We usually have no problem hacking together electronics into something useful. But finding an enclosure that makes sense for the build can be a real drag. In this case [Vincent Sanders] already had a working ARM build farm that leveraged the power of multiple ARM boards. But it was lying in a heap in the corner of the room and if it ever needed service or expansion it was going to be about as fun as having a cavity drilled. But no longer. He took inspiration from how a blade server rack works and 3D printed his own modular rail system for the hardware.
Each group of boards is now held securely in its own slot. The collection seen above mounts in a server rack which has its own power supply. This image is part way through the retrofit which explains why there’s a bunch of random pieces lying around yet. Instead of printing continuous rail [Vincent] uses a threaded rod to span the larger frame, securing small chunks of rail where needed by tightening nuts on either side of them. The white and red trays are prints he ordered from Shapeways designed to secure the eurocard form factor parts.
The value of a 3D printer is obvious for people who hack hardware as a hobby. But this repair project should drive home their usefulness for the commoner. [James Bruton] used a 3D printer to recreate a hopelessly broken injection molded plastic part. This is a suction cup mounting bracket for a Tom Tom GPS module. The sphere which makes it adjustable had broken off of the column holding it. For 100% of non-hacking consumers that’s the end of this item. We can’t see a fix that would restore the strength of the original part.
The replacement starts by measuring the broken part with precision calipers. [James] then grabbed a copy of 123D, which is free software. He starts by modeling the sphere, then builds up the support column and the base with a cut-out. It’s obvious he’s already very familiar with the software, but even the uninitiated should be able to get this done pretty quickly. After slicing the design for the 3D printer he finds the part will be ready in about 11 minutes. The first prototype is a bit too small (the ball requires close tolerances to work well). He spins up a second version which is a bit large and uneven. A few minutes of filing leaves him with a smooth sphere which replaces the original part beautifully!
You can see the entire design, print, and assembly process in the clip after the break.
Continue reading “Repairing broken injection molded parts with a 3D printer”
This cheap and easy hack will let you use your old smart phone to take pictures and videos of the view through a telescope. [Xobmo] built the connector for just 55 cents. Apart from our concerns about scratching the lens when inserting the phone in the bracket we love the idea.
He was given the Celestron Powerseeker 70AZ as a gift from his wife last Christmas. He looked around the Internet and saw that there are already some solutions for recording video using an iPhone 3GS. This design on Thingiverse would be perfect, but he doesn’t have access to a 3D printer and ordering it form a service would cost almost $50. But when he got to thinking about it, all he needed was a ring to fit on the telescope and a way to connected the iPhone to it. He headed down to the hardware store and picked up a PVC coupler. After working with a hack saw and drill he ended up with a slot with two wings on it. Just slip the phone in and slide the ring on the eyepiece. You can see some action shots, and get a look at the mount itself, in the clip after the break.
Continue reading “Simple iPhone telescope mount”
[Lou] needed to mount his projector to finish up his home theater. But he was rather put off by the cost of commercial solutions. He ended up building his own projector mount for about ten bucks. The technique reuses some scrap metal and sources connectors from the hardware store. If your projector will be mounted flat to the ceiling we think this will work just as well for you as it did for him.
To the left we get a good look at the two parts which make up the mounting bracket. [Lou] is reusing a metal warning sign. One large piece is attached to the back portion of the projector and hangs over the end about a half-inch. On the front there is a tab with a slot in it made out the same sign. The slot accepts the head of a three-inch drywall screw. There are two holes in the rear piece which also receive screws. Once the projector is in place the screws can be adjusted to achieve the proper projection angle. [Lou] does a full walk through of the project in the video after the break.
This goes perfectly with the $50 projection screen that he built.
Continue reading “Never pay more than $10 for a projector mount”
[Optec] want his own triple monitor setup built to his specifications. It turns out to have been a pretty easy project thanks to his mastery of stock materials. The image above is just a bit dim, but if you look closely you can see the strut channel which makes up the monitor frame.
When it comes to this type of metal strut material there’s a lot to choose from. [Optec] went with the half-slot format which provides a little bit of left and right wiggle room. This is important to get the edges of those monitors to butt up to one another. After making a pair of relief cuts he bent the channel in two places, using 45 degree brackets as reinforcement. The monitor mounts are made of MDF with countersunk holes to hide the bolt heads which connect it to the channel.
He figures the total cost of the mount was around $40. Seeing how easy it was makes us think we may never buy a commercial TV mounting bracket again. Of course if you’re more into woodworking there’s a tri-monitor project for you too.
[LuckyNumbrKevin] wanted an epic monitor array of his own but didn’t really have the desk real estate to pull it off. His solution was to build a three computer monitor mounting rack with a relatively small footprint.
The design started with some virtual test builds using SketchUp. Once he had it dialed in he began transferring measurements for the base onto some plywood. The rest of the parts are built using dimensional lumber. As the project shaped up he wrapped the edges of the plywood with some trim, and gave the piece a good sanding. After a few passes with a dark stain he was ready to mount the monitors he bought from Newegg.
[Kevin] left a comment in the Reddit thread about the parts cost for his design. Including the monitors, this came in under $300. That does not include the Nvidia graphics card which is capable of driving the trio.
[Chris] put together a bunch of common components to create this wireless pan and tilt system for a security camera or a robot.
The motorized base is simple enough, using two servos to make up a mount for the digital camera. In this case he used a parts package which is designed to mount the servos perpendicular to each other. You could also 3D print, our build your own brackets quite easily. The control circuitry consists of a pair of PIC 18LF4520 microcontrollers and a set of Xbee modules. This is where the wireless connectivity comes in.
On the transmitter side, a pair of potentiometers are read by the microcontroller’s ADC and translated into position values. The receiver takes those values and drives the servo motors accordingly. In the clip after the break [Chris] is using micro trimpots which require a screw driver to adjust. You might want to hit the parts bin and see if you can get some that have a more user-friendly shaft or knob.
Unfortunately this system doesn’t transmit video. But WiFi webcams are getting quite affordable so that might be a good option in this case. Continue reading “Wireless camera mount offers pan and tilt functions”