Here’s an entertaining gadget — a waterfall over a miniature Mayan temple that responds to music. Speakers and lights are built into the Mayan pyramid, and water flows through the center of the gadget for a powerful overall effect. The device includes six main components: a pyramid plexiglass body, a water system, a control unit, speakers, and the output screen with the LEDs.
CONTEST: Make an “Electric Halloween” graphic, each day this month we’re going to feature a cool project from around the web that has electronics AND has something to do with Halloween. We don’t have a graphic for this effort so we’re going to have a contest. Just make a graphic for “Electronic Halloween” and post a link to it in the comments. We’ll pick our favorite one and use it for our posts!
THE PRIZE: $150 in the Adafruit store!
DETAILS: Make the graphic (at the most) 600 x 600, it will be used on each post here for the projects we feature! Make it Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0. Deadline, let’s say October 8th!
A little project I’ve been working on: a variation on the classic Atari Punk Console circuit. I built the original, but then I decided it didn’t make enough noise, so I added some additional hardware to generate a whole lot of that good stuff.
Provided I can get it inside a proper enclosure, I’ll be bringing this to MakerFaire in NYC on Saturday. Be sure to say hello!
Instructables user cubeberg has posted about how he turned a cheap Tron Identity Disc into a prop for his daughter.
In this Instructable, I cover modding the store-bought Deluxe Identity Disc to an upgraded version with 64 leds, controlled by an AVR MCU. The upgraded version is costume-ready and would be an excellent addition to your Tron costume – it’ll also look great on your desk/dresser/etc.
Last night on the show+tell, I talked about the little steam engine I built last fall. It’s a horizontal single-cylinder, 1cc displacement, with a scotch yoke drive mechanism. It’s a combination of manually-machined and CNC-machined parts from aluminum and brass stock. Everything but the mounting bolts, the shaft bearing, and the scotch yoke dowel pin were made by me. It runs at about 3500RPM at 30 psi. Below is a short video I made of it running:
You can also check out this little stop-motion vid I did of the drive mechanism:
Finally, if you want to learn more about how scotch yokes work, and see how they differ from the typical crank arm and connecting rod linkage, you should check out this excellent demo at Wolfram Research, which illustrates the accelleration and velocity curves of each.
I hacked a normal keylock and added an RC servo to pull the “tongue” of the lock. A PIC16F1937 is used to control the servo. The keypad has a second PIC 16F1937 which acts as a 10-buttons capacitance touch sensor. The controller PIC stays into sleep all the time to save power. In sleep mode, the device draws 16 micro-amperes. When the operator pulls the door gently, a mechanical switch wakes up the controller PIC (with a pulse to RB0/INT port) which in turn provides power to the touchpad.
To open the door, you pull the handle, enter the code, pull the handle again to activate the servo.
To change code, you pull the handle, enter the code, pull the handle again but you keep it pulled for 3 seconds until you hear the distinctive long beep. Then you enter the new code two times for confirmation.
It can hold codes from 1 to 125 digits for those who have good memory. The keypad has a built-in LDR to check ambient light, and if it is below a certain level, it activates the backlit LEDs (4 SMD blue LEDs).
Ed Nauman had a problem. When he worked in his garage machine shop, the noise levels were often so loud he couldn’t hear the doorbell. He resolved the situation by creating a microcontroller-operated, pneumatically actuated doorbell, or a “Really Loud Doorbell.” He calls it RLD for short. He started with a heavy chunk of steel that would resonate as well as withstand the punishment from a pneumatic ram. It’s the beginning of a heavy metal doorbell!
Ed Nauman had a bad habit of leaving his workshop at night without turning off the heater. His wife would get up in the morning and find – to her consternation – the workshop was plenty toasty. In the interest of keeping peace in his household, Ed decided to create a gadget that would save the energy spent through forgetfulness. He knew he could buy an off-the-shelf solution, but as he says, “Where’s the fun in that?” Instead, Ed turned to the world of thermostats and microcontrollers.
When I finally got around to playing Portal, I was a bit surprised at how much the Internet loved the companion cube. Sure, the cube is pretty great, but in my mind it pales in comparison to the turrets, the real scene-stealers of the game. In fact, they inspired a Veruca Salt-esque covetousness in me.
I wanted one.
And, of course, it just wouldn’t be the same if it didn’t talk…
With the excitement of Portal 2 coming out, and in collaboration with Leigh Nunan, I finally was able to get my turret. Or, rather, to make it.
Barbot 2011, the cocktail robotics exhibition, is happening on Friday and Saturday nights this weekend– April 1 and 2 –in San Francisco. If you haven’t been to one of these events (and you happen to like both cocktails and robots), let me tell you: you are missing out.
Last year we built the aptly named Drink Making Unit for the event. The Drink Making Unit used three -ahem- food-safe pumps to craft white russians, and was quite a hit at the show– especially amongst people who recognized the pumps.
This year, we’ve designed a brand new bartending machine, Drink Making Unit 2.0, which we are pleased to unveil today, and unleash upon the world this weekend.
Aside from the once-again-apt-but-not-very-descriptive name, Drink Making Unit 2.0 has very little in common with last year’s machine. The mechanism is all new, and features elements borrowed from sources as diverse as pet stores, chemistry labs, and Japanese gardens. It dispenses any six fluids (up from three), in metered and selectable quantities, and also sports an all-new extra-snazzy control panel.
Paul Westaway wanted to make sure his woodstove didn’t exceed the upper limit of temperature and overheat, thus damaging the stove or causing a fire. He wanted a monitor that could send out an alert if the stove got too hot. He was surprised he couldn’t find a monitor available commercially. So, like any enterprising Gadget Freak, he decided to make one of his own. Using a handful of inexpensive components, Westaway created his own Woodstove Digital Temperature Monitor.
NEW PRODUCT – Digital programmable LED belt kit. By popular demand, we now have a project tutorial for how to make your own programmable, ultra-blinky LED belt. Perfect for parties, raves, parades, weddings, funerals, and bar mitzvahs. Wear it with pride, wear it with blinky! Follow our soldering tutorial to build your own heirloom LED belt, and hand it down to your grandkids.
We designed this project to demonstrate how to use the digital LED strip, how to use our Atmega32u4 breakout board with the Arduino IDE and how to make a portable battery powered project that runs off of AAs. This project is not too difficult, and can be finished in a day. Some soldering experience is good since ‘free wire’ soldering is a little more difficult than soldering to a PCB, but even beginners should be able to manage. We don’t include a tutorial on using the Arduino IDE so its good if you’ve played around with the Arduino already.
You’ll also few more things to complete and power the project: a very common mini-B USB cable (for programming the belt) and 4 AA batteries for powering it. You can use alkaline or rechargeables. The belt will last for 6-12 hours depending on what designs you program in – more LEDs will drain the batteries faster.
Want to learn something about electronics, but don’t know where to start? Electronics for Absolute Beginners is a one day course that I originally designed for the women’s arts and technology group MzTEK. We had an excellent first run in January 2010 with lots of enthusiasm, and considerable skill from all the participants.
The course introduces the key electronic components and tries to give an intuitive feel for how circuits work. It provides plenty of opportunity to try experiments on the circuits suggested and should give people enough understanding to feel they can build and modify circuits in future.
Each stage of the course introduces new ideas that build and develop throughout the day. There are lots of fun circuits ending up with an electronic organ and a chain-light sequencer.