A cat skull enclosed in a domed security camera enclosure with green LEDs illuminating the eye sockets, sitting on a table with other skulls and rocks.

Cat Skull For Internet Connection Divination

[Emily Velasco] has an internet provider that provides sub-par connectivity. Instead of repeatedly refreshing a browser tab to test if the network is up, [Emily] decided to create an internet status monitor by embedding indicator lights in a cat skull…for some reason.

The electronics are straightforward, with the complete parts list consisting of an Arduino Nano 33 IoT device connected to a pair of RGB LEDs and 50 Ohm resistors. The Nano attempts to connect to a known site (in this case, the Google landing page) every two seconds and sets the LEDs to green if it succeeds or red if it fails.

The cat skull is thankfully a replica, 3D printed by one of [Emily]’s Twitter acquaintances, and the whole project was housed in a domed security camera enclosure. [Emily] mounts the LEDs into the skull to create a “brain in a jar” effect.

The source is available on GitHub for those wanting to take a look. We’ve featured internet connectivity status indicators in the form of traffic lights here before, as well as various network status monitors and videoconferencing indicator lights.

Helmke-Part-Counter Dispensing Parts

Dispense 60 Bolts In 2.3 Seconds

We’ve covered a number of projects that assist makers who need to fill orders for their small businesses, or kitting. [Helmke] has sorted thousands of pieces of hardware that they include with 3D printed parts sold online. They have been developing an alternative, a modular system for sorting and packaging specific quantities of parts.

Animated GIF of Helmke-Part-Counter Sorting Parts

After the break, check out the latest video from their small but growing channel for a very clear walk-through of the counting system they’ve been iterating on. The 2nd video in the series explores solenoids, Geneva drives, and ultimately a sprocket to dispense a variable number of bolts from the sorting machine. The approach gives consistent results, easily to vary quantities, and is fast! These videos are also rich with lots of small details you might want to explore on your own like magnetic part feeding, discussions of different sensors for detecting and counting parts, 3D printed gear box designs, and we love the use of stackable crates for project enclosures.

We hope to see more videos from [Helmke] in the series as the project matures for deeper dives into the existing mechanisms and new features they develop next. Hungry for more? We’ve brought you everything from cutting and stripping wire, to SMD tape, to resistors, to laser-cut parts. Continue reading “Dispense 60 Bolts In 2.3 Seconds”

Ikea Clock Gets Wanderlust

We always enjoy unique clocks, and a recent 3D print from [David Kingsman] caught our eye. It converts an Ikea clock into a very unusual-looking “wandering hour” clock that uses a Geneva drive to show a very dynamic view of the current time. The concept is based on an earlier wandering clock, but [David] utilized a different mechanism.

To read the clock, you note which hour numeral is in range of the “minute arc” and read the time directly. So if the 12 hour is over the 20-minute mark, the time is 12:20. Besides the clock, you need a fair number of printed parts, although they all look like relatively simple prints. You’ll also need 13 bearings and some metric hardware. A piece of cardboard used for the face rounds out the build.

Modifying the clock is more than just taking it apart. There is a template file to print, and you’ll need to align it and drill holes as indicated.

If you haven’t seen a Geneva drive before, it translates a continuous rotation into intermittent rotation. This isn’t the first clock we’ve seen use this kind of drive, although the last one we saw represented time differently. If you want something even more mechanical, try a chain-driven clock.

Making The One Ring By Electroplating Gold On A 3D Print

Electroplating is a great way to add strength or shine to a 3D print. However, we don’t see too many people trying it with gold. [HEN3DRIK] isn’t afraid to experiment, though, and pulled off some amazing, high-quality jewelry-grade plating!

The design for the project was the so-called Ring of Power from Lord of the Rings. The print was created on a resin printer at a high quality level, washed thoroughly to remove any remaining resin, and then cured. The print was then post-processed with sandpaper to make it as smooth as possible. Conductive paint was then applied, ready to take on the plating layers. [HEN3DRIK] first started by plating copper to build up a tough base layer, then nickel to prevent mixing between the copper and gold. The gold is then finally plated on top. Plating the copper is done with the ring constantly rotating to get as even a coat as possible. In contrast, the gold plating is done with a brush to avoid wasting the highly-expensive plating solution.

The final result is a gleaming gold ring that probably feels strangely light in the hand. The technique is time consuming, thanks to the need to plate multiple layers, but the results are to die for. We’ve seen [HEN3DRIK]’s fine work before, too. Video after the break.

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Wear Your Fave Cassette Tapes As A Necklace With This 3D Printed Adapter

While packing merch for a recent gig, I realised I had the opportunity to do something a little fun. I’d released an album on tape, and spent a little extra to ensure the cassette itself was a thing of beauty. It deserved to be seen, rather than hidden away in a case on a shelf. I wanted to turn this piece of musical media into a necklace.

Of course, cassette tapes aren’t meant to be used in this way. Simply throwing a chain through the cassette would lead to tape reeling out everywhere. Thus, I fired up some CAD software and engineered a solution to do the job! Here’s how I built an adapter to turn any cassette tape into a cool necklace.

Find the design on Thingiverse, and more details below!

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Build This Halloween-Themed TensEGGrity Sculpture

Tensegrity sculptures are fun things, and often sold as office desk toys or scientific novelties. You can build your own too, and [seabirdhh] has whipped up a fun holiday-themed version.

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.

It’s a fun build, and a cheap way to experiment with tensegrity concepts at home. You can even use these same techniques to build a quadcopter, or apply them in the world of LEGO. Video after the break.

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Electroplating Makes 3D-Printed Star Wars Prop Shine

3D printing is known for producing parts with a fairly average finish at best. Even the smoothest resin prints are still fairly plasticky and dull in appearance. However, it’s possible to do much better if you get creative with electroplating. This thermal detonator prop from [HEN3DRIK] shows just how good a 3D print can look with a little post-processing and some chemical help.

[HEN3DRIK] started with a Star Wars thermal detonator model found online, and printed it in resin for the best possible surface finish from the get go. The parts were cleaned after printing and cured, as per usual resin processing techniques. From there, fine steel wool and sandpaper was used to make the print as smooth as possible. A conductive layer of copper paint was then sprayed on with an airbrush, with mating surfaces masked off to avoid ruining the fit.

The part was then dunked in an acidic copper bath while attached to a power source, and gently rotated during the electroplating process. The results were excellent, resulting in near-mirror finish copper-plated parts after polishing. Nickel was then plated on top to get the prop to the proper silver color. The prop was finally then assembled with an Arduino Nano inside to run several LEDs for visual effect.

Electroplating isn’t just for making things pretty. It can also add strength to your 3D prints, too! Video after the break.

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