Incredibly cheap upcycled cargo bike

diy_lastenrad_cargo_bike

What has two wheels, is made from five different bikes, and can carry all of your stuff for miles and miles on end?

[Paul Blue’s] DIY Lastenrad, that’s what. (Google Translation)

A Lastenrad is a cargo bike where the load sits in front of the rider rather than being towed behind. [Paul] wanted one for hauling things around town, and rather than buy one, he built one of his own. One thing we particularly like about this build is that the bike borrows parts from five other bicycles that were in various states of disrepair. That kind of re-use is something we can really get behind.

[Paul] estimates the total build cost to be under 50 Euros, which is fantastic considering how useful his Lastenrad is. After logging about 100Km on the bike, he says that it handles quite well, and that even when fully loaded it is extremely easy to make his way about town.

Continue reading to see a video of the bike’s first test ride.

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An Arduino board for your tiniest of projects

1inch_by_1inch_mini_arduino_board

Instructables user [dustinandrews] just took the wraps off his latest creation, a DIY Arduino Pro Mini clone.

Actually, to call it an clone is technically incorrect – while he aimed to produce a tiny Arduino-compatible board, his goal was not to replicate the Mini’s design. Instead, he developed a 1” x 1” board from scratch, covering the construction process in great detail.

When you are working with components this tiny, the only reasonable way to get things done is via solder reflow. He walks through the steps he took to produce the board, which should be enough to guide those doing reflow for the first time through the process without too much trouble.

The end result looks pretty nice, and when he puts it up side by side against the Arduino Pro Mini, his board can definitely hold its own. While his design lacks an on-board power regulator and reset button, he does provide two more analog I/O pins than the Mini, along with several other enhancements.

Ignored disabled man builds his own damn elevator

diy_wheelchair_lift

There’s an old saying that goes something like, “When the going gets tough, the tough builds their own 5-story wheelchair lift.”

Actually we’re pretty sure that’s not even close to how the saying goes, but when his local council turned their backs on [Dmitry Bibikow’s] request for wheelchair access to his apartment, that’s exactly what he did.

[Dmitry], an avid mountaineer, was injured in a climbing accident that left him without the use of his legs. Unfortunately for him, he and his family reside on the 5th floor of an apartment building that was not handicap accessible. Rather than move out, he asked the local council to install an elevator, which they agreed to.

Time passed, and as the project sank deeper and deeper into a mire of bureaucracy, [Dmitry] began to lose hope of ever seeing an elevator installed. After six years of relying on friends to help him get in and out of his apartment, he took matters into his own hands and installed a chair lift just off the side of his balcony.

According to [Dmitry] it works great, and he can get from the front door to his apartment well before his more able neighbors make it up the stairs. So far, the city council has not said anything about the lift, and he hopes it stays that way.

Roll your own toner transfer dice

diy_toner_transfer_dice

If you happen to be in the market for some designer dice or need a set of custom dice for a game you have created, you could pay a ton of money to have them made, or you can do it yourself.

[Dicecreator] runs a blog dedicated to the ins and outs of creating DIY game and collector’s dice. This subject is not something that we would normally be interested in, but one particular item caught our interest – DIY toner transfer dice. Very similar to the process of creating a toner transfer PCB, he walks through the steps required for making your own dice with very little overhead.

The steps are likely quite familiar to those who have fabricated your own PCBs at home. He starts out with blank dice, sanding the sides down with increasingly fine sandpaper until they are ready for the transfer process. An image is printed on glossy inkjet photo paper, which is then applied to each die with a standard clothes iron. After a bit of soaking in water to remove the excess paper, the die is ready to go.

Sure it’s not exactly rocket science, but it is a cool little trick that would work quite well if you are trying to replace a lost die or if you simply want to make a fun gift for a friend.

A doorbell loud enough to wake the dead

really_loud_doorbell

[Ed Nauman] runs a machine shop, which we imagine can be quite loud at times. Sick of never hearing the doorbell when he was busy working on things, he decided that the solution to his problem was a new doorbell…an incredibly loud doorbell.

His Really Loud Doorbell (RLD for short) is actually a pretty simple device. We imagine he could have wired up an old alarm bell instead, but where’s the fun in that? The doorbell was built using a PIC16F876 uC, which is used to control the air flow through a pneumatic valve. When someone rings his doorbell, the pneumatic actuator pulses up and down, rapidly striking a piece of 1/4” thick steel pipe. As you can see in the video below, it is quite loud and likely to cut through any shop noise without much trouble.

We have seen some extremely loud doorbells before, but we figured that at least a handful of you work in similar environments – have you implemented any inventive ‘notification’ systems in your workspace? Let us know in the comments.

[via Adafruit Blog]

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DIY softboxes light your photos on the cheap

diy_softboxes

Softboxes are often considered a must-have piece of equipment when doing any sort of portrait or studio photography. While they are not the most expensive photography accessory, they can be built far cheaper than you would pay for an off the shelf model.

[Don] needed a softbox for his studio, and he ended up constructing a fairly nice one out of a styrofoam cooler. He mounted an outdoor light receptacle inside the cooler after laying down a reflective backing, bolting everything to a piece of plywood situated on the back of the cooler. He stretched some white cloth over the front to diffuse the light, and then mounted it on a light stand. You can see a video of the construction process below, as well as additional softbox-lit images on his site.

[Aud1073cH] had a similar need for a softbox, but went about his construction a bit differently. He grabbed a lampshade and a white dress shirt at a thrift store, stretching the shirt over the bottom opening before securing it with Velcro. He mounted the lampshade on a light stand, inserting his camera’s speed light through the smaller lampshade opening. As you can see in his photostream, the softbox does a great job at softening the shadows in his pictures.

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DIY high voltage electric field detector

electric_field_detector

Who needs a Fluke high voltage detector when you’ve got one of these things?

Actually, we still recommend a professional high voltage detector for serious work, but you’ve got to like this electric field detector that [Alessandro] recently put together.

The detector works by using a JFET to detect the high impedance electric fields that are generated by high voltage lines. The JFET amplifies the signal while dropping the impedance in order to drive a pair of NPN transistors which are used as a threshold amplifier. Once the voltage hits 3V, an LED is lit, indicating the presence of high voltage near the detector’s probe. A wire-wrapped resistor does double-duty serving as the probe while providing a high impedance path to ground, ensuring that stray charge does not accumulate on the JFET’s gate, causing false readings.

It’s a neat project, and something that can be constructed in no time, making it perfect for beginner electronics classes.

Keep reading to see a quick video of the HV detector in action.

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