Making silicone molds seems easy, but there are a lot of missteps to be made along the way that can mean the difference between a great, reusable mold, and one that’s a sad waste of silicone. If you’re helpless to know the difference, then check out [Eric Strebel]’s 9-minute masterclass teaser video on making a two-part mold for resin casting, which is also embedded below.
Even if you already know how to do this, there’s probably a good tip in here somewhere. One of them being that you should always pour your silicone from one place and let it coat the piece being copied. Otherwise, there might be lines on the mold. Another tip is for DIY mold release made from petroleum jelly thinned with naphtha.
Our favorite tip has to do with the way [Eric] makes this a reusable two-part mold, which is more akin to injection molding. To pour silicone for the second part and get it to separately nicely, [Eric] uses sprues made out of resin rods that were cast inside of drinking straw molds. These he chamfers against a belt sander to minimize the contact with the cast part, which makes them a snap to break off. [Eric] says this is just the beginning, and there are more videos to come that will break down the steps.
There’s more than one way to make a mold, especially for casting in metal. We’ve seen everything from 3D-printed molds to kinetic sand.
Continue reading “Mold-Making Masterclass In Minutes”
A group of researchers have built an algorithm for finding hidden connections in artwork.
The team, comprised of computer scientists from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and Microsoft, used paintings from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum to demonstrate these hidden connections, which link artwork that shares similar styles, such as Francisco de Zurbarán’s The Martyrdom of Saint Serapion (above left) and Jan Asselijn’s The Threatened Swan (above right). They were initially inspired by the “Rembrandt and Velazquez” exhibition in the Rijksmuseum, which demonstrated similarities between the artists’ work despite the former hailing from the Protestant Netherlands and the latter from Catholic Spain.
The algorithm, dubbed “MosAIc”, differs from probabilistic generative adversarial network (GAN)-based projects that generate artwork since it focuses on image retrieval instead. Rather than focusing solely on obvious factors such as color and style, the algorithm also tries to uncover meaning and theme. It does this by constructing a data structure called a conditional k-nearest neighbor (KNN) tree, which provides a tree-like structure where branches off a central image indicate similarity to the image. In order to query the data structure, these branches are followed until the closest match to an image in a dataset is found. In further iterations, it prunes unpromising branches in order to improve its time for new queries.
Some results from running the algorithm against museum collections were finding similarities between the Dutch Double Face Banyan and a Chinese ceramic figurine, traced to the flow of porcelain and iconography from the Chinese to the Dutch in the 16th to 20th centuries.
A surprising result of this study was discovering that the approach could also be applied to find problems with deep nerual networks, which are used for creating deepfakes. While GANs can often have blind spots in their models, struggling to recreate certain classes of photos, MosAIc was able to overcome these shortcomings and accurately reproduce realistic images.
While the team admits that their implementation isn’t the most optimized version of KNN, their main objective was to present a broad conditioning scheme that is simple but effective for applications. Their hope is to inspire related researchers to consider multi-disciplinary applications for algorithms.
When mowing the lawn, you generally have a choice of pushing power, electric or gasoline. Thanks to the nutty inventor [Colin Furze], you can now add wood gas to the list, as long as you don’t mind some inconvenience. He built a wood gas generator on top of a formerly gasoline powered lawn mower, so he can now run his lawn mower on wood chips.
Wood gas generators have been used with internal combustion engines for a very long time, reaching their peak in the later parts of WW2 when fuel shortages plagued Europe. When wood is burned at high temperature but with limited oxygen, it produces a combustible gas mix that can be fed into an internal combustion engine. [Colin]’s generator went through a number of iterations, and the problem-solving that goes into a project like this is always interesting to watch. We would not recommend running tests like these indoors, but we suppose no [Colin Furze] video would be complete without a bit of danger.
On his first version he had an extraction fan that was too close to the outlet of the burn chamber, so it melted very quickly. The combustion temperature was also not high enough, which required some changes to the chamber geometry. The main problem that plagued the project was filtering out the moisture and tar. [Colin] did eventually get the lawn mower to run on wood gas, but tar was still getting into the engine, which prevented it from starting the second time. The filtering system will need some refinement, which [Colin] will address in his next video, which he also hints will involve some sort of diabolical swing set. Continue reading “A Wood Gas Powered Lawn Mower”
[splat238] is back at it again with another cool RGB LED display project. We were contemplating whether or not our readers have had enough of these over the last few weeks, but we’ve learned over the years that you can never have too many LED projects.
Instead of making a cool mask like we’ve covered before, [splat238] decided to trick-out some shutter shades. What’s really cool is he used the PCB itself as the frame, similar to another hack we’ve seen, which we’re sure also made his design process that much more convenient.
[splat238] got his boards pre-assembled since it would be really difficult to solder all those LEDs by hand. There are 76 of them in this design. It’s pretty helpful that he walks the reader through how to get the boards assembled, providing information on reliable fabrication and assembly houses that he’s had good experiences with. Pretty solid information if you don’t already have a go-to one-stop-house or have never designed for assembly before.
The glasses use an ESP8266-based microcontroller since it has plenty of space for storing LED patterns and has the potential benefit of including WiFi control in later revisions. However, we think you’ll be pretty happy with simply toggling through the patterns with a simple pushbutton.
The LEDs use a whopping 2.5 A at maximum and rely on an external power bank, so you’ll probably want to be really careful wearing this over an extended period of time. Maybe consider doing a bit of PWM to help reduce power consumption.
Another cool project [splat238]! Keep them coming. Continue reading “RGB LED Shutter Shades”
Blast fishing — the act of using explosives underwater to kill entire schools of fish with shock waves — has been a widespread problem in the Philippines for decades. Although a few fishermen get rich from the first blast at a fresh site, it isn’t good for anyone in the long term, especially the coral and other sea life. Many blast fisherman use homemade explosives, often at the risk of losing fingers and limbs.
The local authorities have tried many tactics to deter the activity. Where education about the diminishing returns of blast fishing has failed, appeals to religion with strategically placed statuary of the Virgin Mary have been somewhat successful. [Ifthekar ahammad] has another idea, and it involves detecting the explosion, triangulating the position of the blast, and reporting it to the authorities as soon as possible.
The CBobby system works by analyzing the audio spectrum. It looks for transient changes from the ambient background noise levels, and analyzes duration and the frequencies it heard to decide whether there was an explosion or not. Plans to field test this in the Philippines have been dashed by the pandemic, but [ifthekar] has been hard at work testing in Germany with underwater speakers blasting out explosion noises. Already, the system can differentiate the blasts from various environmental sounds like ships, the bellows of large sea creatures, earthquakes, rain, and thunder.
Although the test rig is encased in neon orange acrylic, the actual blast fishing tattler will be disguised as a venomous stonefish, making it as appealing to mess with as fire ants or wasps.
Destructive blast fishing is all-around terrible, even though it’s done for survival. But what do we think of using drones to fish for sport?
In space, so the Alien tagline goes, nobody can hear you scream. One of the most memorable pieces of movie promotion ever, it refers to the effect of the vacuum of space on the things human senses require an atmosphere to experience. It’s a lesson that Joss Whedon used to great effect with the Serenity‘s silent engine light-ups in Firefly, while Star Wars ignored it completely to give us improbable weapon noises in space battles.
Sound may not pass through the vacuum of space, but that’s not to say there are not things other than light for the senses. The Apollo astronauts reported that moon dust released a smell they described as akin to burnt gunpowder once it was exposed to the atmosphere inside their lander, and by now you may have heard that there is a Kickstarter that aims to recreate the smell as a fragrance. Will it replace the cloying wall of Axe or Lynx Africa body spray that pervades high-school boys’ changing rooms, or is it a mere novelty?
Continue reading “The Smell Of Space”
[Grant] was inspired to help his party guests improve their beer pong game. What he created is a fairly impressive contraption, sure to make him unstoppable in his next bout.
The device uses a gyroscope and a time-of-flight sensor to calculate the optimum trajectory for the ping pong ball. The user is guided to the correct launching position using two bubble levels and a series of indicator LEDs that turn green when the optimal position is reached.
The launching mechanism uses a servo motor to push the ball into the circular wheel machine which then propels the ping pong ball to its target. The circular wheel machine is powered by two DC motors whose speeds are determined by the distance from the target. [Grant] calibrated the DC motor speed to the distance from the target and found a pretty reproducible relationship favoring a cube root function. You can see his calibration data on his Instructable page as well as a cool demo video showing how the device automatically adjusts motor speed to distance from the target.
We should combine the PongMate with the Auto-Bartender we wrote about a few weeks ago. What are your favorite beverage hacks? Please share in the comments below.
Continue reading “Perfect Your Beer Pong Game With The PongMate CyberCannon Mark III”