Secret C64 Program Found On A Christian Rock Band’s Vinyl Record

How often do you find Easter eggs in old vinyl records?

It sure was a surprise for [Robin Harbron] when he learned about a Commodore 64 program hidden on one of the sides of a record from the 1985 album of Christian rock band Prodigal. The host of the YouTube channel 8-Bit Show and Tell shows the “C-64” etching on one side of the vinyl, which he picked up after finding out online that the record contained the hidden program.

The run-out groove on records is typically an endless groove that keeps the record player from running off the record (unless there is an auto-return feature, which just replays the record). On side one of the vinyl, the run-out groove looks normal, but on side two, it’s a little thicker and contains some hidden audio. Recording the audio onto a cassette and loading it onto a dataset reveals a short C64 program.

The process is a little more troublesome that that, but after a few tries [Harbron] reveals a secret message, courtesy of Albert Einstein and Jesus Christ. It’s not the most impressive program ever written, but it’s pretty cool that programmers 35 years ago were able to fit it into only a few seconds of audio.

Unfortunately, we won’t be hearing much actual music from the album – [Harbron] chose not to play the songs to avoid copyright issues on YouTube.

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Ramen Pen Lets You Doodle With Noodles

Don’t write off your weird ideas β€” turn them into reality. For years, woodworkers have used pen bodies as a canvas for showing off beautiful wood. But what’s the fun in that? [JPayneWoodworking] made a pen out of Ramen noodles just to see if he could.

The process is pretty straightforward, as he explains in the build video after the break. He hammered the uncooked noodle mass into pieces small enough to fit a pen blank mold, but not so small that they’re unrecognizable. Then he poured in pigmented epoxy in orange, silver, and black. [JPayneWoodworking] chose those colors for Halloween, but rather than looking freaky, we think it makes the pen look like a bowl of beef broth-y goodness from a fancy Ramen place.

After adding the flavor packet pigments, he put it in a pressure tank to remove all air pockets. Once it sets up, the process is the same as any other pen blank β€” take it for a spin on the lathe, polish it up, ream it out, and fit it with the parts from a pen kit. We’d like to see the look on the face of the next person to ask [JPayneWoodworking] for a pen.

Want to get into woodworking just to make weird stuff like this? We don’t blame you. But how does a hardware hacker such as yourself get started? [Dan Maloney]’s got you covered.

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Downdraft Device Dismisses Dust

Woodworking is messy business, especially the sanding part. But even if you don’t care what happens to your shop floor, you don’t want dead tree particulate matter in your lungs. Wearing a mask or even a respirator is a good start, but a dust collection system is better. Someday, [XYZ Create] might have a shop-wide sawdust-slurper installed. In the meantime, he made a downdraft table out of scrap plywood and a plastic storage box.

The only thing he didn’t already have on hand was a port that matched his shop vacuum. We like his workaround to avoid drilling a huge hole in plastic that would certainly crack β€” use a hose clamp to get the OD of the port, heat up the clamp on a hot plate, and let it melt a hole into the box. Hopefully, he at least opened a window. [XYZ Create] glued four pieces of scrap plywood together for the top, and drilled all 117 holes by hand. Who needs pegboard?

Not fancy or big enough for your needs? Here’s one with a built-in filtration system.

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Peep These Ultra-Real 3D-Printed Eyeballs

For humans, life is in the eyes. Same deal with automatons. The more realistic the eyes, the more lifelike (and potentially disturbing) the automaton is. [lkkalebob] knows this. [lkkalebob] is so dedicated to ocular realism in his ultra-real eyeballs that he’s perfected a way to make the minuscule veins from a whisper of cotton thread.

First he prints an eyeball blank out of ABS. Why ABS, you ask? It has a semi-translucence that makes it look that much more real. Also, it’s easier to sand than PLA. After vigorous sanding, it’s time to paint the iris and the apply the veins. [lkkalebob] shaves strands of lint from red cotton thread and applies it with tweezers to smears of super glue.

Here comes our favorite part. To make the whole process easier, [lkkalebob] designed a jig system that takes the eyeballs all the way through the stages of fabrication and into the sockets of the automaton. The hollow eye cups pressure fit on to prongs that hold it in place. This also gives the eyeball a shaft that can be chucked into a drill for easy airbrushing. In the build video after the break, he uses the eye-jig to cast a silicone mold, which he then uses to seal the eyes in resin.

Don’t have a printer or any desire to make human automata? It doesn’t take much to make mesmerizing mechanisms.

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Build Your Own Plasma Ball

The simple plasma ball – it graces science museums and classrooms all around the world. It shares a place with the Van de Graaf generator, with the convenient addition of spectacular plasma rays that grace its spherical surface. High voltage, aesthetically pleasing, mad science tropes – what would make a better DIY project?

For some background, plasma is the fourth state of matter, often created by heating a neutral gas or ionizing the gas in a strong electromagnetic field. The availability of free electrons allows plasma to conduct electricity and exhibit different properties from ordinary gases. It is also influenced by magnetic fields in this state and can often be found in electric arcs.

[Discrete Electronics Guy] built a plasma bulb using the casing from an old filament bulb and an ignition coil connected to a high voltage power supply. The power supply is based on the 555 timer IC. It uses a step-up transformer (the ignition coil) driven by a square wave oscillator circuit at a high frequency working as AC voltage. The square wave signal boosts the current into the power transistor, increasing its power.

The plasma is produced inside the bulb, which contains inactive noble gases. When touching the surface of the bulb, the electric arc flows to the point of contact. The glass medium protects the skin from burning, but the transparency allows the plasma to be seen. Pretty cool!

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The World’s Smallest Vacuum In An Altoids Tin

There’s been a lot of Altoids tin hacks over the years, but a vacuum cleaner in a tin is something new. In [Toby Bateson]’s first project on Hackaday, he used simple household items to create a functioning vacuum cleaner to use for sucking crumbs out of your keyboard or paper punch holes off your desk.

The vacuum features a retractable suction tube, a low-profile switch, and a bagless waste collection system (the waste is stored and discarded out from the tin itself). A brushed motor and impeller provide the airflow. A scrap of a beer can mounted on the shaft is used for an impeller blade, and two bolts with a thin metal sheet between them are made into a switch (the instructions recommend you finish your drink before using the scrap metal). A sponge is used for filtering the dirt from the motor while a hole is cut out of the top of the tin to provide airflow.

[Bateson] is looking to put his name in the world record book for the world’s smallest vacuum tube, as he recently created an even smaller vacuum in a 1cc tube.

“Oh dear, I’ve spilled something on my desk, whatever am I going to do? Luckily, I have my vacuum cleaner in an Altoids tin…”

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Robotic Laundry Line Reels You In

It may not be a laundry-folding robot, but this robotic launders line build by [Radical Brad Graham] is pretty neat. He has a 75-foot hanging laundry line from his house to a woodshed, and decided to roboticize it using some bits that were lying around. The result is a simple build that adds push-button control to pull the line back and forward, making it easier to hang everything out to dry. It’s a simple build, but [Brad] did a great job of documenting what he did and why, from mounting the posts that support the line to wiring up the control buttons.

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