The Best Project We Never Did Yet

Back when [Caleb] was around here at Hackaday, he was tasked with making a few YouTube videos. His Portal Gun got 1.6 Million views, and we got a takedown request because of this video even though that company was more than willing to use [Caleb] as a guinea pig at CES.

This post is not about those videos. This post is about the best project we never did yet.

The grand plan for The Best Project was a zombie survival van. It’s exactly what you think it is: a van armored and armed for driving through a herd of walkers. Proposed mods included a cow catcher and roof rack, a motorized turret, a poofer (propane tanks shooting fire from underneath the van), a bartender that launches molotov cocktails, and a beautiful little contraption called an ankler. The Ankler is just a pair of chainsaws that fold out from under the van.

The base vehicle would be a 60s VW bus. [Caleb]’s a big fan of aircooled stuff, and if you think about it, 60s VWs are pretty good for the zombie apocalypse. If you’re doubting that, just ask how many tools it would take to change out the engine in your car.

Although the dream of a Hackaday aircooled zombie apocalypse van died when [Caleb] left, that doesn’t mean we’re still not considering an official Hackaday ride. All of this is still in the planning stages, but we have a few ideas; the first, and biggest, is a mobile hackerspace on a trailer. This would be a standard semitrailer, loaded up with tools, 3D printers, a laser cutters, and a couch. It would be the perfect thing to load up with swag and haul to events.

We’re considering another more sensible vehicle, and right now the top contender is an early 2000s Astro or Safari cargo van. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: the coolest vehicle we could come up with is a minivan. There’s actually some logic to this, so hear me out.

The Astro/Safari shares a lot of parts with the S10, and that means parts are everywhere. The Astro has an AWD variant, and with a 4″ lift, upgraded suspension and big, knobby tires the Hackaday van would be very, very fun to take out into the desert. It can haul eight foot sheets of plywood, they’re cheap, everywhere, and they just don’t die.

While the best idea right now is an Astro van, we’re also considering other AWD vehicles: an AMC Eagle would be cool, and I think RedBull has a few Suzuki X-90s sitting around. An M35 Deuce And A Half would be fun. A US Mail Truck would probably last forever, and if we go with the semi-trailer concept we would probably want a smaller vehicle on site wherever we park the truck. Current options for this parasitic vehicle include a Nash Metropolitan, a Trabant, a Citroen 2CV, a Renault Dauphine, a Lada, or a Yugo. Yes, they’re all ridiculous but they’re small and can fit in the back of a semi trailer.

It’s still an idea we’re throwing around, but we really need a reason to have a van before we go out and build a hackaspace on wheels, a zombie survival van, or something to launch off some sweet ramps. We don’t go to that many events, and driving a crappy old van across the country a few times a year sounds like fun but surely isn’t.

You can check out [Caleb]’s pitch video for the zombie survival van below.

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Lantern Made In Preparation of Zombie Apocalypse

[BenN] was at his local hackerspace one day when a friend stopped by and offered him a used 5AH lead acid battery. As any good tinkerer would, he jumped on the opportunity and immediately started looking around for a project to use the battery in. One of [BenN’s] recent other projects involved 12volt landscaping lights, the same voltage as the battery he was just given. At this point it was clear that he had a good start to making a lantern. This lantern project also supports [BenN’s] obsession with hobby of preparing for the zombie apocalypse.

A lantern needs an enclosure. Over on the hackerspace’s spare-parts rack was an old ATX power supply. All of the internal electrical components were removed to make room for the battery which fit inside nicely. The landscaping light just happened to be slightly larger than the power supply’s fan cut outs. Once the grill was removed from the metal power supply enclosure, the lamp fit in nicely and was secured using silicone glue which can tolerate any temperature the bulb can produce.

The feature that separates a lantern from a flashlight is the top-mounted carrying handle and this lantern will receive one made from the wiring removed from the ATX power supply. The electrical wiring is fairly straight forward. The battery is connected to the landscaping light by way of the original ATX on/off switch. The two terminals of the battery were also wired to the power supply’s AC input connector. This allows [BenN] to connect a DC battery charger to two of the three pins in order to charge the battery. Although this is a creative way to re-use the AC connector, it leaves quite a bit of potential to accidently plug in a 120v AC cord!

 

The Walking Dead Survival Box for the Zombie Apocalypse 

When the world comes to an end and zombies run through the streets like a blood thirsty disease, it will be absolutely necessary to store a weapon (or five) away just in case an undead creature tries to get inside. In addition, stopping crooks from ransacking back up supplies will also be a primary concern as well as savage, brain-eating beasts take over the cities. Keeping objects safe with a lock box like this one would deter both undead creatures and mischievous thieves. Or at least that is what was going on in [Mattt Reamer’s] head when he took on this build.

[Matt] is a UX designer who drew inspiration from the wildly popular television series The Walking Dead. He even 3D printed the Walking Dead’s logo on the front of the blood stained box attributing the idea to the show.

The setup here uses an Arduino Uno which is powered by a 9-Volt battery. The fingerprint scanner unlocks the box by verifying the print against a reverence copy stored in the code. When the program authorizes the scan, a servo opens up the latch allowing the contents within to be retrieved. Video of the full system can be seen after the break.

Now all that comes next would be to protect those fingers.

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Preparing for the zombie apocalypse

Every reasonable person prepares for the future. Whether it’s matching your employer’s 401k contributions, making sure you have bread and milk before a snow storm, or saving for your kid’s college fund, planning for the future gives you a comfortable life. [Gord] has exceptional foresight; he build an awesome Louisville Decapitron for the upcoming zombie apocalypse.

It’s an urban legend that a bullet to the brain will stop a zombie. Instantaneous trepanation is devastating in the living, but we’re talking about the undead here. A melee weapon is what you’re after, and you’ve got to cut off the head. [Gord] based his project around a Louisville Slugger. The blade is a 20 inch long piece of plasma cut mild steel. It’s just a prototype to get the balance figured out; the final version will be done in carbon steel.

The tang of the blade fits into two notches in the bat. The blade is secured with two custom fabricated spacers that are perpendicular to the blade. We’re not quite sure of the nomenclature of the resulting weapon (it’s some type of battle axe, we’re sure), but we couldn’t think of a better way to decapitate the undead.

Crawling zombie is shockingly creepy

When [Mark] sent in the tip about this crawling zombie prop he said that it didn’t sound scary but warned us that it is terrifying when you see it. He’s absolutely right, the video after the break shows some remarkably undead movement from the thing.

This crawler is actually radio controlled. Details are brief, but there’s plenty of pictures and the start of a build tutorial for the hardware. A wood frame serves as collar-bone and spine for the zombie. Attached to the spine are two  motors which allow independent shoulder operation. We’d wager that the realistic movements are due to a talented operator at the controls, but it can’t be too hard to master if you play around with it for a while. It looks like the initial build was headless, but we think the addition of the zombie head really makes finishes out the project!

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Devil horns adorn the hood of my truck

When you’re hunting zombies you’ve got to give them something to fear. [Shannon Larratt] is getting ready for that eventuality by adding devil horns as his hood ornament. It looks awesome from afar, but when you see the close-up images you realize how lifelike this is. That’s because it’s not a sculpture. [Shannon] cast the ornament in a mold made from his own hand.

The process started with some dental alginate which he slobbered all over his hand as he held the devil horns pose. After the mold had hardened he cast the ornament using fast-curing black plastic resin.

With the ornament now in hand he needed a way to secure it to the hood of his vehicle. He picked up a threaded U-bolt. A hole and a slot were carved in the base of the ornament to receive the U-bold and a straight bolt for a trio of anchor points. More of the black resin fills the holes, securing the bolts and making it a snap to mount the ornament by drilling through the hood.

We also find it awesome that during this process [Shannon] took the time to cast his daughter’s fist for use as a door knob at home.

Home Built Revolving Shotgun

Sometimes, you just need more ammo available. In this weapon mod, the chamber of a 12 gauge shotgun, a hammer from an 1857 Remington Perc Revolver, and other parts from an Italian auto shotgun were all combined to make this happen. The gun is of questionable legality depending on what state or country it resides in. Don’t quote us on it, but the members of the forum seem to think it should be fine anywhere in the US but California. Slightly more practical than other shotgun mods we have seen, the inventor has been kind enough to share some stills of the inner mechanisms to see how this gun ticks.

[via Neatorama]