Ask any engineer what originally sparked their interest in technology, and almost universally the response will be a Hollywood film or TV robot — Star Wars’ R2-D2, the B9 robot from Lost in Space, or Short Circuit’s Johnny 5, to name a few. Engineers need a creative outlet too, and some pay homage to their inspirations by building elaborate reproductions. At this year’s Maker Faire, droid-builders had their own corner in the center hall, their work ranging from humble craft materials to ’bots surpassing their film counterparts in detail and workmanship.
Continue reading “BAMF2010: Look sir, droids!”
[Scott Holden] went all out this year and built an amazing Tauntaun costume. The Tauntaun from Star Wars was massive, standing 8 feet tall, and usually carrying a rider. [Scott] wanted to make it the correct size, and ultimately pulled it off. He had to build custom stilts to get the leg angle correct as drywall stilts were too straight. The rest is mainly pvc and fur. We think he did a fantastic job on this. The effect is quite nice, and we can imagine that in person it is even better.
Take note at the bottom of page 3. Apparently, he got pinned in the costume in his workshop and almost had to spend the night on the floor in the costume. That’s pretty wild, at least he was warm.
[creatrope] sent in this slick Alien costume that he made for his son. The costume does look decent, but not professional. For something tossed together from parts around the house, it looks fantastic. The real kicker, is the fact that it has the retractable inner mouth. The retractable mechanism is constructed from Legos and extends when his son opens the mouth. We think he did a fantastic job with this costume, but if you’re looking for something a little more polished, check out this Alien made by [Asy0uw1sh ] you can see a little more detail on how it works here.
For all their varied and entertaining uses, circuits and code comprise only part of the complete hacking experience. To really put your project over the top, sooner or later you’ll want to possess some physical fabrication skills. Consider the works of [Ben Heckendorn]: He’s always done a fantastic job with the electronics, but it’s the fit and finish of the enclosures that make him a legend.
“Fabrication” usually conjures images of shop tools — saws and sanders and drills — all tremendously useful skills worth learning, and easily within reach of most home shops or garages. Recently, the techniques of mold making and casting have seen something of a DIY renaissance. Mold making is nothing new, the basic concepts go back millennia, but in just the past few years the materials for extremely high-quality molds have become safer, simpler to use, and easier to acquire.
This being Halloween month, what better example of the medium than this impeccable replica helmet styled after half of the musical duo Daft Punk (a recurring theme among Hack a Day contributors), created by prop maker [Harrison Krix]. After sculpting an original master part (from common hardware store and art store materials, we might add), a one-piece flexible mold is built up from silicone, which captures every minute detail, and later the helmet form is cast from a thin layer of resin. The visor is vacuum formed. A follow-up with the internal electronics build is yet to be posted, but even at this stage the shell alone is so refined it looks straight off a showroom floor. If mold making can do this for someone’s noggin, imagine what it can do for your next creative hardware project. Smooth-On, a major supplier of these materials, has a free PDF introduction and a set of tutorials on their web site.
[derektroywest] has posted a detailed step by step breakdown of making a Daft Punk costume. They’ve done a great job, the overall look is very convincing. They include links to where to get each part as well as information on how they pulled it off. The helmets were inspired by the timelapse Daft Punk helmet build. As you can see in the video, they don’t have the entire visor made into a display, but the effect is quite nice, especially because it is multi color.
We love all of the creative Halloween costumes that have started trickling in now that the holiday is finally over, and people have found time to document their last minute projects. Take this functional Etch A Sketch costume made by [mazinbenny]. The knobs are lawnmower wheels. The pulley system is strung with 1/16″ wire rope to move a carrier for a dry erase marker. The marker draws directly on an acrylic screen. HowStuffWorks has a post on how a real aluminum powder based Etch A Sketch works.
We’ve covered more technical Etch A Sketch projects in the past. We’ve seen them hooked up to computer mice, drawing portraits at Maker Faire, and commenters have even suggested turning mechanical dry erase boards into giant Etch A Sketches.
[Matt Daughtrey] sent us this sweet little project he’s doing for Halloween. He’s building some animated LED eyes. He says that the whole thing is 3 individual LMDriver platforms, another project he’s working on. There isn’t any info available about that, but he does expand a little. He states that each display module uses an Atmega169 with some heavy multiplexing. The eyes really don’t look that impressive sitting on the bench, but watch the video to see how cool they really are.
We noticed that the back of the boards appear to have http://www.embeddedether.net on them. Unfortunately that site seems to have been grabbed by a domain squatter.