Cyberdeck Running On Apple Silicon, Though An A12 Not An M1

[Alta’s Projects] built a two-in-one cyberdeck that not only contains the requisite Raspberry Pi (a zero in this case) but also eschews a dumb LCD and uses an iPad mini 5 for a display.

We need to address the donor case right away. Some likely see this as heresy, and while we love to see vintage equipment lovingly restored, upcycling warms our hearts and keeps mass-produced plastic out of landfills too. The 1991 AST 386SX/20 notebook in question went for $45 on an online auction and likely was never destined for a computer museum.

Why is Cupertino’s iOS anywhere near a cyberdeck? If a touch screen is better than an LCD panel, a tablet with a full OS behind it must be even better. You might even see this as the natural outgrowth of tablet cases first gaining keyboards and then trackpads. We weren’t aware that either was possible without jailbreaking, but [Alta’s Projects] simply used a lighting-to-USB dongle and a mini USB hub to connect the custom split keyboard to the iPad and splurged on an Apple Magic Trackpad for seamless and wireless multi-touch input.

Alta's Projects Cyberdeck Internal USB Wiring
Internal USB Wiring, Charging Circuit, and Pi Zero

The video build (after the break) is light on details, but a quick fun watch with a parts list in the description. It has a charming casual feel that mirrors the refreshingly improvisational approach that [Altair’s Projects] takes to the build. We appreciate the nod to this cyberdeck from [Tinfoil_Haberdashery] who’s split keyboard and offset display immediately sprang to mind for us too. The references to an imagined “dystopian future” excuse the rough finish of some of the Dremel cuts and epoxy assembly. That said, apocalypse or not, the magnets mounted at both ends of the linear slide certainly are a nice touch.

Continue reading “Cyberdeck Running On Apple Silicon, Though An A12 Not An M1”

DIY Heavy Duty Linear Slides

The rise of cost-effective CNC platforms like 3D printers, routers, and laser cutters has gone hand in hand with the availability of affordable and accurate linear rails and extrusions. However, they quickly become expensive when you need something for heavy loads. [Andy Pugh] found himself in need of a large linear slide, so he resorted to making his own with steel square tubing and a bit of PTFE (Teflon).

The PTFE slider/spacers

[Andy] needed a compact motorcycle lift for his small workshop, so he designed one with a single vertical tube that mounts on his floor. The moving part of the lift is a slightly larger tube, onto which the motorcycle mounts. To allow the outer part to slide easily [Andy] machined a set of 16 PTFE spacers to fit between the surfaces of the tubes. The spacers have a small shoulder that lets them mount securely in the outer tube without pushing out. After a bit of fine-tuning with a file, it slides smoothly enough for [Andy]’s purposes. With a large lead screw mounted onto the lift, he can easily lift his 200 kg motorcycle with a cordless drill, without taking up all the floor space required by a traditional motorcycle lift.

Although the Teflon spacers will wear with regular use and, they are more than good enough for the occasional motorcycle service, and are also easy to replace. You may not want to use this on your next CNC machine build, but it is a handy blueprint to keep in your mental toolbox for certain use-cases. These spacers were machined on a lathe, but we found that very similar looking PTFE parts are sold as “wrist pin buttons” for the piston of old air cooled VW engines, and could be modified for the purpose.

For other lifting applications, check out this hydraulic workbench, and this forklift for moving stuff in your crawl space without crawling.

A CNC Plasma Cutter Table, From The Shop Floor Up

Some projects are simple, some focus on precision and craftsmanship, and some are more of the quick-and-dirty variety. This home-built CNC plasma cutter table seems to follow a “go big or go home” philosophy, and we have to say we’re mighty impressed by the finished product.

For those who follow [Bob]’s “Making Stuff” YouTube channel, this build has been a long time coming. The playlist below has eight videos that cover the entire process from cutting the first tubes of the welded frame to the initial test cuts with the finished machine. [Bob] took great pains to make the frame as square and flat as possible, to the extent of shimming a cross member to correct a 0.030″ misalignment before welding. He used good-quality linear rails for each axis, and hefty NEMA 23 steppers. There were a few false starts, like the water pan that was going to be welded out of five separate pieces of steel until the metal shop guys saved the day with their press brake. In the end, the machine turned out great; with a build cost of $2000 including the plasma cutter it’s not exactly cheap, but it’s quite a bargain compared to similar sized commercial machines.

We think the video series is a great guide for anyone looking to make a CNC plasma table. We’ve seen builds like this before, including [This Old Tony]’s CNC router. Watching these builds gives us the itch to get into the shop and start cutting metal. Continue reading “A CNC Plasma Cutter Table, From The Shop Floor Up”