Every biography of Edison talks about how the secret to the incandescent lamp was to remove the air from the bulb. That’s true when you use conventional filaments, but a man named Nernst found that using a filament that was already oxidized would allow you to create a lamp that would operate fine in the normal atmosphere. [Jaynes Network] takes a look at these oddities which date back to the 1800s in a recent video that you can see below.
The lamps use a ceramic filament, but the downside is that the filament needs to be hot to allow the lamp to work. The experiment takes a zirconium oxide rod and attempts to light it up. The heat source is a propane torch.
Continue reading “Experiments With A Nernst Lamp”
[Petapixel] has an interesting post about a startup company’s new holographic display that claims to be “indistinguishable from reality.” The company behind it, Light Field Labs, claims their system requires no glasses and handles different angles.
You can see a bit in the [C|Net] video below, but — of course — being on YouTube, you can’t get a sense for how good the 3D effect is.
Continue reading “New Holographic Display Hacks The Light Field”
The lower the frequency of radio transmission, the more antenna that will be needed in general. [OM0ET] wanted to work the 80M to 20M ham bands and decided to turn to a frame antenna. You can see the project in the video below.
The antenna looks a lot like a magnetic loop antenna. The one in the video has seven loops forming a 520mm square. The loop is, of course, an inductor and by removing some insulation, the operator can clip a lead at different points to control the inductance. A variable capacitor resonates the antenna, so there is definitely tuning required.
Continue reading “Frame Antenna Works The Low Bands”
Turbochargers as used on cars bear some similarities with jet engines. Fundamentally, both contain a turbine that harvests energy from hot gas, using it to spin a compressor which sucks in fresh air for combustion. Thus, turning a turbocharger into a jet engine is entirely possible, and [HRom] decided to have a crack at it.
The build starts with a turbo that appears to have been used on a diesel engine from the Volkswagen group. The first step was to cut the integral exhaust manifold off the turbo housing. A combustion chamber is then added which takes in fresh air from the compressor housing, and delivers hot combustion products to the turbine inlet. The homebrewed jet engine burns propane as fuel, introduced into the chamber via a nozzle.
The initial test failed as combustion was occurring at the turbine exhaust rather than in the combustion chamber, likely due to the lack of a proper ignition source inside the combustion chamber. A redesign employed a bigger combustion chamber built out of a fire extinguisher, with smouldering wood pellets inserted inside to get the injected propane burning.
The redesign works, and the turbocharger jet engine releases a thunderous scream as it turns at ever-increasing speed. However, with no oiling system or any way of controlling air or fuel flow in the engine, it eventually stops in a huge puff of smoke. Regardless, the engine did run in a sustained manner even if the ignition method was rudimentary.
We’ve seen similar builds before, and the rudimentary construction means they’re typically nowhere near being flight-weight engines. They are incredibly cool, however, and a great way to learn the basic principles of how jet engines work. Video after the break.
Continue reading “Turbocharger Jet Engine Relies On Wood Pellet Ignition”
Cookware isn’t something we typically build ourselves; you’d want a well-equipped metal shop to do the job and do it right. [Torbjörn Åhman] has just that, however, and set about forging a stout-looking skillet from scratch.
The build starts with a round disc of steel serving as a blank for the project. The blank is spun up and the outer perimeter ground down thinner with an angle grinder in what looks like a moderately sketchy operation. A forge is then used to heat the blank so that it can be shaped into a pan using a hammer. Slowly, as the metal is beaten one way and then t’other, the skillet begins to form. A belt sander takes off high points on the outside, and a torch is then used to square up the base of the pan so it sits nicely. Finally a handle attached with some stout rivets, and the newly formed piece of cookware gets a seasoning with sunflower oil.
The project shows just how many special skills are required to make even simple cookware by hand. It’s nice to see some keeping the old methods alive, too. Video after the break.
Continue reading “How To Forge A Skillet From Scratch”
It isn’t an uncommon science fiction trope for our hero to be in a situation where there is no technology. Maybe she’s back in the past or on a faraway planet. The Professor from Gilligan’s Island comes to mind, too. I’d bet the average Hacakday reader could do pretty well in that kind of situation, but there’s one thing that’s often overlooked: materials. Sure, you can build a radio. But can you make wire? Or metal plates for a capacitor? Or a speaker? We tend to overlook how many abstractions we use when we build. Even turning trees into lumber isn’t a totally obvious process.
People are by their very nature always looking for ways to use the things around them. Even 300,000 years ago, people would find rocks and use them as tools. It wasn’t long before they found that some rocks could shape other rocks to form useful shapes like axes. But the age of engineered materials is much younger. Whether clay, metal, glass, or more obviously plastics, these materials are significantly more useful than rocks tied to sticks, but making them in the first place is an engineering story all on its own.
Continue reading “Tech In Plain Sight: Primitive Engineering Materials”
While using a stencil should make solder paste application onto PCBs a simple affair, there are a number of “gotchas” that make it more art than science. Luckily, there are tools you can build, like this 3D-printed vacuum-assist stencil jig, that take a little of the finesse out of the process.
For those who haven’t had the pleasure, solder paste stencils are often used to make the job of applying just the right amount of solder paste onto the pads of a PCB, and only on the pads. The problem is that once the solder paste has been squeegeed through the holes in the stencil, it’s not easy to remove the stencil without smearing. [Marius Heier]’s stencil box is essentially a chamber that attaches to a shop vac, along with a two-piece perforated work surface. The center part of the top platform is fixed, while the outer section moves up and down on 3D-printed springs.
In use, the PCB is placed on the center fixed platform, while the stencil sits atop it. Suction pulls the stencil firmly down onto the PCB and holds it there while the solder paste is applied. Releasing the suction causes the outer section of the platform to spring up vertically, resulting in nice, neat solder-covered pads. [Marius] demonstrates the box in the video below, and shows a number of adapters that would make it work with different sized PCBs.
If you think you’ve seen a manual vacuum stencil box around here recently, you’re right — we featured one by [UnexpectedMaker] not too long ago.
Continue reading “Stencil Vacuum-Assist Helps Avoid The Heartbreak Of Smeared Solder Paste”