The DIY LIL CNC project is the newest member of the homebrew fabrication scene. This is a three-axis CNC mill that can be built by anyone with basic shop skills and about $700 in their pocket. Many of the materials can be acquired from the likes of Home Depot: the basic framework is assembled from Masonite, while other cost-cutting measures include the use of skate bearings and a common Dremel tool for powering the cutting bit. About half of the cost is for the HobbyCNC driver and stepper motor package that runs the show.
The instructions for the DIY LIL CNC are distributed under a Creative Commons license, allowing for modification and distribution with few restrictions. They’re well-written and quite thorough, including all patterns and a complete bill of materials with suppliers, part numbers and costs. As documented, the ’bot can produce parts up to 12 x 14 x 2 inches, but the project’s creators offer some suggestions on adapting the design for larger work. It’s not self-replicating like the RepRap aims for; you’ll need access to a laser cutter for some of the parts. If you can clear that hurdle, this looks like a great introduction to CNC production.
During our daily rounds we stumbled upon Duino Tag. Sure it’s not as awesome as a coil gun but it really sparked our imagination. First the base: an Arduino is wired up with IR LEDs and placed inside of a plastic pistol. A second Arduino with an IR receiver is scanning for the first Arduinos signal. A ‘shot’ of IR light is ‘fired’ and detected, you get a ‘kill’.
The base is nothing amazing, but it really gives us some ideas and we would like to see it expanded upon. [J44] has already put in a piezo and other LEDs to simulate muzzle flash and other effects. But we like to go further. Start off with multiple pistols and players. Include GPS to track players current position, and wireless to update each player of another player. A small wrist watch display could act much like a UAV. Add some expansions like IR ‘grenades’ and you’ve got a full-out war! What would you like to see?
Mix a cup of mechanical engineering with a dash of drum set and you end up with Steve, the robotic drummer. We know that it uses an MSA-T Midi Decoder but that’s about the extent of what has been shared. Just from observing the video, we think Steve’s got a few things going for him when compared to PEART, the robot drummer we saw back in 2005. Steve features two sticks for each drum and symbol and seems to be quite responsive.
Steve’s great, but we still think Rick Allen’s got this thing beat. Although this is a quality build, there’s no replacement for a human that can bang the drum in millions of subtly different way. That isn’t to say we don’t see potential in the hack. Perhaps it’s time to update a classic idea, the robotic orchestra. Don’t know what we mean? Check out 3:58 into the video embedded after the break.
Continue reading “Auto-drummer”
This wort cooler looks beautiful. No, it’s not for removing warts, it’s part of the brewing process for the nectar of the gods. Even if it wasn’t meant to create alcohol, we would be drawn in by those pretty copper curves.
We’re not surprised at all to see this remote-controlled bowling ball. We’ve seen remote-controlled spheres several times and this just seems like the logical conclusion. We wish there were some build details though. [via neatorama]
When [Anthony Toth] an aircraft enthusiast, decided remodel his garage, he shot for the sky. He has recreated the first class cabin of a Pan Am 747 circa the 1970s. It took him nearly 20 years to scavenge the parts and over $50,000 to pull it all together. [via makezine]
This super cheap simple cable tester caught our eye. There’s nothing complicated here, pretty common sense really. Why didn’t we think of it?
Over the years, Asimo has become a household name. At least in geek households. We’ve seen him go from crazy looking walking microwave prototype, to giant scary space man monster, to the lovable little guy we know now. You can see the full evolution of Asimo in this picture series.
Got an old box camera? Want to use it with modern 35mm film? Here’s a guide to getting it to work. It mainly just involves making a simple mounting bracket.
We like LEDs a lot, but this is getting ridiculous. This dress has 24,000 LEDs. They power it with iPod batteries spread throughout the dress. This cuts down on the bulk and helps distribute the weight.
Coffee cup technology hasn’t changed much in the last bazillion years. We’re pretty sure cave people carved them from stone, and now they’re made from ceramic which really isn’t that different. Some researchers are changing all that, and designing a coffee cup that is supposed to regulate its temperature in a new way. This mug is manufactured with internal convection channels and is made from a material known for its temperature regulation called PCM. Interesting, but it will probably cost much more than a simple insulated thermos. [via neatorama]
Here’s a pair of diametrically opposed hacks. One makes use of a real instrument to play Rock Band, the other makes use of a game controller to play real music.
[Tim] lets us know that his friend figured out how to play Rock Band 2 on expert level by playing flute instead of singing. Of course this works because the game is just looking for the correct frequency for scoring. It makes sense that the vocal lines can be offset by an octave and still register correctly. We wouldn’t have thought of this ourselves but now that we’ve seen her success, we will try it (our instrumental skills far out pace our singing talents).
Seeing this sparks a correlation with Phone Phreaking, which started with a blind kid singing a tone into the receiver to make the remainder of his long distance call free. This was followed by Blue Boxes that allowed people without perfect pitch to play the tones electronically. It would be interesting to see what could have been done with a talented flute player (like the beat-boxing flutist) and one of those old phone networks.
On the other side of the coin, we have [Jordan's] project in which she creates midi controllers using Wii drums from Guitar Hero World Tour and Rock Band. The Guitar Hero drums are velocity sensitive, a feature she’s using in her setup. The MIDI data takes into account how hard the drums are struck and the resulting sound reflects that. This particular writeup outlines her use of Osculator for the velocity sensitive system, but you can also check out the tutorial she wrote covering the use of JunXion with the Rock Band controller that we covered in the past.
Video for both of these control schemes is included after the page break. We love to see people break the guise of “I’m creating music by playing a video game” and actually use their musical talents in a new and interesting way.
Continue reading “Instruments as games – games as instruments”