Soap, candles, and toiletries from deer fat

Here’s a hack with more of a survivalist flair to it. [Ligament] and some friends used the fat from butchering a deer to make soap, candles, and toiletries.

It’s hunting season and [Ligament's] dad is processing the deer which he harvested. Wild game doesn’t have the amount of fat you’d find on a domesticated animal, but there is still a fair amount. The group cut off as much as they could before cutting up the rest of the meat. The trimmings are put in a pot with water and boiled until the fat starts to rise. It is ladled off and strained through some cheese cloth. The fat hardens overnight and can be picked up out of the container as a big disk. It is reheated and strained through a mesh coffee filter to achieve the final product. From there the fat was used as an ingredient in the recipes for candles, soap, and things like lip balm. For details on that heck out the comments for each image in the gallery linked above.

It’s a good thing to waste as little as possible. But this skill will be indispensable once the Zombie Apocalypse comes. You might also want to know how to chlorinate your own water.

[via Reddit]

Simple hack plays any sound as your door chime

[Jim's] technique for turning a wireless doorbell into a custom ringtone player is so simple. He manages to get the entire thing done using only a screwdriver and wire clippers as tools. But if you’re looking to use this over the long-term we’d recommend soldering the connections rather than relying only on the twisted wires.

Above you can see all the components used in the project. The wireless doorbell unit is no different from most battery-operated units on the market today. Inside the Radio Shack box is a recording module that lets you play up to 20 seconds of audio. This is powered by the 9V battery on the right. [Jim] removes the speaker from the doorbell and clips off one of the wires that connected it to the board. This is reused as the ground connection for the recording module. The other speaker wire is connected to the ‘Play’ button on the module’s PCB. That’s it, just record your custom sound and pack everything back into the doorbell’s case. You can see the entire hack and hear a demonstration after the break.

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High tech tagging adds graffiti to poles

[Akira] looks to increase his urban canvas by tagging poles which some custom hardware. If you’re looking to add some art to a lamp post, height becomes a problem. That’s where this little guy comes in. The remote-controlled pole climber includes a marker that leaves a trail as the device climbs and descends.

The rig clamps around a pole, with omnidirectional bearings on three sides of the four-sided frame. That last side is occupied by a rubber wheel mounted at a bit of an angle. When the motor turns the angle of the wheel causes the jig to rotate around the pole and climb at the same time. To come back down the motor is simply reversed. Xbee modules are used to make a rudimentary wireless control with a button for up and another for down. It looks like the marker is also mounted on a servo but we didn’t see a way to control when it is actually touching the pole. Perhaps you can figure it out by studying the clip after the jump.

We’ve seen projects that climb poles before. Among our favorites is the one that takes your bicycle with it.

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A pair of briefcase boombox builds

Here are two different briefcase speaker projects. [Dale] built the offering on the right back in high school and the upgraded version 2.0 more recently. He was inspired to send in a tip for the projects after seeing yesterday’s suitcase full of tunes.

The first version uses a pair of speakers pulled out of a car at the junkyard. They’re mounted on some particle board which beefs up the side of the plastic briefcase. The amplifier that drives it is mounted inside the case along with a battery to power the system. [Dale] included a crude storage bracket for the input cable and since the amp can drive four speakers there are connectors on the outside for two more.

Version two has quite a bit more polish. He doesn’t show that one off quite as much, but you can see there is a LED strip on the case that serves as a VU meter, as well as a numeric display which might be battery voltage? He mentions that this blows away any commercially available systems his coworkers have brought to the job site.

Video of both rigs can be found after the break.

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Art installation plots every game of Lunar Lander that is played

This art installation makes a video game from the 1970′s popular again. It can be found at the Dublin Science Gallery’s GAME exhibition. Museum goers step up to the coin-op style game cabinet and the onlookers will see how they’re doing as the landing is plotted on this board.

Hardware details are a bit hard to come by but we hear that there will me more on the build posted soon. For now the Flickr set is the best source of information. From reading the captions we know that a set of three Mac minis run everything. There are also a few close-ups and a video overview of the drive hardware which you can see mounted on the upper left of the image above. We can tell you that this is a string plotter similar to builds we’ve seen in the past. The telemetry data from the Lunar Lander game is converted to instructions and fed directly to that device. See it in action in the clip after the break.

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Wireless speaker made using Arduinos and 2.4 GHz tranceivers

[Texane] picked up a 2.4 GHz transmitter/receiver pair for transmitting sensor data wirelessly. After using them in a project he wanted to try pushing them a bit to see what the limits are when it comes to higher bandwidths. He ended up building a wireless speaker that transmits audio at about 90 KB/s. That link leads to a subfolder of his git repository. The code for this project is in the RX and TX folders, with images and video in the DOC folder.

The radio hardware that he’s using is a Nordic nRF24L01P chip which is available on a breakout board from Sparkfun. [Texane] mentioned to us that the chip includes error checking, packet ACK, and automatic retransmission. But these add overhead that can slow things down. The chip does offer the option to disable these features to get lower level access to the hardware. That’s exactly what he did and he mentions that the example code he wrote for the transmitter and receiver make every cycle count. This makes us wonder if it’s the speed of the ATmega328 chip that is the bottleneck, or the transceivers themselves?

Quick and easy personal evaporative cooler

This quick and easy evaporative cooler might be just the thing the next time the air conditioning goes on the fritz. [Stephen] saw an eBay listing for a personal air conditioner that used a moist sponge and fan to send some cool relief your way. But he wanted to run his own test to see if it really did anything before laying down the cash.

The idea is to run air past a moisture source. Some of the heat energy in the air is reduced through evaporation resulting in the exhaust air feeling a bit cooler. It’s the same concept used in swamp coolers (an evaporative type of air conditioning). To build his device [Stephen] grabbed a refrigerator deodorizer which uses a hinged plastic cage to hold a packet of baking soda. He attached a small PC fan to the cage, then inserted a damp sponge. This is so easy to put together you could hit the dollar store on your lunch break and have some relief for the second half of the work day.

If you’re looking for a technique that cools just a bit better consider leveraging a beer fridge as a personal cooler.

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