This Is Not Your Father’s Power Wheel

powerwheels-mainIf you had a Power Wheel vehicle as a kid you may have been the envy of the neighborhood. Even as fun as they were you probably out grew them. Lucky for a few youngsters, [Bob] hasn’t. Not only does he have several Power Wheels for his children to use, he does some pretty cool mods to make them even more fun.

Changing the stock motor out for a cordless drill is one of the first things that gets done. A few brands have been used but the  Ryobi 18v Cordless Drill is the favorite. The entire drill is used, including the reduction gearbox. The gearbox is switched to LOW gearing so that the drill has enough torque to move the combined weight of the vehicle and child. As much as it may sound odd to use a drill in this manner, the Power Wheel can get up to about 15 mph. A stock Power Wheels maxes out at 5 mph

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Cheap Tire Sale Sparks Creative Contraption

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[Greg] and his kids were killing time at their (his?) favorite store — Harbor Freight. They noticed a sale on 10″ rubber tires for only $5/each… and it was all down hill from there.

He started sketching up a general idea for a three-wheeled go-kart. Once he had a reasonable idea of what it would look like, he went down to the hardware store and picked up a whole lot of 1″ PVC pipe, tees, elbows, crosses, epoxy and fasteners.

It’s a simple cart featuring a bit of a roll cage. Currently it’s just designed for being pushed around or riding down hills. It still looks like a lot of fun for the kids. We can’t help but wonder when he’s going to strap some electric motors on it to make it really fun for the kids. Maybe build a second, put some pool noodles around the frame, and bam, you’ve got a set of bumper-cars! If he needs any inspiration for the electronics, [Greg] could check out this Wireless Wii-Cart, or this over-powered-built-in-a-day-cart.

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A Hexacopter with FPV

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[Robert's] been hard at work becoming a hexacopter expert over the past two years, and he’s offered up a retrospective of his multi rotor build experience since he first clicked the “buy” button on Hobbyking. He’s come a long way from his first build, which used inexpensive carbon rods and 3D-printed parts for a frame, supported by scrap wood and hot glue. It met its end in his car; exposed to direct sunlight, the 3D-printed components melted.

The latest iteration—seen above on the right—is a complete redesign, with a laser-cut frame that dramatically reduced the overall weight and new “Donkey” motors off Hobbyking. It’s strong enough to lift a 1.6kg (3.5lbs) stuffed animal suspended from a rope! Most recently [Robert] has worked out streaming first-person video after fitting a camera to the hexacopter via a 3D-printed attachment and pairing the experience with Zeiss Cinemizer 3D glasses. He still has some bugs to work out, namely screws loosening from vibrations and adding a HUD to the display so he’ll know when the battery levels are low. You can see the poor teddy bear getting hanged along with some other videos, including the first-person video flight, after the break.

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Talking Bacon Plushie Greets You At The Door

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The folks over at [gTar] decided to create a motion activated talking bacon plush toy to greet visitors to their office.

They started with a toy called My First Bacon, available from ThinkGeek — it’s a plush toy that exclaims “I’m Bacon!” when you squeeze it. But then they cut him open. We can’t imagine what must have been going through this poor self-aware Bacon’s mind!

The hack itself is quite simple. They are basically replacing the “squeeze” circuit with an IR motion sensor — a PIR sensor from SparkFun to be precise. In addition to that they needed a small inverter IC. This is because the standard talking bacon module requires a positive leading edge signal in order to trigger the audio output, and their PIR sensor drives an output pin low — slap on an inverter IC (they had an old schmitt trigger lying around) and you’re ready to go!

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An AT-ATX: A Different Kind of Power Supply

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[Jedii72] needed a power supply. A quick search online revealed many instructions for building one out of an old ATX power supply, but — he didn’t want just any kind of power supply — he wanted to build an AT-ATX.

He started with a vintage AT-AT toy from the 80′s, and then began cutting it into pieces. Hold for gasps of disbelief. Don’t worry though — it was in poor condition to start with, so it was never really considered a collectible. After cleaning over 30 years of grime and dirt off the toy, he gave it a fresh coat of jet black paint — not exactly canon, but it does look pretty awesome. You know, it would make a pretty awesome Sci-Fi contest entry, don’t you agree? [Read more...]

Open-Source Sentry Gun Plans Promise the Next Level of Office Warfare

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We admit it, we were browsing Reddit when we found this beautifully hacked together Nerf Sentry turret. But are we ever glad we did — as it turns out, it is very similar to the totally awesome, open-source Project Sentry Gun.

We have actually covered a project that used that system before, but it looks like it has evolved a bit more since then. It’s just too cool not to share.

The system itself is quite simple and easy to build. You’re going to need three servo motors, an Arduino, a webcam, and assorted wires, nuts and bolts, etc etc. Grab a copy of the code, slap it all together, and you’re ready for business!

Just take a look at the following video of the Gladiator II Paintball Sentry Gun — we know you’re going to want to build one now.

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DIY Bell For Your Trains of Lionel

[Peter]‘s dad recently rekindled his love for Lionel trains and wanted a bell to keep the crossings safe for O gauge drivers and pedestrians. Using parts he had lying around and a doorbell from the hardware store, [Peter] concocted this DIY train crossing bell at his dad’s request.

The idea was to make the bell chime about once per second. To achieve this, [Peter] used a non-repeating electro-mechanical doorbell that emits a single note on continuous press. You could also roll your own bell with a spring-loaded solenoid and something bell-like for it to strike.

[Peter]‘s three-stage design uses a full-wave bridge rectifier to convert the AC from the train transformer to DC. He drops it to 5V and sends it through a 555 and some resistors to set the frequency and duty cycle. His output section translates the voltage back up to match the input desired by the doorbell.  [Peter] included a 1N4002 as a back EMF snubber to keep feedback from damaging the power MOSFET. Stick around for his demonstration video after the jump.

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