One of the downsides to healthy outdoor activities is all the exercise. Who would want to do that if you can build something to do the hard work for you? That seems to be the theme of [Bitluni]’s latest build, a simple (and hacky) propulsion system for a stand-up paddleboard.
After acquiring an inflatable stand-up paddleboard and trying it out a few times, [Bitluni] decided to skip the “stand up” and “paddle” parts. He designed and printed a very simple propeller, which he intended to power with a brushless motor and speed controller. In the process of drilling out the prop to fit the shaft, he realized he was overcomplicating things. So he decided to just use his battery-powered drill instead. For the shaft tube, he modified an old crutch by drilling a hole in the handle for the shaft and adding a duct with a bearing on the other end. He also attached a carabiner to the handle to fix it to the paddleboard.
A test at a lake showed that the propulsion system performed relatively well for a proof of concept but had some flaws. To submerge it properly, [Bitluni] had to sit on the rear of the paddleboard facing backward. If it was too close to the surface, it would suck air and lose thrust, or spray him and his drill with water. Of course, there is also the real risk of drowning his drill in the process.
Projects don’t need to be complex to be enjoyable, and you can often learn more by quickly creating a proof of concept instead of taking forever to come up with the “perfect” design.
If you want to see some more advanced water-borne projects, check out the waterjet-powered electric surfboards built by [RCLifeOn] and [Andrew W].
There are few projects on how to make your own cordless drill, but what sets [Johnnyq90’s] amazing project apart is the fact that his power plant is a nitro engine. Not an easy task of course, but he makes it look easier than it is, and we really enjoyed the construction process.
He uses an RC Kyosho GX12 engine that was previously modified, changing the cooling head with a larger one. The engine drives a gearbox that was taken from another drill. All other parts were hand made. The clutch was carefully machined, and the cooling fan was made in a 3D printer. Other necessary parts were the frame, brass spacers to adjust the engine height and alignment, throttle arm and handle. In the end even the gearbox had to be modified for higher speed. The finished drill sure looks and sounds terrific, and seems to be perfectly capable of doing its job.
As with other mechanical projects from [Johnnyq90], the video has good timing and attention to detail. His channel is definitely worth a visit, specially if you like turbines.
Sometimes, along comes a hack that is just that. A kludged collection of parts thrown together quickly to solve some problem. [mightysinetheta]’s Upcycled Cat Feeder is just that – no pretensions.
It’s a cat feeder built out of a drill, wall switch and mechanical clock timer for under $10. Pretty much the simplest electric cat feeder you can make. Survives power outages just fine, is single serving, but due to the noise and motion it makes, it is a perfect Pavlovian trainer for the cat. The best way to describe it is as a Rube Goldberg machine.
Set the timer for the planned feed time (up to 12 hours in advance). At the appointed time, the timer triggers, the drill rotates, the old, broken screwdriver chucked in the drill turns. The cord tied to the screwdriver winds up like a winch. This pulls up the lid covering the cat’s dinner plate. The noisy drill announces it’s dinner time. When fully raised, the lid pushes up a short piece of PCV pipe. This flips a switch, that shuts off the drill. If you need build instructions, fear not. [mightysinetheta] has detailed build instructions although the pictures are probably all you’ll need.
The base has been outfitted with cogs and a chain from an old bicycle. The gear reduction lets a power drill rotate the platform. This worked well enough but [Gary] found that making fine adjustments was rather difficult and more often than not he ended up moving the binoculars to avoid overshooting when adjusting the platform with the drill. Luckily he didn’t give up on the idea. On the eighth and final page of his build log he refines the rotating setup with the help of an ice cream maker. It’s gear box is used as a speed reducer so that a very slow drill speed results in an extremely small heading correction. Now he can view the stars in peace, freed from frustration by a well-refined hack.
This telepresence robot will never let your Skype callers sneak up on you. [Priit] built the project, which he calls Skype Got Legs, so that his distant friends could follow him around the house during chats. But as you can hear after the break, the electric drills used to motorize the base are extremely loud.
Noise pollution aside, we like the roughness of the hack. It’s utilitarian but seems to work quite well. Commands are sent via the web using a combination of Ajax and PHP function calls. The two drills are controlled by an Arduino via a couple of automotive relays. The drills are powered by their original rechargeable battery packs. So as not to alter those batteries, [Priit] figured out a way to use synthetic wine bottle corks as a connector. They’ve been cut to size, and had tinned wires pushed through holes in them. Now, when he inserts the altered corks they press the wires against the battery contacts. Continue reading “Loudest Telepresence Robot Ever”→
The build is just a few pieces of wood, drill rod, some hardware and a prop. Definitely not the most complicated build. This isn’t the speediest motor ever when attached to a canoe, and isn’t meant to be a primary means of propulsion. That’s not a problem for this build – trolling motors aren’t designed to be fast or powerful. There’s no word on how much thrust [Berto]’s motor can put out, but it is a nice bit of MacGyverism to build a boat motor out of spare parts.
Check out the build walk though video after the break to see the motor in action.