Artisans Asylum Takes on the Machine

You’ll probably lose your appetite after watching part one and part two of Artisans Asylum as they Take on the Machine. Based around the Wallace and Gromit “automated” set of contraptions, the team from Boston set out to make their own breakfast machine. Of course, with only three weeks to work it didn’t exactly turn out as planned. They certainly had some good ideas though, and we were amazingly impressed at their egg cracking machine. But in the end, we wouldn’t want to be first in line for a plate of breakfast. Next is the final team, The Transistor, who will be making a live action zombie video game.

[Thanks Deven]

Unreal speaker build

These speakers are hand made and almost one of a kind. [Lluís Pujolàs] didn’t come up with the original design, but he sure did an amazing job of crafting them, including an eleven page build log (translated). They’re called the Odyssey 2, after the original design. The shell-shaped cavity on the bottom was built as a wooden skeleton first, then covered over for the finished shape. But the mid and high range enclosures were turned on a lathe from wood glued-ups. A serious machine shop is necessary to do this kind of woodworking. The bases are poured concrete, impregnated with lead beads to help with vibration isolation. At 330 pounds each it’s understandable that he tested them on wheels before parking them in their final position as seen above.

[Thanks Neorazz]

Power supplies and transformers; a learning experience

[Ladyada] is working on a tutorial series covering power supplies. If you’ve ever built an electronic project you’ve used some type of power supply but we think that most people have no idea how you get from mains power to the DC voltages that most small projects use. So if you want to learn, get started with the first installment which covers AC/DC converters based on a transformer like the one seen above.

These transformers are inside the heavy and hot wall-wart plugs that come with many electronics. We used one along with a breadboard power supply when building the pumpkin LED matrix. They use a pair of coils to step down the voltage to a much smaller level. From there it’s a matter of rectifying the AC into DC power, which she talks about in an easy to follow discussion.

We understand this type of converter quite well but we’re a bit foggy on switch-mode AC/DC converters that don’t use a transformer. They’re much better because you don’t have to build a regulator into the target project like you do with wall-warts. Can’t wait until she gets to that part of the series!

Halloween Props: Borg costume

The Halloween hacks are rolling in late this year, but we’re delighted to see that [DJ Sures] finished his borg costume in time. It is made up of a hodge-podge of items from different cultures… oh wait, so are the borg. These include a set of hockey pads spray painted black with just a light misting of silver to give them some depth. After taking the image above (which mostly shows off his makeup) [DJ Sures] added an LCD screen to the chest plate and lighted electronics throughout. See for yourself after the break.

If you liked this you might take a look at his singing spark plug.

[Read more...]

Halloween Props: Talking skeleton in reaper robes

Here’s a great way to guard your front door on Halloween. [Sam Seide] built a motion controlled talking skeleton. The electronics are fairly straight forward, consisting of an Arduino, WAV shield, PIR motion sensor, servo motor for the jaw, and a couple of red LEDs for the eyes. But [Sam] did some really neat things in the design of the skeleton itself. As we saw with the puking pirate, he built the body out of PVC so that he can take it apart for easy storage. Under the reaper robe you’ll find a set of powered computer speakers that connect to the WAV shield. The servo motor is mounted in the skull and moves the jaw using a small wire arm. Since the whole thing is a bit flexible (thanks to the PVC), the torque of the motor causes the skeleton to move around, adding a touch of life. Don’t miss the well-made video walkthrough after the break.

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Smallest gaming console ever. EVER!

That’s it… the controller and the video game system all in one. This is the standalone version of [Rossum's] RBox. We looked in on the prototype in June but that was using a bulky development board. You can see the CR1632 button battery, which powers the device for about four hours, sandwiched in between the joystick and the mainboard. Exiting the image on the right are cables used to connect mono-audio and video to a TV via RCA connectors. There’s no port for interchangeable cartridges which means that all game data must be programmed into the ARM Cortex M0 processors. See [Rossum's] demo video after the break.

[Read more...]

Almost free robo mower

We’ve always felt that the hacker community is a unique one. Make reader [Gnomic] is reinforcing that feeling by running his own contest with unused equipment. [Gnomic] is offering a free Robot lawnmower to someone, as long as they send the completed project writeup to Make.  The mower is a Robomower RL 850 and you have to pick it up in Richmond Va. To enter, you have to email [Gnomic] your proposal within the next 10 days. He will then choose what he feels would be the most interesting one to give the mower to.  We’d love to see one of our readers get in on the action with this one. We would really love to see our logo on the final robot when it gets published to Make.

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