GE Garage and Chicago Ideas Week

IMG_0443

I’ve been on vacation and managed to get a day to play at the GE Garage mobile fab lab currently setup in downtown Chicago. GE has partnered with Chicago Ideas Week to bring the future of fabrication technologies to a space where the community can walk in off the street and work with some amazing hardware like CNC mills, laser cutters and 3D printers. The group is also giving classes at select times on using the equipment and general electrics. Unfortunately I was in town near the end of this event which will be Oct 20th. If you are in the area I do recommend jumping on the excellent transportation you’ll find in Chicago and have some fun at the space. Here are more details on location, classes and times.

I didn’t expect to squeeze any work into my vacation but I did take a guided tour of the fab space with my iPhone 5s.  You can join me after the break to watch the tour, which is a bit rough but still covers a lot of fun topics. Get at look at their line-up or Replicator 2 3D printers. See some fantastic prints from metal made on industrial scale printers. Learn more about the up-scaled CNC seen above that was cutting out skateboard decks. And finish up with an injection molding machine.

[Read more...]

Garage parking monitor guides you in every time

THEPARKINGSPOTTER2

The live Adafruit Show and Tell stream from last weekend featured this project put together by [Silent Jeff]. He’s called “Silent” because when it came time to present his project on the show his microphone wasn’t working. As you can see in the video after the break, [PT] and [Ladyada] worked together to explain the project (of which they had no prior knowledge) using a game of charades. This is one of the follow-up images he sent them which details his parking spotter project.

[Ladyada] compliments [Jeff] on the finished look of the device and we agree. Not only does this do a great job of letting a driver know if they have pulled far enough into the garage, but it’s finished appearance ensures it won’t ever look out-of-place. The two silver discs near the lower end of the box are the sensors of an ultrasonic rangefinder. You mount this box so that the sensor is measuring distance between itself and the bumper of your vehicle. As the distance decreases the LEDs change to let you know when to stop. Inside the case you’ll find a voltage regulator and single-chip running the Arduino bootloader. [Jeff] says this is just his second Arduino project and we hope that at this rate we’ll be looking for big things from him in the not too distant future!

This is basically the same idea as cars that use parking assist sensors in the bumper. It’s just attached to the building instead of to the vehicle itself.

[Read more...]

A Black Box Mystery

One of the members of the SomethingAwful forum recently found a black project box on the street (as seen above), with no idea what the thing did. After (hopefully) making sure there were no explosives, [noapparentfunction] posted a picture online to see if someone could figure it out. According to them, this is what the chips are labelled as:

Center black IC: MICREL Y22758C; 0417
Long white DIP switch IC: CTS 206-12; T438
Small black microcontroller on right: 12C508A; 04/P1V6; 0437. Has a tiny “M-inside circle” logo.

From our experience, we recognized the PIC on the board, but without some more photos, it makes this mystery a little more interesting.

Right now their best guess is a garage door opener of some kind because of the 12 DIP switch part. Any HAD readers willing to investigate and weigh in? The game is afoot!

[thanks to Dave D. who sent this in]

Automated car cover

[Mike] covers his car whenever he puts it into the garage because the top is always open. After years of this ritual he decided to upgrade his garage to automatically cover the vehicle. The car cover, made from a few bed sheets, attaches to the bottom of the garage door. At the front of the stall the cover has two half-pound weights sewn in with plenty of padding to protect the car’s finish. Ropes attach to these weights, travel through a pulley system, and connect to the garage door opener carriage. This $65 dollar solution makes sure [Mike's] car is always taken care of.

[Thanks 02TA]

DIY Dyson vac hack

cyclone

[James Dyson] may have built eleventy billion prototypes to perfect his famous cyclonic vacuum, but sometimes just one will do the trick.

A cyclonic separator is used in workshops to keep larger cruft out of the dust collection system. The airflow inside a separator creates a vortex that flings heavier bits and particles to the periphery of the chamber, where they settle out the bottom, while relatively clean air escapes the vacuum port at the top. This makes for fewer filter changes and a more consistent pull from the vacuum.

You can go buy a fancy professionally-made separator, but [neorazz] shows how to create one from an assemblage of PVC fittings and a five gallon bucket. The design may lack the power and slick design of the big units, but for garage hack use this may be all you ever need. They demonstrate it to be about 95% effective, and it’s very simple to make. A prior cyclonic separator hack appeared a bit more work-intensive, but the principle is all the same. It all comes down to what skills you possess and what parts you have on hand.

Garage door… packet sniffer

img5

Some type of logger or sniffer exists for almost every form of electronic communication. Your keystrokes, phone conversations, and wireless networks could all be monitored. In this awesome proof-of-concept project, [James] expanded that array to include garage door openers. After receiving a piece of chain mail which stated that criminals have the technology to record any remote code and play it back, [James] wondered if he could build such a device that would work on at least his opener model. [Read more...]

Free parking garage access


This hack is an interesting twist that will allow you to get in or out of some parking garages when the attendant isn’t looking. Using something metal to trip the parking lot’s proximity sensor that is meant to let cars out automatically you can get into the garage or vice-versa without opening your wallet. A magnet from a hard drive might work a bit better because it is able to trip multiple types of sensors, but for this hack any kind of metal will work. This proximity sensor is a high–frequency oscillation type, so anything that attenuates, varies the frequency or stops the oscillation trips the sensor. When you can’t find a place to park, this hack will certainly impress your friends more than this method, but your street credibility could quickly turn into never lived down stories, if you end up driving over tire strips and ruining your tires, get a huge parking or trespassing ticket, or worse yet get your vehicle towed!