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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Remoticon Video: How To 3D Print Onto Fabric With Billie Ruben

We’re impressed to see the continued flow of new and interesting ways to utilize 3D printing despite its years in the hacker limelight. At the 2020 Hackaday Remoticon [Billie Ruben] came to us from across the sea to demonstrate how to use 3D printing and fabric, or other flexible materials, to fabricate new and interesting creations. Check out her workshop below, and read on for more detail about what you’ll find.

The workshop is divided into two parts, a hands-on portion where participants execute a fabric print at home on their own printer, and a lecture while the printers whirr away describing ways this technique can be used to produce strong, flexible structures.

The technique described in the hands on portion can be clumsily summarized as “print a few layers, add the flexible material, then resume the printing process”. Of course the actual explanation and discussion of how to know when to insert the material, configure your slicer, and select material is significantly more complex! For the entire process make sure to follow along with [Billie]’s clear instructions in the video.

The lecture portion of the workshop was a whirlwind tour of the ways which embedded materials can be used to enhance your prints. The most glamourous examples might be printing scales, spikes, and other accoutrement for cosplay, but beyond that it has a variety of other uses both practical and fashionable. Embedded fabric can add composite strength to large structural elements, durable flexibility to a living hinge, or a substrate for new kinds of jewelry. [Billie] has deep experience in this realm and she brings it to bear in a comprehensive exposition of the possibilities. We’re looking forward to seeing a flurry of new composite prints!

Hack Together Your Own Bat Signal

Bats use echolocation to see objects in front of them. They emit an ultrasonic pulse around 20 kHz (and up to 100 kHz) and then sense the pulses as they reflect off an object and back to the bat. It’s the same type of mechanism used by ultrasonic proximity sensors for object-avoidance. Humans (except perhaps the very young ones) can’t hear the ultrasonic pulses since the frequency is too high, but an inexpensive microphone in a simple bat detector could. As it turns out bat detectors are available off the shelf, but where’s the fun in that? So, like any good hacker, [WilkoL] decided to build his own.

[WilkoL’s] design is composed primarily of an electret microphone, microphone preamplifier, CD4040 binary counter, LM386 audio amplifier, and a speaker. Audio signals are analog and their amplitudes vary based on how close the sound is to the microphone. [WilkoL] wanted to pick up bat sounds as far away as possible, so he cranked up the gain of the microphone preamplifier by quite a bit, essentially railing the amplifiers. Since he mostly cares about the frequency of the sound and not the amplitude, he wasn’t concerned about saturating the transistor output.

The CD4040 then divides the signal by a factor of 16, generating an output signal within the audible frequency range of the human ear. A bat signal of 20 kHz divides down to 1.25 kHz and a bat signal of up to 100 kHz divides down to 6.25 kHz.

He was able to test his bat detector with an ultrasonic range finder and by the noise generated from jingling his keychain (apparently there are some pretty non-audible high-frequency components from jingling keys). He hasn’t yet been able to get a recording of his device picking up bats. It has detected bats on a number of occasions, but he was a bit too late to get it on video.

Anyway, we’re definitely looking forward to seeing the bat detector in action! Who knows, maybe he’ll find Batman.

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