If you ask your typical handyperson what’s the one thing you need to fix most things, the answer might very well be duct tape. But second place — and first place in some circles — would have to be zip ties. These little wonders are everywhere if you look for them. But they are a relatively recent invention and haven’t always had the form they have today.
The original zip tie wasn’t called a zip tie or even a cable tie. In 1958 they were called Ty-Raps and produced by a company called Thomas and Betts. Originally meant to improve aircraft wiring harnesses, they found their way into various electronic equipment and packaging uses. But they’ve also become helpful in very unusual places too. A policeman trying to round up rioters would have problems carrying more than a few conventional handcuffs. But flexible cuffs based on zip ties are lightweight and easy to carry. Colon surgeons sometimes use a modified form of zip tie during procedures.
Maurus Logan worked for the Thomas and Betts company. In 1956, he was touring an aircraft manufacturing plant. Observing a wiring harness being put together on a nail board, similar to how car harnesses are made, he noted that the cables were bundled with waxed twine or nylon cord. A technician had to tie knots in the cord, sometimes cutting their fingers and often developing calluses. In addition, the twine was prone to fungal growth, requiring special treatment.
Logan kept turning the problem over in his mind and tried various approaches. By 1958, he had a patent for the Ty-Rap. The tie was lightweight, easy to install, easy to remove, and inexpensive.
Continue reading “Excuse Me, Your Tie Is Unzipped”
Prototyping new ideas can be a lot of fun, but putting new projects in a durable enclosure can be a difficulty. This is especially the case when the user of this product is one of the most destructive forces in nature: A toddler! This is the circumstance that [blue blade] found himself in when he wanted to build a durable MP3 player for his grandson, and you can see the results of his work below the break.
The hardware is simple: A 16850 lithium-ion battery powers an MP3 Decoder/Amplifier module that plays MP3s stored on a Micro SD card. A speaker, power switch, and micro USB powered battery charger complete the build. What stands out most is the enclosure. Why?
When children are involved, durability isn’t a matter of product lifetime, it’s also a matter of safety. Items that are easily broken aren’t just useless, they can be dangerous. With this in mind, [blue blade] built a brightly colored enclosure with extra thick walls joined by metal bolts. Externally, a rounded cover bolts over the charger connector and Micro SD card slot. The only other protrusion is a lighted rocker switch for powering the MP3 player on and off.
Continue reading “3D Printed Preschooler Proof MP3 Player Takes A Beat-ing”
Are you using Octoprint yet? It’s so much more than just a way to control your printer over the internet, or to keep tabs on it over webcam when you’re off at work or fetching a beer. The 3D printing community has rallied around Octoprint, creating all sorts of handy plug-ins like Octolapse, which lets you watch the print blossom from the bed via time-lapse video.
Hackaday alum [Jeremy S Cook] wanted to devise a 3D-printable mount for a Raspi camera after finding himself inspired by [Tom Nardi]’s excellent coverage of Octoprint and Octolapse. He recently bought a wire shelving unit to store his printer and printer accessories, and set to work. We love the design he came up with, which uses the flexibility of the coolant hose to provide an endlessly configurable camera arm. But wait, there’s more! Since [Jeremy] mounted it to the rack with zip ties, the whole rig shimmies back and forth, providing a bonus axis for even more camera views. Slide past the break to see [Jeremy]’s build/demo video.
It’s great to be able to monitor a print from anywhere with internet access, but the camera is almost always set up for a tight shot on the print bed. How would you ever know if you’re about to run out of filament? For that, you need a fila-meter.
Continue reading “Hanging, Sliding Raspi Camera Adds Dimension To Octoprint”
If you wear cochlear implants, sound doesn’t enter through your ear, but rather from microphones above your ears. That means earbuds are useless and you have to resort to large and clumsy over the ear headphones. [Mjcraig23] wanted the convenience of earbuds and set out to do what we all do: hack it.
The result is handily portable as you can see in the video, below. The trick is that he used replacement battery covers and then grafted earbud holders (called EARBUDi) to them using one of our favorite fasteners, zip ties. Apparently, you can wire a cable directly into the device, but then you lose the ability to hear what’s going on around you, which would not be a good idea for catching some tunes while walking your dog or other common earbud use cases.
Continue reading “CIPODS: Earbuds For Cochlear Implants”
One of the first problems every new hacker/maker must solve is this: What’s the best way to attach part “A” to part “B”. We all have our go-to solutions. Hot glue, duck tape ( “duct tape” if you prefer) or maybe even zip ties. Super glue, epoxy, and if we’re feeling extra MacGyver-ish then it’s time for some bubble gum. For some Hackaday readers, this stuff will seem like old hat, but for a beginner it can be a source of much frustration. Even well versed hackers might pick up a few handy tips and tricks presented in this video after the break.
In part one of this series, [Ben Krasnow] shows us the proper use of just a few of the tools and techniques he uses in his shop. [Ben] starts out with a zip-tie tool which he loves in part because of a tension setting that ensures it’s tight but not overly. He moves on to advice for adhesive-vs-material and some tips on using threaded fasteners in several different circumstances. He also included a list of the parts and tools he uses so you don’t have to go hunting them down.
[Ben] is no stranger to us here at Hackaday. He does some epic science video. You can subscribe to his channel or follow his blog if you enjoy what you see.
Continue reading “How To Zip, Stick, And Screw Stuff Together”
Necessity may be the mother of invention, but limited resources give birth to some of the best hacks. [joejoeboom’s] 5-minute electric bike conversion probably can’t drive you into the next town, but it can scoot you around your neighborhood.
[jojoeboom] found a cordless drill at a local hardware store for $15, which he simply zip-tied to the bicycle’s frame. He positioned the drill so the chuck pressed firmly against the side of the bicycle’s rear wheel, creating a simple friction drive system. To create a throttle, [joejoeboom] strapped a spare hand brake to the handlebar and wrapped the brake’s cable around the drill’s trigger. Several carefully placed zip ties hold everything in place and allow the cable to tug at the trigger when the hand brake is squeezed.
Watch the bike poking around in a video below, and for some extreme contrast check out the 102-mph bicycle build from earlier this summer.
Continue reading “Electric Bicycle Hack Is Hilariously Simple”
[Grenadier] tipped us off about his method for building your own high-voltage capacitors. He thought the paper and foil capacitor project was a nice introduction to the concepts, but at the same time he knew he could produce a much more powerful device.
For the dielectric he is using acetate film. This is the material from which overhead transparency sheets are made. He stuck with aluminum foil for the two plates. Just roll the foil flat with a rolling-pin, use thin wire to minimize the air that will be trapped between the dielectric layers, and make sure the foil plates are at least 4cm shorter than the acetate film on each end to prevent leakage. After rolling and securing the capacitor with zip ties you’ll be ready for the 3nF worth of fun seen in the video after the break. [Grenadier] mentions that this can be improved further if you were to vacuum impregnate the device with beeswax.
Continue reading “Roll Your Own Capacitors – High Voltage Edition”