New 3D Printing Techniques at AMUG 2015

Sometimes there’s a lot of perks to working for a cutting edge tech company while also being a writer here at Hackaday. This week I had the opportunity to attend AMUG 2015 — the Additive Manufacturing User Group conference in Jacksonville, Florida.

I saw companies big and small, checked out the newest techniques like metal printing and mold making, and met a ton of interesting people. Join me after the break for the rundown and a video summary of my experience.

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Thursday Drink-Up in The City

Hackaday is headed to New York this week. Grab your projects and catch up with us for a tasty beverage. We’ll be hanging out at the Antler Beer & Wine Dispensary on Thursday night starting at about 7. Be part of Hackaday’s first ever social event in NYC!

This is the pre-game for our Hackathon which starts on Saturday afternoon. So far we have eight of the Hackaday crew confirmed for evening: [Brian Benchoff], [Adam Fabio], [Bil Herd], [Sophi Kravitz], [Aleksandar Bradic], [Matt Berggren], [Jasmine Brackett], and [Rob Vincent]. But hey, it wouldn’t be any fun without you there too! We want to pack the place with hardware hackers so grab your friends and RSVP using the link at the top.

This is part of our 2015 Hackaday Prize Worldwide tour. Start your entry now by hammering out a few quick ideas about a future build and we can gab about it on Thursday. See you soon!


The 2015 Hackaday Prize is sponsored by:

Slick Six-Voice Synth for AVRs

He started off making an AVR synthesized guitar, but [Erix] ended up with much more: a complete six-voice AVR wavetable synthesis song machine that’ll run on an ATMega328 — for instance, on an Arduino Uno.

If you’re an AVR coder, or interested in direct-digital synthesis or PWM audio output, you should have a look at his code (zip file). If you’d just like to use the chip to make some tunes, have a gander at the video below the break.

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An Introduction To Individually Addressable LED Matrices

The most fascinating project you can build is something with a bunch of blinky hypnotic LEDs, and the easiest way to build this is with a bunch of individually addressable RGB LEDs. [Ole] has a great introduction to driving RGB LED matrices using only five data pins on a microcontroller.

The one thing that is most often forgotten in a project involving gigantic matrices of RGB LEDs is how to mount them. The enclosure for these LEDs should probably be light and non-conductive. If you’re really clever, each individual LED should be in a light-proof box with a translucent cover on it. [Ole] isn’t doing that here; this matrix is just a bit of wood with some WS2812s glued down to it.

To drive the LEDs, [Ole] is using an Arduino. Even though the WS2812s are individually addressable and only one data pin is needed, [Ole] is using five individual data lines for this matrix. It works okay, and the entire setup can be changed at some point in the future. It’s still a great introduction to individually addressable LED matrices.

If you’d like to see what can be done with a whole bunch of individually addressable LEDs, here’s the FLED that will probably be at our LA meetup in two weeks. There are some crazy engineering challenges and several pounds of solder in the FLED. For the writeup on that, here you go.

DIY Wet Media Blast Cabinet

Most people have heard of sand blasting, a process used for cleaning parts by spraying a high pressure air and sand mixture. At this speed, the sand becomes abrasive and will remove paint, rust and general gunk leaving a clean surface behind. There is one downside to the process, breathing the silica dust created by the sand blasting process can lead to a lung disease called silicosis, which is not curable and can even lead to death.

[Roger] wanted to clean his motorcycle parts and decided to build a wet media blasting cabinet. Unlike sand blasting, wet media blasting mixes the cleaning media with water instead of air. The media and water slurry is sprayed at the part needing cleaning and has the same effect as sand blasting without creating any dust.

diy wet media blast cabinetAs you can clearly see from the image, the main blasting chamber is made from a 55 gallon plastic drum. It even has a removable lid on one side to make loading in parts easy. A large hole was cut into the drum in order to install a window. Look close – there is even a wind shield wiper from a car installed on the inside of the window to aid in seeing the part being cleaned!

Underneath the blasting chamber is another plastic drum cut in half. This serves as a slurry tank. A regular pool pump is used to both agitate the slurry mixture and power the spray nozzle. Overall, [Roger] is happy with his blast cabinet made from found parts and says it has become his all-time favorite cleaning device. He says that the part surface finish obtained was well worth the effort building the blast cabinet.

Hackaday Links: April 26, 2015

In case you haven’t heard, we’re giving away a trip to space. We have $50,000 to promote giving away a trip to space too, and this week we’re giving away some OSH Park gift cards. If you have a project that’s held together with hot glue on a 40-year-old piece of perf board, add a project log describing how you need some free PCBs.

A few months ago, some guy in Texas found the original molds for the Commodore 64C, the Plus/4 and the 128. That discovery turned into one of the best examples of what Kickstarter can do. Now, new keycaps are being manufactured with an Indiegogo campaign. If you’re waiting on your C64c case to be pressed out of a mold, this is not the time to think about the sunk cost fallacy. They’re not Cherry MX compatible, but they will work with just about every version of the C64. Not bad for under €20.

The UK has a fabulously rich history of ancient melee weapons, ranging from the flail to the mace and a bunch of odd bladed weapons used by the Scots. This tradition was passed down to the UK mains plug, the single most painful plug to step on. Apple just released a USB charger with a folding UK mains plug and [oliver] did a teardown on it.

For St. George’s Day in Catalonia, there’s a tradition of giving roses to women, and books to men. [Nixieguy] has all the books he could want, and would prefer to receive a rose. Bucking tradition, he made himself a rose from a punch card. It’s the closest he’s going to get to ‘@}-\—’. A few years ago, he carved a rose out of a 10mm LED.

Finally, a decent tutorial on how to grow your own SMD components.

Need to take apart a cellphone? Use acetone! Need the phone to work after you take it apart? Ummmm….

The Dayton Hamvention is just three weeks away! Yes, the same weekend as the Bay Area Maker’s Faire, which means most of the Hackaday crew will be elsewhere, but I hear [Chris Gammell] will be there putting Parts.io stickers on everything. By the way, I’m looking for a Tek PM203 Personality Module for a 68000 64-pin PDIP.

Using an LED as a Simple RF Detector

When [b.kainka] set out to make the world’s simplest RF detector, he probably didn’t realize it would be as easy as it was. Consisting of only a handful of components and thirty eight lines of code, he was able to make an RF detector that works reasonably well.

The microcontroller running the code is an ATtiny13 on a Sparrow board. He’s using an everyday LED as a detector diode and an internal pull-up resistor in the ATtiny13 for the bias voltage. The antenna runs off the LED’s anode. To make it sensitive enough, he switches on the pull-up resistor for a tiny fraction of time. Because an LED can act like a small capacitor, this charges it to a few volts. He then switches the pullup off, and the voltage across the LED will start to discharge. If there is an RF signal present, the discharge voltage will be less than the discharge voltage with no signal present.  Neat stuff.

Be sure to check out his Hackaday.io page linked at the top for full source, schematics and some videos demonstrating his project.

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