Old-time music player is brand new

This looks like a home entertainment center of yore but something’s not quite right. Where is the turntable used to play the music? It turns out that this Danforth Standard Digitrola is digital and doesn’t rely upon wax for an input. [Jonathan Danforth] built it as a show piece and it exhibits fine craftsmanship. A sound driver uses the brass horn and the acoustical chamber to put out what sounds like a fine quality end product.  Hear it playing some Daft Punk in the video after the break. The music comes from an MP3 board inside that has a 50W amplifier and reads the music from an SD card. The only control available to the listener is the brass knob which controls the volume.

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Cold cathode art piece controller

cold-cathode-art-piece-controller

[Andrew] built a light box for an exhibition last year that displayed different colors statically. After showing it off, it went unchanged but future improvements remained in the back of his mind. Recently, he pulled it out again and hacked together a controller to drive the colors individually.

He’s actually reusing some of the hardware he built for a different project. At its core is a PIC 16F628 that actuates the lights using relays. In this case, only four of the eight on the board are used to control red, white, blue, and green cold cathode tubes. The video after the break shows the device randomly rotating through different patterns. This is a nice start to making the piece more interactive and we can image adding web-controlled color changes, or perhaps some Daft Punk inspired functionality.

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Daft Punk replica helmet

daftpunkhelmet

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.

[thanks Wolf]

Daft Punk costumes

[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.

Daft Punk helmet timelapse

[Casey Pugh] with the help of a few friends constructed a Daft Punk style helmet for his Halloween costume. Embedded above you can see a timelapse of LED matrix construction. The 16×5 display is driven by an Arduino.

[via Bre]