Addressable RGB LED Coffee Table

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[Alexander] has just put the finishing touches on his Addressable RGB LED Coffee Table and it looks amazing!

Making use of his local hackerspace, Sector67 in Madison, Wisconsin, he learned how to use woodworking equipment to build the table out of nice curly maple wood sheet.

Next up he purchased two 4′x8′ pieces of 2.8mm bamboo plywood — even had to rent a U-Haul just to get it back to the space. Talk about dedication to a project! Having never used a laser cutter before either, [Alexander] was quickly fed up with the crappy laser interface software, so instead, he hand wrote the shapes as SVGs in notepad and then converted them to DXFs. That sounds like a rather slow way to do it, but he thinks it ended up being quicker since it’s all straight lines. Two hours of laser time later, and he had a series of slotted strips to create the grid for the LEDs.

To really light up his project, he’s using nice big 12mm RGB LEDs that he’s ordered off of eBay — they came in four strands of 50 which made it super easy to wire. A beefy 5V 12A PSU provides the juice, and an Arduino takes care of the addressing. He’s even hidden the main power cord through one of the legs!

It’s a gorgeous build, and an impressive project for being a first-timer on most of the equipment used. See for yourself in the short video after the break.

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Hacking gets a cover story

We do see hacking in mainstream print media from time to time, but you know the movement must be gathering steam when a collection of hacks gets the cover story in a local paper. This week’s issue of The Isthmus – the premiere free newspaper here in Madison, WI – features the local hackerspace and a handful of green hacks.

The man seen riding the pedal-powered plow above is [Kevin Blake], a mechanical engineer for Trek Bicycles which is headquartered in Waterloo, WI. He built the rig with the chassis of a riding lawnmower, adding shovel blades in a V-shape on the front, with cranks and other parts salvaged from bicycles.

The article goes on to feature the local hackerspace, Sector67, by interviewing its founder, [Chris Meyer]. The paper tracked down some other local hackers (and Sector67 members) who have been prototyping wind turbines.

The largest feature in the story goes to [Ben Nelson's] Geo Metro electric vehicle conversion. The self-employed video producer picked up the diminutive car for about $500 and dropped in a forklift motor which he picked up at a garage sale ($50 + $50 for new brushes makes for a steal at $100). But here’s the best part of the project: after ripping out the unneeded parts for the car he sold them for $550. Anyway, all said and done he’s got about $1300 invested in the project and now has an all-electric car that gets up to 45 mph with a range of twenty miles in between charges. Maybe a big tail cone would help extend that reach.

This is the most interesting stuff we’ve read in the newspaper in years. Maybe you should contact your local journalists for a feature in your area? If they’re not receptive, don’t fret… we’re always looking for great builds to feature here at Hackaday.

Hackerspaces sprouting up around the Midwest

[Chris Cooper] wrote in letting us know that this weekend is the grand opening of QC Co-Lab, a hackerspace in Davenport, Iowa. They kicked the weekend off in grand fashion on Friday by sand casting bronze medallions with a blast furnace. The 4000 square foot facility has plenty of room for new members so if you’re in the area check it out. It’s not too late to join in on the tail end of the festivities.

Sector67 is also making plans for its grand opening. The Madison, Wisconsin based hackerspace will officially open on October 15th. There was a strong turnout for the first viewing of the facilities on September 7th (see for yourself), with plenty of building, arranging, and accumulating to be done before the official start. [Chris Meyer] has been working hard to get the organization off the ground, acquiring several grants, and working with the School Factory (something of a quick-start incubator for hackerspace-type non-profits). Want to see more? Thanks to [Andrew Seidl] you can peruse a set of quality photos from the event.