Hackaday Links: November 9, 2012

Yeah, it’s like Twitter but actually cool

Thingiverse – still the best place on the Internet to find cool 3D models to print out – has gone all Web 3.0 with their new Dashboard feature. Basically, you can think of this as Thingiverse’s version of Twitter. The dashboard allows you to see the latest updates from people you like, follow people, categories, and tags, and check out your all-important ‘who’s following me’ stats. Yes, to the Hackaday crowd it may sound a little lame, but it’s a great way to winnow the (awesome) wheat from the (slightly less awesome) chaff.

Hey, we goofed. And not by using the same image twice

Remember when we jumped on the Occupy Thingiverse bandwagon? Well, there were questions about the Thingiverse Terms of Service and confusion that Makerbot actually owns everything uploaded to Thingiverse. That’s completely wrong according to Makerbot’s lawyer [Rich McCarthy]. The whole issue dealt with “Moral Rights or attribution” – a French legal doctrine that isn’t part of US law (or the law of any English-derived legal system as far as we can tell). Yeah, we goofed.

Now u cn snd SMS msgs wit n ‘ino & cell sheld

[Meir] sent in a cellular library for microcontroller projects that allows for simple sending and receiving of SMS messages. Yes, it’s been done before, but [Meir] hid all the hardware interaction with the cellular shield – a good design practice – to make the code nice and tidy.

And you thought PVC was bad…

Just in time for Thanksgiving, [Lou] shows us the fastest way to make mashed potatoes: an oxygen and propane powered potato gun. The build uses oxy and propane tanks you can pick up for a few bucks at any hardware store, steel pipe for the barrel, a grill igniter, and a few pipe fittings. It’s awesome, and we’ve got to hand it to [Lou] for this one. Now to build one and test it out on our indestructible test dummy.

It’s just like the Raspberry Pi! They’re that backordered!

Remember the Stellaris Launchpad, the very cool (and very inexpensive) ARM dev board put out by TI? Yeah, they’re shipping now. News of this comes from [Ryan Holtz] at Autodesk after the FedEx guy came knocking a few days ago. The good news is they’re shipping, the bad news is the price increased slightly to $13.

 

The spud gun to end all spud guns

In Norse mythology, Mjöllnir is the hammer of Thor, forged in a contest to create the most wondrous and munificent tool for the gods of Asgard. While we’re not aware if [MrCrowley] recently made a bet with Loki, his version of Mjöllnir, a gigantic spud gun powered by MAPP gas, is wondrous enough for our tastes.

Unlike most of the other spud guns we’ve seen, [MrCrowley] eschewed the use of PVC pipe and fittings in his build because that would explode on the first test fire. Instead, the gun uses galvanized and stainless steel for the majority of the construction. That’s not to say this spud gun is necessarily safe, though: as he demonstrates in the video after the break, golf balls exit the barrel with a comparable energy to most rifle rounds.

For an interesting take on an ignition system, [MrCrowley] built a remote ignition system out of a wireless doorbell and a 100kV stun gun. While this does allow for remote firing, the entire build seems safe enough – from behind the muzzle, at least – to be carried with a rifle strap.

It should go without saying that this is incredibly dangerous and you shouldn’t build this if you’re not planning on your last words being, “Wanna see something cool? Hold my beer.” That being said, [MrCrowley] knows what he’s doing, and you can check out the video of Mjöllnir in action after the break.

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DO NOT build a fully automatic battery-launching air gun

There’s nothing quite like [Elliot]‘s cherubic sense of wonder and maniacal laughter after he tests his fully automatic AA battery-launching air gun. That fires 600 rounds a minute. At 200 feet per second.

We need to take a minute and say [Elliot]‘s gun is stupidly unsafe. He used PVC pipe to hold air pressure, so that may… explode one of these days. Also, the AA batteries coming out of the end of the barrel have the same kinetic energy as a .22 rifle bullet.

The mechanics of the gun is a simple blow forward bolt. When he pulls the trigger, the bolt – and battery – are forced forward due to air pressure. After the bolt has cleared a plug, air is allowed to flow through the bolt pushing the battery along with it. Once the pressure in the barrel is back down to normal, a spring forces the bolt back into place and the 23 round magazine loads another battery. Simple, really. [Elliot] posted some pics of his gun on the spudfiles.com forum.

The gun is accurate to about 100 yards. It’s a very impressive piece of engineering for a bit of PVC pipe, but we don’t feel the need to copy this one. Check out the videos after the break to see this thing in action.

[Read more...]

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