If you’re like us, you probably don’t finish a typical hardware project in one sitting. This doesn’t have to be a problem if you’re fortunate enough to have a dedicated workbench for your hacking activities; you simply leave your current project there, ready to continue when you have time again. But this is not always a workable option if you, or a housemate, needs to use the same desk for other tasks as well.
[!BATTA!] over at IKEAhackers ran into this problem, and solved it by building a complete electronics workstation inside a wardrobe. The base of this project is a storage unit called PAX, which is designed to store clothes and shoes but which also works just fine with project boxes. [!BATTA!] installed a variety of shelves and drawers to organize their collection of boxes and tools.
Not content with simple storage, [!BATTA!] decided to add a workbench, using a sturdy sliding tray that carries a working surface and a reinforced back panel to hold parts bins. Metal braces were added to prevent wobbliness, and the whole structure was bolted to a wall to prevent it from tipping over. When the workbench is not in use, the tray simply slides inside so the doors can be closed for a nice, clean look.
We really like the many clever storage solutions spread around the work area, such as a magnetic rail to hold hand tools and a “honeycomb” of PVC tubes for storing cables. Compact LED strips provide suitable lighting while a power strip with both mains and USB sockets brings juice to the tools and projects.
Many a young geek wished they could get a chance to sit at the helm of the USS Enterprise, wildly tapping on unlabeled technicolor buttons with the self-assured confidence of a proper Starfleet officer. For most of us it was a dream unrealized, but right now somebody in the Seattle, Washington area is getting to do exactly that in their media room. We won’t deny being jealous, but at least our collective egos can take some comfort in the knowledge that they had to outsource the construction of their replica helm to the fine folks at [Blackmouth Design].
There’s not a lot of technical details to be had, but considering the page for this project is only meant to show off the company’s design and fabrication skills, we can’t blame them too much. If we were in the business of selling these things, we’d probably keep some of the juicer details under wraps too.
But we do know there’s “Arduino technology” under the hood that fires up different light and sound effects depending on which of the vintage rocker switches has been flipped. The red momentary buttons lined up on the right side of the coffee table sized panel are tied into the home media center to do things like turn off the lights and lower the projector screen. Check out the video below for a brief demo.
In a post on Reddit, one of the engineers behind the project explains that the top surface of the helm is 3/16″ powder coated aluminum, with the plywood that makes up the base laminated in the classic Original Series color scheme of red, grey, and black. The artwork for the astrogator was created from scratch, backlit with LEDs, and placed behind a 1/4″ acrylic panel for protection. We imagine the fact that it’s parallel to the ground means it’s supposed to be a space to place your drinks or popcorn, though if it was in our house, nobody would be bringing food or drink anywhere near it.
We are continuously inspired by our readers which is why we share what we love, and that inspiration flows both ways. [jetpilot305] connected a Rothult unit to the Arduino IDE in response to Ripping up a Rothult. Consider us flattered. There are several factors at play here. One, the Arduino banner covers a lot of programmable hardware, and it is a powerful tool in a hardware hacker’s belt. Two, someone saw a tool they wanted to control and made it happen. Three, it’s a piece of (minimal) security hardware, but who knows where that can scale. The secure is made accessible.
The Github upload instructions are illustrated, and you know we appreciate documentation. There are a couple of tables for the controller pins and header for your convenience. You will be compiling your sketch in Arduino’s IDE, but uploading through ST-Link across some wires you will have to solder. We are in advanced territory now, but keep this inspiration train going and drop us a tip to share something you make with this miniature deadbolt.
There was a time when consumer electronics were statement items, designed to resemble quality furniture that would be shown off as a centerpiece of the home. Televisions in ornate wooden cabinets, or stereos looking for all the world like sideboards. [Zethus] had just such a huge record player and radio combo in a sideboard, and having little use for the cream of 1950s home entertainment technology, he rebuilt it as a concealed liquor cabinet with electronic controls and a much more modern stereo that forms part of a Logitech Media Server multi-room system.
After removing the tube-based radio chassis and Garrard jockey-wheel turntable it was time to gut their supporting woodwork and install the platform derived from a standing desk. With suitably impressive lighting and a pair of VFD displays for the music choice, there is the inevitable Raspberry Pi running the show. Control is achieved by a set of hidden capacitive buttons, and there’s a Web interface to allow both music and magical appearance of alcohol from the comfort of a smartphone. The whole can be seen in the video below the break.
Whenever a piece of vintage electronics is gutted in this way there will always be people who find it disquieting, but the truth is that these all-in-one stereos were made in huge quantities during the mid-century period and do not have a significant value. This one may have lost its original electronics, but it lives on safe from the dump that has claimed so many of its brethren. Happily this isn’t the first one we’ve seen saved with a Pi.
At first sight, [Kyle]’s Elroy lamp is simply an attractive piece of modern-styled interior furnishing; its clean lines, wood grain, and contemporary patterning being an asset to the room. But when he pulls out his phone, things change. Because this lamp hides a secret: at its heart may be a standard LED bulb, but the shade conceals four LCD screens driven by an Nvidia Jetson. These can be controlled through a web app to display a variety of textures, completing the effect.
This is not however simply a set of laptop screens bolted to a lampshade. The screens started life in laptops sure enough, but have since had their reflective backing removed to create a transparent LCD panel. Then an appropriate diffuser had to be found, which after much experimentation became a composite including more than one textured paper. Finally the whole was enclosed in an attractive wooden lamp frame and became part of the furniture. We like it, both as an aesthetically pleasing lamp and as a genuine departure from the norm.
If you move as a hardware hacker through the sometimes surprisingly similar world of artists, craftspeople, designers, blacksmiths, and even architects, there’s one piece of work that you will see time and time again as an object that exerts a curious fascination. It seems that designing and building a chair is a rite of passage, and not just a simple chair, but in many cases an interesting chair.
Some of the most iconic seating designs that you will be instantly familiar with through countless mass-produced imitations began their lives as one-off design exercises. Yet we rarely see them in our community of hackers and makers, a search turns up only a couple of examples. This is surprising, not least because there is more than meets the eye to this particular piece of furniture. Your simple seat can be a surprisingly complex challenge.
Moving Charis From Artisan to Mass Market
The new materials and mass production techniques of the 19th and 20th centuries have brought high-end design into the hands of the masses, but while wealthy homes in earlier centuries had high-quality bespoke furniture in the style of the day, the traditional furniture of the masses was hand-made in the same way for centuries often to a particular style dependent on the region in which it was produced.
Upholstery is a craft that dates back far longer than many we feature on Hackaday. It requires patience, attention to detail, and a series of specialised skills. If you fancy yourself to be like a young Jack White, you might have considered trying your hand at a piece or two. [darkpine] did just that, and the results are impressive.
The couch was sourced from an online bartering platform, and was in a sad and sorry state after years of use. According to the original owner, the couch was over 100 years old and had been passed down through several generations. Last reupholstered in the 1970s, it was in dire need of repair. Wooden trim was falling off, fabric was fading, and resident cats had been sure to leave their mark.
[darkpine] set about things the right way, stripping the couch back to its bare bones. Taking careful note of the original construction, diagrams were made to ensure the springs could be retied in the correct fashion. Fresh burlap was installed, followed by foam and a layer of cotton batting. Careful attention was then paid to the fabric covering, with hand stitching used along the arms to get an absolutely perfect pattern match along the seams. With the hard part done, the wood was then restored and waxed to a glorious shine.
The final results are astounding, especially when noting that this was [darkpine]’s first ever upholstery project. We don’t see a lot of this kind of thing around here, but it’s not completely unknown.