CNC plotter from old parts

Get a quick fix of CNC for the day with this plotter. [Francisco Dulanto] grabbed the cartridge carriage from an old inkjet printer and turned it into a gantry by mounting it on two drawer sliders. The optical head assembly from a cd-rom provides the Z-axis movement with the whole thing controlled by three RepRap boards. [Francisco] called his project a joke compared to the Turing Machine, but we like it and we’re glad he tipped us off. There’s something zen-like about the projects that are thrown together with what you have available. After all, he’s certainly achieve a clean-looking build that does what it’s intended to do.

Sony removes PS3 Linux support with an update… errrrr, downgrade?

Sony is rolling out a firmware update for the PS3 on April 1 but we’re pretty sure it’s not a joke. What we’re not sure about is that you can call it an update. It removes features rather than fixing or adding them. In this case, it is removing the “Install Other OS” option that allows you to run Linux on non-slim versions of the PlayStation 3. It is fairly obvious that this is a reaction to the hypervisor exploit that was released back in January that breaks down the machine’s security barriers.

[Geohot], the guy who found and release the exploit, published a post on his blog expressing his disapproval of Sony’s actions. We’d have to agree. It’s pretty cold-hearted to remove functionality that was advertised with a product. We’re sure there are many folks out there using the Linux support who have no interest in exploiting the product. This is gardening with a backhoe and quite frankly it stinks.

This may bring on a torrent of new effort in unlocking and laying bare the PS3. If so, doesn’t Sony deserve it?

[Photos credit: I’m with Stupid]

[Thanks Shueddue]

Home fabricated boards in any color

Tired of every printed circuit board you etch coming out brown? Take a page out of [Dane's] book and dye your PCB to just about any color you want. One hour submerged in a 200 degree bath of Rit dye turned his brown FR4 substrate to the desired dark green. We give him points for being dangerous enough to use a broken bottle as a vessel, yet wearing eye protection at the same time.

We never really thought of doing this, but it’s pretty interesting that it works. We’ve stained the substrate when removing etch resist so this should have been obvious, but wasn’t.

Update: 50MHz to 100Mhz scope conversion

Changing this 50MHz Rigol oscilloscope into its larger, more expensive brother just became quite a bit easier. When we originally looked at this hack it required pulling some capacitors off of the board. Now all it takes is three commands over a serial terminal connection.

Take a look at the walk through video after the break. You’ll see that there’s one chip that needs to be setup differently to change the functionality. Removing capacitors was actually changing the commands sent to initialize that chip at power-up. Now you can just change the model number and one letter of the serial number via a terminal and the firmware will recognize this as the more expensive DS1102E.

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What input device? Just use your arm

This one could be a game changer. [Chris Harrison] and a team of researchers are showing off a method of using your arm as an input device. An arm band worn by the user picks up acoustic signatures created by tapping on your arm with the other hand, or taping your fingers and thumb together on the same hand. They’re achieving accuracies in the 82-97% range but it gets even better. Take a look at the video after the break and see what they’ve done by adding a pico-projector to the arm band in order to use your arm or hand as a touch display.

We liked seeing the concept mice from October, but the future of input devices might already be attached at the elbow.

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ZeroPlus logic cube modification

the folks over at OpenSchemes are at it again. This time they’ve cracked open a low end ZerPlus logic analyzer and modified it to function the same as the higher end model. The 16 channel version they purchased appeared to be fully capable of handling the 32 channels of the more expensive model. The installation of the additional components looks like it might be somewhat difficult, but it is certainly cheap.We love seeing things upgraded for cheap.¬†You might recognize OpenSchemes from when they upgraded the DMM tweezers or hacked the USB serial adapters.

[via HackedGadgets]

CNC egg decorating

Lacking the patience to do it by hand, GeekPhysical built a CNC machine to decorate Easter eggs. We do mean eggs from chickens used to celebrate the Christian holiday of Easter, not hidden nuggets in technology used to amuse geeks. The results seen in their video (after the break) are quite impressive considering that the printing medium is not perfectly round nor perfectly smooth. The hardware design is ingenious; one servo rotates the egg, another is mounted on one side of the egg and moves a track in an arc so that a felt-tipped pen will follow the curve of the shell. The pen moves in an out along that track through the use of a third servo physically removed by a Bowden cable. We were able to get a closer look at the hardware via their Flickr set and the device is indeed Arduino powered. This fun build is a great way to celebrate the season!

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