A DIY audio player for when all that matters is the music

orange-mepod

[Grissini] hasn’t had the best of luck when it comes to personal audio players. He estimates that he’s gone through about half a dozen iProducts/iKnockoffs over the years, which ultimately adds up to a lot of money poured right down the drain. Rather than lay down his cold hard cash for yet another music player that would succumb to a dead battery or cracked screen, [Grissini] decided that he would be better off if he built one himself.

His Orange mePod isn’t exactly the most attractive or sleekest music player out there, but [Grissini] says it works like a charm. An Arduino Uno powers the device, and he uses an Adafruit Wave Shield to handle the audio playback. Power is supplied via 4AA batteries which keep the tunes going for a reasonable amount of time, and afford him the ability to swap them out for recharging without much fuss.

The player was encased with some leftover cardboard and wrapped in bright orange duct tape, before being mounted on [Grissini’s] belt. He says he gets plenty of looks when he’s out and about, which you would expect from such a unique design.

Stick around to see a quick video of the audio player in action.

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$150 CNC mill is a tad slow but very solid

diy-150-cnc-mill

Like just about everyone else out there, [Adam] thinks that CNC machines are pretty cool – so cool that he decided to build one of his own from scratch.

The CNC machine was constructed mostly out of MDF and scrap wood, with drawer slides used for smooth gantry movement. An off-brand rotary tool was used to do the actual cutting, and [Adam] picked up a few Sparkfun stepper motors to drive the machine.

The assembly was completed without too much trouble, but [Adam] says that programming the mill was a long and frustrating process. Cutting was rough and not very accurate at first, but little by little he got things working pretty well. As you can see in the video below, while the cuts look great, improvement came at the expense of speed. He says that the machine could use a redesign to speed it up, which he’ll get around to if some free time comes his way.

It’s not the absolute cheapest CNC build we’ve seen, it’s pretty darn close. With a few tweaks, it could definitely be a solid budget-friendly contender.

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DIY spot welder can join anything together, even copper

copper-spot-welder

Hackaday reader [David] was looking for a cheap and easy way to spot weld copper tabs together. As he notes in his writeup, the properties of copper which are most enticing, such as high thermal capacity, make welding it all that more difficult. His home-brew method of spot welding is admittedly quick and dirty, but it does get the job done quite well.

He started off with an array of four 2.5V @ 2600 Farad ultra capacitors, which provide the high current required to do copper spot welding properly. They are wired in series and connected to his electrodes using heavy gauge wire. The graphite-tipped electrodes were an interesting DIY job themselves, cleverly constructed using copper tubing and a graphite block. The most simple/dangerous/clever part of the whole rig is his trigger mechanism, which consists of a pair of copper blocks that he bangs together manually to complete the circuit.

[David] is well aware that the setup is just a touch rough, but according to him it makes great welds, and it’s only a proof of concept at this point. He has a hefty list of improvements to make for the final version, including a different switching method among a few other safety precautions.

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.