Hackaday Prize Entry: Molded Tracks For Vehicles

There are a lot of robotics platforms out there, and whether for educational use or for robot fightin’ time, two things remain constant: tracks are often the best solution, and there aren’t very many modular track systems that can be used with a variety of designs. There are even fewer that can be built at home. [jupdyke]’s project fixes that. It’s a modular and easy to replicate system for tracked vehicles.

The design for this system of track uses roller chain, chosen because the components of roller chain are mass-produced in incredible quantities, sprockets are available in every imaginable size, and all the parts are available in different materials.

Rolling two chains around a few sprockets isn’t a problem; the hard part of this build is figuring out how to make the actual treads, and then making a lot of them. [jupdyke] is making them by 3D printing a few mold masters and doing a few test prints with silicone and polyurethane rubber. For a one-off project, it’s a lot of work, but if you’re making thousands of tracks, molds are the way to do it.

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Hackaday Prize Worldwide : Maker’s Asylum New Delhi

Join me on July 18th for Hackaday Prize Worldwide: New Delhi — a KiCad workshop, hardware show & tell, and a chance for you to meet other hackers and makers in the area.

Hacker spaces are on the rise in India, a development that really excites me. When I helped co-found India’s first, community Hacker Space – Maker’s Asylum – in Mumbai, things were pretty lonely. And this was less than 2 years back in 2013 November. Last month, we opened New Delhi’s latest, and the Maker’s Asylum’s second space. There’s already a couple of other hacker spaces in New Delhi, and you can now find hacker spaces in Mumbai, New Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin, Meerut, Kolkatta, Surat, Ahmedabad, Dharamsala, Hyderabad, Ramachandrapuram – and the list continues to grow.

To help build the community, and to bring the opportunity presented by the Hackaday Prize to local hackers, I hosted Hackaday Prize Worldwide events at the Maker’s Asylum in Mumbai and at Workbench Projects in Bangalore. This month, on July 18th, I’ll do another Hackaday Prize Worldwide event at the Maker’s Asylum in New Delhi. I love talking about, and supporting, Open Source Hardware at every opportunity. So for this event, I’ll be doing a fairly long and detailed workshop on KiCad – the awesome, open source EDA tool – lasting several hours. At the end of the day long workshop, I hope to get fellow hackers to complete a design that can be sent off for PCB fabrication. After a short break in the evening, we will have a Show-n-Tell, getting the assembled folks to show off the projects they are working on. There are a number of them who have submitted entires for the Hackaday Prize, so it will be interesting to hear them talk about their experience and share tips and ideas.

We can hold only a limited number of folks at the event, and slots are quickly filling up. So, if you’re in New Delhi or somewhere close by, do RSVP at this link quickly. Looking forward to an interesting event. Check out some pictures from the opening party of the New Delhi Maker’s Asylum after the break.

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The Best NiMh Charger?

[Paul Allen] has been working on the latest iteration of his NiMh battery charger and it looks amazing!

We’ve covered [Paul Allen]s awesome hacks and tutorials before, but never this project. What makes his charger so special is it’s ability to monitor and log every aspect of the charging process. Not only does it have a SD card for data logging, but it also interfaces with a Windows application for real-time monitoring as well as analysis and visualization of the charging process (Linux users don’t fret it has a serial interface too).

[Paul] doesn’t say if he plans to open hardware or kickstart the charger, but some of his older posts give us a quick peak at the gerbers. Let’s hope this awesome project makes its way into the wild soon, and hopefully we’ll be able to try it for ourselves and see if it lives up to its name.

Viewing A Macintosh SE’s Video On A Modern Computer

[Bbraun] has an old Macintosh SE computer. He was looking for a way to view the video output from the SE on a newer, modern computer. He ended up working out a pretty clever solution using a stm32f4discovery board.

First, the SE’s logic board was removed from its case and placed onto a desk for easier access. The discovery board was then hooked up to the SE’s processor direct slot (PDS) using normal jumper wires. The discovery board acts as a USB COM port on a newer Mac OSX computer. The discovery board watches the SE for writes to video memory. When it sees that the R/W pin goes low, it knows that a write is occurring. It then waits for /AS to go low, which indicates that an address is on the bus. The discovery board reads the address and verifies that it falls within the range of the video frame buffer. If it does, then the discovery board writes a copy of the data to a local buffer.

The OSX computer runs a simple app that can make a request to the discovery board via USB. When the board receives the request, it sends its local frame buffer data over the USB connection and back to the host. The OSX computer then displays that data in a window using CGImage. The demo video below was captured using this technique. Continue reading “Viewing A Macintosh SE’s Video On A Modern Computer”

CAPTION CERN CONTEST – Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend

The tangled web woven by Week 22 of the Caption CERN Contest has come to a close. It’s been another bumper week with 112 comments. Thank you to everyone who submitted a caption! We realize it may have been hard for some of the network engineers out there to type through their tears, but thank you for persevering! While we don’t know exactly what these two CERN scientists were wiring up, [rwells97] did figure out that the scope in the image is most likely a Tektronix 545/A, which was a popular scope back in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The weight on a beast like that was around 70 lbs!

The Funnies:

  • “Dude, this one’s full of wires too! Every single one of these is full of wires! Why would anyone need so many wires? What in the name of God were they DOING down here?” – [The Green Gentleman]
  • “Getting to blinky” required a whole lot more work then the engineers realized…” – [Kieran Paulger]
  • “I think I lost an electron back here, Bob. I’m positive.” – [Christine Hampton]

This week’s winner is [alan] with “Daft Punk was actually two of CERN’s best acoustics researchers prior to forming the band. Here they are after hours working on the track that would later be named ‘Da Funk'”. [Alan] is a Computer Science PhD candidate with focus on computational biology, specifically population genomics. Hopefully he has some hardware in the mix somewhere, because we’re sending him a Stickvise from The Hackaday Store!

Week 23

cern-23-smSomething a bit different this week. CERN is probably best known for the various particle accelerators they’ve had over the years. One of the first units was synchrocyclotron SC-1, which operated from 1957 to 1974. According to the album page on CERN’s servers, SC-1’s last day of operation was celebrated with a funeral procession. Scientists, and staff walked the grounds with flowers, top hats, and even a shrouded coffin. We can all related to decommissioning a well-worn piece of equipment. Be it a computer, a machine tool, or even a synchrocyclotron, there are always the mixed feelings of thanks that it did a good job, and relief that it will no longer need to be maintained.

Even though we have a pretty good idea of what’s going on in this image, we’re going to caption it anyway! Give us your best captions of what you think is really going on here! This week’s prize is a LightBlue Bean from The Hackaday Store. Add your humorous caption as a comment to this project log. Make sure you’re commenting on the contest log, not on the this post. As always, if you actually have information about the image or the people in it, let CERN know on the original image discussion page.

Show Us Your Human Interface; Win Laser Cutting Time

Our newest Hot List is Human Interfaces. This is anything you’ve designed into your project to interact with people. And we want to see it all! Do you have something bristling with buttons, boasting many LCD screens, hosting controls organized with the principles of Feng Shui, or intuitively voice activated? Show us the user interface you’re proud of and you could win one of thirty $100 gift cards for Ponoko laser cutting service.

We’re in the thick of judging the Wheels, Wings, and Propellers hot list from this week. We’ll be announcing the rankings in the coming days, but for now you need to get your project onto the Your Human Interface hot list. Here’s what you need to do before Thursday, 7/16/15:

Good luck, and per usually we’d like to encourage you to Vote this week. It’s a great way to explore the entries in this year’s 2015 Hackaday Prize, and you just might win $1000 from the Hackaday Store just for voting!

The 2015 Hackaday Prize is sponsored by:

50 Winners Using Atmel Parts

For the last few weeks we’ve been celebrating builds that use parts from our manufacturer sponsors of the 2015 Hackaday Prize. Today we are happy to announce 50 winners who used Atmel parts in their builds. Making the cut is one thing, but rising to the top is another. These builds show off some amazing work from those who entered them. In addition to the prizes which we’ll be sending out, we’d like these projects to receive the recognition they deserve. Please take the time to click through to the projects, explore what has been accomplished, and leave congratulations a comment on the project page.

Still Time to Win!

We’re far from the end of the line. We’ll be giving roughly $17,000 more in prizes before the entry round closes in the middle of August. Enter your build now for a chance in these weekly contests!

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