Portable light box for small photography needs

[Paulo] needed to photograph small objects on the go. Since you can’t always depend on ambient lighting conditions he built a battery operated light box which is easy to take along on his travels.

We’ve featured portable light tents before, but they still tend to be a bit too bulky for his tastes. He chose to go with a white plastic storage container from Ikea. It’s lightweight, and acts as a diffuser for the light sources. Four strips, each hosting three LEDs, were mounted on the exterior of the container. Half of a PVC pipe protects the boards while providing a way to fasten the strips in place using nuts and bolts. The driver board and batteries find a home inside of a travel container for a bar of soap.

He likes the results, especially when a glossy white piece of paper is used as a top reflector.

Fabricating your own backpack straps for unorthodox uses

Back in the 1980’s there was a movie cliché that the person with the largest boombox on their shoulder was always the coolest. It’s obvious to us that [Tim Gremalm] thinks that’s silly. Why be uncomfortable carrying something like that on your shoulder when you can strap a much larger object to your back? He’s working on a mammoth speaker enclosure which can be carried around, but he needed a set of backpack straps to make it happen.

This thing is going to be adding some serious weight to his body, so he also whipped up the padded waist belt seen above. For fabric he reused an Ikea couch cover. The material is made to survive a lot of pulling and stretching. For padding he used what he calls ‘floor mop’. It looks like it might be microfiber mop cloth be we can’t really be sure. With ten layers of the mop encased in the couch cover he finish off each strap by sewing it to some nylon webbing.

After the break you can see a picture of [Tim] modelling the huge polycarbonate speaker enclosure for which these backpack and waist straps were made. This project has many posts associated with it so if you’re interested in seeing more you can use this project tag link.

Continue reading “Fabricating your own backpack straps for unorthodox uses”

Computer desk… literally

This piece of furniture begs the question, why think of a desk and a computer case as separate things? It combines Ikea furniture with electronic hardware to create the ultimate command center.

First the obvious parts: there’s a nook for the computer case that hangs just below the desktop off to the side, and the twin displays are mounted front and center. The divider between the cabinet pieces was cut away to allow the monitors to be wall-mounted. But things start to get interesting to the left of those monitors. You can see a series of dial displays in the door for that cabinet. Those meters were sourced from the MIT Flea Market and after a bit of alteration they display CPU load information fed to them by  an Arduino board. This also drives some LED strips which are mounted behind the frosted glass panel that we guess could be called a back splash. The heavier the load, the better the light show.

All of the power management is taken care of in the cabinet to the right of the monitors. The top row hides a printer, external hard drive backup system, and several gaming consoles. Heat will be an issue so exhaust fans were added to each of these partitions. They’re switched based on a temperature sensor in each. It’s a lot of work, but the outcome proves it was worth it.

[via Reddit]

Building an RGB mood lamp using an IKEA Mylonit

[Toon Beerten] had been experimenting with LED lamp construction. He had already built a pretty neat pyramid of LEDs as a mood lamp but wanted something a little higher quality for his living room. He ran out and picked up an IKEA lamp, which you can see above. From the store, the lamp can only display one color, and has a clear construction. [Toon] wanted RGB and an opaque finish, so he sanded the lamp and built a custom circuit.

He tore out the lamp circuit and replaced it with his own, consisting of a 3W LED, a heatsink, and a PIC 16F628 (and the supporting components). The main circuit actually fits underneath the lamp pretty well. You can download the full schematics and code from his site if you’d like to replicate it.

As you can see in the video, the effect is quite nice.

Continue reading “Building an RGB mood lamp using an IKEA Mylonit”

ATtiny44 drop-in replacement for Ikea Dioder’s stock PIC controller

The Ikea Dioder is an LED light sold at the big blue and yellow building that lets you mix your own colors using a simple button and wheel controller. [Marco Di Feo] looked at all of the other projects out there that alter the controller and figured out that the IC can be directly replaced with an ATtiny44 microcontroller. With that chip soldered onto the board he added IR control so that he can change colors using his universal remote control (translated).

[Marco] removed the potentiometer normally responsible for selecting the color. This frees up one pin on the microcontroller which he then uses to receive signals from a TSOP1736 IR receiver. The video after the break shows the device, which illuminates the back of his home entertainment center, reacting to commands from his remote control.

Of course this can be done without the chip swap as the PIC 16F684 that comes with it can be reprogrammed in place. But [Marco] didn’t have a PICkit or other programmer on hand. Continue reading “ATtiny44 drop-in replacement for Ikea Dioder’s stock PIC controller”

USB controlled SPÖKA night light

usb-controlled-spoka-nightlight

[wejp] picked up an IKEA SPÖKA night light, but he wasn’t entirely impressed with its functionality. Pressing the top of the ghost’s head causes it to cycle through a few colors, and pressing it a second time locks it into displaying the current color until its tapped again. Inspired by this SPÖKA hack which used a different version of the night light, he tore his down to see what he could do with it.

Upon stripping off the outer cover, he found that the internals were considerably different than those found in its glowing brethren, though they were perfect for what [wejp] had in mind. He removed the rechargeable battery pack as well as the controller board, which sits on a PCB separate from the LEDs. He replaced the stock micro with an ATtiny25, which he uses to give himself a bit more control over the light display.

He couldn’t quite cram all the functionality he desired into the ATtiny, but he planned on powering the light using his computer anyhow, so he installed a small USB port in the back. When connected to his PC, the SPÖKA can be controlled more precisely than when it operates alone.

Unfortunately there’s no video available of the SPÖKA light in action, but there are plenty of images available on his site.

Numerous quiz buttons built on the cheap

[Sprite_TM] was tapped to build a rather large quiz buzzer system. Judging from his past work we’re not surprised that he seemed to have no trouble fulfilling the request. As the system is not likely to be used again (or rarely if it is) he found a way to finish the project that was both quick and inexpensive.

Each buzzer consists of a base, a button (both mechanical and electrical), and a couple of LEDs to indicate who buzzed in first. The mechanical part of the button uses a plastic bowl from Ikea and a wooden dowel surrounded by some pipe insulation. A momentary push switch is glued on the top of that dowel, and the insulation projects above that just a bit. This way it acts as a spring. The Dowel has been sized so that the bowl lip will hit the wooden base just as it clicks the switch.

As you can see, all of the buzzers are interlinked using Ethernet cable. The real trick here is how to read 14 buttons using just one CAT5 cable. This is done with the clever use of a 4×4 button matrix for a total of 16 buttons. The matrix also includes the LEDs for each buzzer. Since CAT5 has four twisted pairs this works out perfectly.

Looking for a more robust system thank this? Here’s a pretty nice one.