Get Up Close to your Soldering with a Pi Zero Microscope

Do your Mark 1 Eyeballs no longer hold their own when it comes to fine work close up? Soldering can be a literal pain under such conditions, and even for the Elf-eyed among us, dealing with pads at a 0.4-mm pitch is probably best tackled with a little optical assistance. When the times comes for a little help, consider building a soldering microscope from a Pi Zero and a few bits and bobs from around the shop.

Affordable commercial soldering scopes aren’t terribly hard to come by, but [magkopian] decided to roll his own by taking advantage of the streaming capabilities of the Raspberry Pi platform, not to mention its affordability. This is a really simple hack — nothing is 3D-printed or custom milled. The stage base is a simple aluminum project box for heat resistance and extra weight, and the arm is a cheap plastic dial caliper. The PiCam is mounted to the sliding jaw of the caliper on a scrap of plastic ruler. The lens assembly of the camera needs to be hacked a little to change the focal length to work within 10 centimeters or so; alternatively, you could splurge and get a camera module with an adjustable lens. The Pi is set up for streaming, and your work area is presented in glorious, lag-free HDMI video.

Is [magkopian]’s scope going to give you the depth perception of a stereo microscope? Of course not. But for most jobs, it’ll probably be enough, and the fact that it can be built on the cheap makes it a great hack in our book.

Continue reading “Get Up Close to your Soldering with a Pi Zero Microscope”

Pi-Powered Anti-Cat Trap Soaks Felines and Other Animals

[Joshua] has a problem with cats. They like pooping in his garden. He decided to take action with this awesome automated and humane cat trap.

Now just to clarify, he did attempt a few other alternatives before going all out in cat defense – the easiest solution would be to get a cat of his own, but alas, he’s not a cat person.

The system uses a Raspberry Pi in a waterproofed housing with a PiCam. He’s written some rudimentary code to make use of the PiCam Python Library which also allows him to record pre-cat-trapping footage, much for our enjoyment. When motion is sensed, the Pi trips a 24VAC solenoid water valve, which turns on the sprinkler and quickly soaks the intruder.

Stick around after the break for quite a few videos catching the furry little buggers in the act!

Continue reading “Pi-Powered Anti-Cat Trap Soaks Felines and Other Animals”