Thumper The T-Shirt Launcher

Thumper The T-Shirt Launcher

[joe] and [ryan] built Thumper for their high school FIRST robotics team. The cannon itself is a solenoid-fired compressed air launcher that gets its juice from three large PVC tanks stored in the box below the turret, and the cannon is able to be fired nine times between visits to the air compressor. It was intentionally designed to resemble an M2 Browning 50 Caliber heavy machine gun, with the two vertical handles and boxy body.  They finished construction in about a week with a budget of only $300. When they saw that a lot of their friends had also built cannons, they scrounged for parts from their garages to re-use to build the mobile platform simply for one-upmanship sake. The motor and drive-train propelling this behemoth came out of a 1980s-era mobile X-Ray machine that had been discarded by a local hospital. The rear wheels were specially modified to fit the drivetrain, and the front end is a chopped, hacked, and welded axle and steering mechanism from an old lawn tractor. Sections of unistrut form the rest of the frame.

[joe] and [ryan] were even asked to bring Thumper to their high school prom as a unique way to hand out T-Shirts for the evening. Unfortunately, there’s no website for this build.

See video of Thumper in action with a Nerf Football after the break. Hack A Day even got to take it for a spin around the Power Wheels Racing Series track at Maker Faire KC!

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Take me back to a simpler time, Radio Flyer

[Fred Keller] and [Judy Foster], both retired, are proving that age is just a number. What you see above is a nostalgia inducing full size driveable Radio Flyer red wagon. The base of which is a 1976 Mazda pickup truck, while the wagon portion is a mishmash of wood, fiberglass and bondo, detergent bottles, and more. Even the steering wheel has been retrofitted from an actual wheel from a wagon. We were surprised to find out the entire conversion only took the two 11 months to complete (finishing this past august), and even more confounded to learn the vehicle is completely street legal.

[Thanks Rob]

A different take on electric motor cars

[Craig Carmichael] has been hard at work on his electric hub motor for cars. Unlike typical electrical vehicles the plan is to bypass the transmission, differential, and everything else all together by connecting directly to the hub of the wheel. The goal of giving greater thrust and still allowing the use of a gas engine if need be.

There’s really too much detail for us to even begin to try to explain the entire project in a short recap, but [Craig] builds the entire motor (from magnets to coil windings) and wires his own controller (from schematic to finished PCB), all while documenting the process thoroughly for those wishing to make their own.

Third-person vehicle

Here is something we didn’t expect (NSFW). The machinima crew behind RedVsBlue, Rooster Teeth, actually did a hack!

The idea is simple enough, how could you experience driving a vehicle like in a video game – aka, third-person. With some steel bar, Canon 5D camera, and a 15inch monitor inside of a blacked out cab, they accomplished just that.

What surprised us the most, is the great difficulty and difference there is between the video game vehicle and the real life one. But all of us here at HAD know why; they need to replace the steering wheel with a joystick. While they’re at it they can make it wireless and remote-controlled. Finally a HUD would be easy enough to program (might we suggest processing). Oh dear lord, is the world ready for this!?

Parking violation leads to malware download

parking

It seems some enterprising individual in Grand Forks, North Dakota has been placing fake parking violations on cars. If the recipient visited the URL on the flyer, they would be told to install a toolbar to view pictures of their vehicle. That piece of malicious software would then attempt to install several more. The actual vehicle pictures were from Grand Forks, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar attack happen in a much larger city.

Teenager invents vehicular antitheft system


We are very inspired by the story of [Morris Mbetsa], an 18-year-old Kenyan who’s invented the “Block & Track”, an antitheft and tracking system for vehicles that’s phone-based. [Mbetsa] has no formal training, but he’s been a lifelong inventor and tinkerer. [Mbetsa] combined voice, DTMF, and SMS text messaging technologies with cellphone based services to allow the owner to control the vehicle’s electrical system remotely. The owner, using his cellphone, can take control of the ignition, and disable it at any time. Other features include the ability to lock the car remotely, and the capability of dialing into the car and listening in on any conversations taking place within the vehicle. [Mbetsa] is currently looking for funding to take his invention to the next level; we’re eager to see what he’ll come up with next.

[via Digg]

Picaxe tachometer


It might seem like we’re on a vehicle hacking kick this weekend, but [Rex] built an excellent custom digital tach for his race car. It uses the classic seven segment displays, a PICAXE microcontroller and works with most engines. He’s released full source and PC board designs to boot. This looks like a great little tachometer project for you microcontoller fiends out there.