Zippo Keeps Your Bits Safe

[Laura Kampf] found a new use for an old Zippo lighter by turning it into a carrier for her screwdriver bits. There are several multitools out there which can accept standard screwdriver bits. The problem is carrying those bits around. Leaving a few bits in your pocket is a recipe for pocket holes and missing bits.

[Laura’s] solution uses her old Zippo lighter. All she needs is the case, the lighter element itself can be saved for another project. A block of aluminum is cut and sanded down to a friction fit. Laura uses a band saw and bench sander for this. The aluminum block is then drilled out to fit four bits. Small neodymium magnets are taped into the holes with double-sided tape. These magnets retain the bits, ensuring none will fall out when the lighter is opened.

This is a great quick project and an excellent way to carry four bits. We’re curious if the second set of holes (and a shorter bar) could expand this carrier to 8 bits – 4 on top and 4 on the bottom. [Laura] noticed this too, but decided to keep the build simple with 4 bits.

We love Every Day Carry (EDC) projects like this – in fact, a few years back we had our own EDC contest featuring the Adafruit Trinket. Check out the awards announcement post for some awesome pocket projects!

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A Screwdriver for the Lazy

The TS100 soldering iron is a sleek handheld device with a tiny display. Now the same people behind it have introduced a motion-controlled screwdriver, the ES120. While we are fans of large electric screwdrivers for working on large projects, we aren’t sure we need a $90 screwdriver for little fasteners. However, if you watch the video review from [Marco], you’ll see it has an interesting user interface that might be useful in other projects. [Marco] is also a bit of a cut up, so you’ll get to see how well the little tool can froth milk, provide transportation, or change a flat. [Marco] also does a tear down if you want to see what’s inside the beast.

What caught our attention was the user interface. We’ve had precision power screwdrivers before, in particular we’ve used the General Tools 500 which costs about $20 and has a two position switch. One direction causes the bit to rotate clockwise and the other direction rotates the tool counterclockwise. The ES120 by comparison only has a single button.

When you hold the button, you twist the screwdriver as though you were using an ordinary tool. The accelerometer in the ES120 detects this rotation and begins rotating in the same direction. The tool can produce four levels of torque and has an automatic setting, as well.

Even [Marco] admits that the ES120 isn’t going to replace his normal screwdrivers. Perhaps if you were dealing with hundreds of fasteners a day though, it would make sense. Then again, we have lots of tools and toys we really don’t need, so if you just want a new shiny gadget to show off, the ES120 looks well made and appears to function well.

What we’d really like to see is someone hack the ES120 into something cool like a coil winder. Of course, if you are in a hacking mood, you can always build your own cheap power driver. Perhaps, though, the ES120 might make it easier for some people to start their cars.

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El Cheapo Electric Screwdriver

If you have a few hobby servos lying around, here’s a hack that let’s you recycle them and put them to good use. [Kedar Nimbalkar] took a micro servo and converted it into an electric screwdriver. It is simple enough to deserve a short video showing how he did it.

He starts by opening up a 9G micro servo and removing the electronics. All that’s needed is the DC motor and the gears. The two motor wires go directly to the battery via a polarity reversal switch to allow the motor to turn in both directions. The servo horn is cut to size so that it is a tight fit inside the screwdriver socket. A liberal amount of glue is used to make sure it stays in place. The horn is then attached to the modified servo, ready to take interchangeable bits. One last mod before closing up the servo is to convert it to continuous rotation by cutting off the stopper in the drive gear.

He built the power supply from scratch, using a 18650 Li-Po battery, a 5V USB charger, a DPDT switch to allow direction control and a push button to actuate the screw driver. A pair of LED’s connected back to back serve as direction indicators as well as some local illumination.

There’s lot’s of scope to improvise and do everything differently, but the basic premise of using unused servos for a handy electric screwdriver is pretty neat.

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Hackaday Links: July 5, 2015

It’s the fifth of July. What should that mean? Videos on YouTube of quadcopters flying into fireworks displays. Surprisingly, there are none. If you find one, put it up in the comments.

The original PlayStation was a Nintendo/Sony collaboration. This week, some random dude found a prototype in his attic. People were offering him tens of thousands of dollars on the reddit thread, while smarter people said he should lend it to MAME and homebrewer/reverse engineer groups. This was called out as a fake by [Vadu Amka], one of the Internet’s highly skilled console modders. This statement was sort of semi retracted. There’s a lot of bromide staining on that Nintendo PlayStation, though, and if it’s a fake, the faker deserves thousands of dollars. Now just dump the ROMs and reverse engineer the thing.

Remember BattleBots? It’s back. These are my impressions of the first two episodes: Flamethrowers are relatively common now, ‘parasitic bots’ – small, auxilliary bots fighting alongside the ‘main’ bot are now allowed. KOs only count for the ‘main’ bot. Give it a few more seasons and every bot will be a wedge. One of the hosts is an UFC fighter, which is weird, but not as weird as actually knowing some of the people competing.

Ceci n’est pas un Arduino, which means it’s from the SRL camp. No, wait. It’s a crowdfunding campaign for AS200 Industries in Providence, RI.

Wanna look incredibly sketchy? Weld (or braze, or solder) your keys to a screwdriver.

The UK’s National Museum of Computing  is looking for some people to help maintain 80 BBC Micros. The museum has a ‘classroom’ of BBC micro computers still in operation. Caps dry out, switching power supplies fail, and over the years these computers start to die. If you have the skills and want to volunteer, give it a shot.

USA-made Arduinos are now shipping. That’s the Massimo Arduino, by the way.

Win $1000 for pressing a buttonWe’re gauranteed to give away a thousand dollar gift card for the Hackaday store next Wednesday to someone who has participated in the latest round of community voting for the Hackaday Prize.

Using a screwdriver to start your car


[Hahabird] uses this screwdriver to start his car. Despite what it may look like, only this particular screwdriver will start the ignition because it still uses the key lock. What he’s done is alter the screwdriver to act as an extension for the key. It’s purely aesthetic, but you have to admit it looks pretty gnarly hanging off of the steering column.

The hack merely involved cutting off the unneeded parts of the key and screwdriver. With the shaft of the tool cut down to size he clamped it in a vice and cut a slot into it using a hack saw. From there he headed over to the grinding wheel and smoothed out the sharp edges.

The key itself had the handle portion cut off and was thinned on the grinding wheel to fit snugly in the screwdriver slot. To permanently mate the two pieces he used a torch and some silver solder.

[via Reddit]