Surplus Syringes Make Satisfactory Tuner For Amateur Radio Experimentation

Amateur Radio as a hobby has a long history of encouraging experimentation using whatever one might have on hand. When [Tom Essenpreis] wanted to use his 14 MHz antenna outside of its designed frequency range, he knew he’d need an impedance matching circuit. The most common type is an L-Match circuit which uses a variable capacitor and a variable inductor to adjust the usable frequency range (resonance) of an antenna. While inefficient in some specific configurations, they excel at bridging the gap between the 50 ohm impedance of the radio and the unknown impedance of an antenna.

No doubt raiding his junk box for parts, [Tom] hacked together a variable capacitor and inductor using ferrite rods from AM radios, hot glue, magnet wire, copper tape, and some surplus 60ml syringes. You can see that he ground out the center of the plunger to make room for ferrite rods. Winding the outside of the syringe with magnet wire, the alignment of the ferrite can be adjusted via the plunger, changing the characteristics of the element to tune the circuit. [Tom] reports that he was able to make an on-air contact using his newly made tuner, and we’re sure he enjoyed putting his improvised equipment to use.

If Amateur Radio isn’t your thing, then maybe we can entice you with this syringe based rocket, syringe actuated 3D printed drill press, or vacuum syringe powered dragster. Have your own hack to share? By all means, submit it to the Tip Line!

3D Printing Food University Style

While refitting a 3D printer for food printing isn’t really a new idea, we liked the detailed summary that appeared from a team from the University of Birmingham which converted an i3 clone printer to use a syringe extruder.

The syringe in question was meant for veterinarian use and is made of metal. The paper suggests that the metal is a better thermal conductor, but it was’t clear to us if they included a heating element for the syringe. In the pictures, though, it does appear to have some insulation around it. In any case, we imagine a metal syringe is easier to keep clean, which is important if you are depositing something edible.

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Syringes Put The Squeeze On This Mini Drill Press

If you’re making your own PCBs for through-hole projects at home, getting the board etched is only half the battle; you’ve still got to drill all those little holes. It’s a tedious process, and if you’ve got a lot of them, doing them freehand with a drill just isn’t going to cut it. Which is why [Ruchir Chauhan] built this tiny 3D printed drill press.

This design is actually interesting for a number of reasons. The fact that it’s primarily 3D printed is a big one, though of course it’s not the first time we’ve seen that. We also like the minimal part count and low-cost, which is sure to appeal to those looking to produce PCBs on a budget. But the most impressive feature has to the hydraulic system [Ruchir] has come up with to actually do the drilling.

Rather than pulling an arm to lower the bit towards the work piece, a system utilizing four syringes, some water, and a bit of tubing is used to pull the tool down. This might seem extravagant, but if you’ve got a lot of holes to drill, this design is really going to save your arms. This method should also give you more consistent and accurate results, as you won’t be putting any torque on the structure as you would with a manually operated press.

[Ruchir] doesn’t offer much in the way of instructions on the project’s Hackaday.io page, but once you print out all of the provided STLs and get your syringes ready to go, the rest should be fairly self explanatory. Personally we might have added a smooth steel rod in there to make sure the movement is nice and straight, but we can see the appeal of doing it with a printed part to keep things cheap.

Looking for more ideas? If you’re after something a bit larger we might suggest this one made from PVC pipes, and this 3D printed desktop press would look good on anyone’s bench. Just don’t blame us if your arms get tired.

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Death To All Coca Cola Cans With This Miniature Arduino Powered Cannon

[MJKZZ] sends in this entertaining little tutorial on building a small automated cannon out of a syringe.

He starts the build off by modifying an arc lighter, the fancy kind one might use to light a fire on a windy day, so that it can be controlled by a micro-controller. The arc is moved to the needle end of the syringe with a careful application of wires and hot glue. When the syringe is filled with a bit of alcohol and the original plunger is pressed back in a small spark will send it flying back out in a very satisfying fashion.

Of course it wouldn’t be a proper hack without an Arduino added on for no reason other than the joy of doing so. [MKJZZ] adds an ultrasonic sensor into the mix which, when triggered appropriately by an invading object fires the arc lighter using a reed relay.

He demonstrates the build by eliminating an intruding coke can on his work bench. You can see it in the video after the break. All in all a very fun hack.

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Syringes Become Rockets In This Flying Build

Syringes have all kinds of useful applications in the workshop, from injecting fluids to helping pick up tiny components. There’s always room for a bit of levity however, and [Tom Stanton] decided to have a play with some syringe rocket builds.

The basic idea involves blocking the end of a syringe, and then pull the plunger to create a vacuum in the tube. When released, the plunger will rush forward from the atmospheric pressure counteracting the vacuum, hitting the end of the tube and launching the syringe forward.

[Tom]’s initial attempts with small syringes were fun, but larger builds struggled with breakages, sealing issues, and excessive weight. Some more luck was had with a vacuum cannon build, which was able to launch a projectile to a decent height, albeit without a lot of stability. [Tom] wrapped things up by designing a small 3D printed launcher that fits 10mm syringes and lets you shoot them around the workshop with abandon.

It’s fun to see the concept explored in detail, with [Tom] doing a great job of explaining the basic physics behind the phenomenon. If you’re hungry for more, consider using syringes as basic hydraulic actuators for model builds. Video after the break.

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3D printed syringe static mixer

This 3D Printed Syringe Static Mixer Does It All

One trick for getting the bubbles out of freshly mixed 2-part epoxy, aka degassing, is to go over it gently with the flame from a propane torch. But both the mixing and degassing take time. [Gianteye] came up with a 3D printed dual-syringe static mixing system which speeds up the process. He used it with silicone to get the difficult steps out of the way quickly for his hands-on soft robotics class, allowing the students to focus more on the matter at hand. But we figure most readers might use it for epoxy.

Mixing tube interior
Mixing tube interior

If you’ve bought those 2-part epoxy syringes available in stores before then you’ll know that they usually come with two syringes, each filled with one of the two parts to be mixed. Depressing the syringes causes each part to come out of its own tube. It’s then your job to mix them together and degas the result.

[Gianteye’s] system consists of 3D printed parts and two syringes.  Models for the 3D printing are available on his Thingiverse page and the syringes can be found online. Some of the 3D printed parts help you first fill and degas the syringes. You then attach a 3D printed mixing tube to the ends of the syringes. This tube serves two purposes. When the syringe’s plungers are depressed, both parts of the material are forced through the tube and extruded out. But on their way through, both parts pass through eight helices which form 180° turns and mix the parts together. Out comes the portioned, mixed and degassed material which can go straight into a mold or to wherever you need it.

The mixing tube was designed for one-time use but [Gianteye] discovered during an evaluation that it can be reused if you pull out any cured material and purge it. The evaluation involved silicone though. With hardened epoxy, you’ll probably have to use a new tube each time.

Check out the full details of his system in the video below, including both assembly and usage.

If you’re looking for a metallic look for something without wanting to cast metal than have a look at our own [Gerrit Coetzee’s] article about cold casting wherein he makes some very nice looking parts.

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Dispensing Solder Paste Automatically

Through-hole chips are slowly falling by the wayside, and if you want to build something with new parts you will be using surface mount components. This means spreading paste and throwing it in the toaster oven. Of course, if you don’t want to take the time to get a stencil for your solder paste, you can always lay it down by hand. For that, [owhite] has created a tiny, handheld, robotic solder paste dispenser. It’s a robotic pen that dispenses just the right amount of solder paste on your pads.

The design of this solder paste dispenser is basically a syringe filled with paste and a stepper motor to push the plunger down. Devices like this already exist, and the i-extruder can be had for somewhere around two hundred bucks. Why buy when you can build, so [owhite] set out to create his own.

The key to a successful solder paste pen, it seems, is driving the plunger with a small NEMA 8 stepper motor, using a very fine pitch on the threads of the gears pushing the plunger down, and surprisingly finding a small-diameter syringe. [owhite] found the last bit in the form of a gas-tight syringe with a nylon gasket. The electronics consist of just a Teensy 3.2, DRV8825 stepper driver, footswitch, and an OLED for a UI.

With just a few parts, [owhite] managed to create a solder paste pen that’s better than the commercial i-extruder, and with a bit of practice can be used to place paste on some SMD pads.