Anodize titanium at home

We don’t really have any titanium lying around, it’s not exactly a cheap material. But this hack that shows you how to anodize titanium in your home laboratory (or kitchen for that matter) and it might help the metal make its way into a future project. It seems the process is not overly difficult or dangerous and it’s possible to achieve a lot of different colors in the finish.

In the image above [PinkFlute] is using Coke Zero, a sugar-free soda, as the chemical agent in the process. The alligator clip attached to the utensil is providing the positive voltage and the yellow wire dipped in the drink is negative. Finish color is determined by the voltage supplied. You can choose various shades of green, purple, yellow, and blue based on a voltage range of about 100V to 20V.

This is one of two anodizing methods shown. the other uses a foam brush dipped in soda with the negative lead clamped onto it. You just brush in the electrified substance to alter the camping spork’s finish.

[via Reddit]

Adding footwell and glove box lights to your ride

[KonaStar] shows us that adding some light to you car interior isn’t very hard. It’s just a matter finding some unused space and routing the cables so that they’re out of sight. Here he’s added LED lighting to the footwells and glove box of his car.

He managed to find some depressions in the molded dashboard of the car which were just the right size for a small four-lead LED. He drilled holes for those leads, and soldered some protoboard to them on the inside of the dash. This way there’s nothing unfinished to catch your eye, and the protoboard provides an area to host the resistor and interconnect.

There are switches in the glove boxes that turn the lights off when closed. These work for the footwells too. In addition, the LED lighting harness is wired to the parking lights so they will not come on when the car’s lights are off. Because he started with a lighting harness intended to add ambient light to a vehicle, the system responds to the doors being opened as well.

It’s a nice addition if you don’t mind pulling out several pieces of your interior during the install. We’re more comfortable with something along the lines of this turn signal hack.

DIY intervalometer uses a great looking enclosure

That finished look for your project is all about the enclosure you find to host it. We think [Punge] really did a great job with the case for this DIY intervalometer. The build section of the project page links to the company that makes the enclosures. They’re meant to host round PCBs with several options for button configuration. Combine this with enough space for a coin cell and you’ve got a great looking custom device.

The intervalometer itself is much like others we’ve seen. It uses an audio-jack connector to control the camera. You have the option of using a three or four contact version depending on what your camera supports. The PIC 12F683 uses an optocoupler with a built-in transistor to do the switching. A single button seen at nine o’clock on the board above is all it takes to start the device off. Press and hold once to wake it up, then wait for your desired interval and press the button again to start the timed shots.

You’ll notice that there is no programming head in this design. A separate board was etched to attach the PicKit, with the surface mount chip just held in place during programming.

Investigating parking assist sensors

While his wife was out-of-town [James] jumped at the opportunity to do some snooping around with her Chevy Tahoe’s parking assist sensors. We can understand how pulling parts out of someone’s car would make them none too happy. But we find it hilarious that it’s a leased company car he’s tinkering around with. But we’re glad he did, the ten-page write-up he published about the project is a fascinating read.

You can see the control board above which is housed beneath the passenger seat. It uses a Freescale microcontroller to read from the four bumper-mounted ultrasonic sensors. But just looking at what parts are used obviously isn’t enough to satisfy a hacker’s appetite for knowledge. [James] busted out a CAN bus tool to sniff the data packets. These sensors use a custom chip designed by GM, utilizing a single wire communications system. He figures out the communication scheme and builds an mbed based test rig to read them directly.

[via Dangerous Prototypes]

IOU management for roommate chores

[Chris] shares a dorm room with five other people. When living with others its important to stay on top of cleaning and to do so equitably the sextuplet came up with a well-planned whiteboard of chores. The problem lies in getting everyone to do theirs in a timely manner. To help facilitate this, [Chris] came up with a system that lets roommates swap chores, giving each other IOU’s for future duties.

The system uses an Arduino board along with an RTC chip for precise timekeeping. The user interface is made up of a graphic LCD and a keypad with everything mounted inside of a cardboard box. [Chris] shows off his system in the video after the break, spending the majority of time on the debt system. The roommates have a pot of money for group groceries and this system will let you know where everyone stands. But according to his written description this also stores the calendar of chores that need to get done, and will let you trade with one another to fit your personal schedule.

So now the issue is getting everyone to use the system. But we don’t think that’s going to be too tough since all six of them are computer scientists.

[Read more...]

Hackaday Links: February 26, 2012

Wii Nunchuk controlled Monotron

Adding a bit of motion control to your music synthesizer turns out to be pretty easy. Here’s an example of a Wii Nunchuk used to control a Monotron. [Thanks John]

Hackers on the Moon and other space related goals

Yep apparently a non-government backed expedition to the moon is in the works. But you’ve got to walk before you can crawl and one of the first parts of the process is to launch a hackerspace-backed satellite network called the Hackerspace Global Grid. Check out this interview with one of the initiative’s founders [Hadez]. [Thanks MS3FGX]

Laser pointers and frosted glass

We were under the impression that a laser show required finely calibrated hardware. But [Jas Strong] proves us wrong by making pretty colors with laser pointers and slowly rotating glass. [Thanks Mike]

MSP430 Twitter Ticker

[Matt] built a Twitter ticker using the TI Launchpad. It works on an LED matrix or OLED display along with a Python script which handles the API.

Android floppy drive hack

[Pedro] shows us how he reads floppy disks with his Android tablet. The hardware includes a docking station to add a USB port to the tablet, as well as a hub and USB floppy drive. On the software side of things an Android port of DOSbox does the rest.