Automated turntable photography

[Muris] has a friend who is selling items on the internet. This friend wanted a simple way to make rotating images of the products and asked him to help. The result of his labors is this base unit that drives the turn table and controls the camera.

The first iteration of the turntable was powered by the stepper motor from a floppy drive. A disc was mounted directly on the motor spindle, but the results were a bit poor. This is because the motor had a fairly low resolution of 200 steps per rotation. That doesn’t allow for smooth animation, and there was a lot of vibration in the system. An upgrade to the geared system you see above included swapping out that motor for one from an old scanner. Now it achieves 1200 steps per rotation and the vibration is gone.

The connectors seen in the base are USB, incoming power, and shutter control. [Muris] wrote a program to control the PIC 16F628A inside the base. The program sends commands via USB and has parameters for number of frames per rotation, direction of rotation, and the like. Set it up as desired, place the product on the turntable, and hit start. Unfortunately there’s no video of this in action because [Muris] gave it to his friend as soon as it was finished. We guess the fact that he didn’t get it back means it’s working great.

If you don’t mind some rough edges and exposed wiring you can throw a system of your own together pretty quickly.

Rotating platform makes most useless machine concept useful

[Valentin] used a simple concept to build this auto-reversing rotating platform. The concept is extremely simple, the leads for the motor are attached to a double-pole double-throw switch which allow the polarity to be reversed. Flip the switch in one direction and it spins clockwise. Flip it in the other direction and it spins counter-clockwise.

In this case, he’s harnesses the power of the most useless machine. That often seen hack uses a similar switch, but accomplishes nothing by having the moving parts act as the actuator. This one is useful, taking advantage of a single or double arm to flip the switch and make the platform spin backwards. In the video after the break you can see it’s used to create a scanning security camera. But [Valentin] also shows it at work as a turntable for salable goods. We think’s the gearing is a little brisk for both purposes, but slowing it down is a hack for another day. [Read more...]

Junkyard tube-amp gold!

Why, oh why, oh why do people toss out awesome retro hardware?? Luckily, [Dino] visited the junk depot himself at just the right time. Even though you’re not supposed to take things others have dropped off he poached the retro portable turntable that was just sitting there. He cracked it open and figured out how to turn it into this great tube guitar amp without going to all that much trouble.

The original turntable used to be where the front grates are in the image above. The guitar amp version sits the case on end, which works perfectly since the carrying handle is now on the top. This orientation would have put the amplifier hardware upside down, so [Dino] pulled it out and flipped it around. The speakers for the turntable were made to sit separately and be connected with wires. But they also doubled as a lid for the unit. This makes them the perfect size to fit side-by-side in the void left by the turn table.

[Dino] records his own music for the build video after the break using his new hardware. Sounds great, looks great, and it was saved from being needlessly buried in the ground. Fantastic!

[Read more...]

Building an Optigan-like instrument

[Olli] sent in his writeup of a musical instrument he made called the Black Deck. [Olli]‘s instrument was inspired [Jimi Tenor]‘s photophone – a transparent disk attached to a fan and photocell.

A transparent disk is placed on the turntable [Olli] rescued during a dumpster diving expedition. A light shines though the optical disk and is picked up by phototransistors. After writing a program to generate an A minor scale onto a transparency, [Olli] connected his contraption to a stereo and heard his creation speak. To control the individual tracks (or notes) on the disk, [Olli] made a keyboard out of photoelectric switches that control which note is played.

Superficially, [Olli]‘s instrument resembles an Optigan. While [Olli]‘s instrument is capable of producing waveforms, the Optigan is able to reproduce sampled instruments. That being said, we think [Olli]‘s Black Deck would feel comfortable next to the Optigans of Kraftwerk and Devo. Check out the YouTube demo of the Black Deck in action after the break:

[Read more...]

Light painting – still shots and animations

[Kim Pimmel's] been doing some really interesting light painting with an Arduino. In the past we’ve seen several light painting projects which use long exposures to capture moving LEDs, or moving LCD displays. But [Kim's] stepping it up a notch, using cold cathode flourescent lamps, electroluminescent (EL) wire, and lasers. The vibrant colors put out by these sources make for some great photos, but that’s not all she’s got up her sleeve. After accumulating a ton of still photographs from various shoots she decided to edit them together into stopped motion videos.

After the break you can see that one method she used to make these images was to spin the light sources on a standard audio turntable. An Arduino is controlled through processing via Bluetooth in order to move the stepper motor-mounted lights while the record player spins. Add some futuristic music thanks to Daft Punk (which is exactly what she did) and you’re in business.

[Read more...]

Wristwatch Turntables

Ever wish you could DJ on the fly while using equipment that your already wearing? Well neither have we but heck now we can, cheaply and easily with the Wristwatch Turntables. While being functional and stylish, this interesting project is fairly easy to construct and if need be, even sports a full function digital watch.

The audio electronics are donated by a pair of talking / musical  greeting cards. Both, “record your own” and “just deal with what we give you” types, though which ones you choose is left up to your taste. The greeting cards are then cut apart for their hidden goodies and then a little circuit bending action is performed to monkey with the amplifier of the sound module.

Potentiometers are added, buttons are relocated, and everything gets housed in a small box, with a wristwatch ran down the middle so you can wear the whole deal and blast your funky beats anywhere you may be. Join us after the break for a quick video.

[Read more...]

Measure earth’s rotation with PlayStation Move

This somewhat odd-looking apparatus is being used to measure earth’s rotation. At the heart of the system is a PlayStation Move controller, used because of its dual-axis gyroscope which has the highest dynamic range compared to other available products like the Wii Motion Plus. It rests on a column perched atop a record player that was chosen because of its precision rotation rate. The two rings that flank the controller make up a Helmholtz coil which is used to cancel out the earth’s magnetic field which was found to be interfering with measurements taken by the Move controller. By recording data over time the experimenter can prove that the earth is indeed rotating, as well as ascertain longitude data and find true north. Check out the data-packed video after the break.

[Read more...]

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