A few years ago a fad ripped through the makersphere where people would build cheap, solar powered LED blinkers, glue a magnet to them, and throw them on anything metal. It was an interesting time, but luckily did not last for too long. With some effort and craftsmanship, though, the solar throwie idea can be turned into something more elegant, though, such as this solar harvesting blinking gadget.
Like its predecessors, the device itself behaves simply, although this one is equipped with a small supercapacitor which can run the device for 8 hours without sun. It has a small solar panel which can charge the capacitor in five minutes, and from there the LEDs inside simply blink. The quality shows in the final packaging, as [Jasper] has taken to encasing them in epoxy shapes such as pyramids, for a nice paperweight or tchotchke. It is also noteworthy because of Jasper’s test device; since he is mass producing them he needed something to test each board for functionality before encasing them in the epoxy, and he built a small pen tester specifically for them too.
While the build is pretty straightforward, anyone looking to enclose a simple circuit in epoxy without bubbles or other problems might want to check this one out. It would also be a good platform for building other throwie-like projects on top of. In the past they didn’t just blink lights but also did things like run small Linux servers.
The basic throwie is a a type of street art/graffiti/vandalism — depending on where you stand — consisting of a coin cell, an led, and a magnet taped together. Seeking to be a slightly more eco-friendly troublemaker, [solar-powered throwie!
] has kindly put together an Instructable on how to build a
In order to be the best maker of mischief possible, [Alaric Loftus] tried a number of different products to find one that was hackable, supplied the right voltage, had the right form factor, and cheap enough to literally throw away. Turns out, garden path lights hit that sweet spot. Once [Alaric Loftus] has drilled a hole in the light and opened it up, de-soldering the stock LED, attaching some leads to the contacts and sticking it into the freshly-drilled hole is simply done. Hot-gluing a strong magnet on the bottom completes the throwie.
[Alaric Loftus] also advises that drilling the LED hole slightly smaller and sealing up any cracks with hot glue will strengthen its water resistance — because if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing it right.
We’ve featured some really cool — even creepy — takes on the throwie concept, but please don’t contribute any further to e-waste buildup.
Because the world doesn’t have enough electronic junk floating around, [Victor] has improved the WiFi Throwie.
A decade ago, when strong, cheap magnets, bright LEDs, and small coin cell batteries were materials fresh to hacking, someone had a great idea: tape all these items up and throw them on bridges and overpasses. The LED throwie was born, and while we’re sure the biggest installation of LED throwies looked cool, it’s really just a small-scale environmental disaster.
Since then, the ESP8266 was created, and the world now has a tiny WiFi-enabled computer that’s the size of a postage stamp. Yes, WiFi throwies already exist, but coin cells don’t work with the ESP. This means the compact and tiny ESPs are laden down with heavy lithium cells. [Victor] had a better solution: tiny lithium batteries for quadcopters exist, so why not use those?
[Victor] ended up using a small 100mAh 3.7V Lipo battery from a tiny quadcopter for this build. 100mAh isn’t a lot, but in sleep mode, the ESP only uses about 15mAh, or about 6 hours of run time. Sending a picture takes 30 seconds at 120ma, or about 120mAh, so even with a tiny battery no bigger than the ESP itself, this diminutive web server can handle 100 connections before the battery dies.
While not recommended unless you intend to retrieve your throwable web server, it is an interesting example of the latest and cheapest technology that made a throwable webserver possible; 10 years ago, both the ESP and a battery this small would have been unthinkable.
A few years ago, someone figured out you can take an LED, a coin cell battery, and a magnet, tape them together, and throw them on every conceivable metallic surface. This was the creation of LED throwies, and the world was much worse off for its invention.
With the ESP-8266 WiFi module, we have a tiny, tiny device with a WiFi radio, and just enough processing power to do something interesting. What does that mean? WiFi throwies.
It’s much better than polluting the world with LEDs and lithium; this one has Hunt the Wumpus on it.
Thanks [Oliver] for the tip.
Continue reading “ESP8266 WiFi Throwies”
[Ian Lee, Sr.] made something special for his daughter’s birthday party. It’s pretty common for girls of this age (this was her 5th birthday) to be enthralled with stories of princesses so he made a blinky princess wand for each party guest. The motivation came when she asked what special thing he was going to do for her celebration. You may remember seeing the LED badge kits that were featured at her brother’s party earlier this year. From the look of the party guests he surely satisfied her desire for a memorable party.
The project is very inexpensive, extremely easy to assemble, and might make a perfect kit for supervised Kindergarteners. It’s basically an LED throwie with a stick and a feather added. [Ian] used CR2032 batteries along with an LED and current limiting resistor to light things up. He clipped off one leg of the LED and replaced it by soldering the LED in place. The remaining leads were then pressed to either side of the coin cell and the whole thing was shoved into a slit cut in the end of a balloon rod. The whole thing was wrapped tightly in with a rubber band before being crowned with a ping pong ball. To trim it out he hot glued a feather at the base of the ball.
The only think that has us worried is what he’s going to do next year to top these parties.
PS3 Controller Cell Phone Mount
Although the details of this build are quite scarce, not much is needed considering all that this cell phone/PS3 controller “mount” is made of is 3 binder clips and a few rubber bands. A very ingenious solution.
On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve spent way too much time overengineering the throwie (eventually it ended up using a ping-pong ball). Be sure to watch the first video at 0:32 for an impressive horizontal placement, or check out the baloon throwies at the end of the post for even more fun!
Chinese Noodle Slicing Robot
This robot may be appropriately engineered in function, but the form of this noodle-slicer has a distinctly Asian style. We think it may have been designed as a prop for a Godzilla movie originally.
3D glasses may have been all the rage in 2009, but it’s 2012 so you may want to get your hands on a pair of 2D glasses. These instructions will tell you how to make glasses to convert a 3D film into 2D if the third dimension annoys you or makes you dizzy. Thx [Brian] and [Victor]!
As seen in this post from the Bacteria forum, the test box originally featured at [HAD] has now been updated to include variable regulators, volt meters and an LED tester. Check it out on it’s source, [Downing’s Basement]. Thx [Mike]!
The guys over at North Street Labs were bored, so they figured why not go ahead and built a CNC machine just for kicks. While they haven’t put up build details on the CNC just yet, they do have some newly milled business cards to show off just how well the machine works.
Part ruler, part LED throwie, we think their new business cards look great. Milled out of thin acrylic sheeting, their cards feature the North Street Labs logo and URL along with 1/32” ruler markings along the top. The card is also fitted with space for a button cell battery and RGB LED, which illuminates the entire card nicely from the side.
They say that the cards take about 5 minutes apiece to make, which is not bad at all. At $0.50 a pop, the cards are not nearly as cheap as those made from cardstock, but when you’re looking to impress what’s a couple of quarters?
Continue reading to see a short video of their CNC-milled business cards in action.
Continue reading “CNC’d Business Cards Will Definitely Get You Noticed”