As the “Pico” might have already given away, the project is built around a Raspberry Pi Pico board, and being intended as portable device, [Kayden] went with a version that also houses LiPo battery charging circuitry. A set of 3d-printed parts pack the board along with a matching battery and a button panel neatly into the tin itself, while a size-appropriate SSH1106 OLED goes into the lid. All design files along with the MicroPython code of the games can be found on the project’s GitHub page.
You may have felt this strange sense of familiarity when you read the project’s name, and indeed, the mintyPi gaming console was a major inspiration for [Kayden] here, as was the Pico Snake project. Considering this was his junior year high school project, this is certainly an impressive and nice mash-up of those two projects.
We always enjoy videos from [FesZ], so when we saw his latest about tips and tricks for LTSpice, we decided to put the 20 minutes in to watch it. But we noticed in the text that he has an entire series of video tutorials about LTSpice and that this is actually episode 30. So there’s plenty to watch.
Like any tips and tricks video, you might know some of them and you may not care about some of them — for example, the first one talks about setting the colors which is a highly personal preference. But it is a good bet you’ll find something to like in the video.
How much would you pay for a 3D printer? Granted, when we started a decent printer might run over $1,000 but the cost has come way down. Unless of course, you go pro. We were disappointed that this [All3DP] post didn’t include prices, but we noticed a trend: if your 3D printer has stairs, it is probably a big purchase. According to the tag line on the post, the printers are all north of $500,000.
Expensive printers usually have unique technology, higher degrees of automation, large capacity or some combination of that, and a few other factors. At least two of the printers mentioned had stairs to reach the top parts of the machine. And the Black Buffalo — a cement printer — uses a gantry that looks like it is part of a light show at a concert. It is scalable, but apparently can go up to three stories tall!
Nobody likes a tedious manual job prone to repetitive stress injury, and such tasks rightly inspire an automated solution. This automatic SMD tape cutter is a good example of automating such a chore, while leaving plenty of room for further development.
We’re used to seeing such tactical automation projects from [Mr Innovative], each of which centers on an oddly specific task. In this case, the task involves cutting a strip containing a specific number of SMD resistors from a reel, perhaps for assembling kits of parts. The mechanism is simple: a stepper motor with a rubber friction wheel to drive the tape, and a nasty-looking guillotine to cut the tape. The cutter is particularly interesting, using as it does a short length of linear bearing to carry a holder for a razor blade that’s mounted perpendicular to the SMD tape. The holder is mounted to a small motor via a crank, and when the proper number of parts have been fed out, the motor rotates one revolution, driving the angled blade quickly down and then back up. This results in a shearing cut rather than the clipping action seen in this automated wire cutter, also by [Mr Innovative].
Curiously, there seems to be no feedback mechanism to actually measure how many resistors have been dispensed. We assume [Mr Innovative] is just counting steps, but it seems easy enough to integrate a photosensor to count the number of drive sprocket holes in the tape. It also seems like a few simple changes would allow this machine to accommodate SMD tapes of different sizes, making it generally useful for SMD kitting. It’s still pretty cool as a tactical project, though, and does a great job inspiring future improvements.
We always enjoy watching [Kerry Wong] put an oscilloscope through its paces. His recent video is looking at a very inexpensive FNIRSI 1014D ‘scope that you can also find rebranded. You can usually find these for well under $200 at the usual places. Can you get a reasonable scope for that cost? [Kerry] has a list of issues with the scope ranging from short memory depth to low sensitivity. He did, however, like that it is USB powered so it can be operated from a common battery pack, which would make it truly floating.
The ‘scope looks like a lot of other inexpensive ‘scopes, but you can see some concessions to price. For example, the encoder knobs don’t have a push button function, making the scope more difficult to operate. While the specs are relatively modest, [Kerry] wasn’t sure the instrument was even living up to them.
Generally when we consider the many plants around us, we imagine them efficiently using the electromagnetic radiation from the Sun via photosynthesis in their leaves — pulling carbon-dioxide from the air, as well as water from the soil via their roots, and grow as quickly as they reasonably can. In reality, the efficiency of this process is less than 10% of the input energy, and the different types of plant metabolisms that have formed over the course of evolution aren’t all the same.
Among the plant metabolisms in use today, some use significantly more efficient carbon fixation pathways, while others end up wasting a lot of the energy they obtained from photosynthesis with unnecessarily complicated processes, especially to deal with waste. How fast plants can grow if they had all evolved the most efficient carbon fixation pathway has been the subject of a number of studies these past decades, involving everything from crop plants to trees.
As these studies are showing us, more than a scientific and evolutionary biological curiosity, these genetically engineered plants offer real opportunities in everything from food production to reforestation.
Where has the year gone? It’s already summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and the second Challenge of the 2022 Hackaday Prize ends this weekend, along with your chance at one of ten $500 prizes. If you thrive on last-minute challenges, consider the eleventh hour upon you. But don’t panic; there’s still a decent amount of time left to start a new project over on Hackaday.io and get it entered into the contest.
The second Challenge focuses on creating new ways of recycling materials. What does this look like? That’s a pretty broad topic, but it could be anything from a better method of chip harvesting to an inexpensive and/or low-energy process for shredding used plastic and forming it into millable blocks.
Don’t just think big on a commercial scale — imagine what people can do at home with the stuff in their recycle bin or their neighbor’s trash. If everyone had access to one of [Jerzeek]’s plastic scanners for identifying the type of plastic that mystery bucket or old watering can was made of, just think what could be done. As long as your project focuses on reusing, recycling, or revamping, we want to see it!
So basically, we have a bunch of awesome entries right now, but we don’t have yours! Remember: it doesn’t have to be a new project, just a new project page. Did you revolutionize recycling during lockdown? Make a new project and tell us about it! Just don’t forget to actually enter the thing by using the drop-down on the left before 7AM PDT on Sunday, June 12th. Need a time converting countdown thingy? We’ve got you.
After the recycle bin is empty, we’ll be moving on immediately to the Hack It Back challenge. This time, we’ll be asking you to teach old tech new tricks, or to bring a piece of gear back from the dead. Turn a blender into a Dremel-like tool, or give an old ‘scope a screen upgrade. You know what to do!