Network-controlled fireworks launcher

rpi-fireworks-launcher

[Thomas] and his friends wanted to ring in the new year by setting off some fireworks. To keep a safe distance and have a little fun they built this network controller launcher (translated).

the image on the left shows the build in its unused and pristine state. But by the end of the celebration it look a bit melted and burnt. Still, for the first revision of the system it ended up working pretty well.

We’ve seen several remote fireworks launchers that burn up resistors to light the fuses. But this system is much more reusable. The image on the right shows the heating elements which light the fuses. Younger readers might have no idea what they’re looking at, but every automobile used to come with at least one of these electric cigarette lighters. Just drive 12V through them and they get burning hot relatively quickly. That’s where the car battery on the base comes into play. It is connected to the lighters using some mechanical relays.

In the food container attached to the side of the launcher you’ll find a Raspberry Pi which provides the web connection for the system. [Thomas] wrote code which uses a webpage with some bomb icons as buttons. Check out the video after the break to see him demonstrate how fast one of these lighters will glow red after pressing a button on his smart phone.

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One Kindle launcher to rule them

kindle-launcher

Ask around and chances are you can find a friend or family member that still has their early generation Kindle but doesn’t use it anymore. There are quite a number of different things you can do with them, and now there’s a single Launcher that works for all models of hacked Kindles. KUAL is the Kindle Unified Application Launcher.

Loading the launcher on your device does require that it be Jailbroken/Rooted, but that’s really the entire point, right? Once on your device the system is easy to configure. Menus themselves can be customized by editing the XML and JSON pair for each list. The screenshot on the left illustrates some of the applications you might want to run. We could see a VNC viewer being useful, and everyone likes to have games – like Doom II or the entire Z-machine library – on hand when they unexpectedly get stuck somewhere. But MPlayer? Does anyone actually use their ePaper device to watch videos?

Wave that roman candle around without risking your digits

fun-with-fireworks

Some people don’t mind missing a finger or two, but we’re quite attached to all of ours. That’s why we’ve never held on to the fireworks after lighting the fuse. [Dzl] and his son wanted to be (at least somewhat) safe while still having that kind of fun. So they built this rig which lets you wave around a roman candle from a safe distance. It’s not strictly limited to one type of firework either. You can see there is a PVC barrel which will send a bottle rocket off in whichever direction the thing is pointed. As you’ve guessed, a test run is shown off in the video after the jump.

The rig is build from laser cut nylon parts. Don’t fret if you lack the equipment to automatically reproduce this. It’s not that hard to fabricate these types of parts by hand. And the motors that make it go are just hobby servos rigged for continuous rotation. [Dzl] did add external potentiometers for position feedback.

This is a tame way to celebrate the New Year, which is nice if yesterday’s project was a bit too hard-core for you.

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A resistor’s fiery death used to launch fireworks

Check out this control center which [Awesome0749] built for launching fireworks. From the looks of his stash he’s going to be doing quite a bit of celebrating. The control console is clean and offers some safety features, and he just upgraded to an interesting ignition technique.

He’s using CAT5 cable to connect to the fireworks. At the top of the enclosure you can just make out the edge of the almond-colored wall plates which offer three jacks each. The two keys on the controller must be turned on to power the device. There is also a safety toggle switch in the middle.

The ignition is cause by running 70 VDC through a 1/4 Watt 24 Ohm resistor. As you can see in the demo after the break this results in flames quite quickly. One other thing we saw in the demonstration is that only the LED for the button which is hooked up comes on when the system is armed. We didn’t see a schematic, but he must have wired this so the system checks for continuity to ensure there’s something wired to the business end of the button.

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Tweets send your balls flying (on TV)

Members from the London Hackerspace recently got a little on-air time with a ping pong ball launcher. They were invited to build something for the Click show on BBC. The launcher that they built responds to hash tags on Twitter by barraging the audience with balls.

The hardware was built in two parts. The first is a dispenser that responds to incoming Tweets by releasing one ball onto a set of staging ramps. The other portion is the launcher itself. Building it like this makes it a rapid fire device, as the spinning wheels of the launcher make quick work of several dozen balls just waiting to be let loose. Check out some footage from the show after the jump.

We like this one just as much as that remote controlled launcher. We’re glad to have seen these both because we happen to have a surplus of the balls lying around since we built that clock and we’re not about to undertake some of the more dangerous ping pong based projects we’ve seen. Continue reading “Tweets send your balls flying (on TV)”

Candy chucker – weapon, or advanced Halloween delivery system?

Now we know why kids in this neighborhood wear plastic Halloween masks instead of just painting their faces. They’re trying to protect themselves from the onslaught of hard candy spewing out the front of this candy chucking pumpkin.

The mechanism operates very much like a baseball or football throwing device. Now that we think of it, it’s also the same concept as the chicken launcher. There is a feed shoot that drops the projectile into the grips of two spinning chuckers. Those chuckers are built out of a couple of fans, with layers of fabric to account for different sizes and shapes of candy.

The video after the break shows some test firing. We love the sickening ‘whap!’ that the Werther’s Original (or whatever crappy Halloween offering they’re using) makes when it slams into the wall of the room.

This thing’s just begging to be mounted on a parade float, don’t you think?

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Thumper The T-Shirt Launcher

Thumper The T-Shirt Launcher

[joe] and [ryan] built Thumper for their high school FIRST robotics team. The cannon itself is a solenoid-fired compressed air launcher that gets its juice from three large PVC tanks stored in the box below the turret, and the cannon is able to be fired nine times between visits to the air compressor. It was intentionally designed to resemble an M2 Browning 50 Caliber heavy machine gun, with the two vertical handles and boxy body.  They finished construction in about a week with a budget of only $300. When they saw that a lot of their friends had also built cannons, they scrounged for parts from their garages to re-use to build the mobile platform simply for one-upmanship sake. The motor and drive-train propelling this behemoth came out of a 1980s-era mobile X-Ray machine that had been discarded by a local hospital. The rear wheels were specially modified to fit the drivetrain, and the front end is a chopped, hacked, and welded axle and steering mechanism from an old lawn tractor. Sections of unistrut form the rest of the frame.

[joe] and [ryan] were even asked to bring Thumper to their high school prom as a unique way to hand out T-Shirts for the evening. Unfortunately, there’s no website for this build.

See video of Thumper in action with a Nerf Football after the break. Hack A Day even got to take it for a spin around the Power Wheels Racing Series track at Maker Faire KC!

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