Red Bull dispenser includes smokey presentation and rejects inferior drinks

The Eugene Maker Space’s entry in the Red Bull Creation contest dispenses cans in a mysterious fog through an iris opening. But it’s also capable of disposing of the Red Bull cans… and only those cans. If you try to put a different soda in it will violently reject it!

First off we must applaud the Eugene Makers for their prolific documentation of the project. There’s a day or two worth of fun reading/watching on that page so make sure you save the bookmark (and learn from their example!). Inside the mysterious waist-high enclosure there’s a hopper to store the energy-drink reservoir. As a can is dispensed its barcode is scanned to ensure this is an approved beverage. At this point the can is elevated through an iris in the case of the enclosure, al0ng with a theatrically timed puff of fog. The parts of the iris were printed on paper and used to cut out wooden pieces using a scroll saw. The fog blast is from an inverted duster can with a 3d printed nozzle that helps make it Bullduino controlled.

When done with your beverage the can can be placed back in the opening, where it is again scanned before going into the recycling bin. But as you can see in the clip after the break, trying to sneak a soda can into the machine will launch the empty right back at you!

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Any flavor sports drink at the push of a button

[Sage Spate] wasn’t happy with the boring flavors of orange, blue, or red sports drinks. He decided to mix it up by building this flavor-mixing drink dispenser.

He modified the caps for each bottle to work with an air-pressure system. This way the bottles themselves serve as the reservoir and can easily be replaced when empty. Each cap has two openings, one is used by the dispenser nozzle and includes a hose that will reach all the way to the bottom of the bottle. The other hole connects to an air pump. Raising the pressure in the bottle forces sports drink up and out of the dispenser hose.

One air pump is used for all three reservoirs with a set of solenoids to enable each flavor individually. [Andreas] sent in the tip and mentioned that some of the parts are salvaged from an ink jet printer but we’re not sure which ones. At any rate, the next step in the project is to add Arduino control which will allow for custom mixing based on preset recipes.

We’ve embedded the demo video after the break.

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I got 99 volts and my anodizing’s done!

anodizing-titanium-with-coke

[POTUS31] had a need for anodized titanium, but the tried and true “submersion” method was not going to work out well for what he was trying to do. In order to create the look he wanted he had to get creative with some tape, a laser cutter, Coke, and a whole lot of 9v batteries.

His Ring-A-Day project has him creating customized rings based on reader feedback, and lately the requests have had him searching for a good way to color metal. Anodizing titanium was a sure bet, though creating detailed coloring on a small medium is not an easy task.

[POTUS31] figured that he could gradually anodize different areas of the ring by using laser-cut tape masks, allowing him to selectively oxidize different portions of his creations as he went along. Using the phosphoric acid prevalent in Coke as his oxidizing agent along with a constantly growing daisy-chain of 9-volt batteries, he had a firm grasp on the technique in no time. As you can see in the picture above, the anodizing works quite well, producing vivid colors on the titanium bands without the need for any sort of dye.

[POTUS31’s] favorite color thus far? A rich green that comes from oxidizing the metal at you guessed it – 99 volts.

[via Make]

Sorting resistors with speech recognition

If you’ve ever had to organize a bunch of resistors, you’ll know why [Anthony] created EESpeak. It’s a voice-controlled component look up tool that calculates a component value by listening to you read out color code bands.

In his demo video of EESpeak, [Anthony] reads off the color bands of several resistors whilst the program dutifully calculates and displays the value. [Anthony] also included support for calculating the value of capacitors and inductors by speaking the color bands, as well as EIA-96 codes for SMD parts.

In addition to taking speech input and flashing a component value on the screen, EESpeak also has a text-to-speech function that will tell you what a component without ever having to look at your monitor.

Even though the text-to-speech function seems a little cumbersome – it takes much longer for a computer to speak a value than to display it on the screen – using voice recognition to calculate component values is an awesome idea. With an extremely limited vocabulary the computer has to understand, the error rate of EESpeak is probably very low.

You can check out [Anthony]‘s demo video after the break, and of course download the app on his blog.

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GPS dog collar keeps track of your walks

[Becky Stern] came up with a way to make sure you and your dog are getting enough exercise. It’s a dog collar mounted GPS that measures how far you have walked. Just set your target distance and the progress bar in the middle of this flower will let you know when you reached it.

The most obvious piece of hardware is the OLED board which is sticking out like a sore thumb. But if you’d like to be a little more discreet you could forego the full-featured display for some carefully places LEDs to make up a circular progress bar. The GPS module itself fits well in the center of the flower, which [Becky] shows us how to make out of wire-edged ribbon. Hidden on the other side is an ATmega23u4 breakout board running the Arduino bootloader.

If you’re interested in sewables and textiles [Becky] uses a lot of basic techniques that are good to learn. Check it out in the clip after the break. She’s always shown a remarkable ability to develop projects which won’t scare away the villagers in the way our wire-sprouting breadboard hacks sometimes do.

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Hacking a Brother thermal printer to use non-OEM continuous rolls

You can get your hands on a Brother thermal label printer for $65-75. But if you don’t want to buy the Brother branded continuous feed paper for it you’re out of luck. Unless you pull off this hack which lets you use any thermal paper you want with a Brother QL-500 printer.

The printer is tied to the OEM paper because of a pattern printed on the back of the roll. It’s basically an encoder strip made up of black rectangles spaced at regular intervals. Surely there are other brands that come with this pattern on them, but if you want to use paper without it the secret is in moving the sensor that reads that strip.

The brilliant solution is to use one of the white feed-gears as an encoder wheel. [CheapSkateVideo] used a magic marker to paint two opposite quarters of the gear black. He then removed the optical sensor and placed it on the side of the case facing the wheel. It needs to be adjusted along the radius of that gear until the timing is just right, but once it is you’re ready to go. The sensor is a safety feature to ensure there is media in the printer. If there’s not you can burn up the print head so keep that in mind. See the explanation in the video after the break.

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Fabricating headlights for an F250

The amount of time that is going into these custom headlights is just staggering. [Mcole254] is working on his brother’s truck, replacing the stock headlights with High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps and rolling some nice LED features into the mix while he’s at it.

The build starts by removing and disassembling the stock headlight assembly. In order to get the enclosure apart he heated it in the oven until the glue was softened and the parts could be pried apart. The goal is to replace the reflectors with an assembly that suits the new lamps and LEDs. Above you can see the white pieces which were vacuum formed from a mold that [Mcole254] made from wood and PVC. He tried several iterations using his home-made vacuum former but couldn’t get the definition he really wanted. The most recent posts from him show some massive 3D printed parts that will be used instead.

While inside he added a line of amber LEDs for the turn signal. You can seem them mounted along the silver strip between the upper and lower reflectors. A demo of those super bright additions is embedded after the break.

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