Yagi-Uda antennas, or simply “Yagis”, are directional antennas that focus radio waves to increase gain, meaning that the radio waves can travel further in that direction for a given transmitter power. Anyone might recognize an old TV antenna on a roof that uses this type of antenna, but they can be used to increase the gain of an antenna at any frequency. This one is designed to operate within the frequencies allotted to WiFi and as a result is so small that the entire antenna can be printed directly on a PCB.
The antenna consists of what is effectively a dipole antenna, sandwiched in between a reflector and three directors. The reflector and directors are passive elements in that they interact with the radio wave to focus it in a specific direction, but the only thing actually powered is the dipole in the middle. It looks almost like a short circuit at first but thanks to the high frequencies involved in this band, will still function like any other dipole antenna would. [IMSAI Guy], who created the video linked above which goes over these details also analyzed the performance of this antenna and found it to be fairly impressive as a WiFi antenna, but he did make a few changes to the board for some other minor improvements in performance.
The creator of these antennas, [WA5VJB] aka [Kent Britain] is an antenna builder based in Texas who has developed a few unique styles of antennas produced in non-traditional ways. Besides this small Yagi, there are other microwave antennas available for direction-finding, some wide-band antennas, and log-periodic antennas that look similar to Yagi antennas but are fundamentally different designs. But if you’re looking to simply extend your home’s WiFi range you might not need any of these, as Yagi antennas for home routers can be a lot simpler than you ever imagined.
Continue reading “Printing Antennas On Circuit Boards” →
A set of helping hands is a nice tool to have around the shop, especially if soldering or gluing small components is a common task. What we all really want, though, is a robotic arm. Sure, it could help us set up glue or solder but it can do virtually any other task it is assigned as well. A general-purpose tool like this might be out of reach of most of us, unless we have a 3D printer to make this open-source robotic arm at home.
The KAUDA Robotic Arm from [Giovanni Lerda] is a five-axis arm with a gripping tool and has a completely open-source set of schematics so it can be printed on any 3D printer. The robot arm uses three stepper motors and two servo motors, and is based on the Arduino MEGA 2560 for control. The electrical schematics are also open-source, so getting this one up and running is just an issue of printing, wiring, and implementing some software. To that end there are software examples available, and they can easily be modified to fit one’s robotic needs.
A project like this could be helpful for any number of other projects, or also just as a lesson in robotics for yourself or even in a classroom, since many schools now have their own 3D printers. With everything being open-source, this is a much simpler endeavor now than other projects we’ve seen that attempted to get robotic arms running again.
Continue reading “Open-Source Robotic Arm For All Purposes” →
We’ve seen industrial robotic arms in real life. We’ve seen them in classrooms and factories. Before today, we’ve never mistaken a homemade robotic arm for one of the price-of-a-new-home robotic arms. Today, [Chris Annin] made us look twice when we watched the video of his six-axis robotic arm. Most of the DIY arms have a personal flare from their creator so we have to assume [Chris Annin] is either a robot himself or he intended to build a very clean-looking arm when he started.
He puts it through its paces in the video, available after the break, by starting with some stretches, weight-lifting, then following it up and a game of Jenga. After a hard day, we see the arm helping in the kitchen and even cracking open a cold one. At the ten-minute mark, [Chris Annin] walks us through the major components and talks about where to find many, many more details about the arm.
Many of the robotic arms on Hackaday are here by virtue of resourcefulness, creativity or unusual implementation but this one is here because of its similarity to the big boys.
Continue reading “Robotic Arm Rivals Industrial Counterparts” →
If you are going to do something as a joke, there is nothing to say that you can’t do a nice job of it. If you’re like [Michael], a whimsical statement like “Wouldn’t it be funny to put Gründerzeit-style doors on the server cabinet?” might lead down a slippery slope. True to his word, [Michael] not only installed the promised doors, but he did a darn nice job of it.
Buying new doors was the easy part because the door frame and hinges were not standardized back then, so there was nothing on the server cabinet to his mount doors. He walks us through all the steps but the most interesting point was the 3D printed door hinges which [Michael] modeled himself and printed in steel. His new hinges feature his personal flair, with some Voronoi patterning while matching the shape of the originals. We love seeing 3D printed parts used as functional hardware, and hinges are certainly a piece of hardware meant to hold up under pressure.
This is not the first 3D printed door hardware we’ve seen. Check out this innovative latch printed as a single piece and here’s the skinny on making flexible objects yourself.
Continue reading “Opening The Door To Functional Prints” →
What’s the shortest amount of time in which a 400 square foot home can be built? A few weeks? Try a fully printed structure in 24 hours for a little over $10,000.
This radial residence was materialized out of concrete in Stupino, Russia by [Apis Cor], and six collaborating companies, as a prototype. As opposed to traditional — such as it is for tech largely in its infancy — assembly of pre-printed or fabricated pieces, the building was printed as a whole, with the printer removed by crane before finishing the rest of the construction. It features a bathroom, hallway, living room, and a compact kitchen — everything a bachelor or bachelorette needs.
Continue reading “3D Print Your Next Dwelling In A Day” →
Building electronics with 3D printers is something we see hitting the tip line from time to time, but usually these are printed circuits, not electromechanical parts like motors, solenoids, and relays. [pitrack] thought he could do better than printing out a few blinking LED circuits and designed and built a brushless motor, the same kind you would find on electric model planes and quadcopters.
In every brushless DC motor, there are a few common parts: the rotor has a few powerful magnets embedded in it, a stators with coils of wire, and the an enclosure to keep everything together. [pitrack] printed all these parts off on his Makerbot, winding each of the three coils with about 400 turns of 26 AWG magnet wire. Also embedded in the stator are a trio of hall effect sensors to make the control via an Arduino and an L6234 motor driver easy.
For his next trick, [pitrack] is going to test the efficiency of the motor and attempt to optimize it. In the long term, it should be possible to parameterize the design of one of these printed motors, effectively allowing anyone to type in the torque and Kv rating of a desired motor, plug that into an equation, and have a motor design come out the other end.
Continue reading “A 3D Printed Brushless Motor” →