Bike Wheel Light Flashes Just Right

When it comes to safely riding a bike around cars, the more lights, the better. Ideally, these lights would come on by themselves, so you don’t have to remember to turn them on and off every time. That’s exactly the idea behind [Jeremy Cook]’s latest build — it’s an automatic bike light that detects vibration and lights up some LEDs in response.

The build is pretty simple — a coin cell-powered ATtiny85 reads input from a spring vibration sensor and flashes the LEDs. This is meant to complement [Jeremy]’s primary bike light, which is manually operated and always on. We especially like that form follows function here — the board shape is designed to be zip-tied to the spokes so it’s as close to the action as possible. He cleverly used cardboard and a laser cutter to mock up a prototype for a board that fits between the spokes. Pretty cool for your second professionally-fabbed PCB ever, if you ask us. Ride past the break to check out the build video.

If you don’t think fireflies on your spokes are enough to keep you safe, go full rainbow party bike.

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Transmit Your Gaze To This Fiber Optic LED Lamp

Call us easily amused, but we think it’s pretty amazing what can be done with a microcontroller, some RGB LEDs, and a little bit of plastic. Case in point is [andrei.erdei]’s beautiful and quite approachable fiber optic LED lamp. It’s a desktop-friendly version of a similar piece [andrei] made that is roughly nine times the size of this one and hangs on the wall. The build may be simple, but the product is intricately lovely.

We really like the visual density of this lamp — it’s just the right amount of tubes and strikes a balance between being too sparse and too chaotic. As you might expect, there’s an Arduino and some RGB LED strips involved. But the key to this build is in the 16 pieces of side-glow plastic fiber optic tubing. Side-glow is designed to let light escape along the length of the tube as opposed to end-glow, which is made to minimize light loss from one end to the other like a data pipe. This allows for all sorts of fun effects, and you can watch [andrei.erdei] go slowly and soothingly through the different colors and modes in the demo video after the break. Make sure you watch long enough to see the tubes move like the old Windows 3D pipes screensaver

Already have too many knickknacks and wall hangings? You’re missing out on prime real estate — the ceiling. Check out this fiber optic ceiling installation that reacts to music.

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Electronic Embroidery Birthday Card Is A Celebration Of Skills

Hackers and makers can sometimes feel like they’re getting the short end of the stick when it comes to gift giving. You’re out there making thoughtful, intricate circuit sculptures, helpful software, or face masks for people, and what do you get in return? Okay, yes, usually gift cards or tools or other things that feed your creativity in the first place. But darn it, it would be nice to receive a handmade gift once in a while, right?

So here’s what you do: make friends with enough other makers that you find your birthday twin, or close enough that you both feel the warmth of the personal holiday you share. Then you get them to agree to trade handmade birthday presents with you. That’s more or less what happened between [Becky Stern] and [Estefannie], who seem to have found each other through the magic of sharing projects on YouTube.

[Becky]’s gift to [Estefannie] is a busy intersection of maker elements including graphic design, embroidery, electronics, and 3D printing. [Becky] started with the embroidery, which was made possible thanks to a new open-source library for Processing called PEmbroider. Once that was done, she 3D printed the frame and added the electronics — candle flicker LEDs for the birthday cake, and a handful of songs that are accessible via touch contacts screwed into the side of the frame. [Becky] added a real-time clock module so it plays a few extra songs on [Estefannie]’s actual birthday.

The most thoughtful element here is personalization, and it’s amazing what can happen when you put 100% of yourself into something that is 100% about someone else. Every bit of the art is personal to [Estefannie], and every atom of the build is pure [Becky]. Check out the demo and build video and see what [Estefannie] made for [Becky] after the break.

[Becky]’s varied creativity has graced these pages many times before. See how she bid adieu to 2020, built a daily affirmation mirror, and gave a mask-making masterclass in the early stages of the pandemic.

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Dazzling Desktop Dodecahedron

Much like us, [AGBarber] digs all the infinity polyhedra already out there, but laments the fact that almost all of them are too large to be used as desktop distractions conversation pieces. That’s probably because it’s a lot easier to build ’em big, but that didn’t stop [AGBarber] from trying, succeeding spectacularly, and paving the way for anyone who wants to take on the challenge of building a dazzling desk toy of their own.

We all know that all those little strips of LEDs have to be chained together somehow. Wires would work fine in a larger version, but at roughly softball size, they become a tedious and fiddly nightmare. So what did [AGBarber] do instead? That’s right, they designed two different types of custom corner PCBs. The 3D printed brackets that hold the LEDs and the panels together are no cakewalk, either — [AGBarber] recommends using a resin printer if you have access to one, though it isn’t strictly required.

Everything about this project is open source, including a bonus printable jig for gluing the brackets together at just the right angles. All the steps are well-documented, from applying the mirror film to programming the Wemos D1 mini that controls the lights [AGBarber] programmed in a ton of animations, too, which you can watch after the break.

Want to build a small infinity thingy that isn’t quite so difficult? Crack open a cold one and check out these cool coasters.

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Casio F-91W, Going Dark

The Casio F-91W is easily one of the most iconic and popular watches worldwide. But what’s cool about having the same exact thing as millions of other people? Not much, unless of course you modify it to make it your own. That’s exactly what [Gautchh] did to their beloved watch. Between permanent dark mode, stereo blue LED backlights, and a new strap, this timepiece really stands out from the crowd.

Once [Gautchh] got the watch open, the first order of business was to re-polarize the LCD with a different film so the digits are light and the background is dark. This watch ships with a single green backlight LED that’s fairly faint, so [Gautchh] upgraded it to bright blue and added a second 1206 LED in parallel on the other side of the readout. Finally, they replaced the rubber strap with something less likely to chafe.

We think dark mode looks great, though [Gautchh] says it requires a little bit of training to hold your wrist just right to make it readable. They make these mods look easy, but they likely aren’t for the faint of heart. If you want to give it a shot, there are good step-by-step instructions and several pictures to help out.

We’ve seen a lot of Casio F-91W projects over the years, including a method for waterproofing the internals. If you have a lot of love for this watch, why not make a giant version?

Remoticon Video: Making Glowy Origami With Charlyn Gonda

Hacking is about pushing the envelope to discover new and clever ways to use things in ways their original designers never envisioned. [Charlyn Gonda]’s Hackaday Remoticon workshop “Making Glowly Origami” was exactly that; a combination of the art of origami with the one of LEDs. Check out the full course embedded below, and read on for a summary of what you’ll find. Continue reading “Remoticon Video: Making Glowy Origami With Charlyn Gonda”

Can You Use An Easy-Bake Oven For Reflow Soldering?

The answer is yes, yes you can. As long as you have one made after about 2011, at least. In the video after the break, [Blitz City DIY] takes us briefly through the history of the venerable Easy-Bake Oven and into the future by reflow soldering a handful of small blinky boards with it.

You’re right, these things once used special light bulbs to cook pint-sized foods, but now they are legit ovens with heating elements that reach 350°F and a little above. The only trouble is that there’s no temperature controller, so you have to use low-temperature solder paste and an oven thermometer to know when to pull the little tray out. Other than that, it looked like smooth sailing.

If you’re only doing a board every once in a while, $40 for a reflow oven isn’t too shabby. And yeah, as with all ovens, once you’ve reflowed a board in it, don’t use it for food.

If you’d rather build an oven, high-powered light bulbs will still do the trick.

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