Hack Your Sodastream With A Giant CO2 Canister

Sodastream machines are popular amongst people who like to make their own seltzer water at home. However, replenishing the tiny gas canisters is expensive and wasteful. [Becky] decided to upgrade her machine to avoid this problem, and added some smarts while she was at it. 

The simple part of the hack is using an adapter to connect the Sodastream apparatus to a 50 lb CO2 tank from the welding store. This is easy enough, and just uses a off the shelf adapter. Using welding-grade gas in your drinking water is probably a really bad idea, but [Becky] was willing to take the nisk.

However, safety was given due attention in that a CO2 monitor was installed to make [Becky] aware of any dangerous leaks. The tank is also placed on a custom scale built with load cells and an ESP8266, which allows monitoring of how much gas is left. [Becky] notes that at her rate of drinking one bottle a day, the tank should last her a full 7 years or so.

The project brings costs down to 18 cents per liter of seltzer, versus 38 cents for the Sodastream gas supply. It’s likely that the Sodastream prices could still be beat even if a food-safe CO2 source was used. Plus, there’s no need to regularly buy new bottles!

Overall, it’s a great project and one that recalls us of continuous-ink printer hacks. Video after the break.

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RISC-V In… Typescript?

We are accustomed to seeing RISC-V implementations in Verilog or VHDL, but [Low Level JavaScript] has one in TypeScript. Before you dismiss it as a mere emulator, know that the project relies on gateware-ts, a conversion between TypeScript and Verilog. From there, you can actually put the CPU on an FPGA. You can see the launch video below and there is one development video as well as, presumably, more to come.

We aren’t sure if many FPGA designers will be willing to switch to TypeScript. But if you are comfortable with it, it might open up FPGA development without having to learn as much of a new language.

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A 3D-printed scale model of the mechanism inside a grand piano.

Printed Piano Mechanism Sure Is Grand

Do you know how a piano works? Sure, you press a key and a hammer strikes a string, but what are the finer points of this operation? The intricacy of the ingenious mechanism is laid bare in [Mechanistic]’s 3D-printed scale model of a small section of the grand piano keyboard. The ‘grand’ distinction here is piano length-agnostic and simply refers to any non-upright. Those operate the same way, but are laid out differently in order to save space.

The keys of an acoustic piano are much longer than just the part that shows — they are long levers that do a lot of work, including working their own sound dampeners. The really interesting part is the mechanism that allows a note to be played repeatedly without first releasing the key. This same mechanism also lets the pianist play softly, loudly, or somewhere in between based on the amount of pressure applied.

So you know that the hammer strikes the string (or in this case, the rod), and you can probably figure that it backs off to let the string ring out. But there’s also this whole system that keeps the hammer close by for repeated strikings, as long as the person is holding down the key. Be sure to check it out in the build video after the break.

[Mechanistic] must be going for the standing ovation, because they say in the video’s comments that they will release STL files when they’re finished writing the assembly guide (!). What an encore that will be.

There are many ways to hack an acoustic piano, but don’t go thinking you can sub in guitar strings.

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Valve Reluctantly Shows How To Mod The Steam Deck

As the narrator in this official instructional video from Valve reminds the viewer several times, the gaming company would¬†really rather you not open up your brand new Steam Deck and start poking around. They can’t guarantee that their software will function should you start changing the hardware, and since there’s no source for replacement parts yet anyway, there’s not much you can do in the way of repairs.

That said, Valve does believe you have the right to take apart your own device, and has produced the video below as an aid to those who are willing risk damaging their new system by opening it up. Specifically, the video goes over how to replace the most likely wear items on the handheld, namely the thumb sticks and the SSD. It seems inevitable that the stock thumb sticks will wear down after a couple years of hard use, so we’re glad to see they are easily removable modules. As for the SSD, it stands to reason that users would want to swap it out for faster and higher capacity models as they become available in the coming years.

Sooner or later, these are going to need to be replaced.

Now to be clear, we appreciate Valve making this video, and would love to see other manufacturers be so forthcoming. But we have to admit that some of its messaging does seem a bit heavy handed. The narrators admonition that users who open their Steam Deck are literally taking their lives into their own hands due to the danger of potentially rupturing the system’s lithium-ion battery is a bit hyperbolic for our tastes. The constant reminders of how badly you could bungle the job just comes off as overly preachy, though to be fair, we probably aren’t the intended audience.

Outside of its obvious gaming functions, we’re excited too see what the community can do with the Steam Deck. With official reference material like this, perhaps we’ll even start seeing some hardware modifications before too long. Though we wouldn’t blame you for hitting the Mute button halfway through.

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These First Remoticon Speakers Are Just A Taste Of What’s To Come

With the 2021 Hackaday Remoticon fast approaching, we’ve been hard at work crafting a schedule filled with thought-provoking presentations from knowledgeable speakers; precisely what you’ve come to expect from one of our events, virtual or otherwise. We’ve already announced that Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) astrophysicist Keith Thorne will be presenting a literally out-of-this-world keynote on the incredible engineering it takes to detect gravitational waves with the highest precision interferometers ever devised, but that’s only the beginning.

To make doubly sure we’ll be able to pack every available minute of our second Remoticon with fascinating content, we’ve decided to extend the deadline on talk proposals for a few more days to see what the late-bloomers can bring to the table. If you’ve ever wanted to present at a Hackaday event, but couldn’t swing the trip to Pasadena or Belgrade, this is your chance to take the stage virtually and show off what you’re passionate about.

In the meantime, we’ve churned through enough of the early proposals to let slip the first four talks that we’ll be beaming out between November 19th and 20th. There is plenty more to announce over the coming weeks, but hopefully this gives you an idea of what we’ve got in store for our global audience of hardware hackers. So grab your Remoticon ticket right now!

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Thingiverse Data Leaked — Check Your Passwords

Every week seems to bring another set of high-profile data leaks, and this time it’s the turn of a service that should be of concern to many in our community. A database backup from the popular 3D model sharing website Thingiverse has leaked online, containing 228,000 email addresses, full names, addresses, and passwords stored as unsalted SHA-1 or bcrypt hashes. If you have an account with Thingiverse it is probably worth your while to head over to Have I Been Pwned to search on your email address, and just to be sure you should also change your password on the site. Our informal testing suggests that not all accounts appear to be contained in the leak, which appears to relate to comments left on the site.

Aside from the seriousness of a leak in itself, the choice of encryption should raise a few eyebrows. Both SHA-1 and bcrypt can be considered broken or at best vulnerable to attack here in 2021, so much so that for any website to have avoided migration to a stronger algorithm indicates a very poor attention to website security on the part of Thingiverse. We’d like to think that it would serve as a salutary warning to other website operators in our field, to review and upgrade their encryption, but we suspect readers will agree that this won’t be the last time we report on such a leak and nervously check our own login details.

Hacking An IKEA Lampshade Into A Stunning Dichroic Lamp

Often, when we see a colorful lamp project, it’s something that makes use of RGB LEDs and all manner of lovely animations and fading effects. This project from [Raymond Power] features beautiful shifting colors, but foregos fancy LEDs for the magic of dichroic film.

Dichroic films work with thin-film interference, with the wavelength of light passed through the film changing depending on the angle of incidence. Thus, as the observer’s viewing angle changes, the apparent color of the film changes, too. It creates particularly beautiful effects when several layers of film are laid on top of each other.

[Raymond] happened to source some of this film from a fancy IKEA lampshade. At the time, he’d been experimenting with folding paper cubes and similar constructions, and decided to meld the two ideas.

The result was a cubic dichroic lampshade, which looks truly fantastic. Sitting on top of a simple white LED light, the structure lights up with a rich blend of complementary and shifting colors.

It’s a beautiful thing, and something we’d love to have in our own home. Dichroic materials find themselves being used in some more scientific uses, too. Video after the break.

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