Making luminol from household chemicals

What to make your own chemiluminescent material? Check out this process that uses common household goods to synthesize luminol. You’ll need some lab equipment, and [NurdRage] mentions some precautions to take as luminol is not itself toxic, but some of the fumes and intermediary chemicals found during the process are.

Start by cutting up some vinyl gloves and boiling them with some rubbing alcohol to extract diethyl hexyl phthalate. After filtering, that gets boiled with water and some drain cleaner. The goal here is to continue the process until you have pure phthalic anhydride. Almost done? Not even getting started. This is a very complicated process, but fascinating to watch. After the break you’ll find the full video, or a five-minute abridged version for those that just want a taste of this experiment.

When we looked at the quantum dot manufacturing process a couple of days ago we asked for more chemistry hacks. This is exactly what we were talking about and are thankful that [Rob] sent in the tip. Keep them coming!

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How to develop for STM32 discovery boards using Linux

Some hard work has gone into making it possible to develop for the STM32 Discovery board using a Linux system. The board boasts an ARM Cortex-M3 processor, which can be programmed via the mini-USB port on the side. But the company only supports development through their IDE’s which don’t run natively on Linux. The stlink project aims to solve this, providing a toolchain, and making it possible to flash the microcontroller via the USB connection.

The github project linked above also includes a tutorial to get you started (pdf). In addition to a walk through on compiling the software packages, it includes a simple blink program that you can use to test out your hardware. GDB, the familiar open-source debugger, is used to flash the chip. This is a bare-bones tutorial so if you end up posting about your experiences using this toolchain with the Discovery boards we’d love to hear about it.

[Thanks Texane]

Modding an inkjet for PCB production

Like all of us, [Ryan] is tired of waiting for board production houses. To reduce some of that turnaround time, he modded an Epson inkjet into a PCB printer. The Instructable of his build is extremely thorough and it looks like he’s getting some quality boards out of his project

The build started off by disassembling an Epson C86 printer he had lying around the house. Going with an Epson printer is important – Epsons have a piezo print head accepts ink that would clog other printers. After tearing all the plastic off his printer, [Ryan] set to work raising the printer (or lowering the bed, whatever) and was off to the races.

The cartridges were filled with etch-resistant yellow ink and a piece of copper clad put onto the printer. After printing, [Ryan] etched his board in ferric chloride. Sadly, he’s getting small pinholes in his traces where a bit of the ink was eaten during etching. He’s tried HCl and Peroxide, but those turn his boards into green junk.

If you’ve got any tips to help [Ryan] out, leave them in the comments. Before that, check out the printing demo [Ryan] put up.

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The “Effervo” Kinect Particle Effect Machine

Here’s a new hack for the Xbox Kinect called “Effervo”. It’s a really cool effect built using Openframeworks. The Kinect is setup in front of the user and the projector puts an image in front of the user’s screen. Three dimensional data about the person and his or her movements is captured using Microsoft’s sensor. As it is described, the Effervo program “uses simple iterative rules to govern its movement and gives the impression of swarm like behavior.” This may not be a “Haloween Hack”, but we could definitely see something similar used in a haunted house. Maybe it could use blood droplets instead of particles?

Maybe this hack will inspire other people to follow in [Jayson's] footsteps. He describes himself as a “programmer turned artist.” We’d like to think that all engineering and programming work is a form of art, but the video of this piece in action after the break is especially eye-catching.

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