Portable 3D Printer Gets Even Smaller, Faster, Better

How do you improve on a fast, capable 3D printer that sports an innovative design and is portable enough to fit in a printer spool box? Judging by what went into the Positron V3 portable printer, (video, embedded below) it takes a lot of hard work and an unwillingness to settle for compromise designs. Plus a few lucky breaks and some design wizardry.

When we first reported on [Kralyn]’s innovative “Positron” printer, its chief selling points were its portability and unique layout. With a fold-down Z-axis and a CoreXY-style drive in the base, plus an interesting 90° hot end and transparent heated build plate, the Positron managed to hit most of its design goals. But there’s always room for improvement, and Positron V3, shown in the video below, has made some pretty substantial leaps over that original concept.

The V3 design keeps the basic layout of the original, but greatly improves the usability and portability, while increasing performance and build volume. The heated borosilicate build plate is now held to the Z-axis drive with a much sturdier strut, and gets its juice through a high-temperature MagSafe connector. The X- and Y-axes are now driven by pancake steppers, which along with adding idler pulleys that are coaxial to the drive pulleys, make the CoreXY drive, and hence the printer’s base, much more compact. The printer is still much, much faster than most traditional gantry design, and print quality is on par with anything available commercially. And yes, it still fits into a standard 1-kg filament spool box when folded up.

We love this design, and the story of how the V3 came about and the intermediate V2 that didn’t make the cut is a fascinating case study in design. And as a bonus, [Kralyn] will open-source the V3 design, so you can build your own as soon as he releases the files.

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Wind-Up Tape Measure Transformed Into Portable Ham Antenna

If there’s one thing that amateur radio operators are good at, it’s turning just about anything into an antenna. And hams have a long history of portable operations, too, where they drag a (sometimes) minimalist setup of gear into the woods and set up shop to bag some contacts. Getting the two together, as with this field-portable antenna made from a tape measure, is a double win in any ham’s book.

For [Paul (OM0ET)], this build seems motivated mainly by the portability aspect, and less by the “will it antenna?” challenge. In keeping with that, he chose a 50-meter steel tape measure as the basis of the build. This isn’t one of those retractable tape measures, mind you — just a long strip of flexible metal on a wind-up spool in a plastic case. His idea was to use the tape as the radiator for an end-fed halfwave, or EFHW, antenna, a multiband design that’s a popular option for hams operating from the 80-m band down to the 10-m band. EFHW antennas require an impedance-matching transformer, a miniature version of which [Paul] built and tucked within the tape measure case, along with a BNC connector to connect to the radio and a flying lead to connect to the tape.

Since a half-wave antenna is half the length of the target wavelength, [Paul] cut off the last ten meters of the tape to save a little weight. He also scratched off the coating on the tape at about the 40-meter mark, to make good contact with the alligator clip on the flying lead. The first video below details the build, while the second video shows the antenna under test in the field, where it met all of the initial criteria of portability and ease of deployment.

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CRT cyberdeck

Old Portable TV Becomes Unique CRT Cyberdeck

Remember the “suitcase” form-factor for PCs? In the time before latops, these luggable machines were just the thing for the on-the-go executive. OK, maybe not really — but the ability to have PC, monitor, and peripherals in a single package had real appeal, and a lot of that rationale is behind the cyberdeck phenomenon. So when we saw this retro portable TV turned into a cyberdeck, it really caught our eye.

Ironically, the portable black-and-white TV that [Lucas Dul] chose as the basis for his cyberdeck hails from about the same period in time that luggable PCs were having their brief time in the sun. Scored from eBay, the Magnavox TV/radio combo had seen better days, and required a bit of surgery to repair what might have been drop damage. With the CRT restored and the video and audio paths located, the TV got a Raspberry Pi, a small touchpad, and a couple of concealed USB connectors. The Pi’s composite output drives the CRT, with about the results you’d expect. The keyboard appears to be just about the right size to serve as a cover, but [Lucas] said that’s a future project.

Still, with the TV’s original handle acting as a stand, this cyberdeck gives off a real Compaq or IBM portable PC vibe. We’ve seen a few luggable-lookalike cyberdecks before, but none that dared use a CRT monitor. It may be a far cry from HDMI, but we really appreciate that [Lucas] chose this way rather than slapping in an LCD.

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Swiss Army Knife Of Power Tool Carts

When you’re into woodworking in a serious way, you’re going to eventually want some power tools. With such efficiency of operation, things can go pear-shaped quickly, with wood dust getting absolutely everywhere. It’s not always practical (or desirable) to work outdoors, and many of us only have small workshops to do our making in. But woodworking tools eat space quickly. Centralized extraction is one solution, but all that fixed rigid ducting forces one to fix the tool locations, which isn’t always a good thing. Moveable tool carts are nothing new, we’ve seen many solutions over the years, but this build by [Peter Waldraff] is rather slick (video embedded below,) includes some really nice features in a very compact — and critically — moveable format.

By repurposing older cabinets, [Peter] demonstrates some real upcycling, with little going to waste and the end result looks great too! There is a centralized M-Class (we guess) dust extractor with a removable vacuum pipe which is easily removed to hook up to the smaller hand-held tools. These are hidden in a section near the flip-up planer, ready for action. An auto-start switch for the small dust extractor is wired-in to the smaller tools to add a little ease of use while reducing the likelihood of forgetting to switch it on. We’ve all done that.

For the semi-fixed larger tools, such as the miter and table saws, a separate, higher flow rate moveable dust extractor can be wheeled over and hooked up to the integrated plenum chamber, which grabs the higher volume of dust and chips produced.

A nice touch was to mount the miter saw section on sliding rails.  This allows the whole assembly to slide sideways a little, giving more available width at the table saw for ripping wider sheets. With another little tweak of some latches, the whole miter section can flip over, providing even more access to the table saw, or just a small workbench! Cracking stuff!

Need some help getting good with wood, [Eric Strebel] has some great tips for you! And if you’re needs are simpler and smaller, much much smaller, here’s a finger-sized plane for you.

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A Tidy Cyberdeck That You Could Take Anywhere.

The cyberdeck trend has evolved to a relatively straightforward formula: take a desktop computer and strip it to its barest essentials of screen, PCB, and input device, before clothing it in a suitably post-apocalyptic or industrial exterior. Sometimes these can result in a stylish prop straight from a movie set, and happily for [Patrick De Angelis] his Raspberry Pi based cyberdeck (Italian, Google Translate link) fits this description, taking the well-worn path of putting a Raspberry Pi and screen into a ruggedised flight case. Its very unremarkability is the key to its success, using a carefully-selected wired keyboard and trackpad combo neatly dodges the usual slightly messy arrangements of microcontroller boards.

If this cyberdeck has a special feature it’s in the extra wireless interfaces and the stack of antennas on its right-hand side. The Pi touchscreen is a little small for the case and perhaps we’d have mounted it centrally, but otherwise this is a box we could imagine opening somewhere in the abandoned ruins of a once-proud Radio Shack store for a little post-apocalyptic Hackaday editing. After all, your favourite online tech news resource doesn’t stop because the power’s gone out!

A portable Bluetooth turntable.

Bluetooth Record Player Puts A New Spin On Vinyl

You know, we were just discussing weird and/or obsolete audio formats in the writers’ dungeon the other day. (By the way, have you ever bought anything on DAT or MiniDisc?) While vinyl is hardly weird or (nowadays) obsolete, the fact that this Bluetooth record player by [JGJMatt] is so modern makes it all the more fantastic.

Not since the Audio-Technica Sound Burger, or Crosley’s semi-recent imitation, have we seen such a portable unit. But that’s not even the most notable part — this thing runs inversely to normal record players. Translation: the record stands still while the the player spins, and it sends the audio over Bluetooth to headphones or a speaker.

Inside this portable player is an Arduino Nano driving a 5 VDC motor with a worm gear box. There really isn’t too much more to this build — mostly power, a needle cartridge, and a Bluetooth audio transmitter. There’s a TTP223 touch module on the lid that allows [JGJMatt] to turn it off with the wave of a hand.

[JGJMatt] says this is a prototype/work-in-progress, and welcomes input from the community. Right now the drive system is good and the Bluetooth is stable and able, but the tone arm has some room for improvement — in tests, it only played a small section of the record and skidded and skittered across the innermost and outermost parts. Now, [JGJMatt] is trying two-part arm approach where the first bit extends and locks into position, and then a second arm extending from there and moves around freely.

Commercial record players can do more than just play records. If you’ve got an old one that isn’t even good enough for a thrift store copy of a Starship record, you could turn it into a pottery wheel or a guitar tremolo.

PS2 Gets The Ginger Portable Treatment

The first thing we notice about this portable PS2 is that the plastic looks like a consumer-grade shell, not a 3D printed case. It comes from [GingerOfOz], who has lots of portable conversions under his belt, so we are not surprised this looks like a genuine Sony device. When you are as experienced as he, details like plastic texture, and button selection, are solved problems, but shouldn’t be taken for granted by us mortals.

Of course, this isn’t just pretty, and if it weren’t functional, we wouldn’t be talking about it. The system plays nearly all PS2 titles from USB memory. The notable exceptions are the ones that refuse to load without a Dualshock controller. Rude. If you’re wondering if it plays games at full speed, yes. It achieves authentic speed because it uses a PS2 slim motherboard which gets cut down by a Dremel. Custom PCBs provide the rest of the hardware, like volume buttons and battery charging. There is no optical drive since they are power hogs, so your cinematic cut scenes may lag, and load times are a little longer.

Modern mobile phones are one of the most powerful gaming systems ever built, but there is something about purpose-built portable gaming hardware that just feels right. You know?

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