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Hackaday Links: Valentine’s Day, 2013

It’s not too late to hack your own Valentine’s day gifts. Here’s four projects to get you headed in the right direction.

Heart-shaped box

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[Ian] built what he calls the Valentine’s gift bomb. It’s a cigar box with this LED heart on the top. A servo motor latches the lid from the inside and won’t open until the thing goes off on the big day. (sorry, no link to this one as he just sent us the pictures found after the break).

A Blinky Bouquet

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[Ryan] shows us how to make a felt bouquet and then light things up with some LEDs.

Pictures in a bottle

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Reuse that old incandescent bulb by adding LEDs and heart-shaped pictures inside the glass enclosure.

Robot love

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This cocoa container turned robot cat calls, raises its eyebrows, and blinks the LEDs eyes when she presses the button on top.

[Read more...]

Astounding papercraft skills result in this working robot

It would have been very hard to believe this is made from paper if we hadn’t seen all the parts being built. As a still image it looks neat, but the speed at which those paper gears turn in the video after the break will certainly leave you slack-jawed. It really is a walking robot made using papercraft (translated).

These are actually being sold as kits, but there’s not much in the way of materials. You’ll get six sheets of paper, some skewers which act as the axles, and a bit of elastic band which stores potential energy when winding-up the model. The genius is in the design, which is printed on those sheets of paper. The build process involves plenty of delicate work. Dozens of cuts lead into hundreds of folds, and that’s before assembly even starts. We’ve never considered building a ship in a bottle, but this might be right up our alley. If you need to give a gift to a tinkerer this should show up high on the idea list.

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Book Review: Eight Amazing Engineering Stories

We’re big fans of [Bill Hammack], aka the Engineer Guy. His series of engineering videos dredge up pleasant memories of watching Mr. Wizard but spin to the adult science enthusiast. The most resent season (he calls it series #4) scratches the surface of the topics covered in his book Eight Amazing Engineering Stories, which was written with fellow authors [Patrick Ryan] and [Nick Ziech]. They provided us with a complimentary digital copy of the book to use for this review.

The conversational style found in the videos translates perfectly to the book, but as with comparing a novel to a movie, the written word allows for much more depth. For instance, we loved learning about how Apple uses anodization to dye the aluminum used for iPod cases. The same presentation style makes the topic easily understandable for anyone who took some chemistry and math in High School. But primers a sidebars offer an optional trip through the looking-glass, explaining the history behind the process, how it compares to natural materials, and what trade-offs are made in choosing this process.

Some of the other topics included are how CCD camera sensors, lead-acid batteries, mems accelerometers, and atomic clocks work. As the book progresses through all eight topics general concepts the complexity of the items being explained advances quickly. By the seventh story — which covers the magentron in a microwave oven — we’d bet the concepts challenge most readers’ cognition. But we still enjoyed every page. The book would make a great pool-side read. It would make a great graduation gift (too bad we missed that time of year) but keep it in mind for any science minded friends or relatives. You can see [Bill's] own description of the book and all its formats in the clip after the break.

TLDR: Buy it or give it as a gift

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Wedding gift fail has happy couple cursing your name

[Superluminal] received an invite to his friend’s wedding. He got together with some mutual acquaintances to take up a collection as a wedding gift. But as things go, a suitable present couldn’t be found. The pooled money itself ended up being the gift, but apparently a greeting card with a money pocket inside of it wasn’t good enough. The group decided to encase the coinage in a block of sugar that doubles as a lamp.

Now as with many well-meaning projects this started out with a rendering of what the final product would look like. That image came out great, with a high-gloss dark amber cube lit from the bottom with the coins suspended throughout catching a bit of a glint. They bought 43kg (almost 100 pounds) of refined sugar, and made a base/mold combination out of sheet metal. A lot of induction cooking went into producing thick syrup that could be poured into the mold. The problem is the final product is basically opaque. Not a sign of the 300 Euros within.

But don’t feel too bad for the groom and his bride. The image above shows him trying to get at the prize. He must do some hacking himself because he has a pressure washer, jack hammer (or is that big drill?), humongous cold chisel, and sizable hatch already at his disposal.

We can’t help but wonder if a heat gun could have polished the sides of the cube and helped add translucence?

The most evil gift ever

[form], a new user on the Hack a Day forums, was thinking, “what Christmas present i can send a friend, that would be really annoying?” We think he really hit it out of the park with this one. It’s a modified computer speaker that will play “explicit” audio until the power button is pressed 200 times and the light sensor is covered. When this present is unwrapped, the room will fill with sounds not suitable for children, the elderly, or those with heart conditions.

The build is based around an old powered computer speaker. Six Li-ion batteries from an old laptop provide the power, and a very simple circuit pulls sound off an SD card with the help of an ATtiny45.

The schematic for the build looks easy enough, and like a good builder, [form] included the source and HEX files. Sadly (or thankfully), there is no video of the gag gift in action; probably a good thing, because this seems like a great way to lose a friend.

Prank gift keeps curious hands at bay

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You all know that person.

The one who picks up every present with their name on it, shaking it before busting into their best Carnac the Magnificent impression. Heck, you might even be that person.

[Jason] was thinking about how to combat the gift shaker in his life and put together a simple prank that’s sure to provide him some enjoyment when the shaking and guessing commences.

He bought a premade audio module that stores about 20 seconds of sound, replacing the pushbutton trigger with a pair of wires that can easily make contact when the box is vigorously moved. Everything was carefully mounted in a gift box before being wrapped and set under the tree to surprise the eager gift shaker.

We definitely like the idea, since there are a plethora of ways to customize/enhance [Jason’s] work to fit your specific needs. Whether you go with the kitten/puppy in a box theme, or wire in an incredibly loud alarm, your resident gift inspector will never look at presents the same way again!

Continue reading to see [Jason] explain his gift prank in more detail.

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2010 Hacker Gift Guide

You’ve probably been fantasizing about getting amazing gifts this December, like robots with servo-mounted laser pointers and authentic battle damage. It’s time to realize that it’s unlikely that this will happen. Stay calm. You can still get sweet hacky things if you just forward this gift-giving guide to your friends and loved ones.

Join us after the break to see what we want and be sure to let us know what you’ve got your eye on.
[Read more...]

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