Build Your Own PC — Really

There was a time when building your own computer meant a lot of soldering or wire wrapping. At some point, though, building a PC has come to mean buying a motherboard, a power supply, and just plugging a few wires together. There’s nothing wrong with that, but [Scott Baker] wanted to really build a PC. He put together an Xi 8088, a design from [Sergey] who has many interesting projects on his site. [Scott] did a great build log plus a video, which you can see below.

As the name implies, this isn’t a modern i7 powerhouse. It is a classic 8088 PC with a 16-bit backplane. On the plus side, almost everything is conventional through-hole parts, excepting an optional compact flash socket and part of the VGA card. [Scott] acquired the boards from the Retrobrew forum’s inventory of boards where forum users make PCBs available for projects like this.

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Six Years of Work and Rationale In A DIY Book Scanner Documented

[Daniel Reetz] spent six years working as a Disney engineer during the day and on his book scanner, the archivist at night. Some time last year, [Daniel] decided enough is enough, got married, and retired from the book scanner business. There’s a bit more to it than that, but before leaving he decided to dump, not just the design, but the entire rationale behind the design into a twenty-two thousand word document.

One of his big theses in this document, is his perceived failure of the open hardware movement. The licenses aren’t adequate, as they are based on copyright law that only applies to software. This makes it impossible to enforce in practice, which is why he released the entire design as public domain. He also feels that open hardware shares design, but not rationale. In his mind this is useless when encouraging improvement, and we tend to agree. In the end rationale is the useful thing, or the source code, behind a design that truly matters. So, putting his money time where his mouth is, he wrote down the rationale behind his scanner.

The rationale contains a lot of interesting things. At a first glance the book scanner almost seems a simple design, not the culmination of so much work. Though, once we began to read through his document, we began to understand why he made the choices he did. There’s so much to getting a good scan without destroying the book. For example, one needs a light that doesn’t lose any color information. It doesn’t have to be perfect, as the software can correct the white balance. However, it can’t lean too far away from the natural spectrum, it can’t be too bright, and it can’t be uneven, and it can’t be prohibitively expensive. A lot of thought went into the tent light design.

[Daniel]’s book scanners are immensely popular, and are being used all over the world. He’s certainly made an impact, and the community that formed around his project continues to grow without him. He made some interesting points, and if anything wrote a really good build and design log for the rest of us to learn from.

14-part RepRap Saga draws to a close

Behold, another RepRap springs into existence! Well, springs might not be the best choice of words, it took a while and there were many bumps in the road. But [NBitWonder’s] self-built RepRap is now finished and you can read his 14-part build log to see all that went into the process.

We checked in on the project at one of the early stages. At that point he was just beginning to assemble the hardware and we mused that the calibration stage is where we thought things would get exciting. The project didn’t disappoint, as he had many follies getting the extruder heads to work. At first some issues popped up when figuring out what diameter filament would work for the print head he was using. Once that was worked out, a less-than-precise PID controller led to the clogging and eventual destruction of the extruder tip. He goes on to assemble and test a heated build platform only to discover that the resistors shipped with the hardware are shockingly underrated for the task. We could go on and on, but that would ruin the fun for you. Bookmark this one for the weekend and enjoy!

Years of robotic projects – dumped for your enjoyment

Meet tippy, just one of the multitude of robotic projects [Oneironaut] has taken on over the years. He ‘dug deep’ and put together a huge data dump of pictures and descriptions of his old robotic projects, then posted them for your enjoyment. When he wrote in to Hackaday on Monday he mentioned 33 pages of them, but he must be adding material as he finds it because we see 52 pages.

These aren’t micro-robots either. These are I’m going to chase you down because I’m your worst nightmare robots. They use heavy welded-iron frames, lead-acid batteries, and gear-motor driven locomotion. Some of his project names include The Tank, The Sentinel, and The Megatron. Bookmark the link you see above, because you’re going to want to spend some time sifting through the candy-shop of projects which seem to be too plentiful to be the hobby of just one man. Although we shouldn’t be surprised, just look at the multitude of spy-gadgets he’s come up with lately like the GPS tracker and the long-range laser night vision.