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Monthly Archives: June 2017
There’s a great number toys in the world, many of which make all manner of pleasant or annoying noises for the entertainment of children. If you’re a musician, these toys may be of interest due to their unique or interesting sounds. However, due to their design being aimed at play rather than performance, it may be difficult to actually use the toy as a musical instrument. One way around this is to record the sounds of the toy into a sampler, but it’s not the only way. [little-scale] is here to demonstrate how to MIDI interface your toys.
[little-scale] starts …read more
Anyone with a garden knows about doing battle with pests. Weeds, bugs, rabbits, birds — all of them try to get a bite out of our flowers and vegetables. Some of the worst are mollusks. Snails and slugs are notorious plant attackers. Tomato plants don’t stand a chance when these beasts come to town. Some folks would reach for the pesticide or even the salt, but [wheldot] had a better idea. He built an electric fence to keep these pests at bay.
Much like the electric fences used for large mammals like horses or cows, this fence is designed to …read more
When writing my last article, I came upon something I thought had been lost to the seven seas of YouTube: the old-school “Basic Soldering Lesson” series from Pace Worldwide.
This nine-episode-long series is what retaught me to solder, and is a masterpiece, both in content and execution. With an episode titled “Integrated Circuits: T0-5 Type Packages & Other Multi-leaded Components” and a 20-minute video that only focuses on solder and flux, it’s clear from the get-go that these videos mean business. Add that to the fact that the videos are narrated by [Paul Anthony], the local weatherman in the Washington …read more
The fidget spinner posts will continue until morale improves. This time, we’re looking at [TannerTech]’s electromagnetic accelerator for a fidget spinner. [Tanner] can spin his fidget spinner electronically using parts he had sitting around and a clever application of magnets and relays! Engineers hate him!
[Tanner]’s build consists of three magnets mounted on the tip of a fidget spinner’s arms, with the North pole facing outwards. The ‘drive circuit’ consists of an electromagnet — an inductor [Tanner] found in an old TV set — a reed switch, and a MOSFET. When the circuit is placed next to the fidget spinner, …read more
A few things stand out about [Vijay]’s braille keypad for smartphones. One is how ergonomic the plans for the final result are, sitting on the back of the smartphone such that you hold the phone much as you often normally would. Another is that it plugs in just like any other USB keyboard. And the last should make any vi user smile — you don’t have to move your fingers to type. You just press combinations of buttons already under your fingers.
It consists of a custom circuit board with an AtMega32U4, a 16 MHz oscillator, a Micro-USB connector and …read more
Master LEGO builder [Yoshihito Isogawa] has been on a roll lately, cranking out a number of robots that make drawings reminiscent of the classic Spirograph toy. For instance, he built an elegant drawbot out of LEGO elements, seen above. At first glance the monicker “spirograph” seems wrong, because where are the gears? However, [Yoshihito] has them stashed underneath the sheet of paper, with magnets controlling the pens.
His drawbot consists of a platform (cleverly, an inverted LEGO plate) upon which a sheet of paper is laid. One or two pen holders, each with a pair of magnets underneath, rest on …read more
Last year we wrote about Hackerbot Labs’ autonomous boat, which project members hope to someday circumnavigate the globe. Now called Project Ladon, progress continues apace with a recent ocean test of their modified 18’ kayak, the TSV Disputed Right of Way. The kayak’s internal spaces contain a pair of lead-acid truck batteries controlled by a home-brewed control system that uses relays to control the craft’s trolling motor, with a Beaglebone and Arduino Mega under the hood.
The test was not exactly a success, with the boat actually avoiding the waypoints rather than sticking to them. Fortunately the team was …read more
Form Labs recently announced the launch of the Fuse 1, a desktop SLS printer that will print all your parts using nylon powder and a laser. This a fundamentally different method of 3D printing as compared to filament-based machines, and the best way to use a Fuse 1 is to fill the entire volume of the machine with 3D printed parts. [Michael Fogelman] decided to investigate the 3D packing problem, and managed to fill this printer with the maximum number of 3D printed tugboats. If you’re wondering, it’s 113, as compared with 82 tiny Benchies using naive bin packing.
The …read more
[Alonso Martinez] is an artist working on virtual characters at Pixar so it’s no wonder that his real life robots, Mira and Gertie, have personalities that make them seem like they jumped straight out of a Pixar movie. But what we really like are the tricks he’s used inside to bring them to life that are sure to get reused for the same or other things.
For example, Mira’s head can rotate in yaw, pitch and roll. To figure out how to make it do that he recalled having a joystick called the Microsoft Sidewinder Pro that had force feedback. …read more