Hackaday Links: July 31, 2011

Indestructible earbuds

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.

Smartphone cooling

Turn all your hacking skills loose to beat the heat. That’s what [Stephanie] did when she added iPhone control for an oscillating fan.

Tunes calculator

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.

Geek-chic

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!

Do you have what it takes to make lumber keep time?

[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.

[Read more...]

Monitoring the world’s DNS status using a display straight out of WarGames

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. [Read more...]

Commodore 64 USB controller adapter for your PC

commodore_64_controller_usb_interface

[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.

[Read more...]

Parametric script makes laser cutter designs a snap

[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.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 94,054 other followers