There’s something alluring about radial engines. The Wasps, the Cyclones, the Gnomes – the mechanical beauty of those classic aircraft engines can’t be denied. And even when a radial engine is powered by solenoids rather than internal combustion, it can still be a thing of beauty.
The solenoid engine proves that he has some mechanical chops. If you follow along in the videos below, you’ll see how [Tyler] progressed in his design and incorporated what he learned from the earliest breadboard stage to the nearly-complete engine. There’s an impressive amount of work here – looks like the octagonal housing was bent on a press brake, and the apparently homebrew solenoids are enclosed in copper pipe and fittings that [Tyler] took the time to bring to a fine polish. We’re skeptical that the microswitches that electrically commutate the engine will hold up to as many cycles are they’d need to handle for this to be a useful engine, but that’s hardly the point here. This one is all about the learning, and we think [Tyler] has done a bang-up job with that.
For more radial solenoid engine goodness, check out this engine with an entirely different take on commutation. Or if you need the basics of radial engine theory, this wood mockup might be just the thing.
Continue reading “Scratch-built Radial Solenoid Engine is Polished and Professional”
Upon first sight there will be no doubt in anyone’s mind that this is a hacker’s keyboard. [Tim Tyler] built the odd-looking conglomeration of keys a few years ago with the goal of improving the man-machine interface. Why waste all that thumb space with just one long keyboard when you can have at least nine keys per thumb?
After some additional consideration this isn’t all that unorthodox. We’ve seen keyboards that split the hands; in fact you can buy them. This just adds the thumb matrices and that rack of programmable keys above the alpha-numeric portion. It’s rather organ-like with its multiple ranks, don’t you think? Check out the demonstration video after the break. It certainly has a keystroke sound that is all its own. The sound is different from the clackity “M” keyboard and its modern relatives thanks to the microswitches that make up each key.
Continue reading “Microswitch keyboard gives those lazy thumbs a workout”
Instructables user [Rohit] had an out-of-warranty microwave with a broken membrane keypad. Much like our friend [Alexandre] from Brazil, he found the cost of replacement parts beyond reasonable, so he had to find a way to repair it instead.
He disassembled the front cover of his microwave to get at the main controller board. Once it was detached, he removed the keypad’s cover to get a closer look at the matrix underneath. While taking notes on how the matrix was wired, he found that some keypad traces connected to other traces rather than buttons. He says that they are likely used by the microwave to detect that the keypad is present, so he made sure to short those traces out on the controller board when he wired everything back together.
He replaced the aging keypad with microswitches, but rather than mount them on the front panel of the microwave, he drilled holes for each switch so that he could mount them inside the face plate. Once everything was wired and glued in place, he re-mounted the keypad’s cover. Now the microwave looks stock but has firm, reliable, user-serviceable buttons that are sure to last quite a while.