Machine precisely, methodically arranges water droplets

While some projects we feature are meant to perform a useful function or make life easier, others such as this art installation by [Pe Lang] are far less functional, but amazing nonetheless.

Taking a cue from CNC-style machines, his creation is an experiment in falling objects and the properties of water. The machine methodically moves along a small 370 x 330 mm plate that is constructed out of a special omniphobic material. A syringe full of water travels along with the machine’s arm, depositing a single 3.3 mm wide drop of water on the board every few seconds as it moves along. Due to the surface tension of the water, each droplet forms a near perfect sphere on the plate without disturbing any of its neighbors.

Once the machine is finished, it leaves the matrix of water droplets to evaporate, after which the machine starts its careful process once again. It really is amazing, regardless of the fact that it doesn’t exactly “do anything”.

Be sure to check out the video below to see the exhibit in action.

[via Make]

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Hand-cranked magnet machine is endless fun


We can’t think of a single person who doesn’t enjoy playing with a handful of rare earth magnets now and again. We know that [Dave Johnson] certainly does. As a gift to his father in law, he constructed a magnificent machine that does little more than manipulate spherical rare earth magnets with hypnotizing grace.

The machine is constructed almost entirely from wood, save for a few fasteners and rods. Even the gears have been carefully cut from wood, with special attention paid to ensure smooth operation. When cranked, the machine slices off a single magnet from one end of a long chain, passing it along to a lift arm. The lift arm deposits the magnet into a metal tube, and with the help of eddy currents, it drifts slowly down before being redeposited at the end of the magnet chain.

Be sure to check out a video demonstration of the machine after the break, it really is fun to watch.

[via LaughingSquid]

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Today’s Arduino Minute

Sometimes projects are vast, complicated, and complex. Other times projects are a bit more on the simple. Today we thought we would share a couple projects with something in common that may be familiar sounding to the more experienced crowd, but may inspire a few readers new to the world of microcontrollers.

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Artisans Asylum Takes on the Machine

You’ll probably lose your appetite after watching part one and part two of Artisans Asylum as they Take on the Machine. Based around the Wallace and Gromit “automated” set of contraptions, the team from Boston set out to make their own breakfast machine. Of course, with only three weeks to work it didn’t exactly turn out as planned. They certainly had some good ideas though, and we were amazingly impressed at their egg cracking machine. But in the end, we wouldn’t want to be first in line for a plate of breakfast. Next is the final team, The Transistor, who will be making a live action zombie video game.

[Thanks Deven]

Machined steadicam, steadier than the rest

No, the picture above is not a store made steadicam. Rather, a CNC machined one by [Matt]. Interestingly, unlike most steadicams we’ve seen before the gimbal is not the main focus of the design though an aluminum machined gimbal would make us drool. The central idea is allowing for X and Y axis adjustment to get oddly weighted bulky camera’s exact center of gravity. [Matt’s] steadicam is also designed to handle more weight than commercial versions, and (if you already have a CNC) to be much cheaper. There’s no video, but from the skill of craftsmanship we can safely assume it’s as good and level as some of the best.

Programmable drum machine

This sequencer, called Drumssette, uses audio tape to churn out some beats. [Mike Walters] built this around a Tascam four track cassette recorder. The tape inside has a different drum sound on each of the tracks, with a corresponding row of red buttons. Pushing a button adds the drum sound to the loop on that beat. He’s using a series of digital logic gates to patch through the sounds as well as clocking the device from one of the tape’s tracks. It’s pretty  neat  to see the focus selector used in the video after the break to sync up the beginning of the repeated drum patterns. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen [Mike’s] work. If you missed it last year take some time to review the Melloman.

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Perfect spiral, every time

[Carmine] let us know about his team’s Automated Football Launcher. Their goal was to combine a football launcher with motion tracking, to allow a player to practice running and catching with the perfect throw. Unfortunately, and we’re not quite sure when, they ended up changing out the Jugs machine for an air cannon, which resulted in the use of foam footballs and the loss of throwing factors such as spiral. Somewhat defeating the purpose but we’ll let it slide; only because we know its going to be shooting potatoes eventually.

The project comes together by using two cameras giving distance and color tracking, combined with a rotating platform (and the best use of garden hose ever), an accurate set-top for their launcher. As seen in the video after the jump, it works out quite nicely. Continue reading “Perfect spiral, every time”