BEAM Dragonfly Causes A Flap

Normal people throw away stuff when it breaks. But not people like us. Or, apparently, [NanoRobotGeek]. A cheap robotic dragonfly died, and he cannibalized it for robot parts. But he kept the gearbox hoping to build a new dragonfly and, using some brass rod, he did just that.

The dragonfly’s circuitry uses a solar panel for power and a couple of flashing LEDs. This is a BEAM robot, so not a microcontroller in sight. You can see a brief video of how the dragonfly moves.

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Stereolithography Goes Big

When it comes to hobby-level 3D printing, most of us use plastic filament deposited by a hot end. Nearly all the rest are using stereolithography — projecting light into a photosensitive resin. Filament printers have typical build volumes ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 cubic centimeters and even larger isn’t unusual. By contrast, SLA printers are often much smaller. A 1,200 CC SLA printer is typical and the cheaper printers are sometimes as little as 800 CCs. Perhaps that’s why [3D Printing Nerd] (otherwise known as [Joel]) was excited to get his hands on a Peopoly Phenom which has a build area of over 17,000 CCs. You can see the video review, below.

He claims that it is even bigger than a Formilab 3L, although by our math that has a build volume of around 20,000 CCs. On the other hand, the longest dimension on the Peopoly is 40 cm which is 6.5 cm longer than the 3L, so maybe that’s what he means. Either way, the printer is huge. That’s nearly 16 inches which is big even for a filament printer. Regardless of which one is bigger, the Peopoly is certainly much less expensive coming in at around $1,800 versus the 3L’s almost $10,000 price tag.

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Fresh-Squeezed OJ Served In Orange Peel-Ay

Though it’s really more apple cider weather here at Hackaday HQ, freshly-squeezed OJ is a treat that knows no season. Sure generates a lot of peel, though. Not something you think about when you’re used to buying it in jugs at the grocery store. What a waste, huh?

Italian design firm [Carlo Rotti] teamed up with global energy company [Eni] to develop “Feel the Peel”, a 10-foot-tall real-time juice bar that celebrates the orange by using the entire thing. Fifteen hundred juicy orbs move single-file down the circular track toward their total destruction. One at a time, they are severed in half and wrung out by the machine, and their peels are dropped into a clear bin for all to see. Once the peels dry out, they are shredded, mixed with PLA, and fed into a delta printer that prints juice cups right there on site.

This live process of reuse is pretty interesting to watch — check it out after the break. [Eni] touts this as completely circular, but that really depends on what happens to the cups. If they collect the empties and compost them, great. Anyway, it seems way more sustainable than the Juicero.

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Five Channel Monitor Keeps Boat Batteries Shipshape

While those of us stuck sailing desks might not be able to truly appreciate the problem, [Timo Birnschein] was tired of finding that some of the batteries aboard his boat had gone flat. He wanted some way to check the voltage on all of the the batteries in the system simultaneously and display the information in a central location, and not liking anything on the commercial market he decided to build it himself.

Even for those who don’t hear the call of the sea, this is a potentially useful project. Any system that has multiple batteries could benefit from a central monitor that can show you voltages at a glance, but [Timo] is actually going one better than that. With the addition of a nRF24 module, the battery monitor will also be able to wireless transmit the status of the batteries to…something. He actually hasn’t implemented that feature yet, but some way of getting the data into the computer so it can be graphed over time seems like a natural application.

The bill of materials is pretty short on this one. Beyond the aforementioned nRF24 module, the current version of the monitor features an Arduino Nano clone, a 128×160 SPI TFT display, and a handful of passives.

Knowing that a perfboard wouldn’t last long on the high seas, [Timo] even routed his own PCB for this project. We suspect there’s some kind of watertight enclosure in this board’s future, but it looks like things are still in the early phases. It will be interesting to follow along with this one and see how it eventually gets integrated in to the boat’s electrical system.

If you’re looking for a way to keep an eye on the voltages aboard your land ship, this battery monitor disguised as an automotive relay is still the high-water mark in our book.

Bee Minder Proves Not Even Bees Are Safe From Surveillance States

We all know how important bees are to our ecosystems and [Kris Winer]’s bee monitor provides a great way to monitor these amazing but delicate creature’s habitats, hopefully alerting us before a disaster strikes a vital hive.

The board is based around LoRa sensor tile called Cicada but redesigned to make it smaller and cheaper. LoRa is a popular low-power wide-area network running on sub-Ghz bands designed exactly for applications like this. This board has a nice suite of sensors. It can detect UVA, UVB, and the visible spectrum of light. It can also observe the temperature, pressure, and humidity. Importantly for bees, the accelerometer can detect the various vibrations of the hive as well as disaster events like vandalism.

The data is all logged into a Cayenne dashboard which the prospective farmer could view and analyze from anywhere. [Kris] mentions that the board is relatively easy to re-spin with a different sensor suite depending on the application. Technology like this can go along way towards a more sustainable future.

Saintcon Badge Is An Enigma No More

Through the weekend Twitter has been a-titter with news coming out of Saintcon, the annual security conference in Provo, Utah. Now that the weekend is over we can finally get our hands on full hardware and software sources for the curvy, LED-covered badge we’ve been salivating over and a write up by its creators [compukidmike] and [bashNinja]. Let’s dive in and see what’s waiting!


This year’s badge is designed to represent a single tooth on a single rotor of an Enigma machine. The full function of an Enigma machine is quite complex, but an individual device has three rotors with 26 teeth each (one for each letter) as well as a keypad for input and a character display to show each enciphered letter. For reference, the back of the badge has a handy diagram of a badge’s place in the Enigma system.

Reminiscent of the WWII device which the badge design recalls, each unit includes a full QWERTZ keyboard (with labeled keys!) and RGB “lampboard” for individual character output, but unlike the original there’s also a curved 16 x 64 RGB LED display made from those beguiling little ~1mm x 1mm LEDs. All in, the device includes 1051 LEDs! Combined with the unusually non-rectilinear shape of the badge and the Enigma-style Saintcon logo it makes for an attractive, cohesive look.

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Superconference Interview: Ted Yapo

We’re just two weeks away from the fifth annual Hackaday Superconference, the single biggest gathering of hardware enthusiasts on at least one continent. It’s gearing up to be great, and we’re super excited for the opportunity to bring you such a diverse array of talks, workshops, and more.

What makes Supercon so great? All the awesome people you meet there. One of them is [Ted Yapo], who joined the Hackaday writing crew this year after gracing our pages and winning our contests for so long. You might remember him as the guy who turned an innocent USB-to-serial adapter into an SDR transmitter, or as the guy who tried to jump-start a car with a coin cell.

At last year’s Supercon, [Ted] gave a talk about dealing with cheap spectrum analyzers, which doubled as a live look into the article he wrote for the Hackaday Journal of What You Don’t Know. [Mike Szczys] caught up with [Ted] last year for a brief interview in the hardware hacking area, which you can catch after the break.

[Ted]’s back again this year with a talk about building an open-source multi-GHz sampling ‘scope, and why that’s harder than it seems. You really should be there, you know. Oh, what? It’s sold out? Don’t worry, just kick back and watch the live stream! Subscribe to our YouTube channel and you’ll be notified when it starts, which will be around 10:00 am Pacific on November 15th.

If you do already have a Supercon ticket, but didn’t get tickets for the workshop you wanted, go check again! We released a limited amount of tickets this morning and emailed everyone about it. See you there!

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