Candy chucker – weapon, or advanced Halloween delivery system?

Now we know why kids in this neighborhood wear plastic Halloween masks instead of just painting their faces. They’re trying to protect themselves from the onslaught of hard candy spewing out the front of this candy chucking pumpkin.

The mechanism operates very much like a baseball or football throwing device. Now that we think of it, it’s also the same concept as the chicken launcher. There is a feed shoot that drops the projectile into the grips of two spinning chuckers. Those chuckers are built out of a couple of fans, with layers of fabric to account for different sizes and shapes of candy.

The video after the break shows some test firing. We love the sickening ‘whap!’ that the Werther’s Original (or whatever crappy Halloween offering they’re using) makes when it slams into the wall of the room.

This thing’s just begging to be mounted on a parade float, don’t you think?

[Read more...]

Halloween Props: Pumpkin battery

This one would make a nice centerpiece for your Halloween party. It’s a battery with tiny pumpkins serving as the cells. [EM Daniels] shows us how to clear out the pumpkins, fill them with some freshly mixed electrolyte, and he even throws in the directions for baking the pumpkin seeds.

Each pumpkin will need a pair of conductors made of dissimilar metals to serve as the anode and cathode. Copper wire is used for one, aluminum for the other, and both wires have a spiral pattern bent on one end to increase the surface area that contacts the electrolytic solution. Now just boil up a slurry of vinegar, gelatin, and salt, then let it sit in the fridge over night. [EM Daniels] was able get 1.5V out of this project (enough to light one LED) for two hours, and 1.4V for six hours by using seven of the pumpkin cells in series.

[Thanks Karen]

70 LED matrix in a Jack-o-lantern

What takes eight hours to solder and uses more shrink tubing that you thought imaginable? An LED matrix installed in a real pumpkin. When I mentioned that we’d like the LED pumpkin in last Friday’s post scaled up to a full LED matrix I had no idea it would be me doing the work. But [Caleb] and I thought it might be just the thing to present for the hacker’s favorite holiday.

Installed in the autumn vegetable is a marquee made from a 5×14 matrix of light emitting diodes. I spaced them by printing out a grid on the computer, taping it to the pumpkin, and drilling 70 holes in the front of the thing. The real trouble came when inserting all of the LEDs from the inside; each of them has four wires soldered to it, creating a net of black wiring. Above you can see it turned out great. This is a shot of it scrolling the message HAPPY HALLOWEEN.

Join us after the break for video of this prop. But we’re not just sharing the finished product. I’ll take you through the build process. Along the way you’ll learn the design considerations that go into an LED matrix and how you can use these techniques to build your own in any size and configuration you desire.

[Read more...]

Halloween props: Pumpkin in standby-mode

Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories is preparing for Halloween with this standby-mode pumpkin. Inside there’s an LED plugging a hole that is drilled just to the skin of the gourd-like vegetable. It fades in and out similar to a sleeping Mac, using what we think is a vastly over-powered circuit based on an ATtiny2313 (1k  of programming space for this?). But we still like the idea and we’d enjoy seeing it scaled up to a full LED matrix.

We’ve come to expect pumpkin hacks from EMSL and they don’t disappoint. Last year was a mechanized version, and the year before an LED schematic symbol. So what about your creation? With about one week left, take a look around and see if you can’t create something as wonderful as the Pie of Sauron.

Halloween props: Techy Jack-o-lanterns

Halloween is this weekend. If you still have some time and parts available, you might be looking to spice up your Jack-o-lantern.  We’ve found a few projects that we thought might be nice to share. None of them would merit a post on their own, so we thought we would just round them up and share them all at once. They all appear to be powered by the Arduino, which we know will bring some comments. Just to clear up some questions, they don’t pay us to advertise Arduinos. People just do a lot of projects with them.

First, the silly string shooting Jack-o-lantern which you can see above. He’s using a single servo hooked to an Arduino and a motion sensor.  When it detects motion, it lets out a short squirt of silly string. You can download the code from the project page. We might suggest you arrange this in a manner to avoid spraying directly into some kids eyes.

Check out the next two after the break.

[Read more...]

Halloween props: The honking pumpkin

_honking_pumpkin (Custom)

We see a lot of Halloween projects attempt to scare people. Many of them work with the element of surprise, jumping or flashing lights when triggered. We’ve noticed though, people have come to expect those things. This project is a real sleeper. No one expects a couple car horns to blare in their face  when they push the pumpkin’s nose. We know it would make us jump. You can see it in action as well as get the entire circuit from his site. We doubt his neighbors will find it as amusing as we do.

[via Hacked Gadgets]

Scare ‘em silly with a moving pumpkin

rovin_pumpkin

Halloween is a scary time for the little ones. It’s dark, they can barely see through their injection molded Spiderman masks, but it’s all worth it for the candy.

Our friends over at Evil Mad Scientist Labs have produced a pumpkin that moves on its own. The little pumpkin was disemboweled from the bottom and its guts were replaced by a simple robot. Three Lego wheels provide this base with one attached to a continuous rotation servo that provides the motion.  The device is powered by 3 AAA batteries and powered by an Atmel ATtiny2313 microcontroller. For added terror there are two green LEDs that act as ghoulish eyes.

We’ve embedded the video of the Rovin Pumpkin in action after the break. This is a wonderfully simple way to spice up your front porch decorations on All Hallows’ Eve. [Read more...]

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