Hackaday Links: August 3, 2014

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A ton of people sent in this video of crazy Russians who have taken a microwave, removed the magnetron, taped it to a broom, and turned it on. Don’t try this at home. Or near us.

You know the Google Cardboard kit that’s a real VR headset made of cardboard (and a smart phone)? Google may have gotten their inspiration from Oculus, because every Oculus Rift DK2 ships with a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 inside.

paul allen

Ever design a PCB and be disappointed by the quality of the silkscreen? [Paul Allen] has been defining the edges of his PCB labels with the copper layer, and the examples are dramatic. Etching copper is what you actually pay for when you fab a board, so it should come as no surprise that the quality is a little higher.

Dunk tanks are fun, but how about competitive dunk tanks? [Chad] built a dunk tank (really more of a ‘dunk shower’) out of a 2×4 tripod, a garbage can, and a few parts from a the toilet aisle of Home Depot’s plumbing department. Then he built a second. Set up both dunk showers across from each other, give two people a few balls, and see who gets soaked last. Looks fun.

Want a MAME cabinet, but don’t want it taking up room in your house? Build a MAME coffee table! Here’s the reddit thread. Maybe we’re old-fashioned, but we’d rather have a giant NES controller coffee table.

Last week we saw a 16-bobbin rope braiding machine, but odd braiding machines like this aren’t limited to fibers. Here’s a wire twisting machine for making RS422 cables. It only produces a single twisted pair, but that’s really all you need to create a cable. Somebody get some paracord and make some Cat5.

Easy Multi-Touch Table

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[2bigbros] put up an Instructable on his multi-touch table build. It’s a nice setup, using the typical frustrated total internal reflection method for touch sensing. Tinkerman’s Method was used for the screen itself, which involves rolling silicon onto vellum with a paint roller to improve the bond. [2bigbros] then built a nice aluminum and wooden frame for the whole thing. He’s light on some details, but most people with a basic understanding and Google will be able to figure it out.

This is a very accessible project for most builders. If you’re interested in getting into it, there are plenty of projects to reference. We previously covered the basics, as well as a more involved build. We’ve even seen an interactive tower defense game using multi-touch. If you decide to build one of your own, don’t forget the excellent resource at TUIO for finding frameworks and example implementations.

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Scratch-built bottle cap coffee table pulses to the music

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This isn’t a thrift-store coffee table modified as a craft project. [Dandujmich] built it from the ground-up using framing lumber, bottle caps, plastic resin, and some electronics for bling.

The first step was to see if he had enough caps on hand for the project. It’s hard to grasp how many were used just by looking at it, but the gallery description tells us there’s about 1700 which went into the design! From there he grabbed some 2x4s and began construction. The table legs started with two end assemblies built by doweling the legs to the end cross pieces. From there he cut a rabbit on the side rails and screwed them to the leg assemblies from the inside.

The tabletop includes a frame with a recessed area deep enough to keep the caps below the surface. After spending about ten hours super gluing all of the caps in place he mixed and poured two gallons of the resin to arrive at a glass-like finish. The final touch is some custom hardware which pulses two rows of embedded LEDs to music being played in the room. The video after the break isn’t fantastic, but it gives you some idea of how that light rig works.

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Beautiful table made from a bowling alley

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For a workbench, desk, or even a dining room table, there’s nothing quite like a massive piece of laminated maple put to use as the surface of a table. Whether in the form of butcher block, a shop class table, or in [Dillon]‘s case, a reclaimed bowling lane, laminated maple provides one of the best possible table surfaces.

A while back, [Dillon] found someone on Craigslist willing to part with an eight foot section of a bowling alley for about $300. After trucking this two and a half inch thick, 250 pound monstrosity home, work began on converting it to a dining room table.

Bowling alleys are constructed by workers laying down maple strips and nailing them together one row at a time. This provides a stable surface when mounted on a concrete platform, but is completely insufficient for a table. To keep his bowling alley table from sagging, [Dillon] routed out three slots for aluminum bars going across the width of the lane. These bars were then screwed into each individual maple strip in the lane, resulting in a very sturdy surface.

The strengthened lane was then resurfaced with the help of a huge industrial belt sander and finished with a satin polyurethane. The legs of the table are made out of CNC’d 18mm Baltic birch plywood held together with metal fasteners.

The end result is a beautiful table ready to last 100 years. Considering [Dillon] spent less than $1000 on this table – and the price of eight feet of 2.5″ butcher block – we’re going to call this a win for [Dillon], his kids, and grandkids.

Robot stroller lets baby steer without mowing down other toddlers

We’ve seen strollers and car seats that have a steering wheel for the baby to play with (like in the opening of The Simpsons). But what we hadn’t seen is a stroller that allows baby to actually steer. You might think that a putting a motorized vehicle in the hands of someone so young is an accident waiting to happen. But [Xandon Frogget] thought of that and used familiar hardware to add some safety features.

The stroller seen above is a tricycle setup, making it quite easy to add motors to the two rear wheels. These are controlled by a tablet which you can see nestled on the canopy of the stroller (look for the light reflected on the glass). This interfaces with two Kinect sensors, one pointing forward and the other pointing back. They continually scan the environment, looking for obstacles in the stroller’s path. You can see [Xandon's] little girl holding a Wii Wheel, which connects with the tablet to facilitate steering. A test run at the playground is embedded after the break.

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Turning the Raspberry Pi into a cocktail MAME coffee table

Ah, the cocktail arcade cabinet. With the right design, its able to blend right in to any living room decor, much more than any traditional stand-up cabinet, at least. [graham] over on Instructables didn’t tear apart a 30-year-old arcade cabinet for his new coffee table. Instead, he built one from scratch, connected it to a Rasberry Pi, and brought hundreds of arcade classics right in front of his couch.

The build began by cutting up some wood to house the 24″ LCD screen, Raspi, and arcade controls. The LCD screen is supported with a rather clever system of cross braces screwed into the VESA mount, and of course a piece of perspex protects the screen from the inevitable spills and scratches.

The joystick two blue ‘player’ buttons and the player 1 and player two buttons are wired directly to the GPIO pins of the Raspberry Pi. The Raspi boots up into a selection of MAME games, but there’s also an option for opening up the window manager and browsing the web.

It’s a very neat build that’s a lot smaller (and easier to build) than a traditional cocktail cabinet. As [graham] is using it for a coffee table, it might get more use than a regular MAME build, to boot.

Fancy beer pong table cleans your balls

Beer Pong seems to have been around for some time but it only recently exploded in to a universally known game. But one thing has always bothered us. Who wants to drink the beer into which that grimy little ball has fallen? Leave it to the frat boys at MIT to come up with a solution. Their beer pong table automatically cleans your balls.

Of course the table looks great. It’s outfitted with laser cut felt lettering on the apron, and the top features EL wire highlights. But the two features that really set it apart aren’t hard to spot either. First, there are rain gutters along either side to help catch the spillage. Secondly, that blue ring is actually the input nozzle for the ball cleaner. By pushing the ball through the vinyl sleeve it enters a recirculating liquid cleanser, popping out of the portal on the left a second later. That’s about all the details we have on the system, but you can get a closer look at the inner workings in the clip after the break.

The thing to remember is that these guys NEVER run out of ping-pong balls. They’ve got thousands on hand ever since they built this launcher.

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