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Large magnets spark on Halloween, who knew?

This overly large magnet certainly completes the mad scientist look (for an even crazier look, take a jar of water with red food coloring and place in one large cauliflower, instant brain in a jar).

The base of the magnet is painted foam cut with a makeshift hot-knife; to get the magnet sparking [Macegr] laser etched acrylic with a fractal pattern and embedded LEDs in the ends of the acrylic. An Arduino handles the flashing LEDs and also produces a 60Hz PWM pulse for the spark’s hum. The end result is satisfyingly mad, and while practicing your evil ominous laugh catch a video of the magnet after the jump.

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Mechanical mustache envy

While this mechanical mustache isn’t made for a Halloween costume, it certainly looks like part of one. Copper clad, brass, cable, and a few other bits come together in a similar style to tension based hands; the piece is then worn much like a Mardi Gras mask. To complete the rustic “old tyme” look [John] was after, the copper was tarnished using the vapor from a vinegar and salt solution. The finished assembly is steam punk delicious, but we’re saddened by the lack of steam punk eye brows to complete the look (or steam punk mutton chops, or steam punk goatee, or…)

[via Boing Boing]

Even more Halloween links

We know you just got a links post a couple hours ago, but more people tipped us off to some great Halloween stuff and we just couldn’t wait.


[Michael] came up with this fantastic idea for a flying ghost. He’s using a twin prop tilt rotor design to fly his ghost all over the neighborhood. It has a camera mounted on board and the footage is both fascinating and, toward the end, quite funny. Nothing beats chasing children down the street in first person from a flying ghost.


[Trey] wrote in to show off his 47 foot wide spider.  He made it himself out of black painters plastic that he heat welded together using a heat gun. In the video you can see his victim, a dummy mounted on a salvaged rotissierie.


[Floe] has been thinking about this one for quite some time. He finally decided to build his flame throwing jack-o-lantern, a concept we approve of. Using two servos, one to start a pilot light and one to spray a travel deodorant, it is pretty simple. He used a ceramic jack-o-lantern so it would be sturdy enough, and marginally less flammable.

Here’s a safer Jack-o-lantern for you. [Paul] wrote in to show us his LED synchronized Jack-o-lanterns. While they may not be ground breaking, we just love seeing that logo out in the wild. Maybe we’re just egotistical, maybe those toothpicks just brought back fond memories. Why didn’t we ever run that Jack-0-lantern carving contest? Oh well, maybe next year. You can see a video of it in action after we get it uploaded correctly to our youtube channel.

Keyboard concept uses magic trackpad

This is a keyboard alternative that [Sebastian] is building from two Apple Magic Trackpads. The multitouch devices are a good platform for this because they’re designed to pick up several events at the same time. To prototype the locations of the keys he’s using printable transparency sheets. He gives you a sense of where the home row is with a dab of clear fingernail polish that you can feel with your digits.

He may laser etch these pads once the key location is just right. This should give a bit of texture in itself and do away with the need for nail polish but we still like the ingenuity of that solution. The device is being developed in Linux, with some kernel hacking to handle the devices. We asked about source code and [Sebastian] is hesitant to post it because he’s been getting a lot of kernel panics. It sounds like once he cleans things up a bit he’ll share his work.

Don’t forget, there’s an easy hack to do away with the batteries in these things.

Halloween Props: Voice-changing Daft Punk costume

[Dr. West] shared his Halloween costume with us; a Daft Punk inspired voice-changing helmet. He stared with a motorcycle helmet, cutting out a hole in the back for a sub-woofer speaker. Inside there’s an old computer mic and the amp circuitry for a portable stereo system. An Arduino is used to pick up the wearer’s voice from the microphone and perform the digital signal processing. Once the alterations have been made the signal is sent to an R-2R resistor ladder to perform the digital to analog conversion, and onto the amp for broadcast. Hear the result in the video after the break.

The rest of the helmet is window dressing. He found some kind of auto-body repair product called flex-edging to use as metallic hair. Those fins are accented with strings of red and blue LEDs. The faceplate finishes the look using speakers from the stereo system and a tinted visor.

He wan’t going for a replica, but we think his creation would be right at home with the look of the original.

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