What Day Is It?

With much of the world staying at home at the moment, keeping track of our sanity and the day of the week is a bit of a challenge, especially without the normal daily routine to hold onto. To help with one of these problems, [phreakmonkey] has built a Day Clock. As the name suggests, it’s only purpose is to show what day of the week it is.

Avery simple device, the two main components are a servo and a Wemos D1 Mini, the popular ESP8266-based dev board. Using the NTPtimeESP library, it gets day of the week from the internet, and moves the servo to indicate the current day on a 3D printed face. Most readers should be able to whip one up in an hour or two, which can help keep sane in these interesting times.

For another Corona clock, check out [Elliot Williams]’ version that helps with keeping domestic peace. If you want to do something to combat the spread of the current epidemic, you can build a few face shields, make your idle computer available for Folding@Home or sew a few masks. Every bit helps.

Simon Says, But With Servos

How much easier would life be if you could just grab hold of whatever mechanism you wanted to manipulate, move it like you want, and then have it imitate your movements exactly? What if you could give a servo MIDI-like commands that tell it to move to a certain location for a specific duration? Wonder no more, because [peterbiglab] has big-brained the idea into fruition.

With just one wire, an Arduino, and some really neat code, [peter] can get this servo to do whatever he wants. First he tells the Arduino the desired duration in frames per second. Then he grabs the horn and moves it around however he wants — it can even handle different speeds. The servo records and then mimics the movements just as they were made.

The whole operation is way simpler than you might think. As [peterbiglab] demonstrates in the video after the break, the servo knows its position thanks to an internal potentiometer on the motor’s rotor. If you locate the pot output pin on the control board and run a wire from there into an Arduino, you can use that information to calibrate and control the servo’s position pretty easily. There are a ton of possibilities for this kind of control. What would you do with it? Let us know in the comments.

If you want to try this with a bunch of servos at once, might as well build yourself a little testing console.

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Printed Door Handle Turns Key With A Servo

[Madalin Valceleanu] had a somewhat unique problem. He wanted to make his front door a bit “smarter”, but none of the IoT door locks he found were compatible with the style of reinforced door he had. So he set out to design and 3D print his own Internet-controlled door handle.

Now we say handle and not lock because the internal mechanisms haven’t actually been replaced. Those aren’t exactly the kind of parts that lend themselves to being recreated in PLA, after all. The printed components simply replace the original plate and handle on the interior of the door.

In that case, you might be wondering what the point of all this was. If he’s still using the same internal mechanism, how does a new handle help? On his new handle, [Madalin] has integrated a servo that’s capable of turning the original key in the door. With the servo wired up to a Raspberry Pi, this allows him to lock and unlock the door through his home automation system.

[Madalin] has made the STLs for his printed handles available on Thingiverse, but like most of these “bolt on” style door modifications, we imagine the design is bespoke enough that it won’t be much practical use to anyone else. Still, it’s an excellent example of solving a real-world problem with some outside of the box thinking. Continue reading “Printed Door Handle Turns Key With A Servo”

Self-Playing Whistle While You Work From Home

In ridiculous times, it can help to play ridiculous instruments such as the slide whistle to keep your bristles in check. But since spittle is more than a little bit dangerous these days, it pays to come up with alternative ways to play away the days during lockdown life.

Thanks to some clever Arduino-driven automation, [Gurpreet] can maintain a safe distance from his slide whistle while interacting with it. Slide whistles need two things — air coming in from the top, and actuation at the business end. The blowing force now comes from a focused fan like the ones that cool your printed plastic as soon as the hot end extrudes it. A stepper motor moves the slide up and down using a printed rack and pinion.

Here’s a smooth touch — [Gurpreet] added a micro servo to block and unblock the sound hole with a cardboard flap to make the notes more distinct. Check out the build video after the break, which includes a music video for “My Heart Will Go On”, aka the theme from Titanic. It’s almost like the ship herself is playing it on the steam whistles from the great beyond.

Speaking of, did you hear about the effort to raise and restore the remains of her radio room?

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Automating Hand Sanitizer — If You Can Find Any

We once saw a Romeo and Juliet production where the two families were modern-day mob families with 3-piece suits and pistols. If they made King Richard III set in this week, the famous line might be: “Hand sanitizer, hand sanitizer, my kingdom for hand sanitizer!” Even if you have a supply stashed in your prepper cache, you have to touch the bottle so you could cross-contaminate with other users. Public places often have automatic dispensers to combat this, and now you can too. [Just Barran] shows the device in a video, you can see below.

Sourcing parts for projects is sometimes a problem, but right now we are betting the hand sanitizer will be the hardest component. Of course, the Internet is ripe with homemade brews that may or may not be effective based on beer, grain alcohol, or a variety of other base materials.

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This Is Not An Argument Bot

While in-person arguments are getting harder to come by these days, we’ll always have the internet (hopefully). So what can you do to stay on your game in a time when a little levity is lauded? Build an argument bot and battle wits with the best — a stern-faced John Cleese!

This latest offering from [8 Bits And A Byte] refers to a Monty Python sketch featuring an argument service — an office with a receptionist who will take your money and send you down the hall for a healthy and heated discussion. If you’ve never gone on a Monty Python binge, well, it’s probably as good a time as any.

Electronics-wise, the argument bot is a pretty simple build. A Raspberry Pi B+ outfitted with a Google AIY hat listens to your side of things and decides which bones to pick. Your obviously misguided statements are then matched with DialogFlow intents, and dissent is sent back through the speaker. Meanwhile, Mr. Cleese’s jaw moves up and down on a printed and servo-driven linear actuator while he maintains a stiff upper lip. Before you go off on that Python binge, check out the build video after the break.

Have you seen what can happen two robots argue? ‘Tis but a scratch. Continue reading “This Is Not An Argument Bot”

Slippy Slapper Uselessly Uses All The Arduinos

Want to take that annoyingly productive coworker down a notch? Yeah, us too. How dare they get so much done and be so happy about it? How is it possible that they can bang on that keyboard all day when you struggle to string together an email?

The Slippy Slapper is a useless machine that turns people into useless machines using tactics like endless distraction and mild physical violence. It presses your buttons by asking them to press buttons for no reason other than killing their productivity. When they try to walk away, guess what? That’s another slappin’. Slippy Slapper would enrage us by proxy if he weren’t so dang cute.

You’re right, you don’t need an Arduino for this. For peak inefficiency and power consumption, you actually need four of them. One acts as the master, and bases its commands to the other three on the feedback it gets from Slippy’s ultrasonic nostrils. The other three control the slappin’ servos, the speakers, and reading WAV files off of the SD card. Slap your way past the break to see Slippy Slapper’s slapstick demo.

Need to annoy a group of coworkers all at once? Slip a big bank of useless machines into the conference room while it’s being set up.

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