R2D2 collects Valentine’s cards like a boss

r2d2-valentines-card-box

Think back to your school days when each student would make a box which would receive Valentine’s cards from their friends. We have fond memories of buying cards with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on them. We guess this tradition is still going strong. Instead of making a receptacle out of a shoe box  [Dr Franken Storer] helped his seven-year-old build this remote control R2D2 with sounds and lights. Yeah, it’s totally cheating. But who can begrudge a hacker dad a little fun?

The bot started as a desktop trash can. It features a domed top which looks just like the droid, but also has a hinged opening where the cards can be placed. To the lid he attached a tilt switch that triggers a Radio Shack sound player to provide the sounds. These sound modules are popular in a lot of projects like this doorbell hack. The final touch (aside from the droid decor on the outside) was to add a remote control car that lets his son drive R2 around.

We asked for more details and he delivered. You’ll find his lengthy description of the project after the jump.

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Star Wars themed MAME cabinet is perfect in this basement bar

star-wars-themed-mame-cabinet

Fans of the Star Wars series will immediately recognize these illuminated vertical bars as a piece of the style from the original movie. They decorate the MAME cabinet recently installed in this home bar. You’ve got to admit, it looks amazing. But we’re always on the prowl for the build log and this annotated 46 image set has no shortage of goodies.

The project started off as a very ordinary looking plywood frame. But it takes shape quickly as the rounded-over grills were added to the box. Holes were cut behind them to accept the acrylic that serves as a diffuser and to allow the LEDs to shine through from the inside. There are several shelves which will be used to store additional gaming systems in the future. For now all that’s inside is a pretty beefy computer that runs the emulators, allowing games to be played via the arcade buttons or using wireless Xbox controllers.

Make sure you get all the way to the end of the build images. We were delighted by the custom icons in the arcade buttons. Instead of the common player one and player two images there are silhouettes of Star Wars characters and objects. This attention to detail really makes the build something special!

[Thanks Jason]

Build a POV Death Star, you will

Building a Persistence of Vision globe is pretty awesome, but overlaying a Death Star pattern on the display takes it to the next level of geekery. Like us, [Jason] has wanted to build one of these for a long time. His success pushes us one step closer to taking the plunge and we hope it will inspire you to give it a shot too.

As he mentions in the beginning of his write up, the mechanical bits of these displays are really where the problems lie. Specifically, you need to find a way to transfer power to the spinning display. In this case use went with some DC motor brushes. These are replacement parts through which he drilled a hole to accept the metal axles on top and bottom. We hadn’t seen this technique before, but since motor brush replacements are easy to find and only cost a few bucks we’d say it’s a great idea.

The 24 blue LEDs that make up the display are all on one side of the PCB. They’re driven by an ATmega328 running the Arduino bootloader. [Jason] uses an FTDI adapter to program the chip. Don’t miss the video embedded after the break.

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For vacation on Hoth: Snow speeder sleds

Next time you’re taking a vacation anywhere that resembles the planet Hoth, you might want to take the time to build a snow speeder sled before you go. As you can see in the video above (at around the 1:00 mark), the sled looks great, even as it “flies” down the slopes. We were fairly surprised to find it was made entirely out of cardboard. We were also fairly surprised at how large the person was that unfolded from the cockpit when it stopped!

You can see pictures of the build process over at Dvice.

R2D2 drink dispenser will happily tinkle in your glass

As with Jabba the Hutt we’d like to have our own service droid to serve up a cold one. We’re in luck; it looks like you can make your very own beverage dispensing droid if you don’t mind a little awkward dispensation.

The body started as one of those big protein drink mix containers. After spraying it white and masking off the entire thing with blue painter’s tape, the shapes for the blue designs were cut out and painted. Half of a foam sphere from the hobby shop was used to form the dome.

Liquids are dispensed by the pump system from a Super Soaker motorized water gun. You can see it fill up a beaker with a mysterious blue liquid in the video after the break. It’s a long way from challenging the Bar2D2, but it’s also something a mere mortal can build

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Lightsaber lets you pick just about any ‘blade’ color

If you’re staging some epic Star Wars battles you could go original with Red or Blue lightsabers. But what if you decide you’re more of a fan of Jedi and want to go green? Or perhaps the prequels have inspired you to take on purple? Why choose at build time when you can adjust the color to match your mood.

[Phik] built himself a color-selectable lightsaber using RGB LEDs. He sourced a 5M strip of them from eBay for around $20. The pixels are not individually addressable, but each color channel can be driven with a pulse-width modulation signal to mix and match the final color. Now he could have gone with a microcontroller solution, but [Phik] decided to give himself a bit more of a challenge. He built three PWM circuits based on a 555 timer which can be adjusted with a potentiometer. It’s not going to kill any insects, but the keep-it-simple-stupid aspect of the project makes it something we could actually build ourselves. The same cannot be said for most of the replica builds we see.

Building a bug-zapping lightsaber

I have heard the joke several times that a light saber would make a great bug zapper. However, when [Ricky Sumbody] requested it on Facebook, I thought “why not?”. [Ricky] made a common mistake, he thought the bulb was the part that actually zaps the bugs. A quick google search revealed that many people had the same thought. I decide that, even though building a functional bug zapping light saber might not look as cool, I was going to do it anyway.

If you’re going to follow these instructions, be aware that this is a device that is literally designed to shock things to death.  It is dangerous.

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