MP3 player barely larger than an SD card

If your board fabrication and soldering skills are up to it, you can make your own tiny MP3 player. This rendition is just about half again as large as a standard SD card, whose slot is on the bottom of the board seen above. The heavy lifting is taken care of by a VS1011 MP3 decoder which also has its own stereo headphone driver on-chip. There’s no display and it seems that most of the 4k of program memory on the PIC 18LF88 is being used. Too bad, we’d love to take this to the next level, attaching it to the head unit in a car and spoofing the communications as if this were a CD changer.

[via Hacked Gadgets]

Shooting fireballs from your wrists – Hadouken!

[Glass Giant's] wrist-mounted fireball launcher adds a little stage magic to his life. This method of fire production is several orders of magnitude less dangerous than other arm-attached flamethrowers or instrument-mounted torches. The module, which is strapped to the underside of his wrist, stores and lights a combination of flash cotton and flash paper. The two flammables are housed in a small aluminum tube touching a glow plug. A slider switch acts as a safety, completing the circuit from the battery, to the glow plug, terminating in a mercury switch which heats things up when held at the proper level. He’s still working out the best way to load the flash materials but as you can see in the video after the break, this is definitely worthy of the Street Fighter reference.

[Read more...]

Building a spectrophotometer

What can you make with a toilet paper roll, duct tape, and a graphing calculator? A stand for your homemade spectrometer. This is neither as pretty nor as accurate as a precision scientific instrument, but that doesn’t mean it’s useless. In fact, it works perfectly well for rudimentary observations. Light is shined through a sample solution, passes through a diffraction grating, then shows up as bands of color on the projection surface seen above. The photosensor mounted on the cardboard tube was pulled from a night-light, and is read using the ruler and the multimeter. This results in two data units that are used to graph the results. As long as you’re running test samples as a control this simple setup will yield useful information for the scientist on a shoe-string budget.

[via BoingBoing]

DIY clamp helps with surface mount soldering

Hackaday writer [Gerrit Coetzee] built a simple clamp to aid in surface mount component soldering. This cheap, easily made device uses gravity to hold tiny components in place. The tip of the bolt is pointed, but gently like a ballpoint pen so as not to harm the components with a sharp tip. Roughly position your component, rest the tip of the clamp on its center, then nudge for final positioning. [Gerrit] also points out that this acts as a heat sink, helping to prevent damage to the component if you’re too lethargic with the soldering iron.

It seems like this device has been around in one form or another for quite a long time. But the best ideas do keep on popping up. Another nice tip to go along with this one is the use of a dowel when ironing during toner transfer for your PCBs.

Putting too many horses in a golf cart

Want to put 100 horses into your golf cart and then take it to the Dragstrip? Why not? [Mac McAlpine] did just that by dropping a 2007 GSXR 600 EFI into a 1987 gas-powered Yamaha golf cart. After the break you can see a video of the test run, as well as an overview of the modifications made when swapping engines. [Mac] mentions that the setup still uses the stock bike chain and jackshift even with the upgrade in power. He has, however, upgraded both the front and rear axles with caliper and drum brakes respectively. There’s also a NASCAR Car of Tomorrow wing on the roof to help keep the wheels on the pavement.

Good thing he’s wearing that helmet. Without a seatbelt it’ll make smashing through the windshield a little more comfortable. Drive carefully [Mac]!

[Read more...]

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