Hide your repeater and gain a radio

[Bradley]‘s workplace was recently put into a position where they needed to install a WIFI network to operate some wireless barcode scanners, which was left open for anyone to connect to. Management thought that the people in the shop, who didn’t really need internet, would get less work done if they had access to it. So they just simply stuck the access point as far away as they could. Problem with that theory is that the signal still reaches a little bit where they don’t want it, and people in the shop really want access, so a repeater is needed.

Of course this repeater cant be just sitting out in the open. so [Bradley] decided to hide the it inside of an old radio. Searching around he finally settled on a 10$ ebay radio from the 1980’s, which is large enough to hold the guts of a WRT54G. The routers AC adapter was popped open and wired into the AC input of the radio, the main board and antennas were epoxied to the back. Once everything is buttoned back up you’re left with a hidden repeater, and a fully functional radio.

Now hopefully none of his bosses read his blog!

The Phone Box

[Nerdindustries] had a interesting idea; “what if you could just flip a switch and call someone?”. This happens a lot, especially in companies where your trying to catch a certain someone who is always swamped in phone calls. The Phone Box is a basic Nokia cellphone that has a number stored into its speed dial. To help aid in communication the phones output is directed to a three and a half watt amplifier module ensuring that your going to hear it.

A delay circuit was made out of a basic RC network, so when you hit the switch the phone has a chance to power up and fully boot. Once the delay triggers it presses the speed dial button and off you go. Now someone has already asked “Why don‘t you just call them?”, and we got a kick out of the first answer “calling someone is NOT nerdy.”

Join us after the break for a quick video.

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Converting a mill to CNC

For most of the past year, [Joel] has been working on converting a manual mill to a CNC mill with the addition of a computer, brackets and stepper motors. He’s put an amazing amount of effort into his project, and the result is awesome and much less expensive than buying and shipping an old Bridgeport mill.

The project started with this mill from Grizzly. It’s a step above the small ‘hobby mills,’ but still very affordable at $1200 shipped to [Joel]‘s driveway. The work began by fabricating an enclosure for the PC and motor drivers out of an electrical panel box. The controller box includes a touch screen, keyboard and computer running Mach3 CNC software. The computer connects to a breakout board with a trio of motor drivers providing power for the stepper motors on each axis.

After a few months (good things take time), [Joel] was ready to attach the stepper motors to the axes of the mill. He’s just put up a few videos of milling copper-clad board for PCBs and surface machining ABS, viewable after the break. For a total investment that is less than finding, buying, and repairing an old industrial mill, we’ll call [Joel]‘s project a success.

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Hackaday Links: January 24, 2012

Open source engraving

[Scott] wanted to do some v-carving with a CNC router, but couldn’t find software to generate GCode that didn’t cost hundreds of dollars. He ended up doing the sensible thing and wrote his own that will generate tool paths from CXF fonts. We’ll be bookmarking this for when our router project is done.

Improving Genesis sound output

Dissatisfied with the sound output on his Sega Genesis, [Drakon] installed a few mods into his console. How much could it really affect the sound? Listen to the video. The changeover happens at 0:50. Impressive. Now if only the chiptune scene would get into Segas.

Yes, we did, and now we’re seeding

Here’s an alternative to Thingiverse: The Pirate Bay has a new category for 3D-printable objects. The best file so far? A 1970 Chevelle. US Copyright law does not protect (most) physical objects, so it’s not illegal. Honestly, we can’t wait for somebody to take this to the courts; It’s sure to be an interesting case. Somebody upload a ship hull design and give the EFF a buzz.

Just be glad it’s not a QFN

[Mikey] was pulling a PDIP ATMega8 out of a socket with pliers and a screwdriver and broke the RESET pin. Ouch. He fixed it by soldering on a lead from a resistor. We’ve all done this before, but [Mikey]‘s results look really good. Here’s the gallery.

This might be fake

If you want a second analog stick for your 3DS, you could wait a month and buy a Circle Pad Pro, or install a PSP analog stick. We’re not sure how this would work – the Circle Pad Pro works over IR, and we’re not seeing an IR transmitter on this build. Here’s the source if anyone wants to give this a shot.

Raspberry Pi runs XBMC; reliably decodes 1080p

This is the Raspberry Pi board, an ARM based GNU-Linux computer. We’ve heard a little bit about it, but it recently garnered our attention when the machine was shown running XBMC at 1080p. That’s a lot of decoding to be done with the small package, and it’s taken care of at the hardware level.

Regular readers will know we’re fans of the XBMC project and have been looking for a small form factor that can be stuck on the back of a television. We had hoped it would be the BeagleBaord but that never really came to fruition. But this really looks like it has potential, and with a price tag of $35 (that’s for the larger 256MB RAM option) it’s a no-brainer.

Now there’s still a lot of rumors out there. We came across one thread that speculated the device will not decode video formats other than h.264 very well since it uses hardware decoding for that codec only. We’ll reserve judgement until there’s more reliable info. But you can dig through this forum thread where the XMBC dev who’s been working with the hardware is participating in the discussion.

Don’t forget to peek at the demo clip after the break too.

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Remote entry via Android and Launchpad

[MarkoeZ] had an issue with keys breaking off in his door lock, and while normal people might try to simply replace the lock all together, [MarkoeZ] decided to do it the “Hackaday” way by adding a bluetooth lock to his door. His door is already setup where someone can walk up to it, page an internal intercom and have someone buzz you in. From the inside the intercom was modded with a TI Launchpad with a “deal extreme” bluetooth module and relay.

Access is granted by the use of an android phone running “BT_Serial_Tester” which is a simple app that allows you to send characters over bluetooth. Just enter a pin, grab the door before the buzzer times out, and you’re in! A starting point for the MSP code and schematics are available on his blog. Join us after the break for a quick demonstration video.

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A More Awesome Way to Play Jenga

How many of you have started playing Jenga, and thought, “If only I had a pistol that would punch the blocks out violently for me, that would be much more fun?” Your presumed request has been answered with the [Jenga Pistol 2]! There is also the [Jenga Pistol 1], which would be impressive if the second one wasn’t already made and functioning! There’s a great video of the second one working after the break, so be sure to check that out!

The pistol works by hurling a bolt forward using a rubber band for power.  This bolt can then be pulled back, and the clever trigger mechanism automatically locks it in place for another shot.  This mechanism by itself could serve as inspiration for any number of other pistol-powered hacks. As for the entire project, [Matthias] gives lots of excellent pictures of his work in the post that will let you understand the concept.  For well-written plans though, you’ll have to cough up a very reasonable $6. You’ll also need a reasonably well equipped wood shop if you want to make one which is rather more expensive. [Read more...]

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