Vacuum formers are still fairly rare in our community, so it was a surprise to see that in the 1960s Mattel marketed one as a toy. It used a hot plate to mold plastic sheets into various shapes. The design was updated by Toymax in the early ’90s to use a light bulb heating element to make car bodies, like some sort of manly Easy-Bake Oven. The home-built machines we’ve seen are a much larger scale. In 2005, we posted [Ralis Kahn]’s version that employed an electric grill as the heating element. [drcrash] has since built on those plans, hoping to develop an even cheaper device.
Here’s another nerdy present that was built for Valentine’s Day. [João Silva] created a temperature sensing Munny. A Munny is a vinyl toy made to be customized. Other than these Munny speakers, we haven’t seen them in many electronics projects. The LM35CZ temperature sensor has an analog output that connects to the ADC on the ATtiny15L. The microcontroller changes the RGB LED’s color based on the temperature: blue for cold, green for comfortable, and red for hot. It only flashes every three minutes to conserve the power in the coin cells. His one-off circuit board also includes an ISP header for programming. The Munny’s head looks like it does a great job diffusing the light.
Warning: this link contains graphic images depicting removal of a fingernail by giant freaking magnets. [Dirk] likes to collect odd things. A few of those odd things, just happen to be massive Neodymium magnets. Even though he was really really careful, somehow two of them ended up close enough to attract each other. After a brief flight, the two collided with his finger tip in between them. It is probably still there now.
We know these things can be pretty dangerous and usually warn people when doing projects that require them, like building a wind turbine.
[Andrew] sent us this great breakdown of an LCD monitor repair. After his wife’s monitor developed an issue with rippling in the picture, he was forced to decide between trashing it, or fixing it. He decided for the latter, possibly to his wife’s disappointment. The rippling image could easily be attributed to a failed filter in the power supply. Knowing that capacitors are a prime suspect in these cases, he tore in, looking for failures. He found that there were, in fact, 2 bad capacitors on the back light circuit. After replacing them with newer, higher quality ones, the monitor was as good as new.