In preparation for Makerfaire, [hwhardsoft] needed to throw together some demos. So they dug deep and produced this unique display.
The display uses two synchronized peristaltic pumps to push water and red paraffin through a tube that switches back over itself in a predictable fashion. As visible in the video after the break, the pumps go at it for a few minutes producing a seemingly random pattern. The pattern coalesces at the end into a short string of text. The text is unfortunately fairly hard to read, even on a contrasting background. Perhaps an application of UV dye could help?
Once the message has been displayed, the water and paraffin drop back into the holding tank as the next message is queued up. The oil and water separate just like expected and a pump at the level of each fluid feeds it back into the system.
We were deeply puzzled at what appeared to be an Arduino mounted on a DIN rail for use in industrial settings, but then discovered that this product is what [hwhardsoft] built the demo to sell. We can see some pretty cool variations on this technique for art displays.
Continue reading “Paraffin Oil and Water Dot Matrix Display”
If your shop is anything like mine, you’ve got a large selection of colorful cans claiming to contain the best and absolutely only lubricant you’ll ever need. I’ve been sucked in by the marketing more times than I care to admit, hoping that the next product will really set itself apart from the others and magically unstick all the stuck stuff in my mechanical life. It never happens, though, and in the end I generally find myself reaching for the familiar blue and yellow can of WD-40 for just about every job.
Continue reading “Beyond WD-40: Lubes for the Home Shop”
They said it couldn’t be done, and perhaps it shouldn’t have been attempted. Shouldas and couldas aside, the oil crisis of the 1970s paved the legislative way for an 800-mile pipeline across the Alaskan frontier, and so the project began. The 48-inch diameter pipe sections would be milled in Japan and shipped to Alaska. Sounds simple enough. But of course, it wasn’t, since the black gold was under Prudhoe Bay in Alaska’s North Slope, far away from her balmy southern climes.
The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System was constructed in three sections: from Valdez to Fairbanks, Fairbanks to a point in the Brooks Pass, and south from Prudhoe Bay to the mountain handoff. Getting pipe to the Valdez and Fairbanks is no big deal, but there is no rail, no highway, and no standard maritime passage to Prudhoe Bay. How on earth would they get 157 miles worth of 58-foot sections of pipe weighing over 8 tons each up to the bubblin’ crude?
Continue reading “Retrotechtacular: Pipeline to the Arctic”
Here is the first real fruit of [Joel’s] labor on his oiling system for a CNC mill. Regular readers will remember hearing about his quest to go from a manual mill to a CNC version. As part of the overhaul he decided to add a system that can dispense oil to the different wear parts on the machine. We first looked in on the project when he showed off the pipe bender he built for the task. Now that he has that at his disposal he was able to route tubing to many of the parts.
The system starts with a central brass manifold which is pictured in the foreground. Each pipe was bent and cut to reach its destination with a minimum of wasted space. After a test fit showed good results he brazed the pieces together using silver solder. Each of the ball nuts have been drilled out so that oil will be injected onto the threads of the ball rod. Three input ports on the manifold will eventually let [Joel] connect the oil injection system via flexible tubing.
Want to clean up the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in one month? Seaswarm says it can be done with 5000 floating robots.
As the name implies, the project uses swarm robotics. Each unit draws power from the sun, and drags around a conveyor belt of oil absorbent nanofabric that doesn’t get wet in water. Once the fabric is saturated with crude it can be removed using heat; not a task the swarm can do by itself. But get this: after separating oil from nanofabric both can be used again. That means you get the environmental benefit of cleaning up the Gulf, not throwing away your collection medium, and the oil is once again a usable commodity. Sounds like a lot of high promises, but take a look at the video after the break and decide for yourself.
Continue reading “Seaswarm: we can clean up the Gulf in a month”
We received a very interesting “hack” today from our good friend [Jonny Dryer] that really got us thinking, but first a little background.
For those that live only inside of a box on top of a mountain (we know who you are), there was an explosion of a British Petroleum oil rig about 40 miles southeast of Venice, LA. Being proclaimed by Carol Browner as “probably the biggest environmental disaster” – stated a month after the accident.
And the oil is still spewing. Now, we’re not ones for criticizing how this event is being handled; no, we left it to the experts.
Back to our point, [Jonny Dryer’s] sent us his plan for slowing the oil spill, by using liquid nitrogen, pretty genius if you ask us. And we were wondering what possible solutions other readers had come up with? Share your thoughts on this situation in the comments.
[fibra] has been slowly building a custom controller for his motorcycle. It’s an automated chain oiling system that varies application based on RPM. The LCD can show wheel RPM, voltage, time, date, air, and engine temperature. A separate driver board has a MOSFET for controlling the oiling valve. The real gold here is the attention to detail. He built a one off circuit board. The case is laser cut acrylic that he then shaped. The box is molded smoothly into the original instrument cluster using epoxy. It’s excellent work that could be mistaken for a commercial product.