RC PVC bot

This hunk of PVC pipe is radio controlled. The wheels on the ends provide the locomotion, but it wouldn’t be going anywhere if it weren’t for that little tail strapped to the center of the tube.

When the motors are turning the body of the bot needs something to push against. In this case the tail hits the ground and keeps the chassis from spinning. We have seen attempts to go without a tail by using lopsided wheels to provide angular momentum, but this method is much more reliable.

The control for the bot is scrapped from a toy RC car. Once hooked up to the gearhead motors it’s ready to roll. The real difficulty of the build came in fitting everything into the pipe. A frame was built from a few disks used as mounting platforms which were separated by threaded rod. See it making its way around a gravel road in the clip after the break.

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Scratch-built railroad crossing signal

At first glance you would think this is the real thing, but [Kevin] built this railroad crossing signal from parts you can find at the home store. We keep seeing traffic lights used as web-connected signaling devices. This would be right at home for that type of setup, but [Kevin] built it with railroad enthusiasts in mind.

He used Google SketchUp to design the frame for the signal, then purchased all of the PVC parts to match those specifications. Some grey spray paint goes a long way to making it look like steel tubing. But this is much easier to work with and he should have no trouble internalizing the wiring later on. The lights themselves are tail lights for a trailer with a decorative trim piece added. He designed his own driver board to switch the lights and ring the doorbell which give the signal some sound. His first version used a 555 timer, this one upgrades to microcontroller. We like what he’s doing in the video after the break, but think the bell speed needs to be doubled for it to mimick the real thing just about perfectly.

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Mini waterproof LED lanterns charge without wires

inductive-charge-led-lights

If you’re in search of a flashlight that can stand up to the elements, or simply looking for an easy way to spruce up your pool for those hot summer nights, check out these rechargeable PVC LED lights. Inspired by a post in Make: Magazine featuring Indestructible LED Lanterns, [John Duffy] decided to take the project one step further.

While he liked Make’s iteration of the waterproof lantern, he thought it would be best to permanently seal the lights for maximum durability. Not satisfied with a one-use light, he equipped the PVC lanterns with a single rechargeable AA battery, step-up circuitry to drive the LED, and an inductive charging coil.

His floating, waterproof lights sport a slightly bigger footprint than their predecessors to house the extra electronics, but we think that’s more than a fair trade off considering they can be charged wirelessly.

Place your Digikey/Mouser/Jameco orders now and check out [John’s] how-to video – you just might get some of these built in time for the weekend!

[via HackedGadgets]

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Stop Motion Animation Creation

PVC man stop motion animation

Stop Motion Animation has always been interesting to me since I “discovered” that one could make animated flip books by drawing each frame a little different. Fast forward 20 years or so, and computer technology has gotten to the point where this sort of thing can be done electronically quite easily and at an incredibly low price of a camera, computer, and free or paid-for software (here’s the technique using GIMP, a free, good quality photo editing tool) to put everything together.

The frames in the picture above are of my latest [PVC man] animation, which can be made with some electroluminescent lights, gloves, and some PVC pipe.  Each frame was individually photographed, and after several hours of work we had enough footage for 17 seconds of so of stop-motion animation.

Although by no means perfect, the quality of these animations has gone up dramatically from the first animations that I made using an old ENV2 camera phone. Although I was using a “custom mount” for it, it’s amazing these came out as well as they did. As with everything hacking related, this process is a constant work in progress. Check out the videos after the break for the [PVC man] video as well as one of the early ENV2-produced stop-motion shorts!

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A Full Auto PVC Battery Gun

full-auto-battery-gun

So what’s better than a battery gun? A full auto pneumatic battery gun of course!  [ukilliheal], decided to build one of these, and show us the results in his video after the break.  After turning the gun on, this contraption shoots at a pretty impressive rate of fire (although, apparently not as fast as some of his other experiments).  Apparently batteries can do a pretty fair amount of damage to a cardboard target as shown around 1:20. [ukilliheal] apparently thinks this is pretty hilarious, but we wouldn’t want to be on the other end of this device!

Although details on this build are fairly slim in this video, [ukilliheal’s] other videos should provide some clues, especially those where he explains how to make a full auto paintball gun.  If the same technique is used, a piston reloads the chamber using a homemade valve that releases pressure when it gets too high.  Electronics could also be used, but keeping everything mechanical will allow for the batteries to be used solely as ammuntion.

If full-auto guns aren’t your thing, why not check out this bolt-action miniature pneumatic spud gun!

A better dust skirt for your CNC mill

[Joshendy] wanted to get a better look at the cutting head on his CNC mill when it was running. The problem is that the rotating blades throw up a lot of junk which you don’t want flying around the shop so they’re usually surrounded with a shroud connected to a shopvac. He just milled is own transparent dust skirt to solve the problem.

The original dust skirt uses black bristle brushes to contain the waste from the cut. In addition to obscuring your view of the cutter this didn’t do a very good job of containing bits and pieces. The solution seen on the right uses clear, flexible PVC as the skirt. The video after the break details the build process. [Joshendy] cut out a replacement plate which is then fitted with magnets to connect to the cutter. The skirt is affixed to that plate with a series of screws, making it easy to replace if it ever wears out.

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Shoulder mount for any camera

Whatever your reasons may be, if you’re going to be holding a camera for long periods of time this shoulder mount will both steady the image, and help save you some aches and pains. [Kyle Jason] built the rig seen above for just $20 by following this guide.

[Knoptop] published the guide about a year ago. It doesn’t make use of any special PVC connectors, so you’ll have no problem finding everything you need at the hardware store. Connectors used include 45 and 90 degree angles, straight pieces, and a PVC conduit box to serve as the mounting bracket. After cutting, dry fitting, and welding everything together the rig really benefits from a couple of coats of paint. Don’t forget the grip covers to make the thing easy to hold onto.

Don’t want to read the build guide? After the break you’ll find [Knoptop’s] build video which is actually quite a fun eight minutes to watch.

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