Machining an SLR camera from scratch

It took us a while to stop drooling long enough to write about this amazing machining project. [Denis MO] made a single-lens reflex camera from scratch. The banner image above is not the finished product, but just one step in the production chain. [Denis] has been thinking about doing this project for 25 years and finally took the plunge. From the start, the only parts he planned on NOT making himself were the screws, ball bearings, shutter, curtain fabric, and interchangeable lenses. Everything else is his own creation based off of his own design. Spend some time looking over his project. There’s plenty of information and images of both the machining process, and the drawings he mocked up in the design process. We’ve also included a pic of the finished camera and the contact sheet from his test roll of film after the break.

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Virtual Theremin

[Mojo] has taken a lot of the complex circuitry out of the mix by creating a virtual Theremin. A Theremin is an electronic instrument, usually with two antennas, that senses the proximity of the player’s hands to the instrument and responds accordingly.

This design, called the AirDeck, uses a Wii remote as an IR sensor and two gloves with IR LEDs in them. Data from the Wii remote is processed by a custom Java app that converts it into sound. [Mojo’s] interface also includes some alternative options such as a turn-table scratch interface.

In the end this is still just a synthesizer/midi controller and cannot stand up to the real thing. However if you’re not an accomplished player you’ll probably never notice the difference.

Destroying optical media

We got a tip about a USB CD destroyer. We found its methods amusing as it just scratches the CD as seen above on the left. If you really have data security issues, perhaps something more than scratched plastic should be used. There are a lot of paper shredders that can also shred CDs, what about taking that shredder with the burnt out motor and turning it into a hand-cranked shredder that doubles as a CD killer?

Got a lot of optical media that needs to go? These folks developed the chain-gun of CD shredding with an automatic feed. This consists of a CD shredder and a slew of discs connected with packing tape. As seen in the video after the break, the shredder advances and the next disk is pulled into its jaws.

Microwave has been a popular bringer of death for disc media. The light show and resulting chaotic art (above on the right and after the break) are what make this interesting, but it’s pretty hard on the much-loved kitchen appliance. What we’re really looking for is a way to force a CD/DVD writer to overwrite data. The fact that burnt discs, rather than factory pressed versions, are what normally need to be disposed of makes this a hack waiting to happen. Why isn’t this a standard hardware feature of all drives, and can it be implemented in software?

There’s always the low-tech snap, scratch, or mangle methods. We usually just scratch the foil off the top of the disc.

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[denha] has assembled a noise box he calls the XR-NOISE using an XR-2206 multi-waveform function generator. The output has an impressive number of controllable settings, and uses a set of LEDs to indicate sound level and rate. The XR-NOISE uses 1/4″ jacks for both in and out, and can also be controlled by the tap-sensitive mic located on the front of the box. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any further documentation or schematics to provide context, but it seems that this function generator chip has also been used for other audio hack projects as well, including a scratch-synth using resistive pressure sensors.

[via MatrixSynth]

Scratch input

Scratch input allows us to use solid surfaces as an input devices by capturing the sounds they produce. Using a stethoscope and a high pass filter, they capture the unique sounds of specific gestures. Custom software then translates this to actions for applications. The video shows some really cool stuff, like turning an entire wall into an input device. It goes around corners and past doorways. They even talk about potential using your clothes to capture input.

[via Procrastineering]

HDDJ: hard drive as rotary input


[nvillar] wanted a relatively cheap way to make a rotary input device for audio mixing. After looking at several options including turn tables and professional audio scrubbers, they decided on the hard drive due to its size, price, and the feel of the disk. The geek factor of using a hard drive as an input device probably didn’t hurt either. They provide schematics and details on how to make it all work. There’s a video after the break of the unit sending signals to a computer. No performances though, sorry.

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Nintendo DS music creation

Homebrew developer [yaarglafr] recently released this video of his Protein DScratch in action. You can download a demo version here. The program simulates DJ scratching on the DS with an intuitive interface much like the ones on the touchscreen turntables we discussed the other day. It works well with any of the major DS slot devices; just run a DLDI patch on it and you’re good to go.

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