Custom Double-Din Mount for Nexus 7 Carputer

Many new vehicles come with computers built into the dashboard. They can be very handy with features like GPS navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, and more. Installing a computer into an older car can sometimes be an expensive process, but [Florian] found a way to do it somewhat inexpensively using a Nexus 7 tablet.

The size of the Nexus 7 is roughly the same as a standard vehicle double-din stereo slot. It’s not perfect, but pretty close. [Florian] began by building a proof of concept mounting bracket. This model was built from sections of MDF hot glued and taped together. Plastic double-din mounting brackets were attached the sides of this new rig, allowing it to be installed into the dashboard.

Once [Florian] knew that the mounting bracket was feasible, it was time to think about power. Most in-vehicle devices are powered from the cigarette lighter adapter. [Florian] went a different direction with this build. He started with a cigarette lighter to USB power adapter, but he cut off the actual cigarette lighter plug. He ended up wiring this directly into the 12V line from the stereo’s wiring harness. This meant that the power cord could stay neatly tucked away inside of the dashboard and also leave the cigarette lighter unused.

[Florian] then wanted to replace the MDF frame with something stronger and nicer. He modeled up his idea in Solidworks to make sure the measurements would be perfect. Then the pieces were all laser cut at his local Techshop. Once assembled, the plastic mounting brackets were placed on the sides and the whole unit fit perfectly inside of the double-din slot.

When it comes to features, this van now has it all. The USB hub allows for multiple USB devices to be plugged in, meaning that Nexus only has a single wire for both power and all of the peripherals. Among these peripherals are a USB audio interface, an SD card reader, and a backup camera. There is also a Bluetooth enabled OBD2 reader that can monitor and track the car’s vitals. If this project seems familiar to you, it’s probably because we’ve seen a remarkably similar project in the past.

Dial is a Simple and Effective Wireless Media Controller

[Patrick] was looking for an easier way to control music and movies on his computer from across the room. There is a huge amount of remote control products that could be purchased to do this, but as a hacker [Patrick] wanted to make something himself. He calls his creation, “Dial” and it’s a simple but elegant solution to the problem.

Dial looks like a small cylindrical container that sits on a flat surface. It’s actually split into a top and bottom cylinder. The bottom acts as a base and stays stationary while the top acts as a dial and a push button. The case was designed in SOLIDWORKS and printed on a 3D printer.

The Dial runs on an Arduino Pro mini with a Bluetooth module. The original prototype used Bluetooth 2.0 and required a recharge after about a day. The latest version uses the Bluetooth low energy spec and can reportedly last several weeks on a single charge. Once the LiPo battery dies, it can be recharged easily once plugged into a USB port.

The mechanical component of the dial is actually an off-the-shelf rotary encoder. The encoder included a built-in push button to make things easier. The firmware is able to detect rotation in either direction, a button press, a double press, and a press-and-hold. This gives five different possible functions.

[Patrick] wrote two pieces of software to handle interaction with the Dial. The first is a C program to deal with the Bluetooth communication. The second is actually a set of Apple scripts to actually handle interaction between the Dial and the various media programs on his computer. This allows the user to more easily write their own scripts for whatever software they want. While this may have read like a product review, the Dial is actually open source! Continue reading “Dial is a Simple and Effective Wireless Media Controller”

3D Printing RC Airplanes that Fly: An Engineer’s Chronicle

In the past, creating accurate replicas of models and fantasy objects was a task left to the most talented of cosplayers. These props need not be functional, though. [Steve Johnstone] takes replica model-building to the next step. He’s designing and building a model airplane that flies, and he’s documenting every step of the way.

Armed with a variety of 3D printing techniques and years of model-building experience, [Steve] is taking the lid off a number of previously undocumented techniques, many of which are especially relevant to the model-builder equipped with a 3D printer in the workshop.

As he continues his video log, [Steve] takes you through each detail, evaluating the quality of both his tools and techniques. How does a Makerbot, a Formlabs, and a Shapeways print stand up against being used in the target application? [Steve] evaluates a number of his turbine prints with a rigorous variable-controlled test setup.

How can we predict the plane’s center-of-gravity before committing to a physical design? [Steve] discusses related design decisions with an in-depth exploration of his CAD design, modeled down to the battery-pack wires. Though he’s not entirely finished, [Steve’s] work serves as a great chance to “dive into the mind of the engineer,” a rare opportunity when we usually discover a project after it’s been sealed from the outside.

3D printing functional parts with hobbyist-grade printers is still a rare sight, though we’ve seen a few pleasant and surprisingly practical components. With some tips from [Steve], we may complete this video journey with a few techniques that bump us out of the “novelty” realm and into a space where we too can start reliably printing functional parts. We’re looking forward to seeing the maiden voyage.

Continue reading “3D Printing RC Airplanes that Fly: An Engineer’s Chronicle”

The FrankenCamera: Digitizing Old School Film into Something New

After being awarded a generous sum of money from a scholarship fund, [Ollie] decided to utilize some of the cash to convert an analog camera into a device that could store photos onto an SD card. The result was this FrankenCamera that was pieced together from multiple electronic parts to create a new photograph-taking machine.

The Konica Auto S3 rangefinder was chosen due to its stellar fixed 38mm f1.8 lens and unobtrusive internal leaf shutter. A Sony NEX-5 was dismantled and the components were removed and transplanted into the Konica Auto S3. This included a circuit board, SD card slot, and battery connector.

The housing for the electronics was 3D printed from CAD files that were developed in SolidWorks. Designs were sent to a company in London who did the actual SLS printing.

Once completed, the camera operated just like any digital camera, but with the added twist of knowing that it was created from an old school camera frame with new electronic parts, making it a nice hacked together work of functional art.

Videos of the working FrankenCamera can be seen below:

Continue reading “The FrankenCamera: Digitizing Old School Film into Something New”

3D Printering: Making A Thing With Solidworks, Part II


Last week we started to Make a Thing  in Solidworks.  We got as far as sketching and extruding the base. This week we’ll make the back portion. We’ll use some of the same techniques in Part I and a few new features such as 3D filleting and the Hole Wizard.

As you know, this is not the first ‘Making a Thing’ tutorial. In case you missed them, the softwares previously covered in the 3D Printering series are:


Continue reading “3D Printering: Making A Thing With Solidworks, Part II”

3D Printering: Making A Thing With Solidworks, Part I


Brian has graciously allowed me to hop on the 3D Printering bandwagon to write a brief intro to the wonderful world of Solidworks. We’ll be making the same ‘thing’ as done in the previous ‘Making a Thing’ tutorials:


Admittedly, most Hackaday readers probably don’t have Solidworks as it is a very expensive program. The main reason we are posting this tutorial is so that you can understand the work flow and compare it to some of the free/open packages out there.

Continue reading “3D Printering: Making A Thing With Solidworks, Part I”

Printing an Aston Martin DB4


With 3D printers finding their way into the workshops of makers the world over, it was bound to happen sooner or later. [Ivan Sentch] is making an Aston Martin DB4 with a 3D printer.

Before we board the hype train, let’s go over what this is project is not: [Ivan] isn’t making any metal parts with his 3D printer, and the chassis and engine will be taken from a donor car. Also, the printed plastic parts won’t actually make their way into the final build; the 3D printed body panels will be used to pull the final panels in fiberglass. That being said, it’s still an impressive undertaking that’s going to cost [Ivan] $2250 NZD in plastic alone.

[Ivan]’s body panels are made by taking a DB4 model in Solidworks, slicing it up into 105mm squares, giving each square extruded sides, and finally securing them to the wooden form after the parts are printed. There’s still an awful lot of work to be done once the 3D printed parts are all glued together, but it’s still an amazingly impressive – and cheap – way to create a replica of a very famous automobile.