Hackaday Links Column Banner

Hackaday Links: August 14, 2022

What’s this? News about robot dogs comes out, and there’s no video of the bots busting a move on the dance floor? Nope — it looks like quadruped robots are finally going to work for real as “ground drones” are being deployed to patrol Cape Canaveral. Rather than the familiar and friendly Boston Dynamics “Big Dog” robot, the US Space Force went with Ghost Robotics Vision 60 Q-UGVs, or “quadruped unmanned ground vehicles.” The bots share the same basic layout as Big Dog but have a decidedly more robust appearance, and are somehow more sinister. The dogs are IP67-rated for all-weather use, and will be deployed for “damage assessments and patrols,” whatever that means. Although since this is the same dog that has had a gun mounted to it, we’d be careful not to stray too far from the tours at Kennedy Space Center.

Continue reading “Hackaday Links: August 14, 2022”

Hack Your Engine Virtually

It is no secret that we like simulating circuits before we build something and there are plenty of great tools for that. But what about those of us who work on cars? Well, you might try engine-sim which is a real-time internal combustion engine simulation. Honestly, the program freely admits that it isn’t accurate enough to do engineering or engine tuning. But on the plus side, it has audio output and is at least good as an educational tool to show an engine running and how different parameters might affect it. You can see a video of the tool below.

[Ange-Yaghi] mentions that the code was primarily to power the YoutTube demo. However, the Readme hints that it might be better — or at least different — and collaboration to make it better is welcome.

Continue reading “Hack Your Engine Virtually”

Ride-on Tracked Vehicle Is A Stout Metal Build

When we think of tracked vehicles, we normally think of tanks, or perhaps heavy construction machinery. Meanwhile the average member of the public is left out of the fun. [Bob] of [Making Stuff] won’t be one of them, however, having put together a ride-on tracked vehicle for his own enjoyment.

The machine is welded together from plenty of steel, making it more than tough enough to soak up the punishment of off-road duty. The design features four suspended buggy wheels on either side running inside rubber tracks, with a cogged drive wheel at the front. Propulsion is thanks to a 440 cc DuroMax engine good for a full 18 horsepower and 26 ft-lbs of torque, driving the tracks through a differential mounted up front.

The design has one major issue at the moment. The heavy engine is mounted ahead of the front wheel inside the tracks, which means the vehicle wants to nosedive at the slightest provocation. Such an event would be highly uncomfortable for the rider, so mods are needed, either by scooching the engine back a little or pushing the wheels forward.

We look forward to seeing [Bob] fix the issues and get the machine driving soon. We’ve seen other tracked builds before, too – often on the smaller scale. Video after the break.

Continue reading “Ride-on Tracked Vehicle Is A Stout Metal Build”

Norway Leads The Charge To Phase Out Internal Combustion; China And The UK To Follow

Climate change promises to cause untold damage across the world if greenhouse gas emissions continue at current levels for much longer. Despite the wealth of evidence indicating impending doom, governments have done what humans do best, and procrastinated on solving the issue.

However, legislatures around the world are beginning to snap into action. With transportation being a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions — 16% of the global total in 2016 — measures are being taken to reduce this figure. With electric cars now a viable reality, many governments are planning to ban the sale of internal combustion vehicles in the coming decades.

Continue reading “Norway Leads The Charge To Phase Out Internal Combustion; China And The UK To Follow”

Mazda Investing Big In Advanced Gasoline Tech With Skyactiv-X

Electric cars, as a concept, were once not dissimilar from the flying car. Promised to be a big thing in the future, but hopelessly impractical in the here and now. However, in the last ten years, they’ve become a very real thing, with market share growing year on year as new models bring greater range and faster charging times.

With their lower emissions output and ever-improving performance, one could be forgiven for thinking that traditional combustion engines are all but dead. Mazda would beg to differ – investing heavily in new technology to take the gasoline engine into the next decade and beyond. Continue reading “Mazda Investing Big In Advanced Gasoline Tech With Skyactiv-X”

Gas Powered Blender Packs Real Grunt

Whether you’re into fruit smoothies or icy blended cocktails, a blender comes in handy when preparing these beverages in the kitchen. But, if a small electric motor can do the job well, a noisy combustion engine can certainly do it louder. This is demonstrated ably by this project from [JT Makes It].

The build is a steel-framed contraption, mounting a small gas engine of the type you’d typically find in a weed trimmer or other garden tool. It’s attached to a shaft allowing it to spin a blender blade at up to 41,000 rpm when unloaded. A stout metal container is mounted on top, along with a plexiglass lid to ensure the contents of the bowl don’t escape when the blender is in action.

It’s a fun build, and one that has no trouble turning a bucket of apples into mush in under 60 seconds. More realistically, [JT] is able to whip up several litres of blended cocktail without major effort, which would be great for parties. Though, we do imagine the burning oil and gas fumes does somewhat spoil the taste sensation. We’ve seen similar hacks before, like this nitro-fuelled pencil sharpener. Video after the break.

Continue reading “Gas Powered Blender Packs Real Grunt”

3D-Printing Wankel Engine From Mazda’s Beloved “Rotary Rocket”

Although there was briefly a company called Rotary Rocket, the term is much better known as a nickname for the Mazda RX-7 — one of the few cars that used a Wankel, or rotary, engine. If you ever wondered how these worked, why not print a model? That’s what [Engineering Explained] did. They printed a 1/3 scale model and made a video explaining and demonstrating its operation. The model itself was from Thingiverse, created by [EricThePoolBoy].

One thing we really liked about the model was the use of lights to show the different stages of combustion. Cool air intake is a blue light, hot air is red, and so on. It really helps visualize what’s happening. You can watch the video below.

If you haven’t seen a Wankel before, it is a clever design. It has very few moving parts and offers very smooth power transfer and high power to weight ratio. The downside, though, is that the engine deliberately burns oil to lubricate and seal, so it is difficult to meet emission standards and requires a lot of oil. The fuel efficiency of current designs is not very good either, especially since manufacturers will often trade fuel efficiency for better emissions.

If you’d like to read more about the Wankel, check out our earlier post (and the 165 comments attached). We also looked at — or rather through — another Wankel earlier this year.

Continue reading “3D-Printing Wankel Engine From Mazda’s Beloved “Rotary Rocket””