Self-described passionate maker in the electronics and 3D printing world, [Jakob], aka [testudor], was getting frustrated trying to connect banana plugs to solderless breadboards. Project Banana Bread was born — small banana jack adaptors and a companion tray with pockets to hold up to six modules.
The base in the photo is made from 5083 aluminum, machined on a homemade CNC router. But design files for a yet-to-be-tested 3D printer version are available as well. As can happen, he strayed from the original goal of solving the banana jack issue, and also cranked out a USB-serial port and a blank template module for any custom interfaces folks may want to implement.
If it is only power connections you are interested in, we covered the Open Power project back in 2019. And also don’t forget the mother of all breadboards, this 1960s behemoth we wrote about last year. What kinds of breadboard interface modules do you find most useful? Let us know in the comments below.
Having a big bookshelf of ham radio books and magazines used to be a point of bragging right for hams. These days, you are more likely to just browse the internet for information. But you can still have, virtually, that big shelf of old ham books, thanks to the DLARC — the digital library of Amateur Radio and Communications.
A grant from a private foundation has enable the Internet Archive to scan and index a trove of ham radio publications, including the old Callbooks, 73 Magazine, several ham radio group’s newsletters from around the globe, Radio Craft, and manuals from Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu, and others.
Continue reading “Digital Library Of Amateur Radio And Communications Is A Treasure Trove” →
[Chuck] often prints up interesting 3D prints. But we enjoyed his enhancement to a cheap LED Christmas tree kit. The original kit was simply a few green PCBs in the shape of a tree. Cute, but not really something a non-nerd would appreciate. What [Chuck] did, though, is printed a clear PLA overcoat for it and it came out great. You can see how great in the video below.
You might think transparent PLA would be really clear, but because of the layers, it is more translucent than transparent. For an LED diffuser, though, it works great. There are a few things to consider when printing for this purpose. First, you’d think vase mode would be perfect for this, but he found out it didn’t work well — possibly due to something in the model, which was a download from Thingiverse.
Continue reading “Clear PLA Diffuses LEDs” →
Burning wood, while not a perfect heating solution, has a number of advantages over more modern heating appliances. It’s a renewable resource, doesn’t add carbon to the atmosphere over geologic time scales like fossil fuels do, can be harvested locally using simple tools, and it doesn’t require any modern infrastructure to support it. That being said, wood stoves aren’t something that are very high-tech and don’t lend themselves particularly well to automation as a result, at least with the exception of this wood stove from [jotulf45v2].
While this doesn’t automate the loading or direct control of a modern pellet stove, it does help [jotulf45v2] know when the best times are for loading more wood into the stove and helps keep the stove in the right temperature range to avoid the dangerous formation of creosote on the inside of his chimney caused by low temperature burns. Two temperature sensors, one on the stovetop and the other on the stove pipe, monitor the stove exhaust temperature. They feed data to a Node-RED system running on a Raspberry Pi which automatically notifies the user by text message when certain stove temperatures are reached.
For anyone heating with wood, tools like this are indispensable to help avoid spending an otherwise unnecessary amount of time getting a fire up to temperature quickly without over-firing the stove. Modern pellet stoves have some more modern conveniences like this built in, but many of the perks of using cord wood are lost with these devices. There are plenty of other ways to heat with wood too; take a look at this custom wood boiler which serves as a hot water heater.
Having a device in your living room that shows weather information is convenient, and building one of those is a great project if you enjoy tinkering with microcontrollers and environmental sensors. It’s also a great way to learn about low-power design, as [x-labz] demonstrated with their e-ink weather station which works for no less than 60 days on a single battery charge. It has a clear display that shows the local temperature and humidity, as well as the weather forecast for the day.
The display is a 4.2″ e-paper module with a resolution of 400 x 300 pixels. It uses just 26 mW of power for a few seconds while it updates its image, and basically zero watts when showing a static picture. It’s driven by a tiny ESP32C3 processor board, which downloads the weather forecast from weatherapi.com every two hours. The indoor climate is measured by an SHT-21 temperature and humidity sensor mounted behind the display, while the outdoor data is gathered by a WiFi-connected sensor installed on [x-labz]’s balcony.
The key to achieving low power usage here is to keep the ESP32 in sleep mode as much as possible. The CPU briefly wakes up once every five minutes to read out the indoor sensor and once every fifteen minutes to gather data from outside, using the relatively power-hungry WiFi module.
To further reduce power consumption, the CPU core is driven at the lowest possible clock speed at all times: 10 MHz when reading the indoor sensor, and 80 MHz when using the WiFi connection. All of this helps ensure that just one 600 mAh lithium battery can keep everything running for those 60 days.
E-ink displays are perfect for text and simple graphics that don’t change too often, which is why they’re very popular in weather stations. With a bit of tweaking though, LCDs can also be optimized for low power.
Join us on Wednesday, February 22 at noon Pacific for the Picking a Laser Hack Chat with Jonathan Schwartz!
You’ve got to admit that it’s a pretty cool world to live in that presents a problem like, “Which laser cutter should I buy?” It wasn’t all that long ago that decisions on laser purchases were strictly in the realm of Big Science, and the decision was driven as much by spending grant money as by the specifics of the application. If you were in need of a laser back then, chances are good you had some deep pockets, or at least access to someone else’s pockets.
Fast forward a couple of decades or so and buying a laser is an entirely different exercise. Lasers have become a commodity, and finding the right one depends entirely on your use cases. Lasers are no longer jealously guarded laboratory instruments, but workhorses on the vanguard of the desktop manufacturing revolution. They engrave, they cut, they melt — in short, they do a LOT of work. And it’s up to you to choose the right laser for the job.
To help us sort all this out and come up with a plan for figuring out the best laser for any use case, we’ve invited Jonathan Schwartz back on the Hack Chat. Jon dropped by back in March of 2021 to share his wealth of laser experience thanks to his laser-cutting business. This time around we’re going to focus — err, concentrate — oops, drill down — oh, whatever! — on the more practical aspects of buying a laser. We’ll talk about laser types, fiber lasers, applications vs. laser specs — anything you can think of. If you have questions about buying a laser, we’ll have answers!
Our Hack Chats are live community events in the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. This week we’ll be sitting down on Wednesday, February 22 at 12:00 PM Pacific time. If time zones have you tied up, we have a handy time zone converter.
Click that speech bubble to the right, and you’ll be taken directly to the Hack Chat group on Hackaday.io. You don’t have to wait until Wednesday; join whenever you want and you can see what the community is talking about.
While there are plenty of places around the world to get a great cup of tea, no one has quite burned it into their culture like those in the United Kingdom. While they don’t have the climate to grow the plants themselves, they at least have figured out the art of heating water extremely rapidly in purpose-built electric kettles while the rest of us wait to heat water on our stoves and microwaves. But that’s still not fast enough for some, like [Finlay Shellard], who just completed this jet-powered tea kettle.
[Finlay] took some inspiration cues and parts from another jet engine he had on hand that was powering his toaster. This is a pulse jet design, which is welded together from laser-cut pieces of sheet metal with guides welded in place to allow water to flow around the combustion chamber and exhaust. Pressurized water sits in a reservoir at the top of the engine, and when it is up to temperature, a valve allows it to flow to the engine to heat up. When it has passed the jet engine section, it passes a tea bag holder and then out of a spout at the end of the engine.
A few tests at 100 PSI had the hot tea exiting the engine in a non-linear fashion, so the pressure was reduced. The device now makes tea at incredibly fast speeds, with the only downsides being access to some sort of jet fuel, and also the need for a protective hearing device of some sort. For anyone attempting to do this themselves, take a look at this build which includes a turbocharger design for improved efficiency of the pulse jet itself.
Continue reading “Jet Engine Powers Tea Kettle” →