Separating a working scanner from its broken printer

The laser printer portion of this all-in-one machine gave up the ghost and [Entropia] couldn’t get it working again. But the scanner was still functioning so he decided to separate the scanner from its dead printer module.

The model in question is a Samsung SCX-4200. The design is actually perfect for separation because the scanner sits on top of the out feed tray of the printer. It can even be lifted to allow more room for printed pages to pile up. All he has to do is separate the hinged connector and reroute the flat cables. But the real question in [Entropia's] mind was whether or not the control board would work without the laser printer components connected to it.

He carefully disassembled the unit, spilling toner here and there which is left over from a catastrophic knock-off toner cartridge incident. A quick test showed him that although the drivers complain that the paper tray is open, the scanner does still work. He glued the controller board seen on the left to the bottom of the scanner enclosure, and added some felt feet. Now his scanner is closer to the size you’d expect. And on the plus side he gained a geared stepper motor, laser scanning unit, exhaust fan, and a couple of solenoids to use in future projects.

Getting a home built scanner from ’92 up and running again

In 1992, [Arpi] didn’t have much time for Ninja Turtles, Nintendos, and other wonderful wastes of time his fellow geeks were raised on. He was busy building a scanner for his Commodore 64. Although this very impressive build could have been lost to the sands of time, he pulled his project out of the attic for a “Try to use it again” party. Although this party is not a formal competition, we’re going to say that [Arpi] walked home that night with the most geek cred.

While there are no build details, there is a bunch of info to be gleaned from the gallery about how this machine was built. We’re pretty sure a good majority of the build was a typewriter at one point, and it looks like there’s a windshield wiper motor in there somewhere. Like this completely unrelated but similar build, [Arpi]‘s scanner uses a photoresistor and a few LEDs to transfer image data to the custom software. In case you were wondering, yes, the ancient 5 1/4 floppy disk was still readable – one of the few advantages of the huge sectors on these disks.

Check out the videos of this scanner in action after the break, and if you’ve got a decades-old hack sitting in your attic (remember that acoustic modem you built?), send it in on the tip line.

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Playing classic 60s tunes with an all electronic band

house-of-the-rising-sun

If you are considering repurposing some old computer equipment to create music, be aware that the bar has been raised just a tad. YouTube user [BD594] spent some time sifting through his bin of used electronics and put together a 5-piece band that plays a pretty awesome rendition of The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun”.

Last week, we saw a pretty impressive hack with a floppy drive that could bang out music using a calculator, but this takes things to a whole new level. [BD594] used an old HP ScanJet to simulate the song’s vocals, while an Atari 800XL combined with an oscilloscope is used as an organ. A Ti-99/4a is used in conjunction with another scope to play guitar notes, while a PIC-controlled hard drive does double duty, playing both the bass drum and cymbals.

We dare you to watch the video below and NOT be thoroughly impressed with his work.

[BD594] says that once he has a bit of free time, he’ll be putting out another video – something we’ll be anxiously waiting to see.

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Home tanning lamps become organ donors for a PCB exposure bed

Some projects benefit greatly from the parts a builder is able to find. Take this UV exposure bed for photo-resist copper clad boards (translated). It looks like a commercial product, but was actually built by [TabascoEye] and his fellow hackers.

The main sources for parts were a flatbed scanner (which acts as the case) and two self-tanning lamps that use UVA flourescent bulbs. By sheer luck the bulbs and their reflectors are exactly the right size to fit into the top and bottom cavities of the scanner. The control hardware centers around an ATtiny2313 micorocontroller, which takes input from a clickable rotary encoder, and displays exposure information on a character LCD. The finished product deserves a place right next to other professional-looking exposure boxes that we’ve looked at.

Automated scanning for a pile of documents

The Gado project is part of the Johns Hopkins University Center for African Studies. It has been tasked with archiving documents having to do with the East Baltimore Oral Histories Project. In short, they’ve got a pile of old pictures and documents that they want digitized but are not easily run through a page-fed scanner because they are fragile and not standard sizes. The rig seen above is an automated scanner which picks up a document from the black bin on the left, places it on the flat-bed scanner seen in the middle, and moves it to the black bin on the right once it has been scanned. It’s not fast, but it’s a cheap build (great if you’ve got a tight budgt) and it seems to work.

The machine is basically a three-axis CNC assembly. Above you can see one motor which lifts the lid of the scanner. You can’t see the document gripper in this image, but check the video after the break which shows the machine in action. A vacuum powered suction cup moves on a gantry (y-axis) but is also able to adjust its height (z-axis) and distance perpendicular to the gantry (x-axis) in order to grab one page at a time.

The pictures on the build log have captions to give you an idea of how this was built. We didn’t see any info about post-processing but let’s hope they have an auto-crop and auto-deskew filter in place to really make this automatic.

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Cheap and reliable portable face recognition system

faceaccess_portable_facial_recognition

For their senior ECE 4760 project, engineering students [Brian Harding and Cat Jubinski] put together a pretty impressive portable face recognition system called FaceAccess. The system relies on the eigenface method to help distinguish one user from another, a process that the pair carried out using MatLab.

They say that the system only needs to be hooked up to a computer once, during the training period. It is during this period that faces are scanned and processed in MatLab to create the eigenface set, which is then uploaded to the scanner.

Once programmed, the scanner operates independently of the computer, powered by its own ATmega644 micro controller. Users enroll their face by pressing one button on the system, storing their identity as a combination of eigenfaces in the onboard flash chip. Once an individual has been enrolled, a second button can be pressed to gain access to whatever resources the face recognition system is protecting.

The students say that their system is accurate 88% of the time, with zero false positives – that’s pretty impressive considering the system’s portability and cost.

Stick around to see a quick demo video of their FaceAccess system in action.

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CNC mill built from junk and hardware store parts

[Csshop] is setting a new bar for building an inexpensive CNC mill. Not only did he complete his build at a very low cost, but it seems to work quite well too. Check out the video after the break to see the device cut out thin wood parts for a toy plane.

The majority of the build uses scrap wood for the body of the mill. The business end of the device is a flexible rotary attachment for a Dremel tool which takes a lot of the weight and bulk out of the gantry assembly. Old flat bed scanners were gutted for the precision ground rod and bearings, as well as the three stepper motors used to drive the axes. An Arduino board controls the device, commanding the stepper motors via EasyDriver boards.

Once the hardware is assembled there’s still a fair amount of work to do. [Csshop] builds his designs in Google Sketchup, but some conversion is necessary to arrive at code that the Arduino will understand. He’s got a second project write-up that covers the software side of things.

[Read more...]

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