Hackaday southwest tour

Earlier this summer, I took a trip through the southeast of the country. On this trip I was able to visit several hackerspaces and meet some really great people. We started at Squidfoo in Springfield Missouri. Then Moved on to Makers Local 256 in Huntsville Alabama. After that we saw 7hills hackerspace in Rome Georgia as well as Freeside hackerspace in Atlanta Georgia. The final leg of the trip took us to Chatt*Lab in Chattanooga Tennessee and the Hacker Consortium in Nashville.

For this trip, I am taking my family to the Grand Canyon. Well, that’s the part the kids are looking forward to. I’m looking forward to more hackerspaces and fantastic people. If you’re along the route from Springfield Missouri to Flagstaff Arizona, let me know (we’ll be hitting roswell NM on the way back too). We can go a little out of our way, but not hours.  I would really love to visit some hackerspaces on this trip and do a video tour. You can comment here or hit me directly at caleb@hackaday.com.

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3D Printed AR-15 Lower Works

Ar15.com user [HaveBlue] has been working for some time on a 3D printed lower receiver, and now reports that the parts are fully working. Using a Stratasys 3D printer from the 90’s [HaveBlue] managed to spin out a modified version of an already available model from cncguns.com. He strengthened the holes for the takedown lugs, which hold the upper and lower halves of the rifle together. Strengthened the bolt hold lugs, which when the magazine is empty lifts a lever assembly that catches the bolt as it springs back to push another round into the chamber. and added an integral trigger guard AKA the bar that surrounds the trigger.

Legally this print is a veritable gauntlet of state and federal regulations. At least in the US. The lower receiver is the part of the rifle that holds the spring and pins that operate the rifle’s trigger safety and hammer assembly, hold the magazine in place,  and mount the buttstock/return spring tube. The other key point about the lower receiver is that it contains the primary traceable identification markings, the serial number. All of the parts that are contained within the lower receiver can be ordered online (this varies state to state). In fact, every single other part of the rifle can be bought and sold freely. The only component of the rifle that can not be ordered online, and requires a background check at a gun store, is the body of the lower receiver (we have to keep saying that this varies state to state). Typically laws allow though for the manufacture of this part without a serial number so long as it is never sold to another individual (again, state laws vary widely).

There is some more info on the build at [HaveBlue]‘s website here and here, but it is currently down.  This sort of steps up 3D printing past the nerf gun stage, but we have seen shot gun and pistol hacks.

Bike made from cardboard is too cheap to steal

If you’ve ever had to replace a bicycle, [Izhar Gafni] is your man. He created a bicycle made completely out of cardboard that is strong enough to support the largest riders and costs about the same as combo meal at McDonald’s.

[Izhar]‘s bikes are made from varying thicknesses of cardboard, the thickest sheet being about an inch wide. After cutting and gluing these pieces of cardboard together, [Izhar] submerges them in resin and brushes on a little paint creating an incredibly strong, very light, and unbelievably inexpensive bike.

[Izhar] says the cost of production is about $10 per bike and estimates it could be sold for $60 to $90, cheaper than even the most inexpensive metal bike. If you’ve ever had a bike stolen, you know the sting of having to replace your main means of transportation. [Izhar] says his bike is so cheap thieves wouldn’t even bother taking it off your hands.

You can check out the awesome video of [Izhar] making a cardboard bike after the break.

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Diablo 3 is an arcade game, apparently

MAME cabinets are simply awesome. They’re a great way to relive the stained and sticky fluorescent carpets, loud noises, and Neon signs and blacklights of old arcades. If there’s one problem with MAME cabinets, it’s that gaming has moved on from the quarter-eating cabinets of yesteryear. It simply doesn’t make sense to put Starcraft, TF2, or other popular games in an arcade cabinet.

[Dave] grew up playing Gauntlet in the arcade, but the various console ports never lived up to the experience of playing it with a joystick and buttons. When Diablo 3 came out, [Dave] knew what he had to do. He built a Diablo 3 arcade cabinet, fully playable and faithful to the dungeon crawlers of yore.

Thankfully, an old cabinet wasn’t gutted for this build; a month before the game came out, [Dave] picked up a few pieces of plywood and built himself an arcade cabinet. After applying some very nice graphics and installing buttons and a joystick, [Dave] had a fully functional Diablo arcade game that doesn’t even require quarters.

Recently, we’ve seen our share of builds that turn traditional game controls on their head, a trend we hope continues. You can check out [Dave]‘s demo video after the break.

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Morphield is a hot mess of wiring, also really cool

In case you missed MB Labs’ demo of their project for the Red Bull creation contest last Sunday night, the page describing their build is up and is giving us at Hackaday a run for our money.

The Morphield consists of a piece of fabric stretched over a frame, itself hiding 135 solenoid-controlled balloons that move the field instead of playing soccer by moving the ball. These solenoids are controlled by a wiimote, allowing players to manipulate the terrain of the field and hopefully guide a ball into their opponent’s goal.

In addition to creating a worthy competitor to Hackaday’s own Minotaur’s Revenge,  MB Labs also released an Arduino library and an API so the Morphield can be repurposed for other games, kinetic art installations, and – we’re hoping – a gigantic, soft version of a pin art display.

When the guts of MB Labs’ Morphield was revealed on the Red Bull Creation live stream, the only words that showed up in the chat window were ‘wow,’ ‘holy crap,’ and ‘amazing.’ We’ve got to agree; the guys put together a really cool game that will also be over once the Creation contest is over.

Building a custom interface for surplus HF radios

[PRC148] picked up a Motorola Micom radio from eBay. These are US State Department surplus, but apparently the 125 Watt HF units are top-of-the-line at a tenth of the sticker price. The one hangup is that they’re headless; you can’t control them without additional hardware. But the Internets are often kind to the hobbyists, and this is no exception. You can get software to run the radio from a PC thanks to the Micom Yahoo Group. [PRC148] took that software as an example and built his own stand-alone interface. [Cached version of the page]

The head unit is an Arduino driving a four-line LCD display and a rather large array of buttons. The forum thread linked above shows his humble beginnings on a breadboard. During the project [PRC148] learned a lot of skills to end up with what you see above. Hiding behind the reused bezel is a PCB he designed in Eagle CAD and etched himself. It allowed him to cram the tactile switches close enough to work with the button overlay on this keypad.

UPDATE: The traffic from this feature took down the forum hosting the content. They requested that we do not link to them because of this. A cached version without images can be found above thanks to [Termm].

A mixer (re)built to travel

[Toby Cole] likes to mix tunes whenever he gets a chance. But the size of his DJ equipment made it a real bother to lug around with him. He does own a Behringer portable mixer but without cross faders it’s not really all that usable, and most of the other offerings don’t get good reviews. He ended up replacing the enclosure of a proper mixer in order to make it light and small. The growing availability of affordable laser-cut parts made this project possible.

Build Brighton, [Toby's] local Hackerspace, has a laser cutter. So he knew that if he could figure out a smaller case design it would be a snap to get his parts made. He cracked open the heavy metal case on the KMX 100 mixer and found it had a ton of extra room inside. He designed all of the plates using a digital calipers to properly space the holes and text labels. These designs were combined with BoxMaker to produce the files the laser cutter needed. The first prototype was cut from cardboard, with the finished product cut from 3mm plywood.

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