This has been around for a while, but we never covered it – and it’s friggin’ awesome. [jesse] sent in this crusher, but I featured this one due to a sort of draconian copyright notice on the former. The latter also uses some easier to find, hackable parts. They’re both built on similar concepts – use a large bank of capacitors to store up the energy needed, and deliver it in one large pulse to a coil electromagnet. The resulting force lasts for a short time, but is enough to physically crush an aluminum can inward without touching it. Yet another one has some more dramatic examples of crushed cans.
[lekernel] sent in his USB logic analyzer. I might just have to build this one for my work bench. It’s based on an Altera Cyclone 2 FPGA and he’s provided full schematics, source and a quick and dirty Linux driver to get things going. The board is nearly all surface mount, but he points out that the entire thing was soldered with a standard iron and de-soldering wick. If you’re looking for a good starter FPGA project, this looks like a good one.
I started writing for Hack-A-Day a little over a year ago. I’ve barely taken a break, but for the next week I’m going to be taking some serious time off on a Caribbean island. Thanks for a great year guys! While I’m gone, [fbz] has kindly consented to take over the reins. I’m looking forward to another year when I get back, but right now I’ve got to finish packing my dive gear.