Make Your Own Custom Hot Glue Sticks

Hot glue guns can be very handy tools for bonding all sorts of surfaces, while getting you accustomed to plastic burns. The one thing they lack though is color, and while yes, you can on occasion find colored glue sticks, there is usually only a limited selection and they cost way more than the normal amber or clear sticks.

[Ken] solves the blandness problem of hot glue sticks in his kitchen, as shown in this cool slideshow. In a melt and recast process, glue sticks and crayons in a 3:1 ratio are slowly heated on an electric stove in a old can. Metal tubing is lined with silicone parchment paper to act as a release agent. The now vivid and scalding hot glue is poured into the tube and left to cool.

You might be wondering how mixing colored wax into ethylene-vinyl acetate effects the glue’s strength . According to the author if you need  decrease the mix viscosity, you can add up to 10% paraffin wax by weight without effecting the bond strength. Color and viscosity control? Hot glue just keeps getting better!

Replace an N64’s worn out joystick

As gaming consoles age the controllers will inevitably show some wear, and sadly may give out all together. [Kyle] couldn’t bear to watch his Nintendo 64 controller bite the dust so he replaced the thumb stick with one from a PlayStation. This is a bigger job than you might imagine because the two parts are fundamentally different. The original N64 stick uses a rotary encoder to output data to the control chip, while the PlayStation stick is an analog device. [Kyle's] solution was to read the analog values using a PIC, but lower in the thread you can read about another user who pulled off a similar hack using an AVR. Both convert the signals into the rotary encoder format that the N64 chip is listening for. From the looks of the clip embedded after the break, this couldn’t work any better!

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Virtual pool, real-world interface

Sunday we saw robots playing pool and an augmented reality pool game. Today we’ll complete the pool trifecta: virtual pool using a real cue stick and ball in another vintage video from Hack a Day’s secret underground vault. The video is noteworthy for a couple of reasons:

First is the year it was made: 1990. There’s been much buzz lately over real-world gaming interfaces like the Nintendo Wii motion controller or Microsoft’s Project Natal. Here we’re seeing a much simpler but very effective physical interface nearly twenty years prior.

Second: the middle section of the video reveals the trick behind it all, and it turns out to be surprisingly simple. No complex sensors or computer vision algorithms; the ball’s speed and direction are calculated by an 8-bit processor and a clever arrangement of four infrared emitter/detector pairs.

The visuals may be dated, but the interface itself is ingenious and impressive even today, and the approach is easily within reach of the casual garage tinkerer. What could you make of this? Is it just a matter of time before we see a reader’s Mini-Golf Hero III game here?