If you are an American, you’d probably think of [Silas Hansen’s] project as “air soccer” but most people will prefer air football. Either way, it is like air hockey but more of a football field feel. The project looks great — if you saw this on the shelves of the local toy store, you wouldn’t think anything of it. You can see a video of the game in action, below.
Unsurprisingly, the brains of the game are an Arduino. The case looks good thanks to laser cutting and 3D printing. A Roland printer produced the stickers that really dress the case up, but you could find another artistic way to do the decoration.
Continue reading “Air Football Looks Pro”
Addressable LED strings have made it easier than ever to build fun glowable projects with all kinds of exciting animations. However, if you’re not going with a simple grid layout, it can be a little difficult to map your strings out in code. Fear not, for [Jason Coon] has provided a tool to help out with just that!
[Jason]’s web app, accessible here. is used for mapping out irregular layouts when working with addressable LED strings like the WS2812B and others that work with libraries like FastLED and Pixelblaze. If you’re making some kind of LED globe, crazy LED tree, or other non-gridular shape, this tool can help.
The first step is to create a layout of your LEDs in a Google Sheets table, which can then be pasted into the web app. Then, the app handles generating the necessary code to address the LEDs in an order corresponding to the physical layout.
[Jason] does a great job of explaining how the tool works, and demonstrates it working with a bowtie-like serpentine layout with rainbow animations. The tool can even provide visual previews of the layout so you can verify what you’ve typed in makes sense.
It’s a great tool that we recently saw put to use on [Geeky Faye’s] excellent necklace project. Video after the break. Continue reading “Finally, A Mapping Tool For Addressable LED Strings”
Twenty Two Motors. Fifty gears. Eighty Two Hundred RPM. Hundreds of individual pieces, and one sheet of glossy paper cut into a disk. This isn’t a nightmare driven Rube Goldberg machine. Instead, it’s a Lego monstrosity created by [GazR] of [GazR’s Extreme Brick Machines!], and all of these parts are flying in formation for one Lego slicing purpose. In the video below the break, you can see what very well may be the worlds most powerful Lego and Paper table saw.
Starting out with a build that had a mere fourteen motors in a platform that looked quite a lot more like a table saw, [GazR] learned that having only fourteen motors turning a Lego based blade was not a good combination. In the next iteration, the same number of motors were used, but the gearing was increased to bring RPM up, and a Lego toy saw blade took care of cutting duties.
Seeing that higher speeds with thinner blades was a winning trend, [GazR] stepped it up to the aforementioned 8200 RPM twenty-two motored paper whirling Lego Death Machine. Yes, [GazR] cut Lego, carrots, carpet, and paper- all with circular sheet of paper.
Do Lego mechanisms turn your gears? You might enjoy this Legopunk Orrery from the Hackaday archives, too. Thanks to [Keith] for the great tip. Be sure to submit your own tips via the Hackaday Tips Line, or the #Submit-A-Tip channel in the Hackaday Discord server.
Continue reading “Brick And Motor Table Saw Delivers Paper Cuts On Demand”
Wheels are typically just simple cylinders, though fans of I, Robot (2004) may have admired the handsome vehicle featuring ball wheels that was driven by the protagonist. YouTuber [Brick Technology] decided to evaluate the use of spherical wheels with a Lego car design.
The benefit of ball wheels is that they can turn in multiple directions when driven on different axes, with the benefit of improved maneuverability. With a set of drive rollers spring loaded with rubber bands pushing against the 52mm Duplo spheres, the ball wheels can be rotated both forward and back as well as left and right. This gives the Lego car a rather neat strafing ability, as well as the ability to spin on the spot or steer in a more traditional fashion. The car is controlled via smartphone, thanks to BuWizz modules that allow remote control of the Lego motors.
Ball wheels are unlikely to catch on in mainstream automobiles; the mechanical complexity required to drive them makes such designs impractical for cars. However, omniwheels and similar designs have found some applications on forklifts and other such slow-speed applications where the ability to move in any direction is very useful. Video after the break.
Continue reading “Lego Car Demonstrates Proper Use Of Ball Wheels”
When you want to fabricate something you either start with something and take away what you don’t want — subtractive manufacturing — or you start with nothing and add material, which is additive manufacturing that we usually call 3D printing. Popular Science recently took a look inside Vital Auto, the British lab that uses 3D printing for high-end concept cars from companies like Rolls-Royce, McLauren, Jaguar, and others. In the video below, [Anthony Barnicott], an engineer for Vital, says that the two technologies — additive and subtractive — work best when used together.
As you might expect, they are not using a $200 FDM printer. They have three Formlabs 3Ls that print with resin and five Formlab Fuse 1 selective laser sintering printers. While metal printers are still uncommon in hacker’s workshops, resin printers are now very affordable although your garage printer is probably a good bit smaller than the 3L’s 335x200x300 mm volume. For comparison, an LCD-based AnyCubic Photon X provides just 165x132x80 mm. Of course, you’re looking at about $11,000 for the dual-laser 3L versus about $240 for the Photon.
Vital started building the EP9 electric car concept for NIO, an electric car maker in China. You can imagine that modern manufacturing machines make it possible to create more sophisticated concept cars faster. How many times do you want to tweak a part that takes a machinist eight hours to produce? But if you can just let a machine run overnight and get the result in the morning, you are more likely to change and refine the part.
Vital Auto is an interesting look at how professional fabrication shops are using the same technologies we do, at least at the core. We’ve noted before how these same technologies are making homebrew projects look better than some commercial products not long ago. You can print big things if you break them up, of course. Or, break the bank and buy a really big printer.
Continue reading “3D Printing Concept Car (Parts)”
[Tom], of the YouTube channel ThingsTomLike, found a very sweet little mechanical Pong clone at a thrift store. It came in broken, but in only fifteen minutes of your time, [Tom] manages a complete teardown and repair. (Video, embedded below.)
The game works by balancing a lightbulb on the end of a pivot arm that projects a “ball” onto a screen, while players move their paddles up and down to hit the spring that surrounds the light assembly. The ball arm gets periodically kicked by a DC motor and cam assembly, which makes it careen wildly back and forth across the screen.
It’s a marvel of simple, no-IC engineering. Ironically, it might have been cheaper than making it out of silicon at the time, but viewed from today’s economy, just the human labor in adjusting that counterweight so that the “ball” floats would blow the budget.
Why a screen and lightbulb? Because it’s emulating Pong, a video game, the new kid on the block. But even 45 years later, we think it has got a charm all of its own that the cold digital logic of Pong lacks, even if the gameplay suffers.
Continue reading “Old School Mechanical Pong Still Amazes”
Plastics, by and large, are well-understood materials. Not as strong as most metals, but often much lighter, these man-made polymers have found innumerable applications that have revolutionized the way we live. The properties of plastics have been improved in many ways over the years, with composite materials like fiberglass and carbon fiber proving to have strength and lightness far beyond the simple properties of basic polymers alone.
However, a group of engineers at MIT have been working on a revolutionary type of polymer that promises greater strength then ever before while remaining remarkably light weight. It’s all down to the material’s two-dimensional molecular structure, something once thought to be prohibitively difficult in the world of polymer science.
Continue reading “Two-Dimensional Polymer Is A New Ultra-Strong Material”