Hack a Day
[Matthias Blaicher] may think this isn’t a big deal when it comes to the amount of work he put into the hack. But for us, anything that extends the functionality of the versatile yet affordable Rigol DS1052E is a win. In this case he’s taken a previous hack and made it work for more people by extending the functionality of the WFM file format viewer.
[Dexter2048] pulled off the original hack which allows this oscilloscope to be used as a spectrum analyzer. [Matthias] didn’t want the tool to be limited to running only on Windows systems so he got to work. This isn’t quite as easy as sounds because the only part of the original code that was released is the parser itself. [Matthias] had to build everything up from that starting point. His software uses standard Python to parse the WFM file and reformat the data. The features included in the current version allow you to export data as a CSV file and even plot the waveform and FFT as seen above.
Filed under: tool hacks
Back in 2002, [Dave] came across a discarded PUMA robotic arm and quickly set his sights on turning it into a bartender to serve drinks at his parties. Unfortunately, the arm was far from operational and being an engineer at his day job meant that working on this project was the last thing he wanted to do when he came home. So, progress trickled along slowly for years. He eventually announced a public deadline to spur him to action, and this years Pi(e) party saw the official debut of ‘Sir-Mix-a-Bot’ – the robot bartender.
With the exception of having to build a new hand for it, mechanically, the arm was still in good condition when [Dave] found it. The electronics were another story however. Using some off the shelf components and his own know-how, [Dave] had to custom build all the controls. The software was written from scratch as well. (He lucked out and had help from his brother who was taking a Ph.D. program in robotics at the time).
As if the robotics aspect of the project wasn’t enough, [Dave] even created a beautiful custom table that both houses and displays his masterpiece. The quality of craftsmanship on his table alone is worth the time to check this out – there’s a short video after the break.
Filed under: beer hacks, robots hacks
Want a soda? Just grab a robot, shove it in a vending machine, and grab yourself one. This video is incredibly French, but it looks like we’ve got a custom-built robot made out of old printers and other miscellaneous motors and gears here. It’s actually pretty impressive when you consider 16 ounce cans weigh a pound.UNOBTANIUM
Okay, we got a lot of emails on our tip line for this one. It’s a group buy for a programmable oscillator over on Tindie. Why is this cool? Well, this chip (an SI570) is used in a lot of software defined radio designs. Also, it’s incredibly hard to come by if you’re not ordering thousands of these at a time. Here’s a datasheet, now show us some builds with this oscillator.Chiptune/keygen music anywhere
[Huan] has a co-loco’d Raspi and wanted a media server that is available anywhere, on any device. What he came up with is a service that streams chiptune music from your favorite keygens. You can access it with Chrome (no, we’re not linking directly to a Raspberry Pi), and it’s extremely efficient – his RAM usage didn’t increase a bit.Take it on an airplane. Or mail it.
[Alex]‘s hackerspace just had a series of lightning talks, where people with 45-minute long presentations try to condense their talk into 10 minutes. Of course the hackerspace needed some way to keep everything on schedule. A simple countdown timer was too boring, so they went with a fake, Hollywood-style bomb. No, it doesn’t explode, but it still looks really, really fake. That’s a good thing.Printers have speakers now?
[ddrboxman] thought his reprap needed a nice ‘print finished’ notification. After adding a piezo to his electronics board, he whipped up a firmware hack that plays those old Nokia ringtones. The ringtones play over Gcode, so it’s possible to have audible warnings and notifications. Now if it could only play Snake.
Filed under: Hackaday links
Install this light fixture in your bedroom and you might kiss your nights of peaceful sleep goodbye. Fans of the Portal game franchise will recognize it as a smaller version of the megalomaniacal artificial intelligence character from the game. This particular rendition is how she looked in the second installment of the series. The lamp is the creation of [Dragonator]. It was entirely 3D printed before being outfitted with LEDs to actually function as a light.
Our first thought is that this project is all about 3D design to get the final product t0 look so fantastic. But if you dig a little deeper you’ll see that it’s so much more than that. To get pieces that look this fantastic you must have a well tuned printer and be willing to let it run for 40-60 hours as it burns through 2 kg of filament. At that point you’re still far from the finish line as the [Dragonator] then set to work sanding and painting all of the pieces. From there he lovingly assembled everything, including gears and motors to give it motion.
In the end the electronics did not work as he envisioned. But maybe after a bit of time off from all that work he’ll revisit the project and make a bit more progress. For us, the aesthetic already makes the hack. Making it move and sound like the character would be over the top.
If you liked this you can’t miss the GLaDOS potato.
Filed under: 3d Printer hacks, home hacks
For a final design project, [Frank] and his group took on an augmented reality project. The goal was to make objects interactively controllable by pointing a smartphone at them. Their solution was Augmented Reality Universal Controller and Identifier (ARUCI).
The system locates controllable objects by sensing IR beacons that contain identifiers for each object. The IR is received by a Wiimote sensor, which has been integrated into a custom PCB. This board sits in a 3D printed enclosure, and mounts to the back of a smartphone. The electronics are powered by tapping off of the phone’s battery.
Commands are sent to devices using a custom 2.4 GHz protocol which was implemented using the ATmega128RFA1. Each device has another ATmega to receive the signal and control the real world object. In their demo, the group shows the system controlling devices including a TV, a radio, and an RC car.
The system provides an interesting way to interact with objects, and the hardware integration is quite impressive. After the break, watch [Frank] give a demo.
Filed under: cellphones hacks
On Friday, I announced we would upgrade our commenting system. It was tested over the weekend, and ultimately I have decided to go back to the wordpress system. Here are the reasons why:
1. Our old comments never got transitioned over.
The intenseDebate system says I can just click a single button and it will import our old posts into the new system. I did this Friday and the page never moved from 0%. I tried again Saturday night, with the 0% import still there this morning(Monday). Our old posts simply never imported. I don’t know if it was because our database of comments was so large (I doubt it) or what. I went to contact their support, but found them out for the weekend. That’s no big deal, but I wonder if the importer was a manual thing and no one was there to do it? If so, they should probably put a warning on the importer page.
2. It wasn’t failing gracefully.
I had many emails and comments saying that the comments were not showing when people were using script blockers, or certain android devices. The intenseDebate website claims that their system will show comments even if someone is using a script blocker. I did not personally test this, and frankly I don’t have to. Even if those people are mistaken or have peculiar setups, I simply can’t ignore complaints that our content isn’t even showing.
3. I couldn’t expand all replies by default, or maybe I’m an idiot.
I didn’t see an option anywhere to display all comment threads expanded by default. Maybe I just overlooked it. Maybe there’s some css trick to it. We HAVE to have our comments expanded. Often there is more useful information in the comments than the article itself. With replies nested you would have to go through and click every single thread just to see if there was anything useful. This is such an obvious feature that I’m convinced I just went stupid for a while and didn’t read the button that enabled it, surely they didn’t omit it.
For these 3 reasons, I removed it. Just like they said it would, it came out with no issue.
Filed under: news
The folks at Flitetest decided to add some extra power to an electric DH.100 Vampire RC plane by adding a butane afterburner. After some testing, and a bit of fire, they were able to make it fly.
Their afterburner uses a small butane canister for fuel. A servo motor actuates the valve on the canister, forcing fuel into a tube. This tube is set up to regulate the flow of butane and ensure it vaporizes before reaching the afterburner.
At the afterburner, a circular piece of tubing with holes is used to dispense fuel, much like a barbecue. This tube is connected to one side of a stun gun’s flyback generator, and the metal surrounding it is connected to the other. The stun gun creates sparks across the gap and ignites the fuel.
With the extra components added, the landing gear was removed to save weight and the plane was given a nice coat of paint. They started it up for a test run, and the plane’s body caught fire. After some rework, they managed to take off, start the afterburner, fly around, and belly land the plane. It achieved some additional thrust, but also sounds and looks awesome.
After the break, check out a video walkthrough and demo. We promise you fire.
Filed under: drone hacks
If you’re working with small parts, even the smallest table saw available at Home Depot or Lowes is generally overkill. For cutting up small pieces of wood, metal, and copper-clad board, a micro table saw is a great investment. They’re actually pretty inexpensive, but why just buy one when you can make one that is better than any model on the market?
The bed is constructed out of 1/4″ aluminum plate with a 1/15 horsepower motor bolted to the underside. The fence clamps on to the table with a pair of delrin brackets, while the angle guide is made of delrin and a brass bar that fits into a slot in the table.
The actual blades came from a Proxxon micro table saw (a very good brand from our experience), but comparing this homemade saw to the commercial one provides a few surprises: The Proxxon has a more powerful motor, but the homebrew version has four times the cutting capacity. You can check out this saw cutting a 1/4″ aluminum bar in the video after the break.
Thanks [Hubert] for sending this one in.
Filed under: tool hacks
His friends know [gbg] as an aficionado of just about anything with a 6502 processor in it. He’s also interested in bitcoins. A while back, a friend asked if it would be possible to mine bitcoins with an old Nintendo Entertainment System. While this suggestion was made in jest, it’s not one of those ideas anyone can let go of easily. Yes, it is possible to mine bitcoins with an NES, and [gbg] is here to show us how.
Mining bitcoins is simply just performing a SHA256 hash on a random value from the bitcoin network and relaying the result of that calculation back to the Internet. Of course this requires an Internet to NES bridge; [gbg] brought in a Raspberry Pi for this task. There’s the problem of actually getting data into an NES, though, and that’s something only a USB CopyNES can handle. After doing some 32-bit math, the NES sends this out to the Raspberry Pi and onto the bitcoin network.
When you consider that even a high-end gaming computer has little chance of mining a bitcoin in any reasonable amount of time, there’s little chance RetroMiner will ever be able to mine a bitcoin. It’s all random, though, so while it’s possible, we’ll just appreciate the awesome build for now.
Filed under: nintendo hacks
This is one of the simplest CNC builds we’ve seen but it still functions quite well. It’s a clone of the EggBot, but is aimed at printing on spherical Ping Pong balls rather than oblong eggs. [Chad] calls it the Spherebot, but you should be careful not to confuse it with the morphing sphere robot which can walk around like a hexapod.
The project is both mechanically and electronically simple. The body of the printer is made up of three acrylic plates, which we’re sure were clamped together when drilling holes to guarantee proper alignment. Threaded rod and nuts are used to mount the plates to one another, as well as to hold the sphere in place while printing. One stepper motor turns the ball while the other pivots the pen mount. A servo motor is responsible for lifting the pen. The entire thing is driven by an Arduino along with two stepper motor driver boards. Don’t miss [Chad's] presentation embedded after the break.
Filed under: cnc hacks
This frequency meter project squeezes a lot of performance out of the ATtiny2313 microcontroller. That chip does all of the work, measuring the frequency on the input pin as well as multiplexing the set of 7 seven-segment displays which read out the measurement.
The system is only as accurate as the clock crystal used by the AVR chip, so [Manekinen] recommends using one with the best tolerances available. It is also necessary to choose a value which is divisible by 1024 to get the best combination of accuracy and resolution. In this case he’s using a 22.1184 MHz crystal oscillator which is a slight overclocking of the chip which is spec’d to run at 20 MHz max.
We didn’t totally follow his explanation of how the two timers are used for counting. But if we really wanted to drill down for a full understanding his code (written in BASCOM-AVR) is available. If you’re just interested in the hardware we embedded a screenshot of the schematic after the break.
Filed under: Microcontrollers
Over at the Manchester Hackerspace, [Bob] has been busy getting a 30-year-old bandsaw up and running. The saw worked great, but it was missing a fence, making straight cuts difficult to say the least. The solution, of course, was to build a new fence, and [Bob] decided to capitalize on his hackerspace’s workshop by making a new fence with a 3d printer.
[Bob] began by taking careful measurements of the saw’s table and the channel running down the length of it. These measurements were plugged into OpenSCAD, and after a few iterations, [Bob] had an extremely well-fitting profile a fence could be attached to.
With the profile down, [Bob] created a new part in OpenSCAD that would hold an aluminum angle piece. This was attached to the plastic parts with screws, and the entire assembly clamps down to the saw with the help of a few 5mm bolts. For a machine that is usually dedicated to making 3D printer parts and Yoda heads, [Bob] did a great job making good use of his 3D printer.
Filed under: 3d Printer hacks, tool hacks
There are 2 types of people in the world; those who know binary, those who don’t, and those who know ternary. [Emanuele] thought a binary wristwatch is the pinnacle of nerd and set out to build his own. The resulting binary clock not only screams nerd as intended, but is also a functional time piece, as well.
The idea of a binary wristwatch came to [Emanuele] while he was working with PICs at school. Not wanting to let that knowledge go to waste, he used a PIC16F628 microcontroller for this build. There are four LEDs for the hours and six LEDs for the minutes, each attached to a separate microcontroller pin for easy programming.
To keep time, [Emanuele] kept the PIC in sleep mode most of the time, only waking it up when a an internal timer’s register overflows. The watch spends most of its time sleeping, sipping power from a coin cell battery with a battery life that should last weeks, at least.
The entire circuit is tucked away in a PVC enclosure with a wonderful rainbow ribbon cable band. We’re not so sure about how that feels against the skin all day, but it does exude the nerd cred [Emanuele] was looking for.
Filed under: wearable hacks
A pentesting dropbox is used to allow a pentester to remotely access and audit a network. The device is dropped onto a network, and then sets up a connection which allows remote access. As a final project, [Kalen] built the Rogue Pi, a pentesting dropbox based on the Raspberry Pi.
The Rogue Pi has a few features that make it helpful for pentesting. First off, it has a power on test that verifies that the installation onto the target network was successful. Since the install of a dropbox needs to be inconspicuous, this helps with getting the device setup without being detected. A LCD allows the user to see if the installation was successful without an additional computer or external display.
Once powered on, the device creates a reverse SSH tunnel, which provides remote access to the device. Using a reverse tunnel allows the device to get around the network’s firewall. Aircrack-ng has been included on the device to allow for wireless attacks, and a hidden SSID allows for wireless access if the wired network has issues. There is a long list of pentesting tools that have been built to run on the Pi.
Check out a video demonstration of the dropbox after the break.
Filed under: Raspberry Pi, security hacks
If you’ve ever used an extruding 3D printer, you know that the resulting prints aren’t exactly smooth. At the Southackton hackerspace [James] and [Bracken] worked out a method of smoothing the parts out using vapor. The method involves heating acetone until it forms a vapor, then exposing ABS parts to the vapor. The method only works with ABS, but creates some good looking results.
Acetone is rather flammable, so the guys started out with some safety testing. This involved getting a good air to fuel mixture of acetone, and testing what the worst case scenario would be if it were to ignite. The tests showed that the amount of acetone they used would be rather safe, even if it caught fire, which was a concern several people mentioned last time we saw the method.
After the break, [James] and [Bracken] give a detailed explanation of the process.
Filed under: 3d Printer hacks, chemistry hacks
Ah R2D2. Probably one of the most recognized little robots on the planet. There have to be a hundred different toys of R2 out there, but one of the more impressive is the 30th Anniversary Interactive edition. Complete with all kinds of bells and whistles, it’s about as realistic as they come. One Star Wars fan found himself in possession of a broken Interactive R2, and with his girlfriend’s birthday coming up, decided to do a little droid surgery to create the ultimate gift.
Giving Anakin a run for his money, all the controls for this R2 unit were custom built. A Raspberry Pi running Rasbian acts as the brain. Facial recognition was implemented using OpenCV. Voice commands in either English or Chinese were made possible by PocketSphinx. Some of the other features he included are: message recording and playback, ultrasonic distance detection, motion detection, wifi, and a rechargeable battery. Many of those features were included in the original toy, but since this unit was broken, had to be rebuilt from scratch.
In the end, it must have impressed his girlfriend – she’s now his wife. Good work Jedi. Check out some build photos and a video demonstration after the break.
Filed under: Raspberry Pi, robots hacks, toy hacks
We agree with [Zapmaker] that Canon cameras chew through nickel metal hydride batteries. But we’re not going to use Alkaline because we think it’s wasteful. His solution is to use a battery that has a higher voltage rating. What you see here is a single lithium iron phosphate cell paired with a dummy cell to increase life between charges.
The reason that NiMH batteries don’t last very long is that they’re only rated at 2.4V. It won’t take long for that voltage to drop below the camera’s cutoff threshold since they didn’t start very high to begin with. But a single LiFePO4 cell has the same form-factor but produces 3.2V and maintains voltage well through it’s discharge cycle.
The size is right, but using one cell won’t work by itself. He built a filler for the other slot which is just a wood dowel with a screw all the way through it. The point was ground down and a bit of foil added to ensure a proper connection. We’d be interested to hear back about how this performs over the long term.
Filed under: green hacks
Odds are you played the game of Operation when you were a kid. The classic electronic toy challenges you to use a tethered tweezers to extract plastic pieces without touching the sides of the holes they’re hiding in. This upgrade makes the challenge more interesting for a grown-up audience. If you touch the sides you won’t hear a jarring sound, you’ll get a painful shock!
The modification starts by clipping off the melted plastic portions that hold the paperboard face plate on the game. From there the original electronics are completely removed. We think this a bit of a mistake as we’d still like spectators to hear the sound as the player gets a shock. But we digress. The circuit board from a disposable camera is patched into the game. A wrist band forms an electrical connection with your body, providing a path for the camera’s flash capacitor to discharge if you happen to touch the sides with the tweezers.
This write-up is missing one important thing: video of someone getting shocked. [Psycosisnine] promises to add some soon, but for now you’ll just have to fall back on our absolute favorite Mindflex shock project.
Filed under: High Voltage Hacks
We consider ourselves fairly cautions Internet warriors. We know when to watch out for malicious links and tread lightly during those times. But this hack will still bite even the most cautions of link followers. It’s a hack that changes where a link is sending you after you click on it.
So who’s vulnerable to this kind of thing? It sounds like everyone that’s not using the Opera browser, which has been patched against the exploit. There are also some updates at the bottom of the post which mention that Firefox has been notified about it and Chrome is working on a patch.
Filed under: security hacks
The form factor of this keyboard just doesn’t look right. What’s missing? Oh, the numpad has been completely removed! We use our numpad almost exclusively (especially when coding) so it’s a little hard to figure out why [Ludw] did this. His only mention of motive is that he wanted the mouse closer to the main part of the keyboard and that he didn’t use the numpad. No matter what the reason, we still think he did an amazing job of giving new life to the older keyboard.
It started out as a plain old beige Cherry G80-3000 keyboard. After cracking open the case [Ludw] carefully traced out the connections between the key matrix and the PCB which provides the USB connection. This is because the controller is mounted over on the part of the PCB he his about to remove. Before making the cuts he desoldered all seventeen switches (these can be reused to fabricate a new keyboard, or add switches to various projects). He then lopped off the depopulated substrate and used point-to-point soldering to reconnect the controller. A bit of case alteration removed the extra space while also reusing the nicely molded edges. A clean and tidy paint job finishes the hack.
Filed under: peripherals hacks