A long time ago, there were these vinyl recording booths. You could go in there and cut a 45PM record as easily as getting a strip of four pictures of yourself in the next booth along the boardwalk. With their 2021 Hackaday Prize entry called VinyGo, [mras2an] seeks to reinvigorate this concept for private use by musicians, artists, or anyone else who has always wanted to cut their own vinyl.
VinyGo is for people looking to make a few dozen copies or fewer. Apparently there’s a polymer shortage right now on top of everything else, and smaller clients are getting the shaft from record-pressing companies. This way, people can cut their own records for about $4 a unit on top of the cost of building VinyGo, which is meant to be both affordable and accessible.
You probably know how a record player works, but how about a record cutter? As [mras2an] explains over on IO, music coming through a pair of speakers vibrates a diamond cutting head, which cuts a groove in the vinyl that’s an exact representation of the music. Once it’s been cut, a regular stylus picks up the groove and plays back the vibrations. Check it out after the break.
[mras2an] plans to enter VinyGo into the Hackaday Prize during the Wildcard round, where anything goes. Does your project defy categorization? Or are you just running a little behind? The Wildcard round runs from Monday, September 27th to Wednesday, October 27th and is your last chance to enter this year’s Prize.
Before the Wright Brothers powered their way across the sands of Kitty Hawk or Otto Lilienthal soared from the hills of Germany, enveloping hot air in a balloon was the only way to fly. Concepts were refined as time went by, and culminated in the grand Zeppelins of the 1930’s. However since the tragic end of the Zeppelin era, lighter than air aircraft have often been viewed as a novelty in the aviation world.
Several companies have come forward in the last decade, pitching enormous lighter than air machines for hauling large amounts of cargo at reduced cost. These behemoths rely on a mixture of natural buoyancy and lifting body designs and are intended to augment ferries and short haul commercial aviation routes.
It was this landscape where Buoyant Aero founders [Ben] and [Joe] saw an underserved that they believe they can thrive in: Transporting 300-600 lbs between warehouses or airports. They aim to increase the safety, cargo capacity, and range of traditional quadcopter concepts, and halve the operating costs of a typical Cessna 182. They hope to help people such as those rural areas of Alaska where high transportation costs double the grocery bill.
Like larger designs, Buoyant Aero’s hybrid airship relies on aerodynamic lift to supply one third the needed lift. Such an arrangement eliminates the need for ballast when empty while retaining the handling and navigation characteristics needed for autonomous flight. The smaller scale prototype’s outstanding ability to maneuver sharply and hold station with a tailwind is displayed in the video below the break. You can also learn more about their project on their Hacker News launch. We look forward to seeing the larger prototypes as they are released!
When a new project type starts to get a lot of exposure, it’s typically not long before we see people forking the basic concept and striking out in a new direction. It happened with POV displays, it happened with Nixie clocks, and now, it seems to be happening with cyberdecks. And that’s something we can get behind, especially with cyberdecks built to suit a specialized task, like this musical cyberdeck/synth.
Like many musicians, [Benjamin Caccia] felt like he needed a tool to help while performing with his band “Big Time Kill.” He mainly needed to trigger track playbacks on the fly, but also wanted something to act as a mega-effects pedal and standalone synth. And while most of that could be done with an iPad, it wouldn’t look as cool as a cyberdeck. The build centers around a Raspberry Pi 4 and a 7″ LCD display. Those sit on top of a 25-key USB MIDI keyboard and a small mixer. Alongside the keyboard is a USB keypad, which has custom mappings to allow fast access to buried menu functions in the cyberdeck’s Patchbox OS. Everythign was tied together on a 3D-printed frame; the video below shows it in action, and that it sounds as good as it looks.
Are you tired of the same old video style from your favorite content creators? We can’t say that we were, exactly. But nevertheless, we appreciate this creative departure from [Eric Strebel]’s regular fare as he soups up his drill press with an old treadmill motor and a few extra features.
First off, that commentator in the video is right — 2.6 horsepower is a crazy amount for a drill press. Fortunately, [Eric] also added a variable speed controller and a digital tachometer to keep things in check. As an added bonus, he no longer has to get under the hood and mess with the belts.
We like what [Eric] brings to the drill press motor mod, which is already well-documented on YouTube. We love the re-use of an office chair bracket as a new motor mount. It’s probably our favorite bit aside from the 2-color forward/reverse switch plate idea: print it in whatever letter color you want with proud lettering, paint the whole thing black, and sand off the letters so the color shows. Check it out after the break.
The classic SP0256-AL2 speech chip has featured a few times on these pages, and if you’ve not seen the actual part before, you almost certainly have heard the resulting audio output. The latest Python library from prolific retrocomputing enthusiast [Nick Bild] brings the joy of the old chip to the Raspberry Pi platform, with an added extra trick; support for the venerable AY-3-8910 sound generator as well.
The SP0256-AL2 chip generates vaguely recognisable speech using the allophone system. Allophones are kind of like small chunks of speech audio which when reproduced sequentially, result in intelligible phonemes that form the basis of speech. The chip requires an external device to feed it the allophones at a regular rate, which is the job of his Gi-Pi library.
This speech synthesis technology is based on Linear-predictive coding, which is used to implement a human vocal tract model. This is the same coding method utilized by the first generation of GSM digital mobile phones, implementing a system known as Full-Rate. Both an LPC encoder and an LPC decoder are present on the handset. The LPC encoder takes audio in from the user, breaks it into the tiny constituent parts of speech, and then simply sends a code representing the audio block, but not the actual audio. Obviously there are a few more parameters sent as well to adjust the model at the receiving side. The actual decoding side is therefore not all that dissimilar to what the AY-3-8910 and related devices are doing, except you the user have to create the list of audio blocks up-front and feed the chip at the rate it demands.
Imagine visiting a home that was off the grid, using hydroelectric power to run lights, a dishwasher, a vacuum cleaner, and a washing machine. There’s a system for watering the plants and an intercom between rooms. Not really a big deal, right? This is the twenty first century, after all.
But then imagine you’ve exited your time machine to find this house not in the present day, but in the year 1870. Suddenly things become quite a bit more impressive, and it is all thanks to a British electrical hacker named William Armstrong who built a house known as Cragside. Even if you’ve never been to Northumberland, Cragside might look familiar. It’s appeared in several TV shows, but — perhaps most notably — played the part of Lockwood Manor in the movie Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
Armstrong was a lawyer by training but dabbled in science including hydraulics and electricity — a hot topic in the early 1800s. He finally abandoned his law practice to form W. G. Armstrong and Company, known for producing Armstrong guns, which were breech-loading artillery pieces ranging from 2.5 inch bores up to 7 inches. By 1859, he was knighted and became the principal supplier of armaments to both the Army and the Navy.
The Hackaday Remoticon is happening this November 19th and 20th and the whole Internet is invited. This time around we’re packing the weekend with talks about all the hardware, software, special skills, and inspiration that gets poured into the world of electronic stuff.
Send in your talk proposal now! I know, Call for Proposals sounds so official, but it’s really just a matter of giving us a summary of what the talk will cover, and an in-depth description where you make your case on why the talk is relevant to the people who will be watching it.
We go out of our way with all of our Hackaday conferences to get first-time speakers up on stage (or I suppose in front of a webcam in this case). Whether it’s your first time or your fortieth, the substance of the talk is what matters the most — we want to see what you’ve been doing at your workbench and in your lab so please give us a window into that part of your life.
Like many of you, we desperately wanted to get back to an in-person Hackaday Superconference this year. We waited until now to make the call in hopes that maybe a smaller live conference would be possible, but at this point, even if we could pull off the weekend safely, it’s hard to imagine people would have the relaxing good time that Supercon has come to be known for. On the plus side, holding a virtual event like Remoticon means more of the Hackaday community gets to join in on the action. To shake things up for 2021, we’re pivoting away from workshops to make room for more talks and adding some excellent new ways for you to participate that we’ll be sharing more about very soon.
But to pull it off we need a slate of engineers, hackers, and geeks who want to share what they’re passionate about with a captive audience of like-minded individuals. Think you’re up to the challenge? Submit your ideas and let’s build something amazing. Or if you’d rather just kick back and watch, reach out to your favorite hacker and encourage them to speak. The one huge upside of a virtual conference is that it breaks down the time and treasure barriers of travelling to Pasadena to participate, and having this event accessible to a much wider range of people is something we can all get behind.