Blinds are great for blocking out the sun, but having to get up to open and close them grows tiresome in this computationally-advanced age. [The Hook Up] decided to automate his home blinds instead, hooking them up to the Internet of Things with some common off-the-shelf parts.
The basic idea was to use stepper motors to turn the tilt rod which opens and closes the blinds. An early attempt to open blinds with unipolar stepper motors proved unsuccessful, when the weak motors weren’t capable of fully closing the blinds when running on 5 volts. Not wanting to throw out the hardware on hand, the motors were instead converted to bipolar operation. They were then hooked up to DRV8825 driver boards and run at 12 volts to provide more torque.
With the electromechanical side of things sorted out, it was simple to hook up the motor drivers to a NodeMCU, based on the ESP8266. The IoT-ready device makes it easy to control the motors remotely via the web.
The build came in at a low cost of around $10 per blind. That’s a good saving over commercial options which can cost hundreds of dollars in comparison. We’ve seen other work from [The Hook Up] before too, like his creative Flex Seal screen build. Video after the break.
Continue reading “Automated Blinds Can Be A Cheap And Easy Build” →
The Commodore 64 is a much-loved 8-bit retro computer that first appeared in 1982 and finally faded away around a decade later. The Commodore company started by [Jack Tramiel] went on to make the Amiga, and eventually ceased trading some time in the late 1990s. All history, now kept alive only by enthusiasts, right? Well, not quite, as the C64 has been the subject of a number of revivals both miniature and full-sized over the years. The latest came in the form of a Kickstarter for the C64x, a seemingly legitimately-branded Commodore 64-shaped PC, but it seems that has now been paused due to a complaint from an Italian company claiming to be the real heirs of Commodore. So will the real Commodore please stand up?
The origin of the Kickstarter C64x breadbin C64 PC is well enough documented, having its roots in a legitimate 2010 offering for which the person behind the C64x appears to have gained the rights. The Italian company is also called Commodore and uses the familiar branding from the glory days to sell some Commodore-themed games, novelties, and a tablet computer, but its website is a little tight-lipped about how it came by the use of that IP. Could it have come upon those rights through the 1990s German owner of the brand, Escom? We’d be fascinated to know.
Continue reading “Will The Real Commodore Please Stand Up?” →
A press is a useful thing to have, whether you like destroying stuff or you simply want to properly install some bearings. [Retsetman] decided to build one from scratch, eschewing the typical hydraulic method for a geared design instead.
The benefit of going with a gear press design is that [Retsetman] was able to 3D print the required gears himself. The design uses a series of herringbone gears to step down the output of two brushed DC motors. This is then turned into linear motion via a rack and pinion setup. Naturally, the strength of the gears and rack is key to the performance of the press. As you might expect, a fair few of the printed gears suffered failures during the development process.
The final press is demonstrated by smooshing various objects, in true YouTube style. It’s not really able to destroy stuff like a proper hydraulic press, but it can kind of crush a can and amusingly squash a teddy bear. If you’re really keen on making a gear press, though, you’re probably best served by going with a metal geartrain. Video after the break.
Continue reading “3D-Printed Gear Press Can Squash Stuff, Kinda” →
The first dance of a newly married couple at the wedding reception is both a sentimental and memorable event, so why not make it even more so with something a bit special? Hackaday alumnus [Brett Haddoak] and his wife [Rachelle] certainly achieved that, with 1200 addressable LEDs turning her wedding dress into a real-life reproduction of Princess Aurora’s color changing dress from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.
Tradition dictates that a groom must not see the dress before the Big Day, thus the LEDs were fixed to a petticoat and bustier that go underneath. The design would need so many LEDs that it crossed the limit that an Arduino can address, thus there were two Arduinos to control the whole. Electronics and batteries were worn in a pair of polo shorts, and after some nail-biting moments involving flaky connections, the whole thing came to life. The result can be seen in the video below the break, and certainly comes with a significant wow factor!
We would like to wish the happy couple all the best for the future, and we hope that this won’t be their last such electronic collaboration. If you’re hungry for more, it’s not the first light-up wedding outfit we’ve brought you.
Continue reading “1200 Addressable LEDs Make For The Perfect First Dance” →
Many robot builders and RC enthusiasts find themselves turning to 3D printed tires. The benefit is you can make them in any size and style you want, and they’re as readily available for as long as your home printer is still working. [Michael Rechtin] printed some up and decided to see how long they’d actually last in use.
[Michael] printed a pair of tires for the test. One was made in TPU on a typical FDM printer, while the other was printed in flexible resin. The tires were then installed on hubs and fitted with gear motors for drive. The assembly was then fitted to the end of a test tether that would turn in circles for hours to put mileage on the tires.
After many hours and around 10 miles of testing, both tires were showing signs of wear. Notably, the resin tires showed a lot more wear than the TPU version, suggesting the latter material is a better choice for printing hard-wearing tires.
Overall, it’s reminiscent of the tether testing we saw from [rctestflight] recently. There’s something compelling about thrashing something round in circles to learn something in the process! Video after the break.
Continue reading “Comparing 3D Printed Tires: Resin Vs. TPU” →
We’re not in the habit of recommending Kickstarter projects here at Hackaday, but when prototype hardware shows up on our desk, we just can’t help but play with it and write it up for the readers. And that is exactly where we find ourselves with the Turing Pi 2. You may be familiar with the original Turing Pi, the carrier board that runs seven Raspberry Pi Compute boards at once. That one supports the Compute versions 1 and 3, but a new design was clearly needed for the Compute Module 4. Not content with just supporting the CM4, the developers at Turing Machines have designed a 4-slot carrier board based on the NVIDIA Jetson pinout. The entire line of Jetson devices are supported, and a simple adapter makes the CM4 work. There’s even a brand new module planned around the RK3588, which should be quite impressive.
One of the design decisions of the TP2 is to use the mini-ITX form-factor and 24-pin ATX power connection, giving us the option to install the TP2 in a small computer case. There’s even a custom rack-mountable case being planned by the folks over at My Electronics. So if you want 4 or 8 Raspberry Pis in a rack mount, this one’s for you.
Continue reading “Turing Pi 2: The Low Power Cluster” →
When it comes to the development and testing of performance suspension, it’s helpful to have a test apparatus that lets you recreate certain conditions reliably. This LEGO suspension dyno does just that, and it’s clearly a big help for those doing R&D on minifig motorcycle suspension.
The build relies on four motors to overcome the resistance of turning a chunky conveyor belt, which acts as a rolling road. As the belt is built out of Technic beams, various LEGO blocks can be added to the conveyor to act as bumps or perturbations for testing suspension.
The video demonstrates the use of the dynamometer, showing how a simple LEGO motorbike design deals with bumps of various sizes. It’s easy to swap out forks and springs and change the geometry to tune the suspension, and the changes can be easily seen when running it through the same test conditions.
While we don’t imagine there are too many people working in this particular field, the lessons being taught here are valuable. This setup allows one to quickly visualize how changing vehicle parameters affects handling. It’s hard to imagine a better teaching tool for vehicle dynamics than something like this that lets you see directly what’s really going on!
Continue reading “There’s A LEGO Suspension Dyno Now” →