Maggy, locked and loaded

maggy

Some readers may remember [Paul] from his project Jak, the blackjack robot; but his interests have moved toward coil gun creation. Maggy, his latest weapon, may not be the prettiest of coil gun we’ve seen, or the most environmentally friendly, but does look to be promising. Featuring a triple stage, logic based accelerator instead of the typical single stage, it can fire a 10 gram projectile (theoretically) up to 85 km/h! Check out how he’s gone from a single pistol to his current monster on his site, and a video of his work in progress after the jump. [Read more...]

Giants roam Berlin

b20_20607457

I can hear the comments now: “Not a hack.” Yeah that might be true, but it’s still enormous puppets running around Berlin – that in its own right is pretty cool. The show, put on by the street theater group Royal De Luxe, is part of the 20th anniversary for the fall of the Berlin Wall. Spectators watched as the Big Giant rose from the water in search of his niece, the Little Giantess. We won’t spoil the ending, but its a happy one. Reminds us of the similar giant marionette group La Machine, and their La Princesse.

A Stirring Hack

Stirring Flask

[Oleg] of Circuits@Home and maker of the USB Isolation Board and the USB Host Shield has a new, two-part hack for his chemistry set. In Part 1 of  this hack, [Oleg] discusses the method he uses to make a stir bar spin and what types of stir bars work the best. Part 2 discusses the motor control code and circuit. Given the ample amount of capability leftover in the Arduino he used, we would like to see this stirrer paired with a heating element to have a complete hotplate/stirrer. What do you think you could do with or to improve this device?

A modular Halloween with grid beam

gridbeam

The fantastic Creatrope blog has a great article on quickly assembling animatronic Halloween gags using salvaged electric motors, pvc pipe, and “grid beam” construction.

Grid beam is a prototyping and building medium that’s like a giant hippie Erector set. You can’t buy grid beam, but with a drill press, a jig, and some square stock you can create your own unlimited supply. It’s ideal for “sketching” and temporary constructions like these Halloween props. After use, everything can be dismantled, stored flat, and later reused for the next [Herbie Hancock] music video creative project. Looks like fun!

The article wraps up with some valuable pointers on getting started with grid beam and where to acquire parts.

Installing a starscape ceiling

fiber-optic-star-ceiling

[Mike Galloway] set out to install a lighted starscape in the ceiling of the baby room. We remember first coming across this type of thing at a Planet Hollywood restaurant at least 10 years ago. We’ve always wondered how difficult this type of thing is to install.

This setup involves an LED based illuminator and bundles of fiber optics. [Mike] first mounted the illuminator in the corner of the room at ceiling level and ran the bundles of fiber optics up into the attic. He then used a cordless dremel to drill 1/16″ holes, one for each fiber in the bundle. This translates to a lot of holes! Once everything was in place, he filled the holes with glue to hold the fibers in place, and snipped off the excess from the room-side using a fingernail clipper. We’ve embedded his video of the system in action after the break.

This may take some time, but it seems easy enough and now we know how these ceilings work.

[Read more...]

ik-a-sketch collaborative scribbling

ik-a-sketch

At this year’s PICNIC conference [Neil Mendoza] and [Edwin Dertien] built a giant Etch-a-Sketch to help bring attendees together. The drawing area is a rear-projection screen, rather than a physical powder based setup, and is surrounded by the familiar red frame with vertical and horizontal control knob. Because the two knobs are too far apart for one person to use at the same time, two people must work together to move the stylus.

To help break the ice the device was designed to incorporate social networking. Each knob requires that an RFID (embedded in the conference badges) be scanned by the person controlling it. Both users are then connected as friends through a social network and when they’re done “making art”, the beauty of their creation is delivered to them via email.

We don’t know about you, but our etch-a-sketch attempts have always been crappy. There are some folks who can turn out a masterpiece on the thing, but this is really just meant to grab your interest for a minute or two and help you meet some people. One feature that should be noted, this giant device requires shaking to erase the image.

Barcode Challenge – Part 2

HaD_barcode

Yesterday we issued a barcode challenge in honor of the Barcode’s birthday. Congratulations to [The Moogle] for winning this challenge. His submission offers a very detailed explanation of how he solved the puzzle using Photoshop, OpenOffice Calc, and some web resources. We’ve got a detailed writeup on it after the break.

Honorable mentions go to [nex] for putting up a Java solution and to [jwmaag] for showing a Python solution. Finally, kudos to all who used a CueCat in one way or another to decode the string. Just having one of those still around is pretty hack-it-y.

Because of the ubiquity of Barcode scanners and online image translation programs the challenge might have been a bit too easy. Do you think you’re up for a greater challenge? Download the new barcode and get to work. This one should be quite a bit harder to decipher. Once again, leave a comment that includes the message stored in the Barcode. Please remember, only entries that solve the puzzle and include a full description of the process will be considered. Good luck, and let the games begin.

Update: It only took [JP] 19 minutes to post a correct solution to the new Barcode.  Great work!

[Read more...]

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