R2D2 wannabe lacks lightsaber launcher, autonomy

Is this what the lovable Star Wars droid would look like without its protective skin? This R2D2 inspired robot is another Olin College of Engineering (where that CNC cake decorator came from) build developed by [Nathaniel Ting] and his classmates. Alas, it lacks autonomy, relying on an operator for guidance. But we enjoy it for the build quality. Two motorcycle batteries supply DC motors on the two rear legs of the trike. It can be driven with a wireless Xbox controller or through a Python interface that also randomly plays droid audio clips from the movie. That’s a tilting projector on top, which would be used to show Princess Leia’s pleas for assistance. That is, after the operator plugs in an extension cord to power it up. Oh well, it’s still a lot of fun to watch. See for yourself after the break.

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Lightsaber boasts detachable blade and crystal chamber

[Bradley W. Lewis] continues to amaze us with this Return of the Jedi Lightsaber build. You’ll remember his fine work from his previous Episode IV replica. He’s taken the parts that turned out well for him and expanded upon them. In the demonstration after the break you’ll see the new version has a removable blade (which happens to house 90 LEDs). Just like the last time he’s got a Hasbro sound board and a speaker to add the Jedi-like sound effects. But there’s another trick up his sleeve. Two parts of the grip slide apart on a spring-loaded assembly to reveal the crystal that gives the weapon its sting. And as we found out the last time, [Bradley] really knows how to share his work in the build log.

Oh, and the drawings above? Well, someone who plans this meticulously obviously knows what they’re doing.

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Lightsaber color selector

[George Hadley] developed a nice setup to control the color of a replica Lightsaber. A small PCB houses a PIC 18F2221 and three switching transistors for the colors. A powerful LED resides in the tip of the handle, lighting up the diffuser that makes up the blade. But our favorite part is the control scheme. He’s embedded a small RGB LED in the handle, giving feedback as to which color of light can currently be adjusted (red, green, or blue). One button scrolls through the colors and a slide potentiometer adjusts that them.

We wouldn’t go as far as calling this a Halloween prop, we think it’s better suited for serious replica builds. But it would make an amazing addition to the little one’s costume. See it in action after the break.

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Millennium Falcon doll house

Sometimes all it takes is one idea. The shape of a cutting board found at a thrift store prompted [Paul] to build a Millenium Falcon doll house. In addition to the strangely shaped cutting board, a ring from a CD spindle and some wood slats divide the internals while PVC fittings complete the cockpit assembly. To really bring things alive for the kids [Lin] made a bunch of minifigs from hobby pegs. These exhibit her artistic skills as we think they’re better than most of the stuff you could buy in a store.

Kids really bring out the best in hacking. Looks like these children have been enjoying the spoils of hacker parents for a while, with a cardboard rocketship (beats any refrigerator box hands down), Pixie-Dust bottles using some small LED bits, and a doll bed that repurposes a wine rack.

[Thanks Joby]

Devote your life to replicating a lightsaber

Life-sized Star Wars replica props, it’s one way to keep the ladies away. But if you’re going to make them, you should do it right. [Bradley W. Lewis] spent some serious time getting this [Obi-Wan Kenobi] lightsaber right. The seven-page build log provides plenty of eye-candy. We especially enjoyed the machine and coloring of he grenade-fin portion. The LED ladder that lights the blade is also quite interesting. For the icing on the cake he incorporated a high-performance speaker connected to the sound board from a Hasbro Force FX which provides that classic swashbuckling sound from a galaxy far, far away.

Hackaday links: August 15, 2010

Creepy or not?

Do you find these faces creepy or cute? They can display a huge range of facial gestures and the German engineers who designed them were trying to avoid the uncanny valley. That’s the point at which human features on a robot seem quite real, but are off in just the right way as to cause revulsion. [Thanks Simon]

Water in your ink cartridge

Like all great hackers [Dean] digs through his neighbors’ trash. He found an inkjet printer but wanted to test it out before buying new cartridges. The old ones were dried up but he revitalized them with an injection of filtered water. It might get you through that quick printing project without a trip to Walgreen’s.

Laser-cut LP record

[Niklas Roy] demonstrates a laser-cut LP record. He’s using acrylic as a medium, kind of like a big CD with grooves in it. He’s got several tracks that are simple loops instead of the longer spirals you may be familiar with. They definitely sound different but it’s up to you to decide if that’s by design, or a fluke.

Star Wars cinema

Ever wonder what to do with those classic toys you’ve got sitting around? Here’s a little video that envisions your life with an AT-AT as the house pet. [Thanks Gabe via Wired]