Portal mini golf hole will incinerate your ball…you monster

portal-golf-hole

One of [Tom’s] friends is celebrating a birthday soon, and he was asked to make a mini golf hole for the event. While most people would expect to bring beer or guac to the shindig, he saw this as an opportunity to bring a little bit of Portal to life.

Near the end of the first Portal game, you are forced to pitch your companion cube into the incinerator, a scene which [Tom] thought would be the perfect mini golf hole. He started out by building an iris door mechanism, which he surrounded with chicken wire and some plaster, producing a fantastic-looking waste disposal pipe.

He added a ramp that leads up to the hole, then [Tom] got busy with the electronics portion of the fixture. Once the portal button at the end of the ramp is pressed, an Arduno triggers a pair of motors to open the waste disposal door and fire up a smoke machine. The result, as you can see in the video below, is nothing short of awesome.

[Tom] says he’s in the process of building a pair of turrets and a working golf ball portal as well, so if you’re a big Portal fan, be sure to check out his site for updates.

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Testing an open source PID controller with steak

Sous vide cookers aren’t anything new, but [Phil] wanted to build the first sous vide using the osPID, an open source PID controller just released in the last month.

The build uses the osPID Open Source PID controller we saw last week that comes with inputs for a thermocouple and pair of relays capable of switching a hot plate or immersion heater. The osPID is based on the Arduino and was created by [Brett Beauregard], author of the Arduino PID library.

Getting to the meat and potatoes of the build, [Phil] connected a 300 Watt immersion heater to the osPID and put the heater in a bowl of water. A delicious looking cut of beef tenderloin was shoved into a ziplock bag and suspended in the bowl of warm water for a few hours. With the heater and thermocouple attached to the osPID, the temperature was set at 130° F and the entire device was left alone for a few hours. Looking at [Phil]‘s recipe for tenderloin with lemon parsley butter whets our taste buds, so we’ll hope [Phil]‘s dinner came out just fine.

ecDB offers a simple, intuitive way to keep your electronic inventory organized

ecdb

One of the most important tools for any hacker or maker is organization. You might consider it more of a concept rather than a physical tool, but regardless of how you like to frame it, ensuring your tools and components are (nearly) always where they should be is key. As the odds and ends add up, it can sometimes be hard remembering exactly what you have on hand – that’s where the ecDB comes in handy.

Short for electronics component DataBase, the ecDB was created by [Nils Fredriksson], and offers a clean and intuitive way to keep tabs on what you have in-house. Many of us have used spreadsheets and notebooks to do the same, but ecDB allows you to record much more data than you could with either solution.

This is immediately clear within a moment or two of looking at the site’s interface. Not simply limited to listing part names and quantities, ecDB allows you to record manufacturer info, package type, and pin counts, while also allowing you to attach PDF datasheets and images of your components as well.

We really like system that [Nils] put together, and suggest giving it a spin to see if it will help you keep things organized in your workshop.

Becoming the YouTube loading animation

Whether you’re used to dropped wifi connections, or your housemates are using up all the bandwidth for streaming, we’ve all see the spinning octet of disks that is the YouTube loading animation. [technocrat] thought it would be a great idea to actually become YouTube and set out on designing a physical manifestation of the loading animation.

[technocrat] used eight ping-pong balls as the main structure of the build. After drilling each ping-pong ball and gluing white LEDs in, the only thing left was to connect everything up to an Arduino. The code loops through each LED and provides the ‘light trail’ animation YouTube has burned into our memory.

To complete the build, [technocrat] attached his physical loading animation to a black t-shirt emblazoned with the YouTube logo to make everything more understandable. While it may not be as colorful as the beachball of death or as conceptual as the Windows ‘spinning hourglass’, we’re really liking this build. Check out the video after the break.

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