A spinning beachball of doom that you can carry in your pocket

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Need a way to tell the world that you’re mentally ‘out to lunch’? Or what about a subtle hint to others that your current thought process is more important than whatever they are saying? [Caleb Kraft] — who earlier this year bid farewell to Hackaday for a position with EETimes — is heading to the World Maker Faire in New York this weekend, and he decided to build just that device. If you’re heading to Maker Faire too, keep an eye out for his eye-catching Spinning Beachball of Doom. He was inspired by iCufflinks from Adafruit, and ended up with a great little device that is small enough to be worn, or just thrown around for fun.

A couple of weeks ago, we linked you to the Adafruit announcement of their new Trinket product line. [Caleb] wasted no time in finding a use for the tiny microcontroller board. He paired it with the Neopixel LED ring, and had it working with just a tiny tweak to the test code. He then used DesignSpark Mechanical to design a 3D-printed case… the most complicated part of the project. It’s too bad his original plan to power the whole thing with button cells didn’t work out, because it could have been a neat (albeit expensive) upgrade to LED throwies. That said, [Caleb] mentions that a small LiPo battery would be a good alternative.

This is a fun little project that most anyone could throw together in an afternoon. Don’t be surprised if we start seeing these show up more and more.

To see what it looks like in action, check out the video after the break.

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DesignSpark Mechanical – The Gift of Invention

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Ever heard of DesignSpark? They are releasing a powerful CAD package on September 16th — for free!

The company is owned by RS Components, a distributor of electronics and maintenance products. They offer a large library of 3D models of parts that they sell, dubbed the ModelSource. So if you are wondering how they are giving out software for free, that’s how. They also have free PCB designing software, and something called DesignShare which hosts open-source project collaboration, sharing and discussions.

By the looks of the demo video, DesignSpark Mechanical is a well laid out CAD package that is rich in features. The software allows for the import and export of several file types, and it looks like ECAD, OBJ, Sketchup, STEP, DXF and STL are all there, as well as the native file types. While it looks like you can import any files, we are willing to bet adding ModelSource files are by far the easiest and most convenient because of the integrated ModelSource library. But we think that’s a small price to pay for an alternative to SketchUp. After all, the component models will be useful for assemblies, even if you don’t order through them. Oh, and it’s perfect for making free models for 3D printing as it includes the ability to export STL files.

Watch the software demo after the break.

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