Rotating Lego dock take two

lego_ipod_stand_number_2

Last week we saw a rotating iPhone dock built from Lego. This week we’re happy to put up another example of a dock made of these popular building blocks. Thank goodness this one takes into account all of the sudden jolts that our desk is prone to by incorporating shock absorbing springs. The design is very sleek with a jazzy red scheme and a less-is-more attitude. We are a bit concerned about our expensive hand held falling out but then again that’s what the springs are for. Who can be the first to put together a step-by-step guide for building this one?

[via Engadget]

Grow box controls heater, fans, and water

grow_box_controller

The Cheap Vegetable Gardner wanted more automation than their previous PS2 controller based grow system. This time they set out to design a full featured, compact grow controller that can measure temperature and humidity as well as control a heat lamp, fan, and water pump. An Arduino provides USB connectivity and interfaces the solid state relays and sensors. The assembled project all fits in a box but we are left wondering how much heat the four SSRs generate and will it be a problem?

[Thanks shawn]

Using MatchBox cars as a switch

cars

[atduskgreg] posted this interesting setup to flickr. He’s using two toy cars as a switch. He has wired into their metal undercarriages so when they collide, the circuit closes. We’ve seen some pretty nifty home made interface items, but usually they are posted with a clear purpose or a project. This one is a little puzzling. Does he intend to keep using the cars or was he just fooling around? Is he working on a toy that does something when they crash? Was he merely bored and wanted to see what he could attach to his Arduino. We may never know.

1:35,200 Scale Train is World’s Smallest

nanotrain

This train layout is so small it nearly defies photography as much as it defies expectations. Built by model railroad enthusiast [David Smith], this is a model of a model: an N scale (1:160) layout inside a Z scale (1:220) world! For size reference, the entire layout is shown under a ballpoint pen tip in the photo above. And it actually runs!

Of course with this being Hack a Day you know there’s going to be some shenanigans involved. Pause the hi-def YouTube video at the 0:50 mark and see if you can puzzle it out first. The remainder of the video and [David’s] project page reveal how this all works, and it’s no less amazing even with the trick exposed. Check out his other ludicrously small mechanical wonders as well!

[via RetroThing]

Color changing paint display

heat_actuated_display

We’ve seen several creative projects from [Sprite_tm] and this one sets a new bar. He got his hands on some paint that changes color with temperature. By covering a circuit board with the paint then heating the circuits he’s created a heat actuated 7-segment display (his post is in Dutch). Three seconds at about 1 amp is enough to turn the black paint white. When the segment has been disconnected for about one minute the paint fades back to black. Now that we’ve seen his concept, leave a comment and tell us how you’d use it.

Bar2d2 on the Discovery channel

Happy-hour

The friendly robotic bartender we’ve covered a couple of times before hit the airwaves last week. [Jamie], the inventor of Bar2d2 sent in a link to video of the barkeeper in action. The story runs from 0:30-4:40 and covers a bit about the build, the conversion to automatic drink mixing, and plenty of happy liquor-guzzling party goers.

We get a good look at the drink ordering interface called Lazy Drinker. It runs on a laptop and communicates wirelessly with Bar2d2. Looks like you can get your hands on the software for free but the hardware, either in kit form or assembled, is going to cost you. Want to see how the dispenser kits are put together? Don’t miss the illustrated assembly instructions.

[image: popsci]

Modified RX7 dimmer control

SANY00191

We were a little surprised when we learned the Mazda RX7’s high beams were controlled by ECU, compared to typical cars using just a toggle switch. Ubermodder [Trent Bruce] realized how much of a pain in the rear end this can be if the ECU ever burns out, meaning no brights. By using a D-Flip Flop setup in a toggle configuration, he is able to control his once lost high beams. He also points out that if you plan to do any other electronic modifications to the RX7, you should be sure to pay attention to the unusual ground switching and the other crazy wiring under the hood.

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