Injecting SD Card Bootloaders

[Frank] has a Ultimaker2 and wanted to install a new bootloader for the microcontroller without having physical access to the circuitry. That means installing a new bootloader for the ATMega2560 without an In System Programmer, and as is usual on AVRs, the bootloader can only be edited with an ISP. Additionally, modifying the bootloader in any way runs the risk of corruption and a bricked circuit. That’s okay, because [Frank] knows how to do it, and he’s here to show you how.

You can think of the memory layout of the ATMega in the Ultimaker as being split in half, with the printer firmware in the first half and the bootloader in the second half. There’s extra space in both halves, and that’s something that comes in very useful. When the circuit powers up, it jumps to the bootloader, does it’s thing, then jumps to the very beginning of the application code – a vector table – that starts up the actual firmware.

[Frank]’s trick to adding on to the bootloader is to place the SD card bootloader in the space normally reserved for applications, not where you would expect to find a bootloader. This code is accessed by the stock bootloader jumping into a modified vector table at the beginning of the application data that points to new executable code. That code is the actual SD card bootloader, but because it is in the application part of the memory, it can’t perform Flash writing or erasing. To fix that, a tiny bit of code is tacked onto the end of the bootloader for performing Flash writes and jumps back to the application part of memory.

Hackaday Links: March 8, 2015

Nintendo is well known for… odd… hardware integration, but this video takes it to a new level. It’s a Gamecube playing Zelda: Four Swords Adventure, a game that can use a Game Boy Advance as a controller. [fibbef] is taking it further by using the Gamecube Game Boy Advance player to play the game, and using another GBA to control the second Gamecube. There’s also a GBA TV tuner, making this entire setup a Gamecube game played across two Gamecubes, controlled with a Game Boy Advance and displayed on a GBA with a TV tuner. The mind reels.

TI just released a great resource for analog design. It’s the Analog Engineer’s Pocket Reference, free for download, if you can navigate TI’s site. There are print copies of this book – I picked one up at Electronica – and it’s a great benchtop reference.

A few months ago, a life-size elephant (baby elephants are pretty small…) was 3D printed at the Amsterdam airport. A model of the elephant was broken up into columns about two meters tall. How did they print something two meters tall? With this add-on for a Ultimaker. It flips an Ultimaker upside down, giving the printer unlimited build height. The guy behind this – [Joris van Tubergen] – is crazy creative.

And you thought TV was bad now. Here’s the pitch: take a show like Storage Wars or American Pickers – you know, the shows that have people go around, lowball collectors, and sell stuff on the Internet – and put a “Tech” spin on it. This is happening. That’s a post from a casting producer on the classic cmp message boards. Here’s the vintage computer forums reaction. To refresh your memory, this is what happens when you get ‘tech’ on Storage Wars. Other examples from Storage Wars that include vastly overpriced video terminals cannot be found on YouTube. Here’s a reminder: just because it’s listed on eBay for $1000 doesn’t mean it’ll sell on eBay for $1000.

Add Extra Storage to Your PS4 With Retro Flair

[Frank] came up with a clever way to extend the storage of his PS4. He’s managed to store his digital PS4 games inside of storage devices in the shape of classic NES cartridges. It’s a relatively simple hack on the technical side of things, but the result is a fun and interesting way to store your digital games.

He started out by designing his own 3D model of the NES cartridge. He then printed the cartridge on his Ultimaker 3D printer. The final print is a very good quality replica of the old style cartridge. The trick of this build is that each cartridge actually contains a 2.5″ hard drive. [Frank] can store each game on a separate drive, placing each one in a separate cartridge. He then prints his own 80’s style labels for these current generation games. You would have a hard time noticing that these games are not classic NES games at first glance.

Storing the game in cartridge form is one thing, but reading them into the PS4 is another. The trick is to use a SATA connector attached to the PS4’s motherboard. [Frank’s] project page makes it sound like he was able to plug the SATA cable in without opening the PS4, by attaching the connector to a Popsicle stick and then using that to reach in and plug the connector in place. The other end of the SATA cable goes into a custom 3D printed housing that fits the fake NES cartridges. This housing is attached to the side of the PS4 using machine screws.

Now [Frank] can just slide the cartridge of his choice into the slot and the PS4 instantly reads it. In an age where we try to cram more and more bits into smaller and smaller places, this may not be the most practical build. But sometimes hacking isn’t about being practical. Sometimes it’s simply about having fun. This project is a perfect example. Continue reading “Add Extra Storage to Your PS4 With Retro Flair”

World Maker Faire: The New Ultimaker


Just as the the gates opened at the World Maker Faire in New York City the skies opened, sending everyone underneath the tents and pavilians on the faire grounds. Luckily, I was able to check out the new Ultimaker before that happened, and only a day after it was officially announced.

Compared to the older laser-cut Ultimaker, the Ultimaker 2 is much, much cleaner that’s made more for designers and architects instead of students, hackerspaces and tinkerers. There are a few new additions to the Ultimaker 2 – OLED display, heated bed, and a larger build volume. Basically, if you want Ultimaker quality without a lot of futzing around, go with the Ultimaker 2.

Ultimaker will be shipping a pre-assembled version for €1.895,00, with a kit version to follow shortly. As always, the Ultimaker 2 is open source, and no, this doesn’t mean an end to the classic Ultimaker.

An interview with [David] of Ultimaker


After interviewing the creator of Slic3r and the folks at Shapeways, [Andrew] is back again with his adventures in 3D printer videography and an interview with [David Braam] of Ultimaker

About a year ago, [David] looked at the state of the art in 3D printer control and Replicator G. While Replicator G, along with Pronterface and Repetier-Host both convert 3D models into G-code files as well as control the printer while its squeezing plastic out onto a bed. [David] thought the current state of these RepRap host programs were janky at best, and certainly not the best user experience for any home fabricator. This lead him to create Cura, a very slick and vastly improved piece of host software for the Ultimaker.

Cura isn’t just a fancy front end on an already existing slicer engine; [David] created his own slicing algorithm to turn .STL files into G-code that’s immensely faster than skeinforge. Where skeinforge could take an hour to slice a complex model, Cura does the same job in minutes.

There are also a bunch of cool features available in Cura: you can rotate any part before sending it to the printer, as well as pulling voxels directly from your Minecraft world and sending them to your printer. Very, very cool stuff, and if you’re running a Ultimaker or any other RepRap, you might want to check it out.

Continue reading “An interview with [David] of Ultimaker”

An automat of wireless 3D printers


There’s a lot of really cool 3D printer stuff happening in the fashion district of NYC this month. It’s called 3DEA, and shows off  the awesomeness of Shapeways, Ultimaker, and the Up! 3D printer to all the fashionistas, trend setters, and the caliphate of coolness that is midtown Manhattan. The folks at Ultimaker wanted to bring something awesome to this exposition and came up with the Vendingwall: a wall of 3D printers connected into a vending machine able to print multiple objects at once.

Ultimaker has made a name for themselves as the top open source 3D printer manufacturer with absolutely impressive build quality and even a 20-foot-high printer able to manufacture entire rooms. The Vendingwall is their next step in the commercialization of 3D printers; all you need to do to create your own 3D printed object is walk up to the Vendingwall, order a print, and later retrieve from one of the many Ultimakers.

To control these ranks of Ultimakers, a piece of software runs on a wireless router loaded up with OpenWRT. From there, the router serves up a website powered by JQuery-mobile for all the Android and iDevices at the 3DEA open house, turning a wall of 3D printers into a vending machine reminiscent of the automats of yore.

Continue reading “An automat of wireless 3D printers”

Ginormous Ultimaker can print slightly smaller Ultimakers

[bwattendorf] showed off his Gigimaker, a huge version of a Ultimaker at the Maker Faire this weekend.

It’s got a print area 2.5 feet square and 3.5 feet high. Currently, the team is using the machine to print off parts for smaller desktop-sized 3D printers, but theoretically this printer could be used to print life-sized companion cubes or full sized [Nefertiti] busts.

If you’d like to build your own giant Ultimaker, grab a few sheets of plywood and grab the git repo for the Gigimaker.