A Laser Cut Gingerbread Cathedral

One of the more disappointing news stories of 2019 was the fire at the Notre Dame cathedral. Widely considered a building of great historical importance and architectural merit, it was heavily damaged and will take significant time and resources to repair. Fundamentally though, if you’re reading this, that’s probably someone else’s job. Instead, why not just build your own Notre Dame out of gingerbread at home? [Scott Hasse] did just that.

The stained glass windows are the real party piece of the build.

The project began by using an existing papercraft model. This had to be heavily modified to account for the thickness of gingerbread and the fact that it can’t easily be folded around corners. The modified geometry was then lasercut at the Sector 67 hackerspace, as they’re experienced with the material.

With parts cut out, royal frosting was used as a mortar to help stick parts together during assembly. Significant development time was also spent in perfecting the stained glass windows, made from colored sugar. After much experimentation, a process involving melting the sugar on silicone sheets proved to be most successful. To complete the look, a series of RGB LEDs were also installed during the construction process.

The final results are nothing short of stunning. The build is instantly recognisable as the famous French cathedral, and the back-lit stained glass is absolutely breathtaking. We wouldn’t want to be going up against [Scott]’s family at the county fair baking contest, that’s for sure!

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Hackaday Podcast Ep15: Going Low Frequency, Robotic Machines, Disk Usage For Budgets, And Cellphones Versus Weather

Hackaday Editors Mike Szczys and Elliot Williams discuss the highlights of the great hacks from the past week. On this episode we discuss wireless charging from scratch, Etch-A-Sketch selfies, the robot arm you really should build yourself, bicycle tires and steel nuts for anti-slip footwear, and bending the piezo-electric effect to act as a VLF antenna. Plus we delve into articles you can’t miss about 5G and robot firefighting.

Take a look at the links below if you want to follow along, and as always, tell us what you think about this episode in the comments!

Direct download (62.8 MB)

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The Drones And Robots That Helped Save Notre Dame

In the era of social media, events such as the fire at Notre Dame cathedral are experienced by a global audience in real-time. From New York to Tokyo, millions of people were glued to their smartphones and computers, waiting for the latest update from media outlets and even individuals who were on the ground documenting the fearsome blaze. For twelve grueling hours, the fate of the 850 year old Parisian icon hung in the balance, and for a time it looked like the worst was inevitable.

The fires have been fully extinguished, the smoke has cleared, and in the light of day we now know that the heroic acts of the emergency response teams managed to avert complete disaster. While the damage to the cathedral is severe, the structure itself and much of the priceless art inside still remain. It’s far too early to know for sure how much the cleanup and repair of the cathedral will cost, but even the most optimistic of estimates are already in the hundreds of millions of dollars. With a structure this old, it’s likely that reconstruction will be slowed by the fact that construction techniques which have become antiquated in the intervening centuries will need to be revisited by conservators. But the people of France will not be deterred, and President Emmanuel Macron has already vowed his country will rebuild the cathedral within five years.

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of the men and women who risked their lives to save one of France’s most beloved monuments. They deserve all the praise from a grateful nation, and indeed, world. But fighting side by side with them were cutting-edge pieces of technology, some of which were pushed into service at a moments notice. These machines helped guide the firefighters in their battle with the inferno, and stood in when the risk to human life was too great. At the end of the day, it was man and not machine that triumphed over nature’s fury; but without the help of modern technology the toll could have been far higher.

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