Robotic Etch-a-Sketch Draws Grayscale Images

[Patrick] decided to make a computer controlled etch-a-sketch. While the idea is not that new, there is always a different way to accomplish a goal. An Arduino is used to control a pair of stepper motors which were sourced for pretty cheap, and even came with their own driver. Next a stand was mocked up using foam board, which helps determine where all the parts should live.

Next was a way to attach the steppers to the knobs, gears would be used and a collet meant for model airplanes was sourced to make the mechanical connection between gear and shaft. With everything set in place via foam board and paper printouts, it is off to get some thin plywood. The plywood is sent though a laser cutter creating most of the stand and gears. Now its all software, a program was whipped up for OSX which converts low res pictures into squiggly lines perfect for the etch-a-sketch to draw on its screen.

The results are quite impressive, join us after the break for a quick video.

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DIY Windows 8 Tablet

[hackitbuildit], from instructables, has brought us a a DIY windows 8 tablet. To make the tablet, an old laptop is used that meets the minimum requirements of windows 8 preview, a touch screen conversion kit, and of course the software itself. The laptop is first prepared by removing the casing around the screen, and if you just go by the pictures it kind of looks like he is ripping it apart! Though if you look at the video screws are being removed.

The screen is flipped around and laid on the keyboard with a couple spacers between them, as many laptops use the keyboard area as heat sinking. The touch screen is installed, and some wood strips are hot-glued to the outside to fill in the gap between the screen and base. With a little paint you’re left with a large, but functional windows 8 tablet to get started developing for.

Creating a Game for the CoCo

Retro is in the air today as [John] has tipped us off about a new game he has written for the Tandy Color Computer (CoCo), The game, inspired by the homebrew game DOWNFALL for the Atari Jaguar, features what looks like snappy game play, lots of bright colorful animation and has just entered the Alpha stages. The blog page above sheds some insight on what it takes to make a game for these old 8 bit wonders, cause no matter how easy it sounds, you do have to do some dancing to get even the simplest of things working correctly on such limited resources.

The game was part of this years Retrochallenge which is typically held in January, which we recommend checking out if you want your fill of random projects for old computers. From building an Apple I replica kit, to making a soccer game for a SGI system, getting a 5160 XT online or just noodling with a KIM, there is plenty of interesting projects to keep you occupied during the afternoon.

Join us after the break for a quick video of Fahrfall, the fun looking CoCo Game.

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Reverse Engineering a 1.5 inch Photoframe

Little, no name, 1.5 inch LCD photo key-chains are all over the place for practically nothing. Not too surprisingly these things do not vary much in the parts that they use, some flash ram, a little lipo battery and a 16 bit color LCD. Wanting to find a way to reuse that LCD [Simon] Has an excellent tutorial on how to reuse a FTM144D01N LCD with a ILITEK ILI9163 LCD driver for your electronic projects.

Two units were used, one was ripped apart and soldered to a home made breakout board, the other was kept intact so its logic could be sniffed out with an oscilloscope. A pin-out was quickly determined since these things typically use a 8 or 16 bit data bus. Then a driver library was put together for AVR micro controllers, which includes some basic shape drawing and a 5×8 font.

While you may not be lucky enough to get this exact LCD screen from your local bargain store, there are a lot of pointers in here to hopefully get you up and going. We will be trying our luck on a very similar screen this afternoon as these things do have a decent picture and fairly quick response times already packaged in a hand-held case.

Join us after the break for a quick video.

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3D Print in Wax, Cast in Metal

What does dry ice, ethonal, wax beads, and a blender have in common? It was the first attempts at making media for this wax 3D printer that [Andreas] has been building up. Wanting to produce 3D printed objects out of metal, and finding that direct metal laser sintering machines were still out of reach of reason, he set out to find a different way.

After trying a few different methods of making the powdered wax himself, he decided that it was much more time effective to just buy the stuff. Using the commercially available powered wax mixed with activated carbon, and a custom printer, the wax is blasted with a moderately high powered laser. More wax powder is applied over the freshly sintered layer, and the 3d part is built upwards. Once he has the part in wax, he can then make a mold of it and cast metal using the Lost Wax Casting method.

While the quality is not perfect, and you still need a roughly 2500$ laser setup (which was borrowed from his school) its surely a step into the future.

Join us after the break for a quick video.

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Paint your pictures, no PC needed

LEDs and and cameras always make a fun mixture, and its not all that hard to have quite a bit of fun as well. The Light Painting Stick is similar to other long exposure camera tricks like LightScythe and gets about the same reults. The difference is the Light Painting Stick is self contained meaning you don’t have to drag nearly as much stuff along with you to have fun.

Hardware used is HL1606 controlled RGB led strip commonly found at Adafruit, the brains are a Leaf Labs Maple micro controller board with an SD card and some human interfaces attached, and is powered by a 6 volt lantern battery.

Images are 64*infinity 24 bit BMP files which means there is not much fuss preparing your graphics other than doing a simple rotate. You can select which image is displayed by using a 2 way switch and the LEDs on the stick. Select your images, dial in your speed with the potentiometer, and you’re  ready to hit the fire button for some photo fun.

Powering an Ultrasonic Transducer

[Lindsay] has a wonderful writeup about a new toy in the shop, an ultrasonic transducer. The 28kHz, 70W bolt-clamped Langevin transducer by itself is not much use, you need a power supply, a horn to focus the energy, and a way to tune it. [Lindsay] starts off by showing how to find out the resonant frequency of the transducer, designing and building a high voltage high frequency AC power supply, and how to design a horn.

Not missing the meaning of DIY [Lindsay] casts and machines a horn for the transducer with a high level of precision as this will also tune the horn to the correct frequency. Once some brackets are machined the whole setup is put through some fun experiments in water and lemonaide, but the real purpose is to drill fine holes in glass for his home made Panaplex displays.

Join us after the break for a short video.

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