This clever Instructable demonstrates how to etch beautiful aluminum control panels for electronics projects. We like how similar this process is to DIY circuit board etching. Both abide by the same technique and use blue transfer paper. The primary difference is in the use of muriatic acid and hydrogen peroxide for etching aluminum.
Flex sensors, like the ones used in the Nintendo Power Glove, are generally expensive and hard to find. However, [jiovine] demonstrates that they are easy enough to make from spare parts. He sandwiched a strip of plastic from ESD bags between pieces of copper foil, and wrapped the whole thing in heat shrink tubing. The sensor is able to detect bends in either direction, unlike the original power glove sensors. His version had a nominal resistance of about 20k ohms, but by choosing a different resistive layer you could create sensors that are more or less resistive.
Related: 5-cent tilt sensor
Our love for solar projects continues on with this method to make your own solar panels. [Mike] built a 60 watt solar panel from individual solar cells he purchased off eBay. Procuring parts off of eBay normally causes others hardship when they try to duplicate the project, however in this case there are so many types of cells people can use to produce their own unique solar panel. Even cells that are extremely damaged my still be used, as in this example. To charge a 12 volt battery the number of cells in series just needs to be 16-18 volts, and the rest in parallel will supply more current. Charging a battery without a charge controller is not recommended, but commercial ones are easily had. Those not interested in jumping all the way in with solar may want to test the waters by building their own panel and putting it to use as a charging station for your portable gadgets.
Taking a cue from the jog wheel we posted last week, [42ndOddity] has built an improved version. The design is based around a solid state rotary encoder instead of an optical encoder. The rotary encoder is far easier to attach and position properly. The knob is milled from scrap aluminum-it was a copier foot. To make the motion smooth, it’s sitting in a bearing from the same copier.
[blakebevin]’s sister shattered the screen on his Amazon Kindle, so he decided to try replacing it with the screen from a Sony Reader. He disassembled the Sony Reader and used a Dremel to mill down most of the aluminum tabs on the E Ink screen. The screen plugs into the same harness as the original Kindle screen the only problem is fit. The new screen interferes with some of the button movement and without trimming the case will bulge a little. Performance wise the screen ghosts on page turn and [blakebevin] assumes this is due to older technology. We’d hope to never have to do this, but it’s good to know the transplant option is there and not very difficult.
[whatsisface] sent in his scratch built clone of a Griffin PowerMate. The PowerMate… is just a big knob, so it’s easy to see why more than one person has attempted this. [whatsisface] was inspired by a bit-tech post that did nearly the same thing, only they used the head out of a VCR for the knob. All the other components, like the optical encoder, are salvaged from a mouse, which we talked about in our scavenging How-To. He used a RC car tire for the actual knob. While we’re sure it works great in dirt, we’d probably go with the weight and inertia of the VCR head instead. Have a look at the video below to see the knob being used with the Volumouse software.
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