Loudest telepresence robot ever

This telepresence robot will never let your Skype callers sneak up on you. [Priit] built the project, which he calls Skype Got Legs, so that his distant friends could follow him around the house during chats. But as you can hear after the break, the electric drills used to motorize the base are extremely loud.

Noise pollution aside, we like the roughness of the hack. It’s utilitarian but seems to work quite well. Commands are sent via the web using a combination of Ajax and PHP function calls. The two drills are controlled by an Arduino via a couple of automotive relays. The drills are powered by their original rechargeable battery packs. So as not to alter those batteries, [Priit] figured out a way to use synthetic wine bottle corks as a connector. They’ve been cut to size, and had tinned wires pushed through holes in them. Now, when he inserts the altered corks they press the wires against the battery contacts. Continue reading “Loudest telepresence robot ever”

PCB drill from R/C car parts

[Sid] makes a few PCBs a month and the hardest part of his fabrication process is always drilling the through-holes. He has a PCB hand drill that usually results in a sore index finger. After a few unsuccessful attempts of using a full-size electric drill and not wanting to invest in a commercial solution, [Sid] made a PCB drill from a broken R/C car.

The toy car was donated by [Sid]’s 4-year-old after a terrible crash. [Sid] took the gearbox from the car and added a small circuit to control the direction of the drill. After attaching the drill chuck to the former R/C car axle and adding the power leads to a 5 Volt adapter, a PCB drill press was born.

Most of the parts for this build were salvaged from the toy car’s radio control circuit. Except for the chuck from [Sid]’s hand drill and a few switches, everything on this build was pulled from a broken remote control car. While the build is a lot simpler than this semi-automatic PCB drill, [Sid]’s drill seems to work well. Check out the demo video after the break.

Continue reading “PCB drill from R/C car parts”

Power tool battery charger repair

drill_battery_charger_repair

[Webby] inherited a cordless drill from his dad and when he finally got around to using it, found that the charger was dead in the water. He disassembled it and narrowed the issue down to the charger’s primary transformer, but didn’t know where to go from there. A friend suggested that the coil’s thermal fuse might have blown, and upon further investigation, [Webby] discovered that his friend was right.

He removed the dead fuse and soldered in a piece of wire just for testing – not surprisingly the charger sprang to life. He picked up a new thermal fuse to replace the old one, but he wasn’t quite satisfied with the fix just yet. If the fuse burned out once already, there’s little to stop it from happening again, so he decided that installing a small cooling fan would be a good idea. He mounted the fan on the outside of the case after cutting some vent holes, leeching power from the charger itself.

While simply adding a fan to the charger might not be everyone’s idea of a perfect solution, it has worked out quite well for [Webby] in the past, so if it isn’t broken…

[via HackedGadgets]

Tour of Advanced Circuits – A PCB Manufacturer

Although not a hack in itself, many of you may be interested in seeing how a printed circuit board is made in the manufacturing world.  This tour of Advanced Circuits does a good job of explaining the process. The article explains how a PCB will go through a CAD/CAM review, drilling, deburring, and the various chemical etch, plating, and curing processes.

Although many hackers make their own PCBs, having it professionally done can be a good option depending on how many copies are needed. One benefit of this is that PCBs can be checked by an optical inspection process, or even by a “flying lead” machine which works by contacting leads automatically in a computer controlled setup.

A video of this incredible machine is included after the break.  Around 0:26 is when it really starts to get going. Continue reading “Tour of Advanced Circuits – A PCB Manufacturer”

How to Make a Hand Drill out of a Pencil Sharpener

Necessity is the mother of invention, or so they say. [Jason] was in such a situation where he needed to install some safety railing at his grandmother’s house. He didn’t have the necessary tools available, like a drill, so he fashioned one himself out of a pencil sharpener and some fittings and wire that he was able to find.

Although crude, and probably not what one would choose to use if an actual drill was available, this “drill-pencil-sharpener” actually does a pretty decent job of cutting through plywood as seen in the video after the break. Continue reading “How to Make a Hand Drill out of a Pencil Sharpener”

Drill-based Kinect camera

[Brett Graham] and [David Cox] are taking the Kinect out into the world thanks to this handheld hack they call the Drill of Depth. Apparently, the Kinect wants 12V at 1A which is quite easy to provide with a rechargeable power tool like this Ryobi drill. The setup features a 4.3″ touchscreen display, connected to the Gumstix Overo Air that is running Linux. They claim that there’s a “legitimate scientific reason” for building the device but they’re not sharing it yet.

So what would you use this for? We wonder if it would be possible to roll a GPS into the mix, then use post processing from the captured data to recreate the environment in a virtual setting? Imagine if a weekend spent walking around campus and processing the results let you model your University and make it an add-on level for your favorite game. Or perhaps this could be paired with a regular camera to generate high-quality 3D skinning data for Google Earth. That’s what we came up with, what do you think?

Halloween Props: This drill makes your head spin

[Nollie551] sent us a demonstration of his head spinning yard prop. Adding a possessed child as part of your Halloween display is a nice touch. But when her head starts to spin (think: The Exorcist) as trick-or-treaters saunter by it should scare the life out of them. You can see that all it took is a jig to hold an inexpensive power drill in place. He didn’t include details of how this is hooked up but we think it would be a great way to use that drill switch hack that [Ben Krasnow] did a while back.

Join us after the break for some video.

Continue reading “Halloween Props: This drill makes your head spin”