Thingamawha? Thingamagoop2!

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Introducing the Thingamagoop2! Remember that awkward looking box with two LEDacles sticking out and a bunch of strange buttons and knobs that with some circuit bending synthesized different sounds that kept your neighbor up for hours on end? Well now its back! Smaller and one less LEDacle, but jam-packed with more features – like our personal favorite: the ability to program it via Arduino. Check out a video of the ‘music’ after the break. Continue reading “Thingamawha? Thingamagoop2!”

Raid the dollar store for an illuminated umbrella

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Here’s a quick and easy illuminated umbrella that [Mikeasaurus] built. How’s this for economical? He found an umbrella that someone left on the bus, and used an LED flashlight and clear poncho from the dollar store for the rest of the parts.

The scavenged LED circuit board is the perfect diameter to fit inside the handle of his umbrella. He removed the middle LED and drilled a hole in the board for the shaft to pass through. Although not well detailed, we gather he managed to shoehorn two CR2032 3v batteries underneath the PCB to power the device. The poncho is wrapped around the shaft to diffuse the light. This is a clever solution as the flexible plastic still allows the telescoping shaft to collapse down to its most compact size.

[Mikasaurus’] umbrella doesn’t make noise or emulate the weather but it is a clever idea. The low difficulty level and availability of parts makes this a great project to do with the young ones who don’t get included in your more intricate hacks.

Robot interface lets fingers do the walking

We’re filing this one under “best interface implementation”. This robot is controlled by finger gestures on the surface of an iPod Touch. It can walk forward, turn, sidestep, jump, and kick a ball based on the input it receives from your sweaty digits. Unlike vehicles controlled by an iPhone (or by Power Wheels), this has some potential. Especially considering the inevitable proliferation of multi-touch devices in our everyday lives.

Set phasers to “blind”

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[Directive0] added a 200mW laser to his Enterprise Phase Pistol toy. This joins the ranks of hand-held laser hacks that we’ve seen around here lately. His build makes use of the stun and kill settings of the toy to switch between different modes. The built-in 9 volt battery holder is tapped into for power. When set to stun, the stun LED indicator is illuminated and a trigger pull sends current limited electricity to the laser diode. When the kill (or blind) setting is selected, the appropriate LED is illuminated and the trigger sends the full current from the battery to the laser diode. Power regulation is managed by the driver circuit for the laser.

This build preserves the unmodded look of the toy gun. [Directive0’s] inclusion of protective glass should fend off the warnings we usually see in the comments of these types of hacks.

Too much time, not enough pressure

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[Audin] got a hold of a pressure gauge and decided to turn it into a clock. We were under the impression that these types of gauges were filled with oil but he didn’t detail cleaning it up for his purposes. Once he gained access to the guts he replaced them with a stepper motor. The motor connects to an Arduino with the help of a Darlington array for handling the large load. [Audin’s] plans include using a real time clock (on order) and moving to an AVR ATmega8 microprocessor once the prototyping is finished. In the mean time, he has posted the code used in his current prototype.

Stay with us past the page break for some video of this in action. He’s got the needle dialed in for very precise movement and has coded a “jitter” effect as well. We’re not sure this would be the most convenient clock, but we’d love to affix it to our kitchen stove for a gnarly looking timer. [Audin] acquired the gauge at his local Habitat for Humanity ReStore, a place we’ve used many times to source reclaimed and unused items of all kinds for our projects.

Continue reading “Too much time, not enough pressure”

Linear optical encoder

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Optical encoders are nothing new; they can be found in everything from mice to printers. They’re great for allowing DC motors to know their exact position and even current direction. If this is sounding like old hat, it’s because we’ve shown you rotational versions before.

[Chris] uses the same concept, but produced a linear optical encoder instead of rotational. His setup is much like whats used in non stepper-motor CNC and RepRap mills, allowing ordinary DC motors to know their position within a plane. It’s a quick tutorial, but we liked the detail and it reminded us we need to finish that DC motor based mill thats still a pile of parts in the closet. Check out a video of [Chris’] in action after the break. Continue reading “Linear optical encoder”