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.

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Beefing up a cheap drill motor

[Rob] just finished reinforcing a cheap drill motor. He picked up the tool at Harbor Freight and ditched the case. The plastic retaining ring was replaced with a thick metal washer which he machine The washer uses three bolts to attach to the mounting plate that he welded together. We’re not exactly sure what he’s got in mind as he only mentioned that this will be used with a robot. We wouldn’t mind having one of these as a bench motor but there must be hundreds of uses now that it can be attached to just about anything. It seems Harbor Freight has become popular as hacking’s raw material source. The last example we saw of this was a welding table made from a utility cart.

Controlling an AC drill using one PWM connection

This peculiar setup allows [Ben Krasnow] to control an alternating current device using one pin on a microcontroller. He’s experimenting with a power drill and has relocated the trigger circuitry that makes it spin. On that board he found a variable resistor combined with a capacitor which control a triac, actuating the speed of a drill. [Ben’s] solution works great and isolates the drill from the control circuitry. He replace the variable resistor with a cadmium sulfide photoresistor (basically a variable resistor whose resistance depends on the intensity of light). Pulse-width modulation is used to adjust the brightness of an LED shining on that photoresistor and thereby affect the speed of the drill. This is such as simple alteration to the drill we’d call it MacGyver-esque.

See a demonstration after the break.

Continue reading “Controlling an AC drill using one PWM connection”

Brighten up your PCB drilling station

Being able to see what you’re doing can be the hardest part of drilling the through holes in those freshly etched printed circuit boards. We don’t know why we didn’t come up with this, but [Markus Gebhard] solved his shadowy woes with his 20-LED Dremel light ring. Honestly, how many times have we seen lights rings in photography without putting it together that a light ring is perfect for this purpose. So kudos to [Markus], now we’ve got to go and dig up some surface mount LEDs and uncork the copper chloride.

PCB drill press on a budget

An accurate drill press is an essential tool for making your own through-hole printed circuit boards at home. Reader [Josh Ashby] offers up a solid design using scrap bin materials.

A major issue with PCB drilling is that even the slightest horizontal play will snap the delicate carbide drill bit. Hobbyist-grade tools such as Dremel’s drill press attachment are usually too sloppy for this task, while a more precise instrument might set you back a couple hundred bucks.

[Josh’s] design uses a nylon “sled” moving vertically in an aluminum u-channel track. Most of these materials were salvaged or were acquired inexpensively from a local hardware store, and assembled in less than a day. Surprisingly, this low-tech approach has proven sufficiently smooth that he’s yet to break a bit while drilling. And the entire setup, including the knockoff Harbor Freight rotary tool, cost less than the wobbly name-brand accessory alone.

Drilling perfectly centered holes

If you’ve ever been caught in the situation of needing to drill a clean straight hole down the center of a bolt or rod, you’ve probably tried and ended up with a broken bit or tilted hole, and a ton of cursing to boot.

[Vik] let us know about this nifty trick for drilling ‘down the middle’ using a simple hobby drill press and vice. He claims it’s ‘physics guiding the bit’ but in reality its just crafty use of a chuck. Either way the quick trick works, and will hopefully save a lot of hackers some headaches in the future.

Let us know in the comments if you have any simple quick tips that you use when you’re out in the shop.