How To Make Hardware, With Examples And An Electric Pickle

Right now we’re throwing a two-day hackathon in Pasadena. As with all hackathons, people are going to build something, but that’s only going to happen today. Yesterday was an incredible Zero to Product talk that goes over PCB layout techniques, manufacturing, and schematic capture. In a seven hour talk, our own [Matt Berggren] took the audience through building a product, in this case a little ESP8266 breakout board. We livestreamed this; the video (and electric pickles) are below.

At the end of the talks, everyone with a laptop and a copy of Eagle had a PCB design that might work on their screen. [Matt] taught EagleCAD to about 100 people. That’s truly remarkable, and not just because Eagle is only slightly terrible.

The first seven hours of yesterday were filled up with talks, but there was a party afterwards, with people bringing hacks, builds, gigantic Miller welders, but not the right cord to plug the Miller into a 30A 220V circuit.



Lidardisplay[Steve Collins] is a regular around the Hackaday Design Lab. Last year for our 10th anniversary extravaganza, he gave a talk about hacking his way to NASA. He’s back at the space this weekend with a really great project: he built a LIDAR.

This distance-mapping bot uses a LIDAR Lite from Sparkfun that was previously a crowdfunding campaign. This sensor uses an IR laser and a ‘pulsed light signature’ to determine the distance to an object. [Steve] has the sensor rotating on a servo, feeding onto an Arduino, and displaying something like the ‘moving object prop’ from Alien on a TFT display. It can detect objects in a room and supposedly up to 40 meters.

3D Scanning

The guys from Deezmaker brought a few of their 3D printers and a 3D scanning rig. It’s just a turntable, a Kinect, and a bit of linear rail, but they were able to scan a half dozen or so people and print out miniature copies.

The Electric Pickle

Pickles have a lot of salt in them. Put two electrodes in a pickle, run a kilowatt through them, and you get a spectacular show, possibly a tan as well. Some of the crew from the 23b hackerspace loaded a gigantic Miller into a Jeep and drove it out to the event. The Hackaday Design Lab apparently has a few 30A 220V circuits, and 23b had a long enough extension cord:

That was the highlight of the night right there, and we didn’t burn down the space. Awesome.

We’re going to be at the space again all day today with boxes and boxes of dev boards, components, soldering irons, and some awesome LeCroy scopes. If you’re in LA, come on out.

7 thoughts on “How To Make Hardware, With Examples And An Electric Pickle

        1. First read “with people bringing hacks, builds, gigantic Miller welders, but not the right cord to plug the Miller into a 30A 220V circuit.”, and then read the section about the pickle again.

    1. Pretty sure he wasn’t holding the bare wires, but by the welding rod holders. If you want to bitch about something, how about no safety goggles so when the pickle goes thermonuclear it doesn’t take his face off?

  1. There were other projects floating around the space, too!

    One was a box with volume knobs, 3 LCD displays and 3 heart rate sensor finger clips. I had no idea what the purpose of this thing was, so naturally I subjected my body to the machine. When it picked up on my heart beat, it started playing a drum beat in sync! I was so surprised I LOL’d. Whoever put that box together, we should talk!

    Also there was a guy (sorry man I don’t remember your name) who put together a 3-phase AC motor driver from a couple of dual half-bridge DIP chips and a teensy. The teensy just served as a PWM generator, lookup table, and set of analog comparators. He was driving what looked like a hard drive motor at 30k rpm (which made me a bit nervous having my face so close to it before realizing its speed). Oh yeah and this whole thing was built on a breadboard with random wire lengths everywhere. Bravo!

    There were a few other projects there as well that I didn’t get a close look at.

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