Mini Millennium Falcon Is Envy Of the Neighborhood

Here’s a tip for any readers who may be expecting a child in the near future: there’s about a two year period where you can basically use your child as a Halloween prop. They’re too young to express any serious interest in what they want to dress up as, and as an added bonus, they generally spend most of their time being rolled around in a wheeled contraption anyway. As long as you can keep the little one warm and securely seated in the thing, you’ve essentially got free reign to put them into all sorts of elaborate vehicles.

Case in point, the awesome build that [shnatko] has dubbed the “Millennium Flyer”. Built atop his daughter’s plastic Radio Flyer wagon, the Millennium Flyer is constructed out of wood and foam board. By using the mounting holes in the wagon originally intended for an optional canopy, the ship itself can be removed to fly again next year.

[shnatko] notes that he possess no particular talent for the fine arts, so he decided to skin his build by printing out a high resolution image of the Millennium Falcon he found online. The amount of patience (not to mention printer ink) that this method took is considerable, but we think the final results speak for themselves.

To finish off his build [shnatko] found a blue cold cathode light from his PC modding days and rigged it up with a laptop battery he had laying around. Some foam ribs and wax paper to diffuse the light give it that iconic look from the “real” Falcon.

Between this build and the AT-AT rocking horse from a few weeks back, it seems we are in the golden age of childhood Star Wars conveyances. Though we wouldn’t mind seeing this get mounted to a racing Power Wheels either.

Alas, Poor Yorick! He Hath Not Amazon Prime

If you are looking around for a Halloween project, you might consider The Yorick Project from [ViennaMike]. As you can see in the video below, it marries a Raspberry Pi acting as an Amazon Alexa with an animatronic skull.

This isn’t the most technically demanding project, but it has a lot of potential for further hacking. The project includes a USB microphone, a servo controller, and an audio servo driver board. It looks like the audio servo board is controlling the jaw movement and based on the video, we wondered if you might do better running it completely in software.

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Industrial Indicator Makes the Move from PLC to FPGA

Industrial controls are fun to use in a build because they’re just so — well, industrial. They’re chunky and built to take a beating, both from the operating environment and the users. They’re often power guzzlers, though, so knowing how to convert an industrial indicator for microcontroller use might be a handy skill to have.

Having decided that an Allen-Bradley cluster indicator worked with the aesthetic of his project, a Halloween prop of some sort, [Glen] set about dissecting the controls. Industrial indicators usually make that a simple task so that they can be configured for different voltages in the field, and it turned out that the easiest approach to replacing the power-hungry incandescent bulbs with LEDs was to build a tiny PCB to fit inside the four-color lens.

The uniquely shaped board ended up being too small for even series resistors for the LEDs, so a separate driver board was also fabbed. The driver board is set up to allow a single 5-volt supply and logic levels of 3.3-volt or 5-volt, making the indicator compatible with just about anything. The finished product lends a suitably sinister look to the prop.

If you’re not familiar with the programmable logic controllers such an indicator would be used with in the field, then maybe you should try running Pong on a PLC for a little background.

A Scary Pumpkin Pi

headless-scarecrow

What do you get when you combine motion sensors , a Raspberry Pi, and a pumpkin? When it’s Haloween, a headless scarecrow with a light-up carved pumpkin in its lap! The execution of this hack is really great, and the resulting effect, as shown in the video after the break, should be extremely scary to any kids that come knocking.

One neat effect of this hack is that it uses X10 home automation modules to turn off the porch lights for an extra scary effect. After this, the jack-o-lantern lights up and says “help me!” If you’d like to duplicate, or build on this hack, instructions are provided as well as source code for everything on the page. While you’re there, be sure to poke around on [Insentricity] as there are quite a few other hacks available for your perusal! Don’t forget sure to send us any other Halloween hacks that you come up with.

Halloween Props: Monster in a box

This furry Halloween decoration proves to be a simple build, but it’s still quite popular with the little ones. [Chris] had a Halloween party for a group of 2-5 year olds and this monster that peeks out of a box was a huge hit. The trick really isn’t in the complexity of the build, but in the interactivity.

The enclosure is just a shoe box which has been covered in synthetic black fur. The lid was hinged on the back, and a hobby servo with a bit of an extension on the arm is used to lift the front which reveals the monster’s paper eyes. Inside you’ll find an Arduino, breadboard, and battery pack. It’s not visible above, but a distance sensor on the front of the box is monitored by the Arduino. When it detects something in front of it the servo fires up and pops open the lid. The firmware includes a timer so that the monster waits a bit before taking its next peek at the party.

Pumpkin Tetris inspired by our own LED Jack-o-lantern

The kids (or maybe their parents) are going to be lined up at [Nathan’s] front porch to get their turn at playing pumpkin Tetris. That’s right, he built a game of Tetris into a real pumpkin. We thought this looked quite familiar when we first saw it and indeed he was inspired by our own LED Matrix Pumpkin from two Halloweens ago. We love seeing derivative works and [Nathan] definitely make few great improvements to the process.

The matrix itself was wired in very much the same way we used, but he added an additional 58 LEDs to nearly double the size of the display. He used a paper grid and power drill to make room for the holes, but improved the visibility of the lights by sculpting square pixels in the skin of the fruit. But how does one control the game? The stem of the pumpkin is actually a joystick. One of the most innovative parts of the physical build was to use drywall anchors on the inside to mount the joystick hardware.

Don’t miss a demo video after the jump.

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Halloween Props: Ghoul in the box puts on a pretty good show

[Tim’s] ghoul in the box project has all the elements of a classic Halloween prop. He built it for last year’s display but we’re sure it will be a perennial favorite.

As the name implies, it’s modeled after a Jack-in-the-box toy. Fittingly, it’s decorated with bright, happy colors and includes a crank on the right side of the box. But you don’t need any man-power to make it work. Hidden in the red circle at the center of the front panel is a motion sensor. Walk in front of the box and one of two modes will be triggered. The crank may start up and a happy rendition of Pop Goes the Weasel plays. But as it nears the end of the song the tempo slows and the pitch drops as if running out of steam. It’s perfect foreshadowing for the vigorous bursting forth of the ghoul inside.

The demo after the break gives you a look at the operation, as well as the components used in the build.

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