How-To: The Hacker’s Soldering Station


A good soldering station and fume extractor is a must for anyone interested in hacking and modding, but not everyone can afford the expensive professional models on the market. This How-To and the tips within it will guide you through the process of building an inexpensive homebrew fume hood complete with built-in time and temperature controlled soldering station and all the soldering tools you need.

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Hack a Day is still hiring


We’ve added a handful of contributors in the last couple months, which you can see in our new How-Tos. We’re still looking for people to contribute daily posts and help expand the site though.

This is a paid, freelancing position that requires professionalism, consistency, and reliability. We want to hear from people that are passionate about software/hardware hacking and growing Hack a Day. To apply, send the following to jobs@hackaday.com

  • A short bio about yourself
  • 3 example daily posts written in the style of Hack a Day
  • 3 software or hardware how-tos you’d like to see. For examples of work we’ve done in the past, look here, here, here, and here.
  • A couple sentences on how you would improve the site either through features or content
  • Any additional reasons why you would make a good fit for Hack a Day

Do not send any attachments. Having your own blog you can show off is a definite plus.

[photo:fbz]

This week in (our) history


Time to look way back into the Hackaday archives, well back to 2005 at least. This is a new feature to follow up and revisit some of our favorite projects of the past. Our first installment includes the week of May 24-31 2005.

Pictured above we see one of the amazing cable braiding machines from UK based Cobra Machinery. This link was found on a post about creating your own high end speaker wires from cat5 cable. At the time we hoped to find a DIY braiding machine. No such luck today but we did come across and interesting site in the process. diyAudoProjects has a ton of great how to guides for all things audio. They even have a few walkthroughs for creating your own speaker wires.

We looked at the robotic dexterous hand from The Shadow Robot Company. Browsing through their high rez image gallery its pretty clear to see the product has been progressing nicely: 24 degrees of freedom complete with force feedback and a GPL based software package.

Three years ago we covered the Nokia 770 internet appliance and it’s upcoming SDK. The device has now been replaced by the Nokia N810 (pictured on the right). However, open source support from Nokia has continued to develop. We found a blog from software developer Ari Jaaksi where he talks about Nokia’s involvement in the community. Recently he discussed the latest news from MAEMO, the platform used for open source development of Nokia internet tablets and other Linux-based devices.

How-To: Super simple serial terminal

This hack shows how to make a dumb terminal out of a keyboard, LCD screen, and an 8-bit microcontroller. From time to time, a portable dumb terminal can be handy for when you have to rescue a headless server that’s acting up or if you are building a minicomputer out of a WRT, or if you just want to learn how to run a keyboard and LCD screen with a microcontroller. This super simple serial terminal will use RS-232 to control a headless linux system. Additionally, you might want to check into some of the command line interface programs that allow web browsing, AIM and IRC chatting and more directly from the terminal, but nothing beats being able to track your pizzas with this device.

The Linux system in question here will be Linux Mint. It’s a young distro based on Ubuntu that’s gaining a lot of attention lately, though the principles can be used for other Linux distros.

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How-To: Go green with lead free solder

We covered many of [Jason Rollette]‘s personal projects in the past and are happy to welcome him as our newest Hack-A-Day contributor.

The electronics industry has shifted to lead free compliance, but most hobbyists haven’t even considered the personal impact of using lead. Today’s How-To will cover what it takes to switch from tin/lead solder to completely lead free. Our previous posts Introduction to soldering and the follow-up still apply to lead free. You may have never considered switching to lead free before, but we hope to help you make an informed decision.

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Poll: Where should we go from here?

Hack-A-Day is looking to expand its coverage. We’re hiring fulltime bloggers and freelance how-to contributors. We have an idea of where we should go with the site, but we’d like to know what you, the readers, want to see more of on Hack-A-Day.

How-To: Scavenge a mouse for parts

ps2 mouse opened
Chris Kiick posted about swarm robotics earlier in the week and today publishes his first Hack-A-Day How-To.

Old computer mice are being abandoned in droves. They’re tossed out because of dirt, obsolescence, or for being entirely too beige. Anyone who has a computer usually has more than one mouse and you can get them for pennies, if not free just for asking. Fortunately for the discriminating (read: cheap) hacker, these little widgets are chock-full of project parts. Today’s How-To will dissect a computer mouse, extract the useful parts, and give some ideas about how to use them.

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