five 100% recycled keycaps, spaced out

These Keycaps Are 100% Recycled Plastic

Artisan keycaps are generally meant to replace your Escape key, though they can be used anywhere you like (as long as they fit, of course). Keycap maker [tellybelly] of jankycaps has been experimenting with making keycaps out of 100% recycled plastic, and offers an interesting post detailing their development and production process.

Animation of injection molding flow into a set of four keycaps.What do you do when normal injection molding tooling is out of your budget, and silicone molds simply won’t do? You turn to 3D printing if you can. In this case, [tellybelly] and company found a resin designed to withstand high temperatures.

[tellybelly] was able to design the mold using a plethora of online resources, and even verified the flow using a special program. Although the first two versions worked, they had some flaws. Third time’s the charm, though, and then it was time to sort plastic and fire up the shredder.

After heating up the shreds to 200 °C or so, it was time to start the injecting. This part isn’t exactly a cakewalk — mixing different plastics together can vary the workable temperature range that doesn’t degrade the plastic. Although it sounds like the end, [tellybelly] reports that they spent just as much time here as they did at the drawing board, experimenting with pressure on the mold, various cool-down methods, and how long to wait before opening the mold.

Via reddit

You Should Be Allowed To Fix McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines, Say Federal Regulators

Editors Note: According to our infallible record keeping, this is the 50,000th post published on Hackaday! We weren’t sure this was the kind of milestone that required any drawn out navel-gazing on our part, but it does seem significant enough to point out. We didn’t pick any specific post to go out in this slot, but the fact that it ended up being a story about the right to repair ice cream machines seems suitably hacky for the occasion.

The McDonald’s ice cream machine is one of the great marvels of the modern world. It’s a key part of our heavily-mechanized industrial economy, and it’s also known for breaking down as often as an old Italian automobile. It’s apparently illegal to repair the machines unless you’re doing so with the authority of Taylor, the manufacturer. However, as reported by The Verge, The FTC and DOJ may soon have something to say about that.

Things are coming to a head as the Copyright Office contemplates whether to carve out new exemptions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The legislation is widely reviled by many for making it illegal to circumvent copy protection, an act that is often required to maintain or repair certain equipment. As a result customers are often locked into paying the original manufacturer to fix things for them.

Both the FTC and DOJ have have filed a comment with the Copyright Office on the matter. The language will warm the cockles of your heart if you’re backing the right-to-repair movement.

Changes in technology and the more prevalent use of software have created fresh opportunities for manufacturers to limit Americans’ ability to repair their own products. Manufacturers of software-enabled devices and vehicles frequently use a range of restrictive practices to cut off the ability to do a “DIY” or third-party repair, such as limiting the availability of parts and tools, imposing software “locks,” such as TPMs, on equipment that prevent thirdparty repairers from accessing the product, imposing restrictions on warranties, and using product designs that make independent repairs less available.

The agencies want new exceptions to Section 1201 of the DMCA to allow repair of “industrial and commercial equipment.” That would make it legal to tinker with McDonald’s ice cream machines, whoever you are. The hope is this would occur along with a renewal of exceptions for “computer programs that control devices designed primarily for use by consumers and computer programs that control motorized land vehicles, marine vessels, and mechanized agricultural vehicles.”

Brush up on the finer details of icecreamgate in our previous coverage. This could be a grand time for change. Enough is enough— McDonald’s ice cream machines have been down for too long! Video after the break.

Continue reading “You Should Be Allowed To Fix McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines, Say Federal Regulators”

FLOSS Weekly Episode 775: Meshtastic Central

This week, Jonathan Bennett and Rob Campbell chat with Ben Meadors and Adam McQuilkin to talk about what’s new with Meshtastic! There’s a lot. To start with, your favorite podcast host has gotten roped into doing development for the project. There’s a new Rust client, there’s a way to run the firmware on Linux Native, and there’s a shiny new web-based flasher tool!

Continue reading “FLOSS Weekly Episode 775: Meshtastic Central”

DIY RC Controller Built With Old-School Parts

Once upon a time, RC transmitters were expensive units that cost hundreds of dollars even at the low end. Now, you can get them pretty cheaply, or, you can choose to build your own. [Phytion] did just that.

The design isn’t based around a modern microcontroller, nor does it rely on WiFi or Bluetooth connections. Instead, it’s a little more old school. It’s built using the HT12E parallel-to-serial encoder chip, and the HT12D decoder chip for the receiver. The controller uses a pair of HT12Es on the transmitter, and a pair of HT12Ds on the receiver. These accept inputs from a pair of analog joysticks and encode them as serial data. However, they essentially just act as digital joysticks in this design. The HT12Es feed into an STX882 module which transmits the data from the HT12Es over 433 MHz. Another STX882 module receives this signal, and passes it through HT12Ds for decoding.

At the receiving end, one joystick can turn four outputs on or off depending on whether it is pushed up, down, left or right. A channel select switch then allows it to do the same for four further outputs. The second joystick just mirrors the operation of the first. It’s just intended to make controlling something like an RC car easier by allowing one stick to be pushed forwards and backwards, and the other left and right.

You don’t see many designs like this anymore. Realistically, it’s possible to get far more functionality out of a design based on an ESP32 or similar wireless-capable chip. However, this one doesn’t require any complicated handshaking and powers up instantly, which is a nice bonus. Plus, it’s always interesting to see alternative designs tried out in the wild. Video after the break.

Continue reading “DIY RC Controller Built With Old-School Parts”

A DIY DIN rail mounted rack of PLC components for home automation

2024 Home Sweet Home Automation: A DIY SCADA Smart Home

A SCADA-style display of icons and control buttons
Touch-screen control and monitoring

Supervisory control and data acquisition, or SCADA, systems sit in the background in industrial settings, performing all kinds of important jobs but in an ad-hoc setup, depending on the precise requirements of the installation. When we think about home automation systems, they’re pretty much the same deal: ad-hoc systems put together from off-the-shelf components and a few custom bits thrown in. [Stefan Schnitzer] clearly has significant knowledge of SCADA in an industrial setting and has carried this over into their home for their entry into the Hackaday 2024 Home Sweet Home Automation Contest. Continue reading “2024 Home Sweet Home Automation: A DIY SCADA Smart Home”

The Lunar Odyssey: Moon Landings From The 1960s To Today’s Attempts

With the recent string of lunar landing attempts, it’s interesting to consider how much things have changed – or stayed the same – since the first soft landing attempts in the 1960s with the US Ranger and USSR Luna landers. During the 1950s the possibility of landing a spacecraft on the Moon’s surface was investigated and attempted by both the US and USSR. This resulted in a number of lunar lander missions in the 1960s, with the US’s Ranger 3 and 5 missing the Moon, Ranger 4 nearly missing it but instead crashing into the far side of the Moon, and eventually the USSR’s Luna 9 making the first touchdown on the lunar surface in 1966 after a string of USSR mission failures.

What’s perhaps most interesting was how these first US and USSR spacecraft managed to touch down, with Luna 9 opting to inflate a landing airbag and bounce until it came to a halt. This approach had doomed Luna 8, as its airbag got punctured during inflating, causing a hard crash. Meanwhile the US’s Surveyor 1 was the first US spacecraft to land on the Moon, opting to use a solid-fuel retrorocket to slow the craft down and three liquid-fueled vernier thrusters to prepare it for a drop down from 3.4 meters onto the lunar surface.

Now, nearly 60 years later, the landers we sent regularly make it to the lunar surface, but more often than not end up crashing or toppling over into awkward positions. How much have lunar landings really changed?

Continue reading “The Lunar Odyssey: Moon Landings From The 1960s To Today’s Attempts”

A Tape Echo For Anyone

If you’ve ever looked into how artists from the 1960s made their music, you’ll learn about the many inventive ways in which the tape recorder enabled new effects. One of the simplest of those is the tape echo, as distinct from a reverb which introduces the many delayed echoes of a large auditorium, an echo provides a single delayed version of the original. It’s something [Mark Gutierez] shows us as he makes a tape echo from a cheap Walkman-style cassette player. It’s hardly the highest quality of its ilk, but it does the job.

The player in question sports the ubiquitous Chinese mechanism that’s the last still in production. It has a radio incorporated which he doesn’t use, but for all that it has only a permanent magnet erase head rather than one driven from the bias oscillator. He first puts another head in the space between the record head and the pinch roller, then further modifies the cassette so a loop can be pulled out of the side of it, moving all heads off-board. As you can see in the video below the break it’s in no way high-fidelity, but with a couple of Eurorack mixer kits added on it makes for an interesting effect.

If you can lay your hands on a reel-to-reel machine, you can make a more traditional echo machine.

Continue reading “A Tape Echo For Anyone”