Open source 5-axis CNC router

This 5-axis CNC router could soon be an open source tool. [Mike Calvino] built it for the School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas. It can be used as a router or as a plasma cutter/welder. Now he’s trying to raise some money that will underwrite his time and effort to develop and release instructions, design files, and specifications to make it an open source hardware project.

It is extremely large, and in addition to the X, Y, and Z axes that you’d expect to find on CNC machinery, it can tilt and rotate the cutting tool. This is not something you’re likely to build at home. But the availability of plans would be a huge contribution toward making machine tools accessible at a relatively small price tag. It’s not hard to image universities building this as a class project. We also think it would be a perfect group project for you and your buddies over at the local Hackerspace to undertake. Check out some milling action in the clip after the break.

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Singing: With Plasma!

While there are many ways to produce audible sound, Plasma Speakers have to be one of the coolest. Usually very complex and expensive, we received a tip for a beginners guide to making one of these impressive novelties. Handily included are a set of schematics (one very simple schematic, the other with a few artistic illustrations). There are also a set of warnings, which include sound advice to mind the heat generated by the MOSFETs, as well as making sure that your input signal isn’t too strong. The finished product is fun to listen to, so be sure to check out the example video after the break.

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Multi-purpose welding cart

[Todd Harrison] put together a welding cart that has all kinds of tricks built-in. The carcass is a cheap rolling cart that has been reinforced with steel plate and beefier wheels. The top tray can be loaded up with fire brick for oxygen-acetylene welding or with a grate for cutting. That grate lets the slag fall through and into the red-rimmed fire-box below. Finally, there’s a steel plate to the right of the cart that rotates and slides over the top of the unit to prepare it for MIG welding. Todd walks us through his versatile invention in the video after the break. This will nicely augment your other welding hacks.

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Virtual windows that track a viewer’s position

Winscape will let you replace that garbage-strewn ally view with just about anything you want. The two windows above are actually plasma screen televisions. In between them you can spot a Nintendo Wii Remote that is used to track an IR badge worn by the person in the room. As they move, the images on the screens are changes to simulate the change in perspective you would see out of a real-world window. Take a look at the video after the break. This is unfortunately not an open source project but the software is available for trial and we find the concept interesting. If you can write video processing algorithms you may be able to take the Wii Remote Whiteboard concept and turn it into a Winscape clone. Continue reading “Virtual windows that track a viewer’s position”

Nixie Plasma ball

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This one came out over a year ago and we missed it. [Daqq] has made a plasma ball out of a nixie tube.  All that was required was the transformer from a cold cathode meant for computers and a nixie tube. He did have to do a tiny bit of modification to the power supply, which you can see on the project page. This isn’t the most useful project, since you can’t really see much of the plasma, but it is really cool nonetheless. We think this would make a really neat button. You can see a video of it in action after the break.

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Plasma Thruster

plasma_thruster

Some of you probably have plans to build your own spaceships, we know we do. Well, the propulsion system can be a bit tricky, especially if you plan on using plasma drives. This breakdown and build of a simple plasma thruster should help you on your way. All you really need is some Argon, a large capacitor bank, and a custom nozzle. You’ve already got most of that right? As usual, be very careful. This is high voltage and very hot.

Make a plasma cutter

plasma

For those unfortunate few of you who don’t already have a plasma cutter sitting around, [jandgse812] is here to help. He walks you through the process of building your own plasma cutter from scratch. Adding up the list of parts brings the total project to roughly $300.  He has included visual diagrams for all the wiring as well as specific part numbers and where to get them. Be careful, this is potentially very dangerous, but also very cool. You may need to get a copy of the mission impossible theme to play whenever you use it. At least, that’s what [jandgse812] recommends. You can see a video of it in action after the break.

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