When they first started, the only tool they had available was a rifle. Scaring birds this way is not the most effective way for all species, though, so lately they have been turning to other tools. One of which is a custom boat built on a foam bodyboard which uses a plethora of 3D printed parts and sensors to allow the operator to remotely pilot the boat on the toxic lake. The team also has a drone to scare birds away, plus an array of other tools like high-powered lasers, propane cannons, and various scopes in order to put together the most effective response to help save wildlife.
While this strategy runs the gamut of the tools most commonly featured here, from 3D printers to drones to lasers, the only thing that’s missing is some automation like we have seen with other drone boat builds we’ve featured in the past. It takes quite a bit of time to continually scare birds off this lake, even through the winter, so every bit of help the team can get could go even further.
Troll YouTube long enough and chances are good that you’ll come across all kinds of videos of the “How It’s Made” genre. And buried in with the frying pans and treadmills and dental floss manufacturers, there no doubt will be deep dives on how pipe is made. Methods will vary by material, but copper, PVC, cast iron, or even concrete, what the pipe factories will all have in common is the high degree of automation they employ. With a commodity item like pipe, it’s hard to differentiate yourself from another manufacturer on features, so price is about the only way to compete. That means cutting costs to the bone, and that means getting rid of as many employees as possible.
Such was not always the case, of course, as this look at how Irish Stoneware & Fireclays Ltd. made clay pipe, drain tiles, and chimney flues back in the 1980s shows. The amount of handwork involved in making a single, simple piece of clay pipe is astonishing, as is the number of hands employed at the various tasks. The factory was located in Carrickmacross, County Monaghan, Ireland, near an outcropping of shale that forms the raw material for its products. Quarrying the shale and milling it into clay were among the few mechanized steps in the process; although the extrusion of the pipe itself was also mechanized, the machines required teams of workers to load and unload them.
This remote screen viewer is built in Python by [louis-e] and, once installed, allows the client to view the screen of the server even if the client is a text-only console. [louis-e] demonstrates this from within a Windows command prompt. The script polls the server screen and then displays it in the console using the various colors and textures available. As a result, the resolution and refresh rate are both quite low, but it is still functional enough to play Minecraft and do other GUI-based tasks as long as there’s no fine text to read anywhere.
The video below only shows a demonstration of the remote screen viewer, and we can imagine plenty of uses beyond this proof-of concept game demonstration. Installing a desktop environment and window manager is not something strictly necessary for all computers, so this is a functional workaround if you don’t want to waste time and resources installing either of those components. If you’re looking for remote desktop software for a more specific machine, though, take a look at this software which enables remote desktop on antique Macs.
As electronics hobbyists we are grateful to our spouses and flatmates who gracefully tolerate all of our weird equipment and chaotic projects in their homes. But it takes a different level of dedication to share one’s home with a pipe organ enthusiast: back in the 1970s, one organist in Bristol went to the effort of installing a full-sized church organ into their house, effectively turning the modest dwelling into one giant musical instrument. Recently however, the house passed on to new owners who, understandably anxious to reclaim some space, listed the whole system on eBay.
Thankfully, the auction was won not by some scrap metal dealer but by [Look Mum No Computer], our favourite expert on odd musical instruments. He drove out all the way from Kent to help disassemble the organ and stuff the dozens of pipes, miles of cable and numerous valves, tubes, latches and switches into his van. Once back home, he faced the daunting task of reassembling the whole lot into something capable of playing music, which he’s currently documenting in a video series.
The organ’s new home is This Museum Is (Not) Obsolete, where it has its own room decorated in a style similar to the house it spent much of its life in. The first step to getting it working was to fire up the blower, which is effectively a powerful electric air pump together with a pressure-regulating mechanism. Once this was working, one row of pipes was added to test the actuation system. This consists of a set of solenoids that simply open or close the air supply to each pipe. [LMNC] still had an Arduino-based organ driver system from an earlier project, which allowed him to connect a MIDI keyboard to the partially-complete instrument and play a few notes on it.
Cyberdecks make for interesting projects, some are a bit rough while others are beautiful, but it’s maybe something that even the most ardent enthusiast might agree — these home-made portable computers aren’t always the most convenient to use. Thus we’re very pleased to see this machine from [TRL], as it takes the cyberdeck aesthetic and renders it in a form that looks as though it might be quite practical to use.
It takes a Raspberry Pi and a Waveshare 1280×400 capacitive touch screen, and mounts this combo with a keyboard in an uncommonly well-designed 3D printed chassis. With the screen flat it resembles the venerable TRS-80 Model 100 “slab” computer of the early 1980s, but flip it up, and a surprisingly usable laptop appears. Power comes from an external battery pack with a lead, but this is due more to thermal management issues with PSU boards than it is to necessity. The finishing touch is a stylish custom laptop bag, making for a combo we’d take on the train to bang out Hackaday articles any day.
I have an Acer monitor that I’ve owned for around 15 years, and thanks to my having paid extra at the time for the model sporting a DVI socket for HDMI compatibility it still finds a place as one of my desktop monitors. It has a power brick that supplies it with 1 2V at 4.5 A, and over the years this has developed an annoying whine. Something’s loose in the magnetics, and I really should replace it. So off to AliExpress I went, and dropped in an order for a 12 V, 5 A power brick.
It’s No Heavyweight
These units are pretty standard, a box about 130 mm by 60 mm with an IEC socket at one end and a trailing cable at the other for the low voltage. I’ve had enough of them pass through my hands over the years to know what to expect, so I was dismayed to find when I received my PSU that it was suspiciously light. 86 g compared to the around 250 g I’d expect, so I began to smell a rat. Time for a teardown, and a descent into the world of small switch-mode mains power supplies.
Normally it should be easier to break into Fort Knox than to crack open a mains power supply, because for safety they are ultrasonic welded together. The few times I’ve done it have required some Dremel time and a bit of swearing, so when this case turned out to open fairly easily by levering with a screwdriver it was evident this wasn’t a high-quality item. Sure enough my suspicions were confirmed, for there inside was a much smaller board. It’s clear this isn’t a 5 A power supply, so just what have I received? Continue reading “Junk I Bought: My PSU Just Won’t Do”→
When you’re working with PCBs and making single units to knock out in those Chinese fabs, going from layout to manufacturable Gerber files is just a few button presses, no matter what PCB layout tool you prefer. But, once you get into producing sets of PCBs that form a larger system, or are making multiple copies for efficient manufacturing, then you’re not going to get far without delving into the art of PCB panelization. We’ve seen a few options over the years, and here’s yet another one that’s looking quite promising — hm-panelizer by [halfmarble] is a cross platform Python GUI application, which leverages Kivy, so it should run on pretty well on most major platforms without too much hassle. The tool is early in development, so is restricted to handling only straight PCB edges, with horizontal mouse-bites for now, but we’re sure it will quickly grow more general purpose capabilities given time and support.
In an ideal world, open source tools like KiCAD would have a built-in panelizer, but for now we can dream and hm-panelizer might just be good enough for some people. For more choices on panelizing, checkout our guide to making it easy, and just to muddy the waters here’s another way to do it.