Members of the Warp Zone hackerspace wanted a coffee table that was beyond ordinary. They ended up pouring a concrete base for the glass top (translated). There were several things to address during the design. First off, they wanted to integrate LEDs in the concrete sides. Some consideration had to be made for portability as concrete is very heavy. The final piece of the puzzle was deciding what kind of hardware to place beneath the frosted glass.
The legs were designed with a large cut-out area to keep them as light weight as possible. The cross piece has a set of voids spelling out the name of the hackerspace with some green LEDs. This was accomplished by placing foam cut-outs of each letter in the forms before for concrete was poured. They sealed around each letter with silicone, but still had some seepage most likely caused when jostling the form to help remove air bubbles. Straws were placed in the foam to allow a cable pass through for the electronics. After everything was in place they filled the voids with hot glue to act as a diffuser.
There aren’t a lot of details about the RGB LEDs under the frosted glass. But you can see the light show they produce in the clip after the break.
Continue reading “A concrete table with a little blinky built in”
Ah, the cocktail arcade cabinet. With the right design, its able to blend right in to any living room decor, much more than any traditional stand-up cabinet, at least. [graham] over on Instructables didn’t tear apart a 30-year-old arcade cabinet for his new coffee table. Instead, he built one from scratch, connected it to a Rasberry Pi, and brought hundreds of arcade classics right in front of his couch.
The build began by cutting up some wood to house the 24″ LCD screen, Raspi, and arcade controls. The LCD screen is supported with a rather clever system of cross braces screwed into the VESA mount, and of course a piece of perspex protects the screen from the inevitable spills and scratches.
The joystick two blue ‘player’ buttons and the player 1 and player two buttons are wired directly to the GPIO pins of the Raspberry Pi. The Raspi boots up into a selection of MAME games, but there’s also an option for opening up the window manager and browsing the web.
It’s a very neat build that’s a lot smaller (and easier to build) than a traditional cocktail cabinet. As [graham] is using it for a coffee table, it might get more use than a regular MAME build, to boot.
[Nick] is working on a prototype of a coffee table sand plotter that draws patterns in sand a lot like a zen rock garden.
[Nick]’s zen rock garden uses a magnet to draw a ball bearing across the sand in interesting patterns. The build uses 3D printed gears and laser cut parts to rotate the table around and move the magnet along a radius of the circle. During the first test of the prototype, the ball bearing jerked around but this problem was solved by adding a piece of foam under the sand. Power is supplied through a slip ring in the base, and the table is controlled through Bluetooth.
Speaking of magnet-and-ball-bearing zen coffee tables, we ran across this video of a more professional-looking prototype that was the basis for a successful Kickstarter campaign. Like [Nick]’s prototype, the entire build relies on magnets and a ball bearing to move sand around in patterns. Because this zen table uses an XY axis instead of [Nick]’s polar setup, drawing logos is a lot easier math-wise, lthough it doesn’t look quite as cool as a circular rock garden.
After the break you can see these zen rock garden coffee tables in action.
Continue reading “Zen rock garden table uses magnets and sand”
This coffee table is a real show-piece. It’s got a smoky glass surface that is hiding the LCD screen within. But what fun would it be if it could only play video? The rest of the enclosure houses all the parts necessary to make this living room centerpiece into a computer.
After the break you can see a video showing off each step of the build process. It starts by ridding the screen of its enclosure, and using what’s left to determine the size of the wood frame for the table. With the display firmly in place [Nate] sets to work position, mounting, and developing cooling solutions for the motherboard and the rest of the bits. He does nice work and ends up with a table that we’d be proud to feature in our homes.
Now he’s got a lot of computing power and a huge display, but isn’t something missing? How hard do you think it would be to add touch sensitive input to this? We’re wondering if the overlays used to make those Android touchscreens could be mounted on the underside of the glass? Continue reading “Coffee table puts on a show behind smoked glass”
Looking to spice up his living room with some modular plastic pieces, [Quentin] came up with a way to take digital pixels and convert them to LEGO building plans. The end result is a coffee table top that uses a font complete with anti-aliasing.
The first thing he did was figure out physical dimension and color palettes available from the popular building blocks. His search yielded all of the answers after he spent some time on Brickipedia. Armed with that knowledge he started bargain hunting, settling on a brick size that yielded adequate resolution without breaking the bank (he budgeted 87 Euros or about $125 for materials). From there he used Photoshop, along with a custom color palate that matches the LEGO colors, to generate the design. Image in hand, he finished the planning stage by writing a program to count the pixels, convert them into LEGO bricks, and spit out an order list and build instructions. He’s saving others the trouble of doing the same by releasing his source code.
Of course the project wouldn’t be nearly as fun if he hadn’t made a fast-time build video. We’ve embedded it after the break.
Continue reading “Turning pixels into LEGO pieces”
This year, students working for Texas Instruments as part of their Co-op program were challenged to construct a project around the company’s MSP430 microcontroller. A team of three students, [Max Thrun, Mark Labbato, Ian Cathey] decided to build something that would fit perfectly in any college student’s dorm room – an RGB LED coffee table.
We’ve covered RGB LED tables in the past, but as far as we can tell this is the first MSP430 based unit we’ve seen. Microcontroller aside, the table features a lot of items that are considered “standard equipment” when it comes to these sorts of living room LED installations. The trio installed 128 RGB LEDs into their table, isolating each one using a wooden grid, and used some frosted glass to diffuse the display a bit.
What really makes this table stand out is the software. The team wrote an application that creates a Fast Fourier Transform of whatever music is being played, in order to find beats and generate real-time visualizations for their table. The result is a pleasing display that’s sure to be a hit at parties.
Check out the video below to see their creation in action.
Continue reading “RGB LED spectrum analyzer coffee table”
[Jed] built a MAME cabinet into some flat pack furniture (translated). For the housing he chose an Ikea Ramvik side table. This is a perfect piece of furniture for the project for several reasons; it’s cheap, coming in at under $70, it’s a reasonable height to use while sitting on the sofa, it has a built-in drawer that will hide the guts of the system, and it was designed to use a piece of glass as the table surface.
The electronics are pretty straight forward. A notebook computer runs the MAME frontend, with an auxiliary screen which is framed nicely under the glass. Controls are standard coin-op type buttons soldered to the contacts on the PCB from a USB joystick. The brushed aluminum bezel added to the surface of the table keeps the modern finished look that one would want with a showpiece like this one.
We always like to keep our eyes open for hackable items when visiting Ikea. Make sure to check out their As-Is department (preferably as soon as they open) to find hackable furniture on the cheap.