Engadget trying out some crowd-funding

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Engadget has decided to give this whole crowd-funding thing a try with a competition called Insert Coin. This is part of an upcoming event called Expand that is supposed to let us get inside information on gadget construction and conception. This actually sounds refreshing compared to the giant commercial that other tech conferences can be (This is why Hackaday has never returned to CES).

Insert Coin is a contest that has hardware at the forefront. If you qualify, you could win $25,000 for your device as well as $1,000 to come show it off at their event.

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Bluetooth hack for Serioux Panda speakers

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[Bogdan] received this set of Serioux Panda speakers as a gift. I turns out that they sound very good and he decided to make them more useful to him by converting them to work as Bluetooth speakers.

To begin with he bought the cheapest A2DP device he could find. This is the protocol that identifies a Bluetooth audio device. The unit is designed to provide a Bluetooth connection for a set of headphones. He patched into the headphone port on that board, but also wanted to keep the option of using the Panda speakers’ line-in. To do this he added a 1k resistor to each of the audio channels. A connection was made from the 5V rail of the speakers to power the Bluetooth module rather than leaving it with its own battery.

Speaking of batteries, the Panda speakers can run from three AAA cells. This battery compartment was a perfect place to mount the add-on hardware. But the speaker can still be powered from a USB connector. Above [Bogdan] is using a portable USB power supply.

Make your own machinable wax

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No matter how easy it is to throw a piece of metal or plastic onto a tool and start making chips, the price of materials does add up. [rawkstar320] has been using machinable wax – a very hard wax that is up to the task of being cut with tools spinning at thousands of RPM – to reduce his material cost, simply remelting every part with a mistake. This wax can be made at home, it turns out, and [rawkstar] is glad to walk us through the process.

The creation of machinable wax begins by melting a few pounds of paraffin wax in a home deep fryer. Machining pure paraffin would gum up the works of just about any machine, so [rawkstar] throws a few plastic polyethylene bags into the already melted wax.

After casting and cooling, these blocks of wax are ready to be surfaced with a tool and milled into any part [rawkstar]‘s workshop is capable of. As a bonus, all of the chips produced from this wax can be recycled and melted down again making for a somewhat renewable material that is perfect for prototyping or casting.