Before the Saturn V rocket carried men to the moon, a number of smaller rockets carried men on suborbital and orbital flights around the Earth. These rockets weren’t purpose-built for this task, though. In fact, the first rockets that carried people into outer space were repurposed ballistic missiles, originally designed to carry weapons.
While it might seem like an arduous task to make a ballistic missile safe enough to carry a human, the path from a weapons delivery system to passenger vehicle was remarkably quick. Although there was enough safety engineering and redundancy to disqualify the space program as a hack, it certainly was a clever repurposing of the available technology. Read on for the full story.
Continue reading “Hitching a Ride on a Missile”
Sure, we could just slap the steam-punk label on this doorbell hack, but we think that cheapens it. The rig uses a combination of mercury switch and creative mechanics to form a doorbell. And we think it goes beyond aesthetics to a statement of who you are starting with the front door of your house. No wonder [Nick Normal] has moved it along with him from home to home over the years.
The portion to the right is the ringer itself. Pulling on the lever moves the chain through an eyelet to affect the mercury switch mounted above. That switch completes the circuit which drives the motor on the “bell” unit. We use quotes because instead of ringing a bell it’s striking the large valve control wheel which looks like it came straight from the same industrial plant where The Joker took his unfortunate fall into a vat of acid.
This certainly gives you something to aspire to. And if you think you’ve already achieved a doorbell setup on similarly-geeky footing why haven’t you tipped us off about it?
[Glass Giant’s] wrist-mounted fireball launcher adds a little stage magic to his life. This method of fire production is several orders of magnitude less dangerous than other arm-attached flamethrowers or instrument-mounted torches. The module, which is strapped to the underside of his wrist, stores and lights a combination of flash cotton and flash paper. The two flammables are housed in a small aluminum tube touching a glow plug. A slider switch acts as a safety, completing the circuit from the battery, to the glow plug, terminating in a mercury switch which heats things up when held at the proper level. He’s still working out the best way to load the flash materials but as you can see in the video after the break, this is definitely worthy of the Street Fighter reference.
Continue reading “Shooting fireballs from your wrists – Hadouken!”
I’m going to break from the typical Hackaday article format for a moment. I’m smitten, captivated by this wondrous new discovery. Forgive my ignorance for having never seen one of these before, I didn’t go to school for electronics. For those, who like myself wondered, what is this beautiful glowing thing, it is a mercury arc valve rectifier.
This is not some chintzy attempt at neo victorian styling (steampunk if you absolutely must), this is an actual piece of electronics used in the field. Widely used to convert alternating current to direct current for railways and street cars, these could actually be found in the wild. There was a time, that opening a door in a power station would have presented you with this fantastic green and purple glowing orb, dripping mercury sparkling inside. If you are anything like me, you would most likely have been frozen in your tracks, convinced you were bearing witness magic.
firstly, we don’t know why they are doing this, and we don’t care. You are watching an LED panel, controlled by molten metal. The panel has the leads sticking down below the bottom of the board, so the metal can make connections as it flows past. They are using Wood’s metal, not mercury so it has to be heated to about 159 degrees Fahrenheit to be fluid. This has been representing problems as the metal tends to stick to whatever container he is holding it in. That actually seems to be what most of the writeup and discussion are about, rather than, what it will be used for.