We’re still waiting for our [Lt. Uhura] style earbuds. But until then, can we interest anyone in a set that will stand up to some abuse?
Solder Pot Scavenger
[Felicitus] says we should get a solder pot and use it to scavenge for parts. His method looks pretty easy and it’s cheaper than buying a rework station for this purpose.
Turn all your hacking skills loose to beat the heat. That’s what [Stephanie] did when she added iPhone control for an oscillating fan.
Graphing equations and crunching numbers wasn’t enough for [Drew]. He went and figured out how to make his TI-84+ play music off of a thumb drive.
Don’t let anyone out-geek you at company parties. Beef up your arsenal with this resistor color-code necktie. And yes, you can wear it with a T-shirt!
[Frank] sent in a link to this fantastic wooden clock. The design was dreamed up by [Clayton Boyer] and he’s got full-sized templates for sale on his site. We’ve marveled at his creations in the past, having featured his useless machine that was made from wooden gears. This “Bird of Paradise” clock steps up the complexity quite a bit, creating a timepiece without a case to show off the beauty of all of those teeth.
We wondered what goes into building one of these yourself. From the FAQ page it seems you could get by with a scroll saw, drill press, Dremel, and sander. That’s the medium-tech method, but you could opt to scan the plans in order to laser cut your parts, or just use hand tools. But in addition to building tips, there’s advice on how to fine tune clocks that don’t want to keep running, thoughts on finishing the wood parts, sanding, tweaking the teeth, and much more. It’s no secret we have a love for digital clock projects, but there’s something very seductive about a design like this that uses no electricity. Don’t miss the clip after the break to see what we mean.
Continue reading “Do you have what it takes to make lumber keep time?”
Nothing says Cold War like a map of the work with LEDs embedded in it. Throw in some analog dials for good measure and you’ve got a piece that would be comfortable mounted next the WOPR in everyone’s favorite ’80s-computers-run-amok movie. We think [Dima] really hit the mark when building this status panel for OpenDNS datacenter monitoring.
[Dima] works for OpenDNS and wanted to make something special for its upcoming 5 year anniversary. He’d already been toying with making boxes from laser-cut wooden pieces. This was just a matter of choosing a size that would fit the dials and leave a suitable area for a laser-etched map. Each of the twelve panel meters gets a PWM signal from the Arduino Mega that he used to bring the device to life. It shows a comparative server load for each data center based on the previous day’s numbers. There is an LED in the map for each of these centers. Right now they’re all red, but he used RGB LEDs and plans to upgrade the capability soon. He should have no problem doing this as he sourced some TLC5940 drivers to extend his I/O capabilities.
Don’t forget the check out the clip embedded after the break. Continue reading “Monitoring the world’s DNS status using a display straight out of WarGames”
[Frank], like many people, has a soft spot in his heart for the Commodore 64. He prefers to play his C64 games on his computer nowadays, but likes using his old school Competition Pro rather than some modern controller with remapped buttons. The only problem with using the controller is that his new computer doesn’t have any ports that accommodate its 9-pin D-sub connector.
The VICE emulator maps keyboard inputs to controller actions, so he decided to build himself a D-sub to USB adapter that implements a virtual USB keyboard. He wrote a firmware package for the Freescale MC9S08JS16L microcontroller that allows him to send keypresses to his emulator whenever he performs an action with his Competition Pro joystick.
The circuit looks easier to duplicate than some other C64 interfaces we have seen before, and as you can see in the video below, it works quite well. We imagine that this setup can be used to connect all sorts of old input devices to modern PCs with little to no tweaking.
Continue reading “Commodore 64 USB controller adapter for your PC”
[Tinkerer] bought a small cupboard from an antique store to fit nicely into his kitchen decor. After getting it home, he realized that some of the cubbyholes had originally housed drawers. The originals were long gone but this provided an opportunity for him to make the replacements seen above.
The first design approach that popped into [Tinkerer’s] mind was to draw the pieces in an editor like Inkscape. Some consultation with others at the local Hackerspace led him to this script-based parametric SVG design tool. We jumped right in to give it a whirl, clicking on Load –> Construction (category) –> Better Box. Once you’ve chosen the script, click on ‘Parameters’ on the left column and enter the sizing you want for your box. When all values are correct, click the renter tab, then export it as a Scalable Vector Graphic.
We’ve lamented time and again about our lack of a laser cutter, so we were unable to test this out. But we can’t see why it wouldn’t reproduce the same results that [Tinkerer] achieved.
Here’s a new option for building your own AVR programmer. It’s called the MkII Slim and the diminutive size makes it live up to its name. The design is rather spartan, using just three chips; a voltage regulator, a MAX3002 level converter, and an Atmel AT90USB162 as the main microcontroller. This chip has a built-in USB module, foregoing the need for a separate FTDI chip.
The firmware is built on the Lightweight USB Framework for AVRs (LUFA). This is a USB stack implementation originally called MyUSB that was developed by [Dean Camera]. Regular lurkers over at the AVRfreaks forums will recognize [Dean’s] name, or his handle [abcminiuser] as a source for many of the high quality AVR tutorials found there. But we digress.
The programmer offers all the features you’d want in an In-System Programmer. It can easily be reflashed with future updates thanks to the bootloader running on the chip. There’s jumper-selectable power options, and it can program targets running at 3.3V or 5v. The full development package including code and artwork is available for download at the site linked above. For your convenience we’ve embedded the schematic after the break.
Continue reading “AVR programmer modelled after the MkII – uses LUFA”
For this week’s hack, [Dino] was working on a mechanical cat toy, but the project fell apart towards the end for some reason or another. With time running out, he had to come up with something on pretty short notice, using whatever he happened to have on hand. Luckily he picks up some seriously weird stuff at the local thrift store and had a disembodied doll’s head kicking around for this last minute project.
Taking a cue from Toy Story’s [Sid Phillips], [Dino’s] doll’s head hexapod is as creepy as it is simple. He had a remote controlled hexapod from RadioShack sitting around, and thought it would be fun to combine it with the doll’s head. He replaced the dolls eyes with a handful of LEDs, which are green as the hexapod retreats, but glow a bright red as it advances towards you. The only way it could be any creepier is if [Dino] added a voice box that plaintively called for “mommy” as the doll crawls around!
It’s a relatively goofy project, but it gave us a good chuckle. The most disturbing highlight of the build is when [Dino] removes the doll’s eyes using a wood drill bit around the 6:00 mark.
If you’re looking to kill a few minutes, be sure to check it out – [Dino’s] work is entertaining as always.
Continue reading “R/C Hexababy is guaranteed to give you nightmares”