3D printed Pip-Boy, Geiger counter not included


Yes, we all love portal guns and crowbars, but there’s one piece of video game paraphernalia that could conceivably be a useful piece of hardware for the modern technologist. It’s the Pip-Boy 3000, the wrist-wearable computer from Fallout, and now you can print on on your 3D printer.

All the pieces for this Pip-Boy are available over on Thingiverse. Included in those files are a dozen plastic parts that, when assembled, come together to form a wrist-mounted computer. You could, of course, print out a static image of a Pip-Boy screen for this build, but [dragonator] made a little addition to his model – he put in a space for a smartphone, so all your environmental sensors and inventory management also work with this 3D printed model.

This is far from the first wearable Pip-Boy we’ve seen, but it is the first that’s able to be fabricated on a 3D printer, and comes with the nice bonus of being the best phone case ever. It’s still a lot of work to put this together, but we’re going to say the results are fantastic.

You can check out the demo video of the Pip-Boy below.

[Read more...]

Build your own steel reinforced storm shelter


The last few years have seen a lot of dangerous storms rip through middle section of the United States. We’re surprised to hear that many residents in that part of the country don’t have basements to take refuge in when in imminent danger. But a resourceful hacker will always be able to find a way to improve their own situation. This example is particularly useful. It’s a steel storm shelter which opens into the garage.

It all starts with a cage made of square tube. With the skeleton fully assembled it is wrapped in steel plate, adding weld joints running nearly the entire length of each of the cage’s ribs. The image at the left shows the steel door frame clamped in position. Check out the finished version on the right after the shelter has been slid into place and bolted to the concrete slab.

The Reddit discussion includes a debate on whether the door should swing in or out. Swinging out means you could be trapped if the opening is blocked by debris. But there may be scientific research that proves this is a better orientation. Either way, we hope the three dead bolts, door latch, and heavy-duty hinges will stand up to the pressure if this is ever used.

Reverse engineering a wireless protocol


Like all good tinkerers, [Andrew] decided to figure out how his wireless security system worked. Yes, it’s an exercise in reverse engineering, and one of the best we’ve seen to date.

After breaking out the handheld spectrum analyzer and TV tuner SDR, [Andrew] cracked open a few devices and had a gander at the circuit boards. The keypad, PIR sensor, and base station all used a TI radio chip – the CC11xx series – that uses SPI to communicate with a microcontroller.

Attaching a logic analyzer directly to the radio chip and reading the bits directly, [Andrew] started getting some very good, if hard to understand data. From the security system specs, he knew it used a ’20-bit code’, but the packets he was reading off the SPI bus were 48 bits long. The part of this code was probably the system’s address, but how exactly does the system read its sensors?

The easiest way to figure this out was to toggle a few of the sensors and look at the data being transmitted. With a good bit of reasoning, [Andrew] figured out how the alarm system’s code worked. This theory was tested by connecting one of the radios up to an Arduino and having his suspicions confirmed.

While [Andrew]‘s adventure in reverse engineering is only a benefit for people with this model of security system, it’s a wonderful insight into how to tear things apart and understand them.