Building a one-ton linear servo


A while back, [Windell] from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories wrote up an article for Make Magazine detailing how he built a one-ton, servo-controlled scissor jack for under $100. He dropped us a line to let us know that the project details have been released for free at Make Projects, so we stopped by to take a look.

The project starts out by pulling apart an electronic scissor jack to get access to the solder pads for the up and down buttons. Once wires are added there, a servo is the next victim. [Windell] recommends using an old servo with a busted motor, but you can use a good one just the same. The servo’s pots are replaced with 10 turn pots, and then wired up to a controller board, to which the jack is also connected. Then, to provide feedback to the servo, a string is looped around the top of the jack, which is used to turn the pots added in the previous step.

[Windell] says that the setup works quite well, though we imagine the duty cycle might be a bit short before adjustments are required. Regardless, it’s a quick way to get a heavy load lifted with servo precision.

Open Source Your Rave with OpenLase

Without a doubt, Laser Projectors are a great way to project large, bright images on any surface you can imagine. With a high enough quality projector and software package, excellent images and visualizations can be displayed in real time. [marcan], of the openkinect project, decided that there were not any open source laser projection packages out there that suited his wants or needs, so logically he decided to write his own. Because home-made laser projectors often use the audio out port of a PC, building the framework on top of the JACK unix sound software to control the hardware made perfect sense. OpenLase includes plugins for audio visualizations, 2D and 3D gaming, as well as converting video streams into laser format in real time.

Be sure to check out the Chaos Communication Congress presentation [marcan] gave after the break, as well as all the extra demo videos on his website.

Continue reading “Open Source Your Rave with OpenLase”

Macro lens for a Nexus One

[Thomas] tipped us off about a macro lens attachment for his Nexus One. As you’d expect, adding the lens helps the phone’s camera bring tiny details into focus. He re-purposed a lens from a pair of mini binoculars, using epoxy putty to make a mounting bracket. Now the last time we saw this putty used with a phone it was for a snap-in bracket that cradled the phone and included a lens adapter. Rather than go that route [Thomas] made use of the headphone jack just above the camera lens. An old headphone plug has been epoxied to the macro lens ring, holding it in place securely while remaining easily removable.

Halloween props: Techy Jack-o-lanterns

Halloween is this weekend. If you still have some time and parts available, you might be looking to spice up your Jack-o-lantern.  We’ve found a few projects that we thought might be nice to share. None of them would merit a post on their own, so we thought we would just round them up and share them all at once. They all appear to be powered by the Arduino, which we know will bring some comments. Just to clear up some questions, they don’t pay us to advertise Arduinos. People just do a lot of projects with them.

First, the silly string shooting Jack-o-lantern which you can see above. He’s using a single servo hooked to an Arduino and a motion sensor.  When it detects motion, it lets out a short squirt of silly string. You can download the code from the project page. We might suggest you arrange this in a manner to avoid spraying directly into some kids eyes.

Check out the next two after the break.

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72 LED persistence of vision globe


[Ben] told us about his POV globe yesterday. We took a look and saw just one photo and the code with no real explanation of his project. He certainly set to work over night and now we see all the goodies we look for in a great build log. He even threw the Hackaday logo up for our enjoyment. His build is well executed and he found some creative ways around the common problems in these projects. We take a closer look after the break. Continue reading “72 LED persistence of vision globe”