3D printed Hagrid's lantern with a magic wand

Micro:bit Brings 3D Printed Magic Lanterns To Life

[Elenavercher] loves engaging her primary school students, inspiring their imagination as well as teaching them the design thinking process. She has found that the very accessible rapid prototyping culture of 3D printing, micro:bit, and the like are perfect for teaching her students problem-solving and teamwork, and is always coming up with new lessons that will catch their attention. That brings us to her latest design, an interactive lantern and wand, which you could say is of the wizarding variety.

The lantern and the wand each have an integrated micro:bit serving as their brains. When the user shakes the wand, releasing a spell, the micro:bit in the wand, sends a user-defined number to the micro:bit in the lantern. The lantern has NeoPixels built-in, which then turn on, illuminating the lantern. When the user presses a button on the micro:bit instead of shaking it, the wand sends a signal to the lantern that tells it to “turn off.” Pretty simple, right?

The design itself is something any seasoned hacker could recreate; however, the magic in this build is how [Elenavercher] beautifully engages her elementary-aged students in the engineering design process. She starts off by encouraging her students to prototype the lantern and wand using paper which is a very inexpensive way to help them visualize the final product before investing too much time into the 3D design, a critical engineering design step — prototype fast and cheap with whatever you have on hand.

She then helps them design the lantern and wand in Tinkercad, a very beginner-friendly, yet increasingly capable CAD program. We really appreciate her detailed steps for the design as well as for navigating Tinkercad, both of which will help teach any tiny tikes in your life how to recreate the design. What’s really handy about Tinkercad is you can do mechanical CAD as well as write code for the micro:bit all within the same program. But [Elenavercher] also provides the final .hex file if you’d rather just get the build up and running.

Continue reading “Micro:bit Brings 3D Printed Magic Lanterns To Life”

A montage of a "death stranding" lamp in two different color modes, purple on the left and blue on the right

Illuminate Your Benched Things With This Death Stranding Lamp

[Pinkman] creates a smart RGB table lamp based off of the “Odradek device” robot arm from the video game “Death Stranding”.

[Pinkman] adds a XIAO BLE nRF52840 Sense device, with Bluetooth support, microphone and TinyML capability. The nRF52840 is used to push data to the five WS2812 strips, one for each “blade” of the lamp, and also connects to a TTP223 capacitive touch controller to add touch input detection. The TinyML portion of the nRF52840 allows for custom keyword training to turn on the lamp with voice commands ([Pinkman] uses “Bling Bling”). [Pinkman] has also provided Bluetooth control, allowing the color and pattern to be changed from a phone application.

The lamp is 3D printed with the build being based off of [Nils Kal]’s Printables files. Each of the five blades has a white 3D-printed diffusor plate to help ease out the hot spots for the LED strip. The lamp is fully adjustable in addition to having cavities, channels and access points for “invisible” wiring. [Pinkman] has also upgraded the original 3D files to allow for the three wires needed to drive the WS2812, instead of the two wires that [Nils] had allotted in the original.

[Pinkman] has all of the code, STL files and training data available for download, so be sure to check it out. Lamps are a favorite of ours and we’ve featured our fair share, including 3D printed Shoji lamps and RGB wall lamps.

Video after the break!

Continue reading “Illuminate Your Benched Things With This Death Stranding Lamp”

Halloween Build: Exquisite Ray Gun Has Sound Effects

When we first saw [lonesoulsurfer’s] ray gun, we thought it looked oddly familiar. Sure, it looks like a vintage ray gun you might see in a dozen 1950-era movies or TV shows. But still, there was something oddly familiar about it. Turns out, the core piece of it is an old-fashioned timing light used when doing a car tune-up.

This is no unobtrusive Star Trek phaser. It looks substantial and has a cool sound generator that not only gives it something to do but also sports cool control knobs out the top of the gun. The design files for the sound circuit are in a Google drive folder if you want to recreate the build.

Continue reading “Halloween Build: Exquisite Ray Gun Has Sound Effects”

A conventiongoer plays Pokemon on a working Color Game Boy costume.

Convention Plays Pokemon On Giant Color Game Boy Costume

Standard cosplay is fun and all, but what is there for admirers to do but look you up and down and nitpick the details? Interactive cosplay, now that’s where it’s at. [Jaryd Giesen] knows this, and managed to pull together a working color Game Boy costume in a few days.

The original plan was to use a small projector on an arm, like one of those worm lights that helped you see the screen, but [Jaryd] ended up getting a secondhand monitor and strapping it to his chest. Then he took the rest of the build from there. Things are pretty simple underneath all that cardboard: there’s a Raspberry Pi running the RetroPie emulator, a Pico to handle the inputs, and two batteries — one beefy 12,000 mAH battery for the monitor, and a regular power pack for the Pi and the Pico.

As you’ll see in the build and demo video after the break, nearly 100 people stopped to push [Jaryd]’s buttons. They didn’t get very far in the game, but it sure looks like they had fun trying.

Since we’re still in a pandemic, you may want to consider incorporating a mask into your Halloween costume this year. Just a thought.

Continue reading “Convention Plays Pokemon On Giant Color Game Boy Costume”

Can Metal Plated 3D Prints Survive 400,000 Volts?

It appears they can. [Ian Charnas] wanted his very own Thor Hammer. He wasn’t happy to settle on the usual cosplay methods of spray painting over foam and similar flimsy materials. He presents a method for nickel plating onto a 3D printed model, using conductive nickel paint to prepare the plastic surface for plating. In order to reduce the use of hazardous chemistry, he simplifies things to use materials more likely to be found in the kitchen.

As the video after the break shows, [Ian] went through quite a lot of experimentation in order to get to a process that would be acceptable to him. As he says, “after all, if something is worth doing, it’s worth over-doing” which is definitely a good ethos to follow. Its fairly hard to plate metals and get a good finish, and 3D printed objects are by their nature, not terribly smooth. But, the effort was well rewarded, and the results look pretty good to us.

But what about the 400 kV I hear you ask? Well, it wouldn’t be Thor’s hammer, without an ungodly amount of lightning flying around, and since [Ian] is part of a tesla coil orchestra group, which well, it just kinda fell into place. After donning protective chainmail to cover his skin, he walks straight into the firing line of a large pair of musical tesla coils and survives for another day. Kind of makes his earlier escapade with jet-powered roller skates look mundane by comparison.

Continue reading “Can Metal Plated 3D Prints Survive 400,000 Volts?”

An Homage To Daft Punk In Fan-Made Helmets Through The Years.

It’s with sadness that we note the end to an end. The French dance music duo Daft Punk have split up, announced in a video that’s has already clocked 22 million views.The band have inspired hardware geeks across the world not just with their music but the way they present themselves. A perennial project has been to replicate in some way their iconic robot helmets.

Ben Heck's 2009 take on the helmet
Harrison Krix’s 2009 take on Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo’s helmet.

The artists themselves have been reticent about the exact technology that powers their headgear, but while this is a source of endless mystery and speculation to the music press it’s safe to assume from our perspective that their designers have the same parts at their disposal as we have. Microcontrollers, EL wire, and LEDs are universal, so the challenge lies in artistic expression with the helmet design rather than in making the effects themselves. We’ve reached into the archives for a bit of Daft Punk helmet nostalgia, so stick on Harder Better Faster and lets take a look at them, er, one more time.

Continue reading “An Homage To Daft Punk In Fan-Made Helmets Through The Years.”

Watch This Scaly Gauntlet’s Hypnotizing, Rippling Waves

[Will Cogley]’s mechanized gauntlet concept sure has a hypnotizing look to it, and it uses only a single motor. Underneath the scales is a rod with several cams, each of which moves a lever up and down in a rippling wave as it rotates. Add a painted scale to each, and the result is mesmerizing. This is only a proof of concept prototype, and [Will] learned quite a few lessons when making it, but the end result is a real winner of a visual effect.

The gauntlet uses one motor, 3D printed hardware, and a mechanical linkage between the wrist and the rest of the forearm. Each of the scales is magnetically attached to the lever underneath, which provides some forgiveness for when one inevitably bumps into something. You can see the gauntlet without the scales in the video, embedded below the break, which should make clear how the prototype works.

The scales were created with the help of a Mayku desktop vacuum former by making lightweight copies of 3D printed scales. Interestingly, 3D printing each scale with full supports made for a useful mold; there was no need to remove supports from underneath the prints, because they are actually a benefit to the vacuum forming process. When vacuum forming, the presence of overhangs can lead to plastic wrapped around the master, trapping it, but the presence of the supports helps prevent this. 3D prints don’t hold up very well to the heat involved in vacuum forming, but they do well enough for a short run like this. Watch it in action and listen to [Will] explain the design in the video, embedded below.

Continue reading “Watch This Scaly Gauntlet’s Hypnotizing, Rippling Waves”