Monthly Archives: November 2016

Tesla Coil Powered Film Canister Gatling Gun

What do you get when you combine a Tesla coil, 315 film canisters and a fortune wheel? The answer is of course a film canister Gatling gun. [ScienceBob] has taken the simple film canister cannon hack to a whole new level. The idea is simple, the film canister has a lid that fits tight and allows pressure to build up, so if you fill it with alcohol vapor and ignite it with a spark gap, you get a small explosion that sends the can flying  away.

[ScienceBob] uses 21 rows of fifteen canisters each around the wheel. There is a …read more

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Posted in cannon, classic hacks, film canister, gatling gun, misc hacks, tesla coil | Leave a comment

Founding A Company In Shenzhen For Eight Days

Nadya Peek is one of the hackers that should require no introduction for the regular Hackaday reader. She is a postdoc at the Center for Bits and Atoms at the MIT Media Lab. She’s responsible for Popfab, a CNC machine that fits in a suitcase and one of the first implementations of a Core XY stage we’ve seen. Nadya has joined the ranks of Rudolf Diesel, Nikola Tesla, Mikhail Kalashnikov, and George W.G. Ferris by having a very tiny piece of the Novena laptop bear her name. She’s built cardboard CNC machines, and taken the idea of simple, easy to …read more

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Posted in 2016 Hackaday SuperConference, cnc, cons, Hackaday Columns, Nadya Peek, rapid prototyping, robots hacks, shenzhen | Leave a comment

My DIY BB-8: Problems, Solutions, Lessons Learned

Imagine trying to make a ball-shaped robot that rolls in any direction but with a head that stays on. When I saw the BB-8 droid doing just that in the first Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer, it was an interesting engineering challenge that I couldn’t resist. All the details for how I made it would fill a book, so here are the highlights: the problems I ran into, how I solved them and what I learned.

The Design Criteria: Portable and Inexpensive

I had two design criteria in mind. The first was to keep it low-cost. Some spend $1000 …read more

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Posted in 3d print, arduino, Arduino Uno, BB-8, blender, cordless drill motor, drill batteries, fiberglass, h-bridge, h-bridge motor controller, Hackaday Columns, inertial measurement unit, robots hacks, Star Wars The Force Awakens | Leave a comment

The ESP: A New 1kB Contender Appears

The ESP8266 is officially checking into the Hackaday 1kB Challenge. Doing something meaningful in 1kB of compiled code is tricky; modern SDKs like the ones often used for ESP8266 compile even the simplest programs to nearly that size. If you want to use this hardware in your 1kB Challenge entry, I have a solution for you!

The ESP8266 now has a barebones build environment focused on minimizing code size, as little as 131 bytes to boot up and blink an LED. It also “supports” some new, insane clock rates (like 346 MHz) and crazy development cycle speeds. The WiFi is  …read more

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Posted in 1 kB challenge, cnlohr, contests, ESP8266, mask rom, overclocking | Leave a comment

Silicon Wafer Transfer Machine Is Beautifully Expensive

There’s nothing more freeing than to be an engineer with no perceptible budget in sight. [BrendaEM] walks us through a teardown of a machine that was designed under just such a lack of constraint. It sat inside of a big box whose job was to take silicon wafers in on one side and spit out integrated circuits on the other.

[BrendaEM] never really divulges how she got her hands on something so expensive that the engineer could specify “tiny optical fiber prisms on the end of a precision sintered metal post” as an interrupt solution for the wafer.  However, we’re …read more

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Posted in ic, machine, manufacturing, misc hacks, silicon, teardown, wafer transfer | Leave a comment

Vehicle Electrical Troubleshooting

  I am not a car repair guy but I have been enjoying the South Main Auto Repair channel. He uses lots of high tech and low tech to get the job done. The Snap On automotive testing system he is using is the tool for the job! It has tons of data in it […] Continue reading

Posted in Cool Gadgets | Leave a comment

Fail of the Week: Pinewood Derby Cheat Fails Two Ways

Would you use your tech prowess to cheat at the Pinewood Derby? When your kid brings home that minimalist kit and expects you to help engineer a car that can beat all the others in the gravity-powered race, the temptation is there. But luckily, there are some events that don’t include the kiddies and the need for parents to assume the proper moral posture. When the whole point of the Pinewood Derby is to cheat, then you pull out all the stops, and you might try building an electrodynamic suspension hoverboard car.

Fortunately for [ch00ftech], the team-building Derby sponsored by …read more

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Posted in CHEATING, Fail of the Week, Hackaday Columns, ir, Lenz's Law, levitation, Lorenz Force, maglev, pinewood derby, spoofing, transportation hacks | Leave a comment

Awarding the 2016 Hackaday Prize

Saturday evening at the Hackaday SuperConference is reserved for the Hackaday Prize Party. Our engineering initiative each year, The Hackaday Prize, starts in the spring and ends in the fall. What happens in between is magic: thousands of engineers and engineering enthusiasts focus their skills on building something that matters. The top entries take home some pretty amazing prizes. At this year’s prize ceremony (seen below) we announced the five top entries which took home $200,000 in addition to the $100,000 already awarded to 100 final projects.

Check out the presentation which includes appearances by several of our amazing judges, …read more

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Posted in 2016 Hackaday Prize, 2016 Hackaday SuperConference, awards ceremony, cons, Hackaday Columns | Leave a comment

Controlling Your Instruments From A Computer: Doing Something Useful

Do you know how to harvest data from your bench tools, like plotting bandwidth from your oscilloscope with a computer? It’s actually pretty easy. Many bench tools make this easy using a standard protocol with USB to make the connection.

In the previous installment of this article we talked about the National Instruments VISA (Virtual Instrument Software Archetecture) standard for communicating with your instruments from a computer, and introduced its Python wrapper with a simple demonstration using a Raspberry Pi. We’ll now build on that modest start by describing a more useful application for a Raspberry Pi and a digital …read more

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Posted in Hackaday Columns, pyvisa, rasberry pi, Raspberry Pi, Rigol 1054Z, Skills, tool hacks, visa | Leave a comment

Flip Dot Displays Appear with Modernized Drivers

Admit it, you’ve always wanted to have your own flip-dot display to play with. Along with split-flap displays, flip-dots have an addictive look and sound that hearkens back half a century but still feels like modern technology. They use a magnetic coil to actuate each pixel — physical discs painted contrasting colors on either side. It means that you really only need electricity when changing the pixel, and that each pixel makes a satisfyingly unobtrusive click when flipped. The only problem with the displays is that they’re notoriously difficult to get your hands on.

Breakfast, a Brooklyn-based hardware firm known …read more

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Posted in breakfastny, electromechanical display, flip dot display, Flip-disc display, flip-dot, hardware | Leave a comment