Building a Quadcopter with a CNC Mill and a 3D Printer

Quadcopter

Quadcopters are a ton of fun to play with, and even more fun to build. [Vegard] wrote in to tell us about his amazing custom DIY quadcopter frame that uses a commercial flight control system.

Building a quadcopter is the perfect project to embark upon if you want to test out your new CNC mill and 3D printer. The mechanical systems are fairly simple, yet result in something unbelievably rewarding. With a total build time of 30 hours (including Sketchup modeling), the project is very manageable for weekend hackers. [Vegard's] post includes his build log as well as some hard learned lessons. There are also tons of pictures of the build. Be sure to read to read the end of the post, [Vegard] discusses why to “never trust a quadcopter” and other very useful information. See it in action after the break.

While the project was a great success, it sadly only had about 25 hours of flight-time before a fatal bird-strike resulted in quite a bit of damage. Have any of your quadcopters had a tragic run-in with another flying object? Let us know in the comments.

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RPi control your server PSU over the Internet

remote-server-psu-control-via-RPi

Here’s an interesting use of a Raspberry Pi to control the PSU on a server. [Martin Peres] is going to be away for a few months and still wants access to his PC. This isn’t really all that tough… it’s what SSH is made for. But he also wants lower-level access to the hardware. Specifically he needs to control and get feedback on what the PSU is doing, and even wanted to have access to the serial console without having to go through the computer’s NIC.

The image above shows one part of his solution. This is a custom Ethernet port that connects to his Rasberry Pi header breakout board. Inside the computer the jack is wired to the motherboard power LED to give feedback about the current state of the power supply. It also patches into the green wire on the PSU, which lets him turn on the power by pulling it to ground. After working out the cable routing he developed a web interface that makes it easy to interact with the setup.

As with other hacks along these lines letting an embedded computer run 24/7 is a lot less wasteful than leaving a PC on. That’s a concept we can really get behind.

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Bits and Pieces Robotic Arm

[V0R73X], who is 17  has been working on a project, to build A robotic arm. This project started out as a challenge put forward from one of his school teachers to build a robotic arm for $200.  [VoR73X] accepted, and the challenge began.

He came up with a robotic arm that can be controlled from his mobile phone and other bluetooth enabled devices. He also designed it so that he can control it from the infrared remote control of an old tv set. [VoR73X] decided to kept the design simple, to make it easy for others to build.  [VoR73X] has shared the code and a step by step process of how to build in the hopes that others would also like to take up the challenge.  Watch the video after the break for further details on his project.

via[Instructables]

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Control your house by moving your arms like you’re directing traffic

This home automation project lets you flap your arms to turn things on and off. [Toon] and [Jiang] have been working on the concept as part of their Master’s thesis at University. It uses a 3D camera with some custom software to pick up your gestures. What we really like is the laser pointer which provides feedback. You can see a red dot on the wall which followers where ever he points. Each controllable device has a special area to which the dot will snap when the user is pointing close to it. By raising his other arm the selected object can be turned on or off.

Take a look at the two videos after the break to get a good overview of the concept. We’d love to see some type of laser projector used instead of just a single dot. This way you could have a pop-up menu system. Imagine getting a virtual remote control on the wall for skipping to the next audio track, adjusting the volume, or changing the TV channel.

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Garage door opener now a bedroom door closer

[Roy] had an extra garage door opener on hand and decided to put it to use as a remote control closing mechanism for his bedroom door. We gather he has some noisy housemates as the inspiration for the project came from not wanting to get out of bed to close the door when the ruckus interrupts his TV watching.

The image above shows the hinged system which translates the linear motion from the garage opener track to the rotational force necessary to swing the door closed. We’d say he really nailed it because the system matches the angle of the door jamb perfectly, and when the door is fully open the angle bracket is almost flat against the wall. We certainly don’t have the same need for closing doors, but the mechanism is something to keep in mind.

The motor for the opener is hidden beneath his desk. You won’t be able to see it in the video after the break because he built a matching enclosure around it. Now he just needs to add some WiFi connectivity and he can ditch the uni-tasking RF remote for a smart phone app.

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Control your PC with a remote

Because his computer is gradually turning into an all-inclusive media display device, [Shawn] figured a remote to control the volume and a video playlist would be a reasonable addition. TV remotes for computers have been around for years, but [Shawn] decided to go the DIY route and build his own computer remote.

For the build, [Shawn] used a Teensy dev board with an IR receiver module and the requisite infrared remote library. To translate infrared signals to keyboard commands,[Shawn] decided to base his project off a previous build that used a small program called AutoHotKey.

Right now the build can cycle through a pre-defined YouTube and Shoutcast playlist and change the volume of the currently playing track. There’s also support for moving the mouse with directional buttons on the remote, but we’re wondering if a better implementation would be using the Windows multimedia keyboard scan codes that should be supported by [Shawn]‘s laptop.

Still, [Shawn] managed a very nice build that would fit into our computer battlestations quite nicely. Check out the demo of the remote in action after the break.

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GSM remote control with the TiDiGino

tidigino-gsm-remote

If you’re looking to remotely control things around the house, but can’t do it over the Internet or via WiFi, the TiDiGino just might have what you’re looking for. [Boris Landoni] from Open Electronics sent some information on the TiDiGino our way, and it certainly looks like a useful device if you’re in need of a solid GSM remote control module.

At the heart of the TiDiGino lies an ATmega2560, which is normally used in the Arduino Mega, so there’s plenty of processing power to go around. While the form factor differs just a wee bit from what you would expect from an Arduino, the TiDiGino sports all the proper connectivity to support any standard Arduino shield along with the requisite libraries required for use.

Through a contest/community effort, the TiDiGino supports remote alarm, gate control, remote thermostat control, and DTMF remote control functionality right out of the box. We imagine that our readers can dream up a litany of other uses as well, since GSM remote control tends to be pretty popular around here.

Be sure to check out the Open Electronics site if you’re interested in learning more about the TiDiGino – you’ll find a complete BoM along with code and schematics, making it easy to build your own.