Nothing beats a day on the lake in a little boat with an outboard motor putt-putting along behind you. It’s great fun, if perhaps a little noisy with all that putting going on. And maybe that oily sheen on the water in your wake is not so nice. it could be that the fish are a little annoyed with your putting, too. Come to think of it, outboard motors are a bit of a problem.
Fortunately there’s a better way, like converting an old outboard motor to electric. It comes to us by way of [Anton], who happened upon the perfect donor platform — a 5-hp outboard by Crescent, sporting a glorious 1970s color scheme and a motor housing shell perfect for modding. He started by ripping the old engine and drivetrain out of the housing to make room for the BLDC motor and its driver. The motor was a project in itself; [Anton] rewound the original stator with much thicker wire and changed the coil configuration to milk as much torque as possible out of it. What started as a 180-kv motor ended up at 77 kv with much more copper and new Hall sensors for the controller. He also put a ton of effort into waterproofing the motor with epoxy resin. With a 3D-printed prop and a streamlined fairing, the new motor looks quite at home on the outboard. In fact, the whole thing barely looks customized at all — the speed control is even right on the tiller where you’d expect it.
The video below shows the build and a test run, plus an analysis of the problems encountered, chief of which is water intrusion. But as [Anton] rightly points out, that’s easily solved by reusing the original driveshaft and mounting the motor above the waterline, like this. Still, we like the look of this, and the idea of knocking around on the water nearly silently seems wonderful.
Continue reading “This Electric Outboard Conversion Makes For A Quiet Day On The Water”
Traveling by bicycle can be a fun and exciting mode of transportation, and can also save a ton of money compared to driving a car. There are plenty of places around the world where a bicycle is the primary mode of transportation for a significant percentage of the population, but there are many more places that are designed entirely for cars with little thought given to anyone else. For anyone riding a bike, especially for people living in these car-dominated areas, additional safety measures like this LED array are often necessary.
The light array was created by [Estudio Roble] for traveling around his city. The design is based on the Adafruit Circuit Playground Express, which sits directly in the middle of the light fixture. Surrounding it is a diamond-shaped strip of LEDs within an additional ring. The light uses a bright blue color for normal driving, but is programmed to turn red when the accelerometer in the dev board detects braking. There are also integrated turn signals which operate similarly to motorcycle turn signals. The signal is sent wirelessly between the handlebar switch to the lights.
The device itself clips onto any backpack, and since the controller is wireless there are no wires to connect every time a rider gets on their bike. It’s quite an improvement over the complete lack of lighting on most bikes. If you’ve read this far, you need to check out this bicycle headlight which uses a projector to display information directly in the path of travel.
Continue reading “Bicycle Gets Turn Signals And Brake Lights For Added Safety”
[Stefan Schüller] was a fan of the LED signs that display arrival information for the trams and buses in their city of Zürich. [Stefan] was having trouble finding a source to purchase the signs so, instead, decided to build one himself.
[Stefan] decided to recreate the 56×208 single color 2mm dot pitch display with an 128 x 64 P2 RGB LED screen respecting the same 2 mm pitch. The display is driven by an ESP32 DMA RGB LED matrix shield utilizing a HUB75 RGB LED matrix library, all being powered from a 5 V 4 A power supply.
In addition to driving the LED matrix display, the ESP32 polls Zürich’s public transportation API and then parses the XML for the relevant information. Since [Stefan] wanted to match the fonts as closely as possible,
he created a new font from scratch, including the bus and accessibility icons. The new font was encoded into a glyph bitmap distribution format (BDF) that was then converted to work with Adafruit’s GFX library, with [Stefan] creating a custom conversion tool, called bdf2adafruit, to do the last leg of the conversion.
Since the LED matrix had full color capability, [Stefan] decided to add a little extra flourish and color code the transportation lines with the official tram colors. All source code is available on his GitHub repository for the project, for those looking for more detail.
We’ve featured DIY builds of public transportation feeds before. With the ubiquity of low cost RGB LED displays and public APIs, hopefully we’ll see many more!
Steel is scarce. Wood is not an option. And you need a boat now. These wartime circumstances drove innovation in all kinds of crazy directions, and one somewhat less crazy direction — concrete boats. As [Peter Sripol] demonstrates in the video below the break, making an RC concrete boat isn’t hard. Making a fast one on the other hand is. But that didn’t stop him from trying, and we think the effort deserves a look.
Starting with a basic displacement style hull, [Peter] and his cohorts experimented with a simple RC boat that worked, but could only move at slow speeds. They turned things up a notch or two and instead modeled their concrete boat after an RC speedboat hull that they had on hand.
The construction methods left a lot to be desired though, and they even tried various wire meshes as rebar, but they proved too heavy. Eventually though, they got a working hull, and had some fun with it. Rather than try to make the hull watertight with a rudder and propeller, they opted for a ducted fan and an airboat style rudder to make what they call the “world’s fastest concrete boat”.
Whether it’s the fastest or not is unconfirmed, but it is fast and actually gets on step fairly nicely. We applaud the exploration of alternative materials and the experimentation with different build methods. If building things with concrete floats your boat, then be sure to check out this concrete pinhole camera.
Continue reading “Concrete Boat Cements Its Way To High Speeds”
Public transit seats have a rough life. Enduring a number of wear cycles that would make your sofa weep, they take a beating and have to keep looking presentable. When trains and buses are retired, where do the old seats go? A team from the MIT Hobby Shop investigated what was happening to the seats from retiring MBTA Red Line cars and recycled them into stylish chairs.
After some sleuthing and many emails, the MBTA relinquished a number of old subway seats to the team. Since the subway seats didn’t have legs, wood from old church pews was used to create bases. It took one pew end support to create each set of legs, which were cut out on a bandsaw. The old dark stain was sanded off, and the bases were finished with three coats of gel topcoat, letting the natural beauty of the old oak shine through.
We love seeing old things given new life here at Hackaday. If you want to see some more recycled furniture, check out this tire table, this upcycled jeans chair, or these best practices for making box forts.
Bike frames are simple on the surface, but can quickly become complicated if you want to fabricate one yourself. Brazing and welding tend to be less common skills than knowing how to bolt things together, so [Arquimaña] has brought us the OpenBike to make the process accessible to more people.
An open-source set of files designed for CNCs and 3D printers, the OpenBike uses readily available materials like sheet plywood to make a sturdy, if unconventional-looking, bicycle. Like many other consumer goods, most bike frames are currently built in Asia. This allows for economies of scale, but removes locals from the design process. By using simpler tools, OpenBike allows for more local direction of what features might be needed for a particular region.
Shifting even a small portion of trips to more active forms of transport is an important part of lowering carbon emissions, so making bikes a more attractive means of transportation is always welcome. What might be important in one region might be superfluous and expensive in another (multiple gears in a hilly region, for example). OpenBike could be especially useful as a way to rapid-prototype different feature sets for a particular region before committing to a more traditional frame-building technique for larger batches of bikes.
If you want to see some other bike hacks, why not check out this extending bicycle, this steampunk recumbent trike, or these bike hacks from around the world?
via Yanko Design
Being visible to motorists is a constant concern for cyclists, but we doubt [The Q] will have this problem with his RGB LED illuminated tires made from glue sticks.
The project started with a set of 3D-printed tire molds that bolt to the standard wheels. A bot of melted glue sticks is poured into the mold, allowed to cool, and the mold sections are removed with the help of a heat gun after cooling. We doubt the weight and hardness make the tires particularly practical, but you can’t make normal tires glow from the inside.
The idea to illuminate the tires probably came after molding, because they had to be cut off to fit the LEDs. [The Q] built a simple hot wire jig with a piece of nichrome wire between two screws and used it to cut a few millimeters from the inside of the tire and fit a sleeved RGB LED strip in the wheel. Power come from a set of three 18650 batteries housed with a wireless controller in a 3D printed hub-mounted enclosure.
Like [The Q]’s hubless and partial wheel bicycles, it’s a definite head-turner, with function following form.
Continue reading “Lighting Up Glue Stick Bicycle Tyres With RGB”