simple parts that work well together:
- Firmware that uses unique dithering and color correction algorithms to raise the bar for quality while getting out of the way of your creativity.
- Open source hardware for connecting cheap and popular WS2811 based LEDs to a laptop, desktop, or Raspberry Pi over USB.
- Fadecandy Server Software, which communicates with one Fadecandy board or dozens. It runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS, and on embedded platforms like Raspberry Pi.
- The Open Pixel Control protocol, a simple way of getting pixel data from your creative tools into the Fadecandy server.
- LEDs! Fadecandy works with Adafruit’s popular WS2811/WS2812 LEDs. Each controller board supports up to 512 LEDs, arranged as 8 strips of 64 each.
Headers are not included but we have tons of different kinds of dual header in the shop if you want to solder something into the pads.
Fadecandy is designed to enable art that is subtle, interactive, and playful – exploring the interplay between light, form, and shadow. If you’re tired of seeing project after project with frenetic blinky rainbow fades, you’ll appreciate how easy it is to create expressive lighting!
It’s also battle tested! The firmware was originally developed to run the Ardent Mobile Cloud Platform, a Burning Man project which used 2500 LEDs to project ever-changing rolling cloud patterns onto the interior of a translucent plastic sculpture. It used five Fadecandy boards, a single Raspberry Pi, and the effects were written in a mixture of C and Python. The lighting on this project blew people away, and it made me realize just how much potential there is for creative lighting, but it takes significant technical drudgery to get beyond frenetic-rainbow-fade into territory where the lighting can really add to an art piece instead of distracting from it.
Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 10:4610NES Lockout Chip Basics
What does the 10NES system mean to the consumer? Well, combined with the zero-insertion force 72-pin socket, the 10NES chip is primarily responsible for anytime you are having trouble getting a game to boot. Anytime you see the 1 Hz red blinking power light, what you are actually seeing is the 10NES chip forcing a console reboot every 1 second. This usually happens because the game is not making adequate contact with the 72-pin socket, and the key chip cannot appropriately communicate with the lock chip. Most of the time you wasted blowing on cartridges as a kid can be chalked up to the 10NES and it’s inability to authenticate the game cartridge you were trying to play.
Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 10:01Light Your Way to the Correct Resistor
Who doesn’t have issues with component storage (seriously, tell us your secret in the comments)? IF you can get your spare parts organized, it’s still quite difficult to figure out where you actually squirreled them away. Labeling drawers is one thing, but what if you have hundreds or thousands of drawers (we’re looking at you, ever Hackerspace that’s been around for more than a few months). This project adds a digital cue to well-organized parts storage by lighting up the component drawer for stock selected from your computerized inventory (translated).
The idea is that all of your parts are assigned a drawer space on the computer. When you go into the index and select a part, the assigned drawer is illuminated by an LED. The setup here is a breakout board for an I2C LED driver which interfaces with a Raspberry Pi. But the concept should be easy to implement with just about any system.
Need help getting to the point where you’re organized enough to implement this? So do we. Maybe revisiting this storage roundup will help.
Filed under: misc hacks
Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 07:01Hanging Glass Speakers Look Super Cool
Looking for a modern way to spice up your apartment? Well if you’re not too much of an audiophile, these hanging glass speakers look awesome!
First off, we know the question you’re already asking — how do they sound? Well, to be honest, not that bad! You could describe it as being glassy (ha ha), but you would be surprised how nice the bass comes through. The speakers suffer when it comes to treble though as it comes out a bit muffled. This could be corrected with a few strategically placed hidden tweeters though!
So how do they work? Well, like any speaker, the sound comes from vibration — in this case, the glass is vibrated to produce the sound. To achieve this, [Evan] is using a pair of HiWave HIAX32C20-8 tactile transducers, which are actually designed to turn most surfaces into speakers. The tricky part of this build is how to hang them.
Having limited space in his room, [Evan] opted to hang the speakers from the ceiling with wire — the only problem is drilling glass isn’t that easy. He shares a few tips, and eventually succeeded using a Dremel tool. From there it was just a matter of installing some hooks in the ceiling, and stringing it all together.
Check out the following video to hear them in action!
We’re curious about other methods that could be used to support these speakers — if you have any ideas, or experience in it, let us know!
Filed under: digital audio hacks
Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 06:00Make It Wearable Ep 2: Human Health
Today, we bring you part two on the cutting-edge field with Human Health, an exploration into how wearables in the medical community are optimizing patient care, as well as making health and athletics both safer and smarter.
More than just communication, wearables have the ability to keep us more informed about our bodies and our health. In this second installment, we talked to doctors, professors, and even a former NFL player who are all using wearables to evolve and improve health and wellness.
Watch our documentary above, but continue reading to see three specific areas of health where experts are integrating wearables to improve how we understand our bodies.
Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 04:01An Easy Way To Power Flyback Transformers
Let’s be honest. Playing with high voltage is awesome. Dangerous, but awesome — well, as long as you handle it properly. Flyback transformers are a great way to make a nice big electrical arc, but powering them isn’t that easy — or is it?
First off, for those that may not know, a flyback transformer is the type of transformer most commonly found in old TVs and CRT monitors. They typically can put out anywhere from 10kV to 50kV — the problem is, they aren’t that easy to power. Common methods include using a transistor style driver, or zero voltage switching (ZVS) — which is how [Skyy] cooked some s’mores at 50,000V.
As it turns out there’s another much easier and straight forward method. All you need is a fluorescent light ballast. Use the output on the ballast as the input on the primary winding of the flyback transformer — which can be found using a multimeter, just find the highest resistance between pins to identify it. Now because you’re working with such high voltages, you may want to insulate the flyback transformer by submerging it in mineral oil as to not short it out. That’s it.
Now it’s time to make some sparks.
If you want to get fancy, you can even control flyback transformers using an Arduino!
Filed under: hardware