Vintage Artificial Horizon Is Beautiful In Motion

Attitude indicators are super useful if you’re flying a plane, particularly in foggy conditions or over water. They help you figure out which way the plane is pointing relative to the unforgiving ground below. [Hack Modular] has been toying with a few, and even figured out how to get them powered up!

The attitude indicators use spinning gyroscopes to present a stable artificial horizon when a plane is in motion. Airworthy models are highly expensive, but [Hack Modular] was experimenting with some battered surplus examples. He sets about opening the delicate gauges, noting the seals and other features intended to protect the equipment inside. We get a great look at the gimbals and the reset mechanism used to zero out the device. He then pulls a classic mechanic’s trick, robbing a few screws from Peter to reassemble Paul.

We wouldn’t trust the gauges for flight duty, but they look great when powered up, all lit and spinning. They have the beautiful vintage glow that you only get from filament bulbs and deftly painted instrumentation.¬†While avionics don’t come cheap off the shelf, it’s worth tinkering with cheap older gear if you can find it. The engineering involved, even in older equipment, is truly impressive. Video after the break.

Continue reading “Vintage Artificial Horizon Is Beautiful In Motion”

Working Artificial Horizon Built Into A Single LEGO Brick

Back in the day, LEGO spaceship sets used to come with these little wedge blocks painted with fake gauges on them. [James “Ancient” Brown] decided that wasn’t good enough. Thus, he took everything he needed for a functional artificial horizon, and stuffed it inside a single LEGO brick. Yes, it’s real, and it’s spectacular.

We featured [James’] electronics-infused bricks some time ago when they first hit the Internet. The basic story is that he managed to cram an OLED screen and an RP2040 into a silicone mold for a LEGO-compatible brick. His first iterations stunned the world, as they ran pretty monochrome animations that brought life to formerly-inanimate chunk of plastic.

Since then, [James] has been busy. He’s managed to squeeze an accelerometer into the brick form factor as well. That allowed him to build a LEGO piece which displays an impressively-smooth artificial horizon display, as you might find in an aircraft. He demonstrates this by putting the instrument on a LEGO craft and zooming it around the room. All the while, the artificial horizon accurately tracks the motions of the craft.

It’s an impressive build, and something we’d love to see included in future LEGO vehicles…even if they’re just 3D renders. Continue reading “Working Artificial Horizon Built Into A Single LEGO Brick”