Gilded Hello Kitty ax made using electrolysis

Ummm…. cute? For the Hello Kitty fan who has everything?

Yeah, we’re really not sure what’s going on here. It’s an art piece on which [Denis] spent a lot of time. He polished it, etched it, painted it, applied gold leaf, and drilled a hole for a charm. It’s that hole which interested us the most. He had a heck of a time figuring out how to make a hole in the hardened steel. The solution that finally worked was to use electrolysis to bore through the metal (translated).

[Denis] first made a small depression where he wanted the hole. This took time, and pretty much ate through the engraver bit he was using. But it was just enough to hold a drop of saline. He connected the positive side of his power supply to the ax head, then dipped the negative lead into the drop of saline. Each time the drop turned black he wiped it away and replaced it with fresh solution. Just five hours of this and a pack or two of cotton swabs and he was through.

Bring your LED matrix project into the living room

If you’re able to make a project look this good it shouldn’t be hard to convince that significant other to let you install it in a prominent place in the house. We think [Greg Friedland] pulled this off perfectly by building a 4′x8′ tablet controlled LED matrix.

First of all, everything looks better in a shiny case. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this looks nice, thanks to the face plates which are mounted in a way that gives them a modern style (we’d expect to see this hanging in Ikea). They’re acrylic diffuser panels meant for used with lighting in a suspended ceiling. They do a nice job of scattering the light put off by the 544 LED modules that make up the display. The wiring was made easy by using LED strands where each pixel has its own control chip (WS2801). It sounds like the display will peak at around 160 Watts, which isn’t really that much considering the area. One nice touch that’s shown off in the video after the break is a full-feature iPad interface that even allows you to paint in light using your finger. But we’re also satisfied that [Greg] posted about the physical build too.

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You’ll throw your back out playing this analog TV synth


While CRT televisions fall to the wayside as more people adopt flat-panel TVs, the abundance of unused sets gives hacker/artist [Kyle Evans] an unlimited number of analog canvases on which to project his vision. He recently wrote in to share his latest creation which he dubs “de/Rastra”.

The “CRT Performance Interface” as he calls it, is an old analog television which he hacked to display signals created by moving the TV around. Fitted with an array of force sensors, accelerometers, and switches, the display is dynamically generated by the movements of whomever happens to be holding the set.

Signals are sent wirelessly from his sensor array to an Atmel 328 microcontroller with the help of a pair of XBee radios, where they are analyzed and used to generate a series of audio streams. The signals are fed into a 400W amplifier before being inserted into the CRT’s yoke, and subsequently displayed on the screen.

We’re sure [Kyle] is probably trying to express a complex metaphor about man’s futile attempts to impose his control over technology with his project, but we think it simply looks cool.

Check out [Kyle’s] work for yourself in the video below and give us your take in the comments.

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Build a rig to make orbs in your light paintings

We’ve covered plenty of light painting projects here. People are always finding new ways to create interesting things in this fairly new medium. This project covers a method of creating orbs or spheres in your light paintings. The author points out that many people do this currently by putting the light source at the end of a string, swinging it in front of them like a propeller, and turning slowly in a circle. He wanted to automate the process a bit, so he combined his motorized telescope tripod, a power drill, a strip of RGB LEDs, and a few scraps of wood. He now has an automated system to make perfect orbs. Some of the examples he shows are quite stunning.

[Jackson Pollock] is now a robot

Even though abstract expressionism died out several decades ago, robots are still chugging along dripping nihilistic pigment onto a cold, uncaring canvas. [Liat] and [Assaf] created a robot named The Originals Factory to create paintings in the style of abstract expressionism, a style of painting that is arguably best represented by [Jackson Pollock] and his ‘drip paintings.’

The build is surprisingly simple – there are four containers filled with C,M,Y, and K pigments. Pumps transport these paints to a print head mounted on an aluminum rail above a canvas. The software portion of the build is rather interesting. Instead of pixels, the image is rendered in ‘vixels’ – vertical lines of a specific length and color. Although we don’t see any examples of more precise work, [Liat] tells us The Originals Factory can be used to plot graphs on the canvas.

Check out a video of The Originals Factory squirting paint down a canvas after the break.

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Double-pendulum spray gives this graffiti bot some style

Here’s an art exhibit that does its own painting. The Senseless Drawing Bot (translated) uses the back and forth motion of the wheeled based to get a double-pendulum arm swinging. At the end of the out-of-control appendage, a can of spray paint is let loose. We’re kind of surprised by the results as they don’t look like a machine made them.

The video after the break gives a pretty good synopsis of how the robot performs its duties. The site linked above is a bit difficult to navigate, but if you start digging you’ll find a lot of build information. For instance, it looks like this was prototyped with a small RC car along with sticks of wood as the pendulums.

We can’t help but be reminded of this robot that balances an inverted double pendulum. We wonder if it could be hacked to purposefully draw graffiti that makes a bit more sense than what we see here?

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Creepy delta bot follows your every move


The creation you see above is the work of art student [Daniel Bertner] who is wrapping up his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He calls the incredibly intriguing, yet somewhat disturbing device “TIM”, which is short for Tracking Interactive Mechanism.

A culmination of different projects he has tinkered with over the last year or so, TIM is an interactive delta bot with an attitude. Mounted on the wall of the Art Institute’s Sullivan Galleries, TIM is as interested in you as you are in it. While passers by investigate the curious device, it watches them back, following their every movement.

The robot’s motors are controlled using an Arduino, and its ability to track people standing nearby is provided via a video stream processed with Open CV.

It really is a cool project, and we think it would make for an awesome prop in some sci-fi horror flick. Check out the video below to see TIM’s personality in action – he doesn’t like it when people stand too close!

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