Few hackers have trouble understanding basic electric motors. We’ve all taken apart something that has a permanent magnet DC motor in it and hooked up its two leads to a battery to make it spin. Reverse the polarity, reverse the spin; remove the power, stop the spin. Stepper motors (and their close cousins, brushless DC motors) are a little tougher to grok, though, especially for the beginner. But with a giant 3D printed stepper motor, [Proto G] has made getting your head around electronically commutated motors a little easier.
While we’ve seen 3D printed stepper motors before, the size and simple layout of this one really lends to understanding the theory. With a 3D-printed frame, coils wound on nails, and rare-earth magnets glued to a rotor, this is an approachable build that lays the internals of a stepper motor out for all to see and understand. You can easily watch how the rotor lines up as the various coils are energized in a circular pattern, although it might be more revealing to include bi-color LEDs to indicate which coils are energized and what the polarity is. Those would be especially helpful demonstrating the concept of half-stepping. We’d also like to see more detail on the controller electronics, although admittedly all the video-worthy action is in the motor itself.
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[Martin] seems to have a knack for locating lightly damaged second-hand audio gear. Over the years he’s collected various types of gear and made various repairs. His most recent project involved fixing two broken tweeter speakers.
He first he needed to test the tweeters. He had to remove them from the speaker cabinet in order to gain easier access to them. The multimeter showed them as an open-circuit, indicating that they had likely been burned. This is an issue he’s seen in the past with this brand of speaker. When too much power is pumped through the speaker, the tiny magnet wire inside over heats and burns out similar to a fuse.
The voice coil itself was bathing in an oily fluid. The idea is to help keep the coil cool so it doesn’t burn out. With that in mind, the thin wire would have likely burned somewhere outside of the cooling fluid. It turned out that it had become damaged just barely outside of the coil. [Martin] used a sharp blade to sever the connection to the coil. He then made a simple repair by soldering the magnet wire back in place using a very thin iron. We’ve seen similar work before with headphone cables.
He repeated this process on the second tweeter and put everything back together. It worked good as new. This may have ultimately been a very simple fix, but considering the amount of money [Martin] saved on these speakers, it was well worth the minimal effort.
[Johannes Agricola] recently held a workshop at the Peace Mission in Goettingen, Germany where he shared his RGB LED flowers. The small round PCB hosts an ATmega88 microcontroller which is running the V-USB stack so that the unit can be controlled by a computer. Each flower blossom is an RGB LED connected with four enameled wires which, when twisted together, make up the stem of the flower. [Johannes] took tons of pictures during the assembly while offering soldering advice along side the illustrations. The PCB is single-sided helping make this a great project for someone trying out surface mount component soldering for the first time. Or if you want something a little more free-formed try out this lemon-juice powered LED flower.
[W1VLF] is on a quest to communicate over long distances with a 9 kilohertz transmitter. He built this giant coil with that in mind. A round concrete form was used as a base and wound with magnet wire by hand. We’d recommend building an automated winding device, but this method seems to have worked. Operating at 50 Watts on the air-core coil at 8.97 KHz he was able to pick up the signal at a distance of 5 kilometers. It’s not breaking any overall distance or portability records, but on a project like this the quest is where the fun is at.