[Alex Busman]‘s first foray in iOS programming looks like a pretty useful tool. He came up with Ohm Sense, an iPhone app that will take a picture of a resistor and calculate the value based on the color bands. It’s a great tool that we wish we had when we were starting out. At 99 cents, the app is also much cheaper than the emotional cost of our relationship with Violet.
A Hack a Day reader needed a tool to solder a lot of SMD parts, so he built a DIY heat gun, and we’re impressed with the results.
After trawling the internet looking for ideas for his heat gun, [MRGATZ85] found that most builds used the ceramic element from cheap soldering irons. Experiments in this direction didn’t go very well because the ceramic element in these irons tends to fall apart very easily. In a moment of inspiration, [MRGATZ85] realized he had an old vaporizer lying around and decided to take it apart. To his surprise, the vaporizer element was a great size, self-contained, and most importantly free. After fabricating a case out of high-temperature foam, aerosol cans, and deadbolt parts, [MRGATS85] was left with a very nice build.
Aside from SMD work, a heatgun can be a very valuable tool for PCB stripping and being used for solder reflow. We’re a little surprised we haven’t seen a homebrew heat gun in quite a while. Even though the element is surrounded by high-temperature foam, the gun still gets a little hot to the touch. We’re hoping that will eventually be under control; it’s a very useful build otherwise.
Check out the image gallery, or the video demo after the break.
While working on electronics projects, it’s often necessary to test out different capacitance or resistance values as things are moving along. Depending on what you are testing, this can be a tedious process even when using a breadboard. Instructables user [mattthegamer463] recently built a very useful device that would help out in these situations, and would likely be a welcome addition to any Hackaday reader’s workbench.
His variable resistor/capacitor box makes it easy to test out any number of different resistance or capacitance values with a simple turn of a knob. He wired up a pair of pots to provide a wide range of resistance values, being sure to add a low-resistance safety as well as safety override switch for those of you who like to
have things blow up in your face live dangerously. A set of 22 capacitors were wired up on a piece of perfboard, each of which can be selected using a pair of knobs. He added a simple switch to allow the capacitors to be toggled between parallel and series orientations as well.
[Matt] did a wonderful job here – this is a great project that can be customized in a multitude of ways to fit almost anyone’s specific needs.
At roughly $20 to build, this 9 digit pulse counter is an excellent example of home built tools. The builder, [Josh] found himself repairing a device and in need of a pulse counter. With the components cheaply available, he just built his own. He says that it has a few limitations, like display brightness, but overall it seems to do the job well. You can download the PCB from his site.
Mechanics crawler + 80cc motor – safety concerns = deathtrap
It’s really that final “Brakes? Why would I need to stop?” that puts this project over the edge. Regardless, check out a video after the break. And please, do not try this at home.
A dedicated rolling chest for one’s tools is among the most indulgent yet worthwhile acquisitions. Having everything mobile and organized for quick access improves efficiency and keeps the shop tidy. But holy living crap, have you priced these things? Even a mediocre setup costs more than the gross national product of some small nations!
Here’s a project that tarts up a dresser into a passable tool chest. Using casters, modern drawer pulls and a tidy paint job, they turn a nasty old dresser into something presentable. It’s nowhere near as slick as the commercial units…no ball bearing glides, not chemical resistant, and your macho grease monkey friends will just roll their eyes…but if you’d rather spend your hard-earned money on more and better tools than a pretty box to put them in, this might be just the thing. From across the room, you’d hardly know the difference.
A good tool chest will include several shallow drawers so that all the tools are visible at a glance and not buried in a jumble. If searching for a piece of furniture to re-use, look for something with multiple slim drawers rather than just a few deep ones; a large jewelry chest might work well.
adafruit industries’ latest product is an adjustable breadboard power supply kit. We’ve seen breadboard supplies before, but like most of adafruit’s kits, this is the best design you’re going to encounter. It uses an MIC2941 voltage regulator instead of the more commonplace LM317. It has a very low dropout which means your output voltage can be much closer to the input voltage. Their example is using 3AAA or a Li-Ion battery for an output of 3.3V. Input can be through a barrel jack or terminal blocks. There is a selection switch for 3.3, 5, and adjustable voltage. Using the adjustment pot you can select an output voltage anywhere from 1.3V to within .5V of the 20V maximum input. The adjusted output voltage will remain the same even if you increase the input voltage. Like all of their kits, you can find schematics, assembly and usage instructions, on their project site.