One man’s microwave oven is another man’s hobby electronics store

There are loads of Internet content depicting the usefulness of salvaged innards found in defunct microwave ovens. [Mads Nielsen] is an emerging new vblogger with promising filming skills and intriguing beginner electronics content. He doesn’t bring anything new from the microwave oven to the dinner table, yet this video should be considered a primer for anybody looking to salvage components for their hobby bench. To save some time you can link in at the 5 minute mark when the feast of parts is laid out on the table. The multitude of good usable parts in these microwave ovens rolling out on curbsides, in dumpsters, and cheap at yard sales all over the country is staggering and mostly free for the picking.

The harvest here was: micro switches, X and Y rated mains capacitors, 8 amp fuse, timer control with bell and switches, slow turn geared synchronous 4 watt motor 5 rpm, high voltage capacitor marked 2100 W VAC 0.95 uF, special diodes which aren’t so useful in hobby electronics, light bulb, common mode choke, 20 watt 68 Ohm ceramic wire-wound resistor, AC fan motor with fan and thermostat cutout switches NT101 (normally closed).

All this can be salvaged and more if you find newer discarded units. Our summary continues after the break where you can also watch the video where [Mads] flashes each treasure. His trinkets are rated at 220 V but if you live in a 110 V country such components will be rated for 110 V.

Continue reading “One man’s microwave oven is another man’s hobby electronics store”

Parts storage for all your components

When [Steve] saw that we requested reader’s solutions to storing hundreds of different components, he had to send in his solution to storing bunches of ICs, resistors, transistors, and other components.

Like most of the suggestions we’ve seen, [Steve]’s solution relies on #10 envelopes stored in boxes specifically designed for holding envelopes. While there’s nothing new about storing handfuls of ICs in envelopes, we really like [Steve]’s method of organization.

On the top of each envelope, [Steve] printed a bunch of very useful information including the type and kind of part, the tolerance, speed, voltage, and package information. Also included are the manufacturer and vendor part numbers, making reordering a breeze.

Of course printing out hundreds or thousands of envelopes with this information would be a pain. [Steve] got around that by automating the process with iWork, typing in the values for each field in a spreadsheet app and using Mail Merge to print them all on envelopes.

It’s a very neat system that forced [Steve] to have all his parts on a spreadsheet, inching ever closer to a complete inventory management system. He’s thinking about adding QR codes to the envelopes to make reordering parts trivial, but after figuring out how to send hundreds of envelopes through a printer, we can understand if [Steve] wants to be a little lazy from here on out.

Buying, selling, and bartering hacking hardware

Regular reader [Grenadier] wrote in to let us know about his newly published hacking hardware trading post called The Junkbox. Apparently when he’s not blowing up capacitors or building his own high voltage ones, he makes time to code up a website where you can buy, sell, and barter leftover components.

We have something like this right here at Hackaday. The dollar sign icon along the right column, just underneath the featured posts banner will take you to our classifieds section which at the time of writing had a whopping nine items posts. But these things to ebb and flow. Check in on the newly posted link from time to time to see that number grow.

Whether it’s over at The Junkbox or in our classifieds section, we think the biggest problem is finding what you need when you need it. This is nothing new. If you missed it before, we’ve embedded an older episode of the EEVblog after the break where [Dave Jones] tours Apex Surplus. It’s as if a hacker who has hoarding tendencies bought a store forty years ago and just kept piling more and more merchandise to the sky.

Continue reading “Buying, selling, and bartering hacking hardware”

Hackaday Links: April 13, 2011

Oven parts scrounging

oven_desoldering

In response to last week’s post about parts scrounging with a heat gun, Hackaday forum member [BiOzZ] decided to try doing the same thing in his oven. It seems to work quite well, but we’re wondering if there should be any concerns over the lead content of the solder. Anyone care to chime in?

Spill-proof parts holder

parts_holder

Have you ever been in the midst of disassembling something and knocked over your container full of screws onto the floor? [Infrared] has a simple solution to the problem which also happens to keep a couple of plastic bottles out of the landfill.

Easy button stops abuse of the word awesome

easy_button

Do you often repeat a word ad nauseam? Make author Matt Richardson does, and he hacked a Staples “Easy” button to help him break his addiction to the word “Awesome”.

Cheap Remote-controlled baseboard lighting

baseboard_lighting

[Sean] scored a pair of LED deck lighting kits for a steal and decided to install them into his newly renovated kitchen. They are currently remote operated, but he plans on adding an X10 interface as well as PIR sensors for automatic triggering in the near future.

Yet another LCD recapping guide

monitor_recap

It starts with a finicky backlight, or perhaps a high-pitched whine from the back of your display – by now, we’re sure that everyone knows the symptoms of an LCD panel that’s just about to die. [Eric’s] Syncmaster recently quit on him, so he pried it open and got busy recapping. It’s running again, and he wanted to share his repair process in case others out there own the same display.

Hackaday links: November 28, 2010

The Clock Clock

This digital display is made from several analog clocks with thick hands. Together they make something of a 7-segment display, which can be used to display the time. It reminds us of the “Shared Time” installation we covered previously. [Thanks Drum365 via Anonimiss Files]

Quickly desolder lots of parts

[Rhys Goodwin] is grabbing parts from junk PCBs but he’s not using a rework station. Instead it’s a hot-air gun and a brisk tap on the bench to send the parts flying. Well, at least he’s not using a blow-torch like [Ben Heck] does.

Binary Hero

This bank of 8 toggle switches is the controller for Binary Hero, a geeky take on Guitar Hero. When you see a decimal number come down the screen set your toggle to the binary equivalent in time or the game will be over before you know it. [Thanks Fabien]

Quick fan POV

[GMG] took a small persistence of vision board and slapped onto an oscillating fan blade. Along with a couple of magnets on the safety cage this display is a persistence of vision hack you can pull off in an hour or two.

Speed up laser etching

[James] figured out a way to cut down on the time it takes to etch multiple copies of one item with a laser cutter. It doesn’t run the laser faster, but orients the pieces in a way that means less movement of the head while the laser is not on. Read through his article and see if this method can help you out when doing some CNC work.

Carbon fiber part fabrication guide

If you’re thinking of working with carbon fiber this guide should be a big help. The example is aimed at the automotive crowd but the principles transfer quite easily. Carbon fiber parts are constructed in a similar manner as fiberglass parts. A mold is covered in a release agent, the fibers are put in place and covered in epoxy. With fiberglass the fibers are often sprayed on but carbon fiber components use woven mats of the material to build up multiple layers. Vacuum bags are used to hold the layers together, removing air and impregnating the fibers with the epoxy. This guide even outlines the construction of a vacuum pump needed for that step.

The benefits of carbon fiber are many, including strength and weight reduction. This makes it a great material for adding parts to weight-sensitive hacks such as quadcopters. But the mesh also has an interesting look which is why it shows up in custom electronics cases. The one real drawback is that when this material fails it is a catastrophic failure, tending to crumble across the entire structure rather than limiting damage to a small area. That means that a rough landing might be the end of your new parts.

[Thanks MS3FGX]

CNC machine from PC parts

[Mike Rankin] built a small CNC machine using some PC parts. He repurposed two optical drives and a floppy drive to create the plotter seen drawing the Hackaday logo above. The X and Y axes use the stepper motor controlled read heads from two optical drives. The Z axis is built using the read head hardware from a floppy drive. A 3-axis controller module from eBay drives the little machine, keeping the cost quite low at around $45.

As you can see in the video after the break it does a great job as a plotter. [Mike] doesn’t think there’s enough power in the hardware to be used as a mill. We’d still like to try adding a flexible shaft rotary tool and see if this could mill some rudimentary PCBs, but maybe you need to shell out just a little bit more for that functionality. It might also be possible to use an etchant resist marker instead of toner transfer or photo-resist.

Continue reading “CNC machine from PC parts”