What’s better than an Atari Punk Console synthesizer? How about four Atari Punk Console synthesizers. And what better way to present them but as brass wire art sculptures. We’d have forgiven [iSax] if he’d stopped at four brass wire synths, but he took things to another level with his kinetic sculpture that does double duty as a mechanical sequencer. Called the Cyclotone – The Mechanical Punk Console Sequencer, it features wood, brass, brushes, and 555 timers. You can see the demonstration in the video below the break.
If you’re not familiar with the Atari Punk Console, it’s a circuit first described as a “Sound Synthesizer” in Forest Mims’ “Engineer’s Notebook: Integrated Circuit Applications” first published in 1980. It utilized two 555 timers in a single chip, the 556. Later dubbed the “Atari Punk Console”, the circuit has stood the test of time and is still quite popular among hackers of all sorts.
[iSax]’s build adds a sequencing element that allows the synths to be played automatically. The synthesizers are skewered 90 degrees from each other on a square dowel, which is turned at a variable RPM by a stepper motor controlled by a knob at the base of the sculpture.
On either side of each synth is a commutator that contacts salvaged rotary tool brushes which provide power through the hexagonal brass supports. Each synth retains its own speaker and controls and has its own segmented numeral displayed with discrete LED’s that light up when each synth is played.
We applaud [iSax] for a well executed and imaginative build that successfully meshes circuit scultpure, kinetic sculpture, classic electronics and even blinkenlights. If you enjoyed this build, you should also go have a look at a free form Atari Punk Console build and another one built into a joystick. If you come across a project of any kind that catches your fancy, be sure you let us know about it via the Tip Line!
The Flipper Zero is a multipurpose hacker tool that aims to make the world of hardware hacking more accessible with a slick design, wide array of capabilities, and a fantastic looking UI. They are struggling with manufacturing delays like everyone else right now, but there’s a silver lining: the team’s updates are genuinely informative and in-depth. The latest update is all about RFID and NFC, and how the Flipper Zero can interact with a variety of contactless protocols.
Contactless tags are broadly separated into low-frequency (125 kHz) and high-frequency tags (13.56 MHz), and it’s not really possible to identify which is which just by looking at the outside. Flipper Zero can interface with both, but the update at the link above goes into considerable detail about how these tags are used in the real world, and what they look like from both the outside and inside.
For example, 125 kHz tags have an antenna made from many turns of very fine wire, with no visible space between the loops. High-frequency tags on the other hand will have antennas with fewer loops, and visible space between them. To tell them apart, a bright light is often enough to see the antenna structure through thin plastic.
Low-frequency tags are “dumb” and incapable of encryption or two-way communication, but what about high-frequency (often referred to as NFC) like bank cards and applications like Apple Pay? One thing demonstrated is that mobile payment methods offer up considerably less information on demand than a physical bank or credit card. With a physical contactless card it’s possible to read the full card number, expiry date, and in some cases the name as well as recent transactions. Mobile payment systems (like Apple or Google Pay) don’t do that.
We’ve all been there – that last stubborn screw, the one thing between you and some real progress on a repair or restoration. It’s stuck tight with thread-locking fluid, and using more torque threatens to strip the head. Frustration mounting, drilling that sucker out is starting to seem pretty tempting. But wait! [Daniel] offers a potential solution using nothing but a soldering iron.
This tool hack is pretty simple, but all the great ones tend to be straightforward. In the video, [Daniel] is faced with a titanium Torx screw that refuses to come loose due to threadlocker, an adhesive that is applied to screws and other fasteners to prevent them coming loose. Available in a variety of strengths, thread-locking fluid is great at keeping screws where they need to be, but too much (or the wrong kind) can seize a screw permanently.
Instead of drilling out the offending screw, [Daniel] reaches for his soldering iron. By applying a significant amount of heat to the screw head, the adhesive starts to give. After heating, working the screw back and forth breaks the threadlocker, thus freeing the screw. The whole process takes just a couple of minutes, and potentially saves the repairer from destroying a screw.
The chemistry behind thermoset adhesives makes for some great bedtime reading, however the main takeaway is that threadlock fluid, while somewhat resistant to heat, will eventually become brittle enough for the screw to come loose. Unlike most adhesives, which melt under high temperature (think glue sticks), thermoset materials tend to initially harden with the application of heat, before turning brittle and breaking. While high-temperature threadlocker derivatives exist, typical Loctite-branded threadlocker (and similar products) would not appear to be able to stand the heat of a typical soldering iron.
Gearing can make a huge difference to a cyclist, enabling even the least fit rider to climb a steep hill, albeit slowly. [Berm Peak Express] took that to the next level, creating a super-low geared bicycle capable of actually towing seriously heavy loads.
The build consists of a custom 74-tooth sprocket for the rear wheel, paired with a 24-tooth chain ring for the pedals. The custom sprocket doesn’t have any holes drilled or other lightening measures taken, but given the slow speeds involved, the extra rotating mass probably isn’t much of an issue. With that gearing, 3.08 turns of the pedals will result in just one turn of the rear wheel, with the aim to provide tractor-like torque with the trade-off being incredibly low forward speed.
Installing the giant rear cog required using a 3D-printed guide to keep the chain tensioned, and the rear brakes are entirely absent, but it all came together. Bikes aren’t built for towing, and some issues are faced with dragging a Jeep as the bike struggles with balance and traction. However, with some effort, a grown adult can be towed in a child carriage up a hill, no problems.
The bike proves difficult to ride as the forward speed is so slow that balance is problematic. However, it was interesting to see the experiment run, and the wear marks on the hub from the huge loads put through the rear wheel. If you’re digging the weird bikes, though, check out this hubless design as well. Video after the break.
As long as 3D printers have been around, it seems as though many of us have dreamed about nozzle-sharing solutions for multicolor 3D prints. Just because Prusa’s MMU has had the spotlight for some time doesn’t mean that there’s no space to design something original. If you’re craving something new to feast your eyes upon, look no further than the EnragedRabbitProject by [EtteGit]. Built for Voron 3D printers, it’s a scalable filament changing solution designed from the ground up that expands to accommodate up to 9 filaments.
EnragedRabbitProject is broken into four main components. First comes the Enraged Rabbit Carrot Feeder (ERCF), the system that handles filament selection, retraction, and loading. Next, comes the Carrot Patch (ERCP), a spool holder/buffer combo that’s needed per spool. For those unfamiliar with filament changers, unspooling filament is easy, but rewinding it back onto the spool is hard. And since the nozzle will retract a significant length of filament when it switches between filaments, it’s important to manage all this extra loose filament to prevent tangles. A filament buffer is the solution; it’s a clever mechanical addition to the spool holder that will manage the extra filament that gets unwound during these filament changes. Beyond these two systems is the King’s Seat (ERKS) a Voron-2 setup that purges extra filament into beads instead of purge blocks, and finally, the filament sensor, which detects filament presence for filament changes.
It’s sometimes hard to appreciate the reliability of these sorts of CNC systems. On that note, keep in mind that the prints on the project’s landing page are the results of hundreds if not thousands of filament swaps — truly an astonishing feat. Beyond reliability is the project’s presentation. [EtteGit] has kindly posted STEP and STL files for all mechanical components, the Klipper configuration files, and a bill-of-materials that will scale according to the number of filaments you’re installing.
If you want to track a snail, you need a tiny instrumentation package. How do you create an entire data acquisition system, including sensors, memory, data processing and a power supply, small enough to fit onto a snail’s shell?
Throughout history, humans have upset many ecosystems around the world by introducing invasive species. Australia’s rabbits are a famous example, but perhaps less well-known are the Giant African land snails (Lissachatina fulica) that were introduced to South Pacific islands in the mid-20th century. Originally intended as a food source (escargot africain, anyone?), they quickly turned out to be horrible pests, devouring local plants and agricultural crops alike.
Not to be deterred, biologists introduced another snail, hoping to kill off the African ones: the Rosy Wolfsnail (Euglandina rosea), native to the Southeastern United States. This predatory snail did not show great interest in the African intruders however, and instead went on to decimate the indigenous snail population, driving dozens of local species into extinction.
One that managed to survive the onslaught is a small white snail called Partula hyalina. Confined to the edges of the tropical forests of Tahiti, biologists hypothesized that it was able to avoid the predators by hiding in sunny places which were too bright for E. rosea. The milky-white shells of P. hyalina supposedly protected them from overheating by reflecting more sunlight than the wolf snails’ orange-brown ones.
This sounds reasonable, but biologists need proof. So a team from the University of Michigan set up an experiment to measure the amount of solar radiation experienced by both snail types. They attached tiny light sensors to the wolf snails’ shells and then released them again. The sensors measured the amount of sunlight seen by the animals and logged this information during a full day. The snails were then caught again and the data retrieved, and the results proved the original hypothesis.
As you have doubtless heard, the Supercon is on hold for one more year, so we’re doing Remoticon round two. And aside from missing the direct human contact, our conference t-shirt drawer is getting a little empty. While we can’t fix the global pandemic, we can fix the latter problem with this eye-catching design, the latest in a long line of art created by Aleksandar Bradic for Hackaday Conferences.
Remoticon will kick off on Friday, November 19th with some new social shenanigans. All day Saturday we’ll present talks, capped off by the Hackaday Prize Ceremony and a party that evening. Keep your eyes peeled for more info, but grab your ticket today and block off your calendar.
Attendance is free, and your registering early helps us plan our infrastructure to handle the crowd. If you want a t-shirt, you can order one at the same time for $25. Shipping for people in the US is included, but because of the realities of postal costs, shipping will be $10 for those everywhere else in the world.
We’re also still looking for more great talks! The Call for Proposals is open until October 14th. Don’t sit on the sidelines, do your Hackaday duty and give a talk about something that interests you. There’s a critical mass of other geeks into the same stuff that will delight in hearing from you! Come join us.