The first part to build is the egg-hat-stand. This consists of the base of the structure, with the “hat” of the egg character hanging in the center. The other half of the structure is built separately, with the rest of the “egg head” sitting in a cup in the bottom of the upper structure. A series of nylon threads are then tied between the components. These can then be tensioned to give the structure its shape, allowing the egg’s “hat” to hover above its “head”. [seabirdhh] passes the nylon threads through small pieces of rubber that allow the tension to be adjusted just right. Too little and the structure falls down, but too much, and it will bend over time. Tuning it carefully is key.
Direction-finding, or fox hunting, is a popular activity in ham radio circles where a group of people armed with radios attempt to locate a broadcasting source. Besides being a hobby for amateurs, it’s also a necessary tool in the belt of regulators who are attempting to track down violators of the air space. There are a lot of ways to figure out the precise location of a radio transmission, but this one manages to pull it off using both a boat and a Steam Deck, each armed with a software-defined radio.
This project comes to us from [Aaron] who is well known in the amateur radio circles for his SDR-focused Linux distribution called DragonOS; which has all the tools needed for a quality SDR experience, in this case KrakenSDR and DF Aggregator. He’s loaded everything up on a Steam Deck and left that in a secure location on the shore of a lake, while he carries second device with the same software with him on a boat. With the two devices listening for a specific signal, he’s able to quickly zero in on his friend on the shore who is broadcasting on the 70 cm band thanks to the help of all of these software packages.
While ham radio isn’t always known for being a youthful and exciting activity, the advent of software-defined radio and other digital modes seem to be shaking things up in that world. Certainly speeding around a lake on a boat is fun on its own as well, and a fox hunt like this can be done with something as small and simple as a Raspberry Pi too.
It’s a battery-powered build, and runs off an rechargeable 18650 cell which provides several days of operation at a low duty cycle. An ATtiny85 is charged with sending out commands to various NeoPixel devices, from rings to rectangular arrays. [w3arycod3r] then designed various PCBs that could carry the hardware and battery in a well-balanced package that would hang nicely when suspended from a ribbon on a Christmas tree.
As is always the fun part with addressable LEDs, [w3arycod3r] whipped up some fun animations to suit. The 5×5 rectangular arrays of NeoPixels are able to deliver scrolling text, while another animation blips out the RNA sequence of everyone’s least favorite coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. Getting everything to fit into a ATtiny85’s 8 KB of code space and 512 byte EEPROM was a challenge, but slimming down the Adafruit NeoPixel library and using direct AVR register manipulation in place of regular Arduino functions helped.
Overall, it’s a fun holiday build that looks great on the tree. Alternatively, consider making yourself some rheoscopic ornaments this holiday season. And, if you’ve whipped up your own fun holiday build, throw it on the tipsline!
In Back to the Future, Doc Brown returns to 1985 with a version of his DeLorean time machine that has been modified with technology from the future. After telling Marty they need to go on yet another adventure, Doc recharges the DeLorean’s flux capacitor and time circuits by tossing pieces of garbage into the slick Mr. Fusion unit mounted to the rear of the vehicle. The joke being that, in the future, you could simply head over to the local big box store and pick up a kitchen appliance that’s capable of converting waste matter into energy.
Unfortunately, we’re nowhere near powering our homes with banana peels and beer cans. But if the Recreator 3D is any indication, the technology required to turn plastic bottles rescued from the trash into viable PET filament for your 3D printer is all but upon us. While there are still some aspects of the process that could stand to be streamlined, such as fusing multiple runs of filament together into one continuous roll, the core concepts all seem to be in place.
Creator [Josh Taylor] made the trip out to the 2022 East Coast RepRap Festival to not only show off the Recreator 3D, a project he’s been working on now for over a year, but to get people excited about the idea of turning waste plastic into filament. It’s not necessarily a new concept, and in fact [Josh] says earlier efforts such as the PETBOT are what inspired him to create his own open source take on the “pultrusion” concept.
According to [Josh], actually printing with the recycled filament isn’t that different from using commercial PETG, though it’s recommended you lower your speeds. A nozzle temperature of around 260 °C seems to work best, with the bed at 70 °C. Interestingly, the filament produced by the process is actually hollow inside, so the most critical change to make is increasing your extrusion rate to about 130% of normal to compensate for the internal void.
The current revision of the Recreator 3D, known as the MK5Kit, can be assembled using several core components salvaged from a low-cost Ender 3 printer in addition to a number of parts that the user will need to print themselves. For those who’d rather not source the parts, [Josh] says he hopes to get formal kits put together sometime next year, thanks to a partnership with LDO Motors.
Injection molding is usually focused on high-volume production, but that doesn’t always need to be the case. The Recycled Plastic Skateboard Deck project centers on the use of injection molding for a relatively low-volume production line using open-source tooling.
RPSD is part of the Precious Plastics ecosystem and uses the existing and open-source shredder and extruder to turn locally-sourced plastic waste into melted plastic. The core of the tooling is in the aluminum CNC-machined top, bottom, and edge mold sections bolted to a thick steel support structure that give the skateboard deck its shape. The edge section defines the deck’s perimeter, and 64 cartridge heaters are inserted into it to bring the mold up to temperature. The mold is mounted on a scissor lift mechanism to allow it to be aligned with the extruder, and temperature control electronics are housed in a laser-cut metal enclosure, which is bolted to the base of the mold structure.
To be clear, this is not a cheap way to make a couple of skateboard decks, but rather a way for small shops to do injection molded decks in-house. At ~$7500 for the components of this relatively large mold, excluding the extruder, you’d still have to sell quite a few decks to make it economically viable.
When we last checked in with the Philadelphia Maker Faire in 2019, one couldn’t help but be impressed with what the organizers had pulled off with just a fraction of the budget and resources it took to put on the defunct World Maker Faire in New York. We came away absolutely certain the event was on the verge of explosive growth, and that next year would be even bigger and better.
But of course, that didn’t happen. The COVID-19 pandemic meant that by the time the 2020 Faire should have kicked off, the logistics of holding a gathering much larger than a family dinner had become a serious hurdle. Philadelphia implemented strict rules on indoor and outdoor events to try and contain the spread of the virus, to the point that even when they were relaxed in 2021, it still didn’t make sense to try and put on a Faire under those conditions.
Thankfully things are largely back to normal-ish now, and as such the Philadelphia Maker Faire had something of a rebirth this year. Organizers decided to move the event to the Independence Seaport Museum, with vendor and exhibitor tables distributed throughout the museum’s three floors. This made the ticket price a great two-for-one value, especially if you had enough time left over to head out to the docks so you could explore the 130-year-old cruiser USS Olympia, and the USS Becuna, one of the last surviving WWII Balao-class submarines.
As you’d expect, the event was packed with fascinating projects and demonstrations, to the point that trying to list them all here would be impossible. But for those who couldn’t make the trip out to see what the 2022 Philadelphia Maker Faire had to offer, let’s take a look at a handful of the standout exhibits.
This week, Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Assignments Editor Kristina Panos rendezvoused in yet another secret, throwaway location to rap about the hottest hacks from the previous week. We start off by gushing about the winners of the Cyberdeck Contest, and go wild over the Wildcard round winners from the Hackaday Prize.
It’s the What’s That Sound? results show, and Kristina was ultimately stumped by the sound of the Kansas City Standard, though she should have at least ventured a guess after shooting down both modem and fax machine noises.
Then it’s on to the hacks, which feature an analog tank-driving simulator from the 1970s, much ado about resin printing, and one cool thing you can do with the serial output from your digital calipers, (assuming you’re not a purist). And of course, stay tuned for the Can’t-Miss Article discussion, because we both picked one of resident philosopher Al Williams’ pieces.