Introducing: Hackaday Projects

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Today Hackaday is launching a new site that furthers our goal of being a Virtual Hackerspace. Now you can host your own hacks and builds in a place truly worthy of what we’re all about. We present to you: Hackaday Projects.

What’s so great about it? It has a dark theme, just like the blog! Actually, the awesome of the new site is a combination of what’s already available and what we have planned. First and foremost, the site has been built from the ground up with open data in mind. This means you own what you create on Hackaday Projects. You can export your work, delete it, and use a public API to extend the usefulness of the data. Secondly, we have a range of different tools which are extremely easy and quick to use, but allow rich styling and presentation when you need it. Want to see what we mean? Go check out the NFC Voting Rig that was at The Gathering.

Where do we go from here? A huge part of that is up to you. We need Hackaday readers to get in there and tell us what works, what doesn’t work, and what needs to be added. Are you up to the task? Request your alpha testing invite now and guide Hackaday Projects to be the hosting site the Hackaday community has always dreamed about!

Twitter-enabled candy machine dispenses treats on command

twitter-enabled-candy-dispenser

[Michael Nilsson] and [Markus Olsson] were contemplating how to motivate members of their dev team when they came up with the idea of a candy machine that automatically dispenses treats when someone has earned it.

They picked up a candy machine, a continuous rotation servo and a controller, then got busy automating the dispenser. The mechanism behind the operation is actually pretty simple as you can see in [Michael’s] writeup. They disassembled the machine, removing the gear from the manual crank, attaching it to the servo. Once the servo was mounted place, they installed the servo controller and connected it up to a spare laptop.

The heavy lifting is done by a Ruby script that uses the Twitter API to scrape any mentions of @_macke_ or @sidpiraya. Incoming messages are checked for the words “give” and “candy”, triggering the machine to fork out some sweets.

If you think that their hard work deserves a bit of recognition, feel free to send them some candy by tweeting “give @_macke_candy” or “give @Sidpiraya candy”. Just remember to be considerate – nobody likes spam, not even candy machines!

If you’re interested in seeing the machine in action, be sure to check out the candy dispenser’s live stream at giveawaycandy.com.

Hand made carbon fiber violin is a stunning work of craftsmanship

carbon-fiber-violin

Building a violin by hand is no easy task, but constructing one out of carbon fiber is an amazing feat! Carpenter [Ken] had never made a violin before, nor built anything substantial out of carbon fiber, and he figured the best way to learn was by doing.

He spent a good bit of time measuring and drawing out his design before making fiberglass molds of the violin’s front and back plates from carved plaster plugs. The process was extremely time consuming, requiring him to make 10 different infusion-molded carbon fiber body plates before he was satisfied with the sound they produced.

With the larger parts of the violin’s body built, he started on the rib molds, which took him 5 hours apiece to set up before injecting the resin. With the body complete, [Ken] was ready to cut the f holes into the violin – a process that required a lot of time hunched over a tank of water with Dremel in hand.

As you can see in the picture above, the final result is stunning – we just wish we could give it a listen to see if it sounds as good as it looks.

Stress testing robots…with baseball bats

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When you are working on constructing the first Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 prototype a super-robust robotic arm, you’ve got to test it somehow, right?

You probably recognize the robot being abused in the video below, as we have talked about the construction of its hand once once before. The German Aerospace Center has been working on the DLR Hand Arm System for some time now, and are obviously really excited to show you how their design performs.

In case you are not familiar, the arm you see there uses 52 different motors, miniaturized control electronics, and a slew of synthetic tendons to behave like a human arm – only much better. The system’s joints not only provide for an incredible amount of articulation, they are specially designed to allow the unit to absorb and dissipate large amounts of energy without damaging the structure.

We think that any human would be hard pressed to retain their composure, let alone be able move their arm after suffering a blow from a baseball bat, yet the robot arm carries on just fine. It’s awesome technology indeed.

[Read more...]

Mini quadrocopter is Crazy awesome

crazyflie_quadrocopter

Quadrocopters are all the rage lately, and while we have seen our fair share of large devices, [Arnaud Taffanel, Tobias Antonsson, and Marcus Eliasson] have been dutifully working to buck that trend. Their CrazyFlie is a miniature quadrocopter that uses its PCB as the main structure of the device.

Since the goal was to use a PCB as its frame, the copter’s footprint from the edge of one motor to the other is a modest 8cm, and it weighs in at a measly 20 grams! The entire platform runs on a Cortex-M3 CPU that takes input from an accelerometer and pair of gyroscopes to help keep its balance. Wireless communications are handled via a 2.4Ghz radio transmitter, and the quadrocopter’s power is supplied by a tiny 110 mAh LIPO battery pack scavenged from an R/C plane.

All of the control and telemetry is handled by a PC, which relays control messages it receives from the pilot’s game pad to the CrazyFlie. We’d love to see if they could retain this small footprint if everything was handled by the quadrocopter itself. Either way, this thing rocks – we most definitely want one!

Stick around to see a quick video of their mini quadrocopter in action, and be sure to check out our coverage of U. Penn’s quadrocopter creations if you are interested in seeing more.

[Read more...]

3,000 posts, 50,000 comments

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Christmas has come early for us. This is our 3,000th post since launching Fall of 2004 doing just one post a day. The outstanding stat though is the 50,000 comments in the system. The team at Hack a Day would like to thank you, the readers, for bringing in all of our best tips and being part of this great community.

Turn any motor into a servo with RepRaps new board


[Zach] just let us know about a new board that’s available from the RepRap project. It uses an AS5040 magnetic rotary encoder to measure the absolute position of the rotor of whatever motor you’re using. This is actually pretty damn exciting. Powerful servo motors are expensive, but with one of these, you can use whatever motor you can get your hands on. Big DC motors are cheap, but even used DC servo motors expensive. Best of all, the encoder is open source and you can score a kit version for a paltry $20. Now we can make that 8 horse power servo…

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