Adjustable, Piston-Damped Hammer

When all you have is a hammer, every problem is a constant quest for an even better hammer, as the popular saying goes. At least, that seems to be [Ebenisterie Éloïse]’s situation. She wanted a deadblow hammer that not only had an aesthetically pleasing wood and brass construction, but also one that included adjustable dampers to make sure that each hammer swing is as efficient as possible.

For those unfamiliar with specialty hammers, dead blow hammers typically have some movable mass such as sand or lead shot within the hammer head. This mass shifts forward when the hammer strikes an object, reducing rebound of the hammer off of the object and transferring more energy into each strike. This hammer omits a passive mass in favor of four custom-machined brass tubes, each of which holds a weighted fluid, a spring, and brass weight. Each piston acts as a damper in a similar way to a shock absorber on a vehicle, and a screw and o-ring at the top of each one allows them to be adjustable by adding different weight fluids as needed. Some detailed testing of the pistons shows a marked improvement over any of the passive mass varieties as well.

Not only is this an incredible amount of detail and precision for a tool that is often wielded in a non-precise way (at least among those of us for who aren’t skilled craftspeople), but it is also made out of wood, leather, and brass which gives it an improved look and feel over a plastic and fiberglass hammer that is typical of most modern deadblow hammers. It even rivals this engineer’s hammer with its intricate custom engraving in craftsmanship alone.

Continue reading “Adjustable, Piston-Damped Hammer”

High-End Case Mods To A PlayStation 5

Modern consoles bring joy to televisions around the globe, but they’re fundamentally mass-produced totems to gaming excellence. That wasn’t good enough for [Matt], who decided that his PlayStation 5 needed a total case makeover. (Video, embedded below.)

The material of choice is brass. Capable of being polished to a mirror-like shine while being readily workable and available, it’s perfect for making a PlayStation 5 look just a little more deluxe. While [Matt] has worked with brass before, replicating the PS5’s case in the metal pushed him to learn new skills. The main center divider was easy enough, with paper used to create a cutting template to match the form which bends through 90 degrees. The real challenge, however, was the side panels. With complex curves across several axes, manually bending metal plates to match the shape proved impossible. Instead, a custom wooden and plaster jig was made, onto which brass plates could be clamped to match the curves. A blowtorch was then used to release the plate’s internal stresses in a process called normalisation.

[Matt] does a great job of making the whole thing look easy. With that said, the final results are stunning enough that we’re sure it would be difficult to replicate without a lot of experience and attention to detail. In particular, the deft way the side panel clips were dealt with had us nodding in sage approval. The final console makes a great companion for the brass-housed monitor [Matt] created for his [DIY Perks] channel quite recently. Video after the break.

Continue reading “High-End Case Mods To A PlayStation 5”

DIY USB-C Touch Monitor Is All Polished Brass

We’ve known for a while that you can buy interface boards to turn old laptop screens into standalone monitors, but complete sets with 4K panels and control boards are also now becoming widely available on sites like eBay and AliExpress, and prices are dropping. These sets are also available with low-profile connectors like micro HDMI and USB-C, which allow for some very compact builds.

[Matt] from [DIY Perks] used one of these sets to build a slimline USB-C monitor with a brass enclosure. Video after the break. The enclosure consists of brass sheets and U-channel pieces soldered and screwed together. There is quite a bit of residue and discoloration after soldering, but this was removed with a bit of sanding and polishing. A pair of adjustable legs were added to allow it to stand on its own, and an additional chamber on the back holds the control board, an old smartphone battery, and a battery protection circuit. [Matt] also added a pair of removable speakers, which are sealed speaker units covered in brass mesh and plate.

We’ve covered several DIY monitor builds over the years, and they are perfect as an additional monitor for a laptop, or for pairing with the Raspberry Pi 400 with its integrated keyboard. We really [Matt]’s builds, which include a smartphone-based 4K projector, and a very effective cooling system for an expensive DSLR camera. Continue reading “DIY USB-C Touch Monitor Is All Polished Brass”

This Classy But Chaotic Gear Clock Keeps You Guessing

There are a lot of ways to tell time, but pretty much all of them involve some sort of sequential scale — the hands sweeping across the face of an analog clock comes to mind, as does the incremental changes of a digital clock. Clocks are predictable by their very nature, and therefore somewhat boring.

This nonsequential gear clock aims to break that predictability and make for a timepiece that’s just a little bit different. It’s the work of [Tony Goacher], who clearly put a lot of work into it and pulled out nearly every tool in the shop while doing it. He started with a laser-cut plywood prototype to get the basics worked out — a pair of nested rings with internal gear teeth, each hanging on a stepper-driven pinion. The inner ring represents hours and the outer minutes, with the numbers on each randomly distributed — more or less, since no two sequential numbers are positioned more than five seconds of rotation apart.

The finished version of the clock is rendered in brass, acrylic, hardwood, and a smattering of aluminum, with a case reminiscent of the cathedral radios of yore. There are some really nice touches, like custom-made brass screws, a CNC-engraved brass faceplate with traditional clock art, and a Latin inscription on the drive cog for the hours ring that translates roughly to “Time rules all.” When we looked that up we found that “tempus rerum imperator” is the motto of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, the very existence of which we find pleasing in the extreme.

The clock runs through its initialization routine in the brief video below. We’re not sure we’d want this on our nightstand, but it’s certainly a unique and enjoyable way to show the passage of time. It sort of reminds us of this three-ringed perpetual calendar, but just a bit more stochastic.

Continue reading “This Classy But Chaotic Gear Clock Keeps You Guessing”

Game Boy Replica Built In Brass

Nintendo’s Game Boy is legendary for being the meat in the handheld gaming revolution, as well as being nigh-on indestructible whether in the custody of children or soldiers in the Gulf War. However, [Jiri] decided to see if he could whip up a tribute of his own, in brass instead of plastic.

The hardware is based on the Odroid GO emulator firmware for the ESP32, running on a 2.2″ color TFT screen. It’s a great base for a custom build, which avoids gutting any precious classic hardware. It’s then assembled behind front plate milled out of brass, with delicate point-to-point brass wires giving it an artistic circuit sculpture look. The brass did prove difficult to work with at times, acting as a heat sink which prevented easy soldering of the standoffs in place. To get around this, [Jiri] used a hotplate to heat the plate from below, keeping it warm enough so that a hand iron could do the job.

The final result is a fun Game Boy emulator in a stylish case – though one you shouldn’t throw in a back pack lest it short out the exposed conductors. It would make a great gift for any lifelong Nintendo fan. [Jiri] is no strange to circuit sculpture, as we well know – we’ve featured his tools and methods before. Video after the break.

Continue reading “Game Boy Replica Built In Brass”

Bad Idea For Desoldering Actually Might Be Pretty Smart

This video on building a DIY desoldering iron says it all right up front: this is stupid and dangerous, and you shouldn’t do it. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work, or that it doesn’t have potential to be turned into something else.

The story begins, as it often does these days, on the pages of Amazon as [AnotherMaker] shopped for a real desoldering setup. Despite a case of sticker shock, he took the plunge on a nice Hakko vacuum desolderer, but as is also often the case, it failed to arrive. Rather than accept defeat, [AnotherMaker] purchased a cheap-o soldering iron and a brass tee fitting for small-bore tubing that would chuck nicely into the spot where the stock tip once lived, giving him a way to both melt solder and move air.

Unfortunately, rather than applying a vacuum, he chose to blast 100 PSI compressed air through the tip, which certainly moves a lot of solder, perhaps at the cost of burns and eye injuries. The potential for accidental short circuits is pretty high too, but c’mon — it’s not like we all haven’t flicked or dropped a board to desolder something. Is this really much different?

As fraught with peril as this method may be, [AnotherMaker] is onto something here. Perhaps adding a 3D-printed venturi generator could turn that blast of air into a vacuum. Or maybe a vacuum pump for a manual pick-and-place would do the trick too.

Continue reading “Bad Idea For Desoldering Actually Might Be Pretty Smart”

For Your Holiday Relaxation: The Clickspring Sundial Build Megacut

The fortunate among us may very well have a bit of time off from work coming up, and while most of that time will likely be filled with family obligations and festivities, there’s probably going to be some downtime. And if you should happen to find yourself with a half hour free, you might want to check out the Clickspring Byzantine Calendar-Sundial mega edit. And we’ll gladly accept your gratitude in advance.

Fans of machining videos will no doubt already be familiar with Clickspring, aka [Chris], the amateur horologist who, through a combination of amazing craftsmanship and top-notch production values, managed to make clockmaking a spectator sport. We first caught the Clickspring bug with his open-frame clock build, which ended up as a legitimate work of art. [Chris] then undertook two builds at once: a reproduction of the famous Antikythera mechanism, and the calendar-sundial seen in the video below.

The cut condenses 1,000 hours of machining, turning, casting, heat-treating, and even hand-engraving of brass and steel into an incredibly relaxing video. There’s no narration, no exposition — nothing but the sounds of metal being shaped into dozens of parts that eventually fit perfectly together into an instrument worthy of a prince of Byzantium. This video really whets our appetite for more Antikythera build details, but we understand that [Chris] has been busy lately, so we’ll be patient.

Continue reading “For Your Holiday Relaxation: The Clickspring Sundial Build Megacut”