Category Archives: how-to

Hack my House: UL Certification and Turning the lights on with an ESP8266

It’s hard to imagine a smart house without smart lighting. Maybe it’s laziness, but the ability to turn a light on or off without walking over to the switch is a must-have, particularly once the lap is occupied by a sleeping infant. It’s tempting to just stuff a relay in …read more

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Posted in ESP8266, Hackaday Columns, home hacks, how-to, smart home, tasmota | Leave a comment

Blacksmithing For The Uninitiated: Let’s Talk About Anvils

When you grow up with something as the constant backdrop to your life, it’s easy to forget as an adult that not everyone else shares your instinctive knowledge of the subject. My dad is a blacksmith, he’s now retired, but as I was growing up his very active forge was …read more

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Posted in anvil, blacksmith, blacksmithing, Blacksmithing for the Uninitiated, forge, forge work, Hackaday Columns, how-to, metalwork, Skills | Leave a comment

Blacksmithing For The Uninitiated: What is a Forge?

Blacksmiths were the high technologists of fabrication up until the industrial revolution gained momentum. At its core, this is the art and science of making any needed tool or mechanism out of metal. Are you using the correct metal? Is the tool strong where it needs to be? And how …read more

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Posted in blacksmith, blacksmithing, forge, forge work, Hackaday Columns, how-to, metalwork, Original Art, Skills | Leave a comment

Computer Algebra for Electronic Design

Don’t get me wrong. Like most people, there’s nothing I enjoy more than solving a long, involved math problem by hand. But, sometimes, a few pages of algebraic scratches on paper is just a means to an end. I find this especially true during electronic design sessions, be it circuit …read more

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Posted in circuit design, computer algebra, computer hacks, how-to, Maxima, symbolic computation, wxMaxima | Leave a comment

Building A Simple Python API for Internet of Things Gadgets

It’s no secret that I rather enjoy connecting things to the Internet for fun and profit. One of the tricks I’ve learned along the way is to spin up simple APIs that can be used when prototyping a project. It’s easy to do, and simple to understand so I’m happy …read more

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Posted in api, datalogger, Hackaday Columns, how-to, https, IoT, NodeMCU, Original Art, python 3.0, Skills, Tech Hacks | Leave a comment

Spectrometer Is Inexpensive And Capable

We know the effect of passing white light through a prism and seeing the color spectrum that comes out of the other side. It will not be noticeable to the naked eye, but that rainbow does not fully span the range of [Roy G. Biv]. There are narrowly absent colors which blur together, and those missing portions are a fingerprint of the matter the white light is passing through or bouncing off. Those with a keen eye will recognize that we are talking about spectrophotometry which is identifying those fingerprints and determining what is being observed and how much is …read more

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Posted in chemistry hacks, equipment, how-to, lab, laboratory, laboratory equipment, spectrometer, spectrophotometry, UV/Vis | Leave a comment

AI on Raspberry Pi with the Intel Neural Compute Stick

I’ve always been fascinated by AI and machine learning. Google TensorFlow offers tutorials and has been on my ‘to-learn’ list since it was first released, although I always seem to neglect it in favor of the shiniest new embedded platform.

Last July, I took note when Intel released the Neural Compute Stick. It looked like an oversized USB stick, and acted as an accelerator for local AI applications, especially machine vision. I thought it was a pretty neat idea: it allowed me to test out AI applications on embedded systems at a power cost of about 1W. It requires pre-trained …read more

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Posted in ai, arm, artificial intellegence, facial recognition, Featured, how-to, intel neural compute stick, machine learning, Raspberry Pi, Raspberry Pi 3 B+, Skills | Leave a comment

How To Make Your Own Springs for Extruded Rail T-Nuts

Open-Source Extruded Profile systems are a mature breed these days. With Openbuilds, Makerslide, and Openbeam, we’ve got plenty of systems to choose from; and Amazon and Alibaba are coming in strong with lots of generic interchangeable parts. These open-source framing systems have borrowed tricks from some decades-old industry players like Rexroth and 80/20. But from all they’ve gleaned, there’s still one trick they haven’t snagged yet: affordable springloaded T-nuts.

I’ve discussed a few tricks when working with these systems before, and Roger Cheng came up with a 3D printed technique for working with T-nuts. But today I’ll take another step …read more

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Posted in aluminum extrusion, extruded profiles, extrusion, Hackaday Columns, how-to, makerslide, OpenBeam, openbuilds, Skills, tool hacks, vslot | Leave a comment

Plastics: Acrylic

If anything ends up on the beds of hobbyist-grade laser cutters more often than birch plywood, it’s probably sheets of acrylic. There’s something strangely satisfying about watching a laser beam trace over a sheet of the crystal-clear stuff, vaporizing a hairs-breadth line while it goes, and (hopefully) leaving a flame-polished cut in its wake.

Acrylic, more properly known as poly(methyl methacrylate) or PMMA, is a wonder material that helped win a war before being developed for peacetime use. It has some interesting chemistry and properties that position it well for use in the home shop as everything from simple enclosures …read more

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Posted in acrylic, Hackaday Columns, how-to, Laser cutting, plastic, PMMA, poly(methyl methacrylate), polymer, Solvent, welding | Leave a comment

Making Your Breadboard Projects A Little More Permanent

Many a budding electronics maker got their start not with a soldering iron, but with the humble breadboard. With its push connections, the breadboard enables electronics experimentation without requiring the specialised skill of soldering or any dangerous hot tools. What it lacks is a certain robustness that can make all but the simplest projects rather difficult to execute. [Runtime Micro] have shared a few tips on making things just a little more robust, however.

The fundamental principle behind this process is replacing point-to-point jumper wires with custom cables, made using 0.1″ pitch headers and wire-wrapping techniques. Other techniques include pinning …read more

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Posted in breadboard, breadboarding, how-to, wire wrap | Leave a comment