Smashed Amiga 2000 Gets New Lease On Life

For most people, opening up a package and seeing that the Amiga 2000 you purchased on eBay had been smashed up by the delivery carrier would be a heartbreaking moment. But not [Drygol]. If you live and breathe vintage computer restorations like he does, finding your latest acquisition is in need of more repairs and upgrades than you originally anticipated is actually a bonus.

The first issue that needed sorting out was the broken case. This Amiga must have had one wild ride, as there were several nasty cracks in the front panel and whole chunks had been broken off. We’ve seen [Drygol] repair broken computer cases before, but it seems like each time he comes up with some new tricks to bring these massacred pieces of plastic back to like-new condition. In this case plastic welding is used to hold the parts together and fill in the gaps, and then brass mesh is added to the backside for strength. The joints are then sanded, filled in with polyester putty, and finally sprayed with custom color matched paint. While he was in the area, he also filled in a hole the previous owner had made for a toggle switch.

Then [Drygol] moved onto the internals. Some of the traces on the PCB had been corroded by a popped battery, a socket needed to be replaced, and as you might expect for a machine of this vintage, all of the electrolytic capacitors were suspect and needed to go. Finally, as the system didn’t have a power supply, he wired in a picoPSU. That got the 34 year old computer back up and running, and at this point, the machine was almost like new again. So naturally, it was time to start with the upgrades and modifications.

Case fan, video adapter, and picoPSU.

[Drygol] added an IDE interface and connected a CompactFlash adapter as the computer’s primary drive. For the secondary, he installed a GoTek floppy drive emulator that lets you replace a mountain of physical disks with a USB flash drive full of images. Between the two, all of the computer’s storage needs are met with nary a moving part.

The emulator was given its own 3D printed front panel to fit with the Amiga’s visual style, and he also printed out a holder for the RGB4ALL S-Video/Composite adapter installed on the rear of the machine. To help keep all this new gear cool, he finished things off with a new case fan.

Some will no doubt complain about the addition of the extra gadgetry, but to those people, we suggest you just focus on the phenomenal case restoration work. While you might not agree with all of the modifications [Drygol] makes, there’s no question that you can learn something by going through his considerable body of work.

Spinning Up A Water Cooled 3D Printed Stirling Engine

The Stirling external combustion engine has fascinated gear heads since its inception, and while the technology has never enjoyed widespread commercialization, there’s a vibrant community of tinkerers who build and test their own takes on the idea. [Leo Fernekes] has been working on a small Stirling engine made from 3D printed parts and common hardware components, and in his latest video he walks viewers through the design and testing process.

We’ve seen Stirling engines with 3D printed parts before, but in most cases, they are just structural components. This time, [Leo] really wanted to push what could be done with plastic parts, so everything from the water jacket for the cold side of the cylinder to the gears and connecting rods of the rhombic drive has been printed. Beyond the bearings and rods, the most notable non-printed component is the stainless steel spice shaker that’s being used as the cylinder.

The piston is made of constrained steel wool.

Mating the hot metal cylinder to the 3D printed parts naturally introduced some problems. The solution [Leo] came up with was to design a toothed collar to hold the cylinder, which reduces the surface area that’s in direct contact. He then used a piece of empty SMD component feed tape as a insulator between the two components, and covered the whole joint in high-temperature silicone.

Like many homebrew Stirling engines, this one isn’t perfect. It vibrates too much, some of the internal components have a tendency to melt during extended runs, and in general, it needs some fine tuning. But it runs, and in the end, that’s really the most important thing with a project like this. Improvements will come with time, especially once [Leo] finishes building the dynamometer he hopes will give him some solid data on how the engine’s overall performance is impacted as he makes changes.

If you’ve got a glass test tube laying around, putting together a basic Stirling engine demonstration is probably a lot easier than you might think. Commercial kits are also available if you’re looking for something more substantial, but even those can benefit from some aftermarket modifications. With a little effort, you’ll have a power plant ready for the surface of Mars in no time.

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Twisted Tea Launcher Refreshes At 104 MPH

A few weeks ago, a video went viral on social media that depicted a rather unsavory individual receiving what could be described as a “percussive reminder” of social norms courtesy of a bystander armed with a can of Twisted Tea. The video served as inspiration for many a meme, but perhaps none more technically intricate than this air cannon that launches 24 ounces of hard iced tea at better than 100 miles per hour built by [Greg Bejtlich].

It’s all fun and games until somebody brings out the weaponized bead seater.

Technically we’re looking at two different hacks here. The first is the pneumatic launcher put together using a low-cost eBay tire bead seater. These tools are designed to unleash a large volume of air into a tire so it can be properly seated onto the rim, but it doesn’t take much more than a few pieces of PVC pipe from the hardware store to turn it into an impromptu mortar. It’s even got a convenient trigger and a handle to help control the recoil. Though as you can see in the video after the break, it still ends up being a bit too energetic for [Greg] to keep a grip on.

For the projectiles, [Greg] has 3D printed a nose cone and tail fin that snap onto the 24 oz cans in hopes of making them more aerodynamically stable. The slow motion video seems to indicate they aren’t terribly effective, but they certainly look impressive. Spring-loaded control surfaces that deploy after the can leaves the muzzle could be the answer, though at some point you have to ask yourself how far you’re willing to go for an Internet meme.

It probably goes without saying that you definitely shouldn’t try firing cans of alcoholic iced tea off in your backyard. But the launcher itself might be useful for lofting antennas or hurling the occasional potato.

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The Amazing Technicolor Parts Organizer

It wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration to say that anyone reading these words has struggled at one time or another to keep an ever growing collection of electronic bits and bobs from descending into absolute chaos. Tossing them all into plastic bins is at least a start down the road to long-term organization, but they still needed to be sorted and inventoried if you want to avoid the wasted time and money of buying parts you forgot you already had.

For his latest project, [Zack Freedman] decided to finally tackle the personal parts collection that he’s ended up lugging around for the last several years. The first half of the battle was just figuring out what he actually had, what he was likely to need down the line, and getting it all sorted out so he didn’t have to keep rummaging through a big pile to find what he needed. But it’s not enough to get organized, you also need to stay organized.

Which is why he then turned his attention to how all these newly sorted components would actually be stored going forward. He already had a trio of Harbor Freight bin organizers, but as one expects from that fine retailer, they were only marginally suitable for the task at hand. So [Zack] designed a 3D printed faceplate that could snap onto the original plastic bin. The new fronts made them easier to grab and featured an opening to accept a laser-etched plastic label.

To give them a little visual flair, he decided to print the faceplates using rainbow gradient filament. To prevent them from being random colors, he used the relatively obscure sequential slicing option so his Prusa i3 would print each faceplate in its entirety before moving over to the next one on the bed. This took far longer than doing them in parallel (especially since he had access to multiple printers), but makes for a much nicer aesthetic as the color smoothly transitions between each bin on the wall. It also has a practical benefit, as you can tell at a glance if any of the bins have found themselves in the wrong spot.

If you really want to go off the deep end, we’ve seen hackers light individual bins with RGB LEDs tied into a searchable inventory system. But for most hobbyists, simply learning when to purge would be more practical.

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Custom Control Panels With Photogrammetry

One of the best applications for desktop 3D printing is the creation of one-off bespoke components. Most of the time a halfway decent pair of calipers and some patience is all it takes to model up whatever part you’re after, but occasionally things get complex enough that you might need a little help. If you ever find yourself in such a situation, salvation might be just a few marker scribbles away.

As [Mangy_Dog] explains in a recent video, he wanted to model a control panel for a laser cutter he’s been working on, but thought the shapes involved were a bit more than he wanted to figure out manually. So he decided to give photogrammetry a try. For the uninitiated, this process involves taking as many high-resolution images as possible of a given object from multiple angles, and letting the computer stitch that into a three dimensional model. He reasoned that if he had a 3D model of the laser’s existing front panel, it would be easy enough to 3D print some replacement parts for it.

That would be a neat enough trick on its own, but what we especially liked about this video was the tip that [Mangy_Dog] passed along about increasing visual complexity to improve the final results. Basically, the software is looking for identifiable surface details to piece together, so you can make things a bit easier for it by taking a few different colored markers and drawing all over the surface like a toddler. It might look crazy, but all those lines give the software some anchor points that help it sort out the nuances of the shape.

Unfortunately the markers ended up being a little more permanent than [Mangy_Dog] had hoped, and he eventually had to use acetone to get the stains off. Certainly something to keep in mind. But in the end, the 3D model generated was accurate enough that (after a bit of scaling) he was able to design a new panel that pops right on as if it was a factory component.

Hackaday readers may recall that when we last heard from [Mangy_Dog] he was putting the finishing touches on his incredible “Playdog Blackbone” handheld gaming system, which itself is a triumph of mating 3D printed components with existing hardware.

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Sleeper PlayStation Hides A Raspberry Pi 4

[Andreas Wilcox] wanted to get his brother a birthday gift that reflected their shared love for the early days of 3D gaming, but just handing him a second-hand original PlayStation lacked a certain style. So he decided to gut the classic system and replace its dated internals with a shiny new Raspberry Pi 4. But rather than taking the easy way out, he put in the time and effort to integrate the new hardware so seamlessly that the nearly 25 year old console still looks stock from the outside.

The fact that the front ports are functional and work with the original controllers really helps sell the stock look. [Andreas] found a USB to PlayStation controller adapter, liberated the PCB, and soldered it to the back of the system’s ports. Even the memory card slots got in on the action, thanks to female USB connectors installed where the original connector went. It was a tight fit, but the final result was well worth it.

We also love the GPIO-controlled cooling fan complete with a duct designed to blow across the notoriously toasty Pi, and check out that carefully designed holder for the power and reset buttons. This entire project is really a fantastic example of how 3D printed parts can give your projects a far cleaner and more professional look than the hacker’s old standby of hot glue; though of course it demands a considerable time investment.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a Raspberry Pi shoehorned into a classic video game console, but it’s absolutely one of the cleanest examples we’ve ever seen. Though if we lump Raspberry Pi portables into the running, the competition is considerably fiercer.

The Open Makers Cube: Have Hack, Will Travel

Don’t bother denying it, we know your workbench is a mess. A tangled pile of wires, tools, and half-completed projects is standard decor for any hardware hacker. In fact, if you’ve got a spotless work area, we might even be a bit skeptical about your credentials in this field. But that’s not to say we wouldn’t be interested in some way of keeping the electronic detritus in check, perhaps something like the Open Makers Cube created by [technoez].

This all-in-one hardware hacking station uses DIN rails and 3D-printed mounting hardware to allow the user to attach a wide array of tools, gadgets, and boards to the outside surface where they’re easily accessible. The OpenSCAD design includes mounts for the usual suspects like the Raspberry Pi, Arduino Uno, and general purpose breadboards. Of course, your own custom mounts are just a few lines of code away.

The Cube also includes a lighted magnifying glass on a flexible arm so you can zoom in on what you’re working on, a simple “helping hands” attachment, and provisions for internal USB power. It even features angled feet so the front side of the cube is held at a more comfortable viewing angle. All of which is held together by a lightweight and portable frame built from square aluminum tubing.

We can understand if you’ve got some doubts about the idea of mounting all of your tools and projects to the side of a jaunty little cube. But even if the jury is still out on the mobile workspace concept, one thing is for sure: the Open Makers Cube is easily one of the best documented projects we’ve seen in recent memory. Thanks to NopSCADlib, [technoez] was able to generate an exploded view and Bill of Materials for each sub-assembly of the project. If you’ve ever needed proof that NopSCADlib was worth checking out, this is it.