Exoskeletons, power suits, and iron suits in science fiction have served as the inspiration for many engineers and engineering projects over the years. This is certainly the case at [Hacksmith Industries], where Hackaday alum [James Hobson] has been building a massive mechanical exoskeleton since January 2019, inspired by the P-5000 Power Loader from the Alien movies. (Video, embedded below.)
Unlike the movie version, the [Hacksmith] power loader is not bipedal but built on top of the chassis of a small tracked skid-steer loader. Its existing hydraulic power unit also feeds all the upper body hydraulic cylinders. The upper body maintains the basic look of the movie version and was built from plasma-cut steel sections that fit together with a tab and slot system before being welded. Each arm has five degrees of freedom, controlled by proportional hydraulic valves. The power loader is controlled by an industrial grade control system based on the Raspberry Pi, running ROS.
Every single actuator is capable of applying enough force to kill, so safety is an important consideration in the design. It has emergency stop buttons mounted in several locations, including on a wireless remote. The ROS controller monitors the position of every cylinder using string potentiometers for closed-loop control, and to trigger the emergency stop if an actuator goes out of bounds. The power loader can be controlled by the onboard pilot using a pair of simulator flight controller joysticks, or remotely using a PS4 controller.
[Hacksmith Industries] is clear about the fact that they are building multi-ton power loaded for fun and entertainment, not because it’s necessarily practical or a commercially viable product. However, other exoskeletons have proven that they are a viable solution for reducing fatigue and risk of injury for industrial workers, and carrying heavy loads in rough terrain.
Continue reading “Building A Multi-Ton Power Loader For Fun”
Can you really catch lightning with Mjolnir, the mythical hammer of Thor? If you’re [James Hobson] you can get pretty darn close. He’s a long time writer at Hackaday who’s been building an epic following on his YouTube channel by making the digital effects of blockbuster movies into practical effects. Today he released a video showing how he channeled a jolt of lightning with hammer held high.
The lightning source for this hack is a huge Tesla coil held overhead by a telescoping lift. Humans and high voltage mix poorly, which is why you can’t actually tell this is [James]. He’s wearing a full body suit of grounded chainmail which serves as a Faraday cage, safely directing the current around him to avoid a literally heart-stopping moment. Check out the antics in the video after the break.
Longtime readers will remember [Caleb Kraft’s] take on Mjolnir, a build that placed the Tesla coil in the hammer itself. [James]’ version is undeniably more impressive, with the tradeoff that it’s wholly unportable. While we’re on the topic of mythical hammers, our other most favorite build is the delightful prank build which makes the hammer unliftable except by the recognized owner.
Continue reading “Catching 30 Kilowatts With Thor’s Hammer”
As some of you may or may not know, I’m interested in everything exoskeleton related. I’ve been messing around with my own designs for the past year or so, and just this past weekend, tested out the latest lower body design. There are a lot of boring (and some would say safe) ways to test this. But that’s no fun. For my test I used the lower-half of the exoskeleton to pick up a Mini Cooper.
You might remember my original upper-body design which was something I threw together in my garage as a proof of concept. It worked well for what it was, and surprisingly, took the internet by storm — amassing over a million views in a single week for a video of me curling 170lbs in my backyard. The fire had started — I knew I had to make something better. And that was the beginning of my quest to build a full-body powered exoskeleton.
The biggest problem with the original was a lack of back support — it didn’t matter how much weight I could lift, it was still my feeble human skeleton taking the weight. So it was time to go back to the drawing board, and start the design from the ground up. Continue reading “Homemade Exoskeleton Lifts Mini Cooper With Ease”
Hackaday contributor and new homeowner [James Hobson] had a dilemma on his hands. He had rented a commercial drum sander to begin a floor refinishing project. Like many before him, James was a bit too aggressive with the drum sander in places. The uneven stripes didn’t show up until the sander was returned and the floor was stained. Renting the sander again would be an expensive prospect. There had to be a better answer…
That’s when [James] put on his [Hacksmith] cape and got to work. He built himself a DIY floor sander (YouTube Link) using four Ryobi orbital sanders, some scrap wood, and a bit of ingenuity. [James] screwed the four sanders to a plywood sub plate, then added a top plate with a handle. He even gave the sander its own outlet strip so he wouldn’t be dragging four power cords behind him.
[James] found that synthetic steel wool pads weren’t cutting through the floor very well, so he upgraded to 220 grit sandpaper. That did the trick, and the sander worked great. Now he won’t have to rent a drum sander when it comes time to refinish the first floor of his new house!
Continue reading “[James] Multiplies His Floor Sander By Four”